Electric Vehicles: Socio-Economic and Legal Environment

The electric vehicles (EVs) market has captured the global perception of the consumers through its low carbon emission and fuel efficiency. This segment is well-addressed from the perspective of Tesla Inc., an organization with a long history of producing automobile electric cars. The company is dedicated to manufacturing new generation cars with incredible power and limited carbon emissions. Moreover, the firm is closely involved in the production of clean energy and storage products. However, the company is faced with a myriad of challenges, which involve socio-economic factors, political, and legal perspectives. With the negative implications brought about by the listed factors, it is recommended that the company should improve its market share through

  1. increasing its marketing and sales aggressiveness,
  2. participating in free global trade,
  3. addressing its market and supply chain-related risk factors.

Through this, the company is predicted to survive the economic challenges that are associated with the production of its EVs.


Tesla Motors Company (Tesla Inc.) is an automobile industrial manufacture of electric cars. It was founded in the year 2003 by the renowned business partnership of Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning (Zucchi, 2021). As a Silicon Valley industry, Tesla Inc. plays a role in envisioning and industrializing vehicles that use electric energy as a source of fuel, thus promoting sustainability of energy based on its fuel-efficient cars. Apart from the above-listed founders, it is public knowledge that both Elon Musk and JB Straubel are part of Tesla Inc.’s co-founders.

The firm is known to have developed from the propaganda and debacle that faced their main competitor, the General Motors Industry, through their failures with the EV1 Electric cars, which was recalled from the market and damaged in 2003. Tesla Inc. is headquartered in Palo Alto, California, though it has several manufacturing units based in Fremont, Lathrop, Nevada, and Tilburg. Although the firm majors in technological advancements of their automobile vehicles, it also pursues other such business strategies as energy storage and solar power, and panel manufacturing and production (Lobo, 2020). As such, the company endeavors to establish sturdy, yet affordable electric cars worldwide.

As an electric car core producer, the corporation, in 2006, launched its first invention of the principal electric sports flatcar, known as Roadster, which the firm eventually sold close to 2500. The second electric car, Model S, which also became the first premium zero-emission sedan, was established as the bestselling electric car in 2015 and 2016 in both the U.S., and Europe (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). Currently, the automobile firm has engineered the production of train machinery for such vehicle manufacturers as Daimler and Toyota.

In 2018, the enterprise developed a factory in Shanghai, China, resulting in the first automobile car production outside the U.S in early 2020. Tesla Inc. has more than 48,000 permanent employees across its major branches based on the Tesla Report of 2019 (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). In 2019, the company was worth approximately $25 billion (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). The success of this company is believed to be a result of the industrious actions of the CEO and product manager and Architect, Elon Musk, who has been having strong vision and mission for the company’s sustainable growth.

The reputation of Tesla Inc. is a widely recognized success story based on its designs, developments, productions, and sales of electric cars. The firm also sells, innovates, installs, and preserves energy generation systems and storage systems using solar-mediated batteries. It is a sustainable energy-saving firm providing clean-energy products through its Silicon Valley engineers coupled with its distinctive business model that generates a competitive advantage for Tesla over its close rivals.

Moreover, through its engineering techniques, the company built charging locations in both the U.S., and Europe for its Roadster and Model S sedan, thus allowing its customers to freely recharge their cars at their comfort times. As of 2019, the firm had developed several such models as Model S, 3, X, and Y (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). Using the firm’s mission statement, “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”, the current study aims to address the socio-economic factors affecting the company by analyzing the current issues or trends, technological drivers of the company, and the macro-economic dimensions. Moreover, the present study is aimed at underpinning the impact of both the legal and political factors emanating from the use manufacturer of car batteries used by the EVs and provides strategic recommendations to address such challenges.

Literature Review

The corporation has high and robust product differentiation based on the electric power train technology. The company has stationed itself as a distinctive brand in the automobile market with a principal focus on developing electric cars using electric energy, thus shifting from the traditional gasoline fuels (Thomas and Maine, 2019). The powertrain is comprised of a battery package, power microchip technology, software, motor-powered box, and gearbox and regulator software.

