Tesla Killers are Still on the Drawing Board

Tesla Killers are Still on the Drawing Board

Audi introduced it's Quatro today joining Jag's I-Pace and Mercede's E-Tron in the coming in the next year or two to your garage. I've looked at them out of curiosity just to see what's up. IMO, the I-Pace is a step ahead of the other two — all are fine first efforts — but they ain't catching Tesla any time soon. The I-Pace is the only one that is comparable to the standard MX in quickness. None offer anywhere near as much storage. I think the interior electronics interface — read touchscreens — is clunky compared to what Tesla offers. Lots of hunting through menus, uninspired graphics. The Europeans seem to want to put little screens all over the front console. They're big on leather where Tesla has gone to the synthetic leather -- mine has real leather seats, btw. All are sized to function better on narrow European streets, and there they do make more sense for their home base than the MX does. There's nothing wrong with any of these SUVs, but inspiring? Uh uh. Not IMO.

Welcome to the party, boys, but you still have some work to do.

carlk | 2018年9月19日

That's usually what they are. Everything looks nice on paper until you need to show the real thing. BTW there is still no real thing from them yet. I-Pace is actually not comparable to MX. With 90 kWh battery but only 240 mile range it's not even close to the much bigger and heavier X.

carlk | 2018年9月19日

That's usually what they are. Everything looks nice on paper until you need to show the real thing. BTW there is still no real thing from them yet. I-Pace is actually not comparable to MX. With 90 kWh battery but only 240 mile range it's not even close to the much bigger and heavier X.

reed_lewis | 2018年9月19日

The thing that worries me is that if you go to the Audi eTron website, they have a page to search for public access chargers. Here is the page:

The first issue is that it says: "30 minutes charging provides up to 80% charge with a 150 kW high speed public charger" Well, there are no public chargers that provide that capability yet in the USA (that I know of).

Secondly, when you click the 'fast charging' checkbox, it shows a bunch of fast chargers. But they are on different networks, and every single one of them nearby me is a single port with significantly different rates and access methods. So unlike the Tesla Super Charger network where you drive to the Super Charger, plug in and then drive away, at these Audi is depending on these chargers to supply long range travel.

I just hope that people do not hear horror stories about how someone ran out of electricity in their Audi and then equates that to how all EVs are.

For example in this article:

They have major issues with the charging of the iPace. They had to charge at an Audi and VW dealer. Meanwhile there are 14 Super Chargers on this route already.

bp | 2018年9月19日

We went through this cycle when the Chevy Bolt was introduced.

When the specs were released, it looked great on paper - decent range/performance at a reasonable price.

And now, compared to the Model 3 - how much are we hearing about Bolt as a "Tesla killer"?

That doesn't mean the other manufacturers will keep missing the mark on producing a really competitive EV. Eventually they'll figure this out - Tesla has a limited window of opportunity when they have clearly superior technology - and they need to use this time to increase market share as much as they can and produce enough vehicles to give them multiple revenue streams. All of which they are doing.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月19日

The Tesla killers are made by ICEV makers who have tesla killer killers in every meeting, every C suite, in every project. The tesla-killers die a death of thousand cuts by these insiders.

They might have the ability to make a no compromise EV. At some price, at some production rate. But executives whose stock vests in 6 months, retiring in two years, planning jump ship before goosing their bonus metrics, will keep taking pot shot at funding, and introduce delays and kill it internally.

Could Porsche or Corvette made an electric roadster in the last 8 years? They could have. Did they? No. Why? Because tesla killer killers.

jordanrichard | 2018年9月19日

"....I just hope that people do not hear horror stories about how someone ran out of electricity in their Audi and then equates that to how all EVs are"

Exactly. Many people here think it is fantastic that others are coming out with EVs, but all of those EVs are just "white noise" because the basics are not being covered by those EVs. What they don't realize is that they are not coming out with "Tesla killers", they are actually going to increase Tesla's sales when people realize that we have to deal with all that BS that reed_lewis pointed out with Audi. | 2018年9月19日

@ravisundaramam - Love your line "tesla killer killers". So true.

Tropopause | 2018年9月19日

They're all compliance cars except maybe the E-Tron, which Audi claims to desire a 200/day production rate. Not sure where Audi will get all those pouch-style batteries.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月19日

I remember reading about the development of the "fighter" plane F111 Thunderchief.

Robert McNamara, being a brilliant bean counter, who was used to calibrate score curving for GMAT, ordered Army and the Navy to share that plane. Cost saving, bullet points and great idea on paper.

