Insufficient Innovation in Tesla’s Business Model?

Tesla, the electric vehicle company co-founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, has seen significant press lately for its promising Model S.  It is a superbly well engineering car and draws off the bold image created by Musk’s rocket company SpaceX.  The company has received some criticism however, in this article in the Harvard Business Review Blog, for the lack of corresponding innovation in Tesla’s business model.  Its plan is to create the analog of the existing gasoline refueling system for automobiles by installing a network of fast charging stations that bring the battery back up to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.  This however raises obvious concerns.  One can hardly imagine someone having the patience to wait at a recharging/gas station for half an hour.  Better Place, an innovation blog written by professors at INSEAD, suggested the use of a network of battery swap stations instead.  If the reload process was fully automated, it could achieve a reload time on the order of a few minutes, and thereby eliminate the frustrating recharge times.  Such innovations are the key to the long-term integration of electric vehicles into the automobile market.  They will only become mainstream once they create a simpler experience for the driver.

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/02/teslas_model_s_technology_outr.html

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