Tesla Motors Inc has no shortage of budding rivals who are working tirelessly at knocking the EV juggernaut off its throne. Currently, the electric car maker holds a huge lead in the luxury EV segment it pioneered. It is also true that Tesla continues to face numerous setbacks while forging its way through the auto industry. In spite of this, the company manages to thrive and roam relatively unchallenged.
However, around the world start-ups and long-standing automakers alike are gearing up to take on the world’s best selling EV brand. Promising to produce the next big name in the high-end EV space, here are but a couple names that are vying strongly to achieve Tesla-like succes:
China’s Leshi sizes up Tesla
Freshest on the block is a new EV concept car from LeEco. Officially known as Leshi Internet Information and Technology, the company has just revealed its own Tesla challenger. This year’s Beijing Motor Show saw the unveiling of the LeSEE Super EV. It is perhaps the most Tesla-like concept to show up to-date. The Super EV presents itself as an eye-grabbing, four-door electric powered sedan. It flaunts some unique and fairly attractive exterior designs as well. The car looks as though it could very easily give Tesla’s flagship sedan a hard time.
It is said that the LeSEE Super EV will offer its drivers a genuinely autonomous driving experience. Its creators describe it as a “smart connected electric vehicle”. LeEco isn’t only set on challenging Tesla Motors though. The Chinese car maker also aims to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles around the world. This agenda is much like that of Elon Musk and his own EV ambitions. Last year the company assisted other motor entities in producing over 800 new patents, 833 in total according to Car Scoops.
Though LeEco’s new EV concept does look futuristic, it is not all intimidating. It is widely thought that this will be a slight hurdle for most of the recently unveiled pool of concept cars across the globe — their designs appear highly attractive on paper as well as under the glitz and glamour of car event showrooms. However, many would be unapproachable to the real world car buyer due their overly futuristic looks. LeEco might have considered this factor in the design of the LeSEE Super EV. Unlike many recently unveiled EVs, the Chinese company held back on the science fiction-like designs, making the Super EV look a lot like an everyday luxury EV.
This is a bit more than what can be said for the another EV the firm has a hand in building:
Faraday Future in a sprint to catch Tesla
Already well on course with its own EV plans, Faraday Future is gearing up to go into production. The Chinese funded and American built EV start-up reported that it has recently begun hiring at its Nevada plant. The rate at which FF has gone from mere concept to production has not gone unnoticed either. With the great support and funding the company has acquired so far, it is already recognized as Tesla’s most promising rival.
Just shown in Beijing, Faraday launched its car brand just ahead of the city’s International Automobile Exhibition in April. The FFZERO1 concept car shown in China is a tad different from the one seen at the last Consumer Electronics Show. The latest edition of the car flaunts a few new bright and sleek improvements. It has a new white finish and FF claims this new “purity approach shows a new way of thinking about race cars and visualizes a holistic design…”
LeEco along with luxury car maker Aston Martin have a big hand in bringing Faraday Future to its current state, coiled and just about ready to go into production. But even though the company has been described as the next big Tesla challenger, its FFZERO1 is an ideal example of the “too futuristic” designs that have crept in over the last few years. A quick glance at the FFZERO1 is enough to leave anyone impressed. It is a stylish, low-leveled and pointy piece of road tech. However, the car adopted most of its inspiration from F1 race cars. As such, it will only have a single seat. The driver is also enclosed under a grass, dome-like canopy that sits in the middle of the electric race car, a bit like rectangular flying saucer on wheels.
As alluring as Faraday Future’s first EV appears to be, it is undeniably far from practical. Tesla faced massive push back when it broke in with its Roadster years back, but the FFZERO1 takes exclusivity to a whole new level. It would be seen as much more of a “rich man’s toy” than any car that Tesla has produced.
But Asian capitals such as China have no fear for the flashy and futuristic. The Apple watch is a prime example of how China actually prefers fast forward gadgets. The wrist piece was reported to be doing exceptionally well in built up Asian demographics and not nearly as well as expected in Western countries. Perhaps comparing phones and cars is a bit of a stretch, but it is likely that Asia — which stands to be the world’s biggest consumer of cars (and everything else, for that matter) — wouldn’t at all be put off by the flash forward designs of upcoming concept EVs.
LeEco is Chinese and, in essence, so is Faraday Future. Both companies have clear aims to launch their cars in China in addition to the rest of the world. Tesla too has a growing consumer base in the country but it wouldn’t be farfetched to assume the two new car makers know their Asian consumers better than the U.S. electric car maker. The two new cars have many spec similarities. Both the FFZERO1 and LeSEE Super EV will be fully autonomous and “smart connected”, a feature that car buyers in Asia tend to appreciate. They aren’t nearly as conservative as Tesla Motors Inc either, which could play well to their favor.
In the wake of Tesla’s Model 3 and new Model S hypes, share prices rose to nearly $260. As the weeks go by, the excitement seems to be dying down and shares appear to be simmering to their true value.