Testy Relationship As Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) vs Sonnen Rivalry Plays Out Once Again

December 8, 2016 - By Ruchi Gupta   ·   0 Comments

The Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) vs Sonnen rivalry has once again come to the fore. This follows the latest move by Sonnen to poach another of Tesla Energy’s executives. The most recent executive to be tapped from Tesla Energy is Blake Richetta. Richetta, who was formerly Tesla Energy’s Sales Manager for North America, is now the vice president of sales of Sonnen’s US business. Last year Sonnen pulled a similar move when it lured Phillip Schroder away from Tesla Energy. He is now the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for Sonnen.

Appointment to intensify Tesla vs Sonnen rivalry

Richetta’s appointment is only likely to further intensify the feud as his primary brief is to spearhead the expansion of Sonnen in the United States which at present constitutes Tesla’s largest market. The appointment of Richetta comes in the wake of a successful round of financing which netted Sonnen $85 million. Some of the major investors in the Sonnen Group include General Electric and Envision Energy.

While accepting the appointment, Richetta seemed to take a jibe at his former employer, further enhancing the Tesla vs Sonnen rivalry.


“SONNEN understands like no other company in this sector, that winning at energy storage requires the smartest not the cheapest battery box,” Richetta said in a press release shortly after the appointment.

This seemed to be in reference to the different strategies that the two rivals employ in their businesses. Tesla is keen on bringing the costs down, especially those of its batteries. A comparison between similar products from the two firms reveals a huge price difference. Tesla Energy’s Powerwall 2 battery is 3 times cheaper than SonnenBatterie Eco Compact on cost per kilowatt hour.

Direct sales strategy

With regards to distribution, Richetta alluded to Tesla Energy’s distribution model as being limited because it excluded partners who could play a vital role. Tesla’s distribution model strategy is to have its own network of retail stores. This is in contrast with Sonnen which works through distributors. In a market that is gradually growing, the Tesla vs Sonnen feud is just beginning.

Tesla Motors Inc’s share price rose 3.93% to close at $193.15 per share in Wednesday’s trading.

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By Ruchi Gupta

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