7 Things Tesla Couldn’t Do

7 Things Tesla Couldn’t Do

October 19th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan  One year ago this week, I published a story about 8 “impossible” goals that Tesla had achieved. The idea actually stemmed from a simple joke I sent Elon Musk. I thought that was so funny (the joke somewhat, sending it to Elon Musk more so) that it inspired a…

October 19th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan  One year ago this week, I published a story about 8 “impossible” goals that Tesla had achieved. The idea actually stemmed from a simple joke I sent Elon Musk. I thought that was so funny (the joke somewhat, sending it to Elon Musk more so) that it inspired a full article. In fact, it and a few other pieces inspired a whole “Tesla flashbacks” series. The fact is, on any given day, there are various “concerns” about Tesla’s future from Tesla short sellers and other people who benefit if Tesla fails, but when you look back on those after a year or more, it’s clear they were typically nonsense that didn’t warrant a minute of anyone’s time. Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that Tesla has achieved some very unexpected successes. One of my favorite songs of all time is “The Impossible Dream” as sung by Roberta Flack. While the dream alluded to in that song is a different one, it does make me think of Tesla. The company surviving long enough to build a car was an early “impossible dream” come true, but the dreams didn’t end there. By the time the first Roadster rolled off the line, Tesla had much bigger plans in store. They were so ambitious they were laughable. For sure, Tesla couldn’t achieve them. 1. Produce the Model S before the end of 2012. A certain automotive journalist (who is now super bullish on Tesla) bet Elon Musk in 2009 that Tesla couldn’t roll a production Model S off the line before the end of 2012. Whoops. I’m not going to pick on this journalist, since it was widely accepted back then that Tesla couldn’t achieve that. The journalist was the norm rather than the exception, and Elon seemed to be facing impossible odds. However, as we should all know by now, Elon won the bet, the Model S started making it into customer hands in the middle of 2012. (Elon donated $1 million to charity anyway, which is what he promised to do if he lost the bet.) No doubt, though, the task couldn’t have been easy, as no automaker to date has produced an electric car that fully competes with the Model S of 2012. 2. Sell more than a few thousand Model S sedans in the USA. Aside from being skeptical that Tesla could even produce a single Model S, it was conventional wisdom in the auto industry that there was no way in Dante’s inferno that more than a few thousand people a year would buy a Tesla Model S. Summarizing the intelligent skepticism, widely respected analysis firm IHS stated: “It’s possible to sell a few thousand of anything in this country, on novelty value alone. IHS Automotive forecasts that if Tesla can get the car to market, it will likely sell at least a few thousand. “But the idea that Tesla could sell tens of thousands of Model S sedans in the U.S. is folly. The
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