The wait is over. On March 31st, in front of a selected crowd of 800 people and an enormous online audience, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new Model 3. The sleek new addition to Tesla’s line of electric vehicles is an affordable version of the futuristic luxury, built for the masses. According to the Los Angeles Times, by 10 p.m. that day, individuals had already placed 133,000 preorders.

On top of its sleek design, Tesla’s Model 3 will boast a range of at least 215 miles per charge, the power to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in six seconds, and the capacity to seat five adults. The car also boasts special features such as a tablet instead of ordinary knobs and controls, a rear windshield and roof made out of a single sheet of glass and an autopilot features. The car will have an average price of $42,000. As of April 7, there were 325,000 pre orders for the model, totaling up to $14 billion dollars in potential revenue.

While the unveiling has undoubtedly bolstered Tesla’ stock value (rising 15 percent as of April 6, just a week after its unveiling) and raised expectations for its future performance, the overwhelming response to the Model 3 has undoubtedly created many challenges that Tesla must overcome to capitalize on its new vehicle. Some of these obstacles, critics argue, could significantly damper Tesla’s expectations and performance.

Without a doubt, the greatest challenge Tesla faces is increasing the scale of its operations. According to Transport Evolved, the company currently produces an average of a little more than 52,000 cars per year. Based on the large influx of pre-orders, analysts predict that Tesla will need to raise production to 300,000 cars a year, 200,000 more cars than it has produced since its inception. Moreover, the company is already failing to reach its current production target. According to the Las Vegas Review, the first week after the unveiling of the Model 3, Tesla announced that it had fallen short of its weekly goal of producing 16,000 cars by 1,000. Increasing its production would require hiring more skilled laborers, buying more raw materials and having more production sites – all of which would require large amounts of new capital. Tesla is already an incredibly capital intensive company, burning through $400 million in cash each quarter. According to a Barclay’s report, analysts estimates that the company will need to raise $11 billion of additional capital in the next five years, which is very demanding considering that the company has yet to have a profitable quarter.

To make matters even worse, Tesla’s lull in production and lack of profitability shows no signs of changing in the near future. Given the Model 3’s low profit margins and the company’s ever-growing capital requirements, it is possible that Tesla won’t be able to turn an immediate profit once the Model 3 has been released. In addition to the low margins, the rise in commodity lithium prices will raise production costs and possibly the sale price of the car itself. Noted by many investors as “the single most valuable commodity of the tech-driven future,” surging demand and short supply has caused the price of lithium to skyrocket. According to USA Today, the price of lithium carbonate more than doubled in November and December of last year alone. According to Breitbart, analysts predict that global prices of lithium will increase by another 20 percent before 2018. A key part of the production of the Model 3, lithium is used to construct the batteries Tesla uses in its cars. The company has already invested about $5 billion in its “Gigafactory,” a production site for these lithium ion batteries. According to the Financial Posts, Tesla is already trying to avoid the raising cost of lithium by moving to different lithium carriers. There is one catch: the companies that Tesla is in discussion with have never actually mined lithium. Tesla’s hope is that by creating these new partnerships, it will be able to circumvent the monopoly that its current suppliers have on the commodities price. Tesla has already agreed to buy the minimum tonnages of Lithium from Pure Energy Materials Limited and Bacanora Minerals, conditional on whether they are able to meet grade, tonnage, and most importantly, Tesla’s target price range.

Tesla will also be using up its federal tax credits as production increases. While many Tesla buyers are attracted by the notion that buying the car would result in $7,500 worth of tax credits, the reality is that these credits decrease as Tesla produces more cars. After the production of 200,000 more cars, Tesla will be left with substantially less tax credits. According to Extreme Tech, within a year of the Model 3 release, there may be no credits at all.

Tesla will also face formidable new competitors in the electric car market, an industry once deemed its “home ground.” Ford Motors recently announced that it would invest an additional $4.5 billion in electric vehicles by 2020, adding 13 new vehicles to its product portfolio. General Motors’ battery powered Chevrolet Bolt is also expected to launch in 2016. Faraday Future, a company that some analysts foresee as Tesla’s main future competitor, also announced that it aims to launch a next-generation luxury electric car by 2017. The entrance of these competitors will put pressure on Tesla’s business model, as any possible failure to deliver its expectations could push consumers to seek alternatives from one of these companies.

