Tesla Does Not Compete With Chevy and Nissan

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Here, they come. It looks like the Nissan Leaf will be cheaper than a Tesla, so you know what that means.

More articles where so-called analysts decry the prospects for the Tesla Model 3, because Chevy Bolt, and now Nissan, have cheaper electric cars available before the Model 3.

This is dumb.

Comparing Tesla Model 3 to Chevy Bolt is dumb.

Comparing Tesla Model 3 to Nissan Leaf is dumb.

Worrying about Tesla stock because less desired offerings are coming out with still less desired new models is dumb.

(If you want to worry about Tesla stock, worry about the fact that they are always slower and later than they say. — Although I wouldn’t sell my stock…)

The Spec Sheet Falsity

Once upon a time, Consumer Reports poorly reviewed the Apple iPad. The reason? It compared specification sheets with other tablets, and the iPad had lower specs. Of course, this completely and utterly missed the point.

Turns out that Consumer Reports always does this. I found out the hard way when we bought one of their “best buy” stoves only to find out that despite the great temperature readings they got on their laser thermometers, the flame pattern was so wide, it was actually terrible for cooking with unless you used very big pans. It’s the difference between great specs, and great usability.

Tesla Model 3 vs. Nissan and Chevy

The truth is that none of these car analysts, nor automotive stock analysts actually believes that either the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt compete in any way, shape, or form, with the average Tesla Model 3 buyer, but it makes for a catchy headline.

The reality is that the Chevy Bolt already undercuts the anticipated real-world price for a Tesla Model 3. Sales of the Bolt have been light, to say the least.

But why? They’re both entry level electric cars, right? They must be basically the same thing in the mind of car buyers.

No, and everyone knows it.

Whether the Tesla Model 3 is indeed superior, or whether Tesla just has an Apple-like fan base, the reality is that none of the 400,000+ people who plunked down $1,000 for a spot on the Tesla wait list has the tiniest interest in any other electric car out there other than the Tesla.

You see, while Tesla has been building high-end, well crafted, fun to drive electric cars, the Chevy Bolt is best described as… basic, plain, plastic.

Nissan is really hyping the upcoming redesign of the Leaf, in no small part because the pre-2018 design has been… not great.

For years, electric vehicles (and before that hybrids) have been small rollerskate looking cars. The only reason to drive one was for the environment, certainly not for a great car driving experience. Tesla changed that with performance and good looks. While the Bolt and Leaf still look like snub-back hatchbacks, the Model 3 looks like this.

tesla model 3 vs leaf and bolt

No one who wants that is going to be swayed by a few thousand dollars in pricing, or waiting a few months (years?).

Look at those spec sheets all you want. The experience matters more than battery size. (And we haven’t even looked at the insides yet…)

Electric Vehicle Market

Now, there is a market of people out there who are looking for an electric car that are not willing, or able to wait for a Tesla. The Bolt or Leaf will certainly capture those buyers, however, that isn’t that big of market, as sales of the Leaf and Bolt have shown.

As long as no other manufacturer cares to design and sell a sleek, fun-to-drive, electric car with power and style, Tesla sales have nothing to worry about.

This article is not a recommendation to buy or sell securities, and is for general information only. At the time of publication, the author owned shares of Tesla stock, however, that may change at anytime without notice. Consult your financial, or tax professional for advice on your specific situation.

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