From day one, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company’s mission is to transition the world to electric cars.
And now Musk is one step closer to achieving his world-changing vision.
On Friday evening, Tesla launched the Model 3, the company’s first ever mass market car and the most important vehicle the company has ever made.
But Musk knows that Tesla, nor its Model 3, will be able to save the world from fossil fuels on its own.
Rather, Musk sees Tesla as a pioneer to pave the way for other carmakers, while also putting pressure on old school automakers to embrace electric cars.
In fact, Tesla actually made all of its technology open source in 2014, so that other car companies can use its tech to build their own electric vehicles.
“Most of the good that Tesla will accomplish is by cutting a path through the jungle to show what can be done with electric cars,” Musk said in January 2015 during an on-stage interview at the Detroit Auto Show. “The big impact Tesla will have is the reach to which that we induce other car companies to accelerate their plans for electric vehicles.”
It’s been no easy feat, but Tesla took a major step towards clearing that path by beginning production of the Model 3 in July. And from the looks of it, Musk’s plan to force a change in the automobile industry is gaining momentum.
A number of car companies – including General Motors, Ford, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Daimler – have all stepped up and announced big plans to ramp up their investments in electric cars.
GM actually beat Tesla to the punch and launched its first long range electric Bolt last year. But the company plans to ramp up its electrified offerings before the end of the decade.
Ford also plans to get serious about electric vehicles with the launch of a long-range, all-electric SUV, which is slated to hit the market in 2020.
Volkswagen plans to invest $10 billion over the next five years to offer 25 electrified cars across all of its brands by 2025. Audi and Porsche, which are owned by Volkswagen, have both revealed all-electric concept cars that are slated to go into production in 2018 and VW plans to begin production of its electric ID car by 2020.
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz also plans to launch an all-electric SUV to take on Tesla by 2019.
Volvo, which is owned by China’s Greely Holdings, is taking it even further than its rivals, though, and plans to make all of its new cars either fully electric or hybrid beginning 2019.
Japanese carmakers like Toyota Motor and Honda are also investing heavily in eco-friendly cars, but they are exploring hydrogen powered vehicles, in addition to electric cars powered by rechargeable batteries.
While this kind of growing competition might scare other companies, Musk remains steadfast that it was always part of the plan.
And with the arrival of the Model 3, which secured an estimated 500,000 pre-orders, the pressure is now mounting on the traditional automakers to quicken the pace in bringing their electric cars to market.