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Tesla’s Journey: From IPO to Passing Ford in Value, in Just 7 Years

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In Tesla’s final years as a private company, things got pretty hectic.

As we showed in Part 1: Tesla’s Origin Story, the launch of the Roadster was a public relations success, but it created all kinds of problems internally. There were massive cost overruns, a revolving door of CEOs, layoffs, and even a narrow escape from bankruptcy.

Fortunately, by 2010 the company was able to forget these troubles after a successful IPO. The company secured $226 million in capital, and hitting the public markets started a roller coaster ride of growth.

Rise of Tesla: The Company (Part 2 of 3)

Today’s giant infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals, and it is the second part of our three-part Rise of Tesla Series, which is a definitive source for everything you ever wanted to know about the company.

Part 2 shows major events from 2010 until today, and it tracks the company’s rapid growth along the way.

Part 1: Tesla's Origin StoryPart 2: From IPO and OnwardsVisualizing Elon Musk's Vision for the Future of Tesla

Tesla's Journey: From IPO to Passing Ford in Value, in Just 7 Years
Part 1: Tesla's Origin StoryPart 2: From IPO and OnwardsVisualizing Elon Musk's Vision for the Future of Tesla

Tesla was the first American car company to IPO since The Ford Motor Company went public in 1956.

Interestingly, it only took seven years for Tesla to match Ford’s value – here are the major events during this stretch of time that made this incredible feat possible.

2010

After securing funding from the public markets, Tesla was positioned for its next big leap:

  • The company had just narrowly escaped bankruptcy
  • The Tesla Roadster helped to dispel the stigma around EVs, but it was unclear if it could be parlayed into mainstream success
  • The company was free from its feud and lawsuit with co-founder Martin Eberhard
  • Tesla had just taken over its now famous factory in Fremont, CA

It was time to focus on the next phase of Tesla’s strategy: to build the company’s first real car from scratch – and to help the company achieve the economies of scale, impact, and reputation it desired.

2011

In 2011, Tesla announces that the Roadster will be officially discontinued.

Instead, the company starts focusing all efforts on two new EVs: the Model S (A full-size luxury car) and the Model X (A full-size luxury crossover SUV).

2012

The Model S was Tesla’s chance to build a car around the electric powertrain, rather than the other way around.

When we started Model S, it was a clean sheet of paper.

– Franz Von Holzhausen, Chief Car Designer

In June 2012, the first Model S hits the road – and the rest is history. The model won multiple awards, including being recognized as the “safest car ever tested” by the NHTSA and the “Best car ever tested” by Consumer Reports. Over 200,000 cars were eventually sold.

But despite the success of the new model, Tesla still faced a giant problem. Lithium-ion batteries were still too expensive for a mass market car to be feasible, and the company needed to “bet the farm” on an idea to bring EVs to the mainstream.

2013

Tesla reveals initial plans for its Gigafactory concept, an ambitious attempt to bring economies of scale to the battery industry.

In time, the details of those plans solidified:

  • Cost: $5 billion
  • Partner: Panasonic
  • Objective: To reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery packs by 30%
  • Location: Sparks, Nevada
  • Size: Up to 5.8 million sq. ft (100 football fields)

The company believed that through economies of scale, reduction of waste, a closer supply chain, vertical integration, and process optimization, that the cost of batteries could be sufficiently reduced to make a mass market EV possible.

Under Tesla’s first plan, the Gigafactory would be ramped up to produce batteries for 500,000 EVs per year by 2020. Later on, the company eventually moved that target forward by two years.

2014

Tesla makes significant advances in software, hardware, and its mission.

  • Autopilot is released for the first time, which gives the Model S semi-autonomous driving and parking capabilities
  • By this time, Tesla’s Supercharger network is up to 221 stations around the world
  • Tesla goes open source, releasing all of the company’s patents for anyone to use

2015

After massive and repeated delays because of issues with the “falcon wing” doors, the Model X finally is released.

In the same year, the Tesla Powerwall is also announced. Using a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and proprietary technology – the Powerwall is a major step towards Tesla achieving its major end goal of integrating energy generation and storage in the home.

2016

Tesla unveils its Model 3 – the car for the masses that is supposed to change it all.

Here are the specs for the most basic model, which is available at $35,000:

  • Price: $35,000
  • Torque: 415 lb-ft
  • Power: 235 hp (Motor Trend’s est.)
  • 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
  • Top speed: 130 mph
  • Range: 220 miles

After being announced, the Model 3 quickly garnered 500,000 pre-orders. To put the magnitude of this number in perspective – in six years of production of the Model S, the company has only delivered about 200,000 cars in total so far.

In 2016, Tesla also announces that it is taking over of Elon Musk’s other companies, SolarCity, for $2.6 billion of stock. Elon Musk owns 22% of SolarCity shares at the time of the takeover.

The goal: to build a seamlessly integrated battery and solar product that looks beautiful.

2017

2017 was a whirlwind year for Tesla:

  • Consumer Reports names Tesla the top American car brand in 2017
  • The Tesla Gigafactory I begins battery cell production
  • Tesla wins bids to provide grid-scale battery power in South Australia and Puerto Rico
  • Tesla starts accepting orders for its new solar roof product
  • The Tesla Semi is unveiled – a semi-truck that can go 0-60 mph in just 5 seconds, which is 3x faster than a diesel truck
  • Model 3 deliveries begin, though production issues keep them from ramping at the speed anticipated

Tesla also unveils the new Roadster – the second-gen version of the car that started it all.

This time, it has unbelievable specs:

  • 0-60 mph: 1.9 seconds
  • 200 kWh battery pack
  • Top speed: above 250 mph
  • 620 mile range (It could drive from San Francisco to LA and back, without needing a recharge)

The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars

– Elon Musk, Tesla Co-Founder and CEO

The new Roadster will go into production in 2020.

A Look to the Future

In 1956, the IPO of the Ford Motor Company was the single largest IPO in Wall Street’s history.

Tesla IPO’d a whopping 54 years later, and the company has already passed Ford in value:

Ford: $49.9B
Tesla: $52.3B
(numbers from Dec 31, 2017)

An incredible feat, it took only seven years for Tesla to pass Ford in value on the public markets. However, this is still the beginning of Tesla’s story.

See Musk’s vision for the future in Part 3 of this series.

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Visualizing EV Sales Around the World

With global sales hitting new milestones and adoption rates rising, are electric vehicles now becoming a mainstream option for drivers around the world?

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electric vehicle sales

It took five years to sell the first million electric cars. In 2018, it took only six months.

The Tesla Model 3 also passed a significant milestone in 2018, becoming the first electric vehicle (EV) to crack the 100,000 sales mark in a single year. The Nissan LEAF and BAIC EC-Series are both likely to surpass the 100,000 this year as well.

Although the electric vehicle market didn’t grow as fast as some experts initially projected, it appears that EV sales are finally hitting their stride around the world. Below are the countries where electric vehicles are a biggest part of the sales mix.

Electric vehicle sales

The EV Capital of the World

Norway, after amassing a fortune through oil and gas extraction, made the conscious decision to create incentives for its citizens to purchase electric vehicles. As a result, the country is the undisputed leader in EV adoption.

In 2018, a one-third of all passenger vehicles were fully electric, and that percentage is only expected to increase in the near future. The Norwegian government has even set the ambitious target of requiring all new cars to be zero-emission by 2025.

That enthusiasm for EVs is spilling over to other countries in the region, which are also seeing a high percentage of EV sales. However, the five countries in which EVs are the most popular – Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Netherlands, and Finland – only account for 0.5% of the world’s population. For EV adoption to make any real impact on global emissions, drivers in high-growth/high–population countries will need to opt for electric powered vehicles. (Of course power grids will need to get greener as well, but that’s another topic.)

China’s Supercharged Impact

One large economy that is embracing plug-in vehicles is China.

The country leads the world in electric vehicle sales, with over a million new vehicles hitting the roads in 2018. Last year, more EVs were sold in Shenzhen and Shanghai than any country in the world, with the exception of the United States.

China also leads the world in another important metric – charging stations. Not only does China have the highest volume of chargers, many of them allow drivers to charge up faster.

Electric vehicle charging stations

Accelerating from the Slow Lane

In the United States, electric vehicle sales are rising, but they still tend to be highly concentrated in specific areas. In around half of states, EVs account for fewer than 1% of vehicle sales. On the other hand, California is approaching the 10% mark, a significant milestone for the most populous state.

Nationally, EV sales increased throughout 2018, with December registering nearly double the sales volume of the same month in 2017. Part of this surge in sales is driven by the Tesla’s Model 3, which led the market in the last quarter of 2018.

U.S. Electric vehicle sales

North of the border, in Canada, the situation is similar. EV sales are increasing, but not fast enough to meet targets set by the government. Canada aimed to have half a million EVs on the road by 2018, but missed that target by around 400,000 vehicles.

The big question now is whether the recent surge in sales is a temporary trend driven by government subsidies and showmanship of Elon Musk, or whether EVs are now becoming a mainstream option for drivers around the world.

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How Much Copper is in an Electric Vehicle?

Have you ever wondered how much copper is in an electric vehicle? This infographic shows the metal’s properties as well as the quantity of copper used.

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How Much Copper is in an Electric Vehicle?

Copper’s special relationship with electricity has been apparent since ship designers first regularly began installing copper to protect the masts of wooden ships from lightning in the early 19th century.

Today, of course, you might be more used to seeing copper’s electrical applications through the use of power lines, telephone wires, and wiring in practically every major home appliance you own.

Millions of tons get used for these applications every year, but it is still early days for copper’s use in electrification. That’s because copper will continue to be a critical component of the green energy revolution, thanks to the rising adoption of battery-powered vehicles.

Why Copper?

Today’s visualization comes to us from Canadian Platinum Corp., and it focuses on showing how much copper is in an electric vehicle, along with the properties that make it the ideal choice for an EV-powered future.

Here is why copper is a crucial component to vehicle manufacturers:

Cost
Copper costs roughly $0.20 per ounce, compared to silver ($15/oz) and gold ($1200/oz), making it by far the cheapest option for electrical wire.

Conductivity:
Copper is nearly as conductive as silver – the most conductive metal – but comes at a fraction of the cost.

Ductility:
Copper can easily be shaped into wire, which is important for most electrical applications.

It’s also important to note that temperature does not affect copper’s conductivity, which makes the metal ideal for automobiles in all climates.

Copper in Gas vs. Electric Vehicles

The UBS Evidence Lab tore apart a traditional gas-powered vehicle as well as an EV to compare the different quantities of raw materials used.

What they found was crucial: there is 80% more copper in a Chevrolet Bolt, in comparison to a similar-sized Volkswagen Golf.

The major reason for this is that at the heart of every EV is an electric motor, which is built with copper, steel, and permanent magnets (rare earths). Electric motors tend to be much simpler than gas-powered engines, which have hundreds of moving parts.

Incredibly, in an electric motor, there can be more than a mile of copper wiring inside the stator.

The More Electric, the More Copper

According to Copper.org, along the scale from gas-powered cars to fully electrical vehicles, copper use increases dramatically.

Conventional gas-powered cars contain 18 to 49 lbs. of copper while a battery-powered EV contains 183 lbs. Meanwhile, for a fully electrical bus, a whopping 814 lbs. of copper is needed.

With the rapidly increasing adoption of electric vehicles, copper will be an essential material for the coming electrification of all forms of ground transport.

Copper is at the heart of the electric vehicle and the world will need more. By 2027, copper demand stemming from EVs is expected to increase by 1.7 million tonnes, which is a number just shy of China’s entire copper production in 2017.

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