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Tesla’s competitors find that going electric has its own set of problems (marketwatch.com)
36 points by prostoalex 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 78 comments

I find these type of articles hilarious because they treat EV cars as though they are a gaming PC where all that matters is specs. Completely oblivious to the fact that people don't buy cars based just on specs.

Intangibles like brand, design, experience, feeling, handling etc are often just as if not more important. For example no Porsche Taycan buyer is ever going to choose a Model 3/S just because it has a few extra kilometres of range.

>> Intangibles like brand, design, experience, feeling, handling etc are often just as if not more important.

I think that's why the incumbents are having a hard time. They want to make an electric version of what they already have. It's probably easier to produce an EV that was designed to be electric from the start. If that's the case, the problem may be one of commitment. Tesla is committed - they only make electric cars.

Most of the newer EVs have been built from scratch.

And are in fact now being shared amongst the various groups as standardised architectures e.g. Porsche/Audi, Polestar/Volvo, Rivian/Ford.

It is notable that Porsche didn't try to create an electric 911 or Cayman. Despite there being a multitude of different version of 911s (Normal, Turbo, GT3 etc.) they (presumably) realised that an electric car was going to be fundamentally different. Different internal layout, different handling, so they started again.

Incumbents are only having a hard time because they want to be profitable. If they were willing to lose $20 billion they could've sold a lot more EVs by now.

> For example no Porsche Taycan buyer is ever going to choose a Model 3/S just because it has a few extra kilometres of range.

Would you be willing to expand on this? The reason I ask is that there are plenty of ex-Porsche (and ex-BMW) owners over at TMC and /r/teslamotors. Are they the minority, or are the brand loyalists the minority?

Not OP but my guess is that Tesla has a "cool, new, hip" factor that has more to offer than Porsche, which is your dad's high end luxury vehicle.

It depends on how much the range difference is at the end of the day, and if you trust Tesla or Porsche more to deliver on future battery tech (not talking about a Tacyan vs. Model S comparison, but a company vs. company comparison).

Tesla has a large advantage in this that is at least partially in house (judging from their willingness to expand production from Panasonic to LG and now CATL).

1. Porsche Taycan charges significantly faster than any Tesla so batteries/range isn't as useful an advantage.

2. You completely missed the point. Porsche drivers aren't looking for an economical car just as Hyundai drivers probably won't find much use for a dash stopwatch.

I guess it depends on how you define "range". How long will it take to drive across five states in a Tesla Model S as compared to a Porsche Taycan?

We know the answer for the Tesla because people do it every day, across many combinations of states. How far you can drive on a single charge means a lot less in practice than how far you can drive in a reasonable amount of time while charging at real, plentiful Supercharger stations.

> How long will it take to drive across five states in a Tesla Model S as compared to a Porsche Taycan?

Audi e-tron over 1000km: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFu9pkpunuo

Hyundai Kona over 1000km: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsEdAq4N_WU

Hyundai Kona halfway across the US: https://www.reddit.com/r/electricvehicles/comments/dr1gzm/i_...

The Porsche Taycan could do what the Kona did but faster: https://newsroom.porsche.com/en/2019/products/porsche-taycan...

Taycan covering 3,425km in 24 hours straight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jSG_10_JRg

How far can the Model S go in 24 hours straight?

The question was "How long will it take to drive across five states". So you really didn't answer the question and pivoted to something completely unrelated.

Since you are linking Bjørn Nyland Youtube videos including the Kona. Why not include the one below?

"Model 3 WORLD RECORD 2781 km in 24h - full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TFpkoESEko

A real world example, not a marketing video on a closed circular track with a factory crew and dedicated onsite fast charger. Bjørn's tests are on open roads (with detours and colder climate) more like a cannonball run.

There's a video of him addressing this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2ArIq0QRX4

> So you really didn't answer the question

Don't be a sad case.

> 2781 km in 24h

So.. less then. And not a Model S but a Model 3. Too bad.

> A real world example

Just like the others then.

> So.. less then

Let's see.. 2781km > 1000km in 24 hrs or real world driving. You cannot dispute basic math.

> Just like the others then.

Again.. The Taycan video you linked was on a:

1. Closed circular track (Nardò Ring)

2. With a factory crew with engineers

3. Dedicated onsite fast charger

4. Ideal Italian hot weather. EV's fare better in hot compared to cold climate.


1. Bjørn's tests that are on open roads

2. With detours

3. Colder climate

4. Had to slow down due to heavy rain.

Sorry but you fell for a marketing hype.. Link me a video of the Taycan doing that and I will eat a humble pie.

