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Tesla’s dominance in California’s EV market has slipped again this year, according to Reuters calculations based on government data from January to September, as rivals step up their game.

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Tesla controlled 73% of the battery electric vehicle market in California from January to September, the lowest level since 2018, according to new vehicle registration data from the California Energy Commission. Tesla had a 75% stake in 2021 and 79% in 2020.

Tesla’s sales in California, where its first plant is located, accounted for 15% of the automaker’s global shipments last year, Reuters estimates. California is the largest US state for zero-emission vehicles, which also include hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and account for 18% of new car sales in California this year.

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Tesla still sold more electric vehicles in this key market than it did in the same period a year ago, but competitors including Hyundai Motor have increased sales of new models, giving buyers more choice.

Ticker Safety Last Change Change %
TSLA Tesla Inc. 215.31 +0.33 +0.15%
HIMTF HYUNDAI MOTOR CO. LTD. 28.018 -0.16 -0.57%

Tesla also topped the brand rankings, with 53% of potential EV buyers considering Tesla this year, according to research by California-based automotive consultancy AutoPacific, down from 58% in the previous survey last year.

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“We’re approaching saturation point for Tesla’s market share in California,” said Ed Kim, president of AutoPacific. He expected that competitors would continue to take market share and that Tesla sales would continue to grow.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s push for Twitter and Republican support has raised concerns about the Tesla brand, especially in liberal states like California.

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Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid said the Twitter saga may have deterred some potential Tesla buyers who previously supported Musk and his clean energy mission.