Earlier this spring, Elon Musk and
) were basking in the limelight as investor optimism drove shares
of the stock from less than $40 in March to a high of $129.90 on
July 12. With a July 16 downgrade from Goldman Sachs calling for a
best case valuation for Tesla of $113 per share and a worst case of
$58, it's time for Tesla to reassess its priorities in its ongoing
effort to revolutionize the car industry.
The goal at Tesla is to make a stylish, affordable, all-electric
vehicle, but as of now, it has only accomplished two of those three
The Model S is an outwardly pretty car. Its smooth and sporty lines
provide a welcome alternative to its less attractive fellow
electric cars like the
(OTCMKTS:NSANY) and the 2012
Right now, however, a base price of $62,400 is anything but
(ETR:BMW) would put a similar or smaller dent in consumers' wallets
compared to the Model S.
Back in May, Musk discussed plans for a smaller Tesla, priced at
approximately $30,000, to be
released in the next three to five years
. This would lock down affordability, but anyone looking for a
reasonably priced electric car can already
find one in the Leaf and i-MiEV.
Additionally, the drastic differences between the
concept model an
d its mediocre production vehicle
show that cutting a car's price tag in half could call for some
sacrifices in the looks department.
Tesla's vehicles are meant to stand out in a crowd. By doing this,
however, the brand has established an electric-luxury category in
the already niche electric car market.
) are far easier to come by during a typical commute than luxury
vehicles. They may lack sex appeal and high-powered engines, but
they get people from place to place,
lofty price tags.
Comparing some simple statistics of the Leaf, Model S, and i-MiEV
makes it clear that priorities for Tesla's vehicle just aren't the
same as its competitors priorities.
From a consumer's perspective, the choice comes down to
practicality versus performance -- and right now, despite a limited
top speed, its impressive acceleration and motor power make it
clear that Tesla is putting most of its eggs in a sporty basket.
The upgrades to the base models are also telling. The move from the
Nissan Leaf S model to its next tier model, the SV, will provide
"luxuries" like a navigation system, aluminum-alloy wheels, and an
on-board charger. A move to a Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE offers similar
benefits, while upgrading your Tesla primarily offers gains in
power, speed, and acceleration.
The Leaf and i-MiEV have far from spectacular specs, but what they
do offer is a bare-bones and efficient driving experience.
They can achieve acceptable speeds and they can accommodate the
average commuter. They are clearly crafted with the intention of
eliminating the usage of fossil fuels. The Model S, meanwhile, is
designed more for Sunday drives than office carpools, but it
happens to be environmentally friendly.
As of now, there are plenty of reasons to love the Model S, but
apparently it's hard for analysts to say the same for Tesla stock.
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