Caveat: Global financial numbers look awful. Truly awful. Like it or not, we're in for a downturn sooner rather than later. Areas of most pain: overly in debt corporations, consumer debt, student loan debt. Everyone owes too much money. Oh, and the damned banks have figured out a way to sell those *&^^&* credit default swaps again by getting around SEC regulations. A severe economic slump will hurt Tesla as well as everything else. If we don't have a competent administration in place when the trouble hits, and we don't now, it could get extremely ugly.
The EV disruption is on for real now. Sales are starting up the S curve. Here is what I THINK will happen:
1. Tesla will continue to ride the curve upward at the forefront. The company's overwhelming lead in EV/battery technology is virtually insurmountable at this point. There is no Tesla killer.
2. Tesla will toss Panasonic aside because their partner can't make enough batteries. The acquisition of Maxwell is much more important than people think. Tesla's vertical integration philosophy — something the rest of the auto industry abandoned decades ago — will prove a strength and not a weakness. Ford is at the mercy of the capabilities of design shops, parts makers, etc; Tesla is not.
3. The Chinese welcomed Tesla to Shanghai not out of kindness but because they want to steal the company's technology. They want to learn the Tesla way. Many of the locals Tesla hires will later show up at competing Chinese companies to teach them how to do it. In the long run, it will not matter.
4. Tesla will wind up being Toyota. Toyota won't be Toyota any more.
5. Within 5-7 years, some of the not quite biggies in the auto industry will go bankwupt for real. Which ones? The ones who are slow to go all in on EVs. Candidates: BMW, Audi, Daimler, FCA, Jaguar, Land Rover.
6. The Osborne Effect will hit somewhere around 2024. For those not familiar, OE refers to a period when a new technology is highly desired but production is not ramped up to satisfy demand. Legacy technology sales suffer. This creates a downturn in overall market sales. In plain English: legacy car companies won't be able to sell ICE vehicles any more; companies like Tesla will not yet have capacity to satisfy demand. Overall auto sales will therefore be down for a period.
7. Tesla will emerge to be the equivalent of what Toyota is today by the late 2020s.
8. The first truly big automaker will go belly up around 2026. Candidates: Ford, GM, Toyota.
9. By 2030, believe it or not, car production will be a smaller division at Tesla. Battery/distributed solar will have much larger sales.
PS I expect elon is right that, particularly in urban areas, people will be shuttled about by driverless EV taxis, but I think true adoption will come slower than he thinks. People will part with ownership more reluctantly than the crystal ball crowd think.
My take. What's yours?