VW’s Porsche brand has a high-performance model, the Mission E, coming that will challenge the bigger Tesla Model S, and Geneva saw the debut of the Mission E Cross Turismo expected to reappear as an all-electric SUV challenging Tesla’s Model X.
One of the selling points for Tesla has been the performance of vehicles with its optional Ludicrous Mode. The Model S P100D can hit 60 in barely 2.3 seconds, but automotive reviewers have noted that Teslas can only do so a handful of times without recharging, and when driven hard for more than a few minutes their batteries and motors tend to overheat, forcing the car into a sort of limp-home mode.
“Our vehicle will be fast to drive, but also quick to recharge and able to replicate its performance time after time,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in Geneva, taking an obvious dig at its U.S. rival.
Related: What's new at the Geneva auto show
Despite having a stratospheric stock price that dwarfs traditional automakers, Tesla has been struggling to fund its expansion program, starting with investments still needed to bring the Fremont plant up to capacity. A number of analysts, including CFRA’s Efraim Levy, believe it will have to soon raise additional capital.
Making matters worse, “Sales will hugely disappoint relative to expectations of over 400,000 a year,” Mark B. Spiegel, of Stanphyl Capital recently warned, adding his concerns that “Tesla will never come close to its promised profitability.”
Tesla has so far announced plans to add three more products to its own light vehicle line-up, including the Model Y, a compact SUV complementing the Model 3 sedan, a pickup and a new version of its original Roadster. Analysts believe Musk’s charisma and Tesla’s cutting edge reputation will keep many potential buyers in its corner.
But in an auto industry where even a modest product development program can run $500 million to over $1 billion, it simply may not have the resources to match what the competition is throwing at it.