Tesla maintains lead but rivals turn on the heat. How the EV race is unfolding
Tesla is the world's largest EV or electric vehicle manufacturer. And it is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. But what was once a dominant lead is now coming under some very serious strain courtesy a battalion of Chinese EV manufacturers and a regiment of well-established global automotive brands.
Tesla currently operates in only select and fertile grounds for EVs, namely its home base of the US, Europe, China and a few other parts of Asia-Pacific region. Its manufacturing plant in Shanghai is its largest and supplies vehicles to not only a mammoth Chinese market but to European countries as well. While China has indeed helped Tesla cement its position at the helm, the past few years have seen both local and global rivals shift to upper gears.
Chinese EV company BYD is sprinting in what is still considered a marathon. The company reportedly left Tesla behind in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 in terms of sales. Others like SAIC and Great Wall Motor too are tightening the proverbial pressure screws. Considering China is the world's largest automobile as well as EV market, global players like Volkswagen and Mercedes too are determined to have a say.
Volkswagen has a simple strategy - compelling electric products at compelling prices. And a big statement of intent is the Volkswagen ID.4 which is priced starting $39,000. Tesla Model 3 is priced at $43,000 onwards. Volkswagen Group also has a clear electric intent with the likes of Audi, Porsche and Skoda, each having at least one fully-electric model on offer.
Then there are all-American players like Ford and General Motors as well who may have limited offerings at present but are assuming ominous postures all the time. Ford F-150 Lightning and GM Hummer EV, for instance, have received strong responses in the US market even though these are not exactly mass-market models.
The path ahead is as exciting for customers as it is crucial for the EV industry the world over. From more affordable EVs to expansion in performance and luxury EVs, the choices are ever-expanding. Tesla has struggled to diversify its product lineup and even the Cybertruck has not yet been able to rumble down off product lines and on to public roads. Tesla CEO Elon Musk previously spoke of a new EV which would be priced under Model 3 but nothing concrete has been put out in public domain thereafter. So even as Tesla looks at hitting 20 million sales mark each year in the times to come - a herculean objective, product diversification and tapping into newer markets would both remain key to ensure not just that rivals are kept at bay but that the bay is far off from its area of dominance.
(With agency inputs)