5 Reasons Teslas Trump Every Other Electric Car

We get criticized a little bit for writing too much about Tesla. However, so far, Tesla is just in a very different league than all the other electric car producers. Not even speaking about the Tesla Model S or Model X specifically, there are 5 big reasons a Tesla (generally speaking, and including a Tesla Model 3) is head and shoulders above other electric car models.

*Full disclosure: I’m a TSLA stockholder, for the reasons explained below. I have no intention to sell the stock for many years.

Supercharging Is A League Above Other “Fast Charging”

Tesla Superchargers Spain

First of all, one of the most-talked-about reasons is that Tesla has the Supercharger network. While other “fast charging” networks are out there and can help with the convenience and practicality of an electric car, those charging stations charge an electric car approximately half as fast as a Supercharger charges a Tesla.

EV-Charging-RatesThis is the only charging network of any kind in any part of the world that charges cars quickly enough for electric cars to really be able to take a road trip without much inconvenience (for the typical person, not just super-flexible EV enthusiasts). Other fast chargers may make regional or local trips in an electric car completely practical and convenient, but they still don’t adequately serve genuinely long-range trips. This is a critical factor for electric cars to become mainstream, for the common Joe to feel cool living with them.

Yes, I fully agree that people can generally rent cars, swap cars with friends/family, or take a train or plane for long-distance trips — and that’s a much nicer way to go. I type this as I sit on a comfy high-speed train from Warsaw to Wroclaw, a couple hours after arriving in Warsaw via a long solo drive that was much less pleasant, and during which I couldn’t work, play, or rest. The trips both ways take approximately the same time, while the train is cheaper and, in my opinion, several times more valuable. Alas, not everyone has such great options, and even if they do, they may not be open to using them. They may prefer to drive their car (for reasons I probably don’t understand). In any case, the point is: I have spent a lot of time trying to bring more sense to long-distance travel behavior and ideology, but I don’t see the masses in the US and many other countries shifting from the idea that their car should be their long-distance land ship. And those same people aren’t going to be cool with a 1-hour charging stop every 1–3 hours of driving.

Our recent surveys of potential EV buyers demonstrated this point well enough:



OTA Updates

Another big trump card Tesla has is its over-the-air updates. A Tesla EV gets better and better as time goes on (in some ways, at least). Tesla is continuously rolling out over-the-air software updates that improve various aspects of the car. When it does so, you wake up, and your car has just become a better vehicle.

For people who bought the autopilot hardware, when Tesla rolled out its autopilot software, customers all of a sudden had cars with autonomous driving features. As these features get enhanced and multiply, the cars keep improving. One of the latest improvements is the ability to have the car park itself or roll out of your garage without you even in it.

Tesla has even demonstrated the ability to do “over-the-air recalls.” Naturally, the issue needing resolved has to be a software issue, not a hardware issue, but still, this can save countless hours for customers as well as staff, since there’s no need for the customer to bring the car into a dealer/service center for the fix.

Yes, other automakers could implement these at some point, but they haven’t yet.

Clear, No-Pressure Sales

Tesla StoreGetting away from the technical stuff, Tesla has also built a wonderful customer reputation because of its no-pressure sales approach and the clear pricing system it has in place.

When you walk into a Tesla store, you don’t have a “slick” salesman walking up to you with dollar signs in his eyeballs. The entire goal on the other side isn’t to get you into the buying seat and have you sign paperwork as the price you initially agreed to rises every 10 minutes or so. Tesla staff, from my experience and what I’ve heard from so many other people, are genuinely friendly, open to helping when requested (but not pushing to help you), and know a lot about the product.

That last point is a good one worth highlighting on its own. Tesla staff tend to know a great deal about the Model S and Model X, and typically much more than the customers. Time and time again, salespeople at conventional auto dealerships reveal that the customers usually know much more about their electric car models than they do. The thing is, what Tesla staff are supposed to do isn’t just get you in the signing seat — their main task is to help answer your questions and inform you about the car.

From no pressure, to deeply informative staff, to the price staying the same as what you can find online (not doubling or tripling before you get out the door), this is a whole different game from a conventional auto-buying experience, and tremendously refreshing for the consumer. After going through a dealership experience with my mom recently, I’m eager to never do that again.


This point references the Model S and Model X, of course, as well as the Tesla Roadster, but the key is that it’s expected to apply to any Tesla.

Tesla turned the stigma of electric cars being glorified golf carts on its head, delivering a wickedly quick and sporty Tesla Roadster. It beat the pants off that car by releasing a 5- to 7-seat sedan that is quicker than all but 5 production cars in history, all of which are tremendously more expensive and less spacious than a top-of-the-line Model S, and sold in small quantities. The out came the X, an SUV that is nearly as quick as a Model S and can seat 7 adults + a lot of cargo.

The Tesla Model 3 is supposed to be about half the price of the Model S, so it will almost surely lose some of that car’s oomph. But it is widely expected that it will blow the pants off of a comparatively priced BMW, Mercedes, etc. We’re all eager for the specs, but given Tesla’s history, it isn’t likely to disappoint.

