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Elon Musk Takes On Chevy, Auto Industry, and Reality in Detroit

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Elon Musk Takes On Chevy, Auto Industry, and Reality in Detroit

Elon Musk, seen here as a South Park character, took his trademark humility to the Detroit Auto Show this week

Tesla CEO and gilded redditor, Elon Musk, didn’t have much to show off at this year’s 2015 North American International Auto Show, but that didn’t stop him from going to Detroit anyway to complain about the quality of the other cars there and describe how his cars will be a lot better, once they actually exist. Yes, thanks to Musk’s admirable work as his own hype man, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Tesla actually sells just one car: the all-electric Model S sedan, priced at over $70,000.

Elon Musk Takes On Chevy, Auto Industry, and Reality in Detroit

Musk’s mouth is writing checks his car company (probably) can’t cash

The release of Tesla’s Model X has been delayed twice now (it will supposedly finally arrive this summer), which prompted Musk to admit, “I do have an issue with punctuality,” when speaking to journalists in Detroit on Tuesday. Still, that didn’t stop him from making several bold statements, including the promise that Tesla will sell “a few million cars” by 2025 (which would make the upstart automaker roughly the size of BMW).

Musk also said he doesn’t see the electric cars that are being produced by established auto companies as a “competitive threat, because I think all cars will [eventually] go electric.” When asked specifically about the hybrids and electrics that debuted in Detroit this week – most notably, the  2015 Chevy Bolt concept – Musk was characteristically dismissive, saying it was hard to take them seriously until “we see a lot more serious numbers.”

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept

The 2015 Chevy Bolt EV Concept

Interestingly enough, many observers are speculating that the Chevy Bolt will beat Tesla to market in 2017 as the first mainstream electric car, thanks to its 200 mile range and $30,000 price. However, that’s the cost after factoring in the discount provided by the tax incentives customers receive for buying an electric car, meaning the Bolt’s actual MSRP will probably be around $37,500. That would make it more expensive than Tesla’s planned entry-level electric sedan, the Model 3, which Musk says will also debut in 2017 with a range of 200 miles, and a price tag of $35,000.

So if the Model 3 sticks to its planned 2017 timeline and if it retains the projected $35,000 price tag, it could win its battle with the Bolt. On the other hand, if “ifs” and “buts” were candies and nuts, we’d all have a Model X for Christmas.