In the technology industry, the theory is that Apple no longer goes to fairs because it dominates the news cycle even when it does not appear. The same goes for Tesla, who, despite the spelunking and the presentation of her brilliant new model 3 at the Los Angeles Auto Show last fall, predictably skipped the Geneva Motor Show this week.
The difference with this particular show, more than previous ones, is that it was full of clear and serious competitors with Tesla. And not only do I refer to direct comparisons, with cars like the Jaguar I-Pace, which almost matches specification specifications with something like the entry-level X model. The show was also dominated by cars that are inserted in the parts of the market in which Tesla thrives. More EVs and luxury hybrids are arriving than ever before, and for the rest of us, there are now many cheaper options for something other than Model 3.
There has never been a show on the floor full of cars that resemble what Tesla has been doing
The I-Pace is the most immediate challenge for Tesla's dominance of the early EV market. It combines well with the base version of the Tesla SUV, the Model X 75D. It has a similar range and acceleration, although Model X is larger and has more seats and storage space. But the I-Pace starts at $ 69,500 – $ 10,000 less than the Model X 75D and $ 5,000 less than the initial model S. It will also come soon, with orders now open and deliveries scheduled for the second half of this year.
Mission E Cross Concept Tourism of Porsche.Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge
So far, Tesla has not had such a direct competitor in the premium EV space. By contrast, the only electric vehicles that approach Tesla's compatibility in practical matter, such as the Chevy Bolt, tend to be more affordable, and therefore not so luxurious, or so focused on raw performance. The I-Pace changes that equation.
A single car does not fill the field. But Geneva was a showcase for an avalanche of upcoming EVs and hybrids. Porsche showed a dazzling electrical concept that is part of Panamera, a cross-part called Mission E Cross Tourism. While it is known that Porsche plans to add electric and hybrid vehicles to its fleet beyond the next all-electric Mission E sports car (which is thought to be the biggest challenge on the horizon for the Model S), this was the first time that La The company offered a look at how the rest of that future will be.
Porsche executives also talked about how a new 911 hybrid could become the company's most powerful 911. (Maybe this version will have a better chance than the 911R that was smoked with the S P100D model last year in Top Gear.) If you're looking for exciting cars with extravagant performance based on electrical technology, the Geneva Motor Show this year was a solid reminder that Porsche intends to be a leader in this area, especially after being swept up in the biggest scandal of the Volkswagen Dieselgate Group.
A prototype of the final production version of the all-electric SU-Tron Quattro SUV from Audi. Photo: Audi
The Audi brand of the Volkswagen Group of the brother will be there with Porsche, and mocked the final version of the upcoming E-Tron Quattro this week in Geneva. I was not on the exhibit floor; instead, Audi exhibited a prototype of the all-electric SUV dressed in black, white and orange camouflage through the streets of the Swiss city. It was supposed to arrive in Europe later this year and reach the US. UU In 2019, bringing 200 miles north of range, fast charging, and a couple of other E-Tron models with it.
Even BMW, which has been a little behind in the electric vehicle market after jumping early with the i3, finally announced this week that an i4 sedan will be coming. And while Mercedes-Benz defied rumors that it could reveal its all-electric SUV on the show, it still posted some pictures of the new EQC floating in the snow to remind everyone of what's coming.
The fully electric EQC tested in the snow.Photo: Mercedes-Benz
For those looking for something more sensible, Hyundai premiered its new Kona Electric. Although we do not have a final price for this all-electric SUV, it is meant to be more affordable than something like the I-Pace, with the long-range model (292 miles) completing the middle of the electric vehicle market for the time being. slipping along with the Chevy Bolt and the Model 3. Meanwhile, the Renault Zoe, the best selling EV in Europe, received an engine upgrade and maintained its range of more than 180 miles.
(And for those focused on the purely ridiculous, we discovered that even Tesla's second-generation Roadster will have some competition when it hits the road in 2020. Rimac's concept Two equals or exceeds the specifications of the new Roadster on paper, although the Car manufacturer alone makes 150 of them, and they will surely be more expensive than Tesla's electric sports car).
Then there were the hybrids. Bentley showed a hybrid version of his beefy Bentayga SUV that will be available later this year. Volvo removed the wrappings of its V60 hybrid truck of almost 400 horsepower (and a simpler variant of 340 horsepower), which can be purchased as part of the company's new subscription model and has a set of semi-autonomous features . The former Volvo brand Polar made its debut in the auto show with the elegant hybrid coupe Polestar 1, which will come in 2019 and will bring two more models to the market.
And although Mercedes-Benz may have skipped the opportunity to debut in its all-electric offer, it did launch a "familiar" four-door version of its AMG GT car. Like the new Series 53 models presented at this year's Detroit Auto Show, one of the new AMG GT specifications receives the "soft hybrid" treatment for a little extra boost.
The Polestar 1 on display at the Geneva Motor Show. Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge
That's a lot! And this race of competition comes at a time when Tesla is in a somewhat strange place. The X and S models sell as well as ever, but Tesla still has difficulty getting the Model 3, the car that really means changing things for the company and the market, out the door fast enough to keep it with a list of anticipated orders of half a million reserves, let alone a place where the company can start selling it to new clients.
At the same time, there is a clock running. Tesla is fast approaching the 200,000 EV sold in the United States. That sounds great, since it's an impressive number for a new company when electric vehicles are still decidedly niches. But when the companies reach that point of reference, the federal tax incentive of $ 7,500 that the government grants to the buyers of electric vehicles enters a phase in which it diminishes until it disappears completely. That will give a price advantage to new fully electric cars like the I-Pace and the Kona, assuming the Trump administration does not throw away the incentive completely in the coming years.
Pressure from non-US countries to move away from fossil fuels is shaping the market when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles
But apart from Trump, the industry is likely to keep moving toward hybrid and electric technology. Countries around the world are considering or enacting legislation to phase out vehicles with fossil fuels in the coming decades. One of them is China, which is such a huge market that every major car manufacturer is struggling to find a way to do it. That China drives electric vehicles could be enough to dictate where the market is headed.
Whatever the case, Tesla has established itself as the first leader in the EV market, and there are things that will continue to differentiate it from the competition. The autopilot is still one of the most recognized advanced driver assistance systems on the market. The three models of the company have a class-leading range and performance if they are willing and able to pay above the base level. And Tesla has a rockstar CEO who launches rockets, and now cars, into space, which is nothing.
The next competition is also scattered. Not all of these cars are scheduled to reach production immediately, and for many of them, the Kona, the V60, the Polestar 1, it is not entirely clear when they could leave Europe or China and come to the United States.
But it was clear at the Geneva Motor Show this year that the promises made by automotive companies around the world about electricity are not just smoke and advertising mirrors. More green options are on the way, even for larger or higher performance vehicles. It's a move that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always said he wanted to inspire. After all, he wrote in Tesla's second "master plan" that "the point of all this was, and still is, to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine ourselves very far in the future and life is still good. " Either you believe it or not, the wave comes.