It seems like in the year 2020, Tesla and its rather eccentric owner Elon Musk have not been out of the news cycle. For both good and bad reasons, there are not many people that haven’t heard of the electric car company. Only recently, Musk has locked horns with the United States Government over the forced closing of his California factory due to Coronavirus.
Putting this, and other negatives aside, Tesla still makes tremendously good cars, and are at the forefront of electric car technology. This pioneering status and headline-grabbing behavior have resulted in a lot of myths and rumors, many of which are not true.
Myth 1 – Tesla cars are more expensive than fueled cars
The least expensive Tesla available today is the Model 3 Standard Range Plus. It comes in at just over $37,990. Of course, many fossil-fueled cars are a lot cheaper, with many available for under $10,000. But this is not the whole story when it comes to the total expense.
When you start to consider the total combined cost of a fossil-fueled car and the cost of fuel during its lifespan, the tables start to turn. Fuel is a very expensive commodity, and as the world’s stocks dwindle, we will continue to see an increase in cost.
Alternatively, electricity as fuel is more cost-efficient. It is now possible to charge your Tesla from home using rooftop solar panels. Other money-saving options with Tesla include lower maintenance costs of an electric vehicle due to fewer moving parts and less depreciation over time.
Myth 2 – Tesla cars produce more carbon footprint than fossil fuel cars
This myth comes from the fact that Tesla vehicles do have a higher initial carbon footprint than combustion engine cars due to the resource demand from the production of their battery components. These batteries consist of extremely rare metals that have a high carbon cost from the mining process.
Post-production, Tesla cars’ carbon emissions are, of course, zero. The very essence of a fully electric motor vehicle is that it does not rely on any type of combustion engine or fossil fuels.
What happens when the natural lifespan of the battery has ended? Tesla already guarantees that all Tesla batteries will be recycled.
When you take the whole lifespan of making a Tesla car; mining materials, building and manufacturing, its lifespan and it’s disposal; Tesla cars are not carbon neutral. When in contrast to their fossil-fueled equivalents though, they are so much greener, with forward-thinking, environmentally friendly business strategies.
Myth 3 – Tesla is destined to fail
The only thing on par with the companies ability to make ‘top of the line’ electric cars, is spending money. Tesla has accumulated over $9 billion in operating losses since it was founded.
If you add to this Elon Musks’ erratic behavior and his negative headline-grabbing antics, all the ingredients are present to make for a steep downfall in the stock market, ending in complete failure. Yet, the company doesn’t fall that much at all. If it does, it bounces back soon after.
This consistent power in the stock market is drawn from Tesla’s many strengths. First and foremost is it’s constant ability to design and manufacture enviable, beautiful looking cars. Tesla models always get great reviews from experts and owners alike. Tesla drivers seriously adore their cars.
Even in the event of total bankruptcy, Tesla might still end up being a viable and successful quality car maker, just with a lesser total value than it would have been before. Worst case scenario and Tesla will probably still be valued at $10 billion, on a par with Porsche. Not really a failure is it.
Despite some big errors and big misses, it looks like Tesla is not going to fail anytime soon.
Myth 4 – Tesla is a tech company first and a car company second
It is accurate to say that Tesla has interests in other sectors, aside from simply car manufacturing.
Firstly, Tesla has located in Silicon Valley and not Detroit. They also have a lot of high-level technology inside their vehicles. Large displays and integrated software litter their cars. The operating system of a Tesla can be updated over the 5g network just like a phone does. They have pioneered the development of autopilot features and some argue that they are creating a different type of the company sector altogether.
Upon further investigation, you will soon realize that it is a mistake to suggest that Tesla is anything else but a car company. The reality is that most of the other major players in car manufacturing possess the same or similar interests outside of car manufacturing. It has even been said that Tesla has many similarities to, and should aspire to be like Honda. It is selling an improved number of cars every year, with the total now standing at 367,500 in 2019.
While it may be true that the company is heavily invested in the future of various high brow technologies, it is still a car company. Just a car company that is a little more eccentric than the others.
Myth 5 – The future of electric cars is reliant on the success of Tesla
Many believe that if Tesla fails, then the whole electric car industry will fall with them. But that is simply not true. Outside of the Tesla bubble, the electric car race is just getting started.
Volkswagen is a current leader in the race to compete for the top spot with the recent release of its new electric offering, the Audi e-Tron. Volkswagen also owns Porsche, Bugatti, Skoda, and Lamborghini. Plenty of room for increased scope and scale in the future.
When you add Toyota and its Prius range into the mix, the playing field looks a little more even now, doesn’t it? Toyota sells double the number of hybrid electric cars than Tesla every year.
Then, there is Ford, Nissan, GM, Kia, and Jaguar. The recent reviews of the Jaguar I-PACE have been on a par, if not better than Tesla for the pure driving experience.
With or without Tesla, the EV market is going to continue to grow.
Myth 6 – Elon Musk is in control and knows what he is doing
Since the death of Steve Jobs, Musk has become the most fawned over tech mogul in Silicon Valley. Numerous books have been written about him, dedicated to his ‘absolute genius’. High praise indeed.
Of course, with all this praise and undying adulation comes the general idea amongst the population that Musk has a solid grasp on the best strategies to make his business a success.
Yet there is a stream of evidence to suggest otherwise. First and foremost is Musk’s inability to scale the manufacturing process. Tesla started out making one car for many years, the Model S Sedan, in one factory in California. Their second, the Model X SUV was beset by many problems and needed a recall. A poor start.
In addition, Musk himself has admitted some very big ‘unforced errors’ during his time as CEO of Tesla. There is the excessive automation of his factories and his production process, tweets that caused a massive fall in the company stock valuation, and let’s not forget the lawsuit filed against him by the British diver who saved Thai school children from drowning.
Being a genius in innovation does not mean that you know what you are doing. Entrepreneurship is hard and relies on guesswork and many unknowables. The more abstract his vision of the future becomes, the higher the chance that he makes a mess of everything.
One truth – Teslas are too expensive
Unfortunately, this is very true. Even the great man himself has said so. He feels that if the cars can be more affordable one day, on a par with the likes of Kia and Skoda, then the company will see improved profitability. In turn, they would also be able to produce many more models of cars.
The pricing problem arises from one main area, market supply, and demand. Demand is sky-high and the waiting list is vast as the company breaks sales records and waiting lists get even longer.
This demand is partly as a result of the green movement across the globe and the willingness of more people to cause less pollution. The sheer attractiveness of the vehicles doesn’t help either, neither does the high value of the exotic metals and materials used inside the car.
So what will it take for the cars to become affordable to the masses? A combination of an improved scaling model in the manufacturing process and innovation in battery technology would be a good place to start.
Husband to an understanding wife and father to an unhinged Chiwawa, Matt spends most of his days writing with a focused fervour normally reserved for a dog and his dinner. A specialist in content strategy and tech and design writing, creativity is in his blood. When he takes a well-earned break, he enjoys nothing more than sampling his Wife’s culinary experiments or rearranging furniture in the house.