...and other electric car newsA recent study on the state of electric vehicles contains a lot of interesting data, including the fact that during the first half of this year, the Tesla Model S grabbed 8.4% of what the authors call the "luxury market" (this is a bit narrower than it sounds and only includes large vehicles like the BMW 7, Audi A8, Mercedes S-Class, etc). Still, not a bad start considering that Tesla is selling all the EVs it makes and is supply constrained, and that these competitors are all large companies that have been around for decades, making relatively conventional cars, while Tesla is a young startup making something completely new.
The 'L' wordThe Model S is compared to luxury vehicles because it shares many characteristics with them, but Tesla doesn't seem to see itself as a luxury car marker. If they use a word to describe themselves, it's "performance", and their strategy doesn't call for them to become a niche manufacturer like Porsche, but rather to help drive electric vehicles mainstream. That's why they're ramping up production rapidly and have been planning from the start to make a high-volume, low-cost electric car as soon as the technology and their production capabilities are ready (which should be in 3-4 years, according to their latest statements). It's also why they partner up with established players like Toyota and Daimler and don't mind selling their technology.
HN user InclinedPlane said it very well:
The fact that Tesla has been even remotely successful is kind of a side benefit. The biggest thing they've done is transform the electric car market in the popular consciousness from being a joke. Ultimately that means that a lot more consumers are going to start considering electric vehicles when they are looking to buy a new automobile. Also it means that there are likely to be a lot more new entrants into the electric car market (both existing automotive manufacturers and new companies), because it's becoming a place where companies can make money. All of which will put the electric car market into the same sort of profit -> R&D -> better vehicles -> profit feedback loop that the internal combustion car has benefited from for over a century. One way or the other we'll find out whether the potential of electric vehicles matches the promise.
Other interesting electric vehicle developmentsThe Nissan LEAF has grabbed 3.3% of the sub-compact market, a much bigger market than the luxury one.
Electric car buyers seem to be satisfied: In comparing satisfaction surveys between PEVs and their marketplace competitors, PEVs outperformed their internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid counterparts on almost all counts.
Since they were introduced in the U.S. in January 2011, more than 110,000 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold.
Crucially, battery costs are expected to drop by about half by 2020, when an industry average price of $300-325 per kilowatt hour is projected. This would be totally game-changing, and it's not even something far-fetched. Just between 2008 and 2012 the cost per kWh for batteries went from $1000/kWh to $485/kWh.