Who has a chance to beat Tesla? Volkswagen is already in sight

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Tesla is not invincible in the electric car segment. Neither technologically nor in sales numbers. While it dominated overall sales of electric cars last year, including hybrids, overall numbers are down. If Europe alone is considered, its share has shrunk from 29% in 2019 to 13% last year. And if we take just the last quarter of 2020, Volkswagen already wins globally with 191,000 cars sold against Tesla's 183,000 units.

Lubomír Heger
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However, the key phrase is "including hybrids". Tesla doesn't make any hybrids. If we consider only pure electric cars, Tesla really has no competition with its global share of 23%. And it won't lose its lead for some time. One of the largest factories in the world, the so-called Giga Berlin factory, is about to be completed and this factory will churn out yearly huge quantities of batteries and half a million cars (mostly Tesla Model Ys) for years to come.

The next battlefield – software

The very fact that Tesla has to build anything at all is a huge competitive disadvantage against Volkswagen. Its factories are already standing, fully equipped and churning out 10 million cars a year, 20 times more than Tesla produces. 

However, when it comes to investment and development, Volkswagen has a lot of catching up to do compared to Tesla. Its new ID.3 model has been receiving universal praise, and the younger middle class has kept ordering it in large numbers online even during the covid pandemic when the car market was stagnant. However, it lags behind Tesla in battery capacity (i.e. range) and especially in software. It doesn't have a standard autopilot package that includes smart navigation and can, for example, shift itself from lane to lane. It can't boast something like Smart Summon - with this feature, a driver can summon a Tesla from a parking lot that uses his own mobile phone as a remote control for navigation. Software will thus become the next battleground on which Volkswagen and Tesla will fight for world domination.

If you secretly dream of driving a Tesla, you might be surprised to learn that with operational leasing, it will only cost you CZK 23,252 without VAT per month. Operational leasing makes it worthwhile also for luxury cars.

A new range record

In terms of the range, Tesla will likely soon be beaten ... Tesla's record holder is the Model S Long Range, which according to standard measurements has a range of 595 kilometers. Something that seemed unbeatable until the arrival of the BMW i4 prototype, which will be on the market later this year. It has a range of 597 kilometers, which is only slightly better, but still a record. And BMW has many other big plans.

 

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A bet by GM

A future competitor that is not often mentioned in connection with Tesla could be the largest US automaker General Motors. And in a way that wouldn't occur to anyone. GM could skip an entire era and bet on the distant future. While General Motors is no competition to Tesla with its current Volt and Bolt models, it has bought the Cruise autonomous driving system and the ride-sharing company Lyft. Its goal is a car called Origin - a self-driving electric ride-sharing vehicle that can fit four passengers and start and stop rides very easily.

Do we know today where customer preferences will go after 2030? What if car ownership simply becomes an old-fashioned concept and services like operating leasing become the standard. Perhaps GM may have seen the future where there is a complete change of the basic concepts. That way, GM doesn't have to worry so much about stiff competition in electric vehicle development. They'll just skip one whole phase of development and show Tesla the rear of their car.

Published at July 29, 2021

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July 29, 2021
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