Ah, Tesla Motors, source of hope, dreams, visions, contempt, dismissal, hilarity, frustration, and so much more.

The Silicon Valley startup automaker, now in its ninth year of making electric cars, has built close to 150,000 expensive battery-powered luxury vehicles and defied critics numerous times.

So what do our readers think the future holds for Tesla as it works toward the launch of its promised Model 3, a 200-mile electric car with a price starting at $35,000?

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We put that question to our Twitter followers, offering a range of four responses from very positive to very negative.

We asked what kind of company Tesla would be in another eight years.

Perhaps not all that surprisingly, an overwhelming majority—almost two-thirds, or 63 percent—said the company would be a "thriving, high-volume" automaker in 2025.

The responses to our other three possibilities were evenly split among them, with 14 percent saying Tesla would be owned by another company in 2025.

It would remain a maker of specialty electric cars that year, argued another 12 percent.

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And only slightly more than one in 10—11 percent, actually—believed that Tesla Motors would be entirely defunct.

These results likely reflect a mix of rational analysis and faith-based hope that Tesla can overcome the enormous challenges of cost, complexity, and legal barriers that daunt any company entering the car business.

2016 Tesla Model S with glass roof option

2016 Tesla Model S with glass roof option

The automobile may be the most heavily regulated consumer product on earth, and it must comply with dozens of different and conflicting regulatory regimes across the globe.

The capital requirements are huge, the product cycles are long, and an intricate ecosystem of raw-material, part, and subassembly suppliers must be assembled and maintained, all at the very highest levels of quality.

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If Tesla Motors is in fact a high-volume carmaker eight years from now, it will have pulled off a trick that no other company has achieved since 1924.

Our readers, it should be noted, are remarkably optimistic that Tesla will do just that.


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