Tesla Motors and its role in the Future of Transportation

According to the LA Times*, "The automotive industry is entering a period of deep disruption that will make it unrecognizable." As evidence, they point to a research report from Adam Jonas, Auto Analyst from Morgan Stanley in which he posits: “The auto industry is a century-old ecosystem being ogled by outside players hungry for a slice of a $10-trillion mobility market.” If you reference Jonas' chart below, Quadrants 1 and 2 are unfolding today, but, you can see how Tesla might play a significant role advancing towards Quadrant 3 (Owned Autonomy). Jonas argues that all these trends eventually fuse into Quadrant 4 (Shared Autonomy). 

 Tesla motors role in the future of transportation

Image: LA Times*

Whether or not we’ll progress quickly on Jonas' path to "shared autonomy" is something that Elon Musk recently addressed. Check out Musk's interview at the 2015 Boao Forum in China with Baidu’s Robin Li and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, this clip (below) addresses some of the predictions (posed above) and their likely timeframe.


We also got more unique insight into this from J.B. Straubel, Tesla's Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at the Vail Global Energy Forum last week during his keynote presentation at the "Future of Transportation" session. Video and slides from Straubel’s presentation are also included below. Note: Straubel's keynote (ending at 21 min 25 sec) is followed by a fascinating panel moderated by Stefan Heck (Consulting Professor, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University) sitting down with Tesla’s Straubel, Ned Curic (CTO, Toyota USA), Sunil Paul (Founder/CEO of Sidecar), and Pete Trelenberg (Manager of Environmental Policy and Planning, Exxon).


It’s intriguing to see divergent and (sometimes) shared views into the future of transportation from these industry heavyweights. Of special note is Toyota’s bet on hydrogen fuel cells versus Tesla’s steadfast commitment to electric vehicles. And... yes, we have our own opinion on it. Certainly Jonas, from Morgan Stanley, also presents a compelling argument in favor of Tesla Motors' (TSLA) approach as evidenced in a research video the firm produced a few weeks back. But, regardless of how things play out, it will be exciting to see Tesla Motors continue to rapidly innovate in this space.

*Source: LA Times