The new Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model 3 has everything, or close to it. It has a moon roof that runs nearly the entire length of the car. Also, according to the company, the Model 3 seats five. At less than six seconds up to 60 miles per hour, it is super-fast. Somehow, Tesla already knows it has a five-star safety rating “in all categories.” At under $35,000, its price should attract the middle class. However, the Tesla 3 only goes 215 miles without a charge. To charge it takes more time than to fill a gas tank. Consumers may shy away.
Experts have said the Tesla 3 may find stiff competition from General Motor Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Bolt, priced just above $30,000. While the Tesla 3 has a launch date in 2017, the Bolt goes into showrooms late this year. Its range, GM says, runs around 200 miles.
Both the Bolt and Tesla 3 compete with hybrids, no matter what the companies say. The 2016 Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) Prius just won the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Plus award. Several Prius models boast prices under $30,000, and 53 miles per gallon. Most large manufacturers offer a fleet of hybrids.
To compete more directly with the Tesla 3, the new Prius Plug-In model has a range of 600 miles. It gets 120 miles per gallon equivalent.
Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, made a damning comment about Elon Musk’s latest invention.
Just saw the Tesla introduction. What wasn’t said was as important as what was said. The grille-less Model 3 was announced with a price of $35,000. That’s eye-popping low, but what wasn’t said was the price of the other versions. Tesla has a history of introducing a vehicle with a reasonably low price and then selling versions that are much more expensive. There was no mention of EV’s major Achilles’ heel — recharge time. 215 mile range and low recharge times make EVs impractical for many buyers.
He summed up what Tesla’s promotion people and Musk did not say.