Tesla Motors, the US electric automaker that has been the sweetheart of US investors in recent years, might soon face stiff competition in its segment – after so far ruling it undisputedly.
While the California-based carmaker was just a startup not long ago, since its 2010 initial public offering its value has soared continuously – thanks to the success of its lone model. The Tesla Model S found a niche within the electric niche. It’s the only electric performance luxury sedan out there. It’s also an undisputed king of electric range – a common complaint about electric cars. In its strategy to electrically conquer the world, Tesla’s next move includes the release next year of the long-awaited electric Model X crossover.
But this time around the competition is not sitting idle. Audi, for example, has announced through the voice of its Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler that “Our engineers are working” on an electric model compliant to the US regulations for zero-emission vehicles. “It’s probably going to be a crossover, but development work is still ongoing.”
The German carmakers – the undisputed rulers of the premium segment – today see Tesla as emerging threat to their world dominance, especially since all three – Audi, BMW and Mercedes – are now increasingly turning their eyes towards eco-conscious models. Audi, for instance, has recently introduced the plug-in hybrid A3 E-Tron hatchback and plans for 2015 the battery-powered variant of the R8 supercar.