Tesla's Moat Might Not Be As Deep As You Think

The Tesla Model S (Photo: Tesla Motors)

Lots of competitors are knocking on Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) door. Just this month, two of the three largest global automakers announced big plans to grow in the electric car market. Volkswagen is aiming to become the leading global producer of electric and hybrid cars by 2018.

Meanwhile, General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) disclosed that it's developing an electric car with 200 miles of range that could sell for $30,000 . The technology for such a car already exists, but the price of batteries is currently too high to make the low price point feasible.

With formidable competitors swarming into Tesla's market niche, can Tesla hit its ambitious growth and margin targets? In large part, the answer to that question turns on the strength of Tesla's "moat": its sustainable competitive advantage. Unfortunately, that moat may be a good deal smaller than most bulls assume.

The Tesla juggernaut

Strong demand for Tesla's Model S sedan has shown that there is an ample market for electric cars. However, Tesla stock has rocketed nearly 400% higher this year largely because bulls have become increasingly confident that Tesla will dominate the electric vehicle market over the long term.

TSLA Chart

Tesla YTD Stock Chart, data by YCharts

Bulls expect Tesla to expand production from just 21,000 vehicles this year to 500,000 vehicles before the end of the decade. This tremendous increase would be driven primarily by the introduction of a more affordable car that would cost around $35,000 and deliver 200 miles of range. However, if Tesla has to split the EV market with GM, Volkswagen, and other established automakers, this production goal will be hard to reach.

The technology edge

Tesla's biggest edge is probably its technology. Most notably, Tesla uses a proprietary system for monitoring and cooling its massive battery pack, which allows it to use relatively cheap commodity battery cells. By contrast, mainstream automakers have been using custom-designed battery packs that are produced in much lower volumes, and are therefore much more expensive.

This gives Tesla a huge cost edge over GM and other competitors . (Today, the cost gap is probably tens of thousands of dollars for a battery capable of delivering 200 miles of range.) However, I am extremely skeptical of the idea that this advantage will remain intact over the long term.

First, mass automakers may find a work-around that would allow them to take advantage of cheap commodity battery parts, too. After all, the batteries themselves are commoditized! Tesla's only real advantage is the monitoring system.

Second, the cost of custom-designed auto batteries is likely to drop significantly as production volumes increase. With nearly every major automaker ramping up production of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles, battery production is growing quickly. Executives in the battery industry expect the cost of lithium-ion auto batteries to drop by at least 50% by 2020 . This will probably cut down on Tesla's battery cost advantage, though it may not eliminate it.

Superchargers to the rescue?

Tesla bulls also point to the company's growing network of Supercharger stations . These allow Tesla owners to recharge their batteries for free. The Superchargers take as little as 20 minutes to deliver a half charge, making road trips feasible. Moreover, Tesla plans to put 98% of the U.S. population within range of a Supercharger by 2015.

A Tesla Supercharger station (Photo: Tesla Motors)

The Supercharger network is clearly a major competitive advantage for Tesla over other electric vehicle manufacturers -- for now. However, Superchargers are not very expensive to build . As a result, if GM or other automakers decide to go "all-in" on electric vehicles, they can just build their own networks of high-speed charging stations. This could take several years to implement, but the fact remains that the Superchargers do not create a long-term moat for Tesla.

Foolish conclusion

It's far from clear that Tesla has a sustainable moat. While the Supercharger network gives it a big advantage over other electric vehicle makers today, there's nothing to stop competitors from replicating the network.

Battery costs are the one area where Tesla may have a sustainable competitive advantage. While other automakers are likely to narrow the battery cost gap substantially over the next 5 years or so, Tesla may maintain enough of an advantage to keep its margins well above the industry average. Still, there is no guarantee that this bullish scenario will play out.  As a result, this investing thesis cannot justify buying Tesla at the current price.

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  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 8:33 PM, SteveTG3 wrote:

    Adam, as you've stated Tesla is aiming for a $35K, 200 mile+ range car around 2017.

    If GM, or any other manufacturer hits that mark with a product comparable to Tesla's, there will be a competition, just not the one you are envisioning.

    It will be consumer's competing for their chance to get one of these rare million or so cars produced in say 2019 (any of them made at a Tesla level, whether made by Tesla or GM, etc.) rather than being stuck buying another ICE among the 80 million or so still being pumped out, despite a major chunk of the public preferring the 200+ EV.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 8:48 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    "The technology for such a car already exists, but the price of batteries is currently too high to make the low price point feasible." This sentence contradicts itself! Doh!

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 9:04 PM, jamesdan567 wrote:

    All new autos and light trucks will be EV by 2023.

    in 2012, public reports stated 52,000 EV's sold in the US. in 2013, the estimate is 98,000. of this 98K, Tesla will sell about 21K (21% market share by units and likely around 45% market share by $).

    Comparing Tesla unit sales to ICE auto makers is a fundamental mistake when we are faced with the fact all new autos and light trucks will be EV's by 2023. Proof: EV's 400% more efficient than ICE

    Tesla is the leading EV maker in the world. They have the operational and technological lead over the ICE car makers, who are all scrambling with cheap talk and cheap EV wannabe models (vis a vis the Volt). Proof: Model S

    A $30-$40K price point for a true Tesla class EV in 2016-2017 will ignite a tsunami sized transition to EV's worldwide. Anyone with a brain can see that. Tesla will be production constrained beyond 2020 and the 4 new factories they are already planning to add will not be enough. Its great that other MFR's are admitting their sins and coming to the EV market. They provide the advertising wind for Tesla whether they like it or not.

    However, it will certainly be enough to push Tesla's stock price a lot higher, and this will happen years in advance of the reality, as it always does when a new way of doing things kills the old ways.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 9:43 PM, AlaaSadek wrote:

    If you can transport goods from one side of the US to the other for free then life will change. Using Tesla's current super chargers you can do just that. Elone will travell from LA to NY for free, just like I can talk and see you via skype from Egypt for free too.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 10:47 PM, Ustauber wrote:

    GM killed the EV1 and said that EV's will never

    Happened, now they are trying to catch Tesla with

    Everything on their hands that money can buy; why?

    Just because Tesla is making lots of profit and they

    Want some of this. The only difference is that Tesla cares about the environment and GM cares about money(Hummer 8 miles per gallon).

    Look at all the recalls that GM has on the last 60 days, they are thousand of cars recalled but people can't keep up with this numbers because GM produces different models every month(same engine but different shell).

    Tesla has 2 models and NO recalls.

    The Volt is NOT a EV is a hybrid and a very crapy one. Sorry GM

    THX TSLA

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 11:02 PM, StanO6 wrote:

    I think the author assumes that all automobile manufacturers have rocket scientists on speed dial.

    Examples of over-the-top engineering include the recent safety tests that blew out the test equipment.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 11:24 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Great technology is not done a la carte. It requires vision, leadership and genius. Apple had that, Tesla has that, GM does not have that.

    - Best car ever - OK tied

    - Fastest Sedan 0-60 available

    - Battery on the bottom . . . Smaaat - see next bullet

    - One of the best handling if not THE best.

    - Safest car on the road.

    - Cameras for rear view mirrors. Some day the

    - DOT boys will figure it out. And probably another 5 - 10 years and it will be required.

    - Standard 125k mile battery warranty standard, unlimited miles for a relatively small adder.

    And if you look at their plan, it has been all along to develop the technology with high margin vehicles which can then be commoditized. Musk's goal was to mainstream EVs and he has done it. He wants the competition and I doubt he fears it.

    GM is now a battery company? They have not led the way in innovation since the automatic transmission. OK, they did a pretty good job with the Volt but it just is not in the same league.

  • Report this Comment On September 18, 2013, at 11:36 PM, s2dbaker wrote:

    GM and the other car manufacturers make one thing, petroleum powered cars.

    Tesla makes one thing. Electric cars.

    Now the other manufacturers have seen what Tesla has accomplished and think that they can do the same thing. They will fail.

    Tesla designed the Model S from the ground up as an electric car. It shares a steering column with Diamler and that's about it. Do you think GM is going to design an electric car from the ground up without sharing parts from the rest of their assembly line?

    GM's new Chevy Plasma or whatever they plan to call it will look like a Spark and drive like an Aztek. It will be a dismal failure because they will be desperate to cut costs by making the new "electric" vehicle out of excess factory parts from their other cars so that they can bring it to market at $30k.

    What do you think the consumer is going to do when confronted with the choices of A) a $35k Tesla Model E or B) a $30k Chevy Plasma that looks like a Spark? People aren't stupid, they know $5k well spent when they see it.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 12:19 AM, CrazyDocAl wrote:

    If Tesla wants the concept of supercharges to actually be a real advantage then they need to stop spouting off the nonsense of "with in range of 98%". That's a useless number. Just because they are in range is not what matters. Who's going to go 2 hours/ 100 miles out of their way to use a charger for free? The chargers will need to be within 10 miles of where consumers are traveling. That means tens of thousands will be needed. The cost is so far out of Tesla's range it's not funny.

    GM's plans are a joke. Someday they may not be but to even use GM's unproven concept and unsupported price as proof that Tesla is in trouble is just foolish.

    VW would be wise to focus on diesel hybrid cars. By doing so they will gain plenty of experience in EVs while providing the market with a real option to today's gas hybrid cars.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 1:11 AM, L8starter wrote:

    Tesla's moat isn't just battery or mileage, it's quality. Best car ever. Safest car ever. Competitors may copy, but they won't duplicate. At a $30K-$35k target, Tesla will outsell competitors because of expectations about quality and service and eveninspiration. Given the choice to drive a Tesla or a GM in the same general price ballpark, who would chose a GM?

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 1:20 AM, Connelky wrote:

    I really question that traditional automakers will really get into the charging station market, they haven't even gotten around to direct sales, which would give them a huge edge other their competitors.

    Most likely what will happen is GM or someone will pay tesla a fee to allow their customers on tesla's charging network.

    I have to point out too, a 200 mile 35k Chevy and a 200 mile 35k tesla will likely not be equal. The tesla will likely be far superior in performance, safety and style. Everyone tries to make it sound easy what tesla I doing, if it was so cookie cutter then how are they the first ones to do it while other manufacturers have been at it for over 100 years?

    I am not justifying tesla's stock price btw, I have made my money and have checked out of tesla. It's ridiculously over valued and if the good news keeps coming the stock will probably keep climbing, but any hiccups and it will be right down to a fair market price for tesla.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 1:46 AM, btc909 wrote:

    GM please build a sub 35K 200 mile range all electric car and stuff it into a clown car Delta II platform.

    Tease us with futuristic styling and deliver a freaking ugly pile of garbage.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 2:03 AM, Vesperman wrote:

    The ultimate EV will be the advanced self-charged EV which won't need charging stations all over the world. A variety of candidate onboard battery chargers and other energy-related inventions have been compiled into "130 Electrical Energy Innovations". See www.padrak.com/vesperman.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 3:50 AM, RustySlade wrote:

    Lots of people on this board have not really looked into reality but are making commens based off emotion or perception. . .. .I'm not against Tesla, but I have to point out some things.

    Even if you could make a 100kwh battery cheaply, you're still going to have to figure out a way to charge it quickly. . . .And at 220vac at 50 amps, you are still looking at a lengthy charge time.. . .(11,000 watts). . . And the house has to be built to handle a 75 amp breaker at 220vac. . .And then you want to do it in a garage not full of junk. . . .It could easily cost somebody $4K to get this kind of service to the point of charging. . .And nobody has 480Vac service for a supercharger at home. . . I think people forget this.

    I think it's better to figure out sales numbers by ruling out who can't own one.

    Renters. . People in apartments. . . people without the money to add voltage to the charge spot. . People who can't have two EV's. . . .Tesla losing sales to competition due to price. . .People who live in areas who need a truck 4x4 . . No garage to charge it in. . .A person can't afford a new car. . . etc . .etc. .. etc. . .

    Ultimately I came to the conclusion that Tesla has a 1.5 million car figure in America before the market is tapped out. . I mean NO MORE CUSTOMERS in America because for whatever reason the buyer can't have one, doesn't want one, or bought from another vendor.

    And if you really think EV's will soar, than you should invest in coal or Natural gas as the electrical grid will consume more of these resources. . .. .Additionally, your local electrical supplier will be forced to upgrade and of course they pass that cost to the consumer so electrical rates will go up.

    Let's not forget about municipalities charging higher registration fees for EV's because they get no gas tax from them. . . You really think they are going to lose money from less gas tax?

    Tesla is going to spend a lot of CapEx to be able to build a new car and if it is NOT a hybrid, sales of a low end EV will not be stellar going by sales of the Leaf and the Spark. . . . ..

    Most of the arguments above revolve around. . "Teslas has done this". . .Or "Tesla has done that"

    What you really need to be asking is. . . "If Tesla can do this". . . Or . . "can Tesla do that". . . Because that is what investors are gambling on in the future.

    For myself, the market has already priced in that 1.5 million cars to be made and sold. . . I think any higher is simply foolish speculation in which case you make money shorting Tesla. . . Which I figure will be reality at some point. . . Nobody goes up forever. . Just ask Apple.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 4:01 AM, TurbulentTime wrote:

    To Author, GM's moat may not be as deep as you think.

    As a person who is in the $40,000 car market, I would put GM, Ford as my last automakers in the World when it come to my purchase of cars. GM is a company of failure, once driven to bankruptcy. Why haven't they successfully produced the first mass produced EV is beyond me. You can continue to love GM for the rest of your life. A lot of people keep on hating Starbucks coffee too, yet it is the most successful coffee chain in the World now. I wish more people dislike Tesla Motors so that I can continue to accumulate on the cheap. Yet, look how great the demand of its stocks is. There are still a lot of smart people in this world who recognized the greatness of things Tesla Motors has been doing to our Mother Nature and the efficiency of automobiles since its day one.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 10:08 AM, drax7 wrote:

    Burning 85 million barrels of crude oil per day is so insane, it makes all the obstacles tesla has to overcome seem easy.

    Their lead is increasing and the competition is unable to respond. Best car , highest safety, best battery pack, longest range, and made in palo alto , ca..

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 10:26 AM, TMFGemHunter wrote:

    Thanks for the comments everybody.

    I think RustySlade made a good point above: the vast majority of consumers for the foreseeable future will not want an EV for one reason or another. Personally, I am very pro-environment, but I live in an apartment (and expect to continue living in an apartment for several years at least) and have no use for any car that needs to be plugged in.

    The idea that EVs will be the only kind of car out there in 10 years is ridiculous. There's lots of headroom for growth: maybe EVs could get to be 5% of the market by then. But battery costs (and thus production costs) would have to drop a lot to convince more people to switch.

    Also, I think a line must be drawn between the Model S/Model X/Roadster and a lower-priced car. Yes, the Model S got the best Consumer Reports rating ever. Can Tesla build a car of comparable quality at a $35K price point? I'll believe when I see it.

    Furthermore, people at that price level are a lot more price-sensitive. Will some people pay $5K more for a Tesla over a Chevy with comparable range? Definitely. But I don't think everybody would make that choice.

    Adam

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 10:40 AM, drax7 wrote:

    Adam unless you know what you are talking about , and i wonder, you may be doing investors in tesla a disservice .

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 11:28 AM, LennyTheFool wrote:

    By the definition of "moat" that seems to be used in this article, I'm not sure it's possible for any business to have a moat unless the key ingredients in their product are literally surrounded by some physical barrier that they control.

    "Other companies are planning to develop the same technology!" is not an indicator that a company doesn't have a moat. Tesla got there first, it has deals with lots of suppliers, it has patents on some of the technology, and it has the reputation it has built with a really good car (that happens to be electric). Is that the most impenetrable moat ever? No, but it's still a good one. With any new technology it's hard to have a really secure technological advantage because you might be trapped in a local maximum. Someone new entering the scene could always find a fundamentally better starting point and end up surpassing you. Still, it will probably take them at least as much time and effort as it took you.

    Fortunately, with a disruptive technology (in other words, a new way of making or replacing something that is already widely popular), the early stages of the market are not a zero-sum game. The pool of potential EV sales is at least as large as peak of ICE sales. That is so many orders of magnitude larger than current EV sales that the thing holding back sales is really just the quality & price of the car itself, the ability to manufacture it quickly, and the skepticism of the public about the new-fangled tech. If every car company starts selling affordable EVs, then EVs become a significant market segment, the infrastructure of other businesses supporting EV owners gets built up, and the barrier to entry for a new buyer get lower and lower. At that point, growth is mainly dictated by how quickly you can manufacture quality EVs.

    Sure, eventually it matters who has the best or cheapest one (at which point a head-start in technology and positive reviews is certainly better than playing catch-up), but given the size of the market by that point, I'm not sure it has much of a bearing on current projections.

    Adam says:

    "Yes, the Model S got the best Consumer Reports rating ever. Can Tesla build a car of comparable quality at a $35K price point? I'll believe when I see it.

    Furthermore, people at that price level are a lot more price-sensitive. Will some people pay $5K more for a Tesla over a Chevy with comparable range? Definitely. But I don't think everybody would make that choice."

    This is misguided. a) not everyone has to make that choice for Tesla to sell a lot of cars. b) why should we be more skeptical that the company that has already done so will make an impossibly highly-rated EV than we are of the companies that have not done so? Is there any reason to believe that Chevy's EV will be a better car (or a cheaper car) than Tesla's? What are you basing that assumption on? c) if the Tesla is more expensive but also more highly regarded, it will almost certainly sell better. Some people will choose the cheaper option, but with something they plan to use a lot, people will pay more for quality.

    The valuation of Tesla should be based on whether you think it can hit its production targets: will it be able to make as many Model S and X cars as it says it will at the margins projected? Will it be able to get reasonable margins on an EV in the mid-price range? Will it be able to build as many of those as it says it will? Finally, you can ask will the market really accept EVs as a solution at the scale expected? But that question is more likely to be answered "yes" if other companies hop on the bandwagon, not "no", so seeing that other car companies are starting to put effort into EVs increases Tesla's value. If they start building up the SuperCharger network (or creating their own compatible network), that's also good news.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 11:56 AM, damilkman wrote:

    To the author, thanks for writing an article describing what Telsa is doing instead of the nebulous "leadership and culture" BS. This is the first article I have read on MF that actually described Telsa's buisness model to me. I personally think that regardless of stock valuation, Tesla will do well. But now back to reality.

    What I find interesting is that most of the those bashing the author keep bringing up GM. The automotive market is absolutey saturated. Toyota and Honda have been planning their EV roadmap for decades. Everyone is acting as if GM is the rest of the automotive industry. There is the rest of the world. As you saw with GM there are plenty of national governments that will guarantee their automotive companies will not go under. If it means taking a loss to compete, automotive companies will be able to do so. I have stated my golden rule on TSLA threads. A great company in a terrible sector is a bad investment.

    I will also comment that Tesla threads are near identical to dozens of Fool threads during the internet bubble. People trumpeted Cisco, Level3, Juniper, Amazon, and Celera and their inevitable guaranteed marches to a trillion dollar market cap. It did not happen because everyone was ignoring market fundamentals. Eventually there is something called reality. All of those companies had supposed moats that would last to infinity. All of their valuations popped with the bubble despite the protests of the bulls a rebound was right around the corner.

    There are still some real serious problems before the mainstream can consider a pure EV viable that others have already covered. My napkin calculations just don't add up even is TSLA hits their sell goals. They would have to literally be making cars at the price of plastic army men to justify their current valuations. I do not think I would ever have the nerve to short. To the irrational bulls, good luck. I

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 12:41 PM, jwlarson3 wrote:

    I'd argue the biggest competitive advantage that Tesla has is the brand caché and unique logo/appearance of there cars. Many economists have shown that the Prius outsells other hybrids and commands a higher price point because it is more recognizable; People will pay a premium for a vehicle that shows the world how dedicated they are to the environment. Even if GM could make a car with the exact same specs as Tesla model S, I don't believe they could compete simply because the purchaser of an EV is very interested in the social status that comes with a recognizably "earth friendly" car and company.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 12:57 PM, mowensmd wrote:

    Here is the thing. Even if another entrenched ICE manufacturer can produce a Tesla equivalent, in the same timeframe as Tesla advances their technology and models, somehow at a competitive price...

    ...These huge ICE companies have massive ships to turn. They have thousands of dealerships that earn their living on service which EV's require much, much less. They have entrenched parts manufacturers and auto-parts for repairs which are not needed any longer. All associated engineers, technicians, labor pool for ICE and ICE related mechanics are not needed. Nor their unions. Nor the gas stations, oil refineries and gas transportation and storage infrastructure.

    This is a massive and complex disruption. The number of people and amount of money that will be lost to a car manufacturer in the process is astounding. There will be pushback and internal catastrophe. Dealers will want to cannabilize EV sales with ICE instead. GM parts will go balistic and implode.

    Tesla has NONE of these issues. Zero.

    The faster the transition to EV, the more it benefits Tesla. The slower, the more it helps traditional ICE manufacturers clean house and reorganize. If Tesla gets that 30k 200mile Model E out at the same time as GM has a similar offering...Tesla still wins even if the cars are exactly the same as GM soaks up the losses to their ICE businesses.

    The above comments atoub 1.5 million EVs tops is ludicrous. Instead, how many Americans have 2 cars (most) and reside in a structure with a garage, or electrical hook up (mobile homes)? They will all have one EV and one ICE overnight. In 2009 that was 100 million people. How many apartments are in buildings with a garage? They will all be able to connect next. How many places where people work or go to school would offer charging; where only those who can't charge at their residence at night would need it? They will be next. The places around town don't need to offer charging. 200 mile range prevents everyone from needing to charge to full more than once in a 24 hour period. The infrastructure therefore is almost here. The superchargers are for the vast minority who drive the highways >200 miles.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 3:18 PM, damilkman wrote:

    I can't believe it. More comments about GM. Maybe the US government will pull the plug on TSLA because they are still a major owner of GM stock. TSLA is costing the government billions. :)

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 5:52 PM, AnthemFool wrote:

    The author mentions Tesla's Supercharger network as one of its advantages, and then asserts that competitors could easily build their own. My understanding is that Tesla's battery management system of thousands of small Li ion cells is an enabler of safe and rapid charging. Superchargers likely won't work with the batteries other manufacturers are developing, and Tesla likely has Supercharger patents and know how that add to its moat.

  • Report this Comment On September 19, 2013, at 6:36 PM, cmalek wrote:

    The question is How much are the entrenched car manufacturers willing to lose on their versions of EVs just to drive TSLA out of business? Isn't seeling a product at a loss just to undercut a competitor considered "dumping" and against the law?

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 1:59 AM, jeffhre wrote:

    Tesla doesn't really have that much of a moat when you think about it. Their competitors in crossing that moat are the big automakers with huge amounts of engineering, manufacturing and marketing experience.

    And they have the capital to cross Tesla's moat, any time they are truly determined to enter Tesla's part of the industry, to challenge Tesla's small niche.

    In fact the big auto makers moats are so deep, that if any of them were to try to cross outside their own moats, and do what Tesla is doing, they would be cut to shreds, like crossing a huge swift piranha filled river. Eaten alive by the same systems they helped create, to make better gasoline powered cars.

    _______________________

    99% of Tesla battery charging will be done in the convenience of the owners home, saving them hours of trips to a gas station and thousands of dollars in gasoline charges each year over their previous cars. No need to even drive two minutes to a supercharger.

    Tesla's superchargers are for only in place for long distance interstate types of driving trips.

    "The chargers will need to be within 10 miles of where consumers are traveling. That means tens of thousands will be needed. The cost is so far out of Tesla's range it's not funny." CrazyDocAl, I would say exactly the same thing, If I did not know the purpose of superchargers at all.

    If owners live near them (out on interstate highways, it could happen!) then it's a free bonus they could use during regular commutes. But the don't HAVE to, since they start each morning with 250 miles of range (250 miles of driving each day for a year is 91,250 miles without ever going to a supercharger, or ANY charger away from home). Other wise they will be reserved for trips on the interstates, far away from the slower in town or "destination" chargers.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 2:23 AM, RDPence wrote:

    Current supercharger locations appear to be along Interstate highways. What are they going to offer for those of us who like to travel (or need to travel) on secondary highways?

  • Report this Comment On November 08, 2013, at 11:51 PM, RyanPeckyno wrote:

    Good article. I'm sure that all of the 800 pound gorilla automakers are all watching the market. Once a significant market opportunity emerges, I suspect that all of the large automakers will have products that aren't all that different (similar to the way "normal" cars are now) and that a few such as BMW, Tesla, and VM may be a notch above. Ditto with the 3D printing market. HP and other 800 pound gorillas will want a large share of that market once a large market emerges.

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