The Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4, which is due in dealerships in March, go about 250 miles on a full charge — about the same as the cheapest version of Tesla’s Model Y — and start at about $43,000 and $40,000. The base Model Y starts at about $42,000, but the Ford and Volkswagen models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit that will lower the final cost to well under $40,000, or close to the average price of new cars sold in the United States. The tax credit no longer applies to purchases of Teslas.
Start-up automakers will also put new cars on the road this year. Rivian, which is backed by Amazon and Ford, plans to start selling a luxury S.U.V. and a luxury pickup truck this summer. They are priced at about $75,000, but are intended for off-road use — an ability that Tesla hasn’t focused on, although the company aims to begin producing a pickup truck later in the year.
Electric vehicles make up only about 3 percent of global auto sales, but are expected to rise rapidly over the next decade. Electrics could outsell gasoline-powered vehicles globally by 2040, some analysts think. As a result, many automakers are spending billions of dollars to introduce dozens of electric models over the next several years.
“You have to be in this race,” said Mark Wakefield, a managing director at AlixPartners, a consulting firm with a large automotive practice. “You can’t take the risk of missing it.”
Tesla now faces stiffer competition in China and Europe, but it still dominates the U.S. market. The company does not break out its sales by country, but analysts believe it sold 200,000 or more electric cars in the United States last year — more than all other manufacturers combined.
The carmakers introducing electric models this year in the United States say they are not trying to lure buyers away from Tesla as much as they are trying to expand the pool of potential buyers for such cars. Tesla has largely appealed to high-income luxury car buyers, and early adopters — consumers who delight in owning the latest, most cutting-edge technology.