Tesla burns way more cash on R&D than traditional car makers

Tesla makes popular cars. They look good, they’re generally reviewed well, and they have been at the forefront of the electric vehicle and self-driving initiatives spreading throughout the auto industry. All this while its CEO dabbles in an ongoing effort to colonize another planet.

To push its master plan forward, though, Tesla’s had to burn through a whole lot of cash. As this chart from Statista shows, Tesla invested roughly 18% of its revenue into research and development last year. That’s nearly three times as high as most traditional car companies.

As you might imagine, pumping that much money into new tech means Tesla isn’t as much of a profit machine as most of those rivals. Whether or not its expenditures will eventually pay off is still up in the air, but as it prepares to announce a new product on Wednesday, remember that Elon Musk is very much playing a long game.

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