I’ve been following Tesla Motors for a long time now, just about ten years since its inception in 2003. There haven’t really been too many set-backs, per se, just painstakingly slow progress. While there are still a bit over 10,000 customers still waiting for their Model S, perhaps the best way forward is calculated advancement instead of just going balls to the walls in production.
Most of the problem, of course, is the slow-growing market for electric vehicles [EV]. Other EV startups are just barely keeping in the black, including Better Place, which replaced their CEO at least twice recently, CODA Automotive, and Fisker Automotive, which was shooting for 5,000 vehicles in 2011 and delivered a bit shy of 2,000. Support companies for EVs aren’t fairing much better, such as A123 Systems, which declared bankruptcy and was recently bought by Chinese auto parts supplier Wanxiang.
Tesla Motors may be the only exception to this rule. Under the leadership of CEO Elon Musk, Tesla has set, and more importantly, met their goals continually. True, it has been slow progress, showing profits for the first time in December, and this past week Tesla reached production goals of 400 cars per week*, or about 20,000 vehicles per year. Granted, sales numbers aren’t going to be like the Toyota Camry selling over 400,000 last year, but in comparison to other luxury models, Tesla’s production goals seem to be right on track. The Lexus LS, priced between $71,990 and $119,910, for example, sold just over 8,300 last year.
* – Corrected “400 cars per month” to read “400 cars per week.”