General Motors’ alleged Tesla-spanker, the 2017 Chevy “Bolt,” will not steal customers from Tesla. And why not? Many reasons.
1. GM is one giant leap behind Tesla. In fact, Tesla inspired GM to build the Volt, and is now apparently inspiring GM to build the Bolt. The Beatles inspired the Monkees, remember. Ok, so the Monkees outsold the Beatles in 1967. But if bands sold stock, which one would have made you rich and would still pay dividends to this day?
2. Tesla sells sci-fi excitement while GM sells hay bales and Bob Seger. Image matters. GM is old America while Tesla is new America. Even if GM does manage to make a pure EV that is both immune to range anxiety and affordable to the masses, that doesn’t mean it will be “compelling.” That’s Musk’s favorite descriptor for the Model III. He hasn’t defined the word, but let’s substitute “exciting.”
3. People don’t like incumbents — not when the contender brings positive and concrete change to things considered immutable, such as the way cars are built and sold. That kind of stuff wins votes. Ask Apple.
4. Like Usain Bolt, Elon Musk is simply better, stronger and faster than anyone in Detroit. Look at what Tesla has accomplished with the Model S in just two years. The newest version is far, far better than the original by every measure and continues to improve. Even the Roadster, long out of production, is still improving. During the same time frame, how has the Volt improved? Not at all. And so, considering Tesla has at least two more years to develop the Model III, and knowing what can happen during two years of Silicon Valley time with the best brains in the business sprinting at full throttle, it’s highly likely that Tesla’s offering will make the Bolt seem a decade old even if both debut simultaneously.
The runners are stretching their hamstrings and making signs of the cross as they prepare for this big mass-market EV race. May the fastest man win. No, make that the smartest, savviest and fastest. TeslaMondo’s money is on the Usain Bolt of the transportation world, and that’s E.M.
On the flip side, TeslaMondo does want to see Tesla lead a big segment instead of a small one, so more pure EV players are needed. As long as they remain a notch or two below Tesla in charging time, aesthetics and performance, it’s all good, because Tesla will remain the segment pioneer but benefit from broader EV acceptance — all part of TeslaMondo’s pie chart theory.