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Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by doug, Jul 20, 2011.
Little guys like this are doomed regardless, now that the majors have moved in.
I think many were worried that Tesla could get outdone by the "big guys" too, but so far that hasn't happened.
Although cars like the Leaf and the FocusEV put price and feature pressure on the eventual "Bluestar".
Also, I would gather some people who get a car like the Leaf might have stretched more to get a Model S if there were no other cheaper alternative available.
That's what I've been saying for years.
Depends. A little guy that actually builds a desirable and superior product should find a market, especially now when there are so few choices, even with the majors starting to offer products.
Ummm... in terms of units sold, Nissan has already outdone Tesla, by a wide margin. If the concern is that Tesla would be undone by the majors, Tesla is different since they've already shipped a compelling product before the big guys moved in and have well established funding and partnerships. Everyone else (except perhaps Fisker), though, is pretty much toast.
Anyhow, this is a good thing. The big guys can compete with each other, and we get more options than clown cars from shaky companies like this.
Yes, there is space for niche markets, but the vehicles will have to be rather expensive. The window for the little guy trying to sell mass market cars is closed.
Yeah, that was my point. Tesla got their funding, partnership and plans all in order before cars like the Leaf jumped in. From what I can tell, all their "ducks are in a row" to produce Model S even if funding started to dry up. So far their stock seems to be doing well, and it looks like they will tap into that to get Model X funding soon.
It's a shame for Aptera that they didn't ship their original product. They could have gotten a foothold. Now, it is only a matter of time before they fold like the rest. I don't think Tesla will ever be undone, since they have sufficient brand recognition. Worst case is that if financial troubles happen, they get bought out and the Tesla brand continues under a different company.
The first couple minutes of this video seem relevant to this thread:
I'm surprised how quickly they're bringing these to market (Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius plugin coming, Chevy Volt). Either they're reactive to things like Tesla and reacting very quickly, so much so it's out before the Model S, or they were working on it well before Tesla started making a name. Either way, I'm surprised.
What's unsurprising is how lame they are. With the possible exception of the Leaf, which serves a distinct demographic, they all seem crippled.
Nissan claims they never stopped work on EVs and went out of their way to show various vehicles they had in trial fleets over the years. They say basically that they just decided it was time to make them more mainstream (I am sure with an indirect prod from Tesla.)
If you go back some years and look at Tesla's original plan, I think they are now a couple of years behind where they hoped to be, so, yeah, Model S is coming out a bit after some non-Tesla alternatives. I think we all worried that the big guys would have the resources to quickly catch up to Tesla if they felt it was worth their while (for whatever reason.) But the "party line" is that competition is good. It helps legitimize the marketplace. Some of the EV marketing from the big players will probably indirectly steer some customers to Tesla.
On the other hand, I don't think any of us could have predicted that Tesla would "grow up" so fast. Model S is a very sophisticated vehicle from many angles, not just the EV powertrain. Also, Tesla taking over the NUMMI factory? That was a "wishful thinking" pipe dream years back that actually happened!
Yeah, the downturn was quite a double-edged sword.
The Nissan Leaf is Ghosn's "all-in" move, which is why the Leaf was pushed to market so quickly (and with the price tag it has). The Volt was also GM's main effort after the backlash from WKTEC. The plug-in prius was in development for quite a long time, and hobbyists have been doing conversions for quite a while (prodding Toyota to do a plug-in prius).
Keep in mind all of the major automakers have quite a bit more resources at hand than Tesla does, so don't be too surprised when they can push out a product quickly if need be (esp. if it is heavily based on an existing product or platform). A lot of them are doing BEVs because of the CARB mandate.
If suddenly everyone wanted hydrogen fuel cell cars, or they got heavily incentivized, most of the big manufacturers could "barf those out" quickly too... Thankfully they are still just big R&D projects, and we have the production focus on BEVs right now.
I've a thread on MNL that traces the history of Leaf at Nissan. Ghosn gave orders to productionize an EV in 2006. Agassi, Ghosn met with Peres (then Israeli president) to talk about an EV network in Jan '07. So, I don't know whether Leaf was that "quick" to market - it took them 4 years from given the order to market.
My Nissan Leaf Forum View topic - History of Nissan EV from 2006
I think the main reason several manufacturers started looking at and working on EVs was the 2008 oil price shock - and the realization that peak oil (or atleast high oil prices) is here.
Ghosn has openly talked about peak oil and possibility of oil being scarce. I don't know if 2005 being the year oil production started stagnating (or peaked according to some) and Ghosn ordering EVs in 2006 is just a co-incidence or not (or may be it was the introduction of Roadster in 2006).
Never underestimate the power of a good incentive. I still think the carpool perk in Calif drives a lot of sales. It worked for the Prius and civic hybrid several years ago, and the plug-in and BEV benefit is driving lots of sales here now...even at the Tesla price point.
Why bring an EV to market now? Because the incentive shifted in mid-2011 when the hybrids lost the carpool perk. Calif is a huge market...
I remember the howl and whine of German car manufacturers about catalytic converters. Back in the 80ies, they mentioned feasibility, impact on peak power, efficiency, availability of raw materials (platinum, rhodium(?)) -- all the while they sold their Bimmers and Porsches in California - with catalytic converters - because they weren't allowed without. California alone would be the 8th largest economy worldwide. With ~2m new cars sold per year, no car maker can ignore Calif standards. Keep it going!
Yeah, only CARB really f*&[email protected]
Or course, CARB is about emissions, not about overall reasonableness, or the Volt would qualify and the PIPrius would get laughed out of the game.
And the green and white stickers currently have the same 2015 sunset date, which is insane. Yes, it's 'more likely' that the white stickers will get extended, but ugh, blech, stupid.
On topic: Yeah, it may not be over for the little guys, but clearly big money is being allowed to influence the incentives that allowed innovation to find a foothold. I can't forgive Toyota on the cynical manipulation of this bonus.
The PiP came in priced high enough that I don't think we will see them crowd the BEV/ZEVs out of the carpool lane as quickly as I feared they might.