Tesla Motors& Success Gives Electric Car Market a Charge

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BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars

Tesla Motors Success Electric Car Market a Charge

cheer on the first Model S sold at the Tesla factory in California, last year. The S has helped propel Tesla to success, but the automaker has more to over the long haul.


Published May 21, 2013

Motors, the Silicon Valley carmaker, is riding high. The reported its first ever profit this month and saw its price shoot upwards of $97 per all-time high. At more $10 billion, the company’s market is now greater than that of automakers Fiat and Mitsubishi

And for icing on the cake, Tesla’s made-from-scratch car, the electric S sedan, has received a rare score from Consumer Noting the difficulty of starting a auto company, evoltven Ford, the executive chairman of Motor Co., commented. My hat’s off to

The company is preparing to take of its popularity on Wall Street by an estimated $648 million by a combination of shares and debt-like to be repaid in 2018. Tesla CEO Musk is set to personally purchase million of shares in the offering. Tesla curry public favor by part of the proceeds to prepay of the $465 million U.S. loan that helped manufacturing of the Model S.

Tesla’s comes at a time when a field of EV start-ups is becoming with failed or sputtering Meanwhile, the established automakers mixed sales results their EVs, although satisfaction has been high. has seen accelerating sales of its after a slow start, more than 62,000 of the EVs worldwide since 2010. For the Volt, a plug-in hybrid a small gas engine that in when its battery runs low on sales of some 26,000 not quite met General Motors’

The cold reality is that the car business is still a work in GM has said it loses money on Volt sold. And much of recent profit is due to California’s incentives, rather than the of automobiles.

More than any company, Tesla has helped the popular image of electric as nerdy golf carts for greens to something that can be fun and and packed with cutting-edge It pioneered a new generation of electric Whether Tesla can rally consumers to the world of electric however, remains to be seen.

A and Losers

Tesla’s recent marks a major achievement for the and a rare moment in the history of entrepreneurship. Almost every person who has tried to enter the industry for close to a century has said Phil Gott, an analyst for the research firm

Certainly the experience of other EV companies bears out the challenges.  Automotive, the recipient of roughly $1 in private investment and $192 in public funds, sold about 2,000 of its plug-in luxury Karmas (priced $102,000) before suspending last year. The U.S.

of Energy has pulled the plug on the of the half-billion-dollar loan originally to Fisker in support of a plug-in sedan that never it past prototyping. And Coda parent company of the Southern startup that set out to build electric cars on a platform China’s Hafei Motor Co, has for bankruptcy after selling than 100 cars and racking up million in debt .

Would-be suppliers of batteries to and other electric carmakers fallen along the way. battery supplier A123 entered bankruptcy last as did Ener1, battery supplier and in a failed electric city-car by Norway’s Think Global.

too, has seen hard its ten-year history, the company has delays, lawsuits, battery and troubles, and coffers so low that it a hefty portion of billionaire CEO Musk’s personal wealth to it afloat in 2008. Just want to say to customers investors that a chance on Tesla through the dark night, Musk last week.

We wouldn’t be without you.

Tesla, fair to say, has leveled up. The is now at the point of building cars in its own from the bottom up, thousands of each month. Based on sales data, the advocacy Plug In America expects the of highway-capable plug-ins born in the two years to reach 100,000 sold by the end of May.

More 7,500 of those are Model S which sell for about to $100,000, depending on the size of the and options.

Mass Market and

Nearly every major has a pure electric model on the or soon to launch. Many of are derived from conventional like the Chevy Spark, Fit, and Fiat 500, and will initially sell in numbers in only one or a few markets—most California. where large are required to sell zero-emission Others have aimed for a swath of the market.

Nissan moved early on to its Leaf nationwide, and adoption has to accelerate beyond the historical EV on the West Coast, and the electric of the Ford Focus now sells in 48

Distinguishing itself from pack, Tesla from the cultivated an aspirational brand, its retail experience after sleek stores and targeting customers who would drop six on an electronic gadget with a aura. The company’s inaugural the Tesla Roadster, wasn’t for (the tall or weak of to start) or every purpose (no if you want to haul all the gear for practice), but it looked sleek and like a dream.

