Will Elon Musk's Tesla lose its crown as the top electric vehicle maker?
At the very least, the carmaker is facing fresh competition.
Ford on Thursday announced presales for its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV, with a range of 300 miles, will begin on Nov. 17. The iconic American automaker plans to launch a line of 40 electrified vehicles by 2022.
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The Mach-E's launch marks Ford’s “first real milestone” in electrification and “an increased effort by the legacy U.S. automakers to be relevant” in the space, according to New-York based Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy.
He says Tesla has been “the only game in town in the U.S. electric vehicle market,” commanding 80 percent market share, but expects that to change due to “all of the competition entering the market.”
Tesla did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 is in a unique position due to its starting price of $36,000 ($35,000 plus a $1,000 delivery charge). Most vehicles on the market are priced higher, such as Porsche Taycan and Lamborghini Urus. A handful are priced below the Model 3, such as the Nissan Leaf and General Motor's Chevrolet Bolt.
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Levy says the Mach-E, which is expected to cost around $50,000, “should provide a more compelling alternative” to the Model 3, but admits that Ford's chances of eating into Tesla’s market share are “far from guaranteed.”
Tesla’s dominance in the EV market took a potential blow earlier this month when Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot owner PSA Group announced a $50 billion merger that would create the fourth-largest automaker by sales and a “fierce competitor” in the electric vehicle industry, Eric Schiffer, CEO of the Los Angeles-based private-equity firm Patriarch Organization, told FOX Business.
He thinks a “blistering degree of competition” entering the market will create “one of the greatest dangers to Tesla’s survival.”
Last month, Tesla reported a third-quarter profit of $143 million, compared with a loss of $408 million in the three months through June. The electric-car maker lost more than $2 billion last year and in both the first and second quarters of this year.
Tesla’s surprise return to profitability came amid difficulty for much of the industry.
Nio, often referred to as the “Tesla of China” needed to raise a $200 million loan from CEO William Li and the Chinese gaming giant Tencent Holdings, one of its largest shareholders.
Meanwhile, Dyson, the high-end vacuum and luxury appliance maker, recently spiked its $3.1 billion electric-car project, with founder Sir James Dyson saying he “simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable.”
Even iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson has struggled with its electric vehicle ambitions, temporarily idling production of its $30,000 electric motorcycle LiveWire due to battery-charging problems.
“Here we are more than seven years after the Model S launch, and while there have indeed been new product introductions from the likes of Jaguar, Porsche and VW, the state of play in the market remains fairly peripheral," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote last month.