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Published on August 12th, 2015 | by Zachary Shahan


Tesla On Sales Path Of Ford Model T (Sort of)

August 12th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

A big tip of the hat to Bloomberg for uncovering the interesting point that Tesla sales are basically tracking the sales ramp-up of the Ford Model T (and to TeslaMondo, where I found this story). Bloomberg nicely summarizes things in the following video, so I’ll start with that and a screenshot from it:

Tesla Model 3 Ford Model T

So, basically, it’s a “simple” story. Tesla’s target for producing 500,000 a year by 2020 matches what Ford reached 7 years after production of the Model T started. Tesla’s annual production and projected production from 2013–2016 is very similar to (but slightly higher than) Ford’s Model T production from 1909-1912. That said, Tesla production started a few years before 2013, and we’re mixing models in Tesla’s case. Nonetheless, Tesla has many more competitors than Ford did. And, generally speaking, it’s an interesting comparison and similar growth trend… providing the line for Tesla goes forward as expected and hits 500,000 vehicles/year by 2020.

We shall see. If Tesla is able to hit its 2020 target, though, you can be damn sure you’ll see a lot more comparisons between Elon Musk and Henry Ford between now and 2020… just not by members of the Ford family still involved in Ford Motor Company. If it just gets to 300,000, hmm, well, we’ll probably still see the comparisons flying all around the interweb and TV tubes.

In any case, one thing we learned for a fact today is that Bloomberg ain’t no Reuters.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

  • EllisWyatt

    Hey Bob_Wallace, check the stock price now. =^]

    • Bob_Wallace

      A month ago (Aug 17) the Dow was at 17,545.18. Today it closed at 16,671.74.

      A 5% loss.

      A month ago Tesla was at 254.99. Today it closed at 262.07.

      A 2.7% gain. When all the markets are down.

      Tesla seems to have bounced off 218 without going to 200.

      That Galt, he sure can’t call ’em….

      • John Galt

        Keep quoting numbers like it’ll make it look like you’re smart LOL. Jesus this was a simple google search

        • Bob_Wallace

          On one day Tesla traded in a range that approached, but did not hit, 200.

          John redefines the game as hand grenades and declares victory since he got sort of close.

          You apparently made some pocket change off shorting Tesla right before the entire market had a sell off.

          Enjoy your $200. I won’t even return a phone call for that kind of chump change.

          This is way off topic for this forum, John. Let’s make this the last post on this off topic topic.

          • John Galt

            Tesla Motors Inc
            NASDAQ: TSLA – Feb 5 3:55 PM EST

            $162.51 USD Price decrease 12.82 (7.31%)

            Wow-wee! Bob you must be pushing pancakes out of your booty by now! I guess that “$200 range” was great support. Remember to file your taxes and deduct your losses! Hey, where should I buy and sell next?! I’m getting RICH off your calls!

            What will you and Zachary do next? Delete comments to cover up this public humiliation? Or will you be a man and let the truth stand on its own so you can learn something? That choice is yours Bob.

            Every call I have made thus far has been correct. 6 months ago I told you not to get sheared and now Tesla is down 43% from its highs since. Either you can face reality or you have your head so far up your butt you wouldn’t know which way the sun was rising and setting. Yes, since the start of our conversation I have been rude to you. Purposefully.

            To find the Fountain of Youth I had to search the world and climb a mountain that broke every bone in my body. Once I reached it, I wanted to bring it down to men but discovered that it could not be brought down. Make the climb Bob, you can do it. I have been where you are now. It is worth it. Goodbye friend.

          • Bob_Wallace

            John, I’m an investor and not a trader. I don’t invest in individual stocks but only in index mutual funds. I own no Tesla stock.

            I believe Zach is also an investor and not a trader. He’s bought into Tesla for the long term and loses nothing on short term downward price spikes.

            You, IIRC, are a small time trader. If you can make enough money to keep yourself in Cheetos then good for you. If you are a trader then Tesla is probably a good company to trade. Since the price is highly speculative, most people having bought in not for current profits but for expected long term results, the stock price is going to more volatile than with a well established company. Big swings means the opportunity to trade on larger price changes.

            Now you’re clearly a person most of us would not want to spend time around. Saying a permanent goodbye to you would be a pleasure.

  • John Galt

    I posed this 2 days ago on a Yahoo! article.

    “What people don’t see behind this pony show is that Musk’s company survives on government tax credits for each car sold. This isn’t a profitable business, it’s a public scalping through taxes and selling shares.

