Is The Whole ‘Tesla Killer’ Concept Just A Silly Myth?


MAY 24 2018 BY EVANNEX 40


Now that Tesla has ushered in the era of electric vehicles (EVs), legacy automakers are desperately racing to catch up.

Written by Galileo Russell, a 25-year-old Tesla shareholder based in NYC. He has been blogging about Tesla since 2012 and is the founder of HyperChange TV, a new YouTube channel about tech and finance news for millennials.

 *This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Related: Big Auto’s Tesla Killer Plans: Serious Investments or Vanity Projects?

Instagram: brian__self

It seems like every week new headlines pop-up about how a new EV is poised to become the “Tesla Killer.” Most recently, we’ve seen news from Jaguar about its upcoming Model X competitor the I-PACE, and Porsche with its all-electric, Mission E concept.

Although these new products do represent a competitive threat to Tesla, I’m always a skeptic of such definitive claims about their impending dominance.

Here are 7 reasons why:

1. Superchargers

Since 2012, Tesla has been building out a network of rapid EV charging infrastructure across the world.

Source: Tesla Press Kit

At the time of writing, there are 1,191 Supercharger stations open with 9,184 Superchargers. These are located in the US, Canada, Mexico, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, The UK, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, The UAE, China, and more.

This analog moat is a huge needle mover for EV buyers. We are still in the early days of EVs replacing the internal combustion engine and that means there are some sacrifices when switching to the new technology. The biggest one is giving up the ability to refuel at any one of the thousands of gas stations scattered across the country.

To give its cars similar convenience, Tesla has been building out its Supercharger network. These stations offer the ability to charge 50% of the car’s battery in just 20 minutes (sometimes as much as 150 miles). This network is a key reason why Tesla owners can go on long-distance road trips in their EVs with relative ease.

Only Tesla owners have access to the network. Buyers looking to purchase any other EV will be quite disappointed when they realize just how limited (and frustrating) road trips can be, without long-range fast charging infrastructure.

Superchargers make EVs practical for road tripping car buyers who don’t want to own two cars.

Although some automakers have announced early stage plans to replicate Tesla’s network, they are years behind in both deployment of stations and high-speed charging technology.

2. Retail Stores

Designed by the same guru that designed Apple’s unique retail model, Tesla’s stores are more reminiscent of luxury fashion houses than auto dealers.

Situated in malls, urban centers, and other locations with high foot-traffic, Tesla stores provide a major advantage to the brand. They act as a direct touch point to the consumer.

Educating customers about the differences between EVs and ICE vehicles is a big hurdle in selling the future of transport. Tesla stores make this much easier and provide phenomenal free marketing and branding for the company.

3. The Gigafactory

In 2014, Tesla began work building the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factory, known as the Gigafactory. This vertical integration has the potential to be a major advantage for the company in the long-run.

Source: Teslarati

I believe we are already starting to see early indicators that this massive bet is paying off.

Tesla’s vehicles are the longest range EVs on the market, and prior to the Model 3 ramp were selling for gross margins in the mid 20% range.

Other automakers are quick to obfuscate gross margins on their EVs (with much lower range), and my guess is it’s because the numbers wouldn’t be pretty.

For example, the CEO of Fiat said his company is losing $20,000 on every Fiat 500e sold.

If Tesla can continue to produce the most efficient batteries at the lowest price, it will have a major economic advantage.

4. Software / AI

Teslas are supercomputers with big batteries and wheels.

Nearly every feature on the Model 3 can be controlled via a touchscreen in the center console. This is no coincidence. Tesla wants to be able to update any feature on your vehicle remotely via over the air software updates.

No other automaker has implemented this technology.

Tesla is building smart cars for the future of autonomous transport. The closer we get to this vision, the more vehicles rely on software to function.

Source: Tesla Press Kit

As a native Silicon Valley startup, Tesla has access to the world’s brightest software engineers. Legacy auto brands are often bureaucratic and lack the required expertise in software to keep pace with Tesla’s innovation. This is why we’ve seen them lag in implementing over the air software updates, and will likely see a similar delay in building the artificial intelligence systems required for self-driving.

5. Stagnation Fallacy

Tesla’s cars, software, charging infrastructure and service centers keep improving.

By the time competitors can match the specs of the current Model 3, S or X, Tesla will have brought its next-generation version to the market.

