Here's why it's hard to buy an electric car other than a Tesla

Here’s why it’s hard to buy an electric car other than a Tesla

We are regularly asked the following question: “What do you recommend as an electric car?” “. It is difficult to quickly answer this question, because it depends on the budget, the needs, the context… but to tell the truth, regardless of these considerations, the Tesla brand is obvious. Why? Exactly, we are going to answer this question.

Tesla Model 3 // Source: Unsplash

The software, the advancement of Tesla

If there’s one thing Tesla doesn’t let down, it’s the software. Their software approach is completely new to the automotive industry. Tesla is way ahead of everyone else in the auto business and that’s one of the problems. The competition is not bad at all, especially when you see the Mégane E-Tech with Android Automotive, or even the future interface of the Volvo EX90. But overall, automakers are lagging behind, at least, in giving Tesla new ideas and beating Tesla in software.

You will tell me, but why? First of all, the vast majority of vehicles cannot perform over-the-air (OTA) software updates other than the infotainment system or navigation software data. At Tesla, updates are common and bring fixes and optimizations, but also new features. It’s an identical approach to what we know from our smartphones, with even more regular updates. These software updates also save Tesla a fortune by avoiding costly callbacks. Same observation during the semiconductor crisis, Tesla adapted its software according to the available parts so as not to have to slow down production.

Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

So it’s fluid. Very fluid. If we’ve talked so much about the processor that powers Tesla’s infotainment – that is, an AMD chip in the latest models – it’s because the latter offers exceptional performance (for a car). Unlike most vehicles on the market that have Android Auto or Apple Carplay on board, thus delegating computing power to the smartphone, Tesla has decided to assume its independence from these two technological giants. So you need as much computing power as possible in your infotainment system today, but it also needs to be efficient over time.

The scheduler is efficient // Source: Frandroid

We must also point out the importance of software for aftermarket. Arguably this is the real benefit of having such tightly integrated software. Retrieval of remote diagnosis and correction, Tesla can thus offer a personalized approach and act quickly. Everything is managed from the application. Right, let’s talk about the app. It certainly offers a lot more features than the competitors offer. You can give your friends temporary access, turn on the air conditioning or heating remotely, launch the sentinel model to ensure greater surveillance, etc.

Autopilot

Elon Musk founded his electric car company, Tesla, on the promise that it represented the future of driving, a phrase on the automaker’s website. Much of that promise was centered around the Aupilot. Time and time again, Musk has said that truly autonomous driving is almost at hand, and that capability will come to drivers via OTA updates.

Tesla Model 3 in autopilot navigation // Source: Bob Jouy for Frandroid

While this approach has raised safety concerns, including much debate over what hardware to use, it’s clear that Tesla is at the most advanced stage of fully autonomous driving. In France, even Autopilot is a device that combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, all thanks to sensors and cameras. For these functions, the Tesla are the best performers. The EV chain has done a lot of testing on this, each time Tesla comes out on top.

In the US, it’s a no-brainer, as some Tesla drivers in the US may take advantage of the beta version of the self-driving capability. Specifically, customers who wish to do so and who have obtained a sufficient safety score attesting to their safe driving can purchase this option and use it. The data is then communicated to Tesla, which can therefore continue to improve its device and make it accessible to everyone after its development is complete.

So it seems to be on the right track. Although this system always requires a certain vigilance on the part of the driver, who must be able to regain control at any time, it allows him to travel everywhere, even in the city.

electrical efficiency

When we talk about electric cars, we talk about autonomy. The two issues are linked, because it is the anxiety of drivers. And it’s completely legitimate: nobody wants to end up with a dead battery in the middle of a trip. This is already the case with a phone, which has become a vital object in our daily lives. When it is easy to anticipate a full tank of gasoline (except in case of shortage) with a thermal vehicle, a 100% electric car requires a completely different organization, more focused on forecasting.