As such, the firm utilizes the powertrain system, a device that institutes the rotating force to the anterior and the back wheels are instantly and self-sufficiently controlled, hence leading to better traction regulation and improved drive performance. The powertrain also sanctions and incorporates the production of energy resourceful cars which are mechanically simpler than the current present hybrid or the more robust internal combustion engine cars (Sieklucki, 2021). Moreover, in terms of fuelling the electric vehicles, Tesla boosts the cheapest means of reenergizing the cars as compared to fueling other internal combustion cars.

Recently, Tesla started the initialization of the Dual Motor Powertrain cars, which use two electric motors to provide improved effectiveness, presentation, and a range in an all-inclusive-wheel drive conformation (Sieklucki, 2021). Through a range of connected diversification in the merchandise portfolio, the firm is harnessed by its competence in electric power systems.

The corporation developed a power pack application product meant for domestic homes. According to Chesbrough (2017), such packages as new products, new procedures, and new markets institute technological advancement and innovation for a company. For instance, the first category denotes changes in the product portfolio an industry provides, whereas the second has to do with such changes as the creation and delivery of products. The applications are applied in electric-related market services, power reserves, and load shifting among other uses.

By using Tesla Inc.’s case study, it is evident that the firm employs product innovation through its technological designing of the EVs, which, in the current market, syndicates long driving range, sport-like performance, and design. The firm also engages procedure and process innovation since it conglomerates manifold know-hows originating from diverse companies although; it is on top of engineering most parts in their totality. For example, in 2016, Tesla Inc. commenced the production and release of Power wall 2 and Power pack 2 (Matthews et al., 2020).

Power wall 2 is a 14KWh home-based battery with a unified inverter, while Power pack 2 is an infinitely scalable energy storage system applied in marketable, engineering, and service applications with residential photovoltaic panels (Matthews et al., 2020). Moreover, the energy storage lineage has been industrialized to achieve over-the-air firmware.

The power wall and the power pack coupled with software updates keep the storage open for future applications. With regards to the open innovation principles, Chesbrough (2017) posits that an effective business should work with people within and without the company to ensure that company makes the best use of its both internal and external concepts. With regards to their business strategy, the company is involved in selling and leasing its solar systems because of their multi-client installing capacity instituted to their customers, thus generating substantial revenue.

Tesla Inc. possesses robust marketing policies leading to a large customer base for its vehicles. The firm incorporates its stores and galleries and uses its supercharger network to provide charging of its cars and sales of its vehicles. By 2018, the corporation had sold close to 245,240 cars, which greatly improved in the subsequent year to 367,500, indicating approximately more than half car sales improvement (Tesla Impact Report, 2019).

The revenue for the same year was nearly $19.95 billion, an improvement from the previous year which was at $17.63 billion (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). This was facilitated by the increased sales of Tesla Inc.’s Model X, Model S, and Model 3 (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). The firm’s marketing policies have witnessed improved customer satisfaction and because the company owns its sales locations, customers can get real-time and fast feedback.

For better control on the service processes, Tesla Inc. has a well-established portfolio and modified warranty packages. According to Chan-Olmsted (2019), the firm’s business strategy is dependent on technologically advanced models. This enables the provision of its electronic vehicles, marked by high quality, superiority, and design to drive the universe towards a more justifiable future.

Furthermore, because Tesla Inc.’s model encompasses the 3-pronged approach of selling, servicing, and charging, the company chose to use the price-insensitive-performance car to innovate a brand identity. Therefore, the company has established a premium product-pricing portfolio, thus enabling it to earn significant gross profit margins because its market target involves rich people. The corporation also has a range of over 200 retail stores globally, which are in most cases found within big metropolitan cities and upmarket ends (Chan-Olmsted, 2019). As such, the business model is reliant on decreasing the inflated prices caused by third-party dealerships facilitated by the capacity of its retail stores which makes the company institute its distribution channel.

The action of the firm also enables the creation of awareness through the elimination of marketing efforts. According to research by Akakpo (2019), Tesla Inc. is imperatively one of the most state-of-the-art firms with established such technologies as software, software apprises, apps, remote preservations, and autonomous drivers. The innovation-driven approach necessitates the facilitation of resources and capital towards the more advanced research & development (R&D). The use of R&D is vital to the company’s growth as compared to the firm entirely focusing on marketing and promotions (Chan-Olmsted, 2019). Because of economies of scale, the firm has been able to generate its mass-market of EVs.