> And not a Model S but a Model 3. Too bad.

The Model S can now do 373mi compared to 322mi on the Model 3. You honestly think (without any bias) that the Model S won't fare better?

> 2781km > 1000km

2781km is less than 3,425km. Show me a Model S doing more than the Taycan in 24 hours.

> You honestly think (without any bias) that the Model S won't fare better?

So it should be easy for you to provide an example of the Model S covering more distance than the Taycan in 24 hours. Show it to me.


So I guess that means you concede the Model S can't drive as far as the Taycan in 24 hours.

But don't worry about it. Elon Musk says the Model S is of minor importance anyway:


Teslas have moved past the "theoretically can we drive across the US" a long time ago. Nobody questions if any EV can do it given a careful selection of start and end points, route planning, and luck with third party charging stations working properly (they often do not).

The practical range-based use cases are way more meaningful, and they're proved out every day by real world Tesla owners doing normal things.

But it is nice to see these proof of concept demonstrations with other EVs. I think it's been a few years since a Tesla going from Niagara Falls to NYC warranted a press release.

So, no answer on the Model S's endurance then? I answered your question, why not answer mine instead of offering up evasions? If you don't know, simply say you don't know.

> why not answer mine instead of offering up evasions?

You should follow your own advice. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

How far can the Model S go in 24 hours straight? I'll wait.

"2,424 Kilometers In 24 Hours In Tesla Model S … On German Autobahn"


You know a "real" open roads and not some marketing stunt in a circular track with a a 100 person support team with an onsite charger.


Any rational person would know that's a big difference. But you clearly are not so I'm not expecting much from you.

Ah, so again less distance covered. I accept your concession to the Taycan's win.

Have you placed your Taycan order?

I wasn't comparing the Taycan with the Model S. The real issue is Tesla vs VAG. Tesla can be out competed now on the Model S and still win out. Porsche/VAG may not have the same luxury.


Also, Porsche owners absolutely do care about range, but that's a different argument all together.

Two variables that seem to drive the entire market are $/mile of range and grand total range.

The short history of EV market has plenty of vehicles that tried to up sell the je ne sais quoi factor, and were met with buyer indifference.

Also the organizations involved. Of course in this case you might be trading one shitty dealer dinosaur experience for a new, shiny, curated, walled garden.

Actually you can spec and order a Porsche online just like a Tesla.

Well, I do pay a lot of attention to price and range - unless you can get a decent sized car (at least by UK standards) for less than £25K and with a range of at least 300 miles I'm not going to buy one!

My French bias is going to show but I wonder how Renault's Zoe is doing. It's been out for 6 years. Granted, Renault is completely absent from the US market and the car is uh... really not marketable for the US (it's tiny).

Not too good I'm afraid. Renault is already FCF negative.


Their long time partner Nissan is facing troubles too:


It's sold 35k units so far in 2019 up to September:


And there's a new revision of the Zoe coming out soon:


i've been driven in one and it was very surprising how nice it was; the price was completely prohibitive though.

I've test drived Renault Zoe. It was my first electric car driving expirience and I was amazed... Too bad it doesn't offer enough for its price.

I don't believe Renault makes Zoe to sell. They make the model for compliance with EU regulations.

Madrid has zoes for carsharing through the zity app and frankly they are perfect for the city and nearby roads.

Same in Italy, electric car sharing is exclusively using Zoe's.

Who owns the car sharing company? Is it an Energy company by any chance? a coal plant owning Energy company?

It's owned by the train company.

I'm curious, how do the regulations incentivize making a model that they don't really need to sell much of?

From what I understand, carmakers have average emissions quota across their whole range (95g/km of CO by 2021).

Having electric vehicles in the range is a way to meet the quota even if they don't sell really well.

Oh ok, I'd heard about the emissions quota, but I always thought it wasn't a simple average of the offered range, but was surely weighted by sales.

It is weighted by number of new registrations: https://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/average-co2-emissions-f...

If a car manufacturer actually makes and registers low-emission cars just to keep the average of their fleet down, there's not really a point in just having them sit around collecting dust, so they might as well sell them.

