2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X rear 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front 3/4 view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X side view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X side view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X front view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X rear view
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X headlight
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X logo
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X wheel detail
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X side mirror
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X badge
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X interior
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X instrument cluster
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X infotainment system
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X infotainment system
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X navigation system
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X dash
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X cup holders
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X rear seats
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X interior
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X rear cargo area
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X frunk
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
2016 Tesla Model X graphics
  • Image Credit: Sebastian Blanco
If Tesla chief Elon Musk wants to tout the viability of electric vehicles (not to mention making at least one reporter's life a little easier), he'd do well to publish his company's US sales figures. That's because demand for the Tesla Model S and Model X was substantially better than we'd previously estimated using an extrapolation of the company's quarterly global sales figures. And these days, as Tesla goes, so goes the country's plug-in vehicle market.

While the California-based EV maker still doesn't disclose monthly figures, it did confirm Friday that it sold 9,156 Model S sedans and 5,428 Model X SUVs in the third quarter. Divide those numbers by three, and Tesla appeared to have more than doubled its September sales from 2015 to almost 4,900 units.

How does that impact US green-vehicle sales? Well, we now have September's hybrid, diesel, and plug-in vehicle sales rising 0.4 percent instead of being down 1 percent. Factoring in only plug-ins, though, and the change becomes far more obvious: US plug-in vehicle sales rose 42 percent (!) from a year earlier to more than 12,000 units. Our previous estimate had plug-in sales rising 13 percent to almost 10,000 units. That's the difference between a steady climb and an outright surge, and should make green-vehicle advocates pretty happy.

The new numbers also bode well for a plug-in vehicle that appears poised for further big gains. That's because General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt EV will hit US streets by the end of the year. Nissan is prepping the next-generation version of the Leaf EV, and, as shown by demand for the new-generation Volt extended-range plug-in, that should goose sales for that model as well. And when Tesla's relatively lower-priced Model 3 debuts next year, the numbers will just keep on going up.

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