The consumption of an electric car is expressed in kWh per 100 kilometers, that is, specifically, the energy that the vehicle needs to travel those 100 kilometers. For a thermal vehicle, we are talking about liters of fuel consumed. The pattern is the same: the lower the fuel consumption or kWh, the longer the car can drive.

To get the best efficiency, you don’t need to have the biggest battery. On the contrary. It can go through visible equipment (such as aerodynamic wheels) or invisible (a heat pump, which recycles hot air for better cabin temperature management). There are levers to move efficiency in the right direction.

At this point, Tesla is really one of the very good students since the Model 3 Propulsion is one of the most energy-efficient electric cars. Combining this efficiency with fast charging speeds results in an electric car that provides ultimate peace of mind for long journeys.

everything is standard

When you buy a Tesla, it’s a new experience. You do not need to go to the dealers, although you can if you want, everything happens on the official website.

The order takes 5 minutes, at most, while sometimes it takes 20 minutes just for the configuration stage with other manufacturers. Why ? Simply because everything is standard. The basic functions of autopilot, heat pump, AC and DC fast charging, heated seats, infotainment… It is true that there are two or three levels of equipment with different features, as well as some colors and sizes rim, but that’s it. You will not have unpleasant surprises.

In Renault the heat pump is not standard, also, be careful, there are different integrated chargers depending on the finishes

At Renault, the choice of the Megane E-Tech can be much more complicated, with all the subtleties. We’ve also dissected the configurator in a dedicated article to make sure you make the right decision.

Same remark for the price, you pay the same price as everyone else. You don’t need to visit several dealerships, negotiate… to finally realize that your neighbor got a bigger discount than you.

superchargers

Imagine an alternate universe where the gas station experience is reserved for drivers of only one type of car. Peugeot owners, including me, can pull up at a pump, swipe their credit card, and fill it up in no time. All other drivers have to endure the tedious process of rummaging through an app (or their wallet for a season ticket), signing up for a season ticket, or touching a worn-out touchscreen before they can fully do it.

As fascinating as that sounds, it’s not the premise of the next dystopian blockbuster. Mad Max: Gasoline Strikes Back. In a nutshell, that’s the reality facing electric car owners today: a world where charging is remarkably seamless for the people who drive a Tesla, and often frustrating for everyone else.

By contrast, with a Tesla, in a Supercharger, all you have to do is plug the cable into your car and charging begins automatically, before being charged to the bank account associated with the car. The other manufacturers are getting into this, in particular with the Plug & Charge functionality.

Bottom line: Superchargers are plentiful, easy to find, easy to use, and may be the best reason to choose a Tesla over a competitor.

It is not impossible for other manufacturers.

Given this observation, all of you may ask yourselves… “But what can I buy apart from a Tesla? “Truth be told, it’s not just the software or the superchargers that put Tesla ahead, it’s all of these strengths that make Tesla’s offering so compelling and unique.

On closer inspection, competitor cars perform better on long trips, like the Kia EV6 thanks to its metered charge and fuel economy, others will do just as well in standard options, like the future Fisker Ocean. Others, like the MG4, are much better value for money.

Kia EV6 GT // Source: Kia

Although Tesla’s approach has drawn attention, its success has prompted other automakers to rethink how they build and market their vehicles, especially when it comes to electric vehicles.

Tesla showed that building a car can be done differently, but in many ways it also showed how difficult it is to build a car. The uniqueness and attributes of it gave it a certain feat: it allowed consumers to completely ignore the fact that it was often not of great build quality. In the end, for many consumers, ill-fitting bodywork, sloppy paint, and a host of other issues don’t matter.

The influence of technology appeals to buyers who may not be traditional car enthusiasts, but who see Tesla as impressive technology.

What are the best electric cars to buy in 2022?

Electric vehicles are already mature and are beginning to be considered as alternatives to thermal vehicles. Whether it’s a city car, an SUV or a sedan, we’ve chosen the best electric cars of the moment.
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