At a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden the other day, Michael van der Sande, the Marketing VP at Tesla Motors, accepted the Sustainability Innovation Award given out by the Globe Forum. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the award to van der Sande in the third annual ceremony. The Globe Forum jury noted the Model S is an example of Tesla's innovation. However, it particularly highlighted the company's business model of aiming for the top end of the market as a way to get its technology on the street.
It is leveraging wealthy early adopters to both fund the development of more mainstream future models but also to be evangelists for the brand. This strategy has been part of Tesla's plan from the early days of the company. However, when the global financial crisis hit just as production was ramping up and money was needed for growth, the company stumbled. Thanks to the recent investment by Daimler, it now appears that Tesla might be on a sound enough financial footing to survive and perhaps even thrive.