Tesla Continues its Founding Sustainability Mission and Allies with Competitors against Washington D.C.
Ahead of Tesla’s much-anticipated unveil of their EV pickup “Cybertruck” coming this Thursday, November 21st, Tesla partners with their biggest EV pickup truck rival Rivian, and other companies related to the electric vehicle (EV) industry, in the fight against the federal government’s decision to revoke California’s rights to create their own environmental emission standards that differ from President Trump’s administration.
Together, the EV manufactures, Tesla and Rivian, and electricity and charging equipment suppliers, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Plug In America, and ChargePoint Inc., joined forces to establish the National Coalition for Advanced Transport (NCAT).
NCAT recently joined California and twenty-two other states in the two lawsuits with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. against the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding this issue.
This alliance between Rivian and Tesla in the face of their upcoming EV pickup competition reminds us that the electric vehicle movement in the auto industry is more than just another capitalist market competition, but also about pressuring the rest of the industry to follow suit towards sustainability.
Tesla Wipes Out ‘Granola Style’ EV Trend with High-Quality, Powerful, Sexy, and Fun EV Production
Tesla has already found success in influencing major auto manufacturers to turn seriously towards high-quality EV production in the realm of sedans and crossover vehicles, which has made the production of less attractive and lower-quality, “granola style” EVs less viable.
Historically, traditional electric vehicle (EV) design involved a “granola style,” which involves the cultural perception of EVs as light, small, and weak “golf cart”-sized cars (think SMART cars). This has been the EV design trend for years by auto makers to pacify environmentalists, who were willing to overlook the advantages of powerful and large gas-powered vehicles to own a weaker, lower-quality electric car just to decrease their own carbon emissions. Because of this, there is a cultural perception that electric vehicles, in addition to the environmental movement that influences its market, require an almost impossible level of self-denial that feeds into the rhetoric that it isn’t worth the switch from powering cars with fossil fuels to electricity.
“Tesla has certainly set a positive impulse because the do not say electromobility is renunciation [of power] and about ‘granola image,’ but on the contrary: that is power and enthusiasm. And that is the right way.”Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, to German Magazine T3n at SXSW 2017
But through Tesla’s introduction of the “Roadster” battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car, the “Model S” all-electric liftback sedan, the “Model X” mid-sized crossover SUV, and the “Model 3” all-electric four-door sedan, Tesla has proven that zero emissions can be sexy, fun, and practical.
Tesla’s Next Step is to Address Historical Market Rise towards Powerful Trucks and SUVs
However, one growing market that Tesla has yet to tap into–at least until this Thursday– is an all-electric truck suited for multiple terrains. This trend towards truck purchases is evidence of the public demand for pragmatic and powerful vehicles, which has historically been dominated by gas-powered vehicle manufacturers.
Auto sales in the US. soared in 2018 for “light trucks,” which is a vehicle category that contains SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. Cars were outsold by trucks, which occupied 69.2% of the market share that year. The truck sales market share during 2018 is the highest in history as it skyrocketed from 5% to 69.2% within one year. This consumer trend towards light truck purchases comes from a variety of features including more room for cargo and passengers, towing capabilities, four-wheel drive, and more.
Of the vehicles in the “light truck” category, the crossover utility vehicles, like the upcoming Tesla Model Y, led the demand for light trucks by being 38.7% of the sales. SUVs were followed by pickup trucks with 30.5% in sales, which left small cars with 30.8% of the market share.
Tesla’s next step in their multi-pronged plan to prove that electric power can rival that of fossil fuel power is their all-electric pickup truck “Cybertruck,” and they need to be able to compete with their all-terrain, EV pickup truck rival Rivian in order to be successful.
How will Tesla compete with its Biggest EV Pickup Truck Rival: Rivian R1T?
In order to compete in the large and growing market share of trucks, Tesla’s upcoming “Cybertruck” electric pickup truck needs to be able to surpass the tried and proven powerful capabilities of both gas-powered trucks and the electric powerhouse of Rivian R1T.
In light of the big reveal on November 21st in Los Angeles, the “Cybertruck” needs to either measure up to or, ideally, surpass a number of high expectations in order to find success in the nascent market for EV pickups.
In order to continue their mission of making electromobility accessible to the masses, the “Cybertruck” needs to compete with affordable pricing. Currently, the starting price for the R1T is $69,000, while the Cybertruck should cut well underneath that with a starting price of $50,000.
The Cybertruck also needs to have incredible endurance capabilities with a super long range, off-road dominance, high-volume storage availability, massive towing strength, and a towing-tuned auto-pilot to match. For reference, the R1T already touts a 400+ mile range and an 11,000 lbs towing capacity complete with multi-terrain capabilities, including a water wading depth of over 3 feet, cloud-based navigation features, and “Level 3” autonomy features.
Although Rivian’s R1T’s impeccable features seem intimidating compared to the specs of Tesla’s other models, Tesla has the advantage of a much later unveiling that may have given them more time to fine-tune their technology and strategize to compete.
We’ll know how the “Cybertruck” will compare against the R1T on Thursday, November 21st at 6pm in Los Angeles, CA near SpaceX, when Elon Musk finally makes the EV pickup truck’s specs known to the public.
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