Elon Musk risks losing his electric car crown as Tesla rivals accelerate – The Telegraph

And it is not only VW. General Motors and Ford, the two kingpins of the US automotive industry, have begun looking further afield than their nation’s traditional gas guzzlers. 

Ford has this year been marketing an electric version of its long-lived Flareside pickup truck, dubbed the F-150 Lightning, while even the throaty roar of its famous Mustang is giving way to an electrically-powered model: the Mach-E.

Yet there are doubts over whether Ford is able to overtake Tesla. Earlier this month it told dealerships to halt deliveries of the Mach-E cars, which are made in Mexico, after discovering an overheating-related flaw that makes its motors shut down. That could potentially affect up to 49,000 cars produced in the last 12 months. 

Still, in the first three months of the year it shipped about 30,000 electric cars in the US, putting it only second in line to Tesla. While precise like-for-like comparisons are tricky given how each automaker publishes its statistics, Ford’s rise in the EV market certainly threatens Tesla’s dominance.

Meanwhile, General Motors’ chief executive Mary Barra has hinted that the Michigan-based carmaker, and former owner of Vauxhall and Europe’s Opel, may return to this side of the Atlantic with an all-electric production facility.

“We are looking at the growth opportunity that we have now, because we can re-enter Europe as an all-EV player. I’m looking forward to that,” Barra told a conference in May. 

GM previously pledged to spend $35bn (£29bn) on EV research and development between 2020 and 2025. While the pandemic will have had an effect on that, there is no doubting the company’s intended direction of travel.

While it may not be good news for Musk, such competition is welcome for consumers. EV market choice has never been greater. 

Figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that global sales of EVs doubled to 6.6m in 2021, far higher from the 120,000 sold in the year 2012 as carmakers switch tact to keep up with where demand is coming from. 

IEA figures suggest the market capitalisation of EV makers was 60pc higher than that of the world’s top ten automakers combined. 

It said: “Such high levels can be primarily attributed to Tesla, which accounts for 80pc of the total market capitalisation of the 14 pure-play EV companies.”

While that may hold true for now, rising competition is likely keeping Musk up at night. Normally a prolific Twitter user, Musk has not tweeted for almost a fortnight. It has sparked speculation that his focus could instead be on the $44bn purchase of Twitter – and the hurdles that come with it. 

Other theories point to his ongoing court case against the US Stock Exchange Commission and its so-called “Twitter sitter” – a Tesla employee charged with moderating the chief executive’s social media posts about Tesla, lest he suggest something that might confuse its investors, as he did in 2018 when he posted that Tesla would be going private.

He may have much to worry about, but perhaps the main woe on his mind is the multiple carmakers clamouring to steal Tesla’s crown.


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