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A Different Tesla Model 3 EV Miles Prediction Question

3307 Views 34 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  Bacardi
I figure that this would be the best forum to ask this question, so if not, please move it.

For the longest time, I've had an issue with people comparing the Bolt EV and the Model 3. They aren't competitors. However, when it comes to pure BEVs, GM clearly beat Tesla to the average-priced car segment. That's not really a question, but to me the real question is something that has been overlooked by most people. What would GM's Model 3 competitor actually look like. Well, personally, I think we've known since 2010. That's right. GM's EV sedan with a low-slung hatchback trunk has been available at an average new-car MSRP for seven years. Yes, I believe the entry-level Model 3's true competitor is the Chevy Volt.

That being said, if Tesla can ramp up to their full production as planned, we should see roughly four times as many Tesla Model 3s on the road as Chevy Volts by the end of 2018. So, assuming Tesla does meet their production plans, what's your prediction for when the Model 3 will overtake the Volt in total EV miles driven?
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If the data isn't still available, then yes, I guess there's no way to predict.
I think you can ballpark it.

There are a lot of variables, including the production predictions, which aren't likely to be achieved and which have moved around a lot. However, let's start by figuring out how many more EV miles a year a M3 will get than a Volt will. I don't think a full BEV like the Model 3 or Bolt EV will drive a lot more EV miles than a Volt, especially the second generation Volt. We've seen this in the stats when comparing the Volt and the Leaf. If people drive 40 or less miles a day for 300 days a year, the difference in miles driven will have to come from the other 65 days. Some of those days a Model 3 owner won't drive at all because of range limitations. The Volt will pick up at least 40 or 50 miles on those days. That leaves the few days beyond 50 miles that people are willing to take a BEV. Given the people I know who have a Model S won't take it to Palm Springs, I doubt there are that many of these days. But there will be some, so let's assume the average Model 3 will put on 10% more EV miles a year.

This means that every M3 accounts for 110% of the EV miles that every Volt does. Taking your assumption that there are 4X more M3 than Volts on the road in 2019, the M3 will account for 4.4X more EV miles in that year. Hence, at the end of 2019, the M3 would have 3.4X more EV miles than the Volt (4.4X -X = 3.4X).

However, we we have to account for Volt EV miles before 2019. Assuming Volt sales were evenly distributed throughout the eight years before 2019 (2011-2018), then the Volt would have accounted for roughly 36/8 or 4.5X of the EV miles the Volt got in 2019 during this earlier 8 year period. (You can either sum the years -- 8/8 + 7/8 + 6/8 etc or just take 4.5 average years). Since 4.5X is a bigger number than 3.4X, the M3 wouldn't pass the Volt in EV miles in 2019. But obviously it would in 2020 since 4.4X is a larger number than 1.1X (what's left of the EV miles accrued by the Volt prior to 2019).

Of course this assumes the M3 hasn't accrued EV miles in 2018, which is obviously unrealistic. Also it assumes the Volt sales have been even over the years, which is likely close but perhaps not spot on. But under your assumptions likely in 2020. You may also want to check the math.

FWIW I don't think this is likely at all. Tesla is struggling to sell 100K cars a year worldwide. Assuming they're going to sell 400K+ M3 is a year just seems highly unrealistic.
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Something else that I wasn't thinking about, but the electrek article reminded me of. Most of the current Tesla fleet still has unlimited, free Supercharger access. It is easy to be frivolous with your driving when all (or most) of your fuel is free. However, moving forward (and for all Model 3s), only a small amount of Supercharger access each year (400 kWh, or about 1,500 miles) will be free.
The inconvenience of charging and the lack of stations will more likely depress long distance use more than the cost of charging. (Keep in mind that I don't think the M3 will be a $35K car). As I've mentioned before, the people I know who own a Tesla use it for local driving. They don't use it out of town. When I've asked they've said it was too much trouble. We live in something of an EV bubble, so we see people writing about their long trips, but from my experience these would be outliers.

The car itself would also be a barrier. I don't think the M3 is going to be on par with with the Model S in the ride department. From my test drive I thought the Bolt EV would be a great city car but I would not want to take it on a 500 mile trip. Just not that comfortable. For that I'd take a different vehicle. I think that's what we'll see with the M3. Put that together with its price, which suggests the market will be limited to people with more than one vehicle, and you get a formula for local driving.
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Yet if it's self driving, I can either watch movies, play games, get frisky or do some work so traffic doesn't matter...It sounds highly unlikely there will be any autonomous Gen1 Bolts available to the public based on all the autonomous versions we have seen have had huge roof arrays of expensive equipment yet that is another wildcard to your question...
The Model 3 won't be remotely capable of this. At best AutoPilot is a Level 3 system. Have you looked at how many miles AutoPilot was able to drive before it needs human intervention? The report from Tesla said AP needed about 360 interventions per 1000 miles. Compare that to Cruise, which was at 18.5/1000. And then there was Waymo, the clear leader, which was at .8/1000 (the decimal is not a mistake).

If Tesla had a technology which could actually accomplish what you think it can, the stock price would justifiably be a lot higher. ;)

So yes I don't think there will be any Bolt EVs that can do what you're asking anytime soon, but it's more likely to see a Bolt EV get there than a Model 3. I can see big problems for Tesla and even more so for its customers if people share your expectations.
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