Remember Elon Musk's 2018 Prediction About Tesla's Market Cap?

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Posted on EVANNEX on November 20, 2021, by Charles Morris

Elon Musk is not known for being conservative with his predictions, and once or twice, he’s been a little over-optimistic about timelines (we’re still eagerly awaiting the driverless New York-Los Angeles journey). Sometimes, however, events overtake even the rosiest projections. When it comes to Tesla’s rise to a trillion-dollar valuation, some of Mr. Musk’s earlier forecasts now look downright timid.

Remember the compensation plan that Tesla unveiled back in 2018? At the time, the New York Times called it “perhaps the most radical in corporate history.” It called for Mr. Musk to be paid only if the company’s market value reached “a series of jaw-dropping milestones,” an outcome that the Times’ “experts” called “laughably impossible,” the “latest publicity stunt” from “a modern-day P.T. Barnum.”

Here at EVANNEX, we were a little more sanguine, but even we were somewhat skeptical that the company’s ambitious financial goals would be reached in the time specified.

What was this insane, ludicrous, maximum plaid plan exactly? It set a dozen market cap targets, in $50 billion increments, over the following decade. If by 2028, Tesla was worth $650 billion, Elon would get a plump pay packet—$55 billion was the figure thrown around at the time. If Tesla failed to reach this valuation, he would get bupkes.

What did that old sideshow huckster say about his chances of plucking the plum? “I actually see the potential for Tesla to become a trillion-dollar company within a 10-year period,” Musk told the Times in January, 2018.

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