Tesla, under the leadership of CEO Elon Musk, has a vision to put everyone in an electric car and the company’s competitors may make that reality come true while making Tesla a “nice brand” as the Washington Post put it. There were reasons to celebrate at Tesla’s 2019 shareholder meeting help this week but one thing is clear, from luxury automakers to Chevy and Ford, electric cars are the future and everyone is making one. 

Tesla’s Leading Competitors: As the Post explained,

  • Jaguar and Audi have each debuted well-reviewed luxury electric SUVs in recent months, which have gained traction in countries like Norway that serve as a bellwether for the electric vehicle industry.
  • Chevrolet and Nissan have targeted the mass market with their compact Bolt and Leaf electric vehicles, priced similarly or lower than Tesla’s Model 3, which is intended to be a mass market vehicle.

And as Green Car Reports reported, Ford “is in the midst of an $11 billion investment plan toward 40 electrified vehicles (and including several fully electric models) by 2022. Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand will have at least one of those fully electric models, and it will get electrified versions of all its models by 2022.” (Fun fact: Ford was actually the first ever car company to put out a sustainability report in 2019 and they just released their 20th-anniversary report with some cool new commitments.)

Tesla’s Achilles Heel: The visionary car company has been plagued by manufacturing issues that have caused major delays in delivering cars to customers. This is something Detroit’s auto plants can largely avoid as their well-established production lines can run without a hitch as they have been doing for a century. A trade war with China aside, something that could force Americans to other EV models is the fact that it takes so long to get replacement parts for Tesla autos and customers are becoming fed up. An issue traditional brands with better service networks would likely be able to avoid.

Why This Matters: Tesla was the first electric vehicle manufacturer to captivate the nation’s interest and show us that electric cars could be sleek, drive impressive distances and simplify our lives by allowing us to avoid the gas station (sidenote: did you know it’s actually cheaper to own a Tesla Model 3 than a Toyota Camry?). Despite range anxiety, Americans believe electric vehicles are the future and are beginning to put their money where their mouths are, but reliability and customer service are going to be key in making the switch successful. Despite all this, Elon Musk has proven skeptics wrong before and closed Tesla’s shareholder meeting by saying “Would I be doing this if I wasn’t optimistic?” Could this optimism stem from Musk’s dream of a fleet of self-driving robo taxis?

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