Tesla has a major first-mover advantage in EVs and isn’t going to give it up.

6. The Why

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition off fossil fuels.

This is a mission that resonates powerfully with young consumers and is only increasing in its importance. The more educated car buyers become about sustainability, the more likely they are to associate with Tesla’s brand.

Contrast this to companies like Volkswagen (who also own Porsche and Audi) who have recently been exposed for putting software to cheat emissions tests in millions of vehicles.

Tesla is an authentic brand with an admirable goal. Other auto companies have track records of deceiving customers intentionally and polluting far beyond legal limits.

Every purchase of a Tesla vehicle is a direct investment in a powerful vision for a sustainable future. This is a mindset that will take years for other companies to replicate.

7. The Data

According to InsideEVs the Tesla Model S was the best selling US plug-in 2017. The Model X was the third best selling. Combined they sold an estimated 48,375 units, representing 24% market share of US plug-in sales.

At face value these numbers are impressive, and they are even more impressive when you consider that the Model S and X sell anywhere from $70K-$100K+, about 2-3X more than any other plug-in on that list.

Despite having a higher price, Tesla’s cars are significantly outselling their competition.

In 2018, we’ve seen similar results from Tesla. The Model 3 is already America’s best-selling electric car — despite production bottlenecks. Tesla isn’t just talking, it’s achieving sales that prove dominant leadership in the electric vehicle space.


Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say you will profitably bring an EV to market in two years and outsell Tesla. Actually doing it is something else.

Video: HyperChange TV

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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40 Comments on "Is The Whole ‘Tesla Killer’ Concept Just A Silly Myth?"

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Excellent analysis!!!


This article is hilariously absurd

too much Yo?

The author is EVANNEX, what did you expect?

Every time an EVAnnex article is reprinted here, it’s a Tesla fluff piece. At least they aren’t running the Bloomberg hit pieces about how the Model III price jumped to $78,000.

That said, I think the points are all valid and there’s nothing absurd about the statements made.

Nobody can kill Tesla but Tesla.

“That said, I think the points are all valid and there’s nothing absurd about the statements made.”

“Teslas are supercomputers with big batteries and wheels.”

Tesla’s are *NOT* supercomputers. Maybe they would be considered a supercomputer by 1970’s standards, but not at present. That is a totally absurd statement that I would attribute to what a Tesla fanboy would say.

Maybe for the laymen, the car appears to be a supercomputer because of it’s ability to drive by itself and occasionally run into fire trucks, but yeah, when I read statements like that, I turn 1 more degree towards being a Tesla hater.

Feel free to find the exit, more Tesla for the rest of us.

By the way, have you ever even driven one?

Sounds like you already are and by the way just because you can occasionally run your mouth into FUD doesn’t make you a super troll in any decade!

I think the tear-down done by the shop in Detroit called it military-grade computing power. You’re right, though. It’s not a 2018 supercomputer, however it is: “Nvidia describes the Drive PX 2 as “the world’s first AI supercomputer for self-driving cars”. Its computing power is comparable to about 150 MacBook Pros.” Now, for comparison, the most powerful system officially labeled supercomputer nearest me is at the Minnesota Supercomputer Center: Their top Giga-floating point operations per second is for the T3E900, which is capable of 161 GFLOPS. The NVidia Drive PX2 custom for Tesla is capable of 8 Tera-floating point operations per second TFLOPS. This is on par with a Cray SX-6 fully-populated with 128 nodes, which was originally released in 2001. The power draw differential between the two… yeah, let’s not start that numbers contest. The #1 fastest supercomputer as of 2017 is Sunway TaihuLight which is doing 93 PFLOPS (P as in Peta). You’d need a parking lot of 12,000 Tesla vehicles running a cluster to equate the most powerful supercomputer in the world. I think to the laymen and to someone experienced with supercomputers, the claim is not a stretch. I’d better stop right here, I think… Read more »

161 GFLOPS is equivalent to a pretty low end Nvidia graphics cards. These numbers sound impressive, but they’re nothing special nowadays.

When you dropped the Microphone, was it an Alexa Device, listening, recording, and then Sending that recording to one of your contacts, like I just heard about?

You fail to realize just how much computing power it takes to single out Fire Trucks as Specific Targets of Choice, Just to Punish your Stupid Operators onboard!

