The rapid growth of Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) in recent years has fostered a new chapter in mobility. Within a decade, the EV pioneer changed the automotive market for good, something that only now starting to grab the attention of the prestigious European auto brands such as Germany's Volkswagen AG (OTC:VWAGY) and Daimler (OTC:DDAIF) as well as France's Renault (OTC:RNLSY) and Peugeot (OTC:PUGOY).
These companies have been rather sluggish when it comes to shifting to EVs. Although Europe itself does not have a contender that could rise up to compete directly with Tesla, for now, it does have a few companies that do parts of what Tesla does. Some of them might even be doing a better job.
Croatia's Rimac is due to make a debut with its C_Two electric hypercar can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds and has posted a top speed is 258 mph. While the car isn't in production and we will need to wait until 2021 to see if it will live up to this promise, Europea auto companies have shown interest in the hardware. Porsche Automobile Holding (OTC:POAHY) owns a stake of about 15%, Hyundai Motor Group (OTC:HYMTF) also recently invested €80m. The two companies are planning to collaborate on a range of EVs. Aston Martin and Pininfarina already use Rimac's battery packs for their own electric supercars. The company also grabbed the attention of the EV world after hiring former Tesla engineer Chris Porritt to serve as CTO.
Switzerland- based Piëch has deep roots in Germany as it was founded by the son of former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch. It is set to become a leading luxury electric mobility brand. The company's Mark Zero all-electric model is scheduled to go on sale in 2022. It claims to get to 100km/h in 3.2s, charges 80% of its battery in only 4 minutes 40 seconds while boasting a range of 500km on a single charge. Interestingly, the company has no plans for plants as it will depend on carmakers with exiting factories, assembly and supply chains.
At the moment, Tesla's biggest challenger is Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) who announced this week it is joining forces with no other than Detroit's giant, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM). GM's platform is not only all that Nikola needs to launch its Badger among the EV stars but to genuinely become a large player. Despite being a US-based brand, it has strong ties to Europe. Germany's Robert Bosch and Italy's Iveco, the truck-maker backed by the Agnelli family, each own a 6% stake in the company. Moreover, the trucks itself are being built in Germany.
Unlike the US, European automakers are counting on great support from local governments that placed EVs at the front and center of their economic recovery. Although Europe lagged the EV trend, this framework shows that its position can change dramatically in the near future.
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