From day one, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company’s mission is to transition the world to electric cars.
But he’s also always said that he wouldn’t be able to do it alone.
Musk sees Tesla as a pioneer to pave the way for other carmakers, while also putting pressure on old school automakers to embrace electric cars.
In fact, Tesla actually made all of its technology open source in 2014, so that other car companies can use its tech to build their own electric vehicles.
“Most of the good that Tesla will accomplish is by cutting a path through the jungle to show what can be done with electric cars,” Musk said in January during an on-stage interview at the Detroit Auto Show. “The big impact Tesla will have is the reach to which that we induce other car companies to accelerate their plans for electric vehicles.”
However, he added that “until we start seeing in serious numbers of electric vehicles, then it’s hard to say there is a ton of effort behind it.”
But almost a year since his comments, it seems Musk’s plan to force change in the automobile industry is gaining momentum.
A number of car companies — including General Motors, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Daimler — have all stepped up and announced big plans to ramp up their investments in electric cars.
In September, Volkswagen brands Audi and Porsche both revealed all-electric concept cars that are slated to go into production in 2018.
Volvo, which is owned by China’s Greely Holdings, said in October that it’s building an all-electric car by 2019 and that it expects electric cars to make up 10% of its global sales by 2020. And General Motors is planning to begin production of its mass market, all-electric vehicle called the Bolt, expected to price at about $US30,000, in late 2016.
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is also increasing its investment in the EV space. And other carmakers like Toyota Motor and Honda are investing heavily in eco-friendly cars; however, they are betting big that the vehicles will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, rather than rechargeable electric batteries.
While growing competition might scare other companies, Musk remains steadfast that it was always part of the plan.
“The reason we are doing Tesla is to try to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport, to have there be more electric cars on the road,” Musk said in September during an interview with the Danish news site Borsen. “I’m glad to see these announcements of these other companies. I hope they move even faster than they announce.”
Tesla itself will begin rolling out its mass market car the Model 3, which is expected to price at $US35,000, before 2020. But first the company must complete its Gigafactory, a giant battery manufacturing center in Nevada.
Tesla aims to reach full capacity at its plant by the end of the decade, producing as many as 500,000 cars per year.
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