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Tesla: Competition as Progress

Christian Sterner

Posted on October 18, 2017 01:49

3 users

Lately we’ve been seeing virtually the same headline popping up: Tesla better watch out, here comes its competition.

"Tesla to Get Serious Competition from Volvo and Porsche in Electric Battle." Here's another, "Watch out Tesla, Audi's electric concept car looks amazing." It's exciting that automakers are finally announcing major electric car programs and some are obviously going after Tesla. But is it possible Tesla doesn't feel compelled to rule the world?  Is the press desperate to present any competition as a battle with only winners and losers? 

Taking a normal view of Tesla may not be the best way to look at the company.  Its CEO and Co-Founder Elon Musk has been saying for years that competition is welcome and kind of the whole point.  Tesla's mission statement starts this way: "Our goal when we created Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible. People behind headlines like the above should bear in mind that competition is viewed as progress by the company.  Never mind that Tesla is currently ahead when it comes to the enabling infrastructure and is more nimble than the hulking automakers of the world.  In time, I believe Tesla will be outgunned by those who take electrification seriously, but that won't happen as soon as the anxious headlines make it sound.

Tesla isn't quite the idealistic company it used to be because they have grown to be responsible for their employees and to their shareholders.  However, investment in the company is partly emotional because of the unusual vision of its CEO.  When Steve Jobs was lifting Apple from the damage of his years away from the company, he shocked his adoring audience by challenging them with an open-minded idea. It was about cooperating with their competitor instead of simply competing.  He said, "... we have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose." Tesla, like Apple, may take a different approach to winning.

 

Christian Sterner

Posted on October 18, 2017 01:49

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