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Tesla Model Y Will Crush The Crossover Competition, Here’s Why

There’s a lot of EV crossover competition coming down the pike but don’t expect established gas-engine automakers to suddenly wrest the EV market from Tesla.

In short: The Tesla Model Y will dominate the EV crossover category because it’s the most recognized EV brand – certainly in the U.S.

With over 500,000 VIN registrations for the Model 3, it’s not a giant leap of faith to see the Model Y – with a starting price of $39,000 for the 230-mile range version – garnering market share and mind share quickly.

Crossover competition has arrived

Yes, the EV crossover competition has already arrived in the U.S., including the Audi e-Tron, Hyundai Kona EV, Jaguar I-PACE, and the Kia Niro EV – not to mention the 2020 Chevy Bolt (with an upwardly revised range of 259 miles), and the Nissan Leaf S Plus.

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But, remember, all the above EVs are from traditional automakers. They’re ICE vehicle makers first, EV makers second. And right now EVs are a distant second in sales. Don’t believe me? Go visit the U.S. dealer lots of any of those car manufacturers. It’s wall-to-wall gas-engine vehicles (with a few exceptions in markets like Los Angeles).

Still don’t believe me? Check out this sales chart from InsideEVs for the month of September. The much-vaunted Audi e-Tron sold a whopping 434 copies, the Hyundai Kona EV 190, The Jaguar I-Pace, 160, Kia Niro EV 90 etc.

Even if you allow for lack of availability because the above are just coming on the market, long-established nameplates like the Nissan Leaf (in its current iteration as the 226-mile-range Leaf S Plus) and the BMW i3 are not going gangbusters, with sales of just over 1,000 for the Leaf and half that for the i3 in September.

The only EV really in the running at all in September was the Chevy Bolt* with 2,125 copies sold, according to InsideEVs.

And the Model 3? Over 19,000 sold in September, about 8 times the closest competition. It’s not ludicrous to expect that the Model Y will post monthly numbers certainly higher than, for example, a Bolt EV. And probably much higher.

Model S and X will bow to the Model Y, launch to happen in summer

Meanwhile Tesla is ramping up production of the Model Y earlier than expected.

Regarding Model Y, we’re also ahead of schedule on Model Y preparations in Fremont, and we’ve moved the launch timeline from full 2020 to summer 2020. There may be some room for improvement there, but we’re confident about summer 2020.

Elon Musk, October 24, 2019, third quarter earnings conference call (via Seeking Alpha).

And Tesla’s priorities are pretty clear as the company gets ready for Model Y production. In responding to a question from an analyst on the October 24 call Musk said:

The Model S and X are really niche — they’re really niche products. I mean, they’re very expensive, made in low volume. To be totally frank, we’re continuing to make them more for sentimental reasons than anything else. They’re really of minor importance to the future.

Musk also mentioned that Tesla will “build out more facilities for Model Y production at Shanghai.”

Production glitches are the X factor

Of course, a surge in Model Y deliveries in, let’s say, early 2021 is dependent on Model Y manufacturing being as ready as Musk claims. And the CEO has a tendency for excessive bullishness and exaggeration when it comes to expectations.

Barring an unforeseen event, however, Tesla is more ready now for large-scale mass production than it was back in July of 2017 when it faced a year of production hell and was in the throes of becoming a high-volume car manufacturer.

NOTES:

The Long Range and Performance variants of the Model Y —which you can order now from Tesla’s website – start at $48,000 and $61,000, respectively.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I drive a 2018 Chevy Bolt.

Follow me on Twitter.

I was a founding member of CNET news and hardware editor at CNET, a contributing technology reporter for the New York Times, and a reporter and editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly — the latter in Japan, where I lived for ten years. Currently a contributing reporter for Fox News.

Source: Tesla Model Y Will Crush The Crossover Competition, Here’s Why

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Amazon Is The Second Company To Report Tesla Solar Panel Fire

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Topline: Amazon is joining Walmart in pointing the finger at Tesla solar panels for fires on the roofs of their facilities in what is yet another hiccup for Tesla’s embattled solar business.

  • Amazon said Tesla solar panels caught fire in June 2018 at one of its warehouses in Redlands, California.
  • Amazon’s disclosure comes days after Walmart sued Tesla for breach of contract and gross negligence after seven stores experienced roof fires allegedly caused by faulty Tesla solar panels. Both companies later said they are working together to “addressing all issues.”
  • Amazon said it would not install any more Tesla panels.

In a statement to Forbes, a Tesla spokesperson said in an email that the Amazon fire was an “isolated event” at one of 11 Amazon sites with solar panels.

“Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate. We also performed inspections at the other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems. As with all of our commercial solar installations, we continue to proactively monitor the systems to ensure they operate safely and reliably,” the statement continues.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla did not respond when Forbes asked whether the company has plans for broader inspections of both commercial and residential solar power installations.

According to a Business Insider report, Tesla was aware of problems related to its solar panels. In the summer of 2018, around the same time as the Amazon fire, Tesla launched a secret internal project called Project Titan to replace what the company said were faulty “connectors” manufactured by Connecticut-based Amphenol, according to the report.

“We have no reason to believe that Amphenol’s products are the cause of any issues related to the claims filed by Walmart against Tesla,” an Amphenol spokesperson said in a statement.

Key Background: Tesla’s embattled solar business has been plagued by plunging sales, production delays and layoffs since CEO Elon Musk acquired solar company SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016.

Musk hasn’t tweeted about the Walmart or Amazon complaints, but instead announced a revamped pricing plan in an effort to boost the slowing solar panel business. The new pricing model allows residents in six states to rent solar power systems starting at $50 a month ($65 a month in California) instead of buying them up front.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

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