Macro-economic Dimensions

Apart from the relatively priced batteries for its EVs, the products have been able to be accessible and affordable on a wide and larger scale. This has made the locally manufactured devices to be cheaper, yet efficient. Moreover, because of their marketing capacity, the EVs have significantly penetrated the market making them popular world-over, thus connecting the company to the global economy.

According to Wang, Tang and Pan (2019), the EV market share in the U.S., reached 0.7% of the global percentage. However, issues to do with material cost have seen significant positive outcomes on the operation of the automobile company. For instance, because of the decreasing economic factors of the EVs brought about by the increased popularity of Tesla Inc.’s cars, there is a significant decline in material cost. The effect has been realized with improved customers who are in favor of the EV, resulting in cost-effective ramification to the public.

Social dimensions

Society’s culture and philosophy and the natural behavior of an organization can impact a firm either positively or negatively. Mutual beliefs, hierarchy, power structure, and attitude of the population can play a significant role in how marketers and sales at Tesla Inc. can comprehend its clientele. Because of the diverse market, how the firm can redesign its message for automobile producers must be unique. According to Thøgersen and Ebsen (2019) individual with an eco-friendliness in their mind-set applauds the use of EV because the Tesla Inc.’s models utilize less fuel compared to the traditional cars. Hence, the company’s growth pattern uses the opportunities with regards to preferences for renewable energy and the ever-increasing status of its low-carbon lifestyles. Farooq (2019) states that just using or driving the EV increases the social status of an individual.


Demographics and the level of car acquisition also have an adverse effect on Tesla Operations. According to Gottfredson, Stricker, and Tsang (2020), the current recession and demographic changes have greatly reduced the demand for EVs. In the current era, the disruption has significantly resulted in major adverse risks. For instance, by Tesla committing to a sole course of action, it might end up waiting for a long period to oversee any substantial outcome. However, effective leadership strategies during economic uncertainty have made Tesla Inc. create an operative and clear product portfolio through balancing obligation and plasticity.

For instance, the company has a diversity inclusion on its employer profiles. Tesla Inc.’s Board of Directors is made of 20% women representatives as members (Tesla Impact Report, 2019). As such, instead of staging its business strategies on conditions at a discrete point in time, Tesla Inc.’s leaders engage in a continuous cycle of executive, monitoring, adaptability.


In Tesla Inc.’s operation, the advancement of technology can be categorized as either an opportunity or as a threat. For instance, due to high rates of technological advancement and the emergence of sophisticated devices, Tesla Inc. has evolved its product display, hence an opportunity for growth. Conversely, the rapid obsolescence of the exploited know-hows and skills threatens the company. In general, inno­vative machinery helps the firm to retain its reputation because of possessing carbon footprints and capacity to be fuel efficient (Newman, 2020). Moreover, according to Newman (2020), Tesla is establishing new innovative technologies such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) with a plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) which releases zero tail pipe emissions when they are in all-electric mode, and automation, whose implementation to its vehicles provides significant growth.

Therefore, aggregating Ev’s automation and robotics in its busi­ness processes is a prospect with regards to automobile growth (Kissinger, 2019). More advances are made by researchers and companies that contain the missing pieces for Tesla’s vision of an automated car assembly line.

However, technology is fast distracting numerous manufacturing activities across the globe. For instance, over the past five years, the transportation trade has been renovating fast, not even giving chance to the recognized companies to cope with the fluctuations. In this case, the taxi business is now subjugated by such traders as Uber and Lyft, thus making the market to be flooded by completion for personal cars and usage. Furthermore, the car industry is renovating toward automation commanded by the expertise of such a firm as Google and subsequently interrupted by the emergence of Tesla Inc., which is the principal electronic car revolutionist. In this regard, a business corporation should not only conduct technological exploration of the manufacturing bossiness but also the speed at which technology disrupts that industry.

