published in April 19, 2019 |
by Zachary Shahan
April 19, 2019 per Zachary Shahan
The story of Tesla is fascinating. If you love the company or hate it, it's easy to be drawn to the story as if you were in a good movie. This is certainly one of the reasons why so many people obsessively check the news and the Tesla newspapers every day.
Another reason is that Tesla vehicles are crazy – in a class of its own. But I'll come back to that in a minute.
People sometimes think or try to claim Tesla is all about hype. If Elon Musk was not a good man of hype, Tesla would be nothing – then the criticism continues. I think there is an element of truth there. That element is that Elon Musk is a wonderful artist and storyteller. He is very funny and adorably sincere, open and exhilarating.
As a sociologist by training, I find this whole aspect of Tesla's story fascinating. No doubt about it, Tesla would not have sold as many cars as it had without that secret sauce. And the aspect of Tesla's social movement, and the whole life of Elon Musk, could be the subject of a long book. In addition, this element is often present in major technological changes – see Apple and Steve Jobs, or … hmm, maybe it's not that common.
At the end of history, the catalyst for a major technological change is usually technology itself. You're probably reading this on a tiny, powerful computer called "phone" because the technologies within it have been developed consistently over the decades and have become increasingly accessible to normal people – all doing more and more advanced tasks.
Tesla is a big success because it entered the electric vehicle market at the right time, helped further reduce the costs of the hearts and brains of the machines – batteries and computers – and had the vision of pulling all the components together to make a sexy car and then another, and another, and another. Tesla has led the development of electric vehicle batteries, engine development, inverter development, autonomous driving technology, computer hardware, computer software, seat production (exclusive history) and the complete package for years. Even looking at one of these issues in isolation, it may seem that Tesla is years ahead of the competition in the world of electric cars. Looking at them, it is difficult to find the company that is closest behind Tesla in this marathon.
Before you think I just got lost in a vortex of Tesla hype, think about what this leadership has translated lately. Tesla has absolutely dominated the electric vehicle markets. It is also essentially the only automaker that has an electric vehicle on the market that is proven to be competitive with the best-selling gas cars. As I pointed out a few days ago, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling car of any kind in the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland last month. Besides that:
It was the No. 1 luxury car in the US in the first quarter of 2019, the small or medium-size luxury car in 2018, the No. 1 electric vehicle in the US in the first quarter of 2019 and all of 2018. The second half of 2018, the 11th best selling car in the US in 2018 and the 13th best selling car in the first quarter of 2019, the No. 1 car in US sales in terms of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018, American car company in the second half of 2018 , and in conjunction with the Model S accounted for 20% of US luxury car sales in 2018.
Model 3 is the innovative car that many of us think it would be, but it's still a bit shocking to witness these successes. What is important, however, is that this market does not stand still – and Tesla, in particular, is a restless animal. With that in mind, what's new?
The issue that I have been fighting for months is the issue of consumer awareness.
The thing is – Model 3 is much better than a BMW 3 Series or a Mercedes C Class, it is competitive with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord but it is invisible to many people or seen as something completely different from what it is (also expensive, insecure, complicated to drive, etc.). How long will it take for the next wave of technology adopters in the S curve of disruptive technology to discover Model 3 and its benefits – and then buy the car?
Moreover, while Model 3 overturns the competition of cars, many buyers simply want a crossover, an SUV or a pickup truck. It will take time to bring the models to market that are competitive in these classes, just as Model 3 is competitive in the sedan class.
To have some fun and have something to check later to see how crazy I am, I decided to make a prediction about some important Tesla frames. I have the feeling that this is not a smart thing, but I'll do it anyway. Here's my idiot, guess what the Tesla is going to be like:
- In 2018, the Tesla Model 3 becomes one of the top five cars sold in the US in the second half of the year and the 11th best-selling car for the entire year. (Easy.)
- In the second half of 2018, the Tesla Model 3 becomes the best-selling vehicle in California. (Another easy one.)
- In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 becomes the best selling luxury vehicle (all classes) in the US. (Ok, the last "easy".)
- In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 becomes the best-selling vehicle in Norway.
- In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 is again one of the top-selling cars in the US, and the top-selling luxury car.
- By 2020, the Tesla Model 3 reaches 500,000 sales in one year.
- In 2020, the Tesla Model 3 is one of the top 5 best selling cars in the US.
- In 2021, Tesla Model Y is one of the top 10 best selling vehicles in the US and Model is again one of the top 10 best selling vehicles.
- In 2022, Tesla reaches 1 million vehicle sales in a year. (This is a bit behind Elon Musk's forecast of 1.1 million sales in 2021.)
- In 2022, the Tesla Model 3 is the best selling car in the US.
- In 2022, the Tesla Model Y is the best-selling crossover in the USA.
- In 2022, Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are again two of the 10 best-selling vehicles in the US.
- In 2023, Tesla reaches 2 to 3 million vehicle sales in a year.
- In 2023, the Tesla Model 3 is once again the top-selling car in the US and the Model Y is one of the top five best-selling vehicles in the US.
- In 2024, Tesla becomes one of the 10 largest automakers in the world in volume and sells between 4 and 5 million vehicles.
- In 2024, Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are two of the 15 best-selling vehicles in the world.
- In 2025, Tesla is one of the 5 best-selling automakers in the world.
What are your thoughts? Where do you think I'm crazy? Where do you think I'm in place?
Note: Some of these predictions can be ruined if certain Chinese automakers explode in size and their hottest models take control of global sales charts.