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Published on December 16th, 2019 | by Johnna Crider


Are Legacy Automakers Screwed?

December 16th, 2019 by  

Are legacy automakers’ EVs screwed? Sean Mitchell from “All Things EV” asks a question that many EV followers ask often, and then tries to answer it.

Sean dives in with the Porsche Taycan Turbo. He points out that everyone was surprised at the low EPA rating of just 201 miles (323 km) of range, barely more than half of the range of a Tesla Model S. The reason for this shock comes in large part because Porsche executives led people to believe that the Taycan would have 300 miles (483 km) of range. This 100-mile (160 km) difference shows that the Taycan will not be a major competitor to Tesla, let alone a “Tesla killer.” Sean says that he is actually, concerned because legacy automakers have yet to create an electric vehicle that is truly competitive with a Tesla.

201 Miles (323 km) of range is great compared to what was on the market from legacy automakers a few years ago. It works for average driver needs. However, for such an extreme price, it’s surprising that it can’t even meet the range of a much lower-priced and still high-performance Tesla.

For the price of $151,000, “Porsche should have zero issues addressing both competitive range and performance,”

—Sean Mitchell

Sean describes the legacy automakers as a middle school track team up against an Olympic track team. While the legacy automakers have been around much longer than Tesla, and have had plenty of time to develop EV technology, they long took the attitude of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and chose not to dive into electric vehicles seriously. Further, they didn’t take it to heart that we have to evolve if we are going to survive and enjoy another era of good things.

One thing Sean notes is that he is seeing with the legacy automakers is that they use large battery packs yet are so inefficient that they don’t get as much as range as one would expect just looking at what Tesla achieves with the same battery sizes. Among other things, this means that people will have to charge their cars more, and performance vehicles such as the Taycan cannot even easily go on long-distance trips. While they are finally trying to create EVs to “compete” with Teslas, they are not learning enough what it means to appeal to many consumers. Or they just still don’t want to sell EVs to many customers.

How Can Legacy Automakers Catch Up?

Sean’s advice for legacy automakers is to triple down on future battery R&D and produce their own battery cells. And perhaps they can license Tesla’s older battery tech for a time to shorten the immediate gap. This may actually seem backward, especially to Tesla fans and supporters, but if legacy automakers were to work with Tesla and maybe even purchase batteries from Tesla, they might at least catch up to Tesla’s current position. (Of course, they also need to do a good job on aerodynamics, other powertrain efficiencies, and software.) Will any automakers go this route? Do they have any other good options on the table? 

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About the Author

is a Baton Rouge artist, gem and mineral collector, and Tesla shareholder who believes in Elon Musk and Tesla. Elon Musk advised her in 2018 to “Believe in Good.” Tesla is one of many good things to believe in. You can find Johnna on Twitter

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