Automotive industry experts and analysts believe US automaker Tesla Motors could prove the disruptive force that would tilt the balance in the auto industry towards ecological autos, but a new Harvard report comes to refute that.
Last month an article in the Harvard Business Review said that entry-level electric vehicles are the truly disruptive EV technology, and not so much Tesla Motors. The California-based automaker led by billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder Elon Musk is currently producing just one model – the luxury electric sedan Models S. “When people think of electric vehicles, they think of Tesla. But if you want to see the future of EVs it’s important to look elsewhere. Tesla is not disruptive, and it will have trouble scaling as it seeks to grow,” says author Thomas Bartman, who is part of the Forum for Growth and Innovation, a Harvard Business School think tank focusing on disruptive innovation. The article points out to today’s categories of EVs that could make a huge difference: low-speed electric vehicles and electric utility vehicles (EUVs). They can be used for short trips – in campuses or residential developments and are also making their presence felt in cities. And because they’re cheap, with batteries getting cheaper also by the month, they are en route to skimp the traditional “critical limitation”.
Also, the report has pointed out to Tesla’s losing battle of gaining a wide audience in China, which is actually one of the largest EV markets in the world when looking at it from an angle – back in 2013 there were sales of at least 200,000 low-speed EVs. And there’s a growing number of manufacturers that are lifting China’s EV market, with the government even envisioning the idea of granting licenses to producers that seek to develop and sell electric cars, even if they’re not traditional automakers.