History has taught us it’s not clever to wager towards Elon Musk

Musk pledged to manufacture 20 million electric cars per year by 2030, a figure almost double the volume produced by Volkswagen - currently the world's biggest carmaker.

If historical past is any information, Musk is just not a person to wager towards.

True to type, Tesla’s announcement was huge on daring claims however quick on the type of nitty-gritty particulars that may have helped shore up confidence within the plan, which is one motive why shares within the agency slumped sharply afterwards.

Tesla’s technique is smart however there are huge dangers connected to it. It means Tesla is ready to change into a much more advanced beast, requiring administration give attention to new areas the place it at present has little or zero expertise.

Tesla mentioned it was going to slash the price of its electrical automobiles to $US25,000 – about one third lower than the present least expensive mannequin – with a collection of incremental advances in all the pieces from its fundamental manufacturing course of to the fabric science of constructing higher and extra environment friendly batteries. They make up about one third of the price of an electrical automobile.

Tesla goals to modify to cylindrical batteries, which it can manufacture in-house utilizing new alloys and mixtures of metallurgical silicon and nickel.

Musk additionally mentioned Tesla was going to begin mining and refining a few of the uncooked supplies itself with the acquisition of a 10,000-acre lithium clay deposit in Nevada and the development of a brand new cathode plant.

Details, nevertheless, have been sketchy and the brand new low cost mannequin would take three years to supply at any scale.


In essence, the long-term imaginative and prescient was to chop prices by means of economies of scale and the creation of a way more vertically built-in manufacturing mannequin – so Tesla not has to depend on hundreds of different companies for its extremely advanced provide chain. One doable loser may very well be Panasonic, the Japanese agency that at present builds lots of Tesla’s battery cells.

Tesla’s technique is smart however there are huge dangers connected to it. It means Tesla is ready to change into a much more advanced beast, requiring administration give attention to new areas the place it at present has little or zero expertise.

Then once more, with such a wealthy valuation, Tesla can afford to purchase in experience or just purchase corporations in a few of these area of interest areas if it must.

In the previous, Musk has demonstrated no scarcity of ingenuity. But there isn’t a query it opens up potential hazards for a enterprise that’s already overstretched and working near full tilt.

It is price remembering that Tesla and others have already come a great distance in lowering prices.

Musk pledged to fabricate 20 million electrical automobiles per yr by 2030, a determine virtually double the quantity produced by Volkswagen – at present the world’s largest carmaker.Credit:Bloomberg

Electric automobile batteries at present stand at about $US147 per kWh, down from $US381 per kWh in 2015 and over $US1,000 per kWh in 2010, based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Tesla believes that to be able to compete immediately with conventional inner combustion engine automobiles, this determine must be reduce to below $US100.

That will not be straightforward but it surely does look achievable. A prepared market definitely exists if he can reach constructing automobiles that actually compete on value.

Either manner, if Musk actually does come wherever close to constructing 20 million automobiles a yr, one huge problem would be the availability of the important supplies.

Experts warn of a scarcity of capability to supply and refine lithium and nickel on the form of scale required to fulfill demand.

There can be prone to be rising scrutiny of the environmental influence. As the world fights to finish its dependancy to fossil fuels, the ecological value of mining the metals required to realize that aim is changing into an enormous environmental drawback in its personal proper.

Mining for lithium, for instance, requires enormous volumes of water and may trigger air pollution except very rigorously managed.

Although Musk might have stolen the limelight, it was one other announcement from Xi Jinping, China’s president, on Tuesday (China time) that could be greater information within the long-term.


In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he pledged China would flip carbon impartial by 2060 and its greenhouse fuel emissions would peak inside the subsequent decade.

The financial implications of that announcement are prone to be profound. They are prone to intensify a world scramble for these supplies, which might final for many years and will reshape the geopolitical map. Tesla and others should battle laborious to safe them.

Telegraph, London

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