As we’ve already shared in numerous articles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk – along with several other important people – recently participated in an interview as part of the Financial Times‘ “Future of the Car” summit. To no surprise, the vocal CEO had plenty to say, but one portion that stood out was when he offered advice to potential EV companies.
Whether or not you like Musk or are a Tesla fan, there’s no disputing the fact that the brand is the true leader when it comes to EVs. However, it took plenty of tough times to get to the point that it’s at in the present. Musk made many mistakes, which he’s willing to admit, and he often points out Tesla’s struggles and provides advice to rivals. Somewhat recently, Musk warned Rivian that it was too early for the EV maker to open a second US factory.
At any rate, during the Financial Times interview, Musk noted that many EV companies may not have their heads in the right place. He basically said that if they’re looking at Tesla’s success and thinking that being an EV brand is a way to make lots of money, they may want to reconsider. Sure, Tesla has a huge market cap now, and Musk is the richest person in the world, but these are only relatively recent developments in Tesla’s long and trying story. Musk mentioned yet again via Teslarati:
“Tesla almost went bankrupt so many times I lost count. To start a car company is mega pain. It is not easy money. It is the furthest thing from easy money you could possibly imagine.”
For those who don’t follow Musk, we’ll make it clear that he brings this topic up time and time again. The CEO continues to make it clear that automotive manufacturing, and especially scaling, is ridiculously difficult and expensive. Once many successful legacy brands started to dive into EVs, it became quite apparent to the public that Musk was likely correct. Even the biggest, most experienced global automakers aren’t finding any of it very easy.
Musk went on to as that many EV startups are trying to move too quickly, likely in reference to the suggestions he made to Rivian in the past, though he didn’t specify. He did say that it’s okay to begin small and make mistakes early before trying to scale, all while reserving funds to stay afloat.
Musk compared the actions of some EV startups to “jumping in at the deep end” and aiming for high volume production before they’ve even become experienced at manufacturing cars. Musk added:
“This is like not practicing your athletic sport and then going to the Olympics. You’re not going to win. This is crazy.”
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