Looking back ahead: 2020 was really an electric car year – and yet only the beginning

Welcome to 2021 – at last, many will say, because 2020, which started promisingly, was due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which came to an apt end with the German firecrackers (sales) ban on New Year’s Eve. However, the global state of emergency could not prevent one thing: observers had predicted an electric car year for 2020, especially in Europe, because stricter EU emission limits came into force. In fact, it was Tesla in particular that defied the Corona economic slump, and electric cars from other manufacturers that were coming from the second half of the year also sold better and better. Many more new models have been announced for 2021 – and Tesla does not want to increase the selection, but wants to produce a lot more.

Tesla will rely on Model Y in 2021

In fact, Tesla seems to be relying mainly on the Model Y for growth in its electric car division in 2021 (the energy business is also becoming more important, but storage sales in particular seem to continue to be slowed by battery shortages). Most of the new competing models are also emerging in its crossover or SUV electric car segment.

According to observers, the production of the Model Y in a second huge hall of the Tesla Gigafactory in China has already begun, at least as a test, the official start is expected soon. A little later, the export of the electric car to Europe could begin. Because in mid-October, Tesla had surprisingly sent thousands of Model 3s from China on their way there, and more and Model Y are to follow according to unofficial information.

Lots of competition in crossover electric cars

This means that the second volume Tesla could reach Europe and Germany before production starts in the new Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin. Tesla itself sees even better market opportunities for Model Y than for Model 3. In Texas, Tesla started building another gigafactory in late summer 2020, which, according to reports, will also produce Model Y first and could begin before the end of 2021.

Unlike the Model 3 and the USA, however, a direct competitor will already be available in Europe when the Tesla Model Y becomes available here: the Volkswagen ID.4 as the second electric car on the Group’s MEB platform after the one in autumn 2020 passably started ID.3. Other MEB-based alternatives will also come from the Volkswagen subsidiaries Audi, Seat and Skoda in the course of the year. The performance data are also in the region of the Tesla Model Y as are the previously known prices, at least for VW and Audi. After the ID.3, which is at least in the base lower positioned, the German group dares to venture into Tesla terrain more directly.

The same applies to Ford with the Mustang Mach-E in crossover style, which as a sporty version is also supposed to come close to the performance variant of the Model Y. And with the Ioniq 5 and the Nissan Ariya, newly developed e-crossovers from Asia are also coming onto the European market.

New Tesla target with 100% increase?

In 2021, Tesla will only have to oppose all these fresh alternatives with the Model Y, which is not even completely new. Unlike other manufacturers, however, the electric car pioneer is constantly making improvements to its vehicles. This applies to ongoing production and even more so when a new production facility in China starts operations soon, as is expected. In addition, Tesla has so far outstanding software capabilities: They not only ensure a pleasant user experience, but also keep cars that have already been delivered fresh using wireless updates.

In the USA, too, with the new President Joe Biden, there should be renewed momentum in the electric car market in 2021, as in China and Europe, so that the conditions for the transport transformation, which is still being led by Tesla, are favorable worldwide. According to Marketwatch, the investment bank Morgan Stanley expects global electric car sales to increase by at least 50 percent in 2021.

Tesla has not yet announced any target numbers for the new year. But at the end of October, CEO Elon Musk told an analyst who asked for up to 1 million electric cars in 2021 that he was “not far off”. After a foreseeable increase to 500,000 in 2020, Tesla seems to have (once again) set itself twice as much as the rest of the industry is expected to do.


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