Really? Aren't sales numbers way too high for this strategy? Like, multiple tens of thousands sold?

Compare this to the ridiculous fiat 500e at barely 2k sold...

A few years ago our city had introduced electric buses. These were quite awesome and significantly reduced noise pollution. Most noise actually comes from tires instead of motors nowadays with the exception of slow speed acceleration, where buses can be extremely loud. Recently electric buses seem to have vanished again.

I think that was due to a fire that happened and the reliability was lower than their diesel counterparts (I think it was 90%, compared to 98%). Very sad about that they are gone again.

We see a lot of Teslas here. It was pretty hyped and you had to wait a long time to get one. I don't believe that the unilateral market dominance of Tesla will be kept on the current level to be honest.

In recent days you see more and more smaller city cars.

> Most noise actually comes from tires instead of motors nowadays

This is only really true for well-maintained cars. As soon as you have a few lorries, old vans, purposely loud motorbikes, etc. it becomes complete rubbish.

True, and not relevant at low speeds (cities). But I think it is already reality for most cars. Not buses though.

It's not going to, but they don't need to maintain their position. Tesla's advantage over everyone else is their ability to mass-manufacture quality battery packs. As long as they can be the first company to integrate advancements in range/reliability (and don't have to worry about manufacturing capacity constraints), they can walk into pretty much any segment they want.

At least for their China factory Tesla is getting their batteries from CATL who also supply Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota, VW etc.

Tesla isn't going to have much of an advantage in batteries for quite some time until their Maxwell R&D acquisition pays off.

I wasn't talking about the individual cells (although this is probably true, especially once you start looking at batty cell access/capacity), but the battery packs and related electronics.

GM, VAG, and the other traditional manufacturers are still playing catch up, and outside of maybe VAG will probably be playing catch up for a long time.

Yes, it's really in the battery pack, rather than the individual cells, where Tesla has a commanding lead in the technology and the cost.

>For their China factory Tesla is getting their batteries from CATL

Source? They were only rumors this summer that Tesla could be provided cells by CATL in the future. I couldn't find a report that says it's been the case already.

Manufacturers are playing from behind & are worried about it. I'm aware of at least one (I won't mention who it is, but it's not particularly hard to guess) who is funding a number of studies on how to capture market share in this segment as a late entrant.

You're also starting to see a lot of concern about the economic/social impact that electrification is going to have - it's mentioned in the linked article, but electric vehicles require a lot less labor to manufacture. Assuming that the traditional players in this industry even survive the switch to electric vehicles, you're going to see a lot of layoffs as all of this plays out.

> electric vehicles require a lot less labor to manufacture

That's awesome!

But I'm confused...

why do Tesla's cars take so much more man hours to manufacture than other cars then? If electric cars take less labor and everybody knows that Tesla is lightyears ahead of all those dinosaur traditional manufacturers, wtf are Tesla's employees spending their time on?

Semi guess here. But OP maybe meant that electric motors require less labor to manufacture more specifically. Tesla’s come up to speed on actual mass manufacturing of the vehicles themselves has resulted in a lot of manual work that other big manufacturers would have been able to automate. This was a big “scandal” with the Model 3...where it was reported that some things were being done by hand that normally wouldn’t be

It's not just the car itself - although the UAW GM strike was partially about that. It's everything else that goes into manufacturing the car.

US example: only around 300k people are employed by GM, Ford, and Crystler (excluding the rest of FCA). Let's assume that the total figure rises to 1m once you account for everyone employed by foreign manufacturers in the US, Tesla, &c. Another 7m people are directly (component manufacturers) or indirectly (e.g., dealers) employed by companies in or who are associated with the US automotive sector.

A non trivial number of jobs in the 1m bucket are going to be lost over the next decade because of electrification. A much larger number and percentage of jobs are going to be lost in the 7m bucket over the same time frame.


Think component suppliers. Electric cars require a lot less parts, which is going to hurt component suppliers & the people who work for them a lot.

I think there was an article about that.

They wanted to move fast. Very fast. Human labor is quicker "ready to work". Robots needed to be designed, ordered, produced, shipped, tested, reprogrammed etc before they are ready.

And at the end of the day, if it is easy, repeatible work. Humans are not that expensive. (for the flexibility they offer)

What's awesome about less labor being needed to manufacture a car? Asking genuinely in good faith.

From the perspective that a lot of jobs are going to be displaced? Not much.

