Feb 16, MTR -- "The [car] industry is getting very good at making profits on lower volumes of vehicles for niche applications," says Jay Baron, CEO of the Center for Automotive Research. In part, this is because factories are using more robots, and robots that can perform more functions, so they can be quickly reprogrammed to make different vehicles. Some automakers have announced that they will offer three versions of a car—one gasoline-powered, one hybrid, and another electric.
This means Tesla Motors will have a hard time being an independent car maker. Their best shot at profitability would probably be through technology licensing and/or key component manufacturing. They just don't have the economies of scale to invest in full-blown robotic assembly lines.
tags: process, innovation, transportation, energy