MIT: Tesla Motors Is World’s Smartest Company


Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

For 2015, MIT lists Tesla Motors as the world’s smartest company. Why did Tesla come out on top? MIT states:

“To make the list, a company must have truly innovative technology and a business model that is both practical and ambitious, with the result that it has set the agenda in its field over the past 12 months.

No. 1, Tesla Motors, has added another audacious idea to go with its electric cars. In April, it announced it would be spinning off a line of batteries in service of a big goal: remaking the energy grid for industry, utilities, and residences.”

As you can see in the list below, there are different colors to represent different categories:

Also, Tesla Motors was ranked #2 in 2014.

Also, Tesla Motors was ranked #2 in 2014.

Hyperloop sketch.

Hyperloop sketch.

Considering that that Tesla vehicles can somewhat drive themselves and that Elon Musk wants to create affordable public transportation that travels ~ 800 MPH (the Hyperloop) and is investing ~ $5 billion into a lithium-ion battery production site (The Gigafactory), we think that Tesla belongs in the #1 spot.

“A few giants return after an absence from the list: Microsoft, at No. 48 for its wearable HoloLens device that blends virtual reality and the real world, and Apple, No. 16, for its well-designed smart watch and digital-wallet service. All share one feature: they are innovations with impact. —Nanette Byrnes

Source: MIT Technology Review.

Categories: Tesla


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47 Comments on "MIT: Tesla Motors Is World’s Smartest Company"

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Hear, hear! It’s about time Tesla got some recognition outside of the sphere of its numerous “Best car of the year” and/or “Best car ever made” awards. Tesla isn’t just about making great cars; it’s about innovation.

Why Tesla stands out so strickingly, it is that all traditional car companies actively resist electric cars and refuses to invest on electric technology.

This is because there are too large conflick of interests at stage.

The big car companies are tied to big oil

practical business model??? this list may have come from MIT, but it definitely didn’t come from the sloan school. tesla is doing the equivalent of trying to sell a benzo s-class or bmer 7-series as their primary source of income. that’s a really bad place to be. behind the scenes and the PR, i guarantee you that the people at tesla know that they have a long way to go to make this a viable business model if the objective is for tesla to be a going concern. on the other hand, it the objective is to prep assets for eventual sale (which i think is musk’s real objective), it is a very good business model.

Only so fast a heavy manufacturing company can grow. it’s not like Microsoft were they can grow from making on OS for a hobby computer to a muli billion industry in a few years

Investing billions of dollars in a risky endeavor such as a battery “Gigafactory” seems like a rather odd way for a company to position itself to be attractive for eventual sale.

Your scenario was rather dubious a couple of years ago, now it’s just Ludicrous™. 😉

tesla invested billions in the supercharger network, which is probably not going to be a big money maker for tesla; tesla invested money to develop a battery swap station, which is probably not going to be a big money maker…

tesla deserves to be on this list because it is a highly innovative technology company, but some of the economic decisions are so questionable that it makes me wonder whether the real underlying purpose is to develop assets.

How many Model S sales were cinched by the existence of the Supercharger network?

I’ll bet the answer is: many.

so, if i understand you correctly, your view is that a strategy that spends a few billion dollars to sell a few thousand cars is a winning proposition.

Your numbers are waaaaay off. Tesla’s Supercharger system has not cost “billions”, and it certainly has made the difference in selling a heck of a lot more than a few thousand cars. Also, “no comment”, you’re ignoring all the free publicity that Tesla gets from articles about its Supercharger network. Even aside from the “clinching the deal” aspect of Supercharging, that certainly helps Tesla’s bottom line a lot.

Perhaps, “no comment”, you should read up on the retail market concept of a “loss leader”, and consider how that applies to Tesla’s Supercharger network.

I don’t think there’s any question that Tesla’s investment in the Supercharger network has been a huge success for the company.

Telsa is in the second phase of a three phase plan. Phase one was producing the Roadster to show EVs could be exciting and to raise investment capital. Phase two is to produce a luxury sedan witb a high profit margin to increase revenue. Since the production line CAN’T keep up with demand, it makes PERFECT sense to add more features and increase the price of the car for a higher profit margin. It also makes perfect sense to build the Model X because it will also have a high profit margin. Phase two is all about high margins per car and since production can’t keep up with demand, I’d say their plan is working perfectly.

i get the impression that you, among many on this forum, believe that the key to high volume for tesla is a simple matter of price: lower the price and suddenly tesla would be selling hundreds of thousands of BEVs each year. the reality is not so simple. there is a reason why most other auto manufacturers, including GM, are more focused on PHEVs. one reason is that it would be foolish for a person to own a BEV as their only car, too much can go wrong in unexpected circumstances; and BEVs are even less practical as sole cars in cold climate regions. yeah, i know that many EV enthusiasts like to talk about how 90% of the time you will be ok, but the 10% tend to occur at really bad times. as someone who actually owns an electric vehicle, i can tell you that they are really nice, but the cheer leading by elon musk fanboys who proclaim that the BEV means the imminent end of the ICE; or from people who purport to comment on matters of business strategy and proclaim that tesla is a vital threat to established automobile manufacturers; tends to be a bit… Read more »

Lol no.

