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Published on October 21st, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan

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7 More Things Tesla “Couldn’t” Achieve

October 21st, 2019 by  


I wrote an article a few days ago about 7 things Tesla “couldn’t do,” according to top experts in the auto field. As it turns out, these are things Tesla actually went ahead and did, while blowing nonchalant kisses at the crowd.

Some other ideas for things “experts” were convinced Tesla couldn’t do have come to mind since then, so here’s a sequel to the article from the other day.

Full disclosure: If you don’t like having some fun at the expense of perennial haters & naysayers, this article is not for you. If you don’t like humor at all, this article is not for you. If you just think my type of humor sucks or you don’t understand why such articles are useful, this article is not for you. I think that’s fair warning for what’s to come, yet I feel like some of you might still scroll down to the comments to tell me how much you don’t like this article or any of the articles in this Tesla Flashbacks series. Alas, life is hard.

Getting to the fun, here are the 7 additional things Tesla absolutely, positively, pessimistically, supersplendulously couldn’t do:

1. Produce 5,000 Tesla Model 3 sedans per week

The chatter for months and months — quarters and quarters even — was that Tesla could never (as in, never ever) reach production of 5,000 Tesla Model 3’s a month. It was just something that Tesla wasn’t tooled up to do, approved to do, capable of doing, or able to do before going bankwupt. Furthermore, there probably wasn’t enough customer demand for 5,000 Model 3’s a month. So, long story short: Tesla could never reach that target.

Until it did.

2. Show a profit in the 3rd (and 4th) quarter of 2018

Absolutely impossible, in part because of item #1 above being impossible, was the idea — which Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared in no uncertain terms several times — that Tesla would show a profit in the 3rd (and later 4th) quarter of 2018. It was just out of this world crazy. Without a doubt, it was deemed impossible and ludicrous dozens upon dozens of times on CNBC, in the WSJ, in Business Outsider, and in many other financial print/web publications leading up to Tesla’s 3rd quarter financials/shareholder conference call. Experts across the landscape were confident Tesla was not going to show a profit.

Until it did.

3. Have the Model 3 consistently outsell the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and other midsize premium-class sedans

The Tesla Model 3, despite quite a bit of Tesla fandom, was never going to be able to compete with the age-old leaders in the midsize premium sedan class. Legends like the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4 falling to the likes of the Model 3? Pfff — don’t make me spill my pumpkin spice latte on myself! The reasoning among confidently pessimistic experts varied — there was a limit to how many people wanted an electric/green car; the German automakers were offering such refined and superior products that they would never be toppled by poor, lowly, minimalist Tesla — no matter how much new tech it has; Tesla will never be able to produce that many cars; the Tesla brand is still not that well known and never will be compared to BMW, Audi, and Mercedes; Tesla doesn’t have dealerships; etc. The long and short of it: Tesla could never outsell these automotive giants in one of their bread & butter classes.

Until it did.

4. Sell the Model 3 for under $40,000

There was skepticism for several years that Tesla would ever be able to sell a car for less than $40,000. It was called impossible in some way or another probably hundreds of times by “experts” interviewed in the press. There was just no way Wall Street exec ABC, auto exec DEF, or business professor GHI could crunch the numbers to create a sub-$40,000 Model 3. It was all fraud, a Ponzi scheme, a false promise, fairytales and unicorn puke. Some experts were willing to stake their careers on their unwavering, irrefutable skepticism about this Tesla target. Tesla could never sell a Tesla Model 3 with promised specs for under $40,000, and certainly not before 2020.

Until it did.

5. Build “The Gigafactory” (now known as Gigafactory 1) in Nevada

Going back a bit further, there’s the big, giant battery factory that makes the high-volume Model 3 possible. Years and years ago, in a land far, far away, Elon Musk realized, “Oh, shit — we need a lot of batteries.” Perhaps he thought to himself or blurted out loud, “We need gigawatts of batteries!” Seeing the challenge for what it was and knowing how young and underdeveloped the global battery supply chain was for what Tesla would be needing, Elon, JB Straubel, Jerome Guillen, and others sketched out a “gigafactory” to produce the batteries for the Model 3. Another important point, as well, was that this increase in production capacity would help bring down costs, which was critical to producing a sub-$40,000 Tesla. But there was just one problem … the whole idea was impossible.

The idea of a gigantic gigafactory, a building envisioned to be the largest or second largest in the world, must have made many a critic laugh. The whole concept was absurd — where would Tesla get the money, how would it know how to build a gigantic factory for a product it wasn’t really in the business of producing, the timeline was out of a Disney fairytale, was this all just a long and elaborate joke? Whatever Elon Musk thought he’d do, the Gigafactory certainly wouldn’t get completed — Florida would turn into a snowball before that gigafactory would get built.

Until it did.

6. Not go bankwupt in … 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

That just about covers that topic. If you need more, see this.

7. Produce a car with an adequate number of cupholders

This is a joke for early Tesla owners and enthusiasts.

Ignore if you came into the Tesla topic within just the past few years.

Got some more good ideas for things Tesla absolutely, positively, genuflectionately* couldn’t achieve? Any more ideas for things our Tesla vehicles can’t do?

If you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X and want 1,000 miles of free Supercharging, feel free to use my referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404 — or use someone else’s if you have a friend or family member with a Tesla. I won’t cry.


*Technically, not a word. Also not that appropriate for this sentence unless you’re weird.

**As a side note, while digging back in history for some specific predictions about Tesla, I came across this gem of a quote from 2010: “I’m struggling to see what Tesla’s unique selling point is, to be frank,” said Angus MacKenzie, editor of Motor Trend magazine. Note that his opinion of the automaker has certainly changed by now.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the CEO of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he offers no investment advice and does not recommend investing in Tesla or any other company.



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