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1 Auto Company Tesla Motors Should Be Afraid Of

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) has taken the auto world by storm by developing electric cars from the ground up, and in the process creating a new category of automobile that didn’t exist just a few years ago. The success of the Model S, and anticipation for the Model X, have wowed the market and rewarded investors with a 486% gain in the last year alone.

Automakers like Nissan, General Motors (NYSE: GM ) , and Ford (NYSE: F ) have halfheartedly followed suit, creating short-range electric vehicles that are often augmented by a gasoline-hybrid power train as well. But Tesla has mastered the EV market so far.

Model S batteries are incorporated into the chassis, lowering the center of gravity of the vehicle.

Why Detroit can’t compete with Tesla
While GM and Ford have demonstrated an interest to play in the EV market, they’re not the players to contend with Tesla in the high-five-figure auto market. The problem is that neither of these automakers provides a performance product to match a Tesla vehicle, nor do they offer much appeal for the affluent buyers who can afford electric vehicles, which is where the market is right now.

Not only is a Tesla Model S an EV that can appeal to the most environmentally conscious consumer, it’s a performance machine that stacks up against some of the best sports cars in the world — that’s the key to its success.

From a design standpoint, the big reason automakers aren’t making headway against Tesla is that they aren’t yet building EV chassis and drive trains from the ground up the way Tesla has done. Tesla built its batteries into the car’s floor to lower the center of gravity to increase performance and save space in the cabin. Instead, competitors are jamming battery packs into the existing vehicle design.

But one company is taking a ground-up approach to EVs and it could be a big competitor to Tesla.

The one company Tesla should worry about
One company that is starting its EV design from scratch and has the ability to meet or exceed the performance of Tesla’s Model S is BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF ) . The BMW i3 has batteries integrated into the floor of the vehicle, opening up the cabin for passengers. It also incorporates carbon fiber that lowers the curb weight to just over 2,600 pounds. That’s a ton less than the 4,600-pound Model S (although the i3 is a smaller vehicle).

Where BMW will be able to compete long term is in performance. Below are highlighted the performance specifications of the Model S and three BMW models: the M5 (BMW’s closest conventional competitor to the Model S), i3, and i8.


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