The fact that Fire Trucks were used as Targets, instead of Previously Collapsed Crash Barries, tells me the AI Aspect is learning faster than you thought!

Because, if the car Does Catch on Fire, at least the Team to put out the fire is right there! That demonstrates extremely advanced AI Activity!


No manufacturer has made the claim that their vehicle will be a Tesla killer. I’ve been reading about how the “Tesla killer” concept is ridiculous but haven’t seen any such claims made by any credible person.

Very nice to see I’m not the only one who noticed this! Yeah, all the “Tesla killer” labels are pasted on by journalists trying to make their “story” more “interesting” (rather than just reporting the facts)… not by auto makers!

Personally I think the term “news story” is an oxymoron… but maybe that’s just me.

Tesla killer is a phrase invented by those wanting to sell their point of view. It’s the same as when Chevy keeps pushing the Silverado as being better than an F-150. Bottom line is, you build a decent car at a decent price with decent styling, you’ll get customers. Doesn’t make it a killer. Makes it a good car.

Tesla’s entire mission is to transition the world to electric transportation and stop using fossil fuels. So, really, it doesn’t matter if some “Tesla-killer” EV comes along, and somehow has better driving range, faster charging, more charge stations, produced in higher numbers and for more profit, all that matters is this: More people driving EV’s means less people driving ICE cars, which is of course, the main goal of Tesla Motors, right?

I think they should have told exactly that to the investors who paid 1.7 billion last year to fund the manufacturing of the Model III, don’t you think ?

Musk has been quite clear on that since Tesla was started, so it is not a problem for the investors. Musk has larger goals that might be hard to understand for those that are in the car business Just for the money.

“If he has the time, Doctor. If he has the time.”
My chief concern is he is trying to do too much too fast, before the money comes in from Model 3 spending a lot on the other projects. Get a little profit, then start doing even more. I know there are lead times, but it takes cash.

1. Valid, yet the Tesla owners I know still avoid charging whenever possible; if there’s a SoCal to Mammoth Lakes 300 mile group trip, the group avoids Tesla owners because they don’t want to wait an hour-ish at the charger… 2. Not Valid, most people buy their Tesla’s online, majority of who went in person to buy the Model 3 did so to increase their odds are getting one sooner and/or ensure they got the tax credit…PreOrdering and buying vehicles online is the aspect that “sells” Teslas more so than fancy dealerships… 3. Not Valid, overwhelming majority do not care whether their car company has a gigafactory, only if it lowers the price… 4. Valid, most love gaining new features OTA… 5. Not Valid, you have EV advocates who just want the cheapest EV possible which is not Tesla and you have void where people just want a luxury branded CUV, at least a compact, with AWD at a very affordable lease price…If MB/BMW/Audi made their ICE compact crossover into an EV for $40K even if it had a 7 second 0-60 and sub-300 miles of range… 6. Valid, yet its important to note that a Tesla is TRENDY and… Read more »
“…a Tesla is TRENDY and that’s why people are waiting 2+ years for a Model 3, otherwise they could “save the world” today buy trading in their ICE BMW for a Bolt EV, Leaf, etc…” Well, they could buy a Leaf, if they don’t care how fast the battery pack which powers their car deteriorates. The other EVs, probably not, because they have such limited production. You’re poo-pooing the idea that Tesla’s Gigafactory One is a significant factor, yet that’s what is allowing Tesla to ramp up production of the Model 3 far faster and to much much greater numbers than GM is building Bolt EVs. Tesla actually aims to satisfy demand for the Model 3. GM has no intention of satisfying demand for the Bolt EV. Yeah, the average Tesla buyer doesn’t care whether Tesla has a Gigafactory building batteries, or not. But they do care if they are going to have to wait a lot longer to get a Model 3, and Gigafactory One is one of the advantages Tesla has, an advantage which will ensure that would-be Model 3 owner will get the car he wants without having to wait 10-15 years to get it! (No, seriously.… Read more »

The next Tesla killer is just around the corner.
When you get to the corner, if it’s not there, then just keep going to the next corner.

And Around, and Around, and Around!

It’s the old propaganda story. If you repeat something loud enough and long enough, people will believe it.
I try to take a balanced view but even so this particular meme has been repeated so often and by so many for years that it has entered the realm of the absurd.
Like the boy who cried wolf, or the shorts that cry Tesla Killer, although with the boy a wolf did eventually show up, as regards a TK I think it’s apocryphal .

