Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Trails GM In Mass Market EVs

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Part of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s share price is probably due to investors factoring in expected future success of the automaker’s mass market electric vehicle. But Anton Wahlman of The Street argues that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) already beat the company to the punch.

Did GM really beat Tesla?

Wahlman argues that GM beat Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) “by at least six years to make the $40,000 de facto electric car.” His main argument is that most people don’t really care that GM’s Chevy Volt only goes 38 miles on an electric charge. He thinks that they care more about a lower price tag than the all-electric aspect of Tesla’s vehicles, which have a range of around 200 miles on a charge.

He also says Tesla’s batteries will lose about 20% reduction in battery capacity “after a few years” of owning the car. He states that this doesn’t happen with the Chevy Volt. However, by the time Tesla’s mass market vehicle comes out, the technology should be improved even more, so perhaps this issue will be fixed by then.

But is it really fair to compare today’s Chevy Volt to tomorrow’s mass market vehicle from Tesla? Even the Volt will hopefully change a lot between now and when Tesla’s mass market EV comes out. As a result, this comparison is pretty difficult to make.

Tesla does lead in charging infrastructure

The author gives the nod to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) in terms of charging infrastructure as the company expands its Supercharger network. Indeed it will be interesting to see in what direction this part of electric vehicles will go. If EVs become more common on the roads, will Tesla’s charging capability be adopted as another standard option? And if so, could the company leverage its infrastructure to make some money off of it from owners of other EVs? Of course we don’t know what management has in mind, but the automaker is moving fast in rolling out its Supercharger network.

He also says that Tesla, along with General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), Nissan and BMW all stand to be leaders in the EV industry “over the next five years.” However, he notes that it could take that long to see if EVs really will take off.

As of this writing, shares of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were up 2% in intraday trading.

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