Sep 21, 2020 (IAM Newswire via COMTEX) -- Tesla’s /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +2.05% market cap has surged to over $400 billion during this unprecedented year. With traditional automakers such as Volkswagen /zigman2/quotes/204431732/delayed VWAGY -2.34% struggling with costs as they are trying to catch up in the EV race, it’s easy to see why investors are excited about Tesla’s future. There are many disruptors coming Tesla’s way in 2021 such as Nikola /zigman2/quotes/208704275/composite NKLA -7.64% joining forces with General Motors /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -0.88% , Rivian’s competing vehicles and SolarEdge’s /zigman2/quotes/207754270/composite SEDG +4.44% energy storage ambitions.
Elon Musk has been teasing for years about self-driving Teslas. But, when it comes to autonomous driving technology, Tesla is actually running behind when it comes to strategy and execution.
For example, Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, is better at driving autonomously and is building a business that will make car ownership obsolete. When it comes to self driving, Tesla is no longer the leader, but only a challenger as its models are just starting to recognize traffic lights and stop signs.
Cruise logged 831,040 autonomous miles in California during 2019 while Tesla logged 12.2 autonomous miles. But an even bigger reason for concern is that Cruise is not competing for a garage space but to replace car ownership altogether. Therefore, its service which is due to launch next year is threatening Tesla's core business.
Nikola's Badger is among the likely candidates to truly challenge Tesla's Cybertruck. However, the company is amid a crisis as its shares look set to lose another $4 billion today. Markets have reacted to the shock departure of founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton, following allegations of fraud levied by short seller Hindenburg Research. It remains to be seen how will this dramatic saga end but Nikola claims its priorities remain unchanged as it is set to change transportation for the better.
Moreover, one of the more promising players looks to be one that isn’t trading publicly yet. Even big players took notice so Ford Motor /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +0.11% hedged its bets on its popular and profitable star, the upcoming electric F-150 when it invested $500 million into Rivian last year.
Besides the two adventure trucks, Rivian will also be supplying delivery vans for Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.32% who also supported the company. With the latest investment of $2.5 billion in July, it is crystal clear that Rivian is well funded.
But Rivian is not a recent startup as it was founded more than a decade ago. With a skateboard platform, four electric motors on each wheel and superior battery management, its trucks will be equipped for diverse off-road adventures.
Although it does not aim to lure Tesla’s Model 3 customers, Rivian is set to be on the radars of pickup trucks and SUV fans. If their electric versions end up being as profitable as their internal combustion engine versions, Tesla will have a serious new competitor in less than a year.
Rivian plans to begin delivering its adventure electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV next summer.
Since its IPO half a decade ago, SolarEdge shares rose an incredible 806% which is close to Tesla's gains over the period.
So far, its commercial and resident business didn't pose a threat to Tesla, but the electronics it makes are actually important for solar panel makers and installers like Tesla.
This means that Tesla can no longer have the whole market to itself.
Moreover, SolarEdge has made huge strides to diversify into the EV and battery markets, with many new developments expected for 2021.
SolarEdge is a major supplier of solar electronics to the residential market that enjoys a great reputation through its immense network of installers and distributors. With its residential battery system, it can easily take a piece of Tesla's battery pie.
One part of Tesla’s leadership in EVs is due to vertical integration that it achieved with its Gigafactories that supply all that Tesla needs in-house. As traditional automakers struggle to catch up, SolarEdge has a great opportunity to supply them with components and therefore, threaten Tesla's dominance in not only one, but both of its business segments.
2021 is expected to be a very important year for EVs, battery developments and renewable energy storage. Tesla will face more competition than it ever has so a lot of it depends on what it exhibits during its Battery Day on September 22. Tesla has been the disruptor since its inception. This year, it became the most valuable automaker in the world. But within a year or two, Elon Musk could easily wake up one morning to an entirely new surrounding.
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