You didn’t even mention the Tesla remote software updates and diagnosis. Most others cars can’t do that yet.

The Super Chargers are great but Tesla also gives away local use Destination chargers. They are good every day while shopping or even eating or staying over at a Hotel.

Tesla also has the best REGENERATIVE braking with settings for low and standard which is higher than almost any cars.

Tesla is also the most American made car so if your American you can buy and invest in the USA made car. In fact their stock is great too so I always advise buying the stock 1st then get the car later with some of the profits.

Tesla also lets you turn the Level 2 charging up or down in case your using a dryer plug or RV outlet. Most cars can’t do that. In fact most cars don’t let you know how much power your getting or how many miles you are gaining or even when you will be done. Tesla shows everything.

8) For ICE car makers to kill Tesla they have to build EVs so good that they actually kill their own ICE cars. So even if some make EVs so superior to Tesla that they kill Tesla they will actually kill their own ICE sales first

Ouch! So true!

There is plenty of market out there for Tesla for at least the next four years, as you said the fist thing the ICE car makers will be killing will be their own ICE cars.
Lets just hope Musk can keep Tesla going…

Hence the Fugly, Short Range, Limited Availability, Limited Production, current ICE OEM EV Business Models!

Correct, there is no Tesla Killer, but there are many Killer Teslas lately

Buy one…you know, to prove your point.

I see what you did there… *grin*

Not proud of myself….

Hmmm, the article — which can be described as “This is why Tesla is a respected and fast-growing company”, typical of Evannex’s love letters to Tesla — doesn’t seem to have much to do with the headline.

To some extent, the idea of a “Tesla killer” is a creation of journalists, and thus, yes, a “myth”. Journalists are not taught to report “just the facts, ma’am”, but rather to write a “story” with a “narrative”. A story requires a conflict, so naturally when writing a story about the automobile industry, journalists have a tendency to write as if there is a direct conflict between one company or another, or one model of car and another. It makes the story more “interesting”, doncha know?

But readers should be able to exercise critical thinking, and filter out the trumped-up conflict/controversy that journalists create.

It’s very simple. Mainstream media is controlled by Big Oil/OPEC and they hate electric vehicles.

They know that Tesla is the only dedicated electric vehicle company.
So they want some product to dethrone Tesla vehicles and push it out of business.

Later the company which sold that ‘Tesla Killer’ will simply discontinue that product and declare that electric vehicles are dead.

All other automakers are selling electric vehicles for these 3 reasons.
1. Meet the compliance quotas.
2. Show that they also care for environment.
3. Ensure Tesla alone does not take credit.

What they don’t understand is that the Tesla vehicles will also sell besides the Tesla killer.

How many Tesla killers has gone down the road with the biggest being Cadillac ELR.

Well, at the Price the ELR was, it seems the Performance Dual Motor Model 3, will be “THE ELR Killer!” And have WAY MORE Back Seat Head and Leg Room!

“Tesla Killer” seems to be a handle for lazy journalists and stock shorters (people whose ‘stalks’ are short) rather than any actual vehicle threat.
BTW, and just to remind the ‘shorts’; it has been tens years this month since some twit started the “Tesla Deathwatch”. Happy anniversary to those hateful (short) twits!😀😄😜

Set it up as a cult, they come a gunnin’.

All 7 points made by this fanboy needs refutation. If Tesla wants to survive into the new decade it needs to get its act together and certainly not depend on the 7 advantages mentioned above: 1) The supercharger network (SCN) is a fine asset as long as the charging-infrastructure isn’t that good, but as numbers of EV cars increases so does the infrastructure. The SCN isn’t exactly a cash cow and, with competitors such as Ionity (backed by big boys such as BMW/Daimler/Shell) already announced, will become much more of a liability. 2) The Tesla dealer network is not even close to the density of future opponents. While Tesla currently only has 8 shops in the whole of the Netherlands, Stern, a major importer of mainly Daimler/Mercedes models, has a tenfold in this small market. No the dealer network and high end retail shops (with equally high rents) aren’t a major selling point for Tesla. This may be worked for a 100k-car it won’t for a mass producer. 3) While the Gigafactory can give Tesla a competitive edge the competition does not rest. Samsung/BMW just opened a factory in Hungary and Daimler announced a similar set-up. Vertical integration isn’t key… Read more »