The competition in electric cars is heating up. Tesla is the leader in luxury, and its CEO Elon Musk is making a play for the mass market with the company’s forthcoming Model 3, but Chevy, Nissan, Fiat, Mercedes, and Ford are already in that space. Volvo recently announced it is also moving into that space with an all-electric car planned for 2019 with a projected price tag of $35,000 to $40,000.
In the near future, electric cars will no longer be the sole domain of the luxury-car owner.
According to Automotive News, Volvo Cars’ North America CEO, Lex Kerssemakers, told reporters at the Geneva Auto Show that the company’s first fully electric vehicle will likely have a price range of about $35,000 to $40,000 when it’s released in 2019. This would put Volvo’s electric offering in the same range as Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3, which is intended to be the company’s most affordable electric vehicle, and the Chevrolet Bolt, the first electric vehicle from General Motors.
Unlike the squat Bolt, which Chevy has been showing off for more than a year (Car and Driver likes it but calls its styling “dweeby”) and the sleekly designed Model 3 unveiled last March by Elon Musk, the look of Volvo’s all-electric vehicle is still an unknown. Kerssemakers said the company is set to decide whether it will offer it as an update to an existing model, or come up with a completely new design, in the coming months. The Swedish automaker uses two body platforms—one for its larger SUVs and sedans, and a smaller one for its crossovers and cars—that will allow it to develop the electric vehicle in a relatively crunched time frame.
Right now, the options for affordable all-electric cars are slim. Nissan’s diminutive Leaf is available to purchase, but it can only be driven about 100 miles on a single charge. Fiat’s equally tiny 500e is only sold in California and Oregon. Mercedes has an electric B-Class model, and Volkswagen the e-Golf, but both get only a bit above 80 miles per charge. There’s also the Ford Focus Electric, which is probably one of the stronger competitors to Tesla and Chevy at $30,000, although it only has a range of about 140 miles.
Chevy’s Bolt has started rolling out to some U.S. dealerships, but widespread availability isn’t expected until the end of the year. Tesla’s first Model 3 pre-orders are expected to be delivered to customers closer to the end of the year, with new orders unlikely to be fulfilled before 2018. The Chevy, Tesla, and Volvo vehicles are expected to have a range of over 200 miles before they need to be recharged.
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Jeremy Jones, CFA
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