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What Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Learned From Apple Inc. (AAPL)

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They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s the case, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) owes a lot of its success to some major lessons learned from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The companies don’t compete in the same markets or even make similar products, but there are three ways in which Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has followed Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to its recent success.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Integration is key
When electric vehicles were first being developed, the thought was that swappable batteries were desirable and that using standard parts would reduce cost and make the vehicles more available to the mass market. A123 Systems and Ener1 developed batteries that companies could design around when Fisker, Th!nk, and Volvo began designing electric vehicles.

But rather than building a car around a battery, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) built a battery that was integrated with the car. The Model S’s battery is a flat design beneath the driver’s feet and ads to the rigidity, lowers the center of gravity, and assists in safety. This integration in the design of the Model S saves space and allows Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) to pack more energy storage into the vehicle.

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)‘ Chevy Volt, on the other hand, was built with batteries that look like they come straight out of a box, with little regard for the car’s design. If you click here you can see images of the Volt’s battery and contrast it with images of the Model S battery here. Clearly, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) spent more time integrating the battery into the car’s design, making it an asset rather than a liability.

When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone and iPad were introduced, they similarly went against the conventional wisdom that consumers needed a replicable battery and instead focused on saving space and increasing performance. Integration of the battery has been a key to the success of both companies.

Performance over cost
Instead of trying to build an inexpensive electric vehicle like the Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) Leaf or the Chevy Volt, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) went for high performance and extended range. Like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), if Tesla was going to make money developing a new and innovative product, it had to wow customers with performance and offer features that could command a premium price. So far, that’s proved to be the winning strategy in the EV market.

A range of up to 265 miles, acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and a top speed of 130 mph are enough to get any auto enthusiast’s heart pumping.

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