Tesla Motors and General Motors are both fighting for the same slice of the same cake. Tesla has built a cult-like brand following in the sales of luxury-class EVs and GM doesn’t bat an eyelid. In fact, GM doesn’t have plans to build a Model S or Model X competitor. GM also has a strong brand recognition in the gasoline auto industry and Elon Musk won’t build a gasoline car to save his own life. However, both firms want to build EVs for the mass market and that’s where the challenge lies.
Elon Musk’s ultimate goal is to see the roads crawling with EVs in a huge paradigm shift that will make all forms of transportation electric. To reach this lofty goal, Elon Musk has decided that the Model 3 is the car to take electric transport to the masses. GM doesn’t quite have such lofty goals; yet, the firm understands that there’s a public shift to become more eco-conscious. In order to keep the bottom line intact and satisfy emission requirements, GM has decided that the Chevy Bolt is the solution that it needs.
GM’s Chevy Bolt is miles ahead of Tesla’s Model 3
Tesla Motors should have enjoyed the first-mover advantage in the EV industry. Of course, the firm enjoys the first mover advantage in the luxury segment of the EV market – no other automaker has an EV offering that could stand up to Tesla’s Model S or Model X. However, Tesla is sadly taking the backseat in the mass-market segment of the EV industry as GM’s Chevy Bolt takes the lead.
Earlier this week, news broke that GM’s Chevy Bolt will do a better job at easing people’s range anxiety than the Model 3. The Chevy Bolt will make its debut with an official range of 238 miles on a single charge. In contrast, Musk is planning to outfit the Model 3 with a range of 215 miles on a single charge.
However, the market leadership of the Chevy Bolt is not just in its longer range; Tesla can always offer options of a bigger battery pack for drivers who want a longer range. The market leadership of the Chevy Bolt lies in the fact that it would get to the market long before the Model 3 becomes a finished product.
Will you wait for the Model 3 when the Chevy Bolt is in the market?
Tesla Motors unveiled its Model in March but the car is not likely to hit the roads until late 2017. Even then, it would take superhuman effort on Elon Musk’s part because Tesla is notorious for missing deadlines.
In contrast, the Chevy Bolt will start shipping out this year and many people have had the opportunity to test drive and review the car. Last month, Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak revealed that he would ditch his Model S in favor of the Chevy Bolt. The Chevy Bolt might not be as much of a stunner as the Model 3 but the car is practical, it will be available in dealerships, and you won’t need to get on a 400,000 waiting line.
400,000 is a big number and the line is long. The wait could potentially be years. When people placed reservations for the Tesla Model 3 they weren’t thinking about options. They wanted what Elon Musk was promising to be a revolutionary EV and they didn’t want to miss out on it. Now, they find themselves waiting and they don’t know how long that wait will last. There’s little doubt that many will find the Bolt irresistible simply because they can get one. It’s not a Tesla, but it’s cool.
General Motors has scale, deep pockets, and years of manufacturing experience ahead of Tesla Motors. The Chevy Bolt might not confer the same brand appeal as the Model 3, but it meets the need of the budget-conscious car buyer. Darin Gesse, G.M.’s product manager for the Bolt notes that “Normally for electric vehicles we talk about going from point A to point B and back to A… This car is designed to go from A to B to C to D and back to A, so it has more of a lifestyle focus, and it’s not just a commuter car.”