Tesla is no ordinary car company – it has disrupted the auto industry since the launch of its first electric sports car in 2008. The company, founded and led by the ambitious and terrifyingly brilliant Elon Musk, has given rise to a new generation of electric vehicles that are taking the world by storm. With the firm now the leader in electric-vehicle sales, Musk’s goal is to make Tesla the biggest car company ever by 2030. Although experts have questioned his ambition, there is no denying the incredible success of Tesla – or the giant leaps it has already made.
Elon Musk is one of the biggest names in the tech world today. His ambitious goals go far beyond technology or transportation — he wants to establish a colony on Mars, and he believes an army of intelligent Tesla robots can soon mow grass and grab groceries for millions of people. One of the billionaire’s most ambitious goals is to sell at least 20 million Teslas in 2030, allowing the young firm to become the largest car manufacturer the world has ever seen. But can this really be achieved?
According to Jeff Schuster, head of the automotive practice at GlobalData, the aim is “beyond a stretch goal”. To put it into perspective, the current top-selling automakers, Toyota and Volkswagen, ship around 10 million units a year. Meanwhile, last year Tesla delivered a record 1.3 million cars – and experts predict that around 100 million new cars will change hands globally in 2030. Reaching a fifth of the automotive market would be a tremendous feat and could mean current carmakers going out of business or along with it — a giant shake-up of the car industry.
Tesla’s ambition to dominate the market is comparable to the rise of Apple in the smartphone market in the early days of the tech boom. Many argue that Tesla is not just a carmaker, but a tech company that could soon be worth far more than Apple. Its cutting edge software, the army of fans and its controlled system (Tesla owns its own repair shops, showrooms and charging points) has earned it huge success.
However, the automotive industry is mature and highly competitive — making Tesla’s goal even harder to achieve. The number of electric vehicles on the market has grown thanks to Tesla’s success, meaning the competition has become fierce. Moreover, increasing production to 20 million would require extraordinary investments in capacity and sourcing new products to bolster Tesla’s skimpy lineup. As of today, Tesla has four plants — to increase production to this level, the company would need to build 18-30 new factories, in a feat that could cost between $90-$150 billion.
Finally, the ability to sell 20 million cars brings in other challenges. Tesla’s sales increases have owed much to the ‘newness’ of the brand, and that may not last when the cars go mainstream and customers become savvier.
There is no doubt that in the last 15 years, Tesla has experienced remarkable growth and has revolutionized the auto market. Last year, it recorded over 1 million sales, and only time will tell if Elon Musk’s ambition can be achieved. If successful, it would be a feat truly unparalleled in the car industry.