In the race for electric vehicles, every detail counts because it can make the difference.
And there are often details that can give a significant psychological advantage to some of the players or undermine the morale of others.
The stakes are very high.
Each car manufacturer wants to have a significant share of this automotive segment, the electric and autonomous vehicle, which is considered the future.
For Tesla (TSLA) , the current market leader, the mission is clear: to preserve its lead and increase it to leave only crumbs for its rivals, who came too late in the game. The Austin, Texas-based automaker has set itself the goal of delivering at least 1.5 million vehicles in 2022, which will be an all-time high.
The firm of the charismatic and whimsical Elon Musk expects to deliver 20 million vehicles per year by the end of the decade. As for his rivals – and there are many of them – they are fighting for the second place but they aim to dethrone Tesla in the near future.
Upstarts or young wolves like Rivian (RIVN) , Lucid (LCID) and Chinese NIO (NIO) must, for the moment, prove that they can manage an increase in their production rates while the prices of raw materials have soared and the disruption of supply chains remains.
As for legacy carmakers, they want to prove that they can make the transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) smoothly. They also want to use their experience in mass production to move up a gear.
Some of them, such as the German giant Volkswagen (VLKAF) and the American automakers Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) , have therefore announced ambitious production targets for the next three years. They promise to produce millions of electric vehicles per year, while they are struggling for the moment to produce 100,000 annually.
While they may have made inroads by nibbling market share from Tesla, the T brand continues to send them very discouraging signals. Tesla has just inflicted a crushing defeat on the German giants in their own playground.
Tesla, First EV Maker in Germany
Indeed, the company sold more new electric vehicles in Germany than its local rivals during the first nine months of the year, according to official figures published on Oct. 18.
Tesla recorded 38,458 new registrations between January and September, data from the Germany Federal Motor Vehicle Office (KBA) show. This is an increase of 48% compared to the same period in 2021.
It must be said that Tesla opened a production site near Berlin in March. The vehicles produced there are not only shipped to other European markets but also sold in Germany, one of the largest markets for electric vehicles in the world.
Volkswagen, the multi-brand giant headquartered in Wolfsburg, recorded just 32,326 new registrations, down 41% year-on-year. This is a huge setback for the group which recently changed CEO, following internal power struggles.
While Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) and BMW (BMWYY) have seen a surge in new registrations, their sales are still far from approaching Tesla’s levels. New registrations of electric vehicles reached 14,619 units for Mercedes, a yearly increase of 95%, and amounted to 16,241 for BMW, which is a yearly increase of 53.2%.
Tesla has therefore beaten the three German groups, who want to compete in each segment of the electric market at home.
Ford is also in a very good shape in the German market.
The group, which markets its Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV and the E-Transit in Europe, recorded 3,580 new registrations between January and September, up 117.5%.
GM is no longer in the European market for now.
NIO, for its part, sold 114 new electric vehicles in Germany over the first nine months of the year, while Polestar (PSNY) recorded 3,355 units (+111%).
NIO was not present in the German market in the first months of 2021.
While public policies are favorable to electric vehicles in Europe, soaring raw material prices, following the Russian war in Ukraine, as well as rising energy prices, are affecting car manufacturers.
These problems come on top of the bottlenecks already created from supply chain disruptions, exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.