Tesla races toward electric domination

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Tesla races toward electric domination

A Tesla electric car is parked on the street.

A Tesla electric car is parked on the street.

Photo by Shevani Tewari

A Tesla electric car is parked on the street.

Photo by Shevani Tewari

Photo by Shevani Tewari

A Tesla electric car is parked on the street.

Rohan Dewan, Opinions Writer

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Whether it’s the complete silence of the engineless chassis or the instant torque and acceleration that throw you into your seat, electric cars have captivated many. While these vehicles have existed since 1880, they have taken the 21st century world by storm. According to CNBC, by 2030, electric vehicles (EVs) will see at least a 4000 percent increase from today in total units on the road.

Around the new millennium, the world first noticed the effects of climate change, and how the planet is inching towards mass extinction. While EVs were more eco-friendly and had already been developed and sold, they were no match for conventional engines with low ranges and speeds less than 50 miles (per hour). Enter Tesla Motors.

Tesla was different because it was not any old established car company, but rather a new tech startup exploding in fertile Silicon Valley. It didn’t follow rules or norms, and operated more like Google and less like Ford. This allowed them to release a pioneering electric car in 2008, the Roadster, with unprecedented speed and a range of 245 miles. For the first time, EVs were a commercial sensation.

Since then, Tesla has produced more advanced and impressive cars. First, its luxury Models S and X with 17-inch touchscreens, self-driving capabilities and even falcon-wing doors, launched the company to stardom. In 2015, Tesla unveiled its mass-market Model 3 that kept the technology of its more expensive siblings.

This was Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s goal: an EV that does not compromise performance or style but matches the prices of Toyotas. For those who feel the Model 3 is too expensive, its total cost of ownership is less than that of conventional cars. Factoring in low service costs, electricity being cheaper than gas, and tax incentives, one can shave $10,000 off the price.

Today, no one can call Tesla a small tech startup. It is one of the most popular car manufacturers in the world. The company made a record 97,000 deliveries globally in the third quarter of 2019, keeping up with major automakers like BMW which also sold 97,000 vehicles in the third quarter.

This year marked the beginning of a new era for EVs. In September, world-renowned luxury carmaker Porsche released its first electric car, the Taycan. There is no doubt the car is incredible. However, it doesn’t stack up to the Model S. The car is slower, has a lower range and it reaches prices as high as $180,000, while the S tops out at $100,000.

This shows the world that EVs are coming from businesses other than Tesla. Companies like Volkswagen and Ford have released concepts and plans for new EVs, bringing into question how Tesla will fare. “Teslas are great electric cars, but for them to actually help global warming, the price needs to go way down so more people can afford them,” sophomore Joshua Goozman said. While the Tesla Model 3 is priced for the masses, most people around the world cannot spend $32,000, even with its benefits. “If there are multiple EVs, companies will have to compete with each other and bring their prices down to attract the average consumer,” Goozman said.

Currently, EVs currently struggle to stay below $50,000. Their batteries cost too much to lower the price. Despite this, Tesla has done a  tremendous job of accommodating the entire car market, from budget-friendly vehicles, starting at $30,000, to six-figure luxury cars. And by 2020, Tesla is planning to sell the new roadster that will devastate the Taycan in terms of statistics, driver experience and crowd appeal, a deceivingly important aspect of the car market. Tesla not only beats Porsche with high-end sports and supercars, but manufactures affordable performance vehicles, something no one currently does.

Only time will tell which company will prevail in the battle for dominance over electric cars, but many believe Tesla will remain triumphant. Not only do their cars have record-breaking performance, but they offer a uniquely exciting user experience that no other company can replicate.