It's not clear to me why you're getting the down votes here zhdc1, what you say is common knowledge at this point.

I have been following Tesla closely for the last 5 years. The amount of FUD has been astounding considering no other car manufacturer has managed to launch a mass market electric car. Analysis after analysis say that competition is right around the corner or NIO is going to beat Tesla. Question is If these misleading articles/statements are ethical?

I don't understand how hn can praise tesla for selling cars on one hand and then condemn uber for being unprofitable on the other... neither of them have any evidence of doing anything other than funneling investor money into the hands of their customers.

Am I missing something here?

Tesla made a profit of $143 million in Q3 2019 alone. Yet Uber still haven't.


Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona, BMW i3, VW e-Golf, Audi e-Tron, Mercedes EQC, Renault Zoe, Jaguar i-Pace etc.

Are they not mass market cars ?

Hyundai Kona is outselling every Tesla model combined in some EU countries so I would consider them mass market.

Where does your number come from? You should also be more specific about those "some EU countries".

Kona sales in Europe in 2019 so far is 77,641 [0], but the electric version is likely tiny because Hyundai only sold 2,424 fully electric cars in June 2019. Across all models! Less than one percent of their total number [1]

Tesla has sold 75,959 in Europe in 2019 [2]

[0] http://carsalesbase.com/european-car-sales-data/hyundai/hyun... [1] https://cleantechnica.com/2019/08/22/hyundai-kia-great-elect... [2] http://carsalesbase.com/european-car-sales-data/tesla/

And the Kona would be selling more if they could make it faster.

How do I know this? Because I would have bought one (so technically they've have sold at least one more!) but it's a 12 month lead time right now. They even briefly removed the option a few months ago to order from their website - it may be back now but I think it doesn't mention the delay in getting the car.

The turning point really is here for a lot of us with driveways.

EDIT - nope it's still un-orderable. Just the link to join the waiting list.

> Hyundai Kona is outselling every Tesla model combined in some EU countries so I would consider them mass market.

Citation needed.

Model 3 alone is outselling all other EVs in EU even with the logistical constraint of having to ship them by sea.


FUD against a company is directly correlated to the amount of short positions against them.

> Question is If these misleading articles/statements are ethical?

The worlds media are quite unburdened by ethics.

> Back to Tesla: According to an equity research paper by Jefferies, it is the only company that doesn’t share the misfortune of its competitors.

Maybe. They're being investigated for battery fires:


Telsa has reduced the battery capacity of some Model S's and X's. There's a class action in progress to at least clarity the reduction in capacity and get some kind of remedy from Tesla. If Tesla has done it for safety reasons and not reported that to the NHTSA then Tesla could be in for some fines:



>They're being investigated for battery fires

No, they aren't: https://twitter.com/VGrinshpun/status/1191187275394228226

Read the articles.

I did, and it's why I posted the link to a thread that corrects them.

The NHTSA did not open an investigation. They asked Tesla some data for analysis, and they will determine if facts corroborate the petition's claim. They may open an investigation at some point but they have not.

C/D, Reuters and the LA Times know that, but for some reason, they prefer sensationalism to journalism.

> They asked Tesla some data for analysis

So you're saying they're investigating if further investigation is warranted? Wow, man.

Wait for the 15th of December. The "non-investigation" will have reported back by then.

Yeah, I don't know what's up with all the misinformation. NHTSA isn't performing an "investigation". They are simply investigating claims that Tesla's catch on fire all the fucking time and following their common investigation protocols. It's totally normal.

The Twitter thread that was linked contains factual NHSTA info.

"@russ1mitchell of LA Times wrote the article in which he claimed that NHTSA launched investigation into Tesla fires, later changing “investigation” to probe.

This is FALSE. NHTSA initiated analysis of the Petition and rebuked Russ Mitchell for disinformation."

Read the articles. They link to a PDF of the letter from the NHTSA to Tesla which outlines exactly what they're doing. You don't think the NHTSA is collecting documentation from Tesla for the fun of it, do you?

>exactly what they're doing

Yes, which is not an investigation. They're only conducting an analysis of the petition and asked Tesla for data. They have not opened an investigation, but you already know this if you're listening.

Not only have I have read the original article written by Russ Mitchell mind you (Reuters's version is just a rehash).

I also dug more into this and the Twitter thread contains the most factual info instead of speculation.

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