The future of car ownership remains a major talking point in the automotive world. Questioning the merits of this new fuel or that, how far autonomous technology should go and so on, is it any wonder that car makers are in a state of flux. Tesla is prime example.
For all of you who have just suffered a tough financial period, spare a thought for a certain Elon Musk of Tesla fame. The manufacturer of high-end electric cars has just posted a $702 (£545) million net loss in the first three months of 2019. This is against the man’s own projection of a profit every quarter of this year. That must sting a bit. The loss, slightly smaller compared with the same period a year ago, halted a modest streak of two-consecutive profitable quarters for Tesla.
Although automotive revenue for the company has risen, it’s still not looking good for the troubled car maker. Tesla continues to struggle in the present even as Musk tries to shift investor focus to the future. This was one of Tesla's worst quarters on record, and the brand has begun to reduce costs by closing dealers, embracing online sales and laying off employees.
That said, the Tesla Model 3 was the best seller among pure electric vehicles in Europe this February outselling popular cars like the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe, despite being more expensive, so the brand must be doing something right. Despite this though, true EV’s still only command a 1.9% European market share. There’s a way to go to convince customers.
Cheaper Tesla Cars?
The company has now indicated that it will introduce lower-priced versions of several models, effectively offering consumers a discount. The plan is to produce ‘standard’ models of the Model S and Model X that have shorter driving ranges than other versions. This might make sense to the bookkeepers but it will mystify customers especially those who like the idea an electric car but are still concerned about the range issue.
It seems also that Tesla might just be adjusting focus to the autonomous car arena rather than the original intention of bringing affordable electric cars to market. According to the CEO, by the middle of next year one million Tesla vehicles will be on the road that are allegedly fully capable of driving themselves. Customers will, it has been suggested, even be able to put their cars onto a shared network of robo-taxis, which will be able to get around without a human inside.
Is This What Buyers Want Though?
In the UK vehicle autonomy does not seem at present to be appealing to the majority of motorists who are reluctant to let go of the steering wheel, let alone allow their motor to go off on its own and work as a taxi. All drivers will appreciate the safety features that aspects of this technology has brought to the car industry but how much of it is enough? Sales of electric cars are not exactly breaking records so it is hard to see where Tesla is going right now.
Perhaps a more sensible approach is one that has been taken by Ford who have invested in a small independent electric car company with a view to enhancing the electrification of the Blue Oval fleet in the next few years. Those vehicles include a battery-powered F-150 pickup truck. Whether or not American F150 buyers who have had an ongoing love affair with V8 motors for decades will feel about this remains to be seen. The company is also planning a ‘crossover’ inspired by its Mustang sports car. It had to happen. That’s all in the future though; for now why not check out our excellent selection of AA-inspected used cars
while we can still enjoy our driving.