The Macro-environmental concepts

Certain macro-economic dimensions have also been indicated to affect the corporation. The biggest strength for the manufacture of EVs as compared to gasoline-mediated cars is the ability to be environmentally friendly. Newman (2020) established that certain environmental factors are closely related to Tesla Inc.’s strength. According to Akakpo et al. (2019) and Rimmer (2018), the effect of climate change and the overarching heat because of the emission of carbon dioxide called for efficient cars that reduce the development of global warming.

As such, the use of Tesla Inc.’s EVs based on the concerns with regards to climate change has been the major factor for the growth of the firm. EV’s that are run in a 100% renewable coupled with energy little to no emission of carbon dioxide gases. For instance, the company’s cars are entirely electric-based, though with little emission of carbon gas, hence positively impacting the carbon emission to the environment (Newman, 2020). Moreover, the company uses the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) records to evaluate its lifestyle emissions aspects for its electricity sources. However, because of their marketing capacity, the EVs have significantly penetrated the market making them popular world-over, thus connecting the company to the global economy

The emission of the carbon gases represents the type of material used, the source of raw material, the forms of technology integrated into the manufacturing plant, and the form of energy used at each source of production. As such, the main objective of the corporation has been to lower the emission of greenhouse gases to more than 50% of the traditional cars based on every process involved in the designing and making of an EV (Dummett, 2017). Notably, various operational markets possess diverse norms and environmental standards, which can indirectly influence the profit gains realized by the firm. For instance, in the U.S., the states of Florida and Texas instituted dissimilar liability clauses in the event an environmental hazard occurs. Correspondingly, most European nations have established healthy tax incentives for manufactures that operate within the renewable energy sector.

Knowledge of economic concepts

The corporation employs the use of the value chain model, a concept that encompasses the wide range of such activities as the procurement of raw materials, sales and marketing, and other after-sales services. In this case, the firm ensures that all the stages are incorporated so that the final product meets the customer demands. As such, the long scrutiny that the company employs through value chain optimization is done with the main aim of adding particular value to the end product, in this case, the EVs.

According to Urbinati et al. (2020), open innovation can be characterized into three main practices; the inbound practice, the outbound course, and the coupled process. Inbound logistics forms one of the primary activities that Tesla Inc. uses for value chain addition. It refers to all the internal flow of goods and services into an enterprise and involves such processes as transport, storage, and delivery services. In this value chain addition, Tesla Inc. utilizes its numerous warehouses within the U.S and one in Taiwan, with some of its facilities being leased for offshore activities.

Outbound logistics is also another important factor as a primary activity in the value chain addition. For example, Tesla Inc. has Gigafactory located at the exterior in Reno, Nevada, which is the principal car manufacturer network in the U.S. The marketing and sales are marked by intense competition from other car manufactures (Kumar et al., 2020). As such, Tesla Inc. uses numerous marketing channels and logistics that involve both ancient and digital marketing devices to promote its products. For instance, the company used a semi-autonomous driving technology for its Model S, thus increasing its digital competitiveness. The car conforms to the US safety standards of the eco-friendly environment, and resilience standards. The cars have an in-built security and protection features such as the essential airbags, front crumple zones, side power protection, and 2 and ½ mph bumpers.

The firm also uses its websites and other technology for advertising its product portfolio. Additionally, its CEO, Elon Musk is more involved in such social media activities as mobile internet twitter where he has major followers to engage the company’s customers for day-to-day update. In support of the primary activities is such a support activity as procurement through external partnerships. The EVs produced by the company uses numerous parts that are sourced from several suppliers globally. The firm has engineered robust relationships with many key suppliers for its raw materials. Despite Tesla Inc. having several key suppliers, Panasonic has been the leading single-sourcing company for its battery cells for several years.

Impact of Legal Framework and Political Factors

Political Factors and their Long-term Implications

Politics play a significant role in the determination of how it influences the landscape of Tesla Inc.’s processes. Being an automobile manufacturing company, it finds its operations in several countries, which are bound to diverse types of political systems. To attain success in such a complex auto company, major productions across different countries are used to diversify the systematic threats of the political atmosphere. During the launch of the Model 3 in 2017, many countries came to realize the need for greenhouse emissions. As a result, most European countries, India and China placed a ban on the use of fossil fuel in cars for the next upcoming decade (Dummett, 2017). Although the ban could be a relief for Tesla Inc.’s operation, the rush for lithium-based batteries is negatively impacting the promises the firm has on Ev’s future. As such, the feasibility of the company’s supply chain to provide the best market electric car is in jeopardy.

