How has Elon Musk changed the world of motoring and what does it mean for electric vehicles?
Elon Musk has succeeded in doing something which none of the long established car companies have. Making electric vehicles popular, dare we even say it even ‘mainstream’. In the US, the highly popular Model 3 broke records by becoming the best-selling premium vehicle in 2018. A fact which becomes more surprising when you understand this is the first time in decades that a US based manufacturer has been able to achieve this.
This is a trend which is being echoed in the UK, where Tesla sales have doubled within a year, and, in August 2019 it was the third best selling vehicle, a surprising increase of almost 400% in electric car sales during the year.
Of course New technology is always going to have a period of introduction with new adopers first taking on often flaky tech before items become mainstream. Just think back to the very first mobile phones, huge bricks with limited functionality vs. what we now all carry. Electric vehicles are certainly demonstrating this with the vehicles being more of a novelty on the roads until just recently.
So how has Tesla accelerated the traditional acceptance model? The bottom line is that the cars are pretty darn good! A recent survey showed that 91% of Tesla owners would buy another one if they were to go through the process again. Compare this to other manufacturers where there is often a palpable ‘buyer regret’
One of the biggest drivers is that Tesla is not like another car on the market, it has been designed rather more like consumer tech rather than a more traditional vehicle. The most often quoted example of this is what happens when there needs to be an update. In a traditional vehicle you would need to visit a dealership and pay for an engineer to make changes. Tesla owners always have the latest updates as they are released overnight and automatically downloaded and installed by the vehicle so that the vehicles always have the latest and most ground breaking technology.
Tesla offers technology which seems to be far off from other providers. Take the autopilot technology. Now the firm was lambasted for some high profile incidents, and there are those that feel they released some of their technologies too soon to market, however, almost 80% of Tesla drivers feel confident with the system and it has been proven to aid driver safety overall. Pair this with regular and automatic updates and you find that the system will only improve with time unlike other vehicles where you can be left with dated equipment, just look at inbuilt sat-navs which soon became obsolete.
Tesla has additionally taken ownership of the required infrastructure. The network of Superchargers ensure that vehicles can be rapidly charged in a growing network of exclusive locations. You drive a Tesla you have a level of exclusivity, and efficiency.
The bottom line is that Tesla are great looking sports cars offering power and efficiency, near perfect green credentials as well as industry leading toys and tech. And this is not at the cost of safety, in fact, it is quite the opposite as the model three offers one of the highest overall Euro NCAP safety scores In 2019.
So, Tesla offers something different, a groundbreaking electric vehicle. The question is, will this be the catalyst to major change from fossil fuel burning vehicles to a greener, safer alternative. Only time will tell, however in the week where there were major international protests looking to prevent further global warming the writing is on the wall that electric vehicles are the future and many of those will carry the T badge.