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Has Volkswagen Created a Tesla-Killer?

Volkswagen's new electric car looks promising, but ...

Written by Jeff Siegel
Posted October 7, 2016 at 5:37PM

After it was unveiled in Paris, some in the media quickly dubbed it “The Tesla Killer.”

How they came to this conclusion, I have no idea.

It was a few weeks ago when Volkswagen (OTCBB: VLKAY) showed if its new electric car in Paris, along with press releases claiming that when it’s finally released, it’ll offer a longer range and cost less than anything else on the market. Including the Model 3 from Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

But here’s the rub …

It’s not going to be in showrooms until 2020. And if you know anything about the world of electric cars, you know that it doesn’t take more than six to eight months before the technology vastly improves… again, which ultimately results in better pricing and longer range.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Volkswagen isn’t going to pull of something quite disruptive. But so is every other car maker.

Volkswagen MUST Deliver

The new Volkswagen electric car, which is called the I.D., is expected to cost less than $30,000 and deliver an all-electric range of 373 miles on a single charge. No doubt this is impressive. Especially when you consider that the Tesla Model 3 is expected to come in $35,000 and deliver an all-electric range of 215 miles, and the Chevy Bolt is expected to come in at $37,5000 and deliver an all-electric range of 238 miles on a single charge. The latter, by the way, will also be available to consumers at the end of this year.

That being said, Volkswagen does have a lot to prove after it screwed over its customers by promising some level of eco-credibility only to be busted for cheating on emissions tests. Truth is, if Volkswagen has any shot at being relevant in the U.S. in the future, it has to deliver something truly impressive. Certainly delivering an affordable electric car with a range of nearly 400 miles could do that.

And in all fairness, it’s actually a pretty cool-looking car.

vwid

Still, to suggest the Volkswagen’s new electric car is a “Tesla-killer,” is a little far-fetched. In fact, it seems like I’ve been seeing this “Tesla-killer” moniker for years, and yet the company is still quite far ahead of any other electric car maker on the planet.

Sure, the Bolt looks like it’s going to give Tesla a run for its money, but you have to realize that the name Tesla means something. The name Tesla is identified with cutting-edge technology and ground-breaking design. It really has become the “King of the Hill” in the world of electric cars.

Elon Musk and the Tesla team didn’t just build an electric car, they created an incredibly valuable brand, like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) or Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

Yes, GM has made some impressive electric cars, but the name GM isn’t equated with quality or innovation. The same goes for Volkswagen.

Of course, I would love nothing more than to see Volkswagen shake off its incredibly bad karma by delivering a truly outstanding electric car. An electric car that would deliver on range, price, design, and anything else that might help further the demise of the very outdated internal combustion engine. But even if that happens, the Volkswagen I.D. still won’t be able to “kill Tesla.”

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