I don't think Tesla has proven this to be a mass market product. Yes, its quite attractive to those who live in urban areas, but its not at the level of development (or practicality) to make it attractive to most of the car buying public.
I drive a whole lot, and most of the places I want/need to go, charging my car is not yet a practical option, I feel Electric Cars will not be practical for a majority of motorist until you can see s 350-450 mile range on them. So while its good to be an early adopter, often (most often) the late entrant is the one that owns the market, not the first to arrive.
Imagine having to plan a trip to a local charging station every day or two and wait 40 mins to charge your car.
Where people live in apartments (usually in cities), there frequently are too few parking spots anyway, so a lot of people use public transit. Those people at my office who commute in by car do so because they live in villages where public transit connections are too seldom to be reliable. Those who live in the city commute by tram.
Work parking lot charging is also an amenity with increasing prevalence and it certainly is possible that a person that owns a car primarily for a work commute will have plenty of opportunities to charge their car in the 40+ hours a week their car is supposed to be sitting in a work parking lot.
I guess it is close to the average price of new vehicles sales, but I think even $35,000-$40,000 is pushing it, especially when that range is going to be closer to 250 miles than to 400 miles.
A larger issue (for me, and I suspect others) is; Where would I charge it? my apartment complex doesn't have charging facilities, neither does my work - and the nearest supercharger is 20 miles away from me. In short, the 'fuel' delivery network is missing for me.
How easy do you think it will be to find charging stations when there are 50x as many electric cars?
How many extra 500A 240V circuits will the grid of a city need to support for that many charging stations?
Likewise, Tesla isn't really an electric car company or even an electric motor company. Electric motors are something everyone's known how to make for a hundred years and they actually get a lot of their generic car bits like their interiors from the same companies who supply traditional car companies. Tesla's actually a battery pack company (this is why the PowerPack and the SolarCity merger makes sense). It's the knowledge and the experience that went into those packs that keeps other companies from easily copying Tesla.
The problem Ford and any traditional automaker faces is somehow pivoting from their current secret sauce, which took them decades and billions of dollars to develop, to a new one in a field that's completely unrelated, where almost nothing they already know applies.
For the first time I heard a car company CEO actually get that Tesla is different. The CEO of Toyota made a comment that what Tesla builds is more akin to the iPhone than a car.
And he's right. Tesla builds a computer that happens to use a very large battery, weighs about 4,000 lbs, and has wheels.
Nobody else in the business gets this. They think Tesla is just a car company with an electric motor, while completely ignoring the speed at which Tesla is able to roll out improvements.
I've said for a while that until the car companies start thinking like a software company, they'll be further and further behind. The difference is (quite literally) a company with a multi-year long effort to roll out a new version versus a company running the automotive equivalent of Scrum.
An expedition, for example, is a great rig. I own one, and it's used for a lot of different purposes. I can't really replace it reasonably, and they run well for a very long time.
I would consider another with an electric assist option.
I collected gas use data for a few months. Mpg could be doubled in that vehicle for a modest weight increase that could likely be significantly offset with a weight reduction in other areas.
Hybrid vehicles in the larger weight classes makes a lot of sense. Serms to me Ford would get a ton of expertise and gain relevance while adding a ton of value.
Tesla owns the world's largest battery factory.
We are not talking about toy motors. Before Tesla who knew about making a car motor which can reach 0-60 in 2.27 seconds?
Here's a Datsun 1200 with a 1.8 second 0-60:
That one was built twenty-three years ago!
Tesla's achievement isn't the 0-60 time itself, but rather doing so in a car that 1) is a practical daily driver family car 2) will withstand a couple hundred thousand miles of driving without replacing major components 3) is safe and robust enough to put into the hands of thousands of ordinary consumers and 4) can be manufactured for a cost that is not entirely ludicrous.
Which is impressive, but unrelated to the motor. In fact, the rear motor in the P100D is the same as the one in my 85 and essentially the same as the one that was in the original 2012 Model S, and the front motor is just a smaller, less powerful version.
