Tesla is about to be at a big disadvantage
Tesla faces a big problem on the near horizon. A $7,500-per-vehicle federal tax credit -- along with even more generous carbon credits -- have helped the company yield well over $5 billion in federal subsidies since 2008. While the tax credit helps Tesla sell a boatload of $100,000 cars, the $7,500 subsidy has a manufacturer cap of 200,000 -- meaning that after Tesla sells 200,000 electric vehicles, a number it is bound to hit in 2017, consumers will no longer be able to get the tax credit if they purchase a Tesla. But they'll still be able to use it against one of Tesla's competitors, putting Tesla at a big disadvantage.
Tesla hasn't found a road to profitability even while enjoying the benefits of those tax credits, and if Tesla has to take another hit on every car it sells, that blow could be fatal. Ford, however, could absorb a challenge like that in the short and mid-term, and possesses the missing pieces that would bring Tesla toward profitability much more quickly.