Tesla’s dominance in the EV market has lasted longer than skeptics predicted mostly because legacy automakers want to keep the status quo. In the latest episode of Third Row Tesla, Sandy Munro shared his thoughts about Tesla’s EV dominance and why traditional OEMs are still lagging.
When Third Row Tesla member Vivian Hantusch asked Sandy Munro why he thought the competition in the EV market was sparse, the expert auto consultant dropped a major truth bomb. “Mainly old people that are in charge who think that the good old days are gonna come back…They don’t believe that things are going to change. And that--tragically--is the way it works.”
It’s no secret that one of the reasons more electric cars aren’t flooding the market is that legacy automakers want to maintain the status quo. But not many people have said it as straightforward as Sandy Munro did in his interview.
Based on a previous Tesmanian article, the Tesla Model 3 sedan completely overshadowed other new-energy vehicles in terms of sales during Q1 2020. To put it in perspective, Tesla sold 44,500 Model 3 units during the first quarter, while Chevrolet sold 5,874 units of the Bolt—and it sold the second-highest EVs in the market.
HyperChange host Gali Russell said that the electric vehicle market was shrinking without Tesla’s entries, which indicate that legacy automakers haven’t released any new competition for quite some time. Russell also pointed out that EV sales haven’t grown much either, as shown by the Chevrolet Bolt.
ICE supporters might use Russell’s findings and argue that legacy automakers aren’t releasing more new-energy vehicles because there is no demand. However, legacy automakers may be the reason for reduced demand in the EV market. Traditional car companies aren’t releasing serious candidates into the EV market, leaving Tesla to dominate.
Sandy Munro said as much during his interview. He brought up the BMW i3 and said it was close to being Tesla’s competition, but ultimately wasn’t really. “[BMW] were serious about new technologies, and they were serious about maybe coming up with—you know—a real true electric vehicle, but they weren’t serious enough to put the right people on with the marketing and whatnot.”
Munro also brought up the Bolt. He explained that Chevrolet gave a Spark to LG Chem and asked the company to turn it into an EV. The Chevy Bolt’s story seemed similar to Tesla’s first Roadster, which Elon Musk has said wasn’t the best way to make an EV.
Tesla learned its lesson with the Roadster, which is why the EV automaker started from scratch with the Model S. Every detail of the 2012 Model S was conceptualized from the bottom-up by Elon Musk and the Tesla team.
Ultimately, the effort that Tesla puts into its vehicles helps the company break the norms. And if legacy automakers don’t start taking EVs seriously, they may find themselves trying to keep up with the new status quo.
Sandy Munro may have described it best. “Now, you’re looking at people trying to catch up or doing things, but they’re still not serious enough to put the effort in that Tesla did.” “They didn’t try to do things that were gonna be revolutionary. They stuck a toe in the water or their foot in the water,” he said.
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