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Over the course of the last week, Elon Musk has found his way into domestic politics in Australia. The Tesla boss felt the need to intervene and offer some solutions to the current issues with local energy policy.
While it’s a good thing to have people like Musk engage with our political leaders, it would be great if he could do more to make Tesla a more affordable motoring option.
Electric car technology has come a long way and Tesla is now at the forefront on the move to sustainable fuel sources. The brand now offers desirable models with a reasonable range.
Tesla is also investing heavily in the infrastructure that supports electric car technology. The supercharger network continues to grow, making electric cars an option for those who cover long distances.
Despite the technological advances, in Australia, electric cars remain far too expensive to offer a genuine alternative for the average car buyer.
When new tech comes to the market, early adopters always pay a premium. Eventually, with volume, things become affordable – consumer electronics are a great example of this.
Tesla is a brand in demand, from all reports the company struggles to meet global demand for its cars. The volume is there, but pricing remains static.
At present, Tesla cars are only for those with deep pockets. This may be a purposeful move. The brand may want to stay premium and not offer something for everybody. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, however, the brand’s tagline, “accelerating the world to sustainable energy” doesn’t include a footnote specifying – only for the wealthy.
The entry price to the Tesla range has dropped, the Model 3 is expected to sit around the $60,000 mark. The size of the car will most likely not make a great value for money argument.
In my experience, people tend to look at what else their chosen price point can buy, even if it crosses categories. At 60k, there are many brilliant fossil fuel powered cars to pick from.
Don’t get me wrong, Tesla is doing great things. They have mainstreamed the electric car. Opening up their patents was a very generous move, a gesture rarely seen from a multinational company. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear many competitors are looking to take advantage of this.
More manufacturers need to get serious about providing an affordable alternative to Tesla. Where are Ford and General Motors? What does the future hold for these brands? They will likely lose relevance if they fail to lay a solid foundation for what is coming.
Some brands, such as Toyota have are continuing to back hybrid technology. Hybrids have always felt like a half measure, a stopgap until further advances were made. Toyota is also dappling in hydrogen power with the Mirai. Again, this feels like filler until electric car technology can be mass produced and sold at a sensible cost.
Entry to quality electric motoring has never been cheap. Nissan came close with the Leaf, in isolation the price wasn’t excessive, but it was when compared to other five-door hatchbacks.
BMW have tried its hand with the i3, a sensible option for city commuters, held back by a ridiculous price, even for a BMW.
None of the mainstream brands are being overly proactive in moving towards electric powered cars. Most have had concept cars do the rounds but nothing substantial.
Volkswagen has developed an all-electric version of its popular Golf. Here's hoping it will make it to the new car market at a price not far north of the current models in the Golf range.
It is great to see Jaguar pushing ahead with its I-Pace SUV. It will offer a genuine alternative to the Tesla Model X. Jaguar is, however, a premium brand itself, the I-Pace won't be a car aiming to move the masses.
What the I-Pace will do is provide competition. That’s what will eventually bring electric car prices down.
Let’s start a Car Conversation, what do you think about the current pricing of electric cars? What price and range do they need to offer in order to get them on your shopping list?