Things haven’t been going particularly well for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shareholders lately. TSLA stock is now down 21% in 2016. To make matters worse, Tesla investors recently got a reality check about the level of competition they can expect from General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and others in coming years.
TSLA stock owners are hoping that the Model 3 can carry Tesla Motors to the mass market electric car promised land. Unfortunately, GM seems to have beaten TSLA to the punch.
It’s no secret that GM is going to beat Tesla Motors to the market with its Chevy Bolt. GM is expecting to begin shipping the Chevy Bolt by the end of December. Tesla, on the other hand, is not expecting to begin Model 3 shipping until “late 2017.”
However, Tesla Motors has a history of delays, and Car and Driver doesn’t expect Model 3 shipments until late 2019.
Regardless of whether there will be delays, it appears as if GM will get a one to three year head start on Tesla Motors in the affordable electric car market. The Model 3 better be worth the wait.
Chevy Bolt Is a Threat to TSLA Stock
By May, the Model 3 already had more than 370,000 pre-orders. However, for a tech-savvy progressive group of buyers, asking them to sit and wait for years to get their hands on the wheel is a tall order. For the Model 3 to be worth the wait, the Chevy Bolt would need to be an unappealing alternative.
As it turns out, the Chevy Bolt is not the cheap, hastily assembled General Motors desperation move Tesla investors had hoped it would be. In fact, it will actually be the best car (gas or electric) on the road in 2017. That’s according to Motor Trend, which just named the Chevy Bolt the 2017 Car of the Year.
According to Tesla Motors’ website, the company is hoping the Model 3 will achieve 215 miles of range per charge and start at $35,000. The Chevy Bolt gets an EPA-estimated 238 miles per charge and starts at $37,500.
Experts seem to be wising up to the situation. Motor Trend executive editor Mark Rechtin called the Chevy Bolt “a direct challenge for Tesla to make the Model 3 anything near the Bolt EV for the same price.” Rechtin added, “Elon Musk should be afraid. Very, very afraid.”
To make matters worse, Model 3 pre-orders can be cancelled at any time for a full refund.
Of course, the Model 3 still has exclusive Tesla Motors technology such as its Autopilot full self-driving hardware. However, the fully autonomous software hasn’t even begun the regulatory approval process.