To a wealthy and niche group, it was perfect. For target audience, the more the more expensive, the more the better, said Gott, director of long range for IHS Automotive. Sure, the Roadster was expensive than the Lotus body it was based upon, but it was

Cocktail conversation about the technology and VIP quality of service, said, was part of the attraction of one.

Analysts say that and Fisker erred in opposite one was too superficial, the other was not superficial biggest mistake was thinking design was everything, said Michael senior manager of global power the research firm LMC Automotive in Michigan. The Fisker Karma great-looking car that drew Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio its earliest adopters.

But it had serious including unimpressive fuel economy to other plug-ins. too much and a price point above luxury hybrids that buyers might consider as such as the Mercedes-Benz S Class or Escalade hybrids.

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In contrast, Coda aimed on to provide an electric version of the basic sedan. The practical and good-enough performance became a sell, however, as the company’s and price estimates swelled. expected to sell for about the Coda Sedan ultimately at roughly $45,000.

Whereas and Fisker marketed Louboutin-like style and charged accordingly, put out a generic look and charged prices.

After multiple during years in which the available to EV shoppers in the United grew from a solitary model (the Roadster) ten in 2013 , the Coda simply offered too little too The car ranks dead last in among all pure electric in the 2013 model year. up an estimated $850 in electricity each year. That’s good compared to top-selling sedans like the Honda Accord. but not to the $500 annual fuel estimated for the Nissan Leaf, 500e, and Honda Fit EV, and Scion iQ of which carry a well-known car brand and warranty. To make worse, in the midst of its bankruptcy Coda now has a potential safety on its hands and must issue a

Regulators have reportedly found in testing that side airbags in the sedan did not deploy as upon impact.

Aside starting at the high end, also developed other of revenue in addition to building and cars. The company formed key with well-known automakers, Mercedes-Benz and its parent company, as well as Toyota. In the first months of this year, reported $7 million in revenue development services.

Another $68 million, or roughly one in eight dollars of revenue the quarter, came from credits earned under zero emission vehicles program. About $17 million came sales of other regulatory .

But these credits are more of a to a bigger vision than a pillar of Tesla’s business. now, their profits from selling EV credits to companies, said Omotoso. need to start making by selling cars.

As Tesla in its latest report to shareholders, ZEV prices are falling as more come out with qualifying and international sales are worth in the ZEV credit market than sales. So as Tesla pursues ambitions, the company expects the of its revenue coming from ZEV to decline.

Next in the pipeline Tesla is an electric crossover the Model X, which, after delay, the company plans to out in late 2014, likely a lower price tag than the S. Sales of this third-generation should help, said because one model is simply not to sustain a company for the long Model S is hot right now, but it eventually cool off like all hot Then what? he said. the small group of wealthy, and environmentally conscious buyers been satisfied, they nowhere to go until they out with another model.

on the limited pool of buyers who can afford the Model S and who want an vehicle, he said Model S may already be close to peaking at an 20,000 units in 2013.

As gauntlets as Tesla has run so far, the biggest challenges may still lie temptation to go too big, too fast—to Gee, if I can make this money selling hundreds of think how much more I can selling millions—is a dangerous Gott said. It will time for battery technology to to the point where is possible to a no-compromise electric car capable of hundreds of miles between at a competitive price point.

Electric cars today can many, if not most day-to-day needs. They can spare pain at the pump, and Tesla is out a network of fast-charging stations for assurance and convenience on the road. But remains the default choice for most car and switching to electricity still some new habits and a different customers don’t buy technology. buy utility, convenience, low-operating style, said Gott.

If business plan anticipates and keeps with the evolution of batteries, he and if Tesla can walk that rope without over-investing and money before the market is they will succeed.

story is part of a special that explores energy For more, visit The Great Challenge .

BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars
BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars
BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars
BAIC E150 EV Electric Cars

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