GM is now the second-largest EV maker in the US

It's overtaken Ford, but still lags far behind Tesla.

Stephen Lam / reuters

General Motors just pulled ahead of Ford to become the country’s second-leading seller of all-electric vehicles. According to sales numbers obtained by CNBC, Ford sold just under 11,000 EVs during the first quarter of this year, while GM sold twice that, at nearly 21,000 units.

As a matter of fact, Ford’s poor showing throughout the past few months dropped it to fifth place in total EV sales in the USA. Hyundai and Volkswagon now make up the third and fourth spots. What is to blame for Ford’s all-electric struggles? It had some significant production downtimes at two North American plants, leading the company to scramble to retrofit a pre-existing plant in Mexico.

Additionally, the Ford F-150 Lighting electric pickup experienced a small recall when some batteries started catching fire, forcing the company to lose five weeks of production. Ford is planning on using new battery technology to ramp up EV production to 600,000 vehicles a year, but those recent sales figures illustrate just how far it has to go to meet that metric.

While congratulations are in order for GM, it is worth noting that even it is playing catch-up to market leader Tesla. And it’s not even close. Tesla does not share regional sales reports, but Motor Intelligence estimates the company sold 161,630 EVs in the United States during the first quarter. That is around eight times the number that GM is currently putting down. According to Tesla, it is on track to manufacture 20 million electric vehicles per year by 2030, though many experts say the actual number is likely to fall much lower than that.

While Tesla is leading the country in sales, the same is not true globally. Chinese manufacturer BYD sells 20 percent of the world’s EVs, to Tesla’s 12.6 percent. As for GM, the company promises to build 50,000 EVs by the middle of the year and 100,000 more units by the end of the year. One interesting factoid is that the majority of GM’s sales this year were from its budget-friendly Chevrolet Bolt line, which cost under $30,000. The lowest price for a bare-bones Tesla Model 3 is around $43,000.