Tesla: Driven by conscience?

Over Thanksgiving this year, I was asked by Transportation Evolved (excellent YouTube channel):

What are you most thankful for this year in the world of cleaner, greener, safer and smarter transportation?

To which I responded with 3 things:

  • My ’17Bolt, the electric car I have been wanting and waiting to purchase for over 40 years.
  • Tesla for busting open the path to sustainable energy.
  • TE and all the other wonderful and accessible sources of news and information I have been able to find this year!

I’d like to explain a bit more about #2, Tesla and their stated mission:

Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.


I agree that this is Elon’s mission and the mission of most the principle Tesla employees (see this). But, is that why they have been so successful?

First of all, probably should state a bit about why I would call Tesla successful. I’ll just mention a few major items I see. Tesla has been the most talked about company in the recent past. They sell all the EVs they can make with ZERO advertising. Their stock price has gone through the roof. They have uprooted the auto business in the US where no other car company has been successful in decades. Their vertical integration and technical innovation is simply beyond compare: building giga-factories in record time, auto-body casting tech, battery tech, auto safety, self-driving hardware, self-driving software, and EV performance. Also, EVs are only one side of their business. They have had huge success in energy storage as well PowerWall, PowerPack, and MegaPack. So far, they have seemed to move a bit slower in the Solar Panel market, but even there they are rocking the market and may over the next few years simply take over.

Do people buy Tesla cars because they are environmentally concerned?

My position is that Tesla’s success (so far) has little to do with the environment. For their cars, they have created fantastically compelling vehicles that just never existed before and have captured the imagination of so many people. I believe myself to be very environmentally conscience, but very practically so. I’m hoping that the Tesla “Model 2” (or whatever they will call the to-be-determined lower price car) will fill my needs, but no current model of Tesla does that (read more here).

Yes, I’m sure that most Tesla owners are happily aware that they have a potentially zero-emission vehicle (if charged from renewable sources). And many of these owners probably have other environmentally conscience decisions being made, but I do not believe that the environmental concerns were the biggest factor in their Telsa purchase decision.

Sustainability and Tesla

This gets me back to my Discord response to Transportation Evolved. In 2020, I see that they, “busted open the path to sustainable energy.” They have rocked the world! They have been the catalyst that has projected forward and “accelerated the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” There is no doubt in my mind and I’m so thankful to be able to see and live in this time! What do you think?

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