Posted on April 08, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Tesla Motors [NASDAQ: TSLA] announced that this was: "The week that electric vehicles went mainstream... [Tesla Model 3] received 325,000 reservations, which corresponds to about $14 billion in implied future sales, making this the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever." Does this - perhaps - represent a sea change in the automotive industry?
A provocative article by Giles Parkinson in Renew Economy* claims that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and his new electric vehicle, the Model 3, just killed the petrol car. Why? Peterson explains: "It is – by a long shot – the fastest growing customer order book in the history of the automobile industry." And, according to comments from Evercore ISI analyst George Galliers: "To us the [Tesla Model 3] vehicle is ‘the game changer’ and will likely play a critical role in Elon Musk’s desire to expedite the auto industry’s transition from internal combustion engine to electric."
Above: Tesla CEO Elon Musk introducing the Tesla Model 3 (Source: Teslarati)
To add fuel to the fire (no pun intended), Volkswagen's recent diesel-gate scandal is pushing the transition to vehicle electrification as well: "[Elon] Musk has not played a lone hand in this. The German automaker VW managed to kill the future of the diesel car when it was forced to admit that its fuel efficiency claims were completely bogus."
Above: Tesla's vision for electric vehicles came into sharper focus as VW came under pressure for diesel-gate (Source: Matthew's VW Site)
Parkinson also cites a worldwide trend towards vehicle electrification: "China’s BYD tripled EV (electric vehicle) sales to 150,000 in 2015, and expects that number to double each year for the next three years. India’s roads minister last week was quoted as saying he wanted all cars to be electric by 2030. Norway intends to do this by 2025, and the Netherlands has said it will ban sales of new petrol cars from that date... And this is where it gets interesting – the fight for dominance in Auto 2.0." A possible outcome is that, "[Elon] Musk’s legacy will be his ability to make electric vehicles an attractive consumer product, just as Apple did with the laptop and the iPhone."
Source: Live Eagle
Coincidentally, after the film Who Killed the Electric Car came out, its 2011 sequel, Revenge of the Electric Car, actually foreshadowed "Iron Man" Elon Musk's superhero-like ability to disrupt the reign of the petrol-powered car (see below)...
Above: Filmed in 2011, "Revenge of the Electric Car" had predicted that Elon Musk would challenge the status quo in the auto sector (Source: Revenge of the Electric Car)
So can Elon Musk and his new Tesla Model 3 kill the petrol car? Well... Model 3 pre-orders indicate a watershed moment for the automotive industry. Change is coming. Take a look at how Tesla Model 3 pre-orders are stacking up against top-selling U.S. cars...
Above: Tesla's 325,000 pre-orders are worldwide, not U.S. sales; nevertheless, this represents only one week of Model 3 pre-orders vs. full year U.S. sales for the other car models (Reddit: markvital)
Even the Detroit News (of all papers) is saying the Tesla Model 3 is, "the most intriguing auto story since the Model T, and Elon Musk is the boldest American auto entrepreneur since Henry Ford." And James McQuivey, an auto analyst at Forrester concludes: "Years from now we’ll look back and say Tesla started an electric vehicle revolution."
*Source: Renew Economy