The rush of new entrants hoping to emulate Tesla and join the EV market has thrown a spotlight onto the main problem for any fledgling car brand: How do you build vehicles from scratch while avoiding Tesla's well-publicized "production hell"?
The dilemma is one that Apple is grappling with now as it searches for the best way to launch its much talked about -- but still officially unannounced -- autonomous electric car.
Apple has had success with its contract manufacturing model for devices such as the iPhone, outsourcing production to Taiwan's Foxconn. The IT giant is reportedly exploring the same route with established automakers.
Other automotive startups, however, are tearing up the rulebook to approach vehicle manufacturing in a completely different way.
UK EV van startup Arrival, for example, has persuaded the U.S. stock market to put a high valuation on its company partly because of its plan to establish a network of microfactories: low-volume, low-expenditure assembly halls that reduce the break-even capacity to manageable levels.
At the same time, automakers themselves are grappling with the need to reduce their own fixed costs and boost profits but without having to close plants, which is expensive and politically damaging.
The opportunity for collaborating, therefore, has never been easier or more pressing. But can the traditional system of mass production that was pioneered in the early 20th century by Ford Motor really be disrupted?