Tesla are a nerd’s wet dream or a pragmatists dry nightmare.
They allegedly specialize in electric vehicles and general electrical technology. But here’s the thing. Tesla have been in business for 15 years, and have yet to even come close to returning a profit.
In 2017, the company had its best ever year, selling 200,000 units. Well, cars, really. Now that might sound like a lot but, in car world, it really isn’t. The best selling model the Tesla 3 sold around 30000 units last year, and became the best selling electric plugin vehicle in the US. In fact, the company have an sales book already packed with 500,000 orders for the Model 3.
But, and it’s a Sir Mix-A-Lot sized but, they can’t deliver them.
Supply and Demand
You see, getting orders for half a million of anything is great, but only being able to produce 2000 of them a week is going to be a problem. Best guess at the moment is that you will need to wait a minimum of 18 months to actually take delivery of a Model 3.
If you are looking to change your car because it’s starting to cost you maintenance money, that just isn’t going to cut it. And it’s not like there aren’t alternatives. Japanese make Nissan, who produce the Leaf, is already a tried and tested technology. Put this against Tesla’s rather patchy record of manufacture, and those options start to look attractive.
Basic – It Stinks
Tesla keep pushing the Model 3 as the $35000 Electric Car. And it is, as ling as you don’t mind driving round in a tin box with nothing in it. Actually, that’s not fair. You do get navigation and wi-fi. Oh and Bluetooth. Y’know, all the things which have been standard in a lot of cars for a couple of years.
If you actually want to drive a decent version of the Tesla Model 3, you need to stump up considerably more.
Range is the biggest worry with electric cars, so you can get a battery upgrade on the Model 3 which will get you an extra 90 miles out of a “full tank”. Cost? $9000. That’s $100 per mile.
Heated seats and a better inside trim? $5000.
Nicer wheels? $1500.
Oh, and in true Henry Ford fashion, you can have any color you want, as long as it’s black. Unless you pay another $1000.
Now, I know you don’t need all that, necessarily, but if you did? The cost of the Model 3 suddenly becomes north of sixty grand.
Tesla Is Driving Us Round The Bend
Oh, hang on, I’m not finished just yet. You want the much touted, and misleadingly named Enhanced Autopilot? $5000. And it isn’t autopilot in any sense of the word, by the way. The car will just alert you if you drift out of lane, and make an attempt to keep a safe distance from the car in front. It’s basically driver assist under a false and seemingly quite fraudulent name.
Tesla do have a plan for Full Self-Driving Capability. But you can’t have it. You can pay for it, but you can’t have it. For $3000, you will get the feature once Tesla can make it work without trying to kill people. As yet, they haven’t done that. By paying up front for something which might not be ready when you come to change your car, it’s really nothing more than a Kickstarter scheme without any incentives.
So, you’ve paid your $60k for a nice car, and then another $8000 for one of two things that doesn’t do what the name says it will.
You realize that, by this point, we’re getting into serious sports car territory? For an electric car that will do about 250 miles if you’re lucky. Much less if you dare to have a heavy foot.
I’m not saying the Model 3 isn’t a good car, because it is. What we’re saying is that Tesla are beginning to resemble the 21st century version of DeLorean.
For all I’ve had to say about the company, wait until I tell you about its CEO. Elon Musk is touted as a wunderkind of sorts. A genius on a par with Steve Jobs for his ability to get people to buy in to an idea. But that’s really where it stops. Jobs was able not just to come up with ideas, but also to make them profitable. Musk hasn’t overseen a profit in 15 years. In fact losses have run into the billions of dollars. Despite this, his earnings over the next decade will top $50bn. No, that’s not a typo. A man who can’t build the things he sells, and hasn’t made a dime for his investors, will make 50 BILLION dollars in salary and bonuses. Assuming he hits some key targets, that is.
On of his goals is to increase the company’s market capitalization tenfold, to $650bn. Let me recap for you. No profits in 15 years, massive losses, can’t make things fast enough, will get $50bn if he manages to get more people to give him money.
But, for all that, there are worse things about Elon Musk than his poor work performance record.
Following complaints by employees, investigations were held into labor practices at Tesla. According to the Union of Automotive Workers, staff were physically threatened for trying to organize a union presence, safety is secondary to profits, employees were dismissed for supporting union action.
Tesla, and Musk specifically, refute the allegations. The question is, though, why are the company so against a union presence. It has been shown many times that a union can help management by centralizing and dealing with problems collectively. Do Tesla and Musk have something to hide? We’ll find out eventually, I’m sure.