Tesla is not a company that could ever really shy away from the spotlight. Besides having the potential to singlehandedly shift the course of the automotive industry with far less resources than its rivals, it is forced to climb a far steeper learning curve.

And there is no learning without mistakes. But because of the company’s unapologetic world-saving ambitions paired with ruthless guile, a lot of Tesla’s slip-ups have landed it on front page headlines.

Yet in spite of its tendency to piss customers off, the automaker has managed to amass cult status with a die-hard following that has helped it knock Porsche off the top in Consumer Reports’ most recent customer satisfaction survey.

However, all of this doesn’t distract from one fact – Tesla’s biggest advantage over its electric rivals may also turn out to be its biggest problem. We’re talking about the ever-growing Supercharger network.

Right now, Elon Musk and co. have been scrambling to ensure that sufficient production capacity would arrive in time for the colossal demand of the upcoming 2017 Tesla Model 3 to be met.

At the same time, the automaker has been working to patch up reliability and safety problems on its existing vehicles and Autopilot technology that don’t seem to ever be without hiccups.

One could only imagine that existing issues would be compounded on the Model 3 as Tesla would be operating at a scale that many believe it is ill-equipped to handle, but by then the automaker would already be adept at dealing with issues related to safety or build quality.

The big question mark would be on Tesla’s ability to deal with terrible car owners, especially when there are going to be many more of them. While the far-reaching Supercharger network would give the Model 3 an easy advantage over the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf, what happens when folks treat it like parking spots?

Effective January 1, 2017, a fine of 40 cents per minute would be imposed on vehicles left plugged in at charging stations after reaching 100 percent, but that may not stop folks from continuing in their inconsiderate ways.

After all, there are likely to be many more of them around given that Tesla is aiming to produce 500,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2018.

Categories: Automotive