The sourcing of Cobalt, the major element in Tesla Inc.’s electric car batteries is politically influenced. More than 50% of the global supply and production of Cobalt are sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a nation with enormous supply chain risk factors. Research by Amnesty International determined that because of the rush in Cobalt in DRC, the war for the element is projected to continue (Dummett, 2017). Therefore, Cobalt is a major risk factor for conflict, corrupt governments, and the existence of child labor, with more than 40,000 child laborers.

This devastating effect could be because the element might have been disregarded by the draft “conflict minerals”, a rule that was implemented in the U.S., in 2010 and the greater European nation in 2020 (Dummett, 2017). Since the report was finally made a law in 2016, there have been major advancements. To ascertain that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards are adhered to, several countries formulated a policy initiative known as the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI).

The main role was to ensure that all the supply chains of Cobalt elements followed due diligence, thus tackling the problem of child labor in the DRC (Dummett, 2017). However, the leading firms for the RCI are not entirely car manufactures and include such companies as Apple, Sony, Huayou, and Samsung SDI among others. As a result of this political instability, Tesla Inc. is predicted to struggle in finding ethically sourced Cobalt. Furthermore, the wars and instability in DRC also drastically affects Tesla Inc.’s supply chain.

Another political factor involves the emergence of China as the major controller of the world Cobalt element. For instance, Chinese firms currently own more than 60% of the global Cobalt mines (Dummett, 2017). In the past couple of years, the companies purchased the control, which has indicated an indirect effect on Tesla Inc.’s supply chain (Dummett, 2017). Furthermore, the Chinese government has indicated a willingness to use its power in the Cobalt market to institute a ban on any access by its core competitors for necessary raw materials (Dummett, 2017). As such, the long-term implication for this ban has created when a major risk for Tesla Inc.’s supply chain when viewed against its Chinese car manufacturers.

The short-term implication has resulted in the company publicly adopting an Act for responsible Cobalt sourcing. In this case, the firm took a step to gauge the risk of wars and conflicts related to Cobalt by publicly revealing its policy to major investors through an expert-mediated disclosure form (Dummett, 2017). Moreover, the firm has increased its Supply chain team, thus improved the due diligence of the suppliers. Consequently, the expansion of the due diligence team for suppliers has reduced or limited the risk of sourcing the much-needed Cobalt material for its electric cars, thus lowering the possibility of child labor occurrence. Tesla has taken several actions to address these challenges.

The short-term effect has resulted in the institution of measures to address the long-term effect of Cobalt mining in DRC and the Chinese ban on its competitors from sourcing the cobalt mineral. The effect has resulted in Tesla Inc.’s formalization of the development of North American Cobalt. In this regard, the company will spend a lot of resources as compared to the current situation to ensure that its priority of instituting the North American supply chain of Cobalt is addressed in the future. Moreover, the mining sector has saved some resources for possible future exploration of new mining sites for Cobalt.

In other instances, several investors have started to explore the future development of Cobalt mines in both Canada and Nevada. Another long-term implication for the Cobalt wars in DRC and the Chinese ban is the investment of new battery technologies that lessen the use of Cobalt or substitute the use of the mineral in electric cars. According to Dummett (2017), Tesla Inc. penned a five-year deal with Jeff Dahn, a recognized battery researcher to execute the succeeding battery generation that does not use Cobalt or lithium. The effort is to ensure that the next-generation car battery does not have Cobalt as a component. Additionally, the company has increased its investments for possible recycling of the available Cobalt by sourcing from smartphones and old cars. Currently, approximately 15% of the U.S. supply of Cobalt comes from reprocessed scrap (Dummett, 2017). Therefore, it should endorse the growth of recycled solutions through motivations, pricing contracts, and new technology reserves that influence the obtainability of recycled Cobalt.

