We’ve seen this story come out again and again: An electric supercar comes out that is faster than the fastest Tesla car. Therefore Tesla is dead meat because this other car creams Tesla in 0-60 miles/hr times. The problem with that story line is that anybody saying this is completely missing the market Tesla is aiming for. Tesla is not aiming to dominate the high end luxury market for overly pricey supercars. Giving competition to Tesla in that market will not in any way shape or form kill Tesla.
I don’t understand how so many people could be missing this. For nearly 15 years Tesla’s management has been extremely clear about the direction the company is heading.
The car above is the latest of this ilk to be trotted out. It is the Battista by Automobili Pininfarina, an Italian sports car maker, and Mahindra, the India-based vehicle giant.
Despite the stunning looks, the claim to fame is that it is an electric car with over 300 miles of range and a 0-60 miles/hr time under 2 seconds. That makes it the “fastest” car in the world, faster than anything made by Tesla Motors.
We can quibble over what makes a car the “fastest”. Is it 1/4 mile time? Is it the speed around the Nurburgring or other race track? 0-60 miles/hr time is not much of an indicator.
But the big story is “Tesla is Dead Meat because this car is faster”.
The plan is for Pininfarina’s to build a grand total of 150 of these Battista’s, and that is it. They’ll be hand built by fine craftsmen in Automobili Pininfarina’s factory in Italy. They’ll be sold through a select group of high end sports car shops around the world. And there is surely a bevy of rich boys who want another toy to grace their garage.
But what does this have to do with Tesla Motors? Tesla is not aiming for that market. Tesla for well over 10 years has said again and again and again the same plan over and over. They are aiming to hit the mass market automobile market with a line of electric cars and trucks. They are aiming to revolutionize the automotive and energy industries.
The market for fast toys for rich boys is peanuts compared to that.
Tesla does build fast cars. Elon Musk is clearly one of those rich boys who likes his fast toys. Famously after he struck it rich selling PayPal to eBay, he bought himself a million dollar Maserati sports car then wrecked it before he could get it insured. But Tesla builds fast cars not just to stroke Elons ego. They do it because of the need to destroy stereotypes about electric cars – that they are ugly slow boring golf carts.
It wasn’t that long ago that the electric car market was literally ugly slow boring vehicles with a speed equivalent to golf carts, or else OEM vehicles built under duress from the state of California in numbers just large enough to get CARB off their back. That’s why Tesla needed to build vehicles that smashed those stereotypes so that Tesla would not be burdened by that history.
But Tesla should not be stereotyped as a maker of fast toys for rich boys. Tesla is planning to hit the 5 million vehicle per year mark in a few years. That would be 20x their current sales rate, about 2000x the sales of the original Tesla Roadster, and over 30000x the sales rate of this Battista thing. (unless I’ve messed up the math by doing it in my head)
Tesla is looking to take on the likes of Ford or GM or Honda or Toyota. Why would Tesla be threatened by the boutique car makers of Italy?
Good luck to Automobili Pininfarina, but you are not and never will be a competitor to Tesla. Neither will any of the others who made the same claim.
In other news today some high level executive at BMW said that there’s no demand for electric vehicles. Maybe there isn’t demand for BMW’s electric vehicles, but Tesla Motors is getting ready to pass BMW’s total sales.
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