That's not the only way the old-school auto companies are bridging the gap, according to Gina Sanchez, founder and CEO of Chantico Global and chief market strategist for Lido Advisors.
"The problem that Tesla has is that GM, Ford, Volkswagen, they're all waking up and saying, 'Hey, we need to get into this [electric vehicle] game.' And if you look at Europe as a kind of litmus test, Europe just topped 500,000 units sold for EVs, and Tesla was not among the top, which tells you that there's competition now in this space," Sanchez told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday.
Global electric vehicle sales are expected to climb by 36% in 2021, surpassing 3 million total units, according to Cairn Energy Research Advisors. GM and Ford have pivoted to expand research and production in the space — General Motors, for example, unveiled an EV Hummer earlier this week.
"Tesla has basically shown everyone that EV is a space that they need to be in, and now they're competing against old-school companies like GM," said Sanchez.
Quint Tatro, president of Joule Financial, said pitting Tesla against GM and Ford is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
"I know they all make cars, but I don't even like lumping GM, Ford and Tesla together," Tatro said during the same "Trading Nation" segment. "Tesla has so much going for it that's just outside the automobile. I think if you're buying Tesla here, you're buying it for the ability for the company to unlock future value through their batteries, future technology that's coming down the pike."
Its position at the cross-section of auto production and tech makes it a different beast, Tatro said.
"It's always been virtually impossible to value this company. And I tell folks, you know this is a company where you believe in [CEO Elon Musk], you believe in the technology, you buy it when everybody thinks that there's trouble and then you just hold it, and you don't trade it," said Tatro.
GM and Ford, on the other hand, may have been overdue for a bounce after tumbling at the beginning of the year, Tatro said.
"They just got too cheap," said Tatro. "They have much better balance sheets over the years, they've been improving, and, as Gina said, they're coming strong with the EV game, so they've got a little bit of momentum. So it's been a kind of a perfect storm to see money move in looking for value."
GM trades at 8 times forward earnings, Ford at 13.5 times, and Tesla at 129 times.
Disclosure: Joule Financial holds shares in Ford and Tesla.