Newspapers over the last few days have been full of stories about General Motors and its ambitions to be the number one player in the electric vehicle market. This is a company which perhaps has the worst reputation amongst EV enthusiasts (note the EV1) but this is a company which is looking to the future and believes it can be number one in the electric vehicle industry. So how will Elon Musk, the entrepreneurial chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, respond?
There has been no direct response from Elon Musk to various comments and suggestions in the electric vehicle industry but he will certainly know exactly what is going on. This is a man who does actions before soundbites, has taken on massive challenges over the last few years and will relish the battle with General Motors, Volkswagen and anybody else who wants to take his mantle as number one in the electric vehicle industry.
Not everybody likes Elon Musk
Even though Elon Musk is the main figurehead of the electric vehicle industry at this moment in time, there is no doubt that he has enemies in the business world and the political arena. He has pushed the limit on numerous occasions and is not afraid to go against traditional thinking and traditional ways of doing business. Indeed his recent quest to allow Tesla motors to sell directly to customers, cutting out the various dealerships across America, certainly upset an array of people but it did get him onside with American consumers.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "If you look at the popular press you will see that the vast majority of electric vehicle manufacturers in the US have a significant presence in California. The reason for this is that California legally obliges car manufacturers to ensure that 10% of their sales are electric vehicles. Sceptics will suggest this has created something of a false market in California, with the likes of Tesla selling "EV credits" to competitors, but whatever you think, any legislation which increases the number of EVs on the road must be positive?"
While, like many entrepreneurs, Elon Musk does have an ego he is not your traditional entrepreneur who like to bathe in their own glory and milk the crowd. General Motors is suggesting it can deliver an affordable electric vehicle with a 200 mile journey capacity at a cost of around $30,000. Elon Musk will certainly be working on a better offering and if he is good to his word, which he usually is, Tesla should have its first affordable electric vehicle on sale by 2017.
Will he hang around till the end?
Just a few months ago there was a suggestion that Elon Musk was looking towards an exit route from Tesla, but those fears seem to have been unfounded. He is now talking about bringing out an array of new vehicles, new technology and it seems as though, after a period of consolidation, Tesla is on the move again.
It will be interesting to see how Tesla’s competitors react in the short, medium and longer term because, try as they might, Elon Musk always seems to be one step ahead of them. The fact is that competition in the electric vehicle industry is good for everybody, good for manufacturers, good for consumers and good for entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk – someone who certainly relishes a battle. Whether or not he hangs around until Tesla hits the mass market and the electric vehicle industry is the norm remains to be seen.
At this moment in time Elon Musk will be plotting for the future and no doubt looking forward to the challenges placed before him by fellow EV enthusiasts.