Tesla, Porsche And Mercedes Developments Signal Sizeable Switch To Electric

The three winning drivers take a selfie with their Porsche 919 Hybrid race car after winning the 85th Le Mans 24-hours race on June 18, 2017. Porsche will leave Le Mans for Formula E. Photo byJEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images

In the last week, three hugely important things transpired to signal a seismic shift towards electric cars, and much sooner than many experts predicted.

On Friday last week, Tesla delivered the first batch of its long-awaited, affordable, pure electric Model 3 cars to customers in the U.S. Meanwhile, in Germany, the 2017 Le Mans winner Porsche was announcing its decision to leave the world of fossil fuel-powered World Endurance Championship – including the ‘Le Mans 24-Hours’ – in favour of the all-electric Formula E series.

With its new mass-marketed model finally landing in showrooms, Tesla will be offering the Model 3 at prices starting from $35,000 for a car with a 220-mile range. Or you can go for the 310-mile version for $44,000. Finally reaching its goal of offering a reasonably priced EV to the masses, the only problem Tesla faces is meeting its self-inflicted aggressive production schedule of 400,000 units by the end of 2018.

Customers wait in line to put a USD 1,000 deposit on the Model 3, outside the Tesla store in Santa Monica in early 2016. Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Adding a kick in the pants to future gasoline and diesel powered racing on the previous Monday, Mercedes Benz confirmed its move into Formula E and exit from the German Touring Car Championships (DTM). The company will of course continue to run its successful F1 team in its chase for a fourth consecutive constructor’s title.

At the end of last year, Audi pulled out of the WEC racing series, of which Le Mans is an integral part, to focus on Formula E. With both Audi and Porsche gone from Le Mans racing, Toyota will now be seriously weighing its options in this prototype form of motor sport, especially after its CEO, Akio Toyoda recently announced that his company would return to Le Mans next year.

Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi drives the Toyota TS050 Hybrid race car during this year’s Le Mans 24 hours. Toyota said it will return to Le Mans in 2018. Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

More on Forbes: Tesla To Get Serious Competition From Volvo And Porsche In Electric Battle

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