You may have noticed over the last few weeks that Tesla Motors has come in for a significant amount of criticism with regards to its autonomous driving system. A recent death obviously attracted the interest of the authorities, and while there were mitigating circumstances, it seems that some areas of the worldwide press are gunning for Tesla. Elon Musk has taken the electric car industry from not even a niche market to the mass market in less than a decade.
However, is it fair for Tesla Motors to carry the whole electric car industry?
Elon Musk has made enemies
Elon Musk is a multimillionaire who has no qualms about taking on the establishment and pushing back the envelope of new technology. Having initially made his money from the electronic payment system PayPal he now has his fingers in a number of pies but his investment in Tesla Motors has taken his public image to a different level.
If you check the worldwide media coverage of the electric car market you will see that very few other companies, despite their difficulties, receive anywhere near the same amount of criticism as Tesla. For nearly a decade now Tesla had carried the electric car industry forward when others were too frightened to take the lead. The company has invested billions of dollars into manufacturing and recently opened the world’s largest battery production plant. There are plans to move into electric buses, electric trucks and also an on-demand electric taxi service. There is no doubt that some in the media “have it in” for Elon Musk, but he seems to have very broad shoulders.
Don’t bet against the master
Elon Musk is very content and very comfortable taking the electric car industry forward, but he does need support from some of the other large names in the industry. In some ways, Tesla is acting as some kind of umbrella taking the flak while others move forward but at some point, the likes of BMW, Nissan, General Motors and other leading electric car companies will need to step up to the plate.
Only this week we heard that Jaguar Land Rover, BMW, and Ford are in talks about creating an enormous battery manufacturing facility which would challenge Tesla’s enormous factory. The reality is that events such as this would not have happened unless Tesla was pushing the industry forward, inviting competition and investing billions of dollars more than anybody else. Elon Musk has his enemies, he has his frailties, but when it comes to business he is more focused and single-minded than anybody else you will come across. Any announcement he makes will be followed through, very few fall by the wayside, which is why investors have taken him at his word.
Let’s focus on the positives
Quite rightly the Tesla self-driving system has been headline news of late after the extremely unfortunate death of a driver. While there were mitigating circumstances with this particular incident, it is worth noting that nobody has focused on the positive aspects of this self-driving system. Indeed some drivers have come forward to suggest that the system saved their lives in some circumstances but is the mass media pushing this story?
The developments in electric car technology, the bodywork, the pricing structure and the additional systems now available have on the whole been the brainchild of Tesla. Indeed, how many other companies would have opened their very expensive patents to competitors for the good of the industry?