US automakers race to topple Tesla EV dominance
US automakers are going head-to-head in a race which could result in the dethroning of the leading passenger car electric vehicle (EV) maker in the world, Tesla.
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Founded in 2003, the Palo Alto (California) based company headed by CEO Elon Musk has certainly been making waves in the market since then, most recently boasting the highest sales of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) worldwide with market shares of 23% and 16% respectively.
This is certainly true in the US, especially in California where Teslas are popping up in driveways from San Francisco to San Diego much like the Toyota Prius a few years back. The Chevrolet Bolt and Mustang Mach-E are also popular, but the Tesla nameplate still leads, at least for now.
From January-April, Tesla boasted four of the 10 best-selling full EV models in the United States. Model Y led at No. 1, followed by Model 3 (No. 2), Model X (No. 5), and Model S (No. 7).
However, other American brands showing up in the top 10 so far this year include Chevrolet and Ford and the race to number one is only expected to get tighter in the months and years to come.
Earlier this year, Ford Motor Company increased its nine-year (2016-2025) EV investment plan, earmarking at least US$30 billion by 2025. It has also announced plans to have 40% of its fleet fully electric within the next decade.
Meanwhile, the company has recently created a new division called "Ford Pro" which will focus on commercial vehicles and government customers as well as on charging and energy management.
In June, to support the transition toward electrification, the automaker acquired California-based EV charging management and fleet monitoring software provider Electriphi. Through Ford Pro, its goal is to capture over US$1 billion in revenue from charging by 2030.
As for models, the Mustang Mach-E was ranked No. 4 in the country in the January-April period. Others to look out for include the F-150 Lightning pickup (the electric version of the best-selling vehicle in the country) which was just launched in mid-June and the E-Transit Van which is seen coming to the market by year-end 2021.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E (copyright: Ford)
In June, General Motors (GM) up the ante less than a month after Ford's new investment total, increasing its 2020-2025 investment plan to US$35 billion from the latest announcement of US$27bn in November 2020.
Not only is the investment higher than Ford's, it contemplates a period of five years and not nine. GM, however, holds several brand names as opposed to the single brand focus of Ford.
Leading the group today is the Chevrolet Bolt, ranked No. 3 in the US for best-selling passenger vehicles in the January-April period. GM has previously announced plans to roll out a total of 30 new EVs by 2025 but details are yet to be announced.
Part of the plan calls for accelerating the production of its battery and fuel cell technologies, including two new U.S. battery plants.
2021 Chevrolet Bolt (copyright: Chevrolet)
As for Tesla, it is planning to open a new US$6.9 billion Gigafactory, but it is in the German city of Gruenheide (near Berlin). It is seen opening in late 2021.
One model to look out for by early 2022 is the Cybertruck pickup being built at a new Gigafactory in Austin Texas. It should be on US streets by early 2022.
The world is changing, and American brands are trying to keep abreast so keep your eyes peeled. Let's see who is topping the charts at the end of the year!
Top Photo: Tesla recharging station (copyright: Shutterstock)