Tesla Motors Inc is one of the most vital car makers in the world right now despite it’s low sales volume. The firm is the only pure-EV maker that has had any real success, and it’s looking to expand its reach beyond the luxury market in 2017 with the launch of the Model 3. For now, however, it’s all about the luxury world. A German Professor has explained why car-makers in his country just can’t compete with Tesla Motors. It’s all about the hybrid.
In a report titled “Tesla asserts itself in the luxury class,” Prof. Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, from the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen extolled the steps that Tesla Motors has made in recent years. He also lambastes German car-makers for failing to catch a market that could have been theirs by pursuing hybrid folly.
Tesla Motors is a luxury killer
Prof. Dudenhoffer said that the range of the Tesla Motors Model S “makes the cumbersome plug-in art rather uninteresting. This makes it high risk that the premium manufacturers have invested in the wrong technology.” He’s talking about hybrids, tech that car buyers are less and less interested in.
In a recent interview with Forbes the Prof. said “plug-in hybrids are the wrong direction and will not be successful. The costs are too high. The weight of the car is too high.”
He concludes that “plug-in hybrids are not real progress,” and he is “sure that in the next two or three years, the buying public will come to the view that these cars are not environmentally friendly because they will start to burn oil after just a small bit of electric power.”
Noting that Tesla Motors is doing better than Audi, Mercedes and BMW in some markets, Dudenhoffer says that once the firm enters into the mid-range and compact segments, Tesla Motors will bring revolution to the car market.
Killing the hybrid at Tesla Motors
The hybrid was, a decade ago, the apex of green thinking. The success of the Toyota Prius should not be discounted, but it’s clear, to Dudenhoffer at least, where the market will head in the coming years. In 2014 sales of the Prius hybrid dropped 11.5 percent year on year. That’s likely due to the combined effect of lower gas prices and growing knowledge of pure EVs.
It’s in pure EVs that Tesla Motors has made it’s name. Elon Musk’s firm the only one that has a strong brand in the segment right now. German car-makers are still focused n making the hybrid work, though they’ve started building sedans that will compete with the Tesla Motors Model S.
The coming hybrids from Porsche and Mercedes will have a range of less than 30 miles from their power packs. Green Car Reports took a look at the next plug-in Porsche and said it had, “just a little bit of electric range.” It’s “a first test case to see how at least some electric-only driving works in the real world.” In a recent test a Tesla fan managed to get 450 miles from a single charge.
If Dudenhoffer is right the hybrid will go out of fashion long before Porche, Mercedes, or other car makers are able to sell many cars in the segment.
Tesla Motors will kill the hybrid, and it’s likely doing just that on the luxury end of the market right now. We’ll have to wait for the Model 3 to see if Elon Musk’s team can do the same for the rest of the world.