It’s an old story, the Tortoise and the Hare, which might apply well to Tesla Motors’ foray into the automotive world and the rebirth of the electric vehicle.
Of course, Tesla Motors wasn’t the first to launch an electric vehicle, which have been around, in limited numbers, for over a century. On the other hand, the Tesla Roadster and Tesla Model S have been the world’s most-successful electric vehicles, forcing other automakers to play catchup.
Tesla Motors, our modern-day tortoise, took the time to design and build an electric vehicle that people would actually want to drive, something that could replace the conventional vehicle without much sacrifice on the part of the driver. The result was the Tesla Roadster, a Lotus Elise body with a Tesla Motors electric-vehicle powertrain, and featured a respectable range per charge, and opened the public’s eyes to what an electric vehicle could be.
Suddenly, other automakers, our modern-day automotive hares, had to get into the game, as they’d been sleeping on it for a long time. The results haven’t been encouraging. True, the Nissan Leaf has topped 100,000 units as of January, 2014, but it’s 84 miles range is less than one-third that of the base Tesla Model S 85 kWh’s 265-mile range. At a $/mi ratio, the Nissan Leaf( $343/mi) comes in severely lacking, compared to the Tesla Model S ($300/mi or $273/mi), and it’s pretty much the same for all the other electric-vehicles brought out of the woodwork by other automakers struggling to catch up.
So, in the race to create the affordable and desirable electric vehicle for the masses, it seems that Tesla Motors, none too quick to just throw an electric vehicle powertrain into any old body, is ahead of the game. The question is, “Does Tesla Motors have the race, or will the hares beat it to the finish line?”