Late EV Makers Are Hoping for Redemption in Tesla’s 9-Year-Old Playbook

Tesla competitors are fighting the last war and missing the hot middle market

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

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An aerial view of 16 blue cars on yellow background.
Image: Bernhard Lang/Stone/Getty

The coming two or three years will finally bring rich pickings for anyone interested in checking out an electric vehicle. If announced debuts go as planned, there will be the $75,000 Rivian R1T pickup, the $70,000 Jaguar E-Pace SUV, and the $66,000 Audi e-tron, not to mention the $77,000 Lucid Air and the $150,000 Porsche Taycan.

Setting aside the relative virtues of each vehicle, the thread running through the group is their eye-popping sticker price, a stratum of the market where sales are typically in the hundreds or low single-digit thousands per year. Which is to say that, nine years after EV gargantuan Tesla captured the heart and soul of the American market with the luxury-priced Model S sedan, late-to-the-game rivals are seeking to make their own mark by trodding the very same ground. Tesla itself, meanwhile, is nowhere there to be found — it is instead concentrating on EVs selling at a mid-priced $45,000 to $55,000 and is engineering a new battery and body with hopes of a truly mass-appeal $25,000 model.

For several years, EV wannabes have watched at turns with contempt, envy, and finally, despair as Tesla has come largely from nowhere…

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Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.