Russian Oil Chief: Tesla Cars grossly overrated


The market expectations for electric vehicle makers are significantly overestimated, Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft said on Friday, adding that the evaluation of Tesla is based on “extremely aggressive” sales expectations.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Sechin also criticized Tesla’s business model and capital spending.

The unconditional truth remains in the fact that the hydrocarbon power industry has been and will be in demand,” Sechin said, as quoted by Bloomberg, adding that “The market’s assessment of the prospects of electric car producers, in our view, is significantly overestimated.”

“Until the electric transport industry becomes as user-friendly and attractive for consumers as the cars with internal combustion engines, the prospects for electric vehicles remain largely uncertain,” Rosneft’s CEO noted.

It’s still early to speak of a commercial success of the electric vehicle industry, Sechin said, quoted by Forbes Russia. Sales volumes are small, and they depend on incentives in various countries, the head of Russia’s biggest oil company said.

The only country that has seen a notable increase in EV sales is Norway, where incentives are around US$18,000-19,000, Forbes Russia quoted Sechin as saying.

At the beginning of April, Tesla became the most valuable U.S. car maker, overtaking General Motors to become the first automaker not based in Detroit to be America’s most valuable. Tesla also overtook Rosneft by market value for the first time on May 31, according to Bloomberg.

Although Tesla is not making profits, Tesla believers argue that the company market valuation is justified with the long-term expectations for growth. Skeptics, on the other hand, say that Ford, GM, and other carmakers will boost their EV offerings and directly compete with and overtake Tesla.

As a reminder, Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis with automotive research firm Edmunds, said in an interview with CBC…

“If you look at the different auto companies on paper, it does seem a bit proposterous, where Tesla is at this moment, versus some of the more established auto companies,”

Tesla sold 76,285 cars last year. That compares to over 10 million for GM worldwide and 6.65 million for Ford.