Tesla Competitors: How Long Can They Hold Them Off?

Tesla Competition

Tesla has a clear and strong advantage in the EV market, but others are starting to catch up.

By Gary Smith (Contributing Author) | Published on March 16th, 2021 | Last Updated on
By Gary Smith (Contributing Author)
Published on March 16th, 2021. Last Updated on .

With Tesla being one of the most popular EV producers in the world, it’s no surprise that they are starting to see some fierce competition. With nearly a decade under their belt, Tesla had made great strides not only for themselves but for the EV industry overall. Tesla had taken the boring, underpowered electric vehicle and turned it into a high-performance, sleekly designed vehicle. While it may take a while for other car manufacturers to catch up to the level that Tesla is on, there are a few that are gaining ground every day. Today, we are going to look at Tesla’s 3 biggest competitors and what gives Tesla a competitive advantage.



The first competitor on the list is NIO. While NIO is well known for being one of China’s hottest EV car manufacturers, this company is looking to do so much more. NIO aims to be the first “User Enterprise” in the world. Founded in 2014, NIO is relatively new compared to Tesla, but its popularity in China proves to be a test of Tesla’s international influence.

NIO currently offers 4 different vehicles in their lineup, ranging from technologically advanced sedans up to high-performance SUVs. The NIO ES7 rivals the Tesla Model 3 as the EV sedan that most EV customers can afford. While NIO offers more SUV options, Tesla still has an advantage when it comes to performance coupe and sedans. It is worth noting that NIO celebrates a 350% increase in year-over-year sales increases from January 2020 to January 2021. While this was only a little over 7,200 vehicles, it shows the increase in popularity that NIO is seeing in the Chinese market.



BYD is another Chinese competitor that is eating into international sales of Tesla. BYD is not only an EV manufacturer but a high-tech company that is innovating lives in various aspects. BYD is an older company than both NIO and Tesla, but it is still fairly new compared to other automotive manufacturers. With over 25 years under their belt, BYD has made great strides in energy generation and zero-emission energy solutions.

When it comes to EV vehicles, BYD offers a broad range of hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. BYD also offers EBV buses and trucks as well, something Tesla has yet to accomplish. The Han DM and HAN EV, BYD’s most popular long sedans, have become BYD’s number one model range in China. While BYD does not currently sell in the US, this is something BYD is planning to do in the next few years. This could bring fierce competition to Tesla in the US, providing an even bigger selection of EV manufacturers for US consumers.



As one of the oldest automobile manufacturers in the industry, Volkswagen has survived many different tests of the economy in its 84 years of business. Volkswagen has been surprisingly quiet as Tesla stormed the industry over the past decade. Many thought that VW would not have an answer to Tesla’s EV lineup. That is until they released the ID.3 and ID.4.

Both of these vehicles utilize an electric motor and are kickstarting VW’s mass-market of electric vehicles. The ID3 provides a very affordable price point that rivals the cheaper Tesla Model 3, making it very competitive in the cost category. The ID3 also looks and feels similar to the VW Golf, making it very attractive to those who love the timeless VW look. As the company ventures further into the world of EV, we can expect that there will be more affordable options and more performance-oriented vehicles.

Tesla’s Competitive Advantage

While Tesla may be struggling in the Chinese markets, Tesla has some great competitive advantages here in the US. Let’s take a look at what makes Tesla such a strong brand and a fierce competitor to any new startup EV company.

Battery Chain

Tesla is far more than just an EV vehicle manufacturer. They produce large grid and home applications with their batteries as well. With needing such a great battery supply, Tesla has opened their own Gigefactory in Nevada to produce the batteries needed for many of its products. This helps to drive the cost of batteries down, reduce waste, and keep manufacturing under one roof. This makes Tesla more profitable and helps to speed up production time.

Supercharger Network

Tesla’s innovative superfast-charging stations allow you to charge your vehicle while on road-trips. These “superchargers” will range in power depending on where you are and will allow you to charge your Tesla vehicle faster than a normal charging station. These stations can be found all over the world and are popping up faster and faster each day.

Software Updates

One of the most impressive features of Tesla vehicles is the over-the-air updates that Tesla sends out. These software updates give your vehicle all of the important improvements needed to keep your Tesla up to its standards. These range from improved traffic control, backup camera solutions, and much more.


One of Tesla’s biggest competitive advantages is its branding. Tesla is basically a household name now and for a great reason. Their reputation for producing high-quality products is what makes the Tesla name so prestigious. Not to mention, the company’s founder, Elon Musk, is a celebrity who proudly stands behind the name. It is hard to talk about EVs without mentioning or hearing about Tesla.

Artificial Intelligence

Last but not least is Tesla’s AI system. One of the most sought-after features of a Tesla is autonomous driving. This feature allows the vehicle to drive itself, a concept that is still hard to grasp as a consumer. With a vehicle full of cameras and sensors, Tesla’s AI analyzes images taken from these cameras to help make the autonomous software smarter day by day. This has shown to improve quarter after quarter, giving Tesla a larger leg up on the competition. With this software becoming more mainstream and better understood by other manufacturers, we expect to see this being implemented into various vehicles in the next 10 years.

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