Tesla's Model 3 is the only real volume EV in the U.S.

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(Bloomberg) – If automakers have learned something from 2019, Tesla Inc.'s Model 3 is the be-all and end-all of the U.S. electric vehicle market – and everything else.

The Model 3 was sold on a large scale. The InsideEVs.com website estimates annual sales at nearly 160,000. Other automakers that are investing billions in the introduction of electric models have to catch up seriously.

After Model 3, you have to scroll down the sales rankings to find the Tesla S and X models and offers from General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. And 2019 was a year to be forgotten for deliveries of the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, down 8.9% and 16%, respectively.

And what about these expensive European models that are supposed to challenge Elon Musk? Porsche is just beginning to sell the much-touted Taycan and handed over the first 130 units in December. Audi sold 746 of its all-electric E-Tron crossovers and only achieved 5,369 units for the year. Jaguar was even further back and delivered 2,594 I-Pace SUVs.

To give Musk a more serious run for his money, automakers are likely to need longer-range models before connecting and charging. Even then, the controversial CEO can still put one leg up by pulling the company.

"Perhaps Tesla's best capital is the brand," wrote Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a Friday report. "Many consumers are evangelical about their vehicles."

(Updates with Porsche, Audi and Jaguar EV sales in the fourth paragraph)

– With the support of Gabrielle Coppola.

Contact the reporter about this story: David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

How to contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net, Melinda Grenier

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