US Army and US Navy have been fighting one another for over a century, some say they fight each other more than they fight the enemy. They are not going to share a plane with their ugly sister. So grandpa of tesla-killer-killer in Navy demanded "side by side seating and two seats". On a fighter plane! His Army counterpart demanded a capsule ejection system instead of an ejection seat. The ejection capsule spec eventually included a tent, a bed and probably a small latrine and a four burner stove for "survival in the jungle"

Bobbie McNamara did not know what hit his beloved project. Roundly rejected by all test pilots, never made any of the metrics, screaming with after burner it could barely go supersonic. Its thrust/weight ration was barely better than some of the long range bombers carrying nukes. But being US DoD it consumed a few percentage of GDP before being scrapped.

Audi chief might see the writing on the wall and order something to be done. But down the line people would throw spanners into the works and come up with a 92 kWh battery barely going 240 miles. But it will have lots of buttons, switches, sliders and knobs.

(Recalling from memory, sorry if i have mixed up the plane and the project)

nwondka | 2018年9月19日

I think it is great all these major car manufacturers are now coming to the table with viable EV products. A rising sea rises all the ships. But most announce a "tesla killer" with small print indicating release dates many months if not years in the future. They are all years behind Tesla. My M3 is truly an amazing engineering marvel. That's a tough act to follow for other manufacturers.

Tropopause | 2018年9月19日

Good point, nwondka. We'll see how many folks line up around the block to reserve the Audi EV, Benz EV, etc.

Spoiler alert! I'm predicting Zero.

Uncle Paul | 2018年9月19日

When ever I see the term Tesla Killer I am reminded that it is Elon's intention to draw other manufacturers into the EV arena. He wants to see lots of competition and that that will quicken the transition of combustion engines to EV.

He knows that Tesla will not be big enough soon enough to replace all the gas cars with clean electric drive. Having other manufacturers enter the arena means he, and humanity wins.

Uncle Paul | 2018年9月19日

When ever I see the term Tesla Killer I am reminded that it is Elon's intention to draw other manufacturers into the EV arena. He wants to see lots of competition and that that will quicken the transition of combustion engines to EV.

He knows that Tesla will not be big enough soon enough to replace all the gas cars with clean electric drive. Having other manufacturers enter the arena means he, and humanity wins.

The new companies are Tesla copiers, not Tesla killers.

Yodrak. | 2018年9月19日

"I remember reading about the development of the "fighter" plane F111 Thunderchief. "

It was the Air Force and the Navy. The plane had multiple variants and was in service with the Air Force for 31 years, from 1967 until 1998.

"A rising sea rises all the ships."

It also inundates the land. The actual phrase is "a rising tide lifts all boats", which has less of a down-side.

carlk | 2018年9月19日

If you think about it these are not Tesla killers. At this stage of game it no longer can be their intention. They are now just Tesla believers and followers. Their EV designs are pretty much exact copies of what had been proven by Tesla.
Imitation indeed is the sincerest form of flattery. Tesla just needs to keep moving ahead and let the rest continue to follow. Eventually everyone of those will become an ICE killer.

HeinekenMS100D | 2018年9月19日

It's extremely difficult for a company that's been developing a product for 100+ years to change their culture dramatically enough to be successful in designing and building that same product but an entirely different way. I see this in the technology industry today. Everything is going to software and virtualization. Traditional hardware companies try to take their hardware product and turn it into software through virtualization. It doesn't work or it takes a very long time because company cultures don't change overnight. Plus you also need new skillsets since you don't have the right skills to build the product in a new way. I worked for a hardware company trying to do this and it's very difficult. Audi, MB, and others might get there but it will take them a long time. I think an entirely new EV company (like Tesla) has a better shot than the existing traditional auto manufacturers.

PrescottRichard | 2018年9月19日

Yodrak- Tide, sea, it’s half of one six dozen of the other.

:) | 2018年9月19日

When the entire management structure is based on better mechanical ICE engine designs, and management has very little software experience other than buying a VDM or Infotainment module from some third party, the results are predictably lame. The fact they have to rely on Apple and Goggle to move the infotainment tech from the dark ages is telling too. Seems like most automakers are just starting to think about software and completely missed the boat on security. They may open a small office in Silicon Valley and hiring a few engineers. Of course, being isolated from the corporate offices, they may provide some great designs, but can be easily outmaneuvered by the old guard who likes the status quo.

