On December 29th, 2017, I took delivery of one of the first non-employee Tesla Model 3s. This was a day which many of us longtime EV drivers have been awaiting for a long time – the realization of Tesla’s “secret master plan” announced more than ten years ago.
A lot has happened between then and now, and the industry has changed significantly. At the time, basically the only electric cars on the road in the United States were DIY projects, golf-cart-like “neighborhood electric vehicles,” and the few first-generation RAV4 EVs which had made their way into private hands. GM had recently crushed its stockpile of lease -only EV1s.
The “plan” was that Tesla would be an example for the rest of the industry, that they would release a great car and other manufacturers would follow upon seeing that example. The plan would mean more competition as other manufacturers would try to make better and better EVs until they reached parity and eventually surpassed gasoline.