The Many Moats of Tesla


  1. Macro events feed Tesla
  2. Brand Values
  3. TCO
  4. Insurance
  5. Organisational Structure - No Unions, No Dealerships, No Chinese JVs
  6. Direct Sales Model
  7. Vertical Integrations
  8. Factory Automation - Alien Dreadnaught
  9. Battery Tech Lead
  10. Battery Market Supply
  11. Supercharger Network
  12. Software Stack/ OTA Updates
  13. Autonomous Driving/ Data Capture
  14. Funding Availability
  15. Insurance float

On August 23, 1897, a letter to the editor in the New York Times responded to the idea of owning a car:

Sensitive and sentimental folk cannot view the pending change without conflicting emotions. There are reasons why the departure of the horse from the streets and the park drives should be considered gratifying. But it must be confessed that he will take with him a kind of picturesqueness which the self-motivating wagon will never supply. Moreover, man loves the horse, and he is not likely ever to love the automobile …. Nor will he ever get quite used to speeding along the road behind nothing. The gracefulness of the horse will be sadly missed for a long while, and the afternoon pageant on Bellevue Avenue in Newport will not seem nearly as fine as it is now.

What will the future look like in 10 years?
Well, they won’t be making combustion engine vehicles anymore. It will become politically and economically untenable. The writing is already on the wall (multiple walls in fact).




Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 10.48.42 pm.png

The shift is as obvious to see as the trend in this Atmospheric CO2 graph.

Mind you, the graph here is driving, and will continue to drive, significant macro events that benefit Tesla - one of the few companies taking a total war posture against this invisible foe.

Let’s look at what is happening in this regard. Governments are signalling.


Governments are setting the timeline for the shift around 2035, which means that resale values of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars will fall dramatically making them less desirable as we move forward. Not to mention the demographic shifts and further global warming accelerating the switch and potentially revising these timelines forward. (Notably, VW’s first legitimate mass EV factory won’t even be ready until 2023).

Similarly, London even has their Ultra Low Emmission Zone rollouts -

It isn’t just in the automotive realm that Tesla are beneficiaries. In battery and solar as well, as the climate reality asserts itself, we will see more shift to Tesla battery and solar products.

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 11.41.41 pm.png

The macro setting has it that the EV revolution has been kicked off by Tesla, to the point that politicians now at least believe that when posturing long term for climate solutions, it is feasible to mandate a automotive shift. This is a seachange that would not have been possible without the Tesla pushing the industry.

This alone doesn’t make Tesla a winner, but it does put them in the right market, with the right strategy, at a good starting point - which is more than can be said for their incumbent competitors.

So if we accept the shift is happening, how will people decide what to buy when the time comes? Why will Tesla be the beneficiary rather than;

Nissan Leaf - $29,990
Chevy Bolt - $37,495
Audi eTron - $74,800
Jaguar i-Pace - $70,495
Hyundai Kona - $46,130
Kia Niro
Volkswagen eGolf
BMW i3
Fiat 500e

There are several reasons that go into the purchase consideration which I will cover, however, more importantly, the data says this isn’t happening.


In fact, not only is it not happening for competing EV models, but the manufacturers of the (and other non-EV legacy autos) are having their middle class cars dumped for the upgrade.

Toyota Prius - $24,980
BMW 3-Series - $40,250
Honda Accord - $23,720
Honda Civic - $20,650
Nissan Leaf - $29,990

This tells us that Tesla Model 3 ($39,490) is winning over early adopter EV people willing to stretch (Prius and Leaf), the BMW faithful, and the some of the best selling low end, value cars in the Honda CIvic and Accord.

In all of these cases, these are value buyers. Yes, the price matters, but the value matters more. So where is the value?

They look cool.
The acceleration is awesome.
The running costs are awesome.
The superchargers are awesome.
The price is super competitive.
The software is awesome.
It keeps getting better.

  1. Macro events feed Tesla
  2. Brand Values
  3. Organisational Structure - No Unions, No Dealerships, No Chinese JVs
  4. Vertical Integrations
  5. Factory Automation - Alien Dreadnaught
  6. Battery Tech Lead
  7. Battery Market Supply
  8. Supercharger Network
  9. Software Stack/ OTA Updates
  10. Autonomous Driving/ Data Capture
  11. Funding Availability

TSLA Production comparison.png


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