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But why is it taking so long? Given how profitable they are, and how much demand there is, and how much could be gained from scale-related cuts in unit production costs, why haven't they been able to raise enough money to produce at a closer rate to the bigger car makers?

Why the rush? Quality and proper execution take time. They are going to destroy the existing car industry, and they are doing the same with SpaceX to the space industry. Apple takes just as much time developing their products, and planning marketing launches, and preparing for increased future demand -- you just don't hear about it because they don't want you to for the 2-3+ years they are polishing everything.

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