Tesla Motors Inc ‘s impressive success has had the affect of a pied piper, attracting a seemingly endless line of rivals toward the EV niche. Elon Musk has had to contend with traditional automakers who are entering the EV market even while they continue to build conventional ICE vehicles as well as other Silicon Valley startups and Chinese firms in the EV niche. Atieva is one of such Silicon Valley upstarts and breaking new shows that Atieva’s first EV is a blatant ripoff of the Model S.
Atieva got into limelight in July when it positioned itself as an underdog Tesla rival in the EV market. In July, Atieva released a video in which its prototype EV van challenged Model S and a Ferrari California to a drag race. Atieva’s EV van named Edna was designed to pack as much a 900 horsepower into an AWD powertrain. The video shows the van beating the Model S and the Ferrari to the finish line. Now, Atieva seems to have refined its art and it wants to challenge Tesla with an EV sedan.
Atieva’s first car bears too much semblance to the Model S
Tesla Motors Model S is currently outselling rivals from Benz, BMW, and Porsche among others in the Luxury sedan market. However, Recode reports that the Model S’ dominance might soon be ending as Atieva prepares to unveil its first car. A public record request provided folks at Recode with exclusive images of Atieva’s first car. The images show that the car called Atvus looks too much like a Model S.
Apart from the fact that Atieva copied the unmistakable styling of the Model S, Atieva is also seeking to contend with Tesla based on performance. Atieva’s car, Atvus will build on Edna’s performance to reach 100km/H or 62mph in 2.74 seconds. More so, the car will come standard with fully independent front and rear electric motors that will pretty much make the car AWD even from the base level.
Atieva is also seeking to challenge Autopilot – the firm says the car will have “some elements of autonomous drive baked in.” Atieva also hopes that Atvus will be radical in the same way that Tesla’s Roadster was radical. Atieva’s co-founder, Sam Weng says, “We are creating an experience that is personalized and liberating, erasing [the] constraints of modern transportation.”
Is Atieva another Tesla in the making?
It doesn’t take much research to deduce that Atieva is seeking to build its brand under Tesla Motor ‘s shadow – at least, until it gains enough market share to break out on its own. Atieva is the brainchild of former exec at Tesla and Oracle. Bernerd Tse and Martin Eberhard used to work at Tesla; in fact, Tse was a vice president at Tesla before Elon Musk came on board. Hence, apart from the fact that EV is a great way to make a mark in the world, Atieva probably has an ax to grind.
Nonetheless, Tesla is at a vantage position in the EV market and Atieva would need more than a Model S wannabe to usurp Elon Musk. More so, Atieva’s Atvus might not make it to the market until 2017 or 2018 when Elon Musk’s mass-market Model 3 will already be on the roads. Atieva might succeed in building a faster car than the Model S but it is not likely to make a dent in the EV market.