2018: Make or Break year for Elon Musk and Tesla Motors

Elon Musk’s big dream of mass-producing affordable electric cars will be tested in the fires of manufacturing reality in 2018. Little else can test the strength of that dream, and the year almost gone by has shown the company – and the man – that this is a mountain, not a molehill.

With early production hurdles in the path of the Tesla Model 3, 2018 is a sort of make or break year for Tesla Motors and its CEO, Elon Reeve Musk, the South-African-born technology rock star that is upending multiple industries by simply dreaming big and then following through on those dreams.

One of those dreams was to force the world to shift from fossil-fuel-powered automobiles to EVs, or electric vehicles. As he approaches the first major climax of that dream with the Model 3, there are major hurdles he and his company must overcome in 2018.

The first of these is production. Musk’s original target of making 5,000 Model 3s per week was supposed to be met this very week – the last week of December 2017. That’s the first hurdle the company needs to cross. Meeting that goal will help them produce more than 250,000 cars a year. But will that year be 2018?

The second major hurdle is to keep its investors happy as it wades through production issues. Tesla investors have, so far, been enthusiastic about the company’s progress. But the question is, will they continue to keep Tesla stock at its current price, which is once again dangerously close to going back down to the $300 mark that it dropped to in May 2017?

The one thing that can get Tesla stock prices up to their former $380+ levels is improved Model 3 production and delivery numbers for December 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

Though Tesla investors have largely been forgiving of the company’s missteps in the past, many are now looking for tangible results on Model 3 deliveries.

With nearly half a million reservations paid for since the company opened bookings nine months ago, a lot depends on Tesla’s ability to quickly ramp up Model 3 production in 2018.

Musk’s ambition bar has always been set higher than most other entrepreneurs would dare dream of doing, and his goal of 500,000 cars a year by the end of 2018 is no less audacious than colonizing Mars, or putting space travel within reach of the masses.

The big question for Tesla Motors, however, is this: how well will the company fare on Model 3 production and deliveries over 2018?

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