Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Getting Competition in Silicon Valley Home Turf from BMW’s i8

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is currently the darling of Wall Street, where its impressive technical achievements thus far, mixed with a perhaps overly optimistic future guidance by analysts, have propelled the electric car maker to a lofty valuation of over $32.5 billion.

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However, it all starts from Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s home base in Silicon Valley, where the electric cars are seen as status symbols and where the Model S was the best-selling vehicle of 2013 in the wealthy Bay Area towns of Atherton and Los Altos Hills. As Yahoo Finance reported today in a piece originally published by Bloomberg, those markets are seen as trendsetters for the rest of the country, and are highly coveted by automakers as a result; and they’re markets that are now under the crosshairs of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) rivals like BMW.

The German automaker, listed on the Xetra exchange, scored some high profile customers for its new $136,000 i8 electric/hybrid sports car, when it delivered the first of those vehicles to U.S customers earlier this month. Among them was former Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) executive and Nest Founder and CEO Tony Fadell, as well as the CEO’s of several other major companies.

However, while the i8 may be the current hot car on the market, it’s not truly much of a competitor to Tesla in the strictly electric vehicle market. The i8 can only travel about 15 miles in electric mode, and top speed is limited to just 75 miles per hour in that mode. That compares not at all favorably in that respect to the Model S, with its 200 to 300 miles in range, and superior top speed in electric mode (which is of course all the Model S has).

One thing the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) competition may have going for them is the fact that the Model S has perhaps become a little too commonplace in the Silicon Valley region. As one person told Bloomberg, the Model S was seen daily around that area, and therefore there wasn’t as much cachet in owning one for him, prompting him to instead purchase a Cadillac ELR rather than a Model S.

Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group is one of the largest Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shareholders, owning just over 1 million shares in the young automaker valued at over $260 million.

Disclosure: none

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