Tesla Motors has taken the automotive world by storm in recent years, bringing the notion of energy efficient, “clean” car technology out of the realm of science fiction and making it not only fact but a huge success as well. So just how has this upstart Silicon Valley enterprise gone from concept to turning the competition’s head in less than a decade? The answer is no secret; it’s all about product, placement and knowing your market.
The company was born in 2003 when a group of engineers decided to develop an electric car that combined instant torque, incredible power and zero emissions. Named for inventor Nicola Tesla, with its engine design based on the AC induction motor that Tesla himself patented in 1888, Tesla Motors splashed onto the scene with its Roadster in 2008 and since then it’s been full steam ahead.
The Roadster was followed by the Model S, the world’s first premium electric car, which debuted in 2012 to such heights that it was eventually named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year. It also achieved a 5 star safety rating from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not satisfied with resting on his laurels, Tesla CEO Elon Musk continued to improve on the Model S, unveiling the 85D in 2014. The 85D features a high end motor in both front and back, giving it all-wheel drive handling.
The Secret of Tesla’s Massive Success
The success of Tesla can not be denied but it leaves many wondering just how this particular company has been able to set itself apart from the competition among electric cars such as the Prius and even from traditional cars. There are a few reasons for this astounding success:
• Perfect timing – Elon Musk is no fool and he picked exactly the right time to strike, securing a much needed loan from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010 when President Obama was pushing his cleantech initiative. Tesla parlayed that stroke of genius into the funding it needed to put the company over the top and the result was that the loan was paid back in full.
• Finding a niche – While several companies, like Toyota and Honda, were trying to get in on the clean car market, Tesla assured their success by narrowing their reach to a specific subset: high-end electric sports cars. This pinpoint focus paid off as they were able to tap into a burgeoning group of consumers who wanted flashy cars that didn’t damage the environment.
• Controlling distribution – Tesla broke from the norm in the auto industry by forgoing dealerships and keeping everything in-house. It has been a struggle in some states, but overall it has allowed them to increase their revenues and maintain control over the entire customer experience. With its own chain of service centers and stores, it has positioned itself perfectly to give consumers exactly what they want.
• Cutting edge technology – The bottom line for any success is producing a superior product and there is little question that Tesla has hit the mark on this count. In fact, Tesla’s products are so good that even the competition has begun to rely on them. Daimler, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota all use Tesla battery packs, powertrains and motors and even GM is eyeing Tesla closely.
The Bottom Line on Tesla
With exceptional foresight, design and planning, Tesla Motors has turned the auto industry on its head. As long as there is a market for eco-conscious cars that also feed our need for speed and style, there will be room for Tesla to continue growing. This is one company that takes its product and its customers’ needs seriously and the results continue to speak for themselves.