The main innovations which enabled this are related to the battery pack, not the motors. Most of that innovation is cutting costs. It's really easy to get a lot of power out of a large battery pack, and Tesla's cheap batteries means they can put large ones in their cars without completely blowing the cost up. They just about maxed this out with the P85D, which did 0-60 in around 3 seconds. At that point they started to be limited by the amount of current that the battery's fuses could handle. They got past that problem by using a "smart" pyrotechnic fuse instead of the traditional melty-metal kind, resulting in "ludicrous mode" on the P85D and P90D. Then the P100D bumps it up a bit more just by virtue of having a larger battery.
How many Teslas out there with > 100K miles and how many with > 200K miles?
Even the other difficult problems like dealing with starting current, construction, heat, and lifetime have been solved many ways for a long time.
Chevy, as a counterpoint, is also an American / Detroit-based automaker that also plays it safe with most of their lineup. But Chevy has still invested heavily in modern renewable/efficient vehicles too (Volt and Bolt).
Ford has nothing to offer that is competitive with these modern vehicles -- Ford's Hybrids/EVs are basically just minimum compliance cars. Even ignoring all of Tesla, Ford's current 2017 lineup still struggles a bit to compete with the original Chevy Volt, a six year old car first released back in 2011.
Waiting for Tesla, Chevy, etc to pay for industries of scale for battery manufacturing, and then coming in with a cheaper version later isn't necessarily a bad strategy.
Every Bolt costs Chevy 7 thousand dollars right now.
And you base that on what exactly? Their EVs are in the pipeline.
>that also plays it safe with most of their lineup.
As opposed to..who? Who do you consider "living dangerously" in the auto industry?
>Ford's current 2017 lineup still struggles a bit to compete with the original Chevy Volt
Have you considered that they aren't trying to compete in the market yet? That there have been precisely zero EVs that are being produced profitably?
Despite what HN conveys, the EV market is WIDE OPEN. Tesla hasn't won anything. The excitement is forthcoming, not decided.
That's exactly what I base that on. Modern EV's have been widely available in the market for over half a decade, and Ford still hasn't shipped a competitive one.
Sure, Ford may have a groundbreaking product "in the pipeline". But the landscape as it stands today has them pretty far behind. It seems fair to evaluate a company based on the products it actually has, not the products it claims might happen -- wouldn't you agree?
> Have you considered that there have been precisely zero EVs that are being produced profitably?
This is simply not true. The Volt, BMW i3, and some Tesla models are all currently profitable vehicles.
> Despite what HN conveys, the EV market is WIDE OPEN. Tesla hasn't won anything.
I never claimed Tesla (or anyone else) has "won" the EV market. Just that you can't win a game you don't play, and Ford (so far) hasn't been playing.
Other EVs do seem to be sold at a loss though, because their main purpose isn't to be profitable on their own, but to enable more sales of larger ICE vehicles (by meeting fleet economy standards) that are much more profitable.
If most of it is stuff that can be licensed to automakers other than GM, then GM doesn't have much of a lead.
This perception takes time and money to curate. They need it in place when electric cars get popular or they will be left behind.
And the people who do know, are (mostly) the folks who would never buy one.
Who's going to buy the Focus Energi that gets 21 miles on battery, when you can get a faster, nicer Volt that gets 53+ miles on battery.
Who's going to buy the Focus Electric that gets 100 miles range, when you can buy a Bolt EV that gets 238 miles of range.
Earlier I found this article that breaks down the design of the Bolt:
So GM did the motor and controls and such. But you don't need a big battery in a practical vehicle to work that stuff out, you can work on it in an emissions vehicle with a little battery.
GM is certainly doing better than Ford in terms of what you can buy right now. I'm not sure that matters much with batteries still costing quite a lot.
Right now it's Tesla and GM that have the mind share. This needs to be fixed before volumes get too large or GM will have an enormous lead.
All a competitor has to do to overcome the mind share factor there is be modestly less expensive or have modestly better range (while being otherwise comparable).
Electric cars have a number of advantages that will cause them to dominate in the future once battery capacity improves. However which specific EV a person buys will be an emotional decision. Most people will want to take the risk on a new technology with whomever is perceived to be the leader in the field.
It'll happen to all these dual-class shares when the tide turns and the tech sector falls from favour.
On the other hand, while it's been close, Ford is the only US automaker that hasn't taken a trip through bankruptcy court.