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Reference no. 314-132-1
Prize winner
Published by:
University of St Gallen (2014)
21 pages
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During its short history of 10 years, Tesla Motors Inc has experienced soaring growth by radically deviating from traditional business model approaches in the automotive industry. Along the way, the company has taken many decisions to configure a model that goes far beyond the traditional car business. Riding a wave of success, Tesla’s business has reached a turning point, where far-reaching decisions on its business model configuration must be made and various challenges mastered. Should Tesla return to its core, namely automobile production? Or should it further expand its integrative approach by building a mobility ecosystem? This case outlines the evolution of Tesla’s business model from a niche prototype constructor of electric sports cars to one of the top 10 highest-valued car producers by market capitalisation in the world. It aims to equip students with an ability to (1) understand the concept of business models generally and analyse the elements of Tesla’s business model specifically; (2) comprehend the dynamics of business models; (3) assess the business model against rival approaches; (4) capture key strategic drivers; and (5) learn how to configure robust business models in transforming industries.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate courses.


Business models; Electric vehicles (EVs); Electric cars; Energy; Sustainability; Innovation; Growth; Ecosystem; Tesla motors; Collaboration; Competitive strategy; Transformation; Entrepreneurship


The events covered by this item took place in 2003-2011.

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Featured company

Company name:
Tesla Motors
Automotive, energy, technology

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