Environmental news hasn’t been very hopeful of late – except maybe from Tesla Motors. Elon Musk’s electric car company has surged in sales so far this year, delivering a staggering 25,000 vehicles to customers. That puts the company ahead of ahead of Ford as the second most valuable car manufacturer in the US—a clear indication that American consumers care about climate change and cutting air pollution.
Part of that’s due to Tesla’s explosive growth as it enters its 14th year, but part of it’s also because Ford’s seen its sales slump by 7% compared to last year. Tesla’s lead is narrow: while it’s currently valued at $47 billion, Ford has dropped to $45 billion. That being said, Ford is still the larger and more established company, and Tesla is still taking losses as it continues to establish itself in the market. While Tesla saw about $7 billion in annual revenue in 2016, Ford blew it out of the water with $152 billion. Overall, Tesla also posted a loss of $773 million last year.
While it’s uncertain whether Tesla will continue to beat Ford in terms of market value, it seems Musk is banking on the company’s unique semi-autonomous technology to give him an edge. While Ford is planning to release fully autonomous vehicles by 2021, Musk insists that semi-autonomous functionality will increase customer safety and improve drivers’ experiences long before fully-developed self-driving vehicles hit the market. Given the video that circulated a few months ago documenting Tesla’s Autopilot apparently predicting an upcoming accident, Musk may be on the right track.