TodayApril 15, 2022

Why Tesla has already succeeded

I had dinner the other night with a wealthy car collector. Whether this person talks about cars or politics, it is done with passion.

At one point in the dinner, the conversation turned from politics to cars. He told me he owned a Tesla, an all-electric car initially owned by very wealthy people, now trickling down to the working class wealthy. There was futility in his voice as he described what should have been the love for a car, “I bought the car, but I sold it. It was crap. The car kept breaking down.”

He started talking with his hands, his face full of exasperation as his arms went straight up, “I don’t think Tesla will make it.” I retort that Tesla has already made it, that they have made a difference. My friend stops. His arm comes down and he points a finger at me like a flash of understanding and agreement comes over his face. You are right he says.

Tesla isn’t about making it; it’s about making a difference. Tesla isn’t about making it; it’s about making them make it, instead of making excuses. Tesla is about going past the adventures in Wonderland and through the looking glass.

Tesla has succeeded where others failed because Tesla took the fight to the one place that the corporations understood; Wall Street. When the value of a company that makes a crap car is more than the value of a company that has been making cars for over one hundred years than Wall Street listens.

Trickle-down economics started in the stock market for corporations. Stockholders demand that corporations follow suit and do not reward stock prices until the corporation does so. The stockholders know that the underlying difference is the energy source, whether it is a sports car or a functional SUV. Wall Street has a new segment of investors that carry picket signs for their cause and invest as stockholders.

Oh, and news flash, if every car company that had someone say they had a crappy car went out of business, every car company would be out of business.

Was Elon Musk sending a Tesla Roadster into the heavens a publicity stunt or a subliminal statement that Tesla’s work here on earth is done? Say the Catechism if you want, but the movement has started. It is a movement of Network proportion, of hanging out a window and shouting Dammit, I’m mad as hell, and I’m not taking it anymore.

It is the acknowledgment that we are fighting a war that we cannot change with oil, scouring a world that can’t be altered. If you see the frustration from the mass shootings, it is only one underlying anger. There is another anger in knowing that we had sent young people to war when what we were protecting was oil.

What is the life of a child worth?

We sent them in the name of peace, while at home we fight over raising the miles per gallon of a car.

It is a slow process, but generations do change. In our generation tobacco was the NRA. No one thought that they would ever be defeated, but they were defeated, and they haven’t come back.

It is the Parkland students taking over because the old people can’t break through the glass ceiling of the NRA.

What is the life of a child worth?

Show us how it is done, we will step back and let you through; we will protect you while you do what we couldn’t. You’re not only the next generation of Voters you are the next generation of stockholders.

To my dear Emma, Sail on Silver girl, your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way.

emma for change

Emma for change

Tesla has succeeded whether they make it or not.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.


  1. Gary Reply

    Perhaps a better title is that Tesla is succeeding to fail. Granted they have done great work raising awareness of the concept of electromotive power with the great unwashed masses, but they have been a dismal failure in the art of automotive sausage making. Let’s have this conversation in another year, and see if their car business is not in receivership.

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