Let’s step back from the hilarious hype and look at the reality for just a moment or two. First piece of reality: Tesla produces fewer than 400,000 vehicles in 2019. By comparison Ford produced a little under 6,000,000 and GM produced around 8,500,000 under all its various brands worldwide. Ford & GM engineer vehicles so they can be produced cheaply; Tesla famously failed to understand how to engineer cars for mass production. So scaling is very, very, very hard indeed.

Second piece of reality: the move to EVs isn’t going to happen like the analysts think (remember: they’ve been wrong about every single major trend since the 1980s). There isn’t enough cobalt in the world to enable all those batteries to be made. Nor are the economics there.

Third piece of reality: who cares if a few hundred thousand people are die-hard fans? People loved betamax.

Fourth piece of reality: everything Tesla has today is easily copied. Sure, the Big 4 automakers will crawl toward the future, but so what? Every piece of new auto tech always ends up in every car eventually. Anti-lock brakes, crumple zones, airbags, navigation systems, etc. etc. etc.

Tesla is a superb company to short if you have the pockets and the patience. But like every other hype-induced bubble, it can keep going longer than you’d believe because people are way more credulous than you’d believe, if you believed in reason and data analysis, that is.

Takeaway: Tesla will eventually be acquired, the big guys will slowly evolve based on real market signals, self-driving cars are much further away than anyone thinks, and EV will run into the hard wall of battery supply chain issues. Eventually the battery issues will be overcome, but that’s another 10 years away at least because the chemistry is really, really hard.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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