Bloomberg/Patrick T. Fallon
Mercedes-Benz is putting off the US debut of its first electric vehicle by a year in the latest sign of just how difficult time automakers are having replicating Tesla’s success, reported Bloomberg.
Daimler’s luxury brand will start sales of the EQC crossover in 2021 rather than early next year. The German carmaker said that it’s made the strategic decision to first support growing demand for the model in Europe, where deliveries began earlier this year.
The world’s top-seller of premium autos has touted the EQC and the series of battery-powered models it has planned under the EQ sub-brand as an answer both to Tesla and its traditional rivals. However, the initial electric vehicles Jaguar and Audi introduced in the US market this year have underwhelmed on the sales charts, failing to keep up even with Tesla’s years-old Model S and X.
While regulatory pressure is picking up, US demand has been tepid for models other than Tesla’s lower-priced Model 3. Consumers continue to harbour concerns about limited driving range, long charging times and high sticker prices.
According to InsideEVs, Jaguar has sold 2,418 I-Pace SUVs in the US this year through November, while Audi has delivered 4,623 e-tron crossovers, by contrast, the website estimates that Tesla has sold about 111,650 Model 3 sedans.
Luxury-car makers’ biggest retailers are divided over the outlook for electric cars in the US In February 2019, the President of Sonic Automotive, the fifth-largest US dealership group in the country, wondered aloud on an earnings call whether Tesla had built a cult following for its cars and said the brand needed to be taken seriously by BMW and others.