On August 2nd 2020, Tesla Inc’s founder Elon Musk had surpassed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s wealthiest person by net worth. Such a feat was attributed to Tesla’s remarkable growth with its stock rising by 743% over 2020. As a result, Tesla share prices have risen even further – resulting in Musk gaining an estimated $36 billion in net worth on the single day of August 6th, 2020 – turning an already staggering fortune even bigger.
Yet, amidst the flurry of news stories, experts in the field remain divided on the sustainability of Tesla’s success. Some experts argue that Tesla’s financial trajectory is unsustainable due to a looming oversupply of electric vehicles and unpredictable shifts in the global market. John Foley, professor of finance at the Bauer College of Business, believes that Tesla’s success was due to a combination of factors: “Tesla has been incredibly disruptive and innovative, but it also stands to benefit from the rise of electric vehicles and renewable energy – two trends that look set to continue for the foreseeable future.”
Others dispute this, pointing out that the intensified competition could threaten Tesla’s market share. This is in part due to a large number of new firms entering the automotive industry, such as Lucid Motors and Rivian, as well as legacy automakers such as Volkswagen and General Motors slowly transitioning to an electric-only line of vehicles by 2030. While these companies certainly pose threats to Tesla, Musk is well aware of the competition and its potential to disrupt Tesla’s explosive performance.
In response, Musk has sought to maintain Tesla’s unparalleled lead in technology. From the development of the Autopilot feature in 2017 to the acquisition of the German engineering firm Grohmann Automation in the same year, Tesla has made it a top priority to stay ahead of the curve. Moreover, Tesla’s 2020 achievements showcased the company’s ingenuity further with improvements in the company’s self-driving feature and the completion of its giant Gigafactory in Berlin – all in the space of a single year.
Central to Tesla’s success is also its ability to engage customers and navigate the competitive landscape. Tesla is notable for its sophisticated advertising campaigns, promotional events, and the introduction of plenty of more affordable models to the market. Tesla has also extended its reach not only via traditional marketing, but also by utilizing the use of social media to directly address potential customers and answer the queries of existing customers through the use of chatbots.
CEO Elon Musk himself has been central to Tesla’s success in recent years, beginning with his announcement of the now iconic Model 3 back in 2017. Musk has since leveraged his large follower base on Twitter to bolster Tesla’s brand presence. Twitter has also provided Musk with a platform to talk personally and directly with customers, while also engaging with industry professionals and journalists. Musk’s efforts have certainly paid dividends with thousands of individuals worldwide opting to purchase Tesla’s electric cars – and of course, plenty of press attention along the way.
However, beyond its extraordinary financial success, Tesla is also credited with single-handedly changing the landscape of electric transportation as well as the wider automotive industry. From technology improvements to its commitments to sustainability, Tesla has come to represent the high-end of electric vehicles and serve as an aspirational symbol for green energy.
Tesla has grown to become the poster child for the transition to clean energy. In addition to the construction of its Gigafactory to improve the production of electric cars, the company has also announced plans to construct a solar roof tile and install a battery storage backup system. These projects serve as a testament to the company’s commitment to maintain its forward-thinking ethos and make Tesla an even more attractive choice for customers.
In keeping with its commitment to the environment, Tesla has made a concerted effort to promote sustainable transportation. Its range of vehicles are crafted with environmentally friendly materials, with some models boasting the capacity to convert energy back into the local grid and power other devices – a feature which has been widely lauded by environmental activists.
Moreover, Tesla’s long-term vision to make electric vehicles commonplace on the roads has not gone unnoticed, with cities around the world starting to introduce approaches or incentives to lower the environmental impact of daily commuting. Examples include Seoul’s air quality monitoring program as well as public subsidies in various states across the United States.
The investment potential of Tesla, meanwhile, has also been highlighted in recent years. Tesla’s success has, in part, been attributed to its commitment to innovation, with investors allocating their funds to companies that could capitalize upon the industry’s rapid transition to electric vehicles. This approach may have paid off for many investors, as Tesla has certainly delivered record-breaking financials over the past year and a half.
Nevertheless, experts remain cautious of a potential correction in Tesla’s share prices, despite the company’s sustained presence as one of the most profitable companies in the world. Michael Batnick, research director at Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC, commented in a recent interview: “Investors should be wary of the recent stock run-up and remember that these stocks can move both ways.”
The Future of Tesla
As for Tesla in the future, experts are divided on the company’s sustainability in the long-term. Some suggest that the state of the electric vehicle market may become uncertain due to shifts in consumer trends, competition from legacy automakers, and the adoption of renewable energy sources. Yet, others argue that Tesla’s leadership rests on its constant commitment to innovation and growth.
Evidently, Elon Musk’s impressive $36 billion fortune underscores the huge potential of Tesla on the global electric vehicle market. Whether Tesla will be able to retain its position as the electric vehicle giant remains uncertain, however, it is evident that the company’s explosive performance has certainly changed the landscape of electric transportation.