Tesla Isn't Showing Any Signs Of Slowing So Elon Musk Is Now The Second-Richest Person In The World

Illustration for article titled Tesla Isn't Showing Any Signs Of Slowing So Elon Musk Is Now The Second-Richest Person In The World
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Tesla, as of this writing, is worth $514 billion, less than Berkshire Hathaway but only a little less. That’s over 20 times as much as Tesla’s revenue in 2019, which people smarter than me will tell you is a somewhat unusual situation. It also makes the CEO, Elon Musk, the world’s second-richest person.

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That’s according to Bloomberg, which says that Musk’s wealth has increased to $127.9 billion, rising a ridiculous $100.3 billion this year alone. Musk zoomed past Bill Gates in Bloomberg’s wealth ranking, and is now second only to Amazon person Jeff Bezos.

This does not mean that Musk has $127.9 billion in liquid cash; rather, Bloomberg says that around three-quarters of Musk’s wealth is in Tesla stock, mostly options that he can’t cash out for years. That also means that Musk’s net worth — again, on paper — is inherently tied to Tesla’s stock price.

And right now, Tesla is booming, with its share price more than tripling in the past six months. That’s been accelerated in part by Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 as well as being driven by irrational exuberance in the electric car market, driven by the success of the Model Y, driven by the election of Joe Biden and driven as always by the cult of Musk’s personality.

From Reuters:

Shares of other electric vehicle (EV) makers have also risen in the last few months as President-elect Joe Biden made boosting EVs a top priority during his campaign.

“One of the core underpinnings of the Biden platform will be around pushing clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles with hopes of accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles and public charging outlets by 2030,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a note.

This is good news, though pretty much limited to Musk and Tesla shareholders, and terrible news for the Tesla shorts. For the rest of us, meanwhile, the Tesla news that matters today isn’t about the stock but about Musk’s talk of making a compact car. The car would probably be just for Europe and China, because Americans don’t deserve the nice things. It appears that Musk has come to this decision in part because he had trouble finding a parking spot for a Model X in Berlin.

Also from Reuters:

“Possibly in Europe it would make sense to do, I guess, a compact car, perhaps a hatchback or something like that,” Musk told an European online conference on batteries hosted by the German government.

[...]

Musk said he had had some problems parking his five-metre long Tesla Model X car in German capital Berlin.

“I was driving a Model X around Berlin and we had quite a bit of trouble finding a parking space where we could fit,” he said.

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It is fun to imagine Elon cruising the streets of Berlin for a parking spot large enough for a Model X; a Model 2, on the other hand, would be shorter, but more importantly, it would also likely be cheaper. If Musk is serious about a $25,000 Tesla, it makes all the sense in the world.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

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I know we try to avoid stock discussion on Jalopnik after some uniquely tragic analyses in the past, but the Tesla situation just fascinates me. I actually bought Tesla back in 2015 or so, which I suppose could have made me very rich now, but I’m very stupid, so I no longer have it. I also bought some last year, but as I said before, I’m extremely stupid, so I no longer have it. So, as an outsider, this situation is extremely interesting. The stock is divorced from the reality of the product at a level unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And it’s bolstered by so many retail investors and stock-pickers that it essentially trades on emotion alone. So my question is, to borrow from some 2008 language, is there a point where it gets Too Big to Fail? You have to assume that a correction of even modest proportion would complete ruin an incredible number of people, specifically retail investors and personal traders. Even some funds are tied up enough that they stand to lose a lot of money if this ever shifts to match reality. I wasn’t paying close attention to stocks during the Dotcom bubble, so you tell me – is this something that can just pop? Or do we all go along with it now since we’ve got too much collective skin in the game?