In the past few days, there have been several stories circulating about Elon Musk’s businesses stock market valuations crashing. First, Tesla dropped, then SolarCity, both due to a conglomerate of issues ranging from Musk’s personal life to falling oil prices to low production levels. As usual, the internet has over-reacted. There have been a flurry of articles covering his loss of funds, most of them describing this week as a disaster for the companies.
Time and time again, the articles describing the fall cite the falling price of oil as the biggest problem facing the two companies. As oil prices fall, the interest in clean energy subsides along with it. No mistake has been made in this observation; falling oil prices certainly affect interest in green energy solutions. It just isn’t as straight-forward as they make it seem.
It’s not surprising that a person who works in finance would only think of the monetary motivations for clean energy, but there is more to it than that. As weather disasters become more prominent in more people’s minds, the concern about the environment is growing alongside it. Consumer behaviour is already starting to be affected en masse by people concerned about where their power is coming from.
Musk’s business plan is based on the fact that renewable energy is something that needs to happen. He recognized early that in the near future green energy sources were going to be the only option. So, obviously, the price of oil is going to affect his stocks’ behaviour: the two are closely linked, but it won’t be enough to bring down an independently wealthy, focused, driven, multi-billionaire.
The reason speculations like this are circulated is that they stir up excitement. We’re all hooked; will the great Elon Musk fall? Can he really change the face of the automotive industry? As much as people love success stories, they love the trials and tribulations along the way.
It’s not that the reports are untrue, but that their implications have been blown way out of proportion. Anyone who follows him knows, Elon Musk and his businesses won’t be brought down by (relatively) cheap oil alone.