Opinion

'Tesla needs to cement its place as THE electric car maker'

Tesla needs to prove that it is the definitive electric car maker and stay ahead of its mainstream rivals, says John McIlroy

OPINION Tesla Model 3

After what has seemed like an eternity, this week we’re finally able to deliver a first UK verdict on the eagerly anticipated Tesla Model 3. You can read editor-in-chief Steve Fowler’s review, but suffice it to say that all of the promises that persuaded tens of thousands to add their name to the waiting list for the ‘baby Tesla’ is just as relevant on British roads as it is in the United States. That’s quite an achievement.

And yet, this week it also emerged that Tesla is seeking fresh funding as it tries to maintain momentum, having posted a loss during the first quarter of 2019 of $702million (£540m), and seen a reduction in car deliveries of almost a third compared with the final three months of 2018. For all the Model 3’s brilliance, Tesla remains a brand with amazing promise, instead of one that is truly delivering upon it.

Best electric cars to buy

Nor is the company’s battle going to get any easier over the next 18 months, as the likes of the VW Group and Mercedes launch their own EV sub-brands, based on bespoke platforms and made in plants blessed with billions of euros of investment.

Tesla boss Elon Musk has said that he welcomes new arrivals onto the EV scene – but he may be less conciliatory when they’re eating into his sales potential or installing their own charging networks on sites where he’d like to place Superchargers.

Tesla has to try to cement its place as the electric car manufacturer – in the same way that Apple made people want ‘the iPhone’ for many years, even after countless rivals had brought out shiny black bricks of their own. 

Somehow, anyhow, Musk and his team need to ensure that even when Audi, Mercedes and BMW have harnessed their manufacturing nous and buying power to really start making electric vehicles in proper numbers, Teslas don’t become ‘just another EV’. And that could be their biggest challenge yet. 

If you enjoyed this article then click here to read our previous opinion columns...

Recommended

Elon Musk says self-driving beta is expanding to 100,000 Teslas
Tesla Model S - interior driving
Tesla

Elon Musk says self-driving beta is expanding to 100,000 Teslas

Tesla’s ‘full self-driving’ software will also be able to drive without map data
8 Jun 2022
Future classics 2022: car investments that could make you money
Future classics - header image
Best cars & vans

Future classics 2022: car investments that could make you money

Identifying future classic cars is a tricky but potentially lucrative business, here are our future classic recommendations
23 May 2022
15 Tesla Supercharger sites open to non-Tesla vehicles in the UK
Tesla Supercharger
Tesla

15 Tesla Supercharger sites open to non-Tesla vehicles in the UK

Pilot scheme to open up Tesla-only charging network to all electric cars lands at selected UK locations
18 May 2022
Tesla adds active noise reduction tech to Model S and X
Tesla Model S and Model X
Tesla

Tesla adds active noise reduction tech to Model S and X

Tesla’s largest models get new feature activated via over-the-air software update, although only for latest examples
20 Dec 2021

Most Popular

New Range Rover Sport ride review
New Range Rover Sport - front tracking
Road tests

New Range Rover Sport ride review

We get taken for a blast around Goodwood motor circuit in the new Range Rover Sport
27 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Honda Civic 2022 review
Honda Civic - front
Road tests

New Honda Civic 2022 review

The all-new hybrid Honda Civic has finally arrived, but what’s like from behind the wheel? We find out…
28 Jun 2022