Tesla has said a few times that their mission is not just to sell cars themselves, but to accelerate the adoption of plugin vehicles in general. That is something I have been tracking very carefully, as I have also been working towards that end for a few years now. Here are some thoughts on how Tesla is doing. First, some musings on Tesla's impact on consumers and the industry; all the pieces of this have been covered in other threads, but I am just trying to get some thoughts organized. I would be happy to hear others' impressions. For a very long time I have feared that automaker complaints about lack of consumer interest (i.e. the recent Auto Alliance filing) might once more lead to a repeal of laws, incentives and related credits, withdrawal of cars, and collapse of the whole industry. That is why I have been putting my effort in to increasing demand. I no longer fear that. Demand seems to be doing OK. Not as good as it could or should be, but not bad all things considered. More importantly, Tesla has let the cat out of the bag. Even if Tesla screws up and goes broke, nobody can credibly argue that EVs can't be great cars. Or that people won't want them. Or that they can't have enough range or be used for trips. Or that you can't make money selling them because they are just too costly to build. People can still argue they are not green or shouldn't get incentives - but those arguments, even if they persist, are not going to deter buyers or keep automakers from making them. Automakers may still resist because dealers prefer to sell gas cars, but that is a topic for another thread. To stay competitive, they will have to build them. By building some really cool cars that were heavily bet against, and through some clever media manipulation, Tesla is entering the zeitgeist. We are cognitive misers; we don't have time to thoroughly vet all new ideas that come along and sort the good arguments from the bad. We tend to go with what everybody else is doing, as that is far easier. Without a push, nobody was looking in to plugins because they assumed they sucked. But Tesla is making enough noise that people are checking them out. And wanting one. And even if they can't afford it or need a different type of car, they are thinking differently about electricity as a fuel. They are more likely to buy other brands of electric. The whole market rises at once. Here is an illustration of the changes in knowledge and attitudes: I do a lot of events, but the most recent was the Mother Earth News Fair. I have taken my Roadster there three years in a row. It is a whole weekend, and about 10,000 people attend. Perhaps 2,000 of them stopped by and engaged the 10 volunteers there with their cars. My first year, I spent almost all of my time telling people what the car was. Yes, it is electric. Yes, all electric. No, no gas at all. No, it is not Italian, it is built in California. Tesla. Yes, Tesla is the name of the company. 245 miles, 3.5 hours to recharge. Few questions ventured past that; they had learned that electric cars existed, but still needed to process it. I don't believe anybody left and bought one right away, but at least a seed had been planted. My second year, I got notably more detailed questions. Sure, I still had to explain Tesla to most people, but at least they knew electric cars existed. They were surprised by the range, figuring 100 miles was a hard limit. People asked about environmental life cycle costs, TCO, and practicality. Many were just curious to learn, some were struggling with whether it might work for them, a few insisted that they could never work for anybody (even when I pointed out they worked very well for me). A few probably left to check out the Leaf or Volt later. This year was quite a change. I only remember two people all weekend that didn't know what Tesla was. They knew they were electric, they knew they had a long range...and more importantly, they knew they were cool. The questions were almost all detail questions...how much exactly will I spend, how exactly do I take a road trip, how do I set up a charger. A couple of people asked pointed questions about practicality and lifecycle costs - but they stopped arguing when given answers. (Nothing like online!) Not everybody was ready to buy today - but several people were, and many more sounded confident that their next car would be electric. This was the first year that my Roadster was not the star of the show - and that is a good thing. People loved to look at it...but they spent a lot more time looking at the Model S. Many people then went to look very carefully at the Leafs. There was interest in the whole category. There are still many ways for Tesla and advocates to help speed adoption - which is very important because this transition is still going to take a very long time, and early efforts have effects that are multiplied over time. But I no longer have any question that it is going to happen. There is no way that something this good won't spread.