Elon Musk at the Detroit Auto Show: Discussing Tesla’s Model 3, the Chevrolet Bolt and Electric Car Industry

After a fairly lackluster effort on the hybrid and electric car front at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, it was the CEO of Tesla Motors, the electric-knight Elon Musk, who was tasked with stepping up to his podium to deliver something big, something we’ve all been waiting for.

And he did, sort of.


Tesla’s Model 3

Musk did mention further plans about Tesla’s new Model 3. According to Musk, this would be the car that finally starts to see them make the profits that he had envisioned long before his breakdown under 7 years ago, when Tesla was in “extremely dire straits” and “no one would take us seriously.”

The Model 3 will be ready for production by 2020. By this time, Tesla hopes battery costs will be reduced by 30%, as well as seeing sales in the 500,000 region, rather than the estimated 33,000 of the last year. However, Musk was very hesitant and cautious when discussing numbers, though it’s nothing new with Tesla, who prefer the ‘working behind closed doors’ approach.

The Model 3 was undoubtedly overshadowed at the show by the new Chevrolet Bolt concept. The Bolt will retail at $30,000 while the Model 3 will hit the markets at $35,000. They will both sport the 200 mile all-electric range per charge, but as for Model 3 there are no other details as yet.

The biggest problem for Tesla, despite its first venture into ‘affordable’  EV cars, is that the Bolt is looking to make its entry sooner rather than later – in under 2 years, in fact. If it’s cheaper, does just as many miles per charge and is 3 years ahead of Tesla’s comparable offering, then where does the Model 3 stand?

By 2020 many of us would like to think that EVs and hybrids will have a much larger percentage of the auto-market, though this will fluctuate in accordance with the currently inconsistent oil prices, which at the moment stand in favor of gas guzzling cars.

Does Tesla seem a bit unambitious with the Model 3? Yes – it’s their first affordable all-electric with a superb range and, obviously, all the Tesla gadgets on board. But if GM can push out the Chevy Bolt in the provided timeline, fortune and the future of EVs could be seen in GM’s hands.

Would that be Musk’s worst nightmare?


Musk on the Electric Car Industry

Well, apparently not. Musk seemed unphased by the Bolt, and actually in favor of more progression in the EV world.

“Tesla is always supportive of other manufacturers who bring compelling electric vehicles to the market,” Musk said.

“We applaud Chevrolet for introducing the Bolt and are excited to learn more about the product.” – Elon Musk

In all honesty, Musk had a lot to say, but not much further on Tesla itself. If you were unaware of who Musk was, then you’d be forgiven for assuming he was an ambassador for electric vehicles rather than the man so many of us look to for the future of green transportation.

Musk is cool cat though. Not one to crack under the pressure that, he is fully aware, is starting to mound up on top of Tesla. The task of creating EVs for the masses is an investment that he has put both his life and his wallet into.

On top of this is also a promise by Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn that the Nissan Leaf, the best selling car in EV history, will soon be doubling its range. Tests have begun on a new 48kWh battery, doubling the current Leaf’s power. Range could be up to 250 miles on a single charge, like the Tesla Model S. But unlike the Model S which relies on a heavier load of battery cells, the prototype has actually managed to lose cells and thus weight. Nissan is also looking to market around the $30,000 mark, remarkable to say the least.


Electric Vehicles at the Detroit Auto Show

Musk may have spurred on the EV and hybrid enthusiasm at a convention that’s been slow to start on the green front, but competition seems to be heating up. It seems automakers are now actively starting to take interest in the industry, but now it’s for more reasons than keeping governments happy whilst producing the bigger, more gas hungry 4x4s which have dominated this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

Oil prices will ultimately have a major part to play in these affairs, though. Prices are sure to rise again to the prices we all grew so tired of paying. Whether auto makers stay interested in green options will also depend on government initiatives, as well as expanding infrastructure to support EVs.

The public will forever be fickle, but all it takes it something like the Bolt, Leaf or the Model 3 to reach the public at the ‘honest’ price we’re all patiently waiting for. Give us clean, practical and affordable transport and watch the world shed new light on green traveling.

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  1. The Bolt (what a great name) is a competitor for the Leaf and Elon knows it. He is not concerned at all. He already has the design and possibly a prototype ready, but he will till competitors settle on their junk. Then he releases a subtle compact and bazinga!


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