Tesla employees can be proud that their company is the highest-ranking automaker on the 2017 version of MIT's annual list of the top 50 smartest companies in the world, but there should be some worry mixed in there as well. That's because Tesla, which was ranked at #31 this year, is used to loftier heights. In 2016, Tesla was fourth and the year before, Tesla came out on top, after being named #2 in 2014. So, something to celebrate?
MIT says it the "superstar firms" on the list have both some sort of innovative technology and an effective business model. These are the companies, big and small, that are, "creating new opportunities by combining important technologies and business savvy." On Tesla specifically, MIT writes, in part that:
There are certainly concerns that Tesla is overextending itself, between its giant factory buildouts and its acquisition of SolarCity. Autopilot accidents and car maintenance issues add to the negatives. Still, the company continues to make bold bets. Among businesses focused on sustainability, Tesla remains the best example of a brand success, advancing the technology and economic viability of electric vehicles, energy storage, and solar.
Tesla isn't the only car company on the 2017 list. Daimler came in at Number 46. MIT was impressed with the German automaker's upcoming electric truck idea:
Daimler AG is delivering electric vehicles to a broader class of customers with this year's introduction of the Urban eTruck, the first all-electric heavy-duty truck. With a limited range of around 124 miles, it is intended primarily for city deliveries, offering a way to reduce noise and emissions in one important piece of the trax`nsportation puzzle.
Last year, the only other automaker on the list was Toyota, which came in at 17. It's not all downward trending new for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. His other company, SpaceX, rose to Number 2 this year.