Published on April 19, 2019 |
by Zachary Shahan
19. April 2019 by Zachary Shahan
The Tesla story is fascinating. Whether you love the company or hate it, it's easy to be drawn into the story as if you're into a good movie. This is certainly one reason why many people so obsessively look for Tesla news and buzz every day.
Another reason is that Tesla's vehicles are freakin 'bad – in a separate class. But I will come back to it in a moment.
People may think or try to claim that Tesla is about hype. If Elon Musk was not such a good hype man, Tesla would not be anything – so the criticism goes. I think it's an element of truth in there. That element is that Elon Musk is a great entertainer and storyteller. He is freakin 'fun, and adorably obvious, open and stimulating.
As a sociologist in training, I find this whole aspect of the Tesla story fascinating. No doubt about that, Tesla would not have sold as many cars as it has without the secret sauce. And the social movement aspect of Tesla and Elon Musk's whole life could be the subject of a long book. Moreover, this item is often present with big tech shifts – look at Apple and Steve Jobs, or … hmm, maybe it's not really that common.
At the end of history, the catalyst for a big tech shift is often the technology itself. You probably read this on a small, powerful computer called a "phone" because its technologies were developed consistently over the decades and became more and more accessible to common people – all while doing more and more advanced tasks.  Tesla is a great success because it entered the electric vehicle market at the right time, and further contributed to reducing the cost of the brains and brains of the machines – the batteries and computers – and had the vision to pull all of the components together to make a sexy buttock, and then another, and another, and another. Tesla has led the development of electric car battery, engine development, inverter development, autonomous driving technology, computer hardware, computer software, seat production (exclusive history comes) and the overall package for many years. While looking at one of these cases in isolation, it may seem that Tesla is years ahead of the competition in the EV world. When you look at them completely, it's just hard to find the company closest to Tesla in this marathon.
Before you think I have just been lost in a Tesla vortex of hype, you realize what this leadership has been translated into lately. Tesla has been completely dominant electric car markets. It is also mainly the only car manufacturer to have an electric vehicle on the market that is demonstrably competitive with the best-selling gasoline vehicles. As I pointed out a few days ago, Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling car (of some kind) in the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland last month. Further:
It was the luxury car # 1 in the US in Q1 2019, the small or medium-sized luxury car in 2018, the electric vehicle in the United States in the first quarter of 2019 and the whole of 2018, the top number 1 selling car in California in the second half of 2018 , the 11th best-selling car in the US in 2018 and the 13th best-selling car in Q1 2019, the # 1 best-selling car in the US in Q4 2018 sales, the # 1 best-selling car from a US car company in the second half of 2018, and together with model S, 20% of US luxury car sales were in 2018.
Model 3 is the breakthrough car many of us thought it would be – but it is still a bit shocking to experience these successes. The most important thing, however, is that this market does not stand still – and especially Tesla is a restless animal. With that in mind, what's around the corner?
The question I have been struggling with for months is the question of consumer information.
The thing is – Model 3 is much better than a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C Class, is competitive with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, but is invisible to many people or viewed as something completely different from what it is (too expensive, uncertain, complicated to drive, etc.). How long does it take for the next wave of technological adopters on the disruptive technology S curve to find out about Model 3 and its benefits – and then buy the car?
Also, while the Model 3 wallops car competition, many buyers just want a crossover, SUV or pickup truck. It will take time to get models to the market that are competitive in these classes in the same way as model 3 is competitive in the sedan class.
Having some fun and having something to look at later to see how crazy I am I decided to make a forecast on some great Tesla milestones. I have a feeling that this is not a smart thing to do, but I'll do it anyway. Here's my wild ass guessing how it's going to go down with Tesla:
- In 2018, the Tesla Model 3 becomes one of the 5 best-selling cars in the US in the second half of the year and the 11th best-selling car for full year. (Easy one.)
- In the second half of 2018, Tesla Model 3 becomes the best-selling vehicle in California. (Another simple one.)
- In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 becomes the best-selling luxury car (all classes) in the United States. (Ok, the last "simple" one.)
- In 2019, Tesla Model 3 becomes the best-selling vehicle in Norway.
- In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 is again one of the 15 best-selling cars in the United States, and the best-selling luxury car.
- In 2020, Tesla Model 3 reaches 500,000 sales in one year.
- By 2020, the Tesla Model 3 is one of the 5 best selling cars in the United States.
- In 2021, Tesla Model Y is one of the 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States, and the model is again one of the 10 best-selling vehicles.
- In 2022, Tesla reaches 1 million vehicle sales a year. (This is slightly behind Elon Musk's forecast of 1.1 million sales in 2021.)
- In 2022, Tesla Model 3 is the best-selling car in the United States.
- In 2022, the Tesla Model Y is the best-selling crossover in the United States.  In 2022, the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are two of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the United States.
- In 2023, Tesla reaches 2-3 million vehicle sales in one year.
- In 2023, the Tesla Model 3 is again the best-selling car in the United States, and Model Y is one of the 5 best-selling vehicles in the United States.
- In 2024, Tesla becomes one of the world's 10 largest car manufacturers in terms of volume, selling between 4 and 5 million vehicles.  In 2024, Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are two of the world's 15 best-selling cars.
- In 2025, Tesla is one of the world's 5 best-selling car manufacturers.
What are your thoughts? Where do you think I'm crazy? Where do you think I'm spot on?
Note: Some of these forecasts can be turned up if some Chinese automakers inflate in size and the hottest models take control of global sales charts.