A RECENT tweet from Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla, an electric-car firm, shows footage of a Model X undergoing rollover testing. The SUV is propelled rapidly sideways on a trolley before encountering a sand trap that stops it suddenly, tipping the car. The Tesla teeters between ending up on its roof or settling back on its wheels. It is an apt metaphor for a firm hovering between fulfilling its promise and succumbing to financial woes.
In April Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley, a bank, said the next three months would be the “most critical time in Tesla’s history” since launching its upmarket Model S six years ago. The move from a niche in expensive electric cars to bringing battery power to the masses has been troublesome, to say the least. The firm had once hoped to be making 10,000 of its cheaper Model 3s a week by the end of 2018. But difficulties with a highly automated production line mean that just over 2,000 are rolling out of the factory each week. Even a revised goal of 5,000…Continue reading