Preview: Electric Vehicle Competitive Analysis

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Electric Vehicle Competitive Analysis
Client ­ Faraday Future
The automotive industry has existed since the late 1800s when hundreds of manufacturers
developed the horseless carriage. The electric vehicle, which uses one or more electric motors
for propulsion, was also introduced in the 1800s but lost popularity until its reintroduction within
the past few decades due to the environmental impact of the petroleum­based transportation
infrastructure. The client of this competitive analysis is Faraday Future, an electric vehicle
startup founded in 2014 and based out of Los Angeles that recently announced a one
billion­dollar investment on a manufacturing facility to build electric vehicles. The company aims
to “take a user­centric, technology­first approach to vehicle design with the ultimate aim of
connecting the automotive experience to the rest of your life.” The senior vice president, Nick
Sampson, stated that the “100% electric and intelligent vehicles will offer seamless connectivity
to the outside world.” Other priorities for Faraday Future’s cars include developing other aspects
of the automotive and technology industries, including unique ownership models, in­vehicle
content, and autonomous driving. As Faraday Future is still in early phases and has yet to
release details about the cars, it is crucial to identify the competition to determine the gaps in
innovation of the competition to create a strategy for Faraday Future’s cars.

The Competitors
Tier 1 Competitors
The major competitor of Faraday Future is Tesla Motor Company because the companies share
all of the same values; the creation of an electric vehicle that provides a seamless technological
experience as well. Additionally, many of the founders of Faraday Future previously worked at
Tesla. Tesla is the only company that manufactures 100% electric sport performance cars.
Tesla Motor Company ­ Tesla is an automaker, technology, and design company with a focus
on energy innovation based out of the United States. Tesla also markets electric powertrain
components to automakers such as Toyota. Tesla’s strategy of direct customer sales and
owning its own stores and service centers is significantly different from the typical dealership
model that dominates the automotive industry. The Tesla Model S, is a premium electric sedan
with room for seven passengers, supercar acceleration, good road handling and driving, high
safety ratings, and the benefit of charging at home or the use of the superchargers for long
distance journeys. Tesla also has mobile application functionality that allows keyless driving,
remote climate control, GPS location, range, and charge status.

Tier 2 Competitors
The next category of competitors are electric cars that are under the umbrella of a larger car
manufacturer company and therefore while they provide the same service, the priorities do not
all overlap with Faraday Future. Ford manufactures gasoline, hybrid, and fully­electric cars in

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large numbers therefore sharing priorities of sustainability and innovation but less focused on
the luxurious aspect and technology­first approach. BMW, prioritizes luxury and a
customer­focused experience.
Ford Motor Company ­ Ford is the second largest United States based automaker and the fifth
largest in the world. Ford aims to improve quality, increase customer satisfaction, and make
vehicles safer using innovations. The company also prioritizes sustainability by constantly
looking for ways to reduce materials used by improving fuel efficiency and reducing water
usage. Ford also prides itself on its strategic supply chain process. The Ford Focus Electric is
an 100% electric car with home­charging capabilities with features that include recharging when
breaking, real time displays documenting efficiency, and a mobile or smartwatch application that
allows tracking of car performance and charge status.
BMW ­ BMW is a German luxury automobile, motorcycle, and engine manufacturing company
that is one of the best­selling luxury automakers in the world that focuses on the highest level of
design creativity, diversity, and quality for producing premium products. The BMW i3, an electric
car, offers a lighter, faster, and more aerodynamic ride than other small electric cars on the
market. The i3 battery pack can be pre­warmed before a trip to ensure maximum performance,
range, and battery life. The i3 holds 1.9 gallons of gas for an additional 60 to mile range
extension, has a smart navigation system that considers whether you need to find a recharge
station, and syncs car information with smartphone and smartwatch applications. Additionally,
over 25% of the i3’s interior uses renewable raw and recycled materials.

Niche Competitors
The last category of competitors are cars that provide the same general service but are not
direct competitors of Faraday Future or Tesla due to the area of focus, this includes hybrid cars
which provide greener transportation as well as ordinary or luxury gasoline cars that serve the
overall purpose of providing transportation between different locations.
Porsche is a German automobile manufacturer that specializes in high­performance sports cars,
SUVs, and sedans. The Porsche Panamera S E­Hybrid is a parallel plug­in hybrid meaning it
can by powered by either the combustion engine, the electric machine, or by both. The battery
is recharged either through direct connection to a socket, through the process of brake energy
recovery, or through the combustion energy. The E­hybrid promises efficiency, a smooth drive,
and sporty performance with a button that allows for switching between sport and comfort mode.
Generic gasoline cars are also competitors as they provide smooth and comfortable drives and
often family geared comfort. Most of the top manufacturing automobile companies including
Honda, Nissan, Toyota, as well as the ones listed above and several others have an electric
and/or hybrid car on the market, have developed context­aware or smart in­vehicle systems and
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mobile applications, and have added innovation as a core values. These companies prioritize
efficiency, mass production, and safe and comfortable rides.

