The Tesla Model S is only three years old, but already is is forging a reputation for quality among luxury car buyers. Overall, US sales of premium sedans like the Mercedes S Class, Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, and Porsche Panamera were down slightly in 2015, while Model S sales were up 51% over 2014.
Tesla sold 24,202 Model S sedans in the US during 2015. Mercedes sold 21,934 of its luxury S Class sedans. Tesla soundly trounced premium models from Jaguar and Lexus as well. That Tesla has been able to build a brand that appeals to luxury car shoppers in so little time is truly remarkable. Executives at those other companies have taken notice and are scrambling to add premium electric cars of their own.
Porsche, in particular, has committed $1.5 billion to build the Mission-E, an all electric 4 door sports car of its own. While the Porsche will be stunning, no doubt, it is not expected before 2020, which means Porsche has spotted the California upstart an 8 year head start in the marketplace.
One of Tesla’s most important accomplishments is eliminating range anxiety fears among its customers. While others stand around with their hands in their pockets waiting for governments or private interests to build the electric car recharging network that will make electric cars appeal to mainstream shoppers, Tesla has forged ahead with the construction of its own dedicated SuperCharger network.
Tesla plans to add 300 more charging locations in the US in 2016, bring the total to almost 900, according to Fortune. It also is promoting the installation of so-called destination chargers at upscale hotels, B&Bs, and shopping destinations. There will be nearly 2000 of those by the end of this year.
By comparison, Porsche is suggesting its new Mission-E may feature high power charging at up to 800 kW, but has no plans to build a network of those chargers for its customer. The SuperCharger network is an enormous marketing advantage for Tesla.
The company is also leading the way in autonomous driving systems, outpacing all competitors including tech giants Apple and Google. Elon Musk told shareholders at the Q4 press conference last week that total sales for 2016 are projected to be up more than 50% at 80,000 to 90,000, including both Model S and Model X cars. Those other guys will have to strain not to fall even further behind.
Image by Tesla Motors