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Tesla Model Y makes up over half of Tesla's California registrations to end 2020

Registrations aren't the same as deliveries, but nevertheless, California tends to preview nationwide EV trends.

The Model Y is proving popular.

Tesla

Tesla had a good year in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic that shut down its sole US production facility. It came just shy of reaching its targeted 500,000 EV deliveries last year and rolled out the Model Y electric SUV to buyers. The latest fourth-quarter registration data from California underscores the banner year Tesla had, and the automaker can give most of the credit to the Model Y.

According to registration data compiled and released Wednesday by Cross-Sell, Tesla registrations in California rose by 63% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter in 2019. The Golden State often provides a preview of broader EV trends nationwide since the state is home to the most aggressive EV adoption policies, so it's certainly good news for the automaker. 

Californian drivers registered a total of 22,117 Tesla EVs in Q4, but the automaker should thank the Model Y's launch for the positive news. Of the vehicles registered, the Model Y accounted for 11,417 of them -- slightly more than half -- bringing more folks into the brand who may really need an SUV's utility. The Model 3 sedan, by contrast, was actually down year-over-year by 34%.

One important note on registrations: they don't tell a perfect picture, since the data comes in delayed. This time last year, Tesla made headlines as data from Cross-Sell showed registrations dropped by nearly 47% in the state. But, since California can take up to four weeks to log registrations, the figure was heavily deflated. Tesla usually makes a major sales push in the final weeks of the year, so California sales for 2020 will likely be higher than the registration data reported this week.

This year, Tesla hopes to keep up the momentum. CEO Elon Musk promised in 2019 that we'd see the Cybertruck enter production in 2021, and construction of the electric pickup's new factory is underway in Austin, Texas. We should also see a Gigafactory come online in Germany, and likely a couple of surprises from Musk, too.

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