Why Tesla is the car company of the future, today

As someone who’s been obsessed with gas powered cars my whole life and has been lucky enough to own some pretty special ones (Ariel Atom 245, Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Manual) I’ve followed Tesla since its inception. I took a factory tour of their Fremont plant in 2014 when they were beginning to scale Model S production and I’ve driven several Model S and Model 3s since, although as a cash strapped entrepreneur I’ve yet to own one. As a company founder, albeit at a completely different scale, I also have some empathy for the immense challenges Elon Musk has been up against and incredible achievement it is for Tesla to be where they are today.

From my perspective, Tesla is the company to beat. Of course, it’s stock price is beginning to reflect that but I believe there is a lot to be optimistic about in Telsa’s future. First, let’s get this out of the way:

If you have a decent amount to spend on a practical car, why wouldn’t you buy a Tesla?

If you’re still with me, there are numerous reasons why you should buy a Tesla:

The competition is very far behind

There’s a lot of talk but very little action from the competition. Most of the new concepts or models leading manufacturers have announced that, on paper, come close to Tesla’s range and performance are still years away from delivery. The current day competition which includes slow and low range Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, BMW i3, Kia Soul EV and Volkswagen e-Golf. Probably the most credible competitor is the Chevrolet Bolt with 238 miles of range, a practical but compact layout and a 0-60 of 6.5s however the styling is very pedestrian and it lacks the modern interior, interface and autopilot features.

The scale of data Tesla can collect from the fleet makes their ability to execute on full self-driving unrivalled

During the Autonomy Day talks, Elon Musk said that the data advantage they’re building with cars on the road collecting video streams and driving inputs is akin to people programing Google with their search queries. I totally buy it and think this will create a massive and possibly unsurmountable advantage for Tesla in the future as they deploy and continue to optimize for safety with full self-driving. Having nearly driven in to a flying hand saw, a stationary sofa in the center of the freeway and come across many other nutty situations - yes, the real world is very messy and access to real-world data is critical, just as it is in my own field of healthcare!

Telsa is to cars what the Apple iPhone was to mobile phones

Few companies get to truly redefine an industry like Apple did with phones and Amazon did with AWS. Tesla is in my opinion, one of those companies and I’m not even talking about the solar/energy storage side of their business here. While the Model 3 hasn’t yet democratized EVs to the masses, I’m sure they will continue to bring down costs and with “Robotaxis” and Gen Z moving away from car ownership it may not even be necessary to.

Attracting talent: Tesla is one of the most compelling mission driven companies out there

One of the most important things in running a company, at least from my experience, is attracting and retaining amazing people who can help you grow and tackle hard problems. I think Tesla’s reputation for execution, the ability to solve hard problems and to do it well while working toward a mission of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, in spite of their notorious hard working culture puts them near the top of the list for many talented people.

All founders have their quirks including Elon Musk

As an entrepreneur I’ve met many company founders and almost all have their quirks. Company founders usually see the world differently, are willing to embrace calculated risks and do not always conform to the normal rules because after all if they did they would be working for <name your company>. Elon Musk certainly has his quirks and repeated and outsized success is likely to have amplified them. Everyone has their weaknesses and some are there to be managed, but ultimately I think he should be embraced for who he is, he’s very highly respected and it’s clearly a winning formula!