Learning impact

On Tesla’s 2019 Impact Report

It’s an inspiring example of how to reinvent car production and forget to say that your most important impact is changing the world's cars industry.

Let’s analyze Tesla’s just released impact report for year 2019.

We’ve uploaded it to Google Drive to let any of you share your thoughts right to the report. Please feel free to comment, and we will be happy to reply. Some of my notes and comments are already in there.

Tesla claims it’s mission as

“to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”

According to the report this means:
  • reduce harmful emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants from producing both Tesla's energy plants and cars,
  • get electricity from renewable sources (including their Solar Roofs) for Tesla cars production and charging,
  • reduce amount of energy and materials by enhancing the efficiency of production and utilization of Tesla cars;
  • recycle of Tesla cars and battery packs materials and reuse them.

They also say that they address the markets of Electricity and Heat Production and Transportation that account to 31% and 16% (47% together) of global greenhouse gas emissions respectively.

This is a wonderful goal in itself. But as we can see—it’s all about Tesla.

Reading the statement “accelerate the world’s transition” word by word we expect an analysis of the following things:
  • How does Tesla become an example to others in these metrics.
  • How does Tesla plan to incentivize other car makers to join the movement.
  • How does Tesla plan to incentivize car buyers around the world to buy EVs.
  • What is the current situation in Electricity and Heat Production and Transportation markets.
  • What is the target situation.
  • And what is the progress towards the world's transition to sustainable energy.

And Tesla definitely has all the answers. So my main thesis is that the most important Tesla’s impact is not their achievements in creating the most innovative car making company and efficient cars in the world, but their effect on other car makers and markets. And the second but not less important is the similar effect on producing and storing solar energy markets. And the current report almost missed these topics.

Many can say that it’s obvious that if Tesla will just create the greatest electric cars, it’ll be enough to push this all forward worldwide. And they can even provide numbers that Tesla cars become the most selling ones in several markets, and Tesla itself just became the most valuable carmaker company in the world overtaking Toyota.

But I wouldn’t agree. Apple created the iPhone once and became one of the most expensive and innovative tech companies in the world. But Apple’s biggest impact is to inspire Google to create open sourced Android, which in turn led to the rise of Asian smartphone producers. So Tesla inspires the world to puch many things forward. I’ll name just a few as examples: cars active safety systems, AI development, understanding of a car as a part of the transportation ecosystem, energy efficiency-driven car design (to maximize the range), cars amenity functions reimagining. And let's not forget that all patents on Tesla cars are open sourced!

Tesla made it cool to drive EVs in the end! Roaring and tuned GT cars are no more cool, because they now look just like a bucket with nuts smelling of burning oil. Like a computer with a CRT-monitor and spinning ang crackling hard disk drive.

Tesla’s real impact is in changing the world’s car industry

So that, here is how we think this missing part of the report may looks like:
  1. Here is the structure of current non-sustainable industries (pie chart on the page 4 of the report). And we decided to improve Electricity and Heat Production and Transportation significantly.
  2. Here is the global total amount of car production and their average parameters.
  3. Here is a calculation of the negative impact of this industry: pollution, greenhouse gases emission, safety accidents, rare materials consumption, danger materials disposal. In other words: here how big the problem is.
  4. Here is what we achieved in Tesla. Calculated per one car (to compare with other cark) and per one passenger per mile transported (to calculate our personal responsibilities and commitments).
  5. This is what the world could become if all cars will be as good as Teslas: pollutants reducing, greenhouse effect mitigating, safety increasing, air cleaning, materials reusing, … — ideal achievable results with the current state of technology. In absolute and relative numbers.
  6. Here is the graph of total car production, total EVs production and Teslas production in time for 8 years in past and say the same 8 years in future forecast.
  7. Here how fast we should switch to EVs to comply with the ecologists recommendations. And here how fast we are today.

So of course we like to know how Tesla decreases the consumption of materials and energy and creates the most efficient electric cars. We do admire this and for decade it is called sustainable development. But the most important impact of the company is really in accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. And the current report doesn’t say a lot about it.
Made on