Business Insider Edition

Tesla is facing mounting pressure as Audi, Mercedes, and Volkswagen ramp up their push into electric cars

Mark Matousek , Business Insider US
 May 19, 2019, 09:03 AM
Audi e-tron.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • US deliveries have begun for Audi's e-tron SUV, while pre-orders and production have started for Volkswagen's ID.3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz's EQC SUV, respectively.
  • The e-tron, ID.3, and EQC are part of a wave of luxury and mass-market electric vehicles that have recently been released or will arrive in the coming years.
  • Elon Musk's Tesla accounted for about 68% of the US electric-vehicle market in 2018.
  • But as traditional automakers ramp up their investments in electric vehicles, Tesla's position in the electric-vehicle market will be challenged.
  • For more go to Business Insider South Africa.


Electric vehicles from Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen have reached significant milestones in recent weeks.

American deliveries have begun for Audi's e-tron SUV, while pre-orders and production have started for Volkswagen's ID.3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz's EQC SUV, respectively.

An Audi representative confirmed to Business Insider at the beginning of May that e-tron deliveries had started in the US. The vehicle has a range of 330 kilometres, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, and starts at around R1 million.

See also: A new car brand says it could be selling 'affordable' (if weird-looking) electric cars, motorbikes, and 1-ton trucks in SA next year

Volkswagen's ID.3 has received over 15,000 pre-orders in Europe since customers were allowed to place deposits of around R16,000 for the vehicle on May 8, the company said on Tuesday. Tesla's Model 3 sedan received over 325,000 pre-orders in the first week after reservations were opened in 2016.

The ID.3 will have a range of between around 320km and 550km, based on European testing standards, Volkswagen says. The vehicle will start at under R500,000, and deliveries will begin in mid-2020.

Mercedes-Benz said EQC production had started on May 6. According to the automaker, the vehicle will have a range of over 440km, based on European testing standards, and start at around R1.15 million. EQC deliveries will begin for US customers in 2020.

The e-tron, ID.3, and EQC are part of a wave of luxury and mass-market electric vehicles that have recently been released or will arrive in the coming years. Tesla accounted for about 68% of the US electric-vehicle market in 2018, and has largely had the luxury electric-vehicle market to itself since releasing its Roadster sports car in 2008.

But as traditional automakers ramp up their investments in electric vehicles, Tesla's position in the electric-vehicle market will be challenged. Volkswagen plans to invest over $33 billion in electric vehicles by 2023 and introduce nearly 70 electric models by 2028. Ford plans to invest $11 billion in electric vehicles and have 40 hybrid and fully-electric models available by 2022.

Tesla will likely continue to sell more electric vehicles than any of its competitors over the next two years, said Ed Kim, the vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific. But the company's sales numbers could decline due to increased competition.

"I think they're going to remain the volume leaders, at least for the next two years," Kim said. "But I do think that their volumes will certainly drop significantly, even if they remain the market leader, simply because there's going to be a lot more competition in that space."

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