Understanding the Culture of the Die-Hard Tesla Model 3 Fans

More than 325,000 people have put their $1,000 deposit down for Tesla’s Model 3 which will be arriving in late 2017. The latest addition to Tesla’s popular range of Electric Vehicles is their most affordable yet, starting at $35,000. Boasting more than 215 miles of range per charge, this flashy new EV is opening the electric vehicle market to a whole new audience.

The news of the release sparked Apple-product-release-worthy lineups of fans who were ready and willing to drop a grand on a car that is in pre-production and may not be available for two years. That may sound a little ‘out there’… we haven’t even mentioned the 115,000 people who pre-ordered the car before it was unveiled — they hadn’t even seen it!! This is the trust of true, devoted fans.

Photo Credit: David Noland
Buyers waiting to reserve Model 3 electric car, Tesla Store, Santa Barbara, CA

These unwavering brand fans sparked our attention. We wanted to learn more about who these Model 3 ‘wish-to-be-owners’ are. To do this, we used Affinio to analyze anyone who mentioned ‘Tesla Model 3’ over the last 30 days. Affinio’s algorithm takes a look at each of these individuals, then groups them into clusters based on similar interests. This leaves us with a breakdown of data-driven personas based on their interests.

Audience Visualization of 
People Who Mentioned Tesla Model 3

As you can see above, there are several very different culture-based communities ranging from “Renewable Energy” and “Space + Science” to “Tech Founders” and “Financial Investors”. Each community is unique and likely has a different reason for being excited about the Tesla Model 3. For instance, the “Renewable Energy” cluster is likely interested due to the fact that this is the first high performance EV with high safety standards. While, the “US Pop Culture” community may be excited about it because they have seen their favourite celebrities driving the other, pricier, Tesla models and this is the first more accessible model.

To learn more specifics about the clusters, let’s dive into a few clusters to learn more.

Who are these die-hard Model 3 fans?

The following analysis shows the top interests, bio keywords, and hashtags used by a selection of these culture communities. While these clusters are very different, what brings them together is their love of Tesla, fascination with Elon Musk, and interest in the recent #PanamaPapers scandal.

Why the Tesla Model 3?

For those of us who require immediate satisfaction, we wondered what you could buy today that would be comparable to the Model 3. The answer is, well… nothing really. That is, until later this year. In January, Chevrolet announced the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV, an attractive electric vehicle with similar range and comparable starting price to the Model 3. Why not cut your wait time in half and go with the Bolt?

We were curious to learn the difference between Tesla EV fans and Chevy EV fans. To understand further, we ran an interest-based segmentation on the @ChevyVolt and @TeslaMotors Twitter handles using the Affinio platform. Here is how the audiences broke out:

As you can see, these are very different audiences when you see them side by side. While the Tesla audience is comprised of a wide range of unique communities, the Chevy audience is comprised of the ‘regular crowd’ when it comes to car-related Twitter handles. Unlike Tesla’s audience, these aren’t the type of die-hard fans that would stand in lengthy line-ups to put a hefty deposit on a car they haven’t even seen.

To learn more about which car is dominating in ideal ‘EV’ communities, we ran a competitive analysis between @TeslaMotors and @ChevyVolt to understand further. In this analysis, we combined the followers of these accounts and ran an Affinio segmentation analysis. From there, we can understand who is ‘winning’ in each interest-based cluster.

It is interesting to note that Chevy dominates in the ‘Sustainability’ community. You might assume that they would be somewhat split here. Clearly, Chevy has the stronger following in this community. They also dominate in the ‘Auto Industry’, which is not a surprise based on the audience analysis from above. The two EV makers are fairly split in ‘Business’ and ‘Movie + Entertainment’ communities, while Tesla dominated in ‘Tech Founders’ and ‘Space + Science’. This obviously has a lot to do with Tesla’s co-founder, Elon Musk. Musk is also the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX, and co-founder of Paypal.

What does this all mean?

Tesla has built a unique brand that has attracted a wide range of unique and passionate culture communities. Their audience isn’t solely interested in ‘cars’, they are have accepted the brand into their lifestyle, their culture. Tesla, if not already, is well on the way to becoming an iconic brand that is coveted similar to the elite iconic brands of the world, like Apple.

So there ya have it. Whether you think these people are crazy or not for putting their hard earned dollars down for a two-year wait, they are the people who are helping shape the electric car industry. Saving the World one thousand-dollar deposit at a time. What do you think about the Tesla Model 3?

This post originally appeared on the Affinio Blog here.

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