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Challengers Arise: Will Tesla Stay Ahead in the Electric Auto Industry?

With automakers like Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, BMW, and others either delivering or ramping up and delivering electric vehicles, you have to wonder if Tesla, the current market leader because it jumped in first, is seeing the competition gaining rapidly in its rearview.

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The automotive world is filled with Elon Musk’s braggadocio about his product. However, you have to wonder if that bragging and huffing and puffing is more about more than a bit of fear than anything else. Ford’s leadership has admitted some issues with the super-popular Mustang Mach-E, and it is moving to straighten things out and increase production. In two years, it expects to be at 660,000 cars per year rolling off its lines.

Tesla Leads Well Now

At this moment, Elon can relax and glide on the 1.3 million vehicles his electric car firm sold last year. In the last two quarters alone, Tesla sold more than 500,000 vehicles.

With that type of market, the automaker’s future is assured. Indeed, it would seem to be clear sailing for the automaker. However, there are some dark stormy clouds ahead for Tesla. China’s BYD (Build Your Dream), an automaker that only appeared relatively recently, given Tesla’s 10-year history, sold 570,000 electric vehicles (EV) last year and is aggressively expanding into India and Japan, according to published reports. Another aggressive China make, Nio is also ramping up its production and seeking expansion.

If you were to look closely at this market, you would think that Tesla’s future is assured. After all, its 1.3 million deliveries last year and its fourth-quarter deliveries seem to assure that it remains at the top of the market, at least for now. But, as was pointed out in one analysis this morning, the other major makers are coming. Volkswagen, for instance, is planning to be up in the one million-car-a-year club by about 2035. As noted, the Chinese aren’t resting on their laurels, either.

One report noted that frustrated Ford management wants to iron out key quality problems along with some logistic issues that Jim Farley, president and CEO of the automaker, caused it to leave $2 billion on the table. He pointed out that the Mustang Mach-E had lots of extra wire in its looms and said that this added cost to the vehicle that could be recaptured. The same report noted that once Ford gets up and running, along with GM, which is revising its battery use, and Stellantis (the successor to Fiat Chrysler), they will begin running down Tesla’s lead in the market. Ultimately, the reports this morning claimed that in a couple of years, Tesla will likely drop back to about 20 percent of the market, with other automakers pumping out models.

Interesting List Of 10 Alternatives To Teslas

Indeed, we are seeing signs of this right now. HotCars.com published an article this week specifying the 10 vehicles it would recommend over the Teslas. The site noted there has “been a lot of buzz surrounding Tesla and its rides lately, or should we say, the brand’s leader Elon Musk? Anyway, a big part of this talk is about the groundbreaking design of Tesla EVs. “

The story goes on to look at the Model 3 and its “single- or dual-motor delivering between 279 and 450 horsepower and 330 and 471 pounds-feet of torque.” The Model 3 is a rear-drive or all-wheel-drive and has an estimated range of 267 to 358 miles. The Tesla Model 3 makes a real gem for prospective buyers. On top of that, this vehicle can launch you from rest to 60 mph in as little as 3.2 second and provide a smooth, enjoyable traveling experience, thanks to its sleek tech-oriented design.”

HotCars says, “not everyone is crazy about the Tesla Model 3, to be honest. Its simple design can draw away those away looking for more excitement.” Then there are reports about the build quality can be a dealbreaker.”

Fortunately, says HotCars has alternatives or “enough fish in the sea” not to “settle for any particular brand or EV, especially in the SUV segment.” HotCars has a list of 10 alternatives for EV buyers to consider.

2023 BMW iX

As expensive as the 2023 BMW iX is “about double the price of the Tesla Model 3” it had to be on the list. They call the BMW “ride pure elegance and luxury inside out” with “two stunning trims, the iX xDrive 50 and the iX M60.” Plus, there are two drives, the xDrive50 with 516 horsepower and “up to 423 miles of range with its pair of electric motors.” The more powerful M version, the 2023 iX M60, takes this a step further, providing … 610” horsepower and “acceleration of 3.6 seconds” from 0 to 60. Its range is up to 280 miles.

2023 Genesis GV60

Those who want a more unusual ride “than an utterly simple Tesla Model 3” might prefer to check out the Genesis GV60 electric SUV. The GV60 has sleek “rounded lines and a prominent bumper and hood design.” It stands out on the “road, all while providing 314 or 429” horsepower and “248 or 235 miles of range with its dual-motor powertrain.”

