Tesla’s toughest competition ever was on display in Geneva

In the tech industry, the theory goes that Apple doesn’t go to trade shows anymore because it dominates the news cycle even when it doesn’t show up. The same goes for Tesla, which — despite caving and bringing its shiny new Model 3 to the LA Auto Show last fall — predictably skipped this week’s Geneva Motor Show.

The difference with this particular show, more than others past, is that it was filled to the brim with clear, serious competitors to Tesla. And I don’t just mean direct comparisons, with cars like the Jaguar I-Pace, which matches up almost spec for spec to something like the entry-level Model X. The show was also dominated by cars that slot into the parts of the market that Tesla thrives in. More luxury EVs and hybrids are coming than ever before, and for the rest of us, there are now multiple cheaper options for something other than the Model 3.

The I-Pace is the most immediate challenge to Tesla’s dominance of the early EV market. It matches up well with the base version of Tesla’s SUV, the Model X 75D. It has similar range and acceleration, though the Model X is bigger and has more seats and storage space. But the I-Pace starts at $69,500 — $10,000 less than the Model X 75D and $5,000 less than the entry-level Model S. It’s coming soon, too, with orders open now and deliveries scheduled for the second half of this year.

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