Elon Musk may be a billionaire, but he didn’t get that way by unscrupulous business practices or by rolling out a low-quality mass-produced product.
Let’s talk widgets a moment. Just make a great widget, and people will buy it. They will like the widget and they will be happy to pay for it. Why would anyone settle for a mediocre widget and and say we’re happy with it?
My buying philosophy has always been to buy a quality widget and pay a good price for it, and you won’t have to get it fixed every week or buy another one every month. Sadly, there are too many widgets that are half-price and half-quality and too many people who are willing to accept them.
Elon Musk doesn’t make cheap widgets.
Tesla Motors makes something great, and this has been the key to its success. In Friday’s Tesla Motors conference call, Elon Musk talked about the warranty on the Tesla Model S, which covers everything that could happen, from brakes to the $12,000 battery, that customers won’t even have to bring their vehicles in annually for a checkup to maintain the warranty, and that Tesla Motors is committed to their clients.
They offer valet service when the car needs maintenance or repairs, even leaving a fully-equipped Tesla Model S 85kWh loaner vehicle. Elon Musk’s comments on how to drive the Tesla Model S got me thinking. Tesla Model S owners shouldn’t have to read a manual in order to know how to drive the car. Any product that needs a user’s guide is a broken product, and the Tesla Model S is driven just like any other vehicle, keeping in mind access to refueling stations and whatnot. After all, vehicles are nothing new to us, so why should electric vehicles?
Elon Musk just wants to make a great electric vehicle, from the vehicle itself to the company that supports it. The best part is that this business model actually works, and Tesla Motors is edging further into profitable territory, enough so that DoE loans are being paid off faster and the next step in model development is moving forward [slowly]. This is the kind of business sense that we need in the world, and I’m hoping that Elon Musk’s attitude catches on.