The GV60 “stands out on the road, all the while providing 314 or 429 ponies and 248 or 235 miles of range with its dual-motor powertrain. There’s a way to temporarily jack the power to 483 horsepower via the Boost mode. The GV60 also offers a “beautiful, more traditional-like cabin.” It does cost extra.

2023 Rivian R1S

“With a top-quality cabin, three rows of seats, a 3.0-second acceleration (from 0 to 60 mph), a driving range of 260 [to] 321 miles, and a towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds, the 2023 Rivian R1S is a fierce Tesla Model 3 competitor.” HotCars also asks: “Did we mention 835 ponies from the dual motors? We would buy the R1S despite the $78,000 price tag (if money was not an issue) any day because of its premium build quality, spaciousness, array of performance and comfort features and unique luxurious styling.”

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Coming to the more sensible car for most buyers, we find the Chevy Bolt EUV, which starts at Starting at $27,800. HotCars calls it the “cost-efficient alternative to the Tesla Model 3.” The Bolt isn’t as powerful as the Model 3, featuring a single-motor version that only has 200 horsepower. The Bolt is “quite practical for city rides. Its 247 miles of driving range, cozy tech-loaded interior, and small body make a good selling point.”

2023 Cadillac Lyriq

Jumping to the more expensive side of GM, we come to the 2023 Caddy Lyriq, which is admittedly more expensive than the Model 3. But, HotCars notes it “does a great job justifying the high price tag.” They note that this luxury SUV is “anything but dull,” with a “prominent body" and rich interior. Performance is great too with 340 or 500 horsepower “and 312 miles of range on a full charge.”

2023 Nissan Ariya

The 2023 Nissan Ariya is an “all-new vehicle we would buy any day for its prominent exterior, plush interior, and a host of the latest technology.” The pluses of the Ariya for HotCars include its performance at a 4.8-second 0 to 60 run and its 389 horsepower. Driving range is up to 304 miles. HotCars concludes that at “a similar price as the Tesla Model 3 but with a more distinguishable design and a roomier body, the 2023 Nissan Ariya is a great pick.”

2023 Volkswagen ID.4

Though the VW ID.4 does lag “behind the Tesla Model 3 in terms of power and performance,” 2023 VW ID.4 ”is an excellent alternative to the less spacious” Tesla EV. VW’s ID.4 uses a “a single rear-mounted motor to deliver 201 horsepower or a dual motor and an all-wheel-drive to produce 295 horsepower.” The max towing capacity is 2,700 pounds, with a driving range up to 275 miles. Maximum towing capacity extends to 2,700 pounds, and a driving range goes up to 275 miles. The ID.4 is loaded with tech and has a “decent price tag for its class,” which makes it quite a catch.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E

With full-order banks and buyers seeking more, Ford is increasing the Mach-E’s production numbers. HotCars notes the ”Mach-E is all handsome inside out, offering seating for five while preserving the compact, easy-to-maneuver body.” Add in that this it’s an EV that provides great tech. The tech ranges from the massive center screen to the automaker’s latest infotainment system. Performance-wise, the Mustang Mach-E includes a 70.0 kWh or an extended-range 91.0 kWh battery with electric motors on both rear axles plus AWD. With these setups, the Mach-E delivers up to 480 horsepower or 634 pounds-feet of torque. This is in GT Performance trim. Other trims deliver 266 and 346 horsepower. The total driving range runs from 224 to 312.

2023 Kia EV6

HotCars loves the EV6. It says, “the 2023 Kia EV6 is one of our favorite alternatives to the Tesla Model 3. With an athletic exterior, elegant and feature-loaded interior, and solid performance specs, the EV6 makes is the “perfect choice for the modern customer.” Versions range from the standard RWD model that features a smallish battery and only delivers 167 horsepower to the AWD model with its “bigger-battery.” The range of EV6 runs up to the other power choices ranging from 320 to 576 horsepower.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5

Rounding out the HotCars list is the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The site asks, “Are you surprised?” And, answering its own question, it notes that the Korean automaker (partner to Kia) has “made quite a buzz on the market with its Ioniq 5.” The Ioniq 5 features dual motors that crank out 320 horsepower and 446 pounds-feet of torque “in the highest configuration” the Ioniq is powerful and capable. The power and capability aside, what makes the Ioniq 5 EV important “is its practicality.” It features a mix is “traditional and modern styling, a tech-heavy interior, and lots of room. The 2023 Ioniq 5 is a “vehicle to buy for fun and everyday utility.”

Ford Motor Photo

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent many misspent hours hanging out at gas stations (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my earnings while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.

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