Bull vs. Bear: Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) might just be the most controversial stock in the market right now. Its Model S is garnering rave reviews and Tesla is working furiously to increase its production capacity to meet growing demand for the all-electric luxury sedan. Still many investors doubt the Model S, or electric cars in general, will ever gain any significant market share in the auto market. Even more question whether Tesla's technology is all it's cracked up to be. Can the Model S prove the viability of the electric car? Will Tesla Motors ever turn a profit? Is founder and CEO Elon Musk the real deal, or just a brilliant idealist who fancies himself as the real-world version of Tony Stark?

Fools Buck Hartzell and Matthew Argersinger debate. Watch the video below to get their insights on Tesla and let us know in the comments section below what side you're on. And if you have another stock you'd like to see Fool analysts do a bull versus bear face-off on, let us know that too!

Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.


Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (16)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 1:49 PM, trainsurf wrote:

    In my opinion, the critical differentiator is not any of the points the video did such a good job of laying out. You have to consider the way the car/brand is being merchandised and the "Apple" approach to a high-end consumer niche the company is targeting.

    It is significant that they are not approaching buyers/owners thru a car-dealer mechanism. Consumers have been clamoring for this for years and the only reason the established players have not ditched their sales structure is prohibitive cost and litigation that would fight for the status quo.

    Bottom line, an excellent car that is breaking the mold on both the technology and marketing fronts.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 2:22 PM, Kevalee59 wrote:

    Great stock to debate and with gas prices on the rise again maybe people will take a second look at tesla.

    Also would you debate a company "wheeltug" privately held shares soon to no longer be sold to investors or the public stock of this company called borealis exploration BOREF.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 3:48 PM, nonqual wrote:

    Superchargers:

    Just 2 new ones in the last five months, neither with solar arrays or storage batteries--most of the first six also rely solely on the grid.

    By the end on 2013, Model S owners will be able to drive cross country as long as they don't mind spending a lot of time in KOA campgrounds.

  • Report this Comment On February 20, 2013, at 5:52 PM, RNC1954 wrote:

    I WENT TO SEE THE CAR AT THE GARDEN STATE PLAZA IN NEW JERSEY AND WAS JUST BLOWN AWAY BY THE CARS LINES AND TECHNOLOGY. GAS PRICES HAVE DESTROYED THE AVERAGE FAMILIES IN AMERICA. WE SUPPOSINGLY HAVE MORE FUEL THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY YET ENVIORMENTALISTS AND POLITICS PREVENT US FROM BEING SELF SUFFICIENT. I DRIVE 200 MILES A WEEK GOING BACK AND FORTH TO WORK. I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM PLUGGING THE CAR IN WHEN-EVER I NEEDED A CHARGE. ELON IS A WINNER. HOPEFULLY THE COMPANY IS BOUGHT OUT AND MOST SHARE -HOLDERS WILL BE REWARDED.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2013, at 2:22 AM, dgmennie wrote:

    Over twelve minutes of rambling discussion here, yet barely a word about the three things (besides pricing) that must be fully resolved before the general public will be sold on driving electric cars:

    (1) Battery life and energy density. Successful electric vehicles must go hundreds of miles on a charge with no chance of surprises, especially during the first few years of vehicle sales when charging stations and technical support will be few and far between (relative to what now exists for gas-powered cars).

    (2) What will be the ultimate source of power for most electric cars? Batteries do not create electrical energy, they merely store it as chemical energy until it is converted back into electricity (often an inefficent process). Charging car batteries from the grid will merely move the pollution from the auto tailpipe to the power plant smokestack. Is there really an option for electric car owners to charge the batteries from solar cells or some other alternative (and very cheap) energy source? If not, the cost of charging car batteries may well eclipse the cost of gasoline, negating a core advantage claimed for electric vehicles.

    (3) Recharge time. A car battery must be easily recharged (or quickly replaced) in a few minutes, especially when the vehicle is out on the road and running low. I have yet to hear anything about how recharge time can be reduced significantly. Overnight recharging at home is only one of several concurrent options that must be inexpensive and readily available.

    Attributing attractive styling to the Tesla Model S, or mentioning how cleverly the vehicle is being marketed, or attributing personal genius to Elon Musk are all essentially irrelrevant factors/issues at this point.

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2013, at 2:07 PM, TMFBuck wrote:

    Hi dgmennie,

    I think we addressed all three of your points during the course of our rambles. There are more hurdles in there as well. They need to execute on a lot of fronts to make this work and that's scary to me. Marketing, dealer network, charging infrastructure, manufacturing, changing subsidies, design, technology. It's all very difficult to achieve under the right circumstances but with capital limitations the execution risks grow. Thanks for your comments!

  • Report this Comment On February 21, 2013, at 3:57 PM, fhshields wrote:

    It is ridiculous for the taxpayers to subsidize a $70,000+ vehicle. In case you haven't noticed, we have a major spending problem in the US. Let Musk make and sell all of the cars he can, Just don't ask me to help the Silicon Valley millionaires buying this 'experiment' and pumping up their 'green' images with my tax dollars.

  • Report this Comment On February 23, 2013, at 5:18 PM, thomluc3 wrote:

    I suspect, if battery soure is continued, it will come to replace,discharge, replace and at the "station", replace, charge, sell. That would be quick, and that seems what we like.

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