Sadly, what I've seen is not inspiring. They haven't even been able to copy what Tesla showed off in 2009, nine years ago, let alone innovate beyond that. When your DNA is 99% mechanical, switching to an entirely new approach is almost impossible. BMW seems to be one company that understands some of this, although turning management and staff to a new direction is exceptionally difficult. I suspect old-line companies would be better off creating a new EV division isolated from any of the ICE operations, with all new management and staff.

carlk | 2018年9月19日

I doubt any great electronics engineering or computer minds would want to work for these companies either in their Germany or Detroit headquarters or offices they set up in the Silicon Valley. There is no pleasure of wasting your time playing politics with those higher ups with a completely different perspectives than yours. In addition to old time mechanical guys who probably occupy most key positions in the company you also have to fight those bean counters.

blue adept | 2018年9月19日

Honestly, I'm tired of the hype from ICE automakers about how they're going to dive into the EV marketplace, just put up or shut up already...


lightlysaucedpenne | 2018年9月19日

Frankly, as much as I want EVs to succeed, it's also true that Tesla >> EVs right now. Tesla has insane brand coolness, in a way that most other companies don't. That's why 400,000 people wanted a Tesla which incidentally was an EV. It's amazing how even 4th grade kids in my kids school are smitten by Tesla, even though they are dime a dozen around here. You look at the ipace forum or taycan forum, there's hardly any activity even though promised deliveries are only a few months away. In contrast, people have been on the model 3 forum for at least an year before they actually got their car. Tesla is like Apple, one of the coolest things you can own. At least here in Silicon valley..

carlk | 2018年9月19日

Half of Tesla is EV the other half is what future tech cars should be like. The whole thing was done following Elon's first principle of engineering design. All those ICE companies only learned the first part but none of them is able or willing to do the tech part. Ironically those start ups we sometimes laugh at seem to get it although they just don't have means to do anything.

Baywood | 2018年9月19日

Ben Sullins on YouTube had an excellent take on “Tesla Killers”, check it out

Yodrak. | 2018年9月19日

"Tide, sea, it’s half of one six dozen of the other."

Easy to say when you live in an inland desert.
Ask people who live in island nations or in US coastal cities.


jordanrichard | 2018年9月20日

I too have had to remind people that the automotive press and wall street just don't get it when the talk about "Tesla killers" comes up. Elon and crew want the competition. They don't care if you don't buy a Tesla, as long as it's an EV.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月20日

The bulls are seeing Tesla as a tech company where market share changes happen a lot, and leave just one or two winners left standing. They see Tesla as potentially one of the two companies making ALL the cars and trucks in the whole world.

The bears see Tesla as a car company where market share changes happen at glacial speed. For example the Dodge Caravan of 1980 invented a new category of automobile. Even such invention of a new category did not make any serious change to marketshare or profitability of companies significantly. So they see the remaining companies catching up and not give up market share.

The truth will be somewhere in the middle. Some ICEV companies will die. Tesla will take their market share whole. It will also peel of some decent market share from the rest. Will it be a stand alone Tesla headed by EM? Or would it be a division owned by another company? Dont know.

carlk | 2018年9月20日

Yes Tesla is not just a car company it's also a tech company. Tesla is making EV AND tech cars of the future. People are getting used to it now and forgot Tesla is still the only one that is making computer on wheels. All those "killers" are only copying the EV part but they got zero tech in them. That is the even harder part. Some are talking tech but no one seems to know what they are doing so far. I can't see any of them catching up in the near future, if ever.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月20日

The mechanical engineers hating electric motors goes a long way back.
Think about all the pissing contests these super car companies had for the last 60 years. It was all about 0-60 time, time to quarter mile, .... They built super expensive hand made machines with bigger and bigger engines, trying to shave fractions of seconds.
They have seen diesel electric locomotives. They could have purpose built a gas-electric car. No batteries, no regeneration, no fancy nancy stuff. Simple power plant, running at constant RPM turning a generator that pumps out current. One or two electric motors. Diesel electric locomotive on rubber wheels scaled down. It would have beaten all their competition. They could have done this in the 1960s, or 70s or 80s... Cost, weight, etc dont matter. These are purpose built pissing contest machines.
No body did that. They will not let go of their ICE voluntarily. You need to force them to make EV by making a better EV making better profit. Even then some will not give up, we may have to pry the ICE from their cold dead hands.

