Wait, what? Isn’t that hyperbolic? Aren’t the other auto companies going to catch up? We hope so as competition is good(we love our Nissan Leaf) and even Elon Musk has said he is surprised the other companies aren’t doing more. We are not sure the auto companies realize how fast the asphalt is shifting under their tires. The truth is the car as we know it is going from just a “car” to a rolling computer. You don’t get tune up’s anymore, you get software updates.
So let’s look at some ways Tesla may own everything. We here @ CarStations and Elon Musk have said within 10 years is when the majority of new cars will have a plug. Secondly as owners of EV’s have shown adding solar to your house/business is a no brainer in a cost/comparison to buying a gas vehicle and gas. (there is a large % of EV drivers with solar or getting solar. We think Nissan had some survey stats at one point about 30-40%). Thirdly Telsa is building out the Telsa Supercharger network world wide and giving it away for free to their customers. (See our other post on the charging for charging for more thoughts on this.) Fourth Tesla is already starting to test their batteries in conjunction with said solar. (Oh Yeah, Elon Musk is CEO of Solar City too!). Lastly Tesla may own the battery too with their new Gigafactory to create their own batteries from scratch at a much lower cost. That’s not even getting into the actual electronics in the car. So, yeah that’s just about everything.
There is some very good news for the other auto makers. Obviously the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt have sold very well, but what happens when Telsa enters that market with a cheaper long distance EV and used Model S’s in a couple years start coming down to a more affordable price? The bigger question is where are the other automakers?
Public charging infrastructure is a huge factor in the growth of the EV and Tesla understands this. As mentioned above, Tesla is building out their own free quickcharge/Supercharger network. Not only that but many of the SuperChargers have multiple slots to charge cars and eventually up to 8 at a time in the future. There were some recent patents filed by Tesla regarding this. Most Chademo Quick Chargers in the public today can handle 1 or maybe 2 at a time. Unless the other auto companies do something similar to compete, Tesla could end up owning the whole quick charging infrastructure too. Tesla already is about to offer a Chademo to Tesla adapter. we suspect they could easily go the other way too if needed, so you could take your Nissan Leaf with a Chademo to a Tesla Supercharger station for a small fee and/or buy a tesla and get it for Free
All the other auto makers currently rely on an world wide ad-hoc installation of charging stations, which is fine for level 2 and level 1, but for quick charging and as EV drivers we would prefer something more reliable, planned along regular routes and complete. Most people like Free of course. Automakers might think about owning their own quick charging network, perhaps collectively through a consortium and add a cost to the vehicle for free lifetime quick charging for your customers? This would be a great area to compete if not on the vehicle itself, but the infrastructure available.
There is still some uncertainty when it comes to battery breakthroughs and electronics and costs. However, if the automakers don’t wake up in the next few years,it’s possible they’ll still make cars, but like the computer manufacturers your car may have the “Tesla Inside” badge.