Tesla’s biggest competition is remarkably similar to the biggest competitors in our day-to-day lives: ourselves. In a way, this seems strange considering we wake up every morning and battle things like motivation, drive, determination, and ailments that can derail us from our goals. A car company has to battle things like product development, economic turmoil, parts shortages (like we saw this week in Fremont), and demand, among several other things. But ultimately, Tesla’s biggest competition in the future is itself because the company’s ability to expand the idea of the EV market is something that will be tough to keep up with, especially when frontman Elon Musk calls it quits.
Yet, headlines of mainstream media and others still suggest Tesla’s biggest competition lies within the hands of another automaker. For the last few years, we’ve all heard it: “This is a Tesla killer,” or “Tesla is doomed.” Here we are, in 2021, still with Tesla sitting atop the EV leaderboard with a considerable distance between gold and silver. In reality, Tesla really has to battle itself to keep growing, and here’s why.
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Tesla has no shortage of innovation. Let’s think about it for a second: a car company with almost no money 13 years ago still ended up creating one car, then another off of the profits of that, and now it is the most valuable car company in the world. It managed to turn the automotive industry’s focus to EVs instead of how the sector could make gas cars better. It turned the widely-successful automakers of the past century into the lost and unguided entities who are struggling to keep up. Lastly, it showed that, while business is serious, it’s not necessarily life or death. Make a good product that people believe in, and people will follow.
Every day when I wake up, one of the first things I do in the morning is go to Google and see what headlines are trending for Tesla. Every morning, at least one suggests that Tesla has met its match, and it is never a surprise to see that it is some legacy automaker who has claimed to have figured out all of the issues that have plagued them for years in terms of their EV development. For Volkswagen, it’s software. For Ford, it is product availability and a plan, and for GM, it’s just getting the ball rolling and expanding past the Chevy Bolt.
Even when those companies say they’ve figured it out, it is funny how in a span of days or weeks, there ends up being some unexpected bottleneck that ruins their chances of “catching up” to Tesla. It’s not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. These car companies have proven for months and years on end that they are all talk and little to no action. The EV industry ultimately lies within the hands of Tesla and other all-electric automakers once they begin production. Rivian and Lucid are sure to make some noise once their vehicles come out, which have already attracted a pretty loyal following. Tesla fans may not want to hear it, and I get it, but the EV movement isn’t going to be sprung forward by brands like VW and Ford, at least not anytime in the near future.
Tesla’s biggest challenger in the coming years will be itself. It will need to keep developing new and exciting products, like the $25,000 EV that will come in a few years. It will need to develop products that it has announced but haven’t been released yet, like the Cybertruck and the Roadster, and it will need to continue improving upon the already unbelievable foundation that it has built by improving its cars even further through OTA updates. Things like range and performance will get better with time, but it’s not to say that Tesla hasn’t already proven itself a worthy competitor in both of those categories. It is obviously the leader in them. However, technology will continue to develop, especially at the pace Tesla is moving, meaning things are only going to get better down the road.
There isn’t any reason to believe that Tesla will be dethroned by any company within the next 5-10 years. Why? Because nobody has proven that they have the capability to do so, at least in my opinion. While I am supportive of other car companies, there is no denying that Tesla is in first place and it doesn’t seem like any company is going to take that from them at any point within the near future. Until companies like VW and Ford put a sole focus on EVs, they will not make up any ground on Tesla. And until companies like Rivian and Lucid come out and produce cars that prove to be wanted by car buyers, then things will lie in Tesla’s hands for the foreseeable future.
We have learned that it isn’t always about making some fancy new car with a million bells and whistles. Make a product people believe in, make it fun, and make the company about a mission people want to believe in, and the rest will take care of itself.
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