Tesla may see increased competition with the future of diesel in question due to Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal. Top European automakers like PSA Peugeot Citroen and Mercedes-Benz’s parent Daimler are accelerating their progress in the electric vehicle market and may poach some of Tesla’s customers. Volkswagen, which last year admitted to cheating on emissions tests for its diesel cars, is also concentrating on building electric vehicles.
Automakers ready to challenge Tesla
At the Geneva International Motor Show this week, mass market automakers such as PSA Peugeot Citroen and upscale Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz showed commitment to build less expensive and long-range electric cars to compete with Tesla. In an interview with Bloomberg, Karl-Thomas Neumann, head of GM’s Opel unit, said the VW scandal gave other automakers a “push” toward electric vehicles.
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Opel is planning to launch the Ampera-e next year. Ampera-e is the GM division’s first electric-powered car since the 2011 Ampera plug-in hybrid, which didn’t get many buyers because it was very expensive. Also Volkswagen is working on various EV-related technologies, including fast battery charging. At the Frankfurt Auto Show, VW’s Audi showed off its E-tron Quattro sport-utility concept vehicle, and Porsche showcased the Mission E concept, its first-ever battery-powered sports car.
Tesla’s sales could take a huge hit as there are many European automakers that are working to build electric vehicles. The electric car maker sold about 50,000 cars all over the world in 2015, and a good part of that — about 16,000 cars — were delivered to the European market.
Not all joining the EV race
Unlike others in the auto industry, there are some that are adopting a “wait ‘n’ watch” approach on the future of the electric car market.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said, “I can’t make money building a car like Tesla. So for the time being I am abstaining.”
With the approaching debut of the $35,000 mass-market Model 3, Tesla hopes build on the success of its Model S in the luxury category. The Model 3, which will be uncovered this month, is expected to hit the roads some time next year.
In premarket trading today, Tesla shares were up. Year to date, the stock is down by over 18%, while in the last year, it is down almost 4%.