But the idea behind the extensive use of carbon fiber in the car’s construction is to make it light in weight, to offset the weight of the batteries – and ensure that it drives like a BMW.
That’s Tesla-like thinking – a cool electric car that is fun to drive. And it’s just the beginning.
Still no direct Tesla competitors known to be coming, but a lot going on
BMW is known to be planning a whole range of cars under the BMW i sub-brand, including an expensive plug-in hybrid sports car called the i8.
It’s far from alone. Volkswagen has been playing with electric-car ideas for a few years now, and all-electric Audi A3s have been spotted testing. The company is thought to be planning plug-in vehicles ranging from small city cars to a plug-in hybrid diesel super-sports car for Audi.
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) will up its electric-car game later this year with the Infiniti LE, a premium (there’s that word again) all-electric sedan – but has so far been coy about the car’s expected range. And the company is known to have its own plug-in hybrid sports car in the works.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is launching its own electric city car, the Chevy Spark EV. But like Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM), GM seems to be putting most of its effort behind plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt and its upcoming Cadillac sibling, rather than premium EVs with Tesla-like range and performance.
The upshot: Tesla might have this market to itself for a while longer
Make no mistake, any of these major automakers could build and market a Tesla-like car. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) already follows Tesla’s example by using Panasonic Corporation (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) lithium-ion battery packs in its plug-in hybrids. And Ford, like the others, is learning a lot as it goes.
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s secret sauce is in its battery-management software (and its attention to detail), but I don’t think any of the big automakers would have much trouble getting close to Tesla’s neighborhood on either front.
So far, though, nobody has taken direct aim at the Model S. But if Tesla’s sales keep growing, they will.
The article When Will Tesla’s Competitors Show Up? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by John Rosevear.
Motley Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. Follow him on Twitter at @jrosevear. The Motley Fool recommends BMW, Ford, General Motors, and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and Tesla Motors.
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