EV lease for $229 bi-weekly = TENS OF MILLIONS of orders. Not hundreds of thousands.

People love it. No gas, no noise, no smell, no problem.

Electric cars are the future you can either embrace it or get left in the dust.

to say that electric vehicles are “the future” doesn’t necessarily mean that BEVs are “the future”.

It really does.

Unless you think you’re gonna get a “Mr. Fusion” unit to power your car, that’s exactly what it means: BEVs are the future of transportation. PHEVs are only a stopgap measure, and as batteries improve in performance and charging times continue to come down, they’ll disappear almost as fast as gasmobiles.

This is the ONLY succesful new US car company in the last 80 years. And here is mr/mrs know-it-all to point out they are doing it all wrong….

@no comment said: “practical business model???…”

It is indeed insane (rather than practical) for anyone to enter the car making business which is historically fraught with grand stories of failure.

But to Tesla’s credit, they are executing a practical plan to do this insane thing (or more recently this ludicrous thing) of making electric cars and yes they seem to relish taking it all the way out to the bleeding outer margins which has become Tesla’s calling card…aka Tesla’s cool factor.

Tesla is aware that the Model S can’t remain the primary source of income which is why from the very beginning Tesla planned on the Model X, Model 3, Grid Battery Packs, and more…as part of their practical plan to do this insane thing.

I think that was well said and accurate.

Jag sales down 50% since 2013.

Wonder what could be the reason?

at least in the US, jaguar sales have been pretty strong this year. but then car sales have generally been pretty good this year. however, your comment was just a question so i guess you weren’t attempting to make any meaningful statement.

Thats right they should have built the Gigafactory, BEFORE they built all those cars. Silly little Tesla. Spoken like a real MBA… Sometimes its not bad, if a company is run by an engineer.

Benzo? Do you have a drug habit or something?

slang is context-dependent. i suggest that you go back and actually *read* the definition that you cited and see whether can figure out the definition that fits the current context. as a reminder, this website is about *cars*. good luck.

Conservatives, will not grock MIT’s assessment.

That’s grok, not grock.

Thank you. Sometimes spelling does count.

I can grok that.


That’s a futuristic reference there.

Elon is very involved in three of the top 22 companies on the list, pretty impressive.

This begs the question of who are the 50 dumbest companies and if any of them make cars or specifically plugins.

Good question!! 😀

Exxon? BP? Peabody?

Government of Australia. Since it’s actually a corporation


The entire fossil fuel industry can be on the dumbest list.

FCA, Toyota… 😉

I nominate the Koch Heads being in the 50 dumbest companies.

“Microsoft, at No. 48 for its wearable HoloLens device that blends virtual reality and the real world, and Apple, No. 16, for its well-designed smart watch and digital-wallet service. All share one feature: they are innovations with impact.”

Congratulations, it’s the new Malcolm Baldrige award, so cherished by GM in the 80’s.

Good business model, it might be but I would first need to see profits. I am not saying they won’t be any but at now Tesla is still at the daring gamble stage. As regards BEV becoming mainstream. Yes as second car when a few cars similar to GM’s Bolt will hit the market but still at a much lower price(around $25K) is needed as compared to what is announced. This may become reality around 2020. For BEV’s to become mainstream family only car it would need higher range (say 300 miles) at reasonable (ICE cars) prices. That is quite distant future. For BEV becoming mainstream as sportcars, that may take even longer as to many pleasure involved is 30% acceleration and 70% that raging noise entire R&D teams spend huge budgets working on exhaust to achieve. I know BEV enthousiast will object to that but Porsche, Ferrari, Lambo, GM will ignore them and still be hugely successful selling cars that appeals to the 9 year old that sleeps in many of us.

In the US there are more households with three cars then there are households with a single car.

i think that the more mainstream *EV segment is going to be EREV/PHEV with BEV being a niche. think about it: the Bolt is going to be more expensive than the Volt; the Volt has enough range for 90% of expected daily driving needs, plus it has the convenience of a backup generator, so you don’t need to wire your garage with 240V/70A service.

given that, why would anyone who is not an EV enthusiast buy a Bolt over a Volt? what percentage of auto buyers are EV enthusiasts? as a hint, buying a tesla model S does not make someone an EV enthusiast since many of those model S buyers also have benzos, bmers and bentleys.

no comment said:

“…the Volt has enough range for 90% of expected daily driving needs…”

As has been pointed out repeatedly, “no comment”, the actual figures at show the average is only 71% electric miles for Volts, with the remaining 29% being gas-powered miles.

So why do you keep repeating this claim when, by now, you must know it’s not true?

Come on Elon…only 3 companies in the top 25?

TelaDoc? TELADOC? The company that hires doctors that cannot even diagnose the flu (I have a 50% successful diagnosis rate with TelaDoc doctors) and customer service that doesn’t know how to handle claims of a misdiagnosis. This company is a joke, but no one seems to care.