Electric Vehicle Sales Are Surging. Can Mineral Producers Meet Future Demand?

Elon Musk isn’t known for playing by the rules.

The 48-year-old tech billionaire got himself into hot water with regulators a couple of years ago by tweeting that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” (At its 52-week high in February, the company’s stock traded at more than double that amount.) Then there was the time he smoked weed live on Joe Rogan’s show, a decision that the administrator of NASA himself called “not appropriate.”

Oh, and you may have heard that he named his and Canadian singer Grimes’ newborn son X Æ A-12, though California regulations may have something to say about it.

Even more recently, Musk—a vocal critic of coronavirus lockdown measures—disobeyed a California county’s laws by reopening the Tesla assembly plant. “If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me,” he tweeted. (Since then, county officials have capitulated and will now allow the plant to officially reopen next week.)

In his defense, Musk acted to stay ahead of the Detroit automakers, which are themselves reopening this week. No rest for the weary, as they say. After years of losses, Tesla is now the most valuable automobile manufacturer in U.S. history, with a market cap of $97 billion. That’s slightly more than the combined market caps of the more-than 100-year-old Ford Motor and General Motors Companies.

TEsla now the most valuable automobile manufacturer in the U.S. history
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The road hasn’t been easy. Tesla reported net income of $16 million in the March quarter, the first time in company history that the Silicon Valley automaker has seen a profit in the first quarter of the year. 2020 may very well be its best year yet, the virus notwithstanding, while other manufacturers struggle to catch up with the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs).