Before the turn of the 21st Century, Tesla was just but a name of one of the most talented scientists who died poor despite his contribution to modern technological advancements. In the modern day, the name "Tesla" is synonymous with invention and innovation in the automobile industry. It wasn't always the case, as there was a time in 2008 when the company almost filed for bankruptcy because of the global financial meltdown. The company is yet to be profitable, but investors still continue to pour money to keep it running.
The biggest bottleneck Tesla has faced is the production of the electric vehicles. They can't keep up with the demand and have to take a certain number of orders at particular times. Tesla is now faced with serious competition from other car manufacturers who have the capacity for mass production. Tesla still has an upper hand, but it won't be for long. The value proposition for Tesla has to be the technology that comes with their electric vehicles. It's not something that could easily be replicated by other car manufacturers. There are electric vehicles that would give Elon Musk a run for his money. These cars are just as technologically advanced and futuristic as the Tesla electric vehicles. There are also those electric vehicles that would make him blush with embarrassment.
The Coda electric was a 4-door car that was manufactured by Coda Automotive in 2012. The car was rescheduled several times before production could finally begin. The body was borrowed from the Hafei Saibao III, which isn't one of the best-looking vehicles around. The Coda had modified front and rear fascias and didn't look like an electric car at all. There were a total of 117 units produced. There have been a couple of recalls for the Coda. The car manufacturer was ordered by the NHTSA to replace the side curtain airbags in the 117 units. The company filed for bankruptcy just after 1 year when they started producing the Coda. NHTSA gave it a 2-star for the frontal driver rating.
The Zenn was a 2-seater electric car that was on the assembly line from 2006 to 2010. The car has a top speed of 25 mph and a limited range of 40 mi. There was a discovery-pack option, which provided better range compared to the basic trim. The company sold a total of 500 units, which isn't a small achievement for an electric car. It cited poor sales as the reason for discontinuing the vehicle. The car had a running battle with Canadian authorities regarding its usage on the road. It took almost 2 years for the Zenn to get approval by the Canadian authorities. The design of the car was not what you'd have expected in an electric vehicle.
This car could easily clinch the award for the ugliest automobile ever produced. It's even baffling the fact that it was an electric vehicle. According to a review on Auto Week in 1975, the Elcar suspensions and steering parts were borrowed from a Fiat. The styling was just an embarrassment to Zagato Zele, a name that was synonymous with beautiful car designs. The vehicle was well received because it sold the electric-car lifestyle dream. The Zenn was produced from 1974 to 1976 during which a total of 500 copies came out of the assembly line. The car came in 7 different colors—as if that would make it look any better. Elon Musk can only appreciate the effort put into the car but not the output.
There are no official records as to many how many units were produced. The car was of poor quality, and the drivability was just impossible. The production started in 1975, and the car had a top speed of 31 mph. This was the first electric car to be built in Latin America. The Gurgel Itaipu had a total weight of 460 kg, and the engine was based on the Gurgel 800. The wedge-like design didn't do any justice for the car. The designers could've done a better job with the exterior since the range wasn't that bad, and it was a significant achievement for a country like Brazil to produce an electric car during that time.
The Miles ZX40 is another vehicle with an ugly exterior. The car manufacturer had no excuse for the shoddy job since the car was produced in 2005. The miles electric vehicle unit was based in California. The car underwent a couple of facelifts in the years that it was on the assembly line. The chassis was made of steel and claimed to be the world's first crash-tested electric vehicle. The car was electronically limited to a top speed of 25 mph. The parent company filed for bankruptcy in 2013, and they've never made it official how many units they sold during the time they were operational. The Miles ZX40 had a base price of $19,499, which was a market-competitive rate.
This electric vehicle sold 4,444 units when it was on the assembly line from 1974 to 1977. These are numbers Elon Musk would've been proud of if it was his company. The same cannot be said of the exterior of the CitiCar. The design still lives on in the Kewet, which is an electric car from Norway. The car was produced as a response to the fuel crisis that plagued the '70s. The earliest versions had no any extra features apart from the basic functionalities needed to make a car run. It came in 3 different variations, with all of them having the wedge-like front. The car had a 36v battery pack that could produce up to 2.5 HP.
The ZAP Xebra is 3-wheel electric vehicle produced by ZAP Corporation. The car was in production between 2006 and 2009 and was available in either a pickup or a sedan. There was one fatal flaw that the engineers overlooked, and that was the exclusion of the regenerative braking system. This would later come back to haunt the company in 2013 when they were forced to buy back all the vehicles they had ever produced. This is because the Xebra couldn't meet the braking requirements for an automobile, and the company had no option but to destroy all the units. The ZAP Xebra had a top speed of 40 mph and could manage a range of 25 mph. The Sedan model could accommodate four people.
The GEM is termed as a "Neighborhood Electric Vehicle" (NEL), and there have been over 50,000 units sold since 2001. The GEM is a low-speed electric vehicle that's legal in most States. The car has a top speed of 25 mph with a limited range of 30-100 miles depending on the battery pack that's being used. There are 6 different models of the GEM electric car available, and all of them can manage only intra-city use. The cars are massively underpowered, and the only reason why people could be buying them is that they're electric, thus cost-effective in the long run. The utility GEM vehicle has a 1,100 lb cargo capacity, and there's also a version that can seat 6 people.
The G-Wiz was in production from 2001 to 2012, which is a huge accomplishment for the Indian electric vehicle. There were a total of 4,600 units sold in 26 countries. The exterior of the vehicle isn't one of its biggest selling points. It was originally designed to be a street-legal vehicle but couldn't meet the requirements for a highway-capable motor in most of the countries it was sold in. This meant that it had to be classified as an NEV despite it not looking like one. The car can only accommodate two adults despite having seats in the rear. The first model to be produced was rated at 4.8kW and could produce up to 6.4 HP. The 2008 model had a top speed of 50 mph.
The Flybo Total Electric looks like just any other vehicle on the road. Jalopnik, in 2013, in a review, described it as a death trap. This isn't something Elon Musk would've wanted in an electric vehicle. An EV is supposed to be safer than a diesel car. The Flybo Total Electric was prone to rust. The infotainment system was replaced by a piece of paper, which was supposed to be the manual on how to handle the vehicle. This is why China is popular for knock-offs. The selling point was that the vehicle had a manual transmission, which defeats the purpose of an EV. There's enough torque already, and so many moving parts wouldn't be ideal for an electric motor.
Just imagine having all the power of the Volkswagen Golf in an electric variant. This'll surely make Elon Musk jealous. The Volkswagen E-Golf has an estimated range of 89 miles, which is more than impressive given the kind of vehicle being driven. You get the legendary golf handling in an EV. The car is available in two trims, SE and SEL Premium. The premium model comes with the state-of-the-art navigation system. There are 3 drive modes that are meant to help the driver get the best out of the battery. The car has a top speed of 85 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds. The electric motor can produce up to 133 HP.
A good electric car shouldn't only be about being cost effective but should also look good. The Hyundai Ioniq embodies this philosophy with their exterior design. The electric model was first launched in 2016, and the company has sold over 7,000 units in a period of 2 years. There's a big demand for the vehicle, as it could be seen as a cheaper alternative to the Model S. The Hybrid version has also become popular, selling over 31,000 units in the same period. The car manufacturer gives a lifetime battery warranty, which is a first since no any other car producer has done it. Tesla should also take the same route and offer the lifetime warranty on their batteries.
The Ford Focus badge should give you all the confidence you need to buy the electric vehicle. Ford has done particularly well with the hatchback despite fierce competition from European models. The Ford Focus Electric has a sporty exterior design and can manage an estimated range of 76 miles. The 2015 model rocks Xenon headlights, which can make for a beautiful spectacle at night. The car has all the basic luxury features you'd find in a normal Ford Focus. You get heated seats with a heated steering wheel. The batteries take a huge chunk of the cargo space, but that shouldn't be a deal breaker. The car has a top speed of 86 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 9.9 seconds.
