E For Electric: Exclusive Interview With Tom Moloughney At CES Asia


InsideEVs’ Tom Moloughney talks Byton, Tesla, Elon Musk, and more at CES Asia.

Our good friend Alex Guberman from E for Electric recently attended CES Asia where he ran into our own Tom Moloughney. Check out his exclusive interview with Tom below:

Video Description via E for Electric on YouTube:

Tom Moloughney, one of InsideEVs.com writers, talks to me about Byton, Tesla, Elon Musk and other electric car topics going into 2019 at CES Asia in Shanghai. You can follow Tom’s work at https://insideevs.com/author/tom/

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9 Comments on "E For Electric: Exclusive Interview With Tom Moloughney At CES Asia"

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Nice production. Thanks.

Their Approach , Not Like Tesla , That’s for sure ! Where’s is their Charging Network.

Comparing Tom’s remarks regarding Jaguar to those regarding Hyundai/Kia, they don’t really add up. *Neither* is directly competing with Tesla in any particular vehicle class; *neither* has the kind of recognition Tesla has as an electric car maker; and neither will sell in numbers even close to Tesla’s — though for different reasons: Hyundai/Kia only making compliance cars they don’t *want* to sell in large numbers; while Jaguar, at this price point (for a relatively small car), simply being in a niche segment.

Although the reasons for small expected sales are different, they really boil down to the same fundamental issue: while other makers are catching up to Tesla in terms of abilities, Tesla still appears to have a significant cost advantage. Whether they will be able to keep that a few years from now, remains to be seen…

Jaguar may not have a reputation for EVs yet, as a brand it has plenty of recognition and with i-Pace wall to wall rave reviewed I think that EV recognition will soon follow. Also: is i-Pace’s price point really less attractive than Model S? It might be smaller on the outside but boot space is only marginally less and I’m pretty sure it will seat four adults more comfortably than Model S with its battery-where-legroom-should-be backseat configuration. Also i-Pace has the more hip crossover form factor and an interior that’s considered more premium than Tesla’s.

Apart from the Supercharger network I really don’t see why i-Pace should sell less than Model S.

Well, I have only watched a few reviews — but the one from someone with considerable experience with other EVs, said that the I-Pace actually has a surprisingly small interior. In spite of the form factor, supposedly it’s much smaller not only compared to the Model X, but also to the Model S; indeed it actually feels closest to the Model 3… Which puts the price point in an entirely different light. While I’m not really familiar with car prices in general, from what I gather, the price is pretty steep compared to similar-sized ICE models from Jaguar and other premium brands. I’m also not convinced the “trendy” form factor will buy them all that much. The fact that Model X doesn’t significantly outsell Model S even in generally SUV-friendly markets, suggests to me that current EV buyers do not care all that much for these monstrosities. Plus it will have a lot more competition, with both Audi and Mercedes debuting in a similar form factor later this year / some time next year… Last but not least, I think the I-Pace will by significantly hampered by the lack of power train options. While it beats Tesla’s entry models on… Read more »

I should add that Tom touted Jaguar specifically as the most serious potential competitor for Tesla… With as single, fairly niche model, I just don’t see that.

If anything, I’d say Porsche is a much more serious threat, with an upcoming model competing more or less directly with one of Tesla’s offerings, at the lucrative high end of the market; plus at least one other follow-up model all but confirmed; and generally fairly ambitious EV plans. On the other hand, they won’t compete with the Model 3, which is where Tesla will see most of their revenues going forward…

Frankly, I don’t see Tesla experiencing serious competition on a larger scale at least until the release of Model Y.

Regarding Byton, I’m rather skeptical about their prospects. An automotive startup aiming directly at the mainstream market just doesn’t sound like a winning formula.

In China, they would offer a more premium product at a slightly higher price point compared to established Chinese makers. That sounds like something that would be in high demand; and if the experienced team from a global automaker had joined an established Chinese company to do that, I think they would have a good chance. For a new company building production more or less from scratch though, meeting the requisite quality and cost targets in time seems rather illusory.

As for the global market, I suspect prospects are even worse: at the time they come to market, it sounds like they will be more or less in direct competition with Tesla’s Model Y — not a good place to be for any newly established company…

if Byton can deliver a level 4 autonomy luxury vehicle at that $45K price point and make a profit, I’m sure its future is golden. However, at this point the 4 lidars alone might cost as much as $80K (source: GM: https://insideevs.com/gm-to-go-large-scale-with-self-driving-cars-in-u-s-in-2019/). Or maybe Byton already achieved that 99% cost reduction GM is shooting for?

Most likely it will be late, the level 4 autonomy part will be even later, it will be more expensive and it will never come at all unless Byton can find the billions needed to start up a new company.

I have to say that I’m completely ignoring the autonomy angle. As far as I’m concerned, it’s entirely meaningless marketing prattle. Every automotive start-up in the past couple of years has been talking this up, since apparently that tends to get people excited — but why would anyone believe they actually have a better shot at it than the incumbents? To me this sort of talk just sounds like a pathetic attempt at creating an appearance of innovation in lack of anything actually outstanding to offer…