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After Elon Musk, It’s Tesla’s Turn to Tease Automakers


Aug. 13 2019, Published 8:39 a.m. ET

Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk compared gasoline cars to steam engines. Yesterday, Tesla also teased legacy automakers in a tweet.

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Elon Musk

Musk has never been a fan of cars with internal combustion engines. This weekend, in a tweet, he compared gasoline cars to steam engines and said, “They look cool in a museum.” Following in its CEO’s footsteps, Tesla has now also poked fun at legacy automakers. Yesterday, the company tweeted, “‘I really miss gas stations’ said nobody ever.”

Tesla is a pure-play EV (electric vehicle) producer. The company also has solar and battery operations, which it’s been focusing on this year. It’s launched a battery product for utilities, and it’s also ramping up solar roof production. Though it launched its solar roof product a few years ago, its production failed to gain traction. However, Tesla’s car deliveries have been growing exponentially.

Legacy automakers

Legacy automakers such as Ford Motor Company (F) and General Motors (GM) have also upped their game. A decade ago, EVs were at best a passing reference in legacy automakers’ product lines. However, over the last couple of years, automakers have stepped up their efforts to boost their EV portfolios. Musk has mocked legacy automakers on multiple occasions. It’s no secret he sees them as laggards in the EV space.

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However, legacy automakers haven’t been as successful as Tesla in their EV ventures. In this case, we aren’t talking about profitability—even Tesla has lost money for most of its existence. We’re talking about car deliveries, and that’s where Tesla dominates. The top three selling US EVs belong to Tesla. General Motors’ Bolt sold less than 10% of Tesla’s Model 3 volumes in the second quarter.

Automakers are following in Musk’s footsteps

Yesterday, General Motors tweeted, “We see a future of #ZeroEmissions and #EVs play a key part in this vision. That’s why we launched a partnership with @Qmerit to make at-home charging easier and more accessible.” The tweet came just hours before Tesla teased gasoline cars.

While Tesla and Musk see gasoline cars as the next steam engine, that future looks a pipe dream for now. EV production could continue to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future, but EVs might not be able to outsell internal combustion engine vehicles so easily. Regarding Tesla’s tweet: if they weren’t a necessity, it’s likely nobody would really miss EV charging stations either!


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