It’s not easy to successfully launch a new brand – especially in the fiercely competitive automotive sector – yet Tesla made it look relatively effortless, garnering an unrivalled level of cool in an incredibly short space of time.
Founded by engineer/inventor/Paypal co-founder Elon Musk, Tesla made the electric vehicle an appealing prospect to an audience of savvy early adopters. And then there were the PR coups – boldly releasing its technology patents to the industry, to name just one.
But is life as sweet as it should be for Tesla, six years later? Well, firstly, there’s the business model, which is widely reported to be flawed; heavily subsidised by the Californian government and buoyed by Musk’s other entrepreneurial ventures. That said, the anticipation of the Model 3 launch has lifted shares in recent weeks, and the deposits are expected to raise $300 million or more to help the cause.
Secondly, there are unreliability and quality issues. Reports of brake noise, poor interior fit and finish, sunroof leaks and door handle malfunctions are common in the Model S. The Model X isn’t without problems either; one buyer has talked of misaligned body panels and loose chrome fitments.