Owning Tesla stock right now, or buying Tesla stock, is still extremely risky. Everything has to go exactly right in order to justify Tesla’s current valuation. /snip
This sounds fairly rational to me, but economics involving humans is never a rational endeavour. I'd pose two counterpoints to this:
1. The launch of the iPhone (and the rise of Apple in general)
2. The wealthiest people and greatest population densities in the US are largely concentrated on the edges of the country, with moderate weather. In my limited understanding, EVs in their current incarnation are more efficient in slow moving short distance urban scenarios.
If Musk's aim is to get as much market penetration with as high margin possible, in the shortest amount of time, he is following the right strategy IMO. Start at the top of the value chain, with the largest margins, lowest scale issues and the scale up and add value as you move down the chain.
This tendency of tech change to favor urban contexts is self-evident in many other industries, where economies of scale justify capital investment. The issue for Musk will be (as it was for Apple) how he maintains growth once he's picked all the low-hanging fruit. I should imagine the ancillary technologies will come into play there.
This isn't to say that tsla is risk-free. But I am trying to highlight that Musk is doing an end run around other manufacturers, who seem to have their heads in the sand. I feel like I've seen this all before with the iPhone. Manufacturers cam naysay all they like, but when share price and market share starts reflecting their institutional inability to respond, things are only going to get worse for them. As long as they continue to only dabble in EV, this is going to become increasingly obvious to the consumer. The writing has been on the wall for a very long time and they've made every effort to hide it and try wipe it off.
Competitors may need to band together and lobby hard to stall Musk, but if politicians have a secret Tesla in their garage, and the general public has the stars of SpaceX in their eyes, it's going to be increasingly hard for manufacturers to get a political and PR leg over.
The one card manufacturers hold over Musk is that of jobs and Trump's promises. But I think that Musk might just be successful and crazy enough for Trump to consider him a diminutive peer. And I suspect the electorate will always admire a wildly successful capitalist, even if it means losing their jobs. So that bet that could backfire.