    Henry Ford is a man who built his empire on his own mind and two bare hands. Elon Musk built an empire on public funds. [Think SolarCity, think even SpaceX.] Why do you think the media is pumping Tesla right now? Musk is trying to sell shares to raise capital! Who then, is the bag holder? You.”

    Guess what Bloomberg Live reports TODAY: “Tesla Reports $500 million stock offering.

    I’m all for competing energy but these cheerleader articles are ridiculous. The model T was super-affordable and worked consistently, bringing in plenty of demand. The above stated chart is a projection of SUPPLY. How & why in the world would Tesla ramp to 500k production/year with a starting price of ~$70k if they can’t move it off the lot. How many buyers are honestly left for a car at $70k? I’m willing to wager that it’s NOT 500k/year. With crude and commodities fallen as they have, gasoline is still going to be king price/performance wise. Don’t get sheared.

    • Bob_Wallace

      It’s too bad that you are so poorly informed. But what should we expect from someone who calls themself John Galt.

      Here’s a clue or two.

      Tesla is releasing a $35k EV next year with sales starting in 2017. That’s the route to 500k/yr, not the luxury vehicles they build.

      EVs are much cheaper to operate than ICEVs even with today’s lower gas prices (which won’t stay this low much longer).

      The original Model T was not “super-affordable”. Over time the Model T price fell as Henry built his business and was able to perfect his approach to building cars.

      “Elon Musk built an empire on public funds.” Ever hear of PayPal, pal?

      Sorry, “John”. Your entire comment is as big a fail as the fictional character in a second rate novel that thinks the world revolves around him and if he walks off into the wilderness the world will crash.

      That’s about as stupid a story that has ever been told.

      • John Galt

        Great, uh, “argument” there Bob. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to bookmark this page, and in a year, we’re going to to see who has egg on their face. If you win though, judging by your response, you’d probably like to rub your Russian Danny Devito booty in it. See ya. =^]

        • Bob_Wallace

          Make it two. Give Tesla enough time to get the Gigafactory running and the Mod3 in their showrooms. Neither are scheduled to be in place in only one year.

          It took Henry 8 years to figure out how to take the Model T selling price from $850 to $360. And then another 9 to drop it to $290.

          In the meantime try to expand your knowledge base. Looks like someone has been treating you like a mushroom.

          • John Galt

            We’re down $41 so far from this month’s high alone. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… I hope you own their stock ahahaha. Since you’re such a fan, maybe you even bought some of that bond issue since TSLA is going to the moon “in 2 years” 8^]

            Keep cheerleading Bobby boy, maybe then you can worry more about learning how to price stocks vs being a “top commenter” for disqus. You make it too easy. We’ve yet to even finish the month, much less 2 years lol.

            Unfortunately for you, this will be my last comment. Morons like you make it easy money for daytraders like me. Shh, don’t tell anyone our secret, okay? Especially the sheep who you’re trying to influence with your “knowledge” of the market and “top commenter” status. So credible! Both you and them are on the other side of my trades. Thanks for all the fish ;).

            I could post trade entries and exits all day on public forums and you muppets would still ignore it. I love the internet, the mouthpiece of the masses indeed. Bahhh, bahhhh!

          • Bob_Wallace

            I suppose you haven’t noticed that all the market is in a correction.

            BTW, bye.

  • Bubba Nicholson

    This is a “fan” site. Usually, and customarily, such comparisons begin from the same origin. You have fitted Musk’s 4 production models against Ford’s 1 as well.

    • Bob_Wallace

      In 1909 Ford built multiple cars under the Model T name.

      Model T Touring Car. Four cylinder, 20 horsepower, 5 passenger. $850.00 f.o.b. Detroit

      Model T Roadster. 4 cylinder, 20 h.p.. A touring car for three. $825.00 f.o.b. Detroit

      Model T Coupe. 4 cylinder, 20 h.p. Inside driven. $950.00 f.o.b. Detroit

      Model T Town Car. 4 cylinder, 20 h.p. 5 passenger. $1000.00 f.o.b. Detroit

      Model T Landaulet. 4 cylinder, 20 h.p.
      $950.00 f.o.b. Detroit


      For the youngs, f.o.b. is ‘freight on bill’. You paid for your purchase delivery when it showed up. It was in addition to the purchase price.

      Yes, this site is a big fan of what works and helps us get off fossil fuels. You might way we cheer for limiting climate change.

