Russ Ward

Modular Elevators Outperform Tesla

Okay so the headline might be a little hyperbolic and admittedly trying grab some attention. But, modular elevators are clearly gaining ground over Tesla regarding their respective market shares.

With market share as the measure regarding elevators purchased in the United States, modular elevators are at around 2%. And we are growing, according to our own internal numbers where modular elevator sales are compared to elevators sold annually, on average, domestically.

Tesla, on the other hand, can’t touch 2% of total US car sales. January to December, 2019 numbers indicate a paltry 1.3% of market share. So do modular elevators outperform Tesla? Yes! Yet the flashy electric vehicle (EV) is all the rage and modular elevators remain on the sideline in many people’s minds.

Why? Why is one product hot as a baked potato fresh out of the oven and the other fights tooth and nail for any market recognition at all? This is despite modular elevators, especially from MEM being superior to others.


Well part of that is familiarity. Electric cars have been around forever. That’s right electric cars were first produced in the US around 130 years ago. In the 1890’s William Morrison’s electrified wagon was first produced.

It rattled to life with 4 horsepower and traveled at a scintillating 6 to 12 miles per hour. Shockingly, that is only a few miles per hour slower than the average person runs. Of course Usain Bolt easily doubles the juiced up wagons top speed. And I’m guessing the 12 mph estimate was downhill with a stiff breeze helping the effort. However, the public was overwhelmingly accepting of electric cars. By the turn of that century, New Yorkers could even ride in electrified bliss with dozens of electric horseless carriages operating as taxi cabs.

But, that first burst of energy for the industry was not to last. The electric car business took a shock to the system when Henry Ford introduced a mass produced car that was affordable with an internal combustion engine. Electricity as a mode of transportation was out for the time being and the result was the world turned to dirty old gasoline to keep moving.

But that did not keep people from continuing to experiment with the EV. It was always being toyed with and more so when oil and gas prices spike. Familiarity is a benefit.

Much like the electric car, modular elevators have been around longer than you may suspect. Since the passage of the Americans with Disability Act, inventive Americans have been looking for a fast, simple way to make buildings more accessible to everyone. The modular elevator industry was born.

By design in a matter of days a modular unit could be set and started up on the inside or outside a building. That is because in simplest terms it is a hoistway with all of the elevator components already inside ready to go. They are easy to purchase, put in place and exactly like any other commercial elevator (they use the same parts).

Modular elevators have not been around as long as electric cars, but have been around since President Bush signed the ADA into law…the first Bush. That means the manufacturing technology for modular elevators is older than DVDs, the PlayStation, Google and Tickle Me Elmo. We have been around for a while.

Show Me the Money!

Since we are in the 90’s, a second reason Tesla is seemingly in the forefront of people’s minds is the overall governmental investment in their technology. To quote Cuba Gooding Jr. from the movie Jerry Maguire “Show me the money!”

First, let me say that this is not a slight against Elon Musk and his pals. Hey, if the government wants to throw tons of money at you, the best suggestion is to get as big a basket as you can find. But, the money filling the air for the EV industry is staggering and some consider it to be obscene. According to a 2017 report the federal government is forking over 15 to 20 billion to the electric car industry in subsidies. States then kick in another 400 to 500 million. That’s US dollars not Indonesian rupiahs.

Tesla’s or Musk’s cut of the subsidy pie has been a bone of contention for critics and apologists alike. Some say he and his companies have gotten upwards of 4.9 billion from government coffers and others argue less. But no one disputes that the government is cutting a massive amount of checks to help the industry. And don’t worry about Elon’s future or his bank account going down there is more…much more to come in the form of government paid for charging stations. You can’t have electric cars if you can’t charge them. This makes Musk’s machine marketable. Without government paid for charging stations who would want one?

All I want to know as a US taxpayer is where’s my thank you note? Elon owes me one. I will be waiting by my mail box with fingers crossed.

Subsidies do not exist for the modular elevator business. We have benefited from the ADA law, no doubt. It was the catalyst for the industry. But propping up new elevator technology was never the point. ADA was to provide access to people who need it. You will find MEM elevators in a growing number of government building projects as well, but no one gets a payout from Uncle Sam when they choose our product over another. That is unlike what happens when you choose an electric a car over one that runs on say, biofuels, hydrogen or natural gas.

The tons of money and government support pouring into Tesla means more people pay attention to the business and as unwilling investors (through our taxes) we find ourselves at least interested. I understand the green future argument, but modular elevators are green too. Where do you draw the line?

Too Sexy for Tesla

Lastly, modular elevators have to fight for recognition because don’t have the same sex-appeal or curb-appeal as a Tesla. Sexy is not a term that jumps out at you when you think about modular or elevators. Modular elevators are just like any other type of commercial elevator that you find in office buildings, multi-family complexes, hotels, hospitals and schools. The design is usually more about being utilitarian. Sure there are a few really cool elevators out there (check out my elevator bucket list ). But elevators are not usually sleek and impressive or can capture the imagination like a fancy-schmancy sports car.

The modular elevator gives freedom to create.

Yes, we love it when we have the opportunity to stretch our creative legs with a great designer or architect, like with the elevator pictured. But mostly we design and build very nice looking elevators that match the building they are in. Above all they have to be very functional and live up to the rigors of constant use, which they do.

Elevators are also stationary objects. You don’t see one on the road zipping around; of course unless we are delivering one that day on the flatbed trailer of a semi. So elevators are less visible. That’s why Willy Wonka (1 or 2) was last time one was featured in a major motion picture.

One thing for sure when they are delivered and craned into place, it is very impressive. Let’s see Tesla compete with that, sexy or not.

Wrapping It All Up

We are kicking Elon Musk’s pants and winning big! And that is despite not have as long a pedigree, as much money thrown at it by the government and the elevator being usually designed for efficiency and not looks. But, that should not keep you from wanting one for your next project because the one thing that Tesla and Modular Elevator Manufacturing have in common is they are the future. That is why both companies are growing leaps and bounds.

If you are the least bit curious and have a project in mind that needs an elevator, click the button below and let the future for you start today. Or of course please contact us with any questions you have about how quality MEM elevators can take you to a higher level.

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2 thoughts on “Modular Elevators Outperform Tesla

  1. Diane C

    I got forwarded this because Elon Musk was under attack and might find it offensive I guess. I say get over it. This is meant to be humorous!!!!! Laugh a little!

  2. Scott Sanderson

    Ha Ha! Let me know when Elon sends your that thank you note. Russ you are killing me with the blogs!

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