Tech stocks smoked, Nvidia tumbles 10% to cap worst week of the year

If an autonomous future was one pillar supporting Tesla’s (TSLA) “Magnificent” market valuation, an electric car cheap enough for most families was the other.

But changes from inside the company and from outside forces are swiftly complicating that vision.

Tesla’s stock price is predicated in part on mass-market EVs and leading the paradigm shift in how most of the country gets around.

But sky-high costs for autos — and especially EVs — have dampened consumer demand and extended any timelines for adoption.

While governments are set on steering society toward the electric transition, legacy automakers are recalibrating the timing as they adjust to the waning demand. Several big players, including Ford (F) and General Motors (GM), have recently scaled back their EV plans, while others are relying on hybrid vehicles to start the shift.

Just as competitors are leaning into cheaper hybrids and better-selling gas models, Tesla appears to be pivoting away from its long-anticipated entry-level EV and entrenching its position as a luxury automaker.

At the same time, resources for the affordable Model 2 EV project have now been allocated to a farfetched robotaxi plan.

Against an increasingly pessimistic backdrop, the Model 2 was meant to be a shimmering answer to Tesla’s short-term woes. But without a daring entry-level vehicle to reinvigorate Tesla’s financials, the company’s challenges seem less temporary. For some analysts and investors, Tesla doesn’t have a future without the Model 2.

The idea of driving without human intervention has played a crucial part in Tesla’s tech-juiced growth story. But what if it’s the only part?

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