Tesla is on the rise these days, but two developments could create reputational risk for the world’s most valuable automotive company.
Driving messages: Tesla is increasingly criticized for the climate effects of its large new investment in Bitcoin and the decision to accept it as payment – even if electric vehicles are low-carbon alternatives to gasoline vehicles.
Why it matters: “Mining” Bitcoin to process transactions is very energy-intensive, so promoting its use could add to its carbon footprint.
What you say: Ben Dear, CEO of sustainable investment firm Osmosis Investment Management, told Reuters: “We are of course very concerned about the level of carbon dioxide emissions from Bitcoin mining.”
- He said Tesla should disclose energy usage related to its Bitcoin ventures.
- In a broader sense, some analysts see Tesla’s decision to accept Bitcoin as a potential expansion of its use in transactions in a broader sense.
- According to Reuters, Tesla’s Bitcoin support could “spike the global use of a currency”.
- The Verge also reports on the climate angle.
Drive the News, Part 2: New research by Edmunds found that five Tesla models they tested had a lower range per charge than the EPA estimates of the vehicles.
- The analysis, which Edmunds describes as “a real complement to the EPA’s laboratory-based process,” found that the range of the vehicles was 2.5 to 17.4% less.
- The 17.4% less was a 2018 Model 3 Performance Edition, which had a range of 256 miles instead of 310 in the EPA estimate.
But, but, but: Tesla still had two of the five vehicles with the longest range of the 15 Edmunds models tested.
- The biggest difference between the EPA and Edmunds results was the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S, which went 59% further in the Edmunds test at 323 miles.
Remarkable: Gasoline-powered vehicles can also lag behind their EPA estimates. In general, mileage and range are affected by all sorts of conditions and driving styles.
The bottom line: Tesla is on the right track and has become consistently profitable. However, the electric vehicle market is becoming increasingly competitive. Therefore, it is worth keeping an eye on these issues.