The Renault Zoe has been in production since 2012 and is one of the bestselling electric vehicles. It's sold over 50,000 copies and is currently the bestselling electric vehicle in the European market. Tesla wants to eventually conquer the world market, and they can learn valuable lessons from the Renault Zoe. It comes in a 5-door hatchback, and the 2016 version has a limited range of 196 miles. The 41kWh can produce up to 92 HP. The car doesn't have a front grille but still manages to look good. The average daily commute is about 40 miles for a person who lives in the city. That means you can last a week with a single charge. The price starts at $20,000, which is a no-brainer if you're looking for an electric vehicle.
The BMW i3 presents serious competition for Tesla. The car was first launched in 2013, and there have been over 31,000 units sold as of 2017. More and more people are making the switch from gasoline to electric-powered vehicles. There will always be a market if there's an affordable alternative, and the BMW i3 was manufactured to fill this gap. The BMW i3 won 'Car of The Year' award in 2014. The car has a range of 81 miles and can manage 137 MPGe in the city. It comes with driver-assistant technologies similar to those found in a Tesla. The 5-passenger cabin is luxurious and is practical for almost any kind of use. There have been improvements over the years, and Elon Musk should really be worried.
The Tata EVision was launched as a concept in the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The Indian company has decided to take on the market for EVs. The Tata EVision has the exterior cues of a Tesla and can easily confuse you when it doesn't have the badge. The car has a clean cockpit with a digital interface that appears only when there's a need for it. The car is definitely going to rival Elon Musk's Tesla if initial impressions are anything to go by. Almost every piece of technology on the dashboard is retractable, making for a clean interior design. The air conditioning vents are made of aluminum, and the dashboard is made from a large wooden insert. Tata has the financial muscle to compete in the EV space, and we're looking at exciting times ahead where it won't always be about Tesla.
Mercedes continues to play a big role in the future of electric cars. The Mercedes-Benz EQ has flipped the switch on what was possible with a Sports Utility Vehicle. The car was first unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, and it caught car enthusiasts unaware. The EQ is going to be the base platform for all future electric cars from Mercedes. There will also be auxiliary sustainable products, which will make it even easier to own the electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz. Elon Musk may have set the standards, but Mercedes is rewriting the rulebook altogether. It would be interesting to see how Tesla will cope with established car manufacturers starting to focus on electric vehicles. Only time will tell.
The Jaguar I-Pace is going to be the first fully electric car from the vehicle manufacturer. Jaguar is currently owned by Tata Motors and has also been commissioned to make the Tata EVision a reality. Jaguar is shifting its focus to electric vehicles, but it was a long time coming. You can now build your own I-Pace by choosing the different packages you want. Jaguar terms it as "the world's smartest 5-seater sports car." It comes with a 90 kWh battery that's been designed for longevity. The Jaguar I-Pace can go from 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. A full charge can provide a range of up to 298 miles. Combine all that with the beautiful exterior, and Elon Musk has some serious competition.
The Audi E-Tron Quattro is a good example of the kind of future we have ahead of us in terms of electromobility. The Audi E-Tron Quattro has 3 engines with a total of 320 kW. The frontal axle is powered by one motor, while rear axles are with the two other motors. This design is to make E-Tron Quattro have the performance of a sports car. Designing a fully electric SUV can be a challenging endeavor. That's why Audi decided to place the Lithium battery under the floor of the passenger's compartment. The car can manage 310.7 miles with a single charge, which is more than enough, considering it's an SUV. It has a top speed of 130.5 mph and can go from 0 to 60 in 4.6 seconds.
The Polestar 1 has become a reality, and you can pre-order the car by placing a fully-refundable deposit of $2,500. The car can be pre-ordered in 18 countries, including the US and the main countries in Europe. There were over 7,000 people who expressed interest in the Polestar 1 ever since it was revealed. Polestar is a different division of Volvo that has been tasked to focus on electric cars. The Polestar 1 is a hybrid that can manage up to 100 miles with a single charge. The car can produce up to 600 HP pulling 1,000 Nm of torque. There are talks of Volvo offering the car on a subscription model. The technology used is almost similar to the ones found on a high-end Tesla.
Sources: topspeed.com; topgear.com; wikipedia.org