More than a car, a lifestyle, a vision of the future. This is my analysis of Tesla Motors, the most European of American car manufacturers.
By Clement Aglietta
Tesla Motors, all the ingredients for success!
Tesla is a California-based company founded in 2003 by Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, JB Straubel and Ian Wright, marketing premium all-electric motor vehicles.
The company’s name “Tesla” was inspired by the famous Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla, a genius physicist of the early 20th century, known in particular for his work on electricity.
In 2014, Tesla Motors, which markets around 40,000 vehicles worldwide each year (compared to more than 1.9 million for Fiat, for example) will enter the Nasdaq for more than $23 billion, almost two and a half times more than Fiat (capitalised at $9 billion).
These figures therefore reflect the company’s potential.
In 2014, Tesla Motors employed about 3,000 full-time employees and produced about 22,000 vehicles each year, and that number has continued to grow.
In 2020, Tesla employs about 4,8016 people worldwide and has produced 500,000 vehicles in 2019 at a rate of 10,000 cars per week.
Of the five founders, the most famous is Elon Musk, also founder of the famous online payment service Paypal and Space X (manufacturer of rocket launchers). Elon Musk is considered by many as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 21st century, often compared to Steve Jobs. Originally from South Africa, he continued his studies at Stanford University where he obtained a PhD in physics. Soon after, he launched Paypal, Space X and then Tesla. He is also known for initiating the Hyper Loop project, an innovative underground transportation system that may one day link New York to Los Angles in 1h30.
Vision, objectives, positioning
Tesla Motors’ positioning in the global market :
Tesla is now positioning itself as a premium brand. In fact, Tesla Motors vehicles sell for an average of $65,000.
Tesla also aims to be an innovative, young, cool and, of course, environmentally friendly company. Tesla’s competitors are manufacturers in a similar price range, such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Lexus (another manufacturer of high-end electric or hybrid cars).
The benefits of Tesla are certain. First of all, there is the ecological aspect. Indeed, the clean energy market is booming. All-electric cars have the advantage of costing much less to maintain and are more than reasonably priced, compared to a German sedan that consumes 8 or 9 litres per 100 kilometres.
The second big advantage of Tesla vehicles is of course the technology on board. Tesla’s S and X models offer acceleration, top speed and driving comfort at least equivalent to that of its competitors, while not consuming a drop of oil.
Tesla vehicles also feature far superior in-car technology compared to its competitors, such as the large 17-inch touch screen, which allows control of the entire vehicle interior, access to multimedia content of all kinds, and of course a standard GPS with 4G onboard chip (SIM card) operation.
The S and X models also feature a number of sensors: driver seat detection sensors for start/stop functionality or collision sensors to prevent accidents. In addition to all this, Tesla vehicles are, like Audi vehicles, equipped with a very light and extremely well-designed aluminium chassis to minimise damage in the event of an accident.
Before being a car manufacturer, Tesla is first and foremost a technology company whose goal is to design the vehicles of tomorrow. Clearly, Tesla cars are ahead of their time. This is what the company’s market capitalization suggests.
In the long term, Tesla will become a reference in the automotive world, as the latter does not intend to limit itself to top-of-the-range vehicles. In 2013, Tesla reaffirmed its commitment to developing 100% electric vehicles with technology similar to its S and X models but at a much more affordable price (around 20,000 or 30,000 euros) – The Tesla Model E.