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According to a Tesla press release on April 7, “In the first 24 hours Model 3 received over 180,000 reservations, setting the record for the highest single-day sales of any product of any kind ever in world history.” This feat is incredibly impressive given that EV sales (BEV and PHEV sales combined) in the US stagnated at just 120,000 units for the whole of the year 2015. The performance figures, extended range, supercharging capability and proposed $35,000 sticker price of the Tesla 3, in conjunction with the brand’s strong equity, undoubtedly make the Model 3 a very compelling proposition. However, there are numerous reasons as to why it won’t necessarily kick off an EV revolution in the US, at least not to the extent that is purported, whereby Tesla is now aiming for sales of 500,000 cars a year already in 2018.
The fact of the matter is that the Tesla Model 3 will not singlehandedly double EV sales in the US and beyond and achieve 500,000 sales for Tesla in 2018. However, along with the Apple electric car in particular, it will undoubtedly push the acceptance of electric vehicles, especially boosting their “cool factor” among millennials and we can certainly expect to see rapid growth in EV sales before the end of the decade. Another positive point to make of course is that oil prices still remain stubbornly low and if they return to $50 per barrel and, moreover, recover to $70 per barrel which is the general consensus, this will only make EVs more attractive. However, questions still remain over the development of the charging infrastructure which is required to overcome customer fears about being embarrassingly stranded in their Tesla or Apple simply because of a source of electricity to plug in to.