      • Bubba Nicholson

        In 1909, they were hand-hammering out bodies, too. Surely you see that these options of the early T were less sophisticated and less complicated than the Model S options of today? You are just obfuscating uselessly. The Roadster was a completely different production than the S. The X is a major redesign and an almost totally different vehicle with only a few common parts. (It’s a good thing electric cars have fewer parts, huh?) Had the X and S shared a common platform, we’d have had it already, surely you agree? That would have been Ford like, not this ambitious mishmash. Cheap production requires, like Ford, simplification not complication. Musk already has the greatest car ever made, yet he insists upon gathering the low-hanging fruit of hot-rodding it, and improving it constantly, and trying to design even better vehicles! If he’d just stuck to manufacturing what he already had, he would have slaked demand, perhaps, by now. The way he’s going, the way he’s getting improvements in performance alone, he’ll never need to advertise ever. The cost will remain high, too, AND I’LL NEVER GET TO BUY A USED ONE!
        FOB is freight on board. FOB destination means your supplier pay the freight. FOB his dock means you will have to pay the freight for the shipment. I hope that’s clear now.
        Musk is behind Ford’s curve and I’ve explained why. This article’s comparison is unfair.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” You have fitted Musk’s 4 production models against Ford’s 1 as well.”

          Henry had four body styles in 1909.

          Actually FOB originally meant “free on board”. It morphed into “freight on bill” by the 1950s. Some of the shipments we received for our hardware required we pay the shipping cost to the transportation company upon delivery. Those invoices were stamped FOB.

    • The comparison came from Bloomberg (not us)…

  • Jan Veselý

    There were many horse breeders and buggy makers in 1909.

  • Raja Bob

    I just wonder when the other car manufacturers are going to step up to the plate and respond to the SuperCharger challenge.

    I look at the SuperCharger maps for 2016 and dream of the $35k Tesla Model III, and the unlimited road trips that will functionally be included in that purchase price.

    At that point, why would you buy any other passenger car than a Tesla?

    It’s not hard to imagine that instead of electric car owners renting combustion cars for their occasional vacation trip needs, folks will be renting Tesla’s for their road trips instead.

    The idea that possibly within 5 years one will be able to fly to Europe, rent a Model III, and drive from the bottom of Portugal to the top of Norway, and with whatever desired meanders between, and not spend a single Euro on petrol, leaves me breathless.

    Even if other EV makers have vehicles with 200+ mile range and similar pricing, unless they respond with something like SuperCharging, they are going to get crushed.

    • Yeah, I don’t know, but the longer the wait, the more hurt they’re going to be in for…

  • Kyle Field

    Fun to see and makes sense. I would expect Tesla to ramp up faster because they have a dead sexy product that is rock solid and has many consumer benefits. On the flip side, I could see it happening slower because the price point is currently so high (still waiting for the announcement that the Model X will start at 50k 😀 :D).

    Also, the model 3 should blow away any historical models and will only be production constrained as demand will be through the roof. Tesla still has no competition…Nissan is the only one that’s remotely close and I’m honestly not sure they can scale like Tesla will be able to based on limited battery production.

    • I’m very curious to see Nissan’s next step. That battery price graph we’ve shared many times puts Nissan very close to Tesla (and much better than the rest), but I have also heard that the limitations of Nissan’s batteries are pushing it to buy from LG Chem next time around. But I’ve also seen Carlos Ghosn say (awhile back) that it would be sticking with its own batteries since there isn’t anything on the market that fits its needs/goals. Nissan is still holding a lot of cards close to its chest. I hope it has a straight flush… or at least not a total one-pair bluff. 😀

      • Kyle Field

        Love Carlos Ghosn 🙂 Just wish he was pushing as aggressively as Elon…though that’s nearly impossible to do.

        • Bob_Wallace

          IMO Ghosn was blindsided by the Great Recession. The financial collapse took a lot of buyers out of the market and greatly lowered the willingness of others to take a risk on something different. Then he/Renault backed battery swapping which didn’t pan out.

          I’m hoping that Nissan/Renault is aiming for the sub-$30k price range with as much mileage as they can afford to offer in a $25k to $29.9k car.

          That would push Tesla to drop the Mod3 price faster and work harder on the ModY.

          • Kyle Field

            Agree and on top of that, the market hasn’t fully recovered. Many are a bit gun shy especially when it comes to something totally new like an electric car. I’m excited to see what they bring in the new, upgraded, higher mileage 2017 Leaf 🙂

        • Yeah, me too on both points. Obviously, when 99% of his sales fleet isn’t electric, he can’t push as hard as Elon. But he’s a genuine fan, imho, and is doing more than perhaps any other exec in Big Auto.

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