Last Wednesday, Tesla Inc. displaced Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s most valuable automaker, underscoring investor enthusiasm for a company trying to transform an industry that has relied on internal combustion engines for more than 130 years.
Tesla Inc.’s market value also surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s last Tuesday in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels.
Exxon is the world’s second biggest energy company after Saudi state-controlled oil giant Aramco went public late last year.
Photo: AP 照片：美聯社
Shares of Tesla, which have more than doubled since the start of the year, climbed as much as 3.5 percent in intraday trading last Wednesday, giving it a market capitalization of US$207.2 billion, surpassing Toyota’s US$201.9 billion.
Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has ignored or broken many of the established auto industry’s rules and norms in the 10 years since he took Tesla public, selling cars online and assembling vehicles in high-cost California. But while his company’s value has soared, there remains a gulf in the scale of his company and the world’s biggest car manufacturers.
Tesla produced 103,000 vehicles in the first quarter, or about 4 percent of the almost 2.4 million made by Toyota, which built its brand on affordability and reliability backed by innovations in large-scale manufacturing.
Photo: Bloomberg 照片：彭博社
Tesla became the world’s second most valuable automaker in January, when it surpassed Volkswagen AG. It is now worth more than twice the German giant.
After pioneering gas-electric vehicles with the Prius hybrid, Toyota was late to shift to fully electric autos and has wagered heavily on hydrogen fuel cells. The company is now making a series of high-profile investments in electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars. The manufacturer has forecast an 80 percent plunge in profit this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expects it could take until the first half of next year before the auto market recovers to pre-pandemic levels.
The market for electric vehicles is forecast to increase to 10 percent of global passenger vehicle sales by 2025, 28 percent in 2030 and 58 percent by 2040, according to a May 19 report by BloombergNEF.
Photo: Bloomberg 照片：彭博社
Photo: Bloomberg 照片：彭博社
Photo: AFP 照片：法新社
FOLLOW UP 讀後練習
1. Describe how Tesla differs from traditional auto makers in terms of the types of energy consumed, factory location and sales channels.
2. Where is the battery pack installed in a Tesla electric car? What is the benefit of this placement?
3. Which part(s) can you find in an electric car: battery, exhaust pipe, fuel tank cap?
4. What is the significance of Tesla’s market value surpassing that of Toyota and Exxon?
(Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)
1. internal combustion engine phr. 內燃機 (nei4 ran2 ji1)
2. energy transition phr. 能源轉型 (neng2 yuan2 zhuan3 xing2)
3. fossil fuel phr. 化石燃料 (hua4 shi2 ran2 liao4)
4. market capitalization n. 市值 (shi4 zhi2)
5. take [a company] public n. 讓﹝公司﹞上市 (rang4 [gong1 si1] shang4 shi4)
6. affordability n. 買得起 (mai3 de2 qi3)
7. innovation n. 創新 (chuang4 xin1)
8. electric vehicle phr. 電動車 (dian4 dong4 che1)
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