The idea of “Tesla killers” was put out there by many critics of Tesla, clickbait-happy media outlets, and some of the competition to create the fear that Tesla would fail. This supports the idea that legacy automakers, which must be better since they have been around a long time, will create EVs that are better than what Tesla offers. The result would theoretically be a complete bankruptcy of Tesla and proof that the company is really a fraud. However, this idea is failing badly.
Not only was the Tesla Model 3 the best selling EV in the world last year, by an extremely wide margin, but several other legacy attempts have been put on hold, delayed, or worse. Even CNBC now says that the market for electric vehicles seems to belong to Tesla. In fact, Tesla’s success has confused many industry experts who say that its small size, its financial history, and/or its struggles with manufacturing are a clear path to failure. CNBC also writes that industry watchers believe buyers are purchasing Tesla due to interests in the brand or cutting-edge technology instead of a simpler interest in owning an EV.
'Tesla killers' aren't killing Tesla at all. Finally a bullish review of Tesla. And it’s nice to see short-sellers Jim chinos proven completely wrong just a year later. Go Tesla go! https://t.co/pyY6s3eAbs
— TeslaGeoff (@TeslaGeoff) February 23, 2020
The term “Tesla killers,” used for years in the media, as we’ve covered many times. As we forecasted repeatedly, the main reason Tesla killers are failing today is the fact that Tesla is ahead of the game. Marques Brownlee says it best: Tesla as an electric car company is “so far ahead at making an electric a compelling product that people actually want to buy.”
In fact, every time a new EV was touted as the next Tesla killer, it actually became an ad for Tesla. The latest killer was to be the Porsche Taycan, and although it is a beautiful vehicle, it doesn’t compete with Tesla when it comes to several key metrics — range, price, space, semi-autonomous tech. It’s a great car for a Porsche lover like Bill Gates who wants to add a Porsche EV to their collection.
The main reason why Tesla killers are failing is due to a combination of Tesla’s high tech, its Supercharging network, unique over-the-air software updates, superior specs, and tons of free advertising. Another thing that many critics and competitors seem to forget is that Tesla doesn’t care about the competition. I mean, it cares, but in the sense that it wants the competition. Tesla wants to accelerate the transition to electric transport, not be the leader in a niche 2–5% EV segment of the market.
In 2018, Tesla killers dominated the headlines. In 2019, many headlines that mixed Tesla and “best-selling” were dominant. So, naturally, in 2020 we are starting to see headlines that reflect upon the fact that Tesla killers are failing. They are failing at the idea of killing Tesla, the company, its tens of thousands of employees, and its loyal following. What they are not doing, is failing at opening up the dialogue about electric vehicles. That is the good thing that has come from all of this.
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