Here's Why Tesla Motors Might Be Better Off Without CEO Elon Musk

In several ways, electric-car maker Tesla Motors  (TSLA) is actually rather similar to social-media giant Facebook.

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Both have been pioneers in their industries, presenting exciting technology to rabid fan bases. And both have made innovations that are capable of changing the world for the better.

However, the biggest similarities lie in the companies' charismatic leadership. In fact, both companies occasionally seem to be teetering on the edge of becoming cults of personality.

Both Tesla's Elon Musk and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg are as ubiquitous as their brands. And these outspoken and opinionated executives are perceived as visionaries.

Where their visions lead them, however, is another story.

This year, Zuckerberg opened Facebook's F8 developer conference with outlines for his 10-year plan. He envisions his social-media site and its associated applications as practically revolutionizing the world, facilitating conversations and communication among people in all pockets of the globe.

Musk has big plans, too, unveiling his master plan last week.

But whereas Zuckerberg's plans were met with cheers, Musk is drawing criticism and skepticism, primarily because he said that his plans will take tens of billions of dollars to carry out.

Musk's grand schemes include significantly expanding Tesla's vehicle line, as well as building "stunning solar roofs," which will, of course, require that Tesla merge with SolarCity. But he has been vague as to how much capital will need to be raised for the projects, let alone how the company will get the cash.

Tesla's firebrand chief executive hinted at the enormous cost necessary after giving a tour of the company's under-construction battery factory.

The factory itself is vital to Tesla's intention of producing 500,000 cars, including the upcoming Model 3 sedan, by 2018. Not only will construction need to be completed by the end of this year to meet that goal, but the facility will already need to be cranking out batteries.

This and other events has investors nervous.

The company has come under fire for the fatal Florida car crash that its self-driving mode failed to prevent. In addition, a top manufacturing executive recently jumped ship for Facebook.

And Mobileye, the company that makes the chips and software for Tesla's self-driving car technology, recently said that it will end its partnership with the company at the close of the third quarter.

But though Zuckerberg inspires confidence among Facebook's investors and partners, Musk seems to have the opposite effect.

Although Tesla has the potential to be a true game-changer in the entire alternative-energy world, that possibility seems like it would exclude Musk at the helm, as his master plan seems unlikely.

Investors should avoid this stock and its front man.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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