Baywood | 2018年9月20日

Shorts are missing the trees, all they see is a forest of cars.
The one fact of ICE vs EV vs Tesla’s future is the car that you’re trying to sell.
We are Tesla super-fans because we have a really super-car in the M3; a car that will renew itself with auto-updates. EV and Super Charge network are icing on the cake.
Have you seen a single negative review of the M3 in the last 3 months? Not! the previously negatives all have become converts.
That’s why we are ‘long’ on TSLA

Rocky_H | 2018年9月20日

@Prescott, Quote: “Tide, sea, it’s half of one six dozen of the other.”

Oh don’t even... I still have to grit my teeth when I hear people say, “It’s six half dozen of one or the other.”

calvin940 | 2018年9月20日

@Rocky_H LOL I almost spit out my coffee!

jordanrichard | 2018年9月21日

Not to make you grin your teeth Rocky_H, but isn't the expression, "...six one way, half of a dozen the other".

Rocky_H | 2018年9月21日

@jordanrichard, Yes, basically. I used to hear it almost like that: "Six of one; half dozen of the other".

I think the mangled misuse that I hear more recently is because some people don't understand what it really means, so they're not thinking it through. They're thinking it's just some old slang-y saying of words that just has the simplistic meaning of "It doesn't matter"

But it's more than just "it doesn't matter". The point is that it's an implied equation: six of one = half dozen of the other. So the point is that even though the words "six" and "half dozen" sound like they're different, they are really the same thing.

TabascoGuy | 2018年9月21日

Let's not ask the baker to chime in.

PrescottRichard | 2018年9月21日

Sorry for derailing the thread with ‘half of one, six dozen of the other.’

BTW- when I do say that most people don’t even notice. They just take it for granite.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月21日

Rocky_H: I have quite a few of the peeves.

Originally "... that begs the question" did not mean " that raises the question". It meant the answer was begging the question to be excused, forgiven. It came from an obscure Latin logic and rhetoric context, "petitio principii". Well now it is all gone, it simply means raises the question. It is simply a matter of time before OED succumbs to overwhelming redefinition by the masses.

Similarly "Whats sauce for the goose is the sauce for the gander" meant the sauce you serve the goose with is the same sauce you would use to serve the gander. It gets mangled into "whats sauce for the goose is the goose for the sauce" making absolutely no sense.

NKYTA | 2018年9月21日

“Six and a half of one, half a bakers dozen of the other”

@Tabasco, I actually used to think I was clever with that...when I was sixteen. ;-) | 2018年9月22日

I love this post, and comments.

You guys all heard the Bernstein comments, right? from Tony Saccohaghi - the former hater/stock analyst whose question was tossed aside as 'Boneheaded' who has changed his tune and basically said Tesla Model 3 "faces no credible competition whatsoever until 2020" and other experts pretty much saying 5-10 years. Not to mention the Supercharger network or all the other businesses (vertically integrated -- solar, battery storage, etc.)...

That says it all.

ravisundaramam | 2018年9月22日

Volvo unveiled some "electrified car", the Polestar.

Some monstrosity that has 3 electric motors, a four cylinder gas engine, turbo supercharger, two doors, 2019 projected date with a 155K price tag. Even Volvo is very clear to say, "it is not intended to compete with Tesla but the Polestar 2 will compete with the model 3". But the click bait site calls this a Tesla competitor.

Sleepydoc1 | 2018年9月22日

A $155k car that still uses gas is a competitor? Maybe to a high end MB ice SUV.

NKYTA | 2018年9月23日


Where do you sit?

dlake | 2018年9月23日

Any article that has the word "Tesla" or "Tesla killer" likely gets more click$ than those that don't. That's why "journalists" include them.

NoMoPetrol | 2018年9月23日

@ravisundaramam re: peeves

If you want to see how heels over head our language has become, Google "Write It Right" by Ambrose Bierce. The saddest part of his observations on the bastardization of the English language is that they were made in the late 19th century and nothing has stopped the literary bleeding since.

Aside for the rest of you: That's right folks. Anyone who is "head over heels" in love is not all that impressed with the condition. Our heads are over our heels during most waking hours. The more remarkable condition would be that one is heels over head in love.

milesbb | 2018年9月24日

Ford F150 killer on the Tesla Drawing Board. Maybe Ford will be the road kill.

Rocky_H | 2018年9月24日

@NoMoPetrol, Ever heard "ass over teakettle"?

NoMoPetrol | 2018年9月24日

@Rocky_H Can't say as I have. It's gotta be 20th century or later because it didn't make Bierce's list of grammatical oddities.