Now this is a take that I didn't expect to read. CleanTechnica wrote an article that makes the claim that the first edition Mach-E's selling out is a good thing for Tesla because it means more people are using EVs. From a moral/philosophical standpoint it makes sense but from a business perspective I'm not so sure about that.
The first edition of the Ford Mustang Mach-E has reportedly sold out. This is great news for Ford. It’s also another part of Tesla’s endgame, rather than proof of its demise, as some critics would have you believe.
First of all, though, I would like to say that the headline from MarketRealist about this news, “Forget Tesla Pre-Orders, the Ford Mach-E Has Sold Out,” didn’t sit well with me. Ford just recently unveiled the Mach-E and hasn’t delivered a single one — it won’t for a while — so how did the vehicle “sell out” already?
Well, I did some sleuthing. The headline is a bit of a stretch, not actually accurate. Perhaps it should have read, “Mach-E First Edition Sold Out.” The version that is “sold out” is just the $60,000 First Edition version. There are also the $43,895 Select, $50,600 Premium, $52,400 California RT.1 Edition, and $60,500 GT versions.
Some of the perks of getting this limited edition Ford include a First Edition badge, more range, and all-wheel drive.
Also, it’s important to note that Ford only plans to produce 50,000 of its Mach-E vehicles in 2021 due to supply issues. Taking a swipe at 250,000 preorders for the Tesla Cybertruck, as MarketRealist did in its headline, to highlight that Ford sold out of a small slice of 50,000 Mach-E vehicles doesn’t make much sense. How do a few hundred or few thousand units of the Mach-E make 250,000 Cybertruck preorders irrelevant?
Nonetheless, the Mach-E First Edition selling out is a good thing for Tesla’s goal of getting as many people driving electric as soon as possible. Even though the Mach-E isn’t a Tesla and doesn’t come with access to the Tesla Supercharger network, it is clearly Ford’s reply to Tesla’s demand that automakers hasten the shift to sustainable ways of driving. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. It’s doing that with every Tesla product sold, be it a car or home energy system. It’s also doing that every time a competitor sells another EV inspired or pressured into existence by Tesla. Even if Tesla doesn’t make money on this, it’s still achieving its main goal with every Ford Mach-E preorder, with every Porsche Taycan preorder, etc.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E, like the Taycan and the others, is not a Tesla killer. Tesla still leads the EV market — by far — and the Mach-E probably grows the EV market more than taking away from any other electric models.
But let’s step back for a minute and consider what success means. What do most auto companies want? Profits. What does Tesla want? To change how we get from point A to B. Tesla is transforming the industry into something that most auto companies don’t understand and can’t recognize. This is why in the beginning many scoffed, mocked, and belittled Tesla. So, any auto industry efforts in that direction are a clear win for Tesla.
Ford hopes to compete with Tesla’s Model Y — both will have a range of 300 miles, comparable size and acceleration, over-the-air software updates, a surprisingly similar touchscreen. Credit Suisse, which is bearish on Tesla, thinks Ford will be a “threat to Tesla” when it comes to the Model 3, not just the Model Y. Again, here we go with the threat and killer lingo. Analyst Dan Levy thinks that the Mach-E should “provide a compelling alternative at the Model 3 price range than other comps, especially given the performance focus.”
Dan has something of a point here. I am from Louisiana’s northwest corner, which is pretty much considered Texas by those in the southern part of the state. People love their trucks. Trucks represent a lifestyle of ruggedness and stability around here. People use them at tailgating events, for their work, and for fun. Although the Mach-E isn’t a truck, it is a Ford. In 2019, Ford was a “perennial favorite” among those polled for the U.S. News’ Best Truck Brands of 2019. Ford is the number one selling truck in America and has been for over 40 years. Many people familiar with Ford who love Ford who are intrigued by an electric vehicle will happily buy a Mustang Mach-E instead of a Tesla. But that doesn’t mean they would have bought a Tesla otherwise. They might well only buy an electric vehicle because Ford is offering one.
So, Ford just helped Tesla with its goal by making an EV for its own customers who are loyal to the brand and would never be in the market for a Tesla. For those who are put off by Tesla’s new Cybertruck, Ford will definitely be a brand they are familiar with and comfortable with when it comes to getting an electric truck (Ford is supposed to be coming out with an electric F-150).
Overall, Ford’s success with the Mach-E, which has picked up some strong design guidelines and features from Tesla, is also Tesla’s success. Some wins can be shared.