Would Tesla Be Better Off Without Elon Musk? Some Electric Vehicle Shoppers Think So

March 10, 2021
Escalent: Would Tesla Be Better Off Without Elon Musk? Some EV Shoppers Think So.

For many automotive industry observers and commentators, Tesla and Elon Musk likely seem entirely synonymous. Musk is visible and outspoken, frequently defending the Tesla brand from criticism or sharing its latest news himself on Twitter. By the same token, one may surmise that electric vehicle (EV) shoppers perceive the brand in much the same way—intertwined with Musk—and make purchase decisions based on their love for Tesla, Elon or both.

We recently asked EV shoppers what drives their consideration when it comes to deciding on a new vehicle—including what drives their consideration of Tesla, in particular. The top five attributes identified by EV shoppers as driving their consideration of the brand include:

  • Range
  • Performance and acceleration
  • Styling
  • Build quality
  • Vehicles are new and different

Notably absent? Love for the Tesla brand itself or Elon Musk. The core attributes of Tesla’s product lineup continue to draw people in—something the old guard of automotive manufacturing should keep in mind when designing, building and marketing the enormous wave of EVs slated to hit dealer lots over the next decade.

In addition to the factors that drive consideration for Tesla, we wanted to understand what about the brand or its products give shoppers pause. Among the top detractors? Elon Musk. Further, Musk is the most negative aspect of the Tesla brand among both Tesla owners and other EV owners, ranking above EV driving range, purchase price, build quality and Supercharger availability. Even among non-EV owners, Musk ranks just behind range and purchase price.

While traditional automakers have been looking for the solution to the EV puzzle, it’s been right under their noses all along. They don’t need to find ways to replicate Tesla’s “secret sauce” or the “Elon Effect”—they just need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to making great electric vehicles with the features shoppers want. Ultimately, it’s something many of them have already done for the better part of a century for their gas-powered products.

Want to learn more? Click the button below to watch a 30-minute webinar replay where Automotive & Mobility Vice President Mike Dovorany breaks down what EV owners and shoppers say Tesla is getting right—and wrong.

Watch the Webinar

Mike Dovorany
Vice President, Automotive & Mobility

Mike is a strategist and trusted advisor known for his deep background in automotive consulting, trends shaping the industry and the future of mobility. As Automotive & Mobility vice president with Escalent, he leads EVForwardTM—the largest, most comprehensive study of future EV buyers—and works with a wide variety of firms to plan and position for the continued growth of EVs. Known as a thought leader on electrification, its far-reaching impacts and the future of automotive, Mike regularly speaks at industry events and shows, including Autoline, the Center for Automotive Research, and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Prior to joining Escalent, Mike led The CARLAB’s automotive consulting practice and worked for GM and Toyota. In his spare time, he’s an avid cyclist and championship-winning amateur racing driver.