Tesla’s supporters might think the electric company is as disruptive to the auto market as Apple was to cell phones, but the two companies are not comparable, according to a August report from the Harvard Business Review (HBR).
Tesla is innovative but not an Earth-shattering force like the iPhone maker, according to HBR writers Larry Downes and Paul Nunes, both of whom write on technology. Electric vehicles have been around for decades, HBR notes, so the company’s capacity to make something different about the technology is limited.
“For now, what the company has is a powerful brand that stands for luxury and sustainability at the same time,” they wrote. “But it’s not hard to see any number of existing premium brands—think BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Lexus—stepping in to claim the same mantle.”
Competitors have wormed their way into Tesla’s world. The Volvo Car Group, for instance, claimed earlier this year that the company will produce only electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles starting in 2019, which contributed to Tesla’s stock dropping 13 percent at the beginning of July.
The iPhone was a cataclysmic change to the cell phone market, unlike the Model 3. Apple reinvented cell phones and personal digital devices in a massive leap, according to the Review. Additionally, Tesla has been unable to mimic iPhone’s immediate success, namely matching the capacity to make millions of products.
It is also not apparent that Tesla’s technology is any better than the modern-combustion-engine, the review added. Battery performance may not reach parity with fossil fuels for another 50 years, according to Tesla’s own data.
Analysts have criticized Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company chairs in the past. Visionaries in Silicon Valley such as Apple’s Steve Jobs had exceptionally brilliant engineers like Steve Wozniak helping them develop the nuts and bolts of their vision, Matt Stack, the co-founder of Devonshire Research Group, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in 2016.
“Elon is missing his Wozniak,” Stack said. Apple had equal parts Jobs’ vision and Wozniak’s engineering brilliance, leading to the computer company producing products in a timely fashion, he said.
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