State Of The Firm Address: Elon Musk Delivers Tesla Motors Updates

It is our opinion – and has been for some time now – that Tesla Motors is in a rather precarious position as an automaker. The all-electric manufacturer has yet to turn a profit in more than a single quarter, and despite a (perhaps unjustifiably) strong stock market valuation, Tesla Motors continuously finds itself pushing back deadlines and making grandiose promises that it’s not clear the company can keep.

Enter the 2015 Automotive News World Congress, where Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk delivered a comprehensive update on the state of things.

Shockingly, as Autoblog reports, Elon Musk used the platform at the World Congress not only to reiterate Tesla’s steadfastness to its previously-stated goals, but to escalate them.

Increasing Sales

Mr. Musk has said in the past that he hopes for Tesla Motors to reach 500,000 units of annual sales by 2020. He didn’t back down from that apparently optimistic target; he doubled down. “I think we’ll try to aim to do more cars than that. I think we’ll continue past that. We probably should get to a few million cars [per annum] by 2025.”

Forgive us if we don’t take you at your word, Mr. Musk. After all, for a company which consistently refuses to release its sales figures, and which was believed as recently as November to have an unsold excess of about 3,000 cars, the chances of hitting that high watermark seem slim. And we can add to that Musk’s later admission that Q4 sales in China failed to meet expectations, due reportedly to potential customers misunderstanding the ease of installing and using charging equipment.

Other Obstacles

Autoblog is also quick to point to the Chevrolet Bolt, an all-electric concept recently shown at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, as a potential competitor to Tesla Motors’ wares in the marketplace. We disagree to the extent that it’s no contest what we’d rather drive, and Musk himself was largely dismissive toward the small, electric city car. But still, the Bolt signals another petrol-free EV in a slowly but surely crowding marketplace.

And then, there’s the nationwide legislation still cropping up which effectively bans Tesla Motors from selling direct-to-consumer in many states. Recently, Texas passed such legislation – a fact that Elon Musk won’t take lying down:

“I think it’s mostly about getting people comfortable and making sure there’s a reasonable compromise here. In the case of Texas particularly, direct sales is fundamental to the Texas ethos. Michael Dell started Dell – in Texas. So the prohibition of direct sales is antithetical to what Texas is about. It’s ‘un-Texan.'”

If the stakes weren’t high before, they certainly are now. We’ll leave you with this memorable, grounded quote from the Tesla Motors CEO: “If [the Nevada Gigafactory] doesn’t drive down the cost of batteries, I should be fired.”

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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