Earlier this year Tesla briefly overtook the Ford Motor Company to become the most valuable automotive company in North America. The Silicon Valley-based technology come motor car company has never made a profit and is just 15 years old.
Compare this with Ford’s illustrious 115 year history and $10.4bn profit last year and it seems inconceivable that they are valued equally. But they are and while Ford has clawed back its title as the most valuable motor car company in the USA for now, it seems just a matter of time before Tesla overtakes its successful, yet somewhat older, competitor.
Promise and potential are key factors in the recent 7% surge in Tesla’s stock price. Tesla announced over the weekend that it will be unveiling an electric lorry in September and by doing so it will be embarking on a disruption of more than just the car market.
We Were Warned
Nobody, not even Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s biggest competitors, can complain about being broadsided by this news. Way back in 2006 Musk published his wildly audacious master plan. At the time I doubt it was taken as seriously as the plan updates are now.
Here’s an extract: “As you know, the initial product of Tesla Motors is a high performance electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. However, some readers may not be aware of the fact that our long term plan is to build a wide range of models, including affordably priced family cars. This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.” Musk’s future-gazing blog more than a decade ago still sits on the Tesla blog.
Again, no-one can be surprised that Tesla is moving beyond cars to trucks and also pick-ups. After all, the company’s mission is not to reinvent cars but rather to alter the world, moving our society away from burning hydo-carbons as our primary source of energy. It sees electric trucks and buses as an important step in this process.
Master Plan Part Deux
In an update to the master plan posted in the summer of 2016, Musk pre-warned of Tesla’s ambitions to expand to cover the major forms of terrestrial transport.
“In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year (2017). We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate,” said Musk in his July 2016 update.
True to his word, the electric truck will be unveiled later this year and we are excited to see Tesla’s innovations and particularly how the lorry will be “fun” to operate. With very few details there is not much use in speculating, however we eagerly wait to find out what the design will look like and indeed if it will be relevant beyond America’s shores – at least initially.