User Personas


Commuter ­ Accumulates a large number of miles in daily commute. Good fuel economy,
fill­up range, time and convenience to fill­up (because of busy schedule), and strong
reliability are top priorities.

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Earth Friendly Driver ­ Wants to drive a car that has the smallest environmental footprint.
Parent ­ Needs a car for daily errands and for driving children/family members.
Young professional ­ Wants a sporty, fast, stylish, and technologically capable car to fit
upscale lifestyle.

Comparison Dimensions
1. Cost: H
​ow much does the standard version of the vehicle cost to purchase?
a. Scale: Open response (cost of vehicle in USD)
b. Justification: Different types of users have varying budgets and price is often a
deciding factor between different cars.
2. Range: W
​hat is the range of the car on a charge/fill?
a. Scale: Open response (for electric cars, number of miles per full charge and
MPGe ­ the equivalent for miles per gallon efficiency, and for gas cars miles per
gallon)
b. Justification: It is important for most categories of drivers to get a reasonable mile
range due to cost and convenience of not having to constantly refill the tank.
3. Innovation: O
​verall, how innovative are the in­car systems with the latest technology?
a. Scale: Good, average, bad
b. Justification: Faraday future is looking to be technologically groundbreaking, so
it’s important to see how technologically capable the competitors are.
4. Comfort: H
​ow many does the car seat/how comfortable is the space?
a. Scale: Open response (number of people seats or space details)
b. Justification: Users with family members or driving others around want a
comfortable car. Also, those who haul a lot of cargo need space in the trunk.
5. App: A
​re there mobile application capabilities?
a. Scale: Yes/No
b. Justification: For electric car owners, it is important to have the option to run other
errands while charging the car or receive reminders when needing a fill­up.
6. Usability: H
​ow usable/legible is the in­vehicle system while driving?
a. Scale: Good, average, bad (where good means it requires little effort or use of
voice tools to activate, average means requires some effort, and bad means that
using detracts from focus that the driver needs for paying attention to the road).
b. Justification: Since driver safety should always be a top priority, it is important
that no matter how advanced or attractive the interfaces are, that they are easy to
use while driving and not distracting.
7. Top Speed: W
​hat is the top speed of the car?
a. Scale: Open response (in miles per hour)
b. Justification: Important feature for sporty drivers, which although are not all users,
they are one of the categories Faraday Future is looking to appeal to.
Additionally, it is important to see the relation between speed and efficiency.

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Comparison Table
Car Name

Cost

Range

Innovation

Tesla
Model S

$71,100

211
miles
(95
MPGe)

Ford
Focus
Electric

$29,170

76 miles
(105
MPGe)

Good
(Supercharger
location, lane
drifting warning,
self­driving)
Average (Sync3,
myKey)

BMW i3

$43,300

81 miles
(124
MPGe)

Porsche
Panamera
SE Hybrid

$99,975

20­22
miles
(50
MPGe)

Standard
Fuel
efficient
gas car

$33,560

36 MPG

Good (ecoRoute,
iDrive, collision
warning,
intelligent energy)
Average (driving
modes, PCMS)

Average

Comfort

App

Usability

Top
Speed
130
MPH

Good (seats
5­7)

Yes

Good­ (large, usable,
but difficult to see
interfaces)

Bad (cargo
space only
holds a few
grocery bags)
Good (seats 5,
comfortable leg
and
head­room)
Average (seats
4 but very
comfortable)

Yes

Average (voice
activation but displays
are rated distracting)

78 MPH

Yes

Good (levers located
near wheel and gear
shift for easy access)

93 MPH

Yes

Good (dashboard
displays visible and
not too distracting)

Average (seats
5)

No

Average (standard
displays can interact
with)

83 MPH
electric
/167
MPH
combusti
on
100
MPH

The Market Picture
Figure 1: Radar Diagram of metrics rated Good(3)/Average(2)/Bad(1)

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Figure 2: Relation between Range(MPG/MPGe) and Speed(MPH)

Competitor Strengths




Innovation and Usability:​
The competitors are performing well in both innovation and
usability. Several of the competitors have been developing and improving innovative
systems that optimize the driver’s experience. BMW’s innovative navigation system
shows the best route by giving weight to all of the following factors: battery charge level,
driving style, traffic situation, and topographical condition of the route. Additionally, if the
driver can reach his/her destination more quickly using alternative transport, the BMW
iNavigation will take that into account, show the most current schedules, and guide the
driver to an available parking stop near the stop. Some other innovative features that the
competitors offer include collision warning, maintaining speed and distance in traffic,
intelligent energy management, lane departure notification, Porsche’s different driving
modes, and key programming functionality for parents to set features, such as maximum
speed and radio volume, for the child.
Applications​
: All of the electric and hybrid plug­in competitors have applications that
allow monitoring of car charging status and other key insights about the car. Essentially,
the application enables the mobility of information that was previously available only
when inside the car.

