Tesla Exec Disses Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Other EVs

Automakers are "probably really not even trying" on EVs

Tesla isn't shy about dissing its competition from time to time, but this go around, the words aren't coming from CEO Elon Musk. Instead, they're coming from Tesla's business development boss, Diarmuid O'Connell, who singled out a number of EVs on the market and called them "little more than appliances" at a recent auto industry conference.

O'Connell lamented that other EVs miss the mark on range, performance, and prices. He specifically mentioned the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Chevrolet Spark EV as the big culprits, reports Automotive News.

"In essence, they've delivered little more than appliances," O'Connell said at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars. "Now, appliances are useful. But they tend to be white. They tend to be unemotional."

"The industry's attempts to date to advance the state of electric vehicle technology, they're probably really not even trying," O'Connell also said, reports The Detroit News. Ouch.

Automakers should be more focused on creating electric vehicles that achieve 200 miles of range, O'Connell said. Chevrolet says the 2017 Bolt is estimated to get more than 200 miles on a single charge, and it will be priced around $30,000 after federal tax credits. Ford says it's also working on a 200-mile vehicle, and Nissan says its Leaf will hit that mark in 2018.

Although he's happy automakers are making EVs, "I just wish they would do them better and faster," he said.

Meanwhile, federal regulators are relaxing a rule that required vehicles to achieve an average 54.5 mpg by the year 2025. Amid surging demand for trucks and SUVs, it's likely the industry won't reach that magic number. Time will tell how this decision affects electric vehicles.

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