Tesla is the most popular electric car brand in the world. Here are four reasons why it maintains that popularity going into 2021.
Teslas are known for long range. The Tesla Model 3 Long-Range version, for example, has an EPA-rated 353 miles of range — which is beaten only by the Model S with a range of 402 miles.
But Teslas are also efficient. The Model 3 and Model Y are at the top of the EPA’s fuel economy ratings.
MPGe stands for “miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent.” As the name implies, it’s a measure of the “fuel” efficiency of electric cars. Just as good mileage is a factor for gas cars, it equally applies to EVs.
- Tesla Model 3: Combined 134, City/Hwy 141/127 (Long Range AWD)
- Tesla Model Y: Combined 125, City/Hwy 131/117 (Long Range AWD)
- Chevy Bolt: combined 118, City/Hwy 127/108
- Kandi K27 (Chinese-brand): Combined 114, City/Hwy 127/102
- BMW i3: Combined 113, City/Hwy 124/102
(2) Resale value
The Model X, as this list from Autoblog shows, had — as of summer 2020 — the best resale value for electric cars. Another ranking based on the rate of depreciation from iSeeCars.com (via Teslarati) shows the Model 3 retaining its value far better than other electric cars.
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For example, iSeeCars shows the Model 3 with a depreciation* of 10.2%, much lower than the average of over 50 percent for electrics over a three-year period.
(3) Supercharger network
Other electric car manufacturers, especially in the U.S., aren’t even close. Tesla has been building out its Supercharger network aggressively since 2012 — and it shows. While charging stations are by no means as common as gas stations, Tesla boasts 20,000+ Superchargers worldwide with the bulk of them in the U.S.
(Among people I know who are first-time electric car buyers, this is a big reason they choose Tesla.)
(4) Constant updates and fixes
This is both good and bad — but the good ultimately outweighs the bad.
Tesla has been a pioneer in aggressive software updates as a way to constantly improve its cars. But software alone does not make a great car.
Quick fixes of subpar components or manufacturing-related defects is also crucial as more and more “regular” car buyers (not Tesla devotees) come into the fold.
Tesla as a car manufacturer is still a toddler (and still struggles with fit-and-finish issues) compared to old-timers like General Motors, Mercedes Benz, and Toyota, which have been making cars for eons.
But, as the recent (January 22) video below shows, Tesla is quick to implement revisions of badly designed parts, no matter how small.
While the video gets off to a bumpy start (a broken clip under the hood), it goes on to show that Tesla is on a crusade to improve.
“We’re looking at iteration after iteration and iteration, [Tesla is] trying to make sure that [it] is doing the best it possibly can to make the customers happy,” Sandy Munro of Munro & Associates, which tears down Teslas, says in the video (7:30 mark).
Munro has also been very critical of Tesla quality in the past but he was impressed with the latest Model 3 compared to earlier versions of the car.
*EVs traditionally have lower resale value than gas cars. “The average resale value of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is less than 40% of the original purchase price, versus 50% to 70% on conventional cars,” according to Bloomberg.
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