Gaps




Speed/Efficiency Tradeoff:​
In the current market, based on the results indicated in figure
2, it seems that there is a trade­off between efficiency and top speed. Cars with lower
efficiency can have higher top speeds whereas cars with better efficiency cannot reach
such high top speeds.
In­system usability​
: Although overall the competitors perform well in usability, no fully
usable system has been developed yet (Appendix:Car Infotainment System). Generally,
even when the system is easy to interact with, there are difficulties with getting used to
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where functions are located, selecting the correct lever, or even visibility in bright light.

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Suggestions




Usability:
○ Displays: ​
In order to improve the usability of in car features and options within
electric cars, I would recommend utilizing a heads­up display (See Appendix).
These displays are currently being tested and have yet to be implemented in
electric vehicles or are in early phases. Utilizing a heads up display would
provide important information to the driver in a location that would be helpful and
not distracting for the driver.
○ Voice Commands: ​
Currently, the best forms of voice activation, such as those in
the Ford Sync system require pressing buttons or touch screens in order to begin
the voice command. I would recommend implementing a smart context­based
system that listens for keys words the driver may say to activate a menu that can
be controlled through voice.
Performance:​
Although other electric car companies are working on this as well, trying to
balance out the top­speed and efficiency tradeoff is essential for a company like Faraday
Future that is determined to provide top design and technology. The customer base will
be drivers willing to spend more for an all­around high performing car. Therefore,
investing the money to ensure that the car is efficient and fast will draw in the customers.

Acknowledgments
● Professor Jim Morris for suggesting including generic gasoline cars as a
competitor as they serve the same overall function (similar to transportation
methods discussed in class example).
● ht​
tp://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/11/08/faraday­future­media­fire
storm/75403854/
● http://www.faradayfuture.com/about.html
● http://corporate.ford.com/microsites/sustainability­report­2014­15/index.html
● http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/17/9341159/ford­apple­watch­android­wear­sm
artwatch­apps
● http://www.teslamotors.com/about
● http://www.plugincars.com/cars
● http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars­trucks/Ford_Focus­Electric/
● http://www.cnet.com/products/2015­ford­focus­electric/
● http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/04/infotainment­systems/ind
ex.htm
● http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/05/04/new­car­transaction­price
­3­kbb­kelley­blue­book/26690191/
● http://evobsession.com/electric­cars­2014­list/
● http://www.bmw.com/com/en/newvehicles/i/i3/2013/showroom/connectivity.html
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_vehicle
● https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automotive_industry
● http://chargecar.org/

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Appendices
Car Infotainment Systems
(http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/04/infotainment­systems/index.htm)

Company

The Good

The Bad

Ford

Comprehensive voice commands save the day for
audio, climate, and phone tasks. It’s easy to pair a
smartphone with the system and use it to stream music
through the car’s audio system. Ford has improved the
system over the years.
A new Sync 3 system is due later this year. We’ve tried
early versions and found it to be a responsive,
streamlined, and much­improved system. The first
vehicles to get it, the 2016 Ford Escape and Lincoln
MKC SUVs, are due in showrooms late this summer.
And you may want to wait to buy the recently
redesigned F­150, Mustang, and Edge. They’re still
rolling off the production lines with MyFord Touch.

Frustrating and distracting, with some
versions having small, fiddly
touch­activated buttons on the center
console for basics, such as volume
control and fan speed. The touch screen
has some small text and tightly packed
buttons that are hard to operate while
driving. System crashes and sluggish
response times still happen, even after
reliability improvements.

Tesla

Sized like two iPads, the touch screen has
straightforward logic and the layout allows some
custom configurability. Functions are well delineated,
buttons are large, and response­speed is
instantaneous. Updates are sent over the air. The nav
system uses Google Maps, making searches easy.
Some dynamic functions, such as “insane mode” and
regenerative braking, are controlled here.

The screen can wash out in bright
sunlight. Most functions can’t be done by
feel alone; you always need to look away
from the road for confirmation, which is
distracting.

BMW

BMW’s knobs and buttons are intuitive and respond
promptly. The big central display screen has large,
easy­to­read fonts. Steering­wheel controls speed
many selections that can be monitored through the
instrument cluster. Some iDrive functions, such as
navigating menu layers, can be done by feel.

Some of iDrive’s functions are marked by
cryptic hieroglyphics, necessitating some
in­depth exploration time spent twisting,
pressing, or jogging of the knob to see
what each one means.

Heads Up Display ​
(http://continental­head­up­display.com/)

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Electric Car Comparison
(http://www.businessinsider.com/electric­car­comparison­chart­2013­8)

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Electric vs. Non­Electric Comparisons (​
https://hawaiienergy.com/for­homes/ev)