Shai Agassi on Tesla Motors: Detroit’s reacting all wrong

Shai Agassi, the charismatic founder of the bankrupt electric battery-swap start-up Better Place, has a lengthy post on LinkedIn today about Tesla Motors, writing that “GM shouldn’t be the only company worried about Tesla’s future plans. The entire car industry should probably study Tesla, to understand if and how it plans to take such market share from all current incumbents.”
“Imagine for a second that car companies are like yachts racing in the ocean,” writes Agassi. “While the entire industry represent yachts jostling for position along a similar course, Tesla’s catamaran diverged from the pack, and all of a sudden seems to be gaining tremendous speed. If Captain Musk allows you to peek onto his boat and monitor his instruments you should also take advantage to learn the ocean currents and wind pattern he’s mapping along the course. Their underlying assumptions are more interesting than the shape of their car. Their battery business assumptions are just as interesting as the shape of their battery pack.”

Shai Agassi, the founder of Better Place


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  • Jeo

    Detroit, specifically GM is like Microsoft today … they really just don’t know what to do. Just as MS was to IBM in the early days, GM is to Tesla today. Too big, they act more like a last century business, and they get in their own way. When I know more than the Chevy dealer about the Volt, there’s a problem and that’s exactly the case.

    Like MS’s multiple versions of Windows, GM competes with itself with too many brands. Thankfully they reduced that in recent years but at least a decade late and one of those, Saturn could have been GM’s Tesla.

    Detroit needs to organize themselves like a start up … and learn from Tesla.