Magazine article Management Today

MT Stuff: Motor Mouth - Tesla Model S Performance

Magazine article Management Today

MT Stuff: Motor Mouth - Tesla Model S Performance

Article excerpt

This capacious, blisteringly quick, fully electric saloon offers serious competition to Germany's finest, says Andrew Saunders.

The world's big thinkers have been giving the concept of disruptive innovation a pretty hard time recently. We've even written a feature about the row (see page 50). So it is timely to be reminded that Clay Christensen's pet idea didn't get to be the pre-eminent business theory of our time for nothing.

Take this Tesla Model S, an upmarket, pure-electric saloon that accelerates in eerie silence as quickly as a Porsche Carrera. What's more, it has five seats (seven if you include the optional folding child seats in the back), spacious boots front and rear, an achievable range of more than 200 miles between charges and a dashboard, dominated by a giant iPad-style touchscreen, which never fails to draw an impressed 'Ooh' from passengers.

Finished in 'look-at-me' candy-apple red paint and slick alloys, it also caused more innocent bystanders' jaws to drop, and more satisfyingly, than any other car I have driven.

It's made not by any of the usual posh car suspects - Mercedes, Audi or BMW - but by a new Californian company started by Elon Musk, the Silicon Valley billionaire who made his fortune as an early backer of PayPal, and whose other business is in space travel. Regardless of academic arguments, surely this is disruptive innovation? He has shown the car industry what it was too conservative to see for itself: that most punters don't want to suffer to save the planet, they want electric cars that are as good or better than conventional rivals. …

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