Posted on July 03, 2016 by Matt Pressman
Guest Blog Post: Ben Desmond is the chief writer at The Tesla Times — a website focused on bringing Tesla enthusiasts all the latest Tesla news every week. He's a Model 3 reservation holder and an avid Tesla fan. He loves game changing technology.
Moving into the 21st century, technology companies have taken off and experienced wild success. But what's really changed with cars? For the past century, cars have stayed basically the same. Other than some safety and aesthetic changes, cars have remained fairly consistent and predictable. Yes, the automotive industry experienced a few rumblings but, for the most part, progress was incremental. It seemed like the car biz was in 'sleep' mode. Then Tesla awoke.
Above: Tesla Model S in Hong Kong (Image: InsideEVs)
At first, the automotive industry dismissed Tesla as a wide-eyed startup with crazy electric dreams. However, by 2012, the industry started considering that Tesla was... maybe, just maybe... for real. Later, car companies began thinking Tesla Motors could be a viable competitor. Now, in 2016, the car biz largely sees Tesla as a real threat. In many cases, these companies are struggling to catch up. Why? Tesla is so future-focused that they're quickly moving out in front of the competition. So, let's review the top five reasons why Tesla is the automotive company of the future.
5. Customer Service
Above: Tesla Service Center (Image: Teslarati)
Happy customers are a foundation of any thriving business. For this reason, future-focused businesses increasingly emphasize stellar customer service. For automakers, examples of customer service can often be seen through the lens of car warranties and repairs. Tesla has exemplary warranties and repairs. For context, let's compare a Tesla Model S with another popular electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf. The Nissan Leaf has a five year or 60,000 mile warranty on their Leaf drive train. Tesla’s Model S warranty is an eight year unlimited mile warranty on the battery and powertrain. And when it comes to the practical side of repairs and regular maintenance, Tesla provides excellent service. They often visit customers at their home or work, pick up the Model S in need of repair, and provide a "loaner" Tesla while the car is fixed and subsequently returned.
Above: Tesla Model S touchscreen (Image: Author)
What drives the world of technology? In one word, innovation. Innovative ideas are ultimately the lifeblood of any technology company. Most cars on the market today are remarkably similar. Most have a giant internal combustion engine block that fills the front of the car, most have cruise control, and they all have lots of buttons and dials. In contrast, Tesla has a frunk, extensive autopilot features, and 17” touchscreen. The Nissan Leaf, for contrast, is also an electric vehicle but it has no frunk. Tesla has quickly become an industry leader with its Autopilot self-driving capabilities. And, before Tesla came out, automotive touchscreens had small, poor-quality screens while the dash was packed with buttons and dials. Tesla, in turn, innovated by designing a brilliant touchscreen interface that set the standard for the industry moving forward.
3. Direct Sales
Above: Tesla Store in LA (Image: Green Car Reports / Misha Bruk MBH Architects)
When buying your new car, you probably get your most searing impression of the manufacturer and brand. A terrific purchase experience is pivotal to attracting and retaining happy customers. As most already know, Tesla sells direct to customers. That means no middle man. Most car manufacturers sell their cars through franchise dealers, aka glorified middle men. Tesla’s direct sales method is superior for two key reasons. First, direct sales make the cars less expensive by cutting out the middleman. Tesla can pass along this savings that franchise dealerships cannot. Second, Tesla can control the buying experience from start to finish. With direct control over their stores, Tesla can make the experience consistent and refreshing in contrast to franchise dealerships.
2. Continuous Improvement
Above: Tesla Model S displaying a pending software update (Source: Tesla Motors)
Technology products these days are constantly improving. For example, we all expect an iPhone to improve after the day we purchase it. Tech players offer software updates for their phones, computers, apps, etc. They're always improving. Cars, on the other hand, are a completely different animal. Instead of improving over time, they lose value the instant you sign the paperwork and drive them off the lot. Tesla has revolutionized the customer’s experience in this particular area. In fact, Tesla adds a regular suite of helpful software updates completely over-the-air post-purchase. Tesla embraces the principle of continuous improvement and their competitors will have to follow suit to retain market share.
1. Driving Electric
Above: Tesla Model S (Image: Meldive)
Prior to Tesla Motors, electric cars weren't considered a viable replacement for gas cars. GM's EV1 had been killed. Yes, there were hybrids but... still - there were no beautiful, high-performance all electric vehicles. Then Tesla introduced their Roadster. Suddenly, electric vehicles began to spark some real interest. Tesla made a bold company-wide decision to only sell electric vehicles. With countries like the Netherlands, Norway, and India looking to ban petrol cars in the coming decade, electric vehicles are destined to take serious future market share. And, with ~400,000 pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3, this movement has already begun. Tesla management decided to leap-frog hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell technology and make the move directly (and solely) to electric cars.
For all these reasons (and many more), Tesla has managed to become the car company of the future at the vanguard of the automotive industry.