Formal/Informal Legal Systems and their Implications

Informal legal systems are such laws that address the issues of significant concerns to the people, protection of property rights, and access to public services. It is also referred to as non-state legal systems or indigenous laws. On the other hand, formal law comprises rules established by an organization according to certain processes, for instance, state laws. Tesla Inc.’s adoption of a Creative Commons License for its intellectual property rights laws has significant implications. According to Hill (2016), the adoption of Tesla Inc.’s open patent to the public will serve as the preeminent trust organization. Thus, the move encourages a wider market adoption of the electric car technology.

At the present, the market share for EVs is exceedingly small, even though its sales have tripled recently. According to the CEO, Elon Musk, opening the patency was done as a chance for the company to fight the carbon crisis by enabling the growth of the electric car market (as cited in Hill, 2016). In this case, the company will witness the development of a charging station network across the world.

Tesla Inc.’s objective is to establish an advanced supercharger charging location within closer proximity of its major markets which includes the American drivers. However, it is challenging to find charging stations compared to the gasoline refills for traditional cars (Hill, 2016). Therefore, by opening its patent laws, advanced progression of EVs that exploit the similar charging technology from Tesla’s patents could necessitate the possibility to fundamentally recruit other producers from across the car manufacturing industry to contribute to generating well-matched charging stations (Crane, 2016). In this case, the patency is used to inspire its competitors and other investors. This action also cultivates EVs designed to be used in its electric station network rather than the diverse charging form, and hence, Tesla Inc. is positioned to capitalize on a potential future fortune.

Some of the formal legal systems are showed to impact the company negatively through the restrictions of direct sales to customers for its products. For instance, in 2014, the state of Michigan barred the company from directly servicing or selling the EVs to its customers (Chronowski, Skelton and McGrath, 2016). Tesla has long contended that it should not be compulsory to sell its EVs through an out-of-date dealer network approach because of the added expenses of instituting and preserving a network of approved dealers (Chronowski, Skelton and McGrath, 2016). Accordingly, Tesla Inc.’s pioneering EVs need to be sold directly to retailers or customers if the firm is to endure being an automobile manufacturer.

Tesla Inc. argues that for using the traditional franchised dealership, the company would not survive based on the fact that the firm has a small niche of market with regards to its expensive cars (as cited in Hill, 2016). Currently, Tesla’s determinations to retail its products directly to clients have established great litigation. As a result, such anti-trust law as the anti-Tesla Inc. regulation which is supported by state dealer associations is supported by about 24 states, with Michigan being among the states that have prohibited the company from selling its products directly to its clientele to avoid unnecessary business competition and consumer exploitation (Chen, 2020). The negative implication has been witnessed through the Company announcing that it will consider selling its EVs at relatively lower prices.


In conclusion, Tesla Inc. has been shown to hold a strong market share because of its sales-related policies, thus leading to a huge clientele base. For instance, the automobile industry has storage facilities and employs the use of a supercharger network that delivers the charging systems for its cars at affordable prices. However, the firm is affected negatively by both political and legal frameworks.

For example, Cobalt, an element that is necessary for the production of car batteries for its electric cars is involved in child labor issues in DRC. This causes a negative reputation for the company, leading to the creation of RCI, an initiative that ensures that all the supply chain of Cobalt is assessed. Moreover, Chine which owns more than half the shares of the Cobalt market placed a ban on its competitors to access its raw material. To ensure the manufacturing of its automobile, the firm has instituted both Cobalt research and recommended recycling as a way forward. Additionally, Tesla Inc. is faced with patent issues and the traditional franchise dealership network. Even though the latter is important for its growth, the former directly impacts its profit margin.


Tesla Inc. needs to constantly advance technologically to justify its negative trends concerning the political, environmental, and legal factors. These trends influence almost all businesses in the automobile industry, Cobalt-linked battery production, and electric energy generation factories. Consequently, the organization should reflect on the condition of its operations retrospect to other car manufacturers and related energy production firms. In this case, the company should consider engaging with the several opportunities available to it for its expansion and long-term sustainability.

For instance, Tesla Inc.’s management should consider participating in free global trade to promote its international expansion. Furthermore, the company should improve its aggressiveness with regards to marketing its product portfolio, thus ensuring an enhanced market share, specifically in countries that provide direct competition for its products as China. As such, the approach is meant to address the market-related risk factors, considering that the firm has limited sales operations in offshore markets.

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