Check these facts!

Tesla has been offering mass-production electric cars for six years now, and it’s safe to say that Elon Musk’s company is doing great. Sure, the Model X came a bit late and Tesla is still struggling to put the Model 3 on the assembly line, but the carmaker’s EVs are becoming increasingly popular, especially in Europe.

Norway continues to be Tesla’s second largest market after the U.S., where the Model S actually climbed atop the all-popular Volkswagen Golf. More recently, the Model S also began outselling German luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series in Europe for the very first time. It’s a big deal, and I can understand why most outlets are going crazy about it, but all this talk about Tesla ripping the Germans to shreds is misleading.

For starters, this has happened before in the U.S. I know, the U.S. is Tesla’s home turf, and it’s easier to sell cars here rather than export them to Europe, but it’s a valid precedent. Second, and what everyone seems to be missing, the Model S is not a competitor for the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8. It’s actually more the size of theE-Class, 5 Series, and Audi A6, something Elon Musk himself stressed a while back. Here’s why this is important.

Continue reading for the full story.

We’re Looking at Different Sales Figures

2017 Tesla Model S Exterior
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Mercedes sold more than 120,000 E-Class models in 2017 or about 750 percent more than the Model S

With sales of more than 16,000 units in 2017, the Model S is indeed above the S-Class and 7 Series, which moved 13,359 and 11,735 units last year, respectively. No argument here! However, if we compare the Tesla to the cars it actually goes against, things aren’t exactly spectacular. For instance, Mercedes-Benz sold in excess of 120,000 E-Class models in 2017, or about 750 percent more than the Model S. Simply put, the Germans sold more sedans in the last two months of 2017 than Tesla did throughout the entire year. Moving over to the BMW 5 Series, the firm delivered almost 110,000 examples in 2017, again, far more than the Model S. Believe it or not, it’s not that unbelievable...

Before you say anything, I’m well aware that the Model S is far more expensive than the E-Class and 5 Series and that it’s sticker puts it in S-Class and 7 Series territory. But, at the same time, the S-Class isn’t a luxury car. It has all the cool gadgets, but is by no means as fancy as the German flagship models. If we take all of this into account, the comparison becomes rather pointless. It’s just a reason to poke at the Germans for falling behind an electric car. Or a reason to feel good about ourselves for trying to save the planet.

Well, the fact of the matter is that we’re not saving anything. Some 16,000 expensive electric cars sold in Europe in 2017 won’t help the ozone layer.

Stop Fooling Yourselves

2016 Tesla Model X High Resolution Exterior
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At most, Tesla is mainstream in Norway, where wages are among the highest in Europe

Then there’s all this talk about Tesla finally becoming mainstream. Well no, that’s not what’s happening here. At most, Tesla is mainstream in Norway, where wages are among the highest in Europe and where people have been buying electric cars and hybrids in large numbers for many years. A few tens of thousands of Model S in Europe make no difference among hundreds of millions of gasoline or diesel vehicles.

I know I’ve said this before, but Tesla will become mainstream when it starts offering affordable cars that the average Joe can buy. And I’m not talking about the Model 3, which will cost $35,000 bone stock and close to $50,000 with all the desirable features. It will happen when Tesla provides a roomy sedan that can be had for as low as $25,000 and maybe a hatchback at around $20,000 before options.

It will probably happen when batteries become better and cheaper in a few years, but Tesla won’t be alone on the market when that happens. Every important automaker will have at least a couple of EVs in two years or so and the market will get really tough. Tesla has done great things so far, but a big automaker with factories all around the world is more capable of providing affordable cars. We need to keep this in mind every time we read some new hype about the Model S outselling slow-selling vehicles in certain markets.


2017 Tesla Model S Exterior
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