Time is witness that Elon Musk and eccentricities come along as a combo package.
Wednesday’s announcement was no different. In what is really a jab to Lucid Motors laced with his singularly puerile humour, Tesla CEO Elon Musk cut the price of the company’s flagship sedan, the Model S, for the second time within one week.
The news comes just a day after it had quietly updated the price of Model S Long Range Plus and Performance variants, cutting it by $3000 each. Musk took to Twitter to announce the latest reduction in his signature style –
The tweet was put out just hours after Lucid Motors’ announcements of its forthcoming luxury electric sedan, the Lucid Air, which starts at $77, 400.
The move is no doubt aimed squarely at Lucid, the competitor of Tesla, whose offerings’ performance falls in the same ballpark while boasting a superior 9.9-second quarter-mile time. Promising 406 miles of all-electric range, which barely edges out Model S’s 402 miles, the base model Air features a 480 horsepower power train, while the Model S Long Range Plus variant has a combined powertrain of 534 horsepower. According to the company’s claims, a longer-range variant of the Air could also go on to have a range of a whopping 517 miles!
The subplot within the announcement pot-shot is also one with Peter Rawlinson, now CEO of EV start-up Lucid Motors. The Brit, who was previously Chief Engineer at Tesla before going on his own way, certainly seems to have miffed Musk. The two have traded verbal barbs ever since Rawlinson left Tesla and Musk appears to be keeping score. Musk’s level of attention to his former employee is also an indicator that the competition in the sector is really warming up.
There is also the fact that the Model S is in a sort of moulder at Tesla. With the automaker looking to focus more on the mass-market Model 3 and Model Y, which are on the ascent, deliveries for Model S sedans have been increasingly fewer. Tesla delivered 15,200 units of both Model S and Model X last quarter — down from 17,400 during the same period last year and down from 27,660 vehicles (14,470 Model S and 13,190 Model X) back in the third quarter of 2018.
With figures which point to stagnation, the price drop that happened earlier this week may gesture towards an underlying problem with the sales volume of the Model S in particular. Perhaps, those at Tesla, Inc. have realised the difficulty in continuing an upward trend with Model S/ the designated model.
As of now, the Tesla shareholders have mooted their approval, with the company’s shares going up 3.6% on Wednesday afternoon, as reported by Reuters.
Between more companies gunning for the Model S’s market share and Tesla cannibalizing its own sales with lower-cost vehicles, it will be interesting to see what future strategy the company offers to take. With Elon Musk on the watch, you can be sure to expect more duels played out in the up and coming EV sector.
Tune here for more updates.