In summary, no matter what Tesla you buy, it’s practically impossible that a comparatively priced car from a competitor (electric or gas), in the same class and with the same practicality, is going to beat the Tesla to 60 mph (100 km/h).

All Electric

Tesla Model Ss FloridaThere are now many electric cars on the market, with some manufacturers focusing their electrifed models on all-electric driving and others on plug-in hybrids, but electrics don’t come close to the majority of car sales for any manufacturer other than Tesla. For most manufacturers, these seem to be compliance cars that they build because they are forced to in order to sell in key markets.

For the few manufacturers that genuinely seem enthusiastic about our electric future, their electric offerings are still a niche segment of their portfolio, and customers are routinely guided away from these vehicles to conventional gasoline-powered cars. Communications around these cars are generally quite weak and infrequent.

On the whole, every other manufacturer seems like it’s playing in a half-assed B league, while Tesla is the only pro in the room really working to make the public love EVs.

Tesla is 100% focused on driving us into an electric future (pun somewhat intended), and that resonates with many of the humans interested in going electric. Furthermore, adding all these points together, Tesla is often the one that unleashed the buyer’s interest in electric cars in the first place.

Top image by Tesla Motors. All other images by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica.

8 thoughts on “5 Reasons Teslas Trump Every Other Electric Car

  1. Without regard to cost, Tesla is of course best. But factor in pricing one’s time, and things may change. For example, we’d all love Supercharger access, but if all EV get it with one time fee, there likely will be waiting, sometimes significant waiting. Based on Leaf and i3 drivers getting free charge as well as Tesla having sent out letters to frequent Supercharger users, one time fee rather than pay per session will become huge problem. In fact, “free” supercharger is one thing (among very few) that is negative about Tesla.

    1. Bogus fud. There weren’t always gas stations on every corner either. When the car’s arrive in meaningful numbers The infrastructure will expand to keep pace. It took 100 years to build the oil and gas infrastructure as it exists today. Which I might add was not done by any auto manufacturers. Expecting charging infrastructure to do it in a few years is Short sighted. The business case will begin to work eventually end when there is money to be made charging build out will take off.

      1. Which part is bogus fud? That Tesla sent out letters or that most people who use / abuse DCFC are those who get free charge? Imagine if gasoline is dispensed like Supercharger where X dollar gets you all you can use gasoline. That’s just inviting abuse. This kind of “business model” would’ve bankrupted standard oil. That’s why we have pay based on usage for gasoline, home electricity, just about everything we use.

        1. Yea, should charge something for supercharging and preferably more than your off peak electricity rate. A decent network like Tesla’s is good, but in the long run you want them to be available right away. So maybe a price per kWh is not a bad idea but also Tesla needs to make sure they add superchargers proportionally to the number of new cars they produce.

        2. This Part;
          “” For example, we’d all love Supercharger access, but if all EV get it with one time fee, there likely will be waiting, sometimes significant waiting. Based on Leaf and i3 drivers getting free charge as well as Tesla having sent out letters to frequent Supercharger users, one time fee rather than pay per session will become huge problem””
          The infrastructure will come when the demand is sufficient and a business model can be supported. You’re creating hypothetical problems suggesting that the infrastructure development will remain static even as the plugin fleet increases to the point of overcrowding the charging network. If and when BEV’s number in the millions on the road. The needed charging facilities will likely get built by opportunists and developers, utilities, or whoever. and in all likelihood charging by and large will not be “free”
          Tesla built their own network and can do with it as they please. that’s between them and their customers.

          1. You’re completely missing my point. It’s not hypothetical that Tesla sent out letters asking people to use less Supercharger, and most use of DCFC is by those getting free chargingin (Leaf + i3). Nowhere in my comment do I say anything about the future being static charging infrastructure.

            Tesla sent out the letter due to demand outstripping supply. If what you say about demand will increase supply regardless of billing, Tesla wouldn’t have sent the letter, instead simply build more Superchargers. The problem is not lack of infrastructure, or even slow build out, but the way charging is billed.

            To reiterate, my point against Tesla (and no charge to charge programs for Leaf+i3) is the billing. “Free” charging is the reason for waiting, and if Tesla continue to give “free” charging after one time fee, situation will get lot worse no matter how many Superchargers they build.

  2. Tesla is the best at the moment, but they need to add wireless charging as an option, after all didn’t Nikola Tesla himself invent wireless charging? I think it would be a pretty awesome option to have, I’d rather not even worry about parking/charging my car, just roll into the driveway and the car will take care of the rest.

  3. With all due respect to Tesla lovers, it is the Nissan Leaf that should have this honor. Other to the teenage boys, rich people and IT guys, the most important property of a car is its utility and practicality, which this article completely ignores.

    Nissan leaf has shown that an electric car for the masses is possible. Like Model T and VW beetle did in the previous century.

    Performance, OTA bug fixes/upgrades are good, but for common drive ability to use an EV instead of a gasoline powered car is how a cars value should be measured.

    Now, Model 3 may change all that, but not the fact that Nissan Leaf was the pioneer that started it all.

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