In the past year, Tesla's stock has increased almost six-fold. In a down economy where car manufacturers are struggling to stay in the black, why is Tesla able to grow so rapidly? Their business model is one heavily reliant on using any and all new technology, as well as cutting out the middle man by offering a manufacturer to consumer sales model. Tesla's continued rise has not only angered those not on board with the electric car movement, but with auto dealers as well, who are fighting to keep their manufacturer to consumer sales model out of certain states. In Norway, Tesla leads electric vehicle sales1, proving a concept that they hope catches on in the United States.
Tesla and it's Influence on the Competition
Like any new business or company, competition often brings innovation. As major car manufacturers like GM, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, and Dodge-Chrysler begin to roll out fully electric vehicles, the market still looks to Tesla for its innovative ideas. The article by Klosters cars2 can help give you a brief rundown on the different types of electric vehicles and their capabilities.
Ten years ago, Toyota unveiled their hybrid engine in a small quantity of Camry and Corolla vehicles. All of the other big car manufacturers were forced to follow suit, and today, ten years later, we have a full line of hybrid engines in almost every car brand. This same idea is happening with Tesla - rapid growth and superior technology are forcing the competition to add and integrate fully electric vehicles into the market.
Technology and Performance
The biggest issue that consumers are having with fully electric vehicles is the limited range. With some vehicles having a range of less than 80 miles, it raises the question as to whether going fully electric is really worth it in the long run. Wasting time at plug in stations is a major concern for the potential electric vehicle buyer. Tesla, however, alleviates that concern. The Tesla Model S can travel about 265 miles on a single charge. With the average driver going around 1,000 miles per month, the range on the Tesla Model S is proving to be more than suitable for the average car owner.
Performance is also an issue when customers are considering purchasing an electric car. With the rebirth of of the old American muscle cars such as the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300, it is evident that a large market share of American still hold performance in high regard. Electric motors provide instant torque, and the responsiveness to the gas pedal is extremely higher than in a gas powered vehicle. For example, the new Porsche electric hybrid goes 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds. By comparison, the Tesla Model S does it in 4.2 seconds.
The high amount of detail put into the Tesla's technological systems also have buyers flocking their direction. The Tesla Model S has a 17'' touchscreen interface, the largest of its kind. It goes beyond standard radio, offering HD radio, bluetooth media connectivity, USB audio devices, and on-demand or online radio. It comes fully equipped with a web browser to stay connected at all times. The screen also allows you to view your energy consumption so that you are always aware of your driving patterns and when you may need a quick charge. Keeping with technology, Tesla has just hired Apple's VP of product design Doug Fields to help further integrate cutting edge modern technology into the vehicle.
What's Next for Tesla?
Tesla's focus over the next year will be to increase market share in the United States as well as to promote and build hype surrounding their release of the Model S's smaller sedan counterpart. With the Model S priced from around $70,000 (USD), the release of a smaller and less expensive version would make it realistic for many more consumers to afford the Tesla. There are leaked reports3 that say the smaller sedan could be priced around the $30,000 (USD) mark, which would be a huge blow to major car manufacturers. One thing is certain, as Tesla continues to expand its market share and implement new technology, major car manufacturers will be forced to compete or they will be left behind.
1 - Tesla Motors' Norway sales
2 - Klosters' green cars article
3 - Tesla to introduce a $30k compact sedan