How large of a competitive advantage does Tesla have with electric vehicle technology?

I answer a lot of questions on Quora. Many of those questions are about automotive things that may be of interest to CarNewsCafe readers. Like this one.

How large of a competitive advantage does Tesla have with electric vehicle technology?

My Answer: Very little. Probably none. EV technology is pretty simple and most every major automotive manufacturer has been in the game, at some level, for some time. Batteries are also made in-house by Nissan and BMW. It’s possible that Tesla is hampered by its partnership with Panasonic in that regard, actually, but that’s speculation and not proven by anything concrete.

Most of Tesla’s advantage is in non-EV tech, especially real-world data from self-driving technologies and EV real-world use. The problem is that some of that data, especially with the latter, may not apply to other vehicle makes as Tesla’s systems are proprietary, including charging and so forth. Most everyone else is using standardized charging, so comparisons cannot be apples-to-apples.

Tesla enjoys a reputation, so far, for being THE electric car maker. That reputation could stay around or it could be lost, depending on how much brand liability is lost as others enter the market and Tesla itself sees more negative coverage.

Tesla’s vehicles have a reputation for being synonymous with electric cars, but they also have a reputation for catching fire and for running into objects while on Auto Pilot. Arguments about how deserved those reputation points might be are irrelevant, they are things synonymous with Tesla in the public vernacular. So far, that hasn’t affected sales, but it could eventually. Especially after early adopters are done buying and the cars become mainstream.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at