So far as punchlines go, it was a unusual one: $69,420. Delivered by CEO Elon Musk on Oct. 14, that’s the brand new value of the Tesla Mannequin S. Whether or not or not you get the joke will depend on how in contact you’re with the high-stakes battle at the moment underway for supremacy within the U.S. electrical automotive market. Whereas the yuks have been on-brand—Musk’s humor runs from geeky to subversive to whoopee cushion—the sudden value reduce indicated that, for as soon as, Musk is taking a Tesla rival significantly.
Earlier Lucid Motors had introduced its debut, an electrical automotive referred to as the Air, would promote for $69,900 (factoring in a $7,500 federal EV tax credit score), on the time undercutting the value of the Mannequin S. With a extra luxurious cabin, Lucid claims its base-model Air can cowl 406 EPA-cycle miles on a single cost—greater than the highest-range Mannequin S.
Additionally primarily based within the Bay Space, Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson is a former chief engineer at Tesla (he oversaw growth of the unique Mannequin S a decade in the past). The corporate’s mind belief has the battery and propulsion smarts wanted to pack a great deal of efficiency and vary in electrical automobiles with out packing them to the brim with battery cells and extra weight. Far pricier variations of the Air promise 517 miles of vary, 1,080 horsepower and quarter-mile acceleration occasions of 9.9 seconds. Lucid is readying for a manufacturing begin at its personal manufacturing unit in Arizona early this yr.
Rivian is the opposite well-funded EV firm set to emerge in 2021. Additionally stocked with Tesla refugees—it’s been accused by Tesla of stealing commerce secrets and techniques—Rivian relies in California and Michigan, however plans to start out constructing somewhat technical-looking pickups and SUVs at a former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois. With investments from Amazon and Ford, Rivian is honing in on part of the market that hasn’t but gone electrical—automobiles for the nice open air. Its absolutely electrical R1T pickup and R1S SUV are clean-cut alter egos of the proposed Tesla Cybertruck. They’ll begin at $60,000 and $62,500, respectively (with tax credit), and embrace choices like functionality for the vehicles to energy campsites.
Porsche’s Taycan arrived final yr with 800-volt tech that set the mannequin as much as be the largest menace but to Tesla’s preeminence. It’s no shock that German engineering pedigree produced a unique thought of what an electrical automotive needs to be—and whereas it would meet the Mannequin S in efficiency and solidly beat it in jaw-dropping seems and driving enjoyment, it up to now fails to measure up on one of many key bragging factors for any sort of EV: vary.
The time period “Tesla killer” is bandied about every time an EV arrives from a longtime model, just like the Jaguar I-Tempo or Audi E-Tron. By now the time period deserves a watch roll—no presumptive rivals have slowed Tesla’s progress. However Rivian, Lucid and others will seemingly slim the hole between EV makers, if not this yr then within the close to future. It’s an extended recreation for everybody, but it surely’s not rocket science.
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