FORMER TESLA EXEC: Elon Musk is 'just getting started'

Shares of Tesla continued to rise Tuesday, trading up about 1.2%, despite the company missing its Model 3 production target for September by a wide margin.

It’s not the first time Tesla’s stock has gained despite the electric auto maker missing its delivery projections. That’s because cars are only the beginning of a fully-connected Tesla ecosystem, says former Tesla Vice President George Blankenship.

“Elon’s just getting started,” Blankenship told Business Insider’s deputy executive editor Matt Turner in a recent interview. “Tesla’s still in many ways in its infancy. It’s the first successful US car company since the 1950s. Ford went public in 1956, so Tesla’s the first US car company to be successful in 50 years.”

Blankenship, who also served as VP of retail at Apple for fix years before joining Tesla from 2010 to 2013, points to the full ecosystem that Tesla is building as proof of his point. Here’s Blankenship:

“Elon announced the car a year ago, on March 31, and 115,000 people reserve a car before he even launched it; 325,000 people reserved the car in the first week. They delivered 30 of them on July 31. He tweeted out they were taking 1,800 reservations a day, for a car most people have never seen. Combine that with the battery factory in Reno, Nevada — 10 million square feet of battery production — and the Tesla power wall, with Solar City and Tesla becomes a get-you-off-the-grid company. It becomes a car company that’s got different cars (and they will have more coming), the battery company, battery technology being very important.

Now they have got the solar roof. There’s going to come a point in time where the solar roof, to the battery, to the car, becomes affordable so that when you’re replacing the roof on your house, your accountant will be the one telling you, instead of paying $US60,000 to replace your roof, pay $US60 to $US70 and don’t have an electric bill anymore — and go get an electric car while you’re at it. The company is just in its infancy at this point on where it’s actually capable of going.”

Wall Street analysts, on the other hand, tend to be more cynical when evaluating Elon Musk’s grand vision for Tesla, Solar City, and all its interconnecting product lines.

Jeffries analyst Phillippe Honchos said last month that while the vision of full ecosystem that Blankenship discusses is impressive, “scalability is still the main challenge.”

Goldman Sachs, one of the most outspoken Tesla bears, said in a note Tuesday that the Model 3 miss was merely the tip of the iceberg, and that shares could plunge another 40%.

Shares of Tesla are up 61.1% this year.

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