Why Warren Buffett Missed the Tesla Train: Elon Musk’s Perspective

In the ever-evolving landscape of investments and visionary business moves, one can’t help but ponder the what-ifs. Elon Musk, the maverick mind behind Tesla and SpaceX, recently mused on the opportunity that Warren Buffett seemingly let slip through his fingers. Musk contends that Buffett should have seized the chance to invest in Tesla when it was a mere fraction of its current value.

The Missed Opportunity

“Too bad he didn’t invest in Tesla when it was 0.1% of today’s value lol,” Musk quipped in response to an analysis by George Mack. Mack, a purveyor of the finest 0.1% of ideas, videos, and articles, highlighted a tantalizing hypothetical scenario. If Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had entered the Tesla scene when its market capitalization was less than $700 million, the investment could have been a game-changer.

Crunching the Numbers

Let’s indulge in a bit of speculation. If Buffett had allocated $70 million for a 10% stake in Tesla, that position would now be a staggering $70 billion, assuming no dilution. Musk had previously revealed that Berkshire had the chance to snag a slice of Tesla for under $200 million back in 2008. A small investment then could have snowballed into astronomical returns, considering Tesla’s meteoric rise to a peak market cap of over $1.2 trillion in November 2021.

The BYD Divergence

Buffett’s investment choices, however, led him down a different path. In 2008, instead of placing his bets on the budding electric vehicle giant, Berkshire Hathaway poured $232 million into Chinese EV maker BYD. While Tesla soared, BYD’s value skyrocketed to over $7 billion by early 2021, showcasing Buffett’s uncanny ability to spot opportunities in the electric vehicle realm.

The Warren Buffett-Musk Dynamics

Despite the apparent divergence in investment strategies, Musk and Buffett have engaged in a series of verbal jabs and compliments over the years. Musk acknowledges Buffett’s prowess in investing, even if he might not be the Oracle of Omaha’s biggest fan. Buffett, in turn, has lauded Musk for navigating the turbulent waters of the automotive industry and tackling global challenges head-on.

The Value Investor vs. The Visionary

It’s essential to recognize the contrasting approaches of these two financial titans. Buffett, the epitome of a value investor, gravitates towards stability, predictability, and proven profitability. Musk, on the other hand, thrives on disruptive innovation and solving some of the world’s most pressing issues, even if it means teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, as he candidly admits.


In the intricate dance of investments and missed opportunities, the Tesla saga stands out as a beacon of what could have been. Musk’s reflection on Buffett’s potential involvement in Tesla’s early days adds a fascinating layer to the narrative of these two icons. While the paths they chose diverged, the impact of their decisions echoes through the corridors of financial history.

One can’t help but wonder if Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, with its focus on predictability, could have weathered the storm of Tesla’s early challenges and emerged on the other side with a stake in the electric vehicle revolution. As the financial world continues to evolve, the what-ifs and missed opportunities serve as poignant reminders of the delicate balance between traditional value investing and the audacious vision that propels industries into the future.


Warren Buffett
Elon Musk
Tesla investment
Berkshire Hathaway
Tesla market cap
Value investing
Electric vehicle revolution
Financial history
Investment strategies
BYD investment
Visionary innovation
Missed opportunities in investing
Financial titans
Market capitalization
Tesla’s meteoric rise
Financial decisions
Investing in disruptive industries
Financial dynamics
Oracle of Omaha
Tesla’s early challenges
Tesla stock
SpaceX CEO
Market trends
Financial insights
Investment perspectives
Business analysis

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