Mass-marketing cars is a whole different ballgame. Sure, you can sell "boutique" cars with dealers only in limited areas. Rich folks don't mind having their Ferrari flat-bedded to the dealer for an oil change - in fact, they get off on that sort of shit. But for the rest of us? There is a Chevy dealer in nearly every damn town we drive through. You'd better be prepared for that kind of infrastructure, if you want to sell hundreds of thousands of cars. GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, et al., already have this infrastructure in place. When they get in the electric car game, it is game over for Tesla.
Of course, the big problem for Rocket Jesus is money - or the lack thereof. He isn't making any, but rather has been hemorrhaging cash since the get-go. Tesla was poised to make money there for a while, but then the model-3 came out, along with the purchase of solar city. Both could be smart moves, I guess, if they made money for the company. And in order to make money, you have to sell product. And they aren't selling many model-3's because they aren't making many of them. And solar city seems to have gone dark, other than some grandstanding operations in Puerto Rico.
And as I noted before, we have an administration who would rather see cars powered by coal. It is not going to be a friendly regulatory environment for electric cars or solar panels. The new tax bill could roll back or eliminate many tax credits and other incentives. The ITC has found that Chinese companies are "dumping" solar panels on the marketplace, and now it is up to President Trump (I throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I say "President Trump") to decide what tariffs should be applied to solar panels. If he goes along with the complainant's suggested import duties, many suggest that solar installs, which are already slowing in the United States, will grind to a halt. The purchase of Solar City will start to look like a bad bet for Tesla.
And questions will be asked - pointed questions - as to why Tesla bought Solar City when Musk and other insiders had investments in Solar City. The specter of self-dealing will be raised and shareholders might be more than a little miffed. A shareholder derivative suit may ensue - well, it already has ensued.
UPDATE: Some people like to hero-worship too much, and apparently my blog entry upsets their world view. Surely these great men of our era are Ayn Rand style gods, right? A reader writes that he read a book by Bill Gates, and in it, he says he foresaw the importance of the Internet. Bullshit. Sorry, but I was there, as were a number of other people. Microsoft dropped the ball on the Internet, but of course, later on, put Netscape Navigator out of business by making IE part of Windows (just as the put WordPerfect out of business by bundling Word with Windows, originally).
Of course, maybe our reader read the revised edition of Bill Gates' book - where he suddenly has a road-to-Damascus experience and decides the Internet is the next big thing.