TO THE EDITOR:
The new-vehicle market will recover from the COVID-19 era. How and how quickly remain to be seen, but Tesla may have advantages right out of the gate — and for reasons that CEO Elon Musk may have never envisioned because few people ever envisioned this kind of pandemic and reaction.
Let's assume that at least some of the focus on ultracleanliness lingers into the recovery and beyond. Many see electricity as cleaner than fossil fuels — not cleaner as in less pollution, but as in more "sanitary." Not that fossil fuels have anything to do with viruses; just that electric vehicles may tap into that "new clean" psyche whether or not that perception is accurate. As the only all-electric brand, Tesla specifically may be helped by that perception of EVs.
Then there is the social distancing part. People may return to going to parties and restaurants, but they may still want to minimize their exposure to unknown people and uncontrolled places. Like gas stations. So Tesla owners' ability to charge at home may be another plus for the brand, independent of the price of gas.
And of course, with an online reservation system instead of dealerships, Tesla was ahead of the curve (the pandemic curve, in this case). Again, advantage Tesla.
All three of these elements may create a unique combination of emotionally driven post-pandemic purchase motivators that may accelerate Tesla's recovery past other brands.
LINCOLN MERRIHEW, Southborough, Mass.The writer is an independent consultant with decades of experience in the auto industry centered on research, brand health, e-commerce and advertising effectiveness.