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This week at Tesla part two: Media naysayers turn to cheerleaders (VIDEO)

Publications across the media spectrum, including former skeptics, are now cheering the California company on.


As Tesla makes plans to convert its newfound stardom to cold cash, publications across the media spectrum, including former skeptics, are cheering the California company on.

We-love-Tesla stories are all over the place. “Tesla may be a bubble, but nobody cares,” CNN gleefully announced. The phrase “the new Apple” is getting tossed around a lot, as are Musk/Jobs comparisons. Bloomberg compared Musk to another hero of the business world, Lee Iacocca who, 30 years ago as Chrysler CEO, similarly retired a federal loan years early.

Even Fox News, a reliably harsh critic of EVs (and especially of government programs that support them), ran a piece in which it referred to Tesla as a “huge success,” and, for once, did not mention the company’s DOE loan or President Obama (the DOE gave loans to Tesla, Ford, Nissan and Fisker through a program created under President Bush in 2007 and implemented by President Obama in 2009).

However, cautionary notes, and comparisons to the high-flying internet stocks of a decade ago, are not hard to find. The Washington Post noted that Tesla’s total market value (around $10.6 billion) is now greater than that of Fiat ($8 billion), despite the fact that Fiat sold 1 million cars and made a $40 million profit in the first quarter of this year, while Tesla sold 4,900 cars and, not counting its revenue from California ZEV credits, lost $53 million.

Most of the automotive stock analysts are happily riding along with the windows down. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas increased his price target to $109 a share from $47 and called the company “our new top pick in US autos” (Morgan Stanley is a major Tesla shareholder, and one of the managers of the latest debt offering).

On the other hand, J.P. Morgan’s auto analysts said that Tesla “still has its work cut out for it” to meet Musk’s target of a 25 percent gross profit margin, and that “we continue to have some concerns regarding the market appeal of a more mass-market electric vehicle.”

Menahem Anderman, President of Advanced Automotive Batteries, told the Post that “in two to four years they can be looking at a stagnant or shrinking market, increased service and warrantee costs, and reduced revenue from ZEV credit sales and battery pack sales…but in the short term it looks exciting and what they have done so far is brilliant.”

GigaOM’s Katie Fehrenbacher had some fun with the media’s sudden change of heart, contrasting a Business Insider post this week, “What Everyone Got Wrong About Tesla” with an article earlier this year in the same publication, “The Tesla Nightmare Shows Why Today’s All-Electric Cars Are (Basically) Dead On Arrival.” (Just the headline of that one is good for a chuckle.)

Fehrenbacher also had some insights that have escaped the thundering herd of attention-span-deprived reporters and bloggers: “Tesla has actually emerged as a success story, not in the last week, but gradually over a decade.” She predicted that “Tesla has just started on its full court press on announcements, media coverage, and stock growth…but it’s actually pretty hard to be an independent new automaker, and true game-changing innovation is even harder and takes a very long time.”


Sources: Bloomberg, Quartz, GigaOM, InsideEVs, CNN, Business Insider

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