Deliver Cars or Die Trying: Elon Musk Once Again Pushes Tesla to the Brink

March 19, 2019 19:30 UTC

It’s all hands on deck at Tesla as the electric car-maker is scrambling to meet its delivery numbers. Producing the Model 3 (the company’s more affordable, “mass-produced” car) has put the company through, as Elon Musk has said, “Production Hell,” and they are now in “Logistics Hell.”

What does this mean? Essentially, Tesla couldn’t make enough Model 3s, so the company was stretched to the breaking point. Now, the issue appears to be whether they can deliver the cars they make. Tesla is now asking for volunteers to help deliver 30,000 vehicles in 15 days. You heard that right; 30,000 in just over two days.

Tesla Volunteers Buy Into Musk Mentality

This doesn’t sound like a very professional way to run a business. If it’s unforeseen and a one-off, you could probably let it slide, but it’s not. Musk has done this before, and volunteering at Tesla for employees is nothing new. While the company will stress that it isn’t mandatory (like those captain’s practices in D1 athletics), people know their jobs hang in the balance.

It’s a testimony to the belief that CEO Elon Musk can conjure in those who follow him. The “us against the world” mentality must be wearing a little thin of late, as electric cars are nothing new and you can find plenty of high-end electric car manufacturers who don’t require that you work for free to keep the company afloat.

It would be different if they were hiring relentlessly and then asking employees to pitch in. At some point, people are going to realize that Musk is going to work them all until Tesla implodes or the company scales. With all the new vehicles scheduled, there must be more than a few nervous glances around the workshop.

Has Elon Musk Overplayed Tesla’s Hand?

In isolation, pushing the needle into the red is essential to scale. It’s when you look at the entire picture that the cracks start to show. It all flows down from the top. Elon Musk is under assault by the SEC for his reckless tweeting. The flaws in Tesla’s operations are starting to look more like errors.

Add into this that Musk oversees SpaceX and the Boring Company, and you have what seem to be the fundamentals to prove his distraction and another possible cause of the mistakes made. Whichever of Musk’s appointed “hells” Tesla finds itself in, the race against time is not going away.

Every day that passes, electric cars are less of a novelty, and whether Tesla was first or not, the copycats can take almost everything they do.

It isn’t enough to say Tesla is worth investing in simply because “electric is the future.” Many companies are making electric cars, today. They need to be better. Otherwise, we could see Audi or another manufacturer wait for cheaper valuations to simply buy them out and make use of their infrastructure.

For now, Tesla probably does have the best brand of any plug-in model, but their reluctance to be merely a niche luxury brand puts them at significant risk of overreaching.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Last modified: March 19, 2019 18:15 UTC

@bullishtulips

Financial speculator & author living in the hills in Los Angeles. J.D. but very much not a lawyer. Favorite trading books are anything written by Jack Schwager. Co-Host/Writer of Just Curious Media's "Pop Finance". Email: bullishtulips@gmail.com, Twitter: @bullishtulips