Why Geely should worry about Tesla’s newest power horse!August 7, 2017
TESLA, the electric car maker that is changing the automobile industry for good, poses a challenge to all makers of fuel-injection engine cars.
This would include BMW, Mercedes and why not, Geely. And they should all be worried about the new generation of Tesla cars that can drive from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru without charging, an awesome feat.
At least, that is if, there is no massive traffic jam like on the eve of a public holiday like Hari Raya. However, the point is that Tesla has set a new standard that was probably not thought off by its competitors entering the electric car market.
And if this did not make fuel-car makers blink, let us put it this way then: Tesla also poses a threat to hybrid cars that can shift to fuel usage if the battery is dying out.
This is what Geely is trying to bring in the Malaysian market, pulling out its Geely logo to be stamped on Proton’s car bonnet.
The car was tested in Malaysia during the Geely-Proton agreement signing ceremony.
The Geely interpreter showed Prime Minister Najib Razak how the technology in this particular car sets it apart from its competitors on the market.
With Minister of Finance II Johari Abdul Ghani in the back seat, the Geely representative showed how the car could get the lights on with a simple voice command from the driver.
It could also enter in various driving modes using voice commands, and the software could be tweaked to make the car respond to local languages.
And that was, only months ago, seen as the great step forward for Proton cars in Malaysia.
All this while Tesla was cooly planning the launch of its Tesla Model 3, an awesome piece of art and zero-fuel consumption car that used 100% electricity generated from the super powerful batteries it carries around with it.
The Tesla Model 3 comes in several versions, the cheaper one, and the indeed the more expensive and most complete one, but the design may be rudimentary. You get a better design with the more expensive one.
While the US$35,000 (RM149,800) version is pretty bare bones and does not feature an autopilot, the US$50,000 version has it all.
Model 3 is a smaller, simpler, more affordable electric car, says Tesla and it is designed to be the safest car in its class.
It is said to be safer than a Volvo, but then, that can be disputed by Geely, the owner of the Volvo car company.
The Model 3’s lower-end version can go from 0 to 60mph between 5.1 to 5.6 second with a range of 220 to 310 miles while the other version gets to 60mph within 4.3 seconds with a 249 to 335 miles range.
The other difference is that the more expensive model comes with a free unlimited supercharging for life of ownership, with a referral from a Tesla car owner. The cheaper model comes with a pay per use supercharging option.
On top of that, all the Tesla models are self-driving ready and sure, you must pay more for these features but with time, and while Malaysia becomes a high-income nation, what will all these extra payments mean to the people?
While the Tesla is technically shipping in August, almost none will be on Malaysia’s road until after 2018, this will be the time frame for local champions and champions to be to rethink their fuel-to-electric-strategy.
Sleeping on their laurels, and positioning a more intelligent car than what we have on the roads today, will weigh little in the face of the Tesla revolution.
I read somewhere that when you open the door into the dark, a Geely logo is projected onto the ground, giving the car a dash of panache.
But I believe such panache will not stop the march of the Tesla in the Southeast Asian market unless it is banned, which will be a bane for the regional car marketplace, and I am pretty sure that will never happen.
But what may happen, in some other Asean countries is this: The Tesla model may become a franchise in which billions will be poured to make it available, perhaps at a cheaper price to Southeast Asian buyers.
But this too might have to wait for President Donald Trump to either change his stand on American companies investing and creating jobs abroad or until his career as the most powerful man in the US is over.
In the latter case, then Geely, Volvo and other Proton fuel cars may have a longer lifespan, with a bigger breathing space if you know what I mean.
But for how long?
However, Proton has chosen Geely, which once represented what is all wrong with the Chinese car industry, to become an award-winning company that has more than doubled its market value.
Geely is now praised for its Boyue, GS and GL, which all launched last year.
The Chinese car comes in both petrol or diesel model. It is still a distance away from what the future should be, and the future should be with cars that protect the environment.
Kazi Mahmood is Malay Mail business news editor. This article first appeared in Malay Mail Money, print version.