Musk On Why Tesla's Founding Principles Were 'Wrong,' What The Customer Wants

The founders of Tesla launched their venture with a simple equation: Lotus Elise + AC propulsions + drive unit technology = electric car. But the initial combination of existing technologies proved not particularly functional, and alternative inputs were

Benzinga · 02/04/2020 20:55

The founders of Tesla launched their venture with a simple equation: Lotus Elise + AC propulsions + drive unit technology = electric car.

But the initial combination of existing technologies proved not particularly functional, and alternative inputs were difficult to scale.

“The founding principles of Tesla were basically completely wrong,” CEO Elon Musk said in a podcast by Third Row Tesla. “The premise going in was it’s not going to be that hard ... it would have been way easier if we started from a blank slate. It would have been a better car.”

Musk On Knowing The Customer

Tesla is now more meticulous about its parts, but it’s also mindful of stylistic trends.

An early criticism of its latest Cybertruck model was that it did not appeal to the traditional pickup consumer. But Musk said the American truck buyer was top-of-mind.

“It seems like a lot of the reasons people buy a pickup truck in the U.S. is because it is the most badass truck. It’s like ‘which one is the toughest truck?’” he said. “What’s tougher than a truck? A tank. Like a tank from the future.”

Tesla’s Place In The Race

These themes not only empower Tesla to achieve the critical automotive business model, but they position the company to surpass rivals in terms of demanded products, the CEO said.

“They will catch up eventually, or at least they will catch up to where Tesla is now,” Musk said of legacy automakers.

Competitors have developed maps, directions and other basic computer services — but Tesla considers none comparable even to its earliest Model S.

“At some point in the future, it might be a decade or something, autonomy will seem easy ... it will seem easy in 10 years, but for a long stretch there, there will be vast differences between cars. The auto industry is used to slow rates of improvements. There’s still not really a car yet that matches the original Model S,” Musk said.

Tesla shares were up 16.24% at $906.68 at the time of publication Tuesday.

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Photo courtesy of Tesla.