Without a doubt, Tesla’s unveiling of the Model 3 paved way for the history of electric vehicles. What may have initially caused Tesla to celebrate, however, will ultimately test the limits of this innovative company in its ability to strategize, expand and deliver. Only time will tell if Tesla will become the mammoth in electric vehicles that some predicted it would be. One thing is sure: getting there will be a challenge.

Energy efficient vehicles are in vogue. Beyoncé posted an Instagram photo with her husband Jay-Z inspecting his new Tesla Model S in the background. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is even an audacious Tesla fan. The cars are sleek and impressive – the cars are a mark of status.

But the relatively untapped market for Tesla, the Silicon Valley heavyweight founded by CEO Elon Musk, is under pressure. Faraday Future a US-based and Chinese-backed company focusing on electric vehicle development, has gained substantial momentum since its launch in 2014. Although Faraday likely hopes to stay out of Tesla’s radar while in its initial stages, some information has been shared with the public.

Here’s what we know. The brains behind Faraday’s project are mostly from Tesla’s former management. Faraday’s five leadership thinkers – four of which are former Tesla employees – are backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting. And this backing is huge; Yueting plans to pour billions into the company. Yueting, owner of Leshi TV, China’s version of Netflix, provides Faraday with a substantial cushion given his net worth of over $7 billion. According to Don Reisinger of Fortune, Faraday plans to spend over $1 billion on a manufacturing facility in North Las Vegas to start things off.

What makes matters even more interesting for Faraday are the tax deductions it has received from the state of Nevada. Motivated by the creation of jobs and the potential for economic development, Nevada has granted over $335 million USD to Faraday with the high hopes that the over 4,500 direct jobs created by the investment will yield over $85 billion USD in direct economic impact over the next 20 years. This long-term hope is by no means conservative, but in comparison to Tesla, these numbers make sense. Tesla began construction on a factory in Sparks, Nevada and welcomed a $1.3 billion incentive bundle from the state. Nevada expects Tesla’s manufacturing plant to yield up to $96.9 billion over the next 20 years. According to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the state plans to have a 26% boost in state GDP because of Tesla alone – no wonder they lured Faraday with the same incentives. Jonas Peterson, the chief executive of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, remarked on economic incentives and tax breaks for Faraday by saying that “[t]he truth is we got a heckuva deal.”

But Yueting’s massive investment of billions is rather odd given that the company has yet to sell any vehicles and has only 500 employees. What Yueting’s decision reflects, however, is a strong sense of confidence in the Faraday leadership team’s potential going forward. The company plans to release seven vehicle models over the next few years. In addition to these releases, the company plans to grow substantially. Faraday will provide over 4,500 jobs through their Nevada manufacturing site, and these employees will earn an average wage of over $22 an hour. This, in turn, will present over 9,000 indirect community jobs that will support Faraday’s manufacturing center. Given Tesla’s public offering price of $17 in 2010 that jumped to over $275 in 2015 and projections for Faraday to yield over $85 billion in direct economic impact over the next 20 years, Yueting’s decision and confidence make sense.

To shock the public, Faraday released their new, sleek FFZero1 model that boasts 1,000 horsepower and the ability to go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds. But it isn’t just the technology behind these cars that will be so revolutionary for Faraday. What will make Faraday stand apart from its competitors are its novel manufacturing methods.

Faraday Future has designed a Variable Platform Architecture (VPA), a modular engineering system optimized for electric vehicles. According to Faraday’s leadership team, this modular, Lego-like assembly will “enable Faraday Future to minimize production costs, deliver exceptional quality and safety, dramatically increase its speed to market, and could easily support a range of vehicle types and sizes.” This is the factor, if executed according to plan, that will likely push Faraday beyond competitors like Tesla.

Simply put, Richard Kim, Faraday’s head of design, explained that Faraday will be “something cool. Something bold.” Kim further elaborated that he wants to improve the user experience of driving – which in more black and white terms suggests that they are developing a self-driving “autonomous car.”  Faraday’s director of communication recently stated that the company hopes to “help further define the driverless world….As much of an automaker, we are a technology company as well.”

Faraday Future plans to release its first fully electric vehicle some time before 2017 and plans to unveil a series of vehicles thereafter. While its current model, the FFZero1 is a luxury vehicle, many speculate that Faraday’s other models will not be so expensive. A cost estimate for the FFZero1 has not yet been released, but many speculate that the cheaper cars that Faraday will soon release will hover around $58,000 USD. In a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the report noted that over the next ten years, investment in energy efficient passenger vehicles will offer the largest market opportunity for energy efficiency deployment. To add, investment in these environmentally friendly vehicles will represent over 60% of the efforts directed toward energy-efficient technologies aimed toward lowering greenhouse levels in the atmosphere. The market craves a cheaper alternative with energy efficient capabilities – Faraday could potentially deliver.

Regardless of the company’s internal gains, the state of Nevada will be reaping the benefits from Faraday’s production. Economists speculate that Faraday’s production will boost Nevada’s exports with over 95% of Faraday’s market expected to be outside of the state. In addition, starting in 2018, Faraday will offer $1 million a year for six years to the state’s education system – this number is not enormous but is a warming gesture regardless.

Faraday the potential for a remarkable future ahead of them given their well-structured management and strong cash foundation. The company’s plans are still elusive, but their hints have been absorbing. Aside from the vehicle, its manufacturing plans will be state-of-the-art, and its technology for anonymous driving would greatly decrease driving-related accidents. Faraday Future is pushing forward with the clean energy initiative in bold but secretive fashion. As Nick Sampson, Faraday’s senior vice president of engineering remarked, “Our mystery is obviously something that has become a hallmark.” In order for Faraday to out-perform Tesla, this hallmark impression has to transition away from mysterious words and toward revolutionary action. Clean energy transportation is evolving, and Faraday can lead the charge.

For a while, it appeared that Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, was unstoppable. By 2012, only 10 years after the company’s founding, SpaceX manufactured the lowest-cost rockets in the industry. A mere two years later, CEO Elon Musk spoke of creating fully reusable rockets – a feat that had never been accomplished prior – and transporting humans in order to “make human life multi-planetary.”

But the recent June 28 crash of an unmanned Falcon 9 vehicle does not bode well for Musk, who, until recently, spoke of settling Mars and building hyperloops. The Falcon 9 was bound for the International Space Station and exploded a couple of minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

“There’s a huge, huge question about the cause of this failure, not from a point of view of finger-pointing, but for understanding if we should expect new vehicles to operate reliably from the beginning,” said Carissa Christensen, managing partner of The Tauri Group.

Other analysts in the aerospace industry are concerned SpaceX might be unaware of its limitations.

“I don’t think SpaceX was careless, but I think that one of the dangers was SpaceX getting a little too overconfident.” Marco Caceres, a space industry analyst at Teal Group, recently said. “They may need to slow down a bit.”

Still, it remains highly unlikely that this accident will seriously affect SpaceX’s revenue. Many clients, including NASA and Iridium Communications, appear committed to using SpaceX’s services despite the June 28 explosion. SpaceX still has contracts for 50 more launches, which amounts to more than $7 billion in revenue, according to reporting by the New York Times.

In the context of recent rocket failures, the June 28 crash is not particularly out-of-the-ordinary. In October 2014, Orbital Sciences lost an unmanned Antares rocket heading to the International Space Station. In April 2015, Russian rocket firm Progress also lost a vehicle carrying cargo to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s low-cost vehicles and its track record of six successful ferry trips to the International Space Station still make the company desirable among firms that need to transport cargo. This most recent crash has drawn attention not because SpaceX had made a grave mistake, but because there are high expectations for the company.

