- Even as EVs boom, Tesla has no real competitors, according to manufacturing expert Sandy Munro.
- Chinese firms like Nio and XPeng will pose the biggest threat to Tesla, Munro said.
- Tesla dominates EV sales, but it faces growing competition from startups and traditional automakers.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Tesla launched its first model, the Roadster, back when there were virtually no electric cars on the market.
Now, as the electric-vehicle space is bursting more than a decade later, one manufacturing expert thinks Elon Musk’s automaker still has no true rivals.
“None. There are no competitors to Tesla. But when they do come they’ll be Chinese,” Sandy Munro said during a Q-and-A session on his YouTube channel when asked which companies pose the biggest threat to Tesla. Munro runs an engineering firm and is well-known for his cost-analysis teardowns of cars.
Tesla is far and away the dominant force in the EV industry currently, and its roughly $40,000 Model 3 sedan was the best-selling electric car in the world in 2020. But legacy automakers have their sights set on the startup’s crown amid tightening emissions regulations worldwide and growing excitement from investors around EVs.
Volkswagen announced an all-out electric offensive this year that includes several European battery plants and major investments in charging stations. Ford recently began selling its first EV, the Mustang Mach-E crossover, which has already begun eating into Tesla’s US market share, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.
According to Munro, who has been involved in EV engineering since the ill-fated GM EV1 of the late 1990s, the Mach-E is the “closest thing to an electric car that could – could – take on Tesla.” But Chinese carmakers like Nio, XPeng, BJEV, and Geely will pose the biggest threat to Tesla and traditional OEMs alike as they bring electric cars to market in the coming years.
“Quite frankly, apart from Tesla and Rivian and maybe a few others here, all the other OEMs better pay attention. Because the Chinese EVs have builds as good as anything we’ve got here [and] costs that are significantly lower,” Munro said. “You better have your belt on real tight when the Chinese start putting their cars into North America.”
Munro has said that Tesla is 10 years ahead of the competition when it comes to some elements of its manufacturing. Some Wall Street analysts think Tesla’s lead in the EV space will extend for years.
In a March note, analysts from UBS said Tesla will remain the most profitable electric-car company through at least 2025, even though Volkswagen will overtake it in terms of EV sales by that year.