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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model 3 vs General Motors (GM) Chevy Bolt in Battle for Affordable EV Market

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model 3 TSLA vs GM Chevy Bolt

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has high hopes for the Model 3 as the EV that will shake the global automobile market. Tesla’s Model 3 is not likely to hit the streets until 2017 and we won’t really know what it will look like until final details are released next year. However, it seems that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is determined to bring a fight to Tesla Motors.

Tesla Motors Inc Model 3 TSLA vs GM Chevy Bolt

The old reliable car-maker just released footage of the Chevy Bolt. The footage shows GM engineers draping the Chevy Bolt in camos and then taking it through series of tests. It was seen accelerating, climbing hills, and stopping smoothly. It even went further to endure extreme conditions.

High Hopes for Tesla Motors Model 3

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) plans to sell 500,000 cars by 2020, a plan that many people consider wildly ambitious. Tesla is on track to sell 50,000 units of the Model S this year. If the Model X has the same success as the Model S, we can generously project that the firm should have sold 100,000 units by the end of next year. Hence, Tesla should have sold 200,000 (generous) units of luxury cars by 2017 when the Model 3 releases. That still leaves the space of 300,000 units of cars for the Model 3 to fill.

General Motors Is Unrelenting

GM sent the first punch to Tesla earlier this month when it revealed that it was also planning to enter the home battery business. Tesla is already meeting energy storage needs in the home with its PowerWall unit. The PowerWall unit saves up energy from solar panels when the sun is up or when utility rates are low. You can then use the saved energy when utility rates are high or when the sun is down.

General Motors announced that it was also working on solving the energy storage problem. GM’s solution involved the recycling of used batteries from electric cars in order to generate a lower entry price point. However, it doesn’t appear that GM can compete with Tesla in the home storage market because Tesla already has products while GM is doesn’t even have a source point for its used batteries.

General Motors pressure flails

Tesla Motors may be facing real pressure to boost its production from General Motors, but right now the Detroit firm is having little impact on Elon Musk’s concern. Right now Wall Street is looking for Tesla to meet or beat sales of the Model S in the June quarter. The firm should release those numbers some time this week or next.

Earlier today Credit Suisse analyst Dan Galves said that he’s looking for Model S sales of 11-11.5k in the June quarter. Elon Musk’s 2015 outlook, which forecasts 55,000 cars this year, guides for sales of 10-11k in the June quarter. Galves said that North America and Europe would drive higher sales and said that if the firm hit 55,000 in 2015 it would also beat the short thesis.

That means that shares could have “valuations as high as ~$400” over the next 18 months according to the Credit Suisse report. Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research echoed that idea in a report released on Monday morning. Mr. Chowdhry said that he’s looking for Tesla Motors to beat sales forecasts in the second quarter and easily meet the target for 2015.

That may change when General Motors gets the new Bolt out the door, however.

Turning the Tables

GM already has one relatively low-priced electric vehicle on the ground while Tesla is still a year away from unveiling the Model 3. There’s also the fact that Tesla has a history of missing delivery dates. The Model S didn’t enter the market when promised and there is already confusion about when the Model X will hit the roads. Hence, the possibility that Tesla’s Model 3 will appear in 2017 is subject to debate.

Nonetheless, GM’s Chevy Bolt might not be able to maintain a lead when Tesla’s Model 3 appears on the scene. If not for anything else, Tesla has strong brand recognition in the EV market and GM has too many logs in the auto market fire. Secondly, Tesla driver’s don’t mind paying a premium and the Chevy Bolt’s $30,000 price tag is not a deal breaker in relation to the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag.

Update 15:37 EST: Added middle section with Wall Street Tesla demand outlook.


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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.

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