Germany's 'nextmove' validates Tesla's competitive edge

Posted on March 03, 2019 by Shankar Narayanan

Competitors are still gearing up to meet the “can you make electric cars” challenge thrown down by Tesla more than a decade ago. Nearly all the major automakers have announced their plans to electrify their fleets, and some like Audi and Jaguar have already launched their high-end electric cars.

Above: A few of the Teslas in the nextmove fleet (Instagram: nextmove.de)

But taking on Tesla on their own 'electric' turf is not going to be that simple. A recent report published by nextmove, a German electric car rental company shows how difficult it’s going to be for competitors to build a product that can challenge Tesla’s vehicles.

The company pitted Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X 90D and Jaguar i-Pace against each other, driving them in a reasonably spaced-out convoy on the German Autobahn to identify which consumed the least energy.

According to nextmove, “The consumption of Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace was a quarter higher than that of the Tesla Model X.”

The rental car company concluded that “In terms of efficiency, the Tesla Model X currently drives in its own class in the premium SUV segment. Significantly lower consumption, shorter driving times on normal routes and electricity costs that are half as high in the long run are clear arguments in favor of Tesla.”

Model

Tesla Model X 90D

Audi e-tron

Jaguar i-Pace

Drag coefficient

0.25

0.27

0.29

Consumption per 100 km

24.8 kWh

30.5 kWh

31.3 kWh

Range on a single charge

389 km

274 km

272 km

Above: A few of the comparisons showcasing Tesla's advantage over its luxury SUV all-electric competitors (Source: nextmove.de)

Though the drag coefficient of Tesla Model X is better than Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace, design cannot be the only factor that helps Tesla consume far less energy than the competition in the real world. As you can see, Audi e-tron’s drag coefficient is better than i-Pace, but both cars still consume nearly the same amount of charge.

When nextmove pitted a Tesla Model X 100D with a 100 kWh battery pack and compared it to an Audi e-tron with a 95 kWh battery, it found that the former traveled 389 km, which is 42% more than Audi e-tron’s 274 km range.

That’s a lot of distance, which means that’s a lot of money saved. What makes it even worse for Audi e-tron and i-Pace is the fact that Model X is a much larger car that can carry up to seven people. A seven-seater that costs far less to run than five-seaters.

Above: Tesla takes on Audi and Jaguar (Source: nextmove.de; Note: be sure to select the "cc" button in the footer of the video for closed captions in English)

The only advantage Jaguar i-Pace and Audi e-tron have over Model X is the pricing. In the United States, i-Pace starts at $69,500, e-tron starts at $74,800 and Model X starts at $88,000.

But the pricing advantage diminishes when you start driving these vehicles. The more you drive it, the better you will feel when you are in a Tesla Model X.

“In the long run, the Tesla Model X 90D costs 6.70 euros per 100 km. The Audi 10.06 Euro and the Jaguar 10.32 Euro. Long distance journeys in an Audi or Jaguar would be about 50% more expensive than in a Tesla.”  - nextmove

The media has been warning us about Tesla Killers for a very long time, but so far none of Tesla’s competitors have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they have a product in hand to challenge Tesla's dominance in the fast-growing electric car market.

Above: One of nextmove's 100 Tesla Model 3s in its fleet recently ordered by the German rental car company (Instagram: nextmove.de)

They first need to build a product that can challenge Tesla on the tech front. Then they must figure out a way to increase their production capacity, which is easier said than done because building battery packs at scale will take a lot of time, money and effort. The money and muscle are certainly there, but the time factor still poses a huge question mark.

The global auto market isn't expanding at a furious pace, but the EV market is:

  • According to Statista, worldwide light vehicle sales will increase from 97 million units in 2018 to 102 million units in 2020.  
  • Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts a ten-fold increase in EV sales between 2017 and 2025.

“Our latest forecast shows sales of electric vehicles (EVs) increasing from a record 1.1 million worldwide in 2017, to 11 million in 2025 and then surging to 30 million in 2030 as they become cheaper to make than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. China will lead this transition, with sales there accounting for almost 50% of the global EV market in 2025.” - Bloomberg

Time now seems to favor Tesla, which reported profits for two consecutive quarters and looks to become sustainably profitable in the future. If Tesla continues to build electric cars that travel the longest and offer better cost per mile, the company will continue to increase its global electric car market share.

And competition will continue to play catch-up.

Posted in Audi, Big Auto, Electric Vehicles, jaguar, Tesla Model X, tesla news, TSLA


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