Look Out, Tesla, Another EV Is Coming—and This One Is Gunning for You

During the past year, electric cars haven’t exactly blown the minds of analysts or investors. The chart below shows several of the major electric car producers.

In the midst of Tesla’s run to become the EV industry’s preeminent name, most of the rest have struggled to expand beyond small production runs, reliability concerns, and one-off issues. But a company called Motor1 is now aiming to improve EV production with what looks to be a more durable vehicle—one that can match Tesla’s Supercharger infrastructure.

The company has already achieved commercial production levels with the electric sport-utility vehicle DriftBox, which is being positioned as a more affordable and stable competitor to the Tesla Model X and Model 3. The car itself is built using specifications similar to Tesla’s, so it can be fully charged by using Superchargers (and the Nissan LEAF’s) straight from the factory, says the company.

The vehicle, which has a starting price point of $83,000, features a 440 volt interior charger that offers 20 miles of range per hour of charging, making it able to go between one and five hours on a Supercharger. When it launched, DriftBox sales included the option to upgrade to a 670 volt home charger, which offers more range, which will cost an additional $33,000.

“When Motor1 launched DriftBox, we did so with a new definition of luxury. And this is about maintaining that definition while growing beyond its initial launch capabilities,” the company’s president, Osman Jarali, wrote in a May 9 press release. “Our EV RangePod vision is very similar in this regard. Rather than a regular 2-wheel battery pack, we have built a Hybrid Electric Flow (HEV) car with a 400 kWh battery pack.”

The company has become very publicly optimistic about DriftBox, and an environmentalist’s dream vehicle. Recently, Rod Stevens, the author of the book Run Red: The Battle to Save the American Rural Economy, has documented the company’s push to release more and more products.

In October, Motor1 also began distributing ice cubes containing 96 percent recycled materials. Currently, 75 percent of its ice is delivered at a Texas landfill that the company salvaged from its steel production, and 25 percent of its IcePods, which, apparently, give people “amazingly long trips.”

At its launch last year, Jarali said, the company was financially stress-free and that DriftBox “showed that low-cost vehicles could compete in the premium luxury market.” But he said the company is now growing and attracting venture capital.

“We don’t plan to rest on our laurels,” he wrote in the May 9 release. “We want to ensure that DriftBox always gives every new customer the kind of experience that we want DriftBox to provide: a car as powerful as a Tesla, with a positive impact on the environment, and as sophisticated as the Lexus GX.”

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