The past year was historic for the electric car industry. In 2018, the Tesla Model 3, a car aptly dubbed by Elon Musk as a “bet-the-company” project, proved its naysayers wrong by establishing itself as the United States’ best-selling luxury vehicle with sales of 145,846 units over the year. That’s far above the sales of the next car on the list — the Lexus RX, which sold 111,641 units in 2018.
Amidst the ongoing EV revolution is the potential of a notable shift in the mindset of car buyers. With options like the Model 3 on the market, people that are shopping for cars are no longer limited to vehicles that are equipped with internal combustion engines. Gone are the days when electric cars were short-range and unappealing. With the Model 3, Tesla was able to offer a vehicle that is reasonably priced (especially in the case of the Mid Range variant), attractive, and still loaded with advanced features.
This has not gone unnoticed by one of Wall Street’s noted oil analysts, Stephen Schork. In an appearance at Fox Business, Schork, who is a veteran in the world of commodity and derivatives trading, pointed that the emergence of electric cars could very well be affecting the oil industry.
“My overarching concern right now is the economic development. Tesla put 150,000 new Model 3s on the market. That’s 150,000 cars that don’t consume gasoline. And it’s not just Tesla. Porsche, Audi, and BMW are all coming out with all-electric vehicles in 2019. So the inelasticities of demand in this market are fundamentally changing,” he said.
In a way, it is quite refreshing to see someone like Schork, who is well-versed in the oil industry, admit that initiatives such as the Model 3 are doing their part in the transition to cleaner mobility. If any, the addition of electric vehicles from other automakers such as Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz all but support Elon Musk’s primary goal for Tesla — to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
In a way, Schork’s statements echo much of the insights of Mizuho Securities analyst Paul Sankey, who previously mentioned that the oil industry is feeling what could only be described as the “Tesla Effect.” While speaking to CNBC, Sankey stated that some of the challenges faced by the oil market have something to do with the public’s shifting perception towards oil itself.
“Essentially, the big issue is the so-called ‘Tesla Effect,’ the general ‘End of the Oil Age’ theme that is a problem for these (oil) stocks. As the oil price goes up, especially to the levels we’re at now and potentially beyond, it’s almost as if the Tesla Effect could be exacerbated by the potential for higher oil prices to accelerate the end of the Oil Age. The Tesla Effect is the overall concept that (while) the 20th century was driven by oil, the 21st century will be driven by electricity. There’s a 30-year transition, and we’re somewhere probably 10 years into that transition. Ultimately, (the) terminal value of oil has been severely affected by the potential for us to change behavior,” Sankey said.
What is particularly interesting is that Tesla is nowhere near complete in its ramp of the Model 3. Tesla eventually plans to produce 10,000 of the vehicle per week, and as of the fourth quarter, the company was reportedly peaking at just around 1,000 Model 3 per day. Needless to say, Tesla’s Model 3 push might be impressive already, but it is still just getting started.
Watch Stephen Schork’s segment on Fox Business in the video below.