“One failure is not a tragedy,” Caceres said. “These things happen occasionally. The key is that it not become a pattern.”

High expectations, harsh fall

Slightly before the Falcon 9 crash, SpaceX announced June 10 on its website that it had been “making great strides” towards producing the very first completely reusable spacecraft. The report suggested that reusable technology could drastically lower costs and make human travel in space much more financially feasible.

Traditionally, spacecraft have burned upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, which set government agencies and private firms back millions of dollars each time they launched a vehicle. The majority of space flight’s exorbitant costs originated from the construction of the vehicle, which only flew once.

“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” Musk said. “A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.”

According to Michael Belfiore in Foreign Policy, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets already claim the distinction of being the cheapest spacecraft in the industry, with a cost of $56.5 million to achieve orbit, which is less than $2,500 per pound to orbit. But with reusable technology, SpaceX can cut the cost of achieving orbit even further to approximately $5 million, which works out to only $220 per pound. Space travel analyst Ajay Kothari concurs, claiming that SpaceX’s reusable technology could change space travel in the same way that jet engines changed air travel.

SpaceX’s recent announcements seemed to suggest the firm could finally reduce the prohibitively high costs that stalled space travel. Moreover, within the aerospace industry, SpaceX has been the only company that saw the necessary demand elasticity to justify investing in reusable rocket technology, according to Jeff Foust of the Space Review. SpaceX’s vision for reusability drew much attention, and it resulted in even more scrutiny for the company when its Falcon 9 exploded mid-air.

“There’s never really a good time for a rocket to blow up, I guess. But, this one is pretty bad,” said Ashlee Vance, biographer of Musk. “SpaceX had really just started to hit its stride.”

Going forward

But it would be unlike SpaceX to give in because of a few technical difficulties or a single explosion. In 2013, SpaceX surprised engineers and executives in the industry when the company solved what was then thought to be the primary deterrent to reusability.

Developing a reusable rocket is difficult because only a small portion of a rocket’s mass (3%) actually makes it to space. This is also approximately the percentage mass in fuel that is necessary for reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Other spacecraft manufacturers claimed that these constraints would make reentry physically impossible. Needless to say, Musk was right – SpaceX’s Grasshopper successfully achieved reentry after only two years of testing.

Of course, the space travel industry is still in its infant stages, as evidenced by the Falcon 9 explosion. But this industry still has potential for future rewards, and cost-saving technology is being developed at a rapid pace. If private firms are successful in not only reducing spacecraft costs, but also making spaceflight less prone to failure, then they might revitalize the aerospace industry.

Although the June 28 accident might have drawn unwanted publicity for the company, it will likely not have disastrous consequences for SpaceX. Rather, the explosion may merely be part of the growing pain for the still-young SpaceX.

Few would disagree that Tesla, which has generated a buzz throughout the entire United States business community, holds a bright future. Tesla Motors, founded in 2003, designs, develops, manufactures and sells electric vehicles and parts. The Palo Alto-based firm is the leading company in the production of electric cars and parts. The electronic auto manufacturer has managed to completely change the way society views both cars and the way we purchase them.

Elon Musk, the firm’s CEO and possibly one of the greatest entrepreneurs in history, has grown Tesla into a force that conventional automakers will have to reckon with in the future. Tesla seeks to create a culture around their products and presents them in a strategic manner to achieve this goal. The presentation of their business is done in a simple and clean style. Even though Tesla has had a negative income since its founding, this coming year could be the first time Tesla sees profits. Their impending success can be linked to their creation of a unique culture, releasing of additional products, and their patented lithium battery technology. However, skeptics still criticize Tesla for its future investment in infrastructure that will be necessary for its cars to be more widely used. However, this should not be a concern for investors.

Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S

Walking into a Tesla store, one could very easily mistake it for an Apple retail store. This is because Musk adopted a business strategy very similar to what Apple used to recover from the Dotcom bubble in the early 2000s. On May 19, 2001, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company would be opening its first two retail stores in Glendale, CA, and MacLean, Virginia. Initial responses to this revolutionary business decision were very negative. One analyst was even quoted stating that the decision for Apple to open a retail store was foolish and that he predicted failure within two years. However, Apple’s decision had the opposite effect and has allowed the company to grow into the largest firm by market cap in the world. Musk has taken their business strategy and combined it with an equally revolutionary product. The Tesla retail stores have the same simple layout as an Apple store. They seek to change the car buying experience by eliminating the dealers. When customers purchase a Tesla, they go to a retail store that has just a few floor models for customers to view. This strategy allows Tesla to cut out the middleman dealer and thus retain greater profits while also creating a culture of simplicity that customers appreciate.

Tesla’s current battery technology has been proven for many years. The electric car manufacturer spent the first five years developing and testing its first car, the Tesla Roadster, before it was released in 2008. The Roadster, which had a starting price of $105,000, was an electric sports car that had a 245-mile range. This was the only car available until the creation of the Tesla Model S in 2013. With the Model S, Tesla hoped to expand its product from the luxury sports car market into the market for everyday driving cars. Tesla was able to improve upon its previous car by increasing the battery charge length and by expanding the car to a more practical size. Currently, the Model S is the only car available to purchase, but customers can also reserve the next model, known as the Model X. This car be a four-wheel drive sports utility vehicle that will also have sports car handling.

The Interior of the Model S
The Interior of the Model S

The Model X uses four separately controlled electric motors, one for each wheel, to achieve its four-wheel drive. This technology is revolutionary because it allows the car to make slight changes to each wheel’s speed while cornering to maximize its driving ability. Conventional four-wheel drive cars have one drive shaft that links power from the engine to four tires. This does not allow for the car to make slight changes to the wheel speed to achieve the handling that the Model X will have.

The final car that Tesla will be releasing in the foreseeable future, which could happen as early as the first quarter of 2015, is in the $30,000 range yet still retains some of the luxury amenities of the $60,000+ Model S. This will create a Tesla option that is affordable for the average person, a market currently overlooked by the company.

The final major contributor to Tesla’s future success is their patented lithium battery technology. When Tesla was first desigining a battery, a major concern with the batteries was affordability. At the time, the average lifespan of laptop computers was greatly improving and there was a large surplus of lithium batteries that were designed for laptop computers. Tesla saw this as an opportunity to build their batteries around the already available cheaper batteries. Tesla is currently the only manufacturer that has found a way to create an affordable yet powerful lithium battery for cars. Consequently, other automakers have been forced to purchase batteries from Tesla for their own electric cars in order to keep pace with demand. Even though this revenue is a very small portion of Tesla’s overall revenue, the barriers faced by other companies to produce a lithium battery prove that Tesla has created and patented something that is truly revolutionary.

Even with all the success that Tesla has seen, skeptics continue to question the firm’s ability to grow in the future, citing that Tesla will have to make great investments in infrastructure in order to compete with conventional gasoline-powered cars. A current problem facing many Tesla owners is that they cannot travel great distances with the Model S, which has a battery life of 300 miles. Tesla has attempted to solve this problem through the use of “super charger stations,” which can completely charge a Model S in about one hour and fifteen minutes. However, the stations are sporadic, which makes long distance traveling with the Model S inconvenient. Currently the only cross country trip that can be made is along the northwest to southeast diagonal. Fortunately, Tesla plans to have almost all regions of the US covered by the end of this year. This investment in charging stations should pay off in the long run and should have no effect on the profitability of Tesla.

Similar to how Steve Jobs grew Apple into the most succesful company in the world, Musk has not only developed a revolutionary product but has also developed the Tesla culture. Established on the principle of simplicity, Tesla’s culture can be seen in every aspect of its business. The retail stores are appealing to the eye but also provide enough information for customers to make informed decisions. The Model S, which has truly redesigned the way that people look at cars, has the performance of a sports car while still preserving the fuel efficiency of an electric car. The entire concept of the Model S was formed around the creative thinking to use cheap lithium batteries originally built for laptop computers. While cynics may criticize Tesla for a lack of infrastructure, this problem will be short-lived. Musk has created the car of the future.