The problem with placing bets on Tesla’s future is that there are few examples to compare it with. He's building an entirely new kind of automobile—a battery-powered car that goes zero to 60 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds and runs for almost 300 miles on a single charge. To accomplish these goals, he has completely reimagined the manufacturing process and undertaken construction of one of the world's biggest factories, just to supply the batteries.
When has another startup tried to do so much, so quickly? There’s really only one example, the original game changer: Ford Motor's Model T.
"I do remain confident about half a million cars in 2020, and maybe being able to exceed that," Musk said on a conference call with investors last week, after an analyst asked whether he still stood behind the forecast. "That's five years from now. If you go five years in the past for Tesla, we were producing 600 cars per year—now we can produce 600 cars in three days. So I think going from here to 500,000 cars a year is a much smaller leap."
It has a graph comparing Tesla's growth with that of Ford and the Model T. They line up really well.