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The Race to Our Electric Future

February 24, 2020
BY:
Angel Ferrer

Elon Musk is constantly used as a meme, but the fact that he popularized and delivered the first mainstream all-electric car is no laughing matter. In fact, dozens of companies around the world now want a piece of the pie Tesla has baked. From startups to the old guard, few are ignoring our electric future. 

But one of the major advantages that Tesla has is its visionary leader – The Musk Factor. Part of the magic that the eccentric Elon Musk holds is the ability to make others believe in his plan and brand. Take for example the recently revealed Cybertruck, Tesla’s first electric pickup option. No other company would dare to come out with such a controversial design, yet Tesla did and it already has 250k pre-orders. Whether you like him or not, you have to admit that Musk has achieved major milestones against enormous odds.

Big picture, the move to electric is a tedious one, regardless of brand. It’s not as simple as buying a regular car. An entirely separate infrastructure has to be built to allow people to use their electric cars as they would a regular internal combustion car. Unlike gas powered vehicles, electric cars cannot be ‘fueled up’ at one of the thousands of gas stations available. Instead, electric cars have to be charged at special charging stations, like the Tesla Supercharger stations, and these are much harder to find. While the numbers of charging stations are growing, as you may have seen at a mall, restaurant, or store, they are still scarce when compared to good ol’ gas stations. Let’s not forget that charging an electric car also takes a much longer amount of time than filling up a regular car. Even if you can do it from the comfort of your own home, time is of the essence.  

However, these inconveniences don’t stand in the way of the electric trend. Ford, Jaguar, Rivian, Audi, Nissan, Sony, and Toyota, are only some of the companies racing to become the dominant electric car manufacturer. Each of these companies have their strengths, but will they be able to put up a proper fight for Tesla’s crown? While some of the established car manufacturers have perfected the science of making cars, making electric cars is a whole new category. Since electric cars typically use batteries for power, these companies either have to develop their own batteries, or buy them from another supplier. 

But it turns out that making these batteries isn’t exactly simple. Earlier this month Jaguar had to pause the production of their electric car, the I-Pace, due to a shortage of batteries. Jaguar chose to use LG Chem’s batteries for their electric SUV, even though that company had already had two other battery shortage problems with different car manufacturers in the past. This goes to show that even though car companies want to quickly introduce electric options into the market, they’ll have to go around some major bumps in the road. 

Eventually as the market matures and new innovations are introduced, electric cars will be the new norm. Whether they will be able to displace Tesla as the top electric car company is the big question. Although Tesla has many problems of its own, the revolutionary company has come a long way. Under its belt, Tesla has an established brand, a distinctive leader, a polished electric car line, and a growing proprietary charging network. Sure, car giants like Ford, Nissan, and Toyota, possess their own significant assets, but they still have to prove they can compete for EV market share. For now, Tesla is king, but it will have to keep innovating to keep the pesky competition at bay.