A SWOT analysis: Can Tesla Motors save the world?

Named after the scientist Nikola Tesla, Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 and is now a popular car company that sells electric cars and batteries. If you are interested in a more detailed history of the company then you should read this article: Tesla Motors History Timeline.

  • According to the CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Motors is like the special forces, such as the Navy Seals. Since the special forces are only recruiting the best, so does Tesla Motors.
  • The CEO Elon Musk has earlier founded companies like PayPal and SpaceX, so he has a good track record. He is also a car enthusiast and has owned, among others, a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo, a Hamann BMW, an Audi Q7, a 1967 Series 1 E-type Jaguar, and a McLaren F1. (Read the full story of when Elon Musk crashed the McLaren F1).
  • Tesla Motors can design really good cars. The Model S won the 2013 Motor Trend's Car of the Year award, which is a competition that began in 1949, and the Model S might be the safest car ever according to crash tests.   
  • They are manufacturing their cars in California - not in Detroit. An electric vehicle is like a hybrid between a computer and a gasoline car, and they can find the best computer- and electrical engineers in California. The area is also more innovative than Detroit.
  • Only 20 percent of Tesla Motors factory is used to produce Model S, so as new models from Tesla Motors arrives, the company doesn't need to build a new factory.
  • Tesla Motors will only sell electric cars. They have dismissed alternatives such as fuel cells, hybrids, diesel, and ethanol. The problem with fuel cells is that they are always ten years into the future. The problem with hybrids and diesel is that we will run out of oil in the near future because oil is a finite resource. The problem with ethanol is that you have to grow it somewhere, and where is the unused land needed? The electric car technology exists today and we can power them with electricity as long as the Sun shines. Elon Musk is also the owner of SolarCity that installs solar panels and both SolarCity and Tesla Motors are collaborating with each other.
  • Popular among celebrities like George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Damon, David Letterman, the founders of Google, and many more.
  • The Tesla Stores are similar to the Apple Stores and are an innovative way to market the Tesla cars.
  • The Tesla-owned Superchargers are, on average, 16 times faster than most public charging stations.
  • Some say that if we are going to build a lot of electric cars, we will run out of batteries. But Tesla is building their own battery factory.
  • After more than 10 years in the industry, Tesla Motors has proved they can deliver new models when they in September 2015 delivered the first Model X.
  • Can't cheat with how much exhaust their cars produce, like certain other car companies can.
  • Compared with Google, Tesla has (according to this source) found a better approach to self-driving cars.  

  • The CEO Elon Musk is working as CEO and CTO of SpaceX and as the CEO of Tesla Motors. That's a busy schedule and it would be difficult to find a new CEO. Before Elon Musk became the CEO of Tesla, the company had to fire one CEO, they had two interim-CEOs, and they interviewed more than 20 people before Elon Musk decided to take the job himself.
  • Tesla Motors is only selling electric cars, and people are still suspicious of electric cars. To tackle the problem, Tesla Motors have begun to build Tesla Stores. People can visit these stores and learn why electric cars belong to the future. 
  • The infrastructure around electric cars doesn't exist. Tesla Motors are doing their best to change this by building Superchargers, which are like gas stations but for electric vehicles only. It will be free to charge your Tesla Motors car at these stations. They are also developing stations where you can replace the battery with a recharged battery since it takes maybe 30 minutes to charge the battery at the Supercharger. 
  • Model S is the only car model. But Tesla Motors are also designing an SUV called Model X (which was delivered for the first time in September 2015). And in the future, they have plans to design a cheap electric car, a new sports car, and an electric truck.
  • The batteries have to improve. Historically, the batteries have improved by 8 percent a year, but there's no guarantee that they will improve in the future.
  • Limited operating history - the company is just ten years old.
  • Limited revenues and lack of profitability. The car industry is competitive so there are no guarantees that you will make money despite that you are marketing great cars. Here in Sweden we used to have this car company Saab. The cars were great - they got good reviews and top points at safety tests - but not enough customers bought them, so Saab had to file for bankruptcy and was bought by the Chinese.  

  • The world is running out of oil. As the price of oil increases because of the limited supply, more people will buy electric cars (Read more: What will happen after Peak Oil?).
  • Daimler and Toyota have decided to buy electric vehicle technology from Tesla Motors, and more auto manufacturers may decide to do the same.
  • People care more and more about environmental issues and the fact that most oil comes from "troublesome" countries.
  • The charging stations and the swapping stations are today not standardized. But Tesla Motors will begin to build these anyway for their own cars, and other auto manufacturers may follow them and pay Tesla Motors to use their stations for their electric vehicles. So Tesla Motors has the potential to become a car company and an energy company.
  • Can use their battery technology in other areas, such as storing power from solar panels, like the Powerwalls they announced in 2015.
  • Sell cars on other planets. Elon Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX which is a company with the long-term goal to colonize Mars. In an interview, Elon Musk said, "For sure Tesla would make the first people transporter on Mars!"

  • More and more auto manufacturers are releasing their own environmental friendly cars. Since these companies are larger than Tesla Motors, they (not all) have more financial resources, thus they can survive longer if the price of oil doesn't increase in the near future. 
  • Electric vehicle related accidents may scare away customers. For example, a fire in one of the batteries is generally front-page news. On the other hand, there are more than 750 accidents per day related to combustion engines - and that's not front-page news.
  • Electric cars are still expensive and a new recession, like the one in 2008, may limit the demand.
  • Young people are less interested in cars compared with older generations.


Post a Comment