Tesla Motors Inc brought the idea of a mass market EV to the limelight when it hinted that it would produce the Model 3 electric car. The firm has hinted that the Model 3 will have a 200-mile range and cost approximately $35,000. Late last year, Elon Musk hinted that work has begun on the Model 3 and that the car will be unveiled by the end of the Q1 2016 will full production set for 2017. General Motors seems to have beaten Tesla to the EV mass market as it unveiled its 2017 Chevrolet Bolt at CES.
GM has been on Tesla’s heel in the EV mass-market race and it has done a very good job at making sure that Tesla doesn’t have all the attention. In fact, any mention of the Model 3 in the news is always followed by the mention of GM’s Chevy Bolt in other news. Now, Tesla might be the one playing catch up to GM as this piece explores GM’s apparent lead over Tesla in the mass-market EV race.
Here’s what GM has over Tesla
Firstly, GM has unveiled its Chevy Bolt while Tesla is still on the drawing board with for the Model 3. Potential buyers of mass market EVs can now know what to expect from the Chevy Bolt while nobody outside of Tesla knows how the Model 3 will look. Rumor surfaced last year that the Model 3 would sport an unusual design that will lower the price; however, people in the market for a “cheap” EV that takes them from point A to point B might be more inclined to buy a Chevy Bolt hatchback than a strange-looking Model 3.
The second point is that GM’s Chevy bolt comes to market to hit the sweet price point with a price tag of $30,000. Tesla Motors has hinted that the Model 3 will cost around $35,000 – going by Tesla’s prior pricing moves, the base Model 3 might cost $35,000 but the version you’ll LOVE to buy might cost much more than $35,000.
With the $30,000 Chevy Bolt, buyers get a five passenger hatchback with a 200-mile electric range that is decent enough at that price point. The Chevy Bolt also sports CarPlay and Android Auto – a move that provides more connectivity across iOS and Android OS; sadly, Tesla doesn’t seem to have such plans for the Model 3.
Thirdly, buyers will be able to actually walk into a dealership and drive off with a Chevy Bolt but, Model 3 buyers should be prepared to wait some months (if not years) after placing an order before Tesla ships their car. GM has been in the business of making cars for decades; hence, it has the facility to roll out cars.
More so, GM has a strong dealer network in more than 3,000 locations across the U.S. Tesla on the other hand is still smoothening out the kinks in its assembly line and it has a history of missing ship-out deadlines before it eventually ships a handful of cars.
Tesla Motors might still win the race
Despite GM’s lead in the EV mass-market race, Tesla Motors might still win the game. To start with, Tesla has a strong brand image linked with EVs and buyers might choose to trust a pure EV firm than GM that makes EVs as an afterthought. More so, Tesla Motors is hard at work on its Gigafactory. The project should make it easy for Tesla to compete on the price front. The Gigafactory will also help Tesla to produce faster than in the past.