Until recently, if you wanted a luxury electric car it was a case of any make you like as long as it’s Tesla. That’s now starting to change as other prestige marques are bringing out their own electric offerings to compete directly with Tesla’s models.
Jaguar was the first into the field with its i-Pace SUV, a car that has been widely praised by the press and offers a range of almost 300 miles. But there are plenty of others on the way. Audi is already taking orders for its E-Tron, the Porsche Taycan is due to arrive at the end of this year and the Mercedes EQC will arrive in 2020, as will Volvo’s Polestar fastback.
Other less well-known companies are set to launch electric luxury cars too including China’s Byton and US Company, Rivian which has the financial clout of Amazon behind it.
A whole raft of potential rivals then, but Tesla has a substantial head start in the market. It also benefits to a degree from not being a traditional car maker. Its cars use many technologies more familiar to the computer industry, for example, its large touch screens and over-the-air software updates to enhance the vehicle’s capabilities continually. No wonder that many other firms in the tech sector like to hire a Tesla for a corporate event to make a statement about their thinking.
However, the electric car market is growing – albeit slowly. Audi claims that by 2025 around 30 percent of its sales will be taken up by all-electric models. Meanwhile, by 2020 every Jaguar Land Rover model will have some form of electric propulsion available, whether it’s fully electric or hybrid.
Part of what puts off potential electric car owners is charging. In the US Amazon is pushing to bring down the price of ‘Level 2’ home chargers that will allow an electric car to be charged much faster than from a conventional socket. The public charging network is growing too with points available in motorway service areas, shopping centres, and other places. Tesla has led the way here with its own Supercharger network.
Range anxiety has been an issue for early adopters of electric cars too. Tesla has been instrumental in allaying these fears thanks to its impressive real-world ranges. Other makers are now catching up though; Jaguar we’ve mentioned, but Korean maker, Kia’s eNiro also offers a real-world range of nearly 300 miles.
For the more distant future, we may see a move away from battery technology. Several makers, including Hyundai and Toyota, are already testing fuel cell cars that use hydrogen to make their own electricity on the move. These offer the benefit of fast refueling similar to an internal combustion car with no waiting around for batteries to charge.
If you want to hire a Tesla for a corporate event it’s still a great way of showcasing your tech and green credentials, but it won’t have its own way in the market for much longer.