NY Times economist Paul Krugman hammers on Elon Musk's reputation as a genius and points out that Tesla has none of the qualities that'd make it a long-term player in the EV car market. How long Musk can ride a reputation built on the backs of fanboys and very little legitimate proof of his excellent leadership or intellect remains to be seen, but the clock is ticking for Tesla.
In short, electric vehicle production just doesn't look like a network externality business. Actually, you know what does? Twitter, a platform many of us still use because so many other people use it. But Twitter usage is apparently hard to monetize, not to mention the fact that Musk appears set on finding out just how much degradation of the user experience it will take to break its network externalities and drive away the clientele.
Which brings us back to the question of why Tesla was ever worth so much. The answer, as best as I can tell, is that investors fell in love with a story line about a brilliant, cool innovator, despite the absence of a good argument about how this guy, even if he really was who he appeared to be, could found a long-lived money machine.
And as I said, there's a parallel here with Bitcoin. Despite years of effort, nobody has yet managed to find any serious use for cryptocurrency other than money laundering. But prices nonetheless soared on the hype, and are still being sustained by a hard-core group of true believers. Something similar surely happened with Tesla, even though the company does actually make useful things.