There's a saying that familiarity often breeds contempt. One of those things that we've been familiar with for the longest time now is Tesla. If you wanted a competent EV, a Tesla would be an easy recommendation. It's practically the Toyota of the electric vehicle (EV) world. You know that recommending a Tesla is a safe bet that anyone would appreciate. However, while the brand is still at the top of the EV sales charts, especially in North America, other automakers have the potential of eating into Tesla's sales--especially in China which is practically the world's biggest EV market. Oh, and let's not forget to mention that the Cybertruck is still MIA, and the second-generation Roadster is probably the brand's most delayed vehicle launch ever.
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Tesla has a long tradition of overpromising and underdelivering. That begins with Full Self Driving (FSD), which is technically not true self-driving but is more of SAE Level 2 partial autonomy on steroids. Yeah, Mercedes-Benz's Drive Pilot even beat Tesla to the punch to SAE Level 3 conditional autonomous driving. There's also the fact that since the Cybertruck's unveiling in 2019, the car has been delayed numerous times, and Tesla now promises limited production to start in the middle of 2023. By that time, assuming again that Tesla fulfills its production timeline, Ford would have already sold plenty of F-150 Lightnings. In fact, in the first quarter of 2023, Ford's EV sales grew by 41 percent based on their official press statement, and this is led by the electric pickup which isn't even being produced at full capacity yet and still has a back order to fulfill.
Oh, and let's not forget the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV, whose base Work Truck (WT) trim was recently rated by the EPA to do 450 miles in a charge--an impressive 50 miles more than what General Motors (GM) originally claimed. Sure, 450 miles or the 320 miles that the F-150 Lightning could muster is still lower than what the Cybertruck could achieve, but until Tesla finally puts it into production, then the Cybertruck's stats will remain to be just another set of promises.
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With Tesla being the second-largest seller of plug-in vehicles (which bundles electric and plug-in hybrid sales) in 2022, just behind BYD according to SNE Research, you'd still be amazed that it managed a 40 percent growth. However, BYD's plug-in vehicle sales grew by 204-percent, while Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), which includes Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, is slightly higher at 40.9 percent. Clearly, other automakers are catching up, and are especially eating into the markets that Tesla still has not yet filled. Outside the U.S., things are even more challenging for Tesla. China, the world's largest EV market, isn't just a country that buys EVs. They also make and produce their own EVs. There, Tesla is battling with numerous other Chinese EV startups that obviously understand Chinese consumers much better than an American automaker can. Elon Musk has also been aggressive in price cuts in China in order to be at price parity with even more affordable, locally-made EVs.
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While companies like HMG, Ford, and General Motors release brand-new and sleek EVs nearly every week, Tesla's S3XY model range still hasn't received a major update in years. Sure, the Tesla Model S and Model X got tech upgrades during their second mid-cycle facelifts in 2021, but that's the thing. They're facelifts. The Model S is more than 10 years old already, and while it's still a champion in range and efficiency, having to deal with the same look for nearly 10 years isn't exactly what you'd call groundbreaking. At this point, your eyes are probably rolling and saying that the Cybertruck and next-generation Roadster are coming soon, but until that promise has finally been met, Tesla's model range at the moment has nothing new to put to the table.
It's unsurprising that Americans love trucks. The top three best-selling American cars have been the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram 1500 for most history now, and with all three coming or are already offered in pure electric forms way ahead of Tesla's Cybertruck, you can certainly bet that most of the hype Tesla had with the Cybertruck has faded into impatience and possibly converted into sales for these three pickups.
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But if Tesla wants to truly reach mainstream status, they need to make an affordable model that'll put it in the same price bracket as lets as a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. A cheap Tesla EV probably won't bring in a lot of profits for the brand, but it's what will most likely bring in new customers that in a couple of years might be willing to upgrade to a new Tesla Model X if they've been satisfied with the ownership experience. As of the moment, the Tesla Model 3 is the most affordable model they offer. Its base price with 272 miles of range is $40,240, which is pretty good and is in fact within the average transaction price of a new car in America. But in order to further bring Tesla to the masses, the price needs to be much lower than that whilst still offering the class-leading range that the brand has been known for. Yes, the new Cybertruck is important, but an affordable model is even more important in bringing more people to Tesla stores.
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As mentioned, the company has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering. Delays are the norm and being on time in terms of production or development deadlines is a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence. The next-generation Tesla Roadster is still MIA, and we haven't even heard anything about it for years now. As for that Cybertruck? It's supposedly ready to begin small-scale production this year, but again, we won't be surprised if it gets delayed again. Future Tesla cars are also expected to come with a higher degree of autonomous driving capabilities, as the company continues to develop its FSD software. Other manufacturers like Ford and Volkswagen have dialed down or scaled back their self-driving tech efforts, but Elon Musk continues to showcase how Tesla is one step closer to achieving true self-driving in its vehicles. A car that can truly drive itself is still plenty of years away, but as it is, FSD is already a capable system.
The world of EVs doesn't anymore revolve around Tesla. Legacy automakers have started to catch up, while China has so many EV startups that Tesla's appeal has been reduced in that market. Tesla's missteps with its production and development delays have also wiped out most of whatever remaining leadership it had in the EV race. If Tesla wants to do better than how they are doing right now, they need to continue releasing fresh products--including one that costs lower than the Model 3, along with actually being able to release its new cars to customers as opposed to simply unveiling a pre-production prototype.2023-05-25T18:04:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd