Elon Musk, cofounder and CEO of Tesla, has had his fair share of success throughout his career. Although originally from South Africa, he is a major asset to the American economy. His two major companies, SpaceX and Tesla, both focus on making American products.
Tesla’s success has been extraordinary in the last few years. In fact, the motor company’s stocks recently indicated that it is the second most valuable car company in America, just surpassing Ford Motors. Although Tesla hasn’t sold nearly as many cars as Ford and they are actually in debt, their stocks for the first quarter of 2017 skyrocketed more than 35% after news released of the upcoming Model 3 car.
Since the founding of Tesla in 2003, the car company has been widely known for their environmentally friendly and sustainable electric cars. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” And it is impressive – affordable electric cars that look and drive like the traditional vehicle. As a result, many drivers are opting towards electric cars rather than traditional for the sole purpose of reducing their carbon footprint.
All of their effort towards a greener world has overshadowed another huge asset of the company: their cars are almost entirely made in the U.S.A. In the near future, Tesla’s vehicles will be 95% made in America, surpassing many major American motor companies like Chevrolet and Buick as the “most American cars”.
Unfortunately, many Americans don’t even know that Tesla cars are made in the U.S.A. However, Tesla’s factory is located right in Fremont, California. The factory produces 2,000 cars per week and has returned thousands of jobs back to the Fremont area. On top of that, tesla currently employs more than 25,000 Americans.
A Reddit thread from last year highlighted Americans’ ignorance toward where Tesla’s cars are made. One user wrote “The number of people I’ve encountered who think that Tesla is a European brand has been absolutely staggering… “I like what Tesla is doing, but I only buy American,” is actually something I’ve heard in conversation more than once. Said people are usually floored when I tell them that Tesla is an American company and that my car was built in Fremont.”
Another user added “Yeah – my brother in law, when he found out that we have a Model 3 ordered in addition to the Tesla we already have, asked my sister why we’re not looking into the Bolt instead since it’s made in America.”
As the Big Three (General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler) continue to shift production outside of the U.S., Tesla has actually been making their cars more and more American. Although the motor company fails to advertise their American roots, more and more people are becoming aware of their American made cars.
“Most American Car in the U.S.”
Last year, the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C. calculated what percentage of so-called “American Made” cars were actually made in the U.S. They based the percentages off of how many parts were made in the U.S., how much labor was made in the U.S., and how much research and development were done in America. Tied for first at 90% American Made were the Buick Enclave, the Chevrolet Traverse and the GMC Acadia. Tesla didn’t even make the list at 55% American Made.
However, Tesla’s Model 3 may take the lead next year as the most American made – all thanks to new batteries. Tesla currently uses lithiom-ion battery cells originating from Panasonic in Japan and other foreign countries. However, the Model 3 will soon be featuring an American battery made from the 2170 battery cell created at Tesla’s new Gigafactory. The Gigafactory, located in Reno, Nevada, may also have a source of lithium right next to it as well. In the Model 3’s release, Musk stated, “when (the Gigafactory) is done, we will produce more lithium-ion batteries than the rest of global production combined.” Along with that bonus, the battery cell is also cost and energy efficient. Thanks to Gigafactory’s 2170 battery cell, the Model 3 will be about 95% American made, beating out all other contenders.
Many consumers are hoping the Model 3 is worth the hype. The so-called “electric vehicle for the masses” has a sleek design and will be sold at an affordable price. Musk stated that the Model 3 is “a smaller more affordable version of Model S with less range & power & fewer features.” The car will range from only $35,000 to $44,000. During the release of the Model 3, Musk discussed the unique design. The first priority for engineering, he said, was safety. When tested against the Volvo S60, one of the safest cars in the world, the Model S actually withstood impact much better than the Volvo.
Within 24 hours of the car’s release, Tesla had already taken 180,000 preorders. Each preorder required a $1,000 deposit, meaning that the company earned $180 million in just one day. That number has now exceeded $200 million in deposits as customers continue to preorder the vehicle.
Will the Model 3 live up to the hype and become the most American car in the world? We’ll find out when the Kogod School of Business finalizes their 2017 list.