Investor's Corner

What the Tesla Model 3 Means for the Planet’s Future

Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s overarching goal of converting the world from using fossil fuel powered cars to electric vehicles is coming to fruition. Or so it would seem after the company has secured nearly 300,000 reservations on its upcoming mass-market Model 3.

But is the world really on the cusp of a green car revolution? According to the Washington Post, our enthusiasm should be tempered with a healthy dollop of reality. “Even if Tesla manages to scale up and hit its very aggressive target of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020, that would still represent only about .5 percent of global light-duty vehicle sales,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “So it’s hard to have an overall impact from them alone.”

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that greenhouse gas emissions from transportation transportation total 7 billion tons annually. That number is projected to rise to 12 billion tons by 2050 in the absence of any significant policy shifts. Several experts suggested this week that booming sales of Tesla automobiles won’t have a significant impact on the global vehicle market.

Today, global sales of light duty vehicles are a staggering 88.5 million a year according to Navigant Research. That number is expected to grow dramatically as sales in India and Asia skyrocket in the years ahead. In comparison, 500,000 Teslas are just the proverbial drop in the bucket.

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