By on January 21, 2008

v526566ludcvbja.jpg"The two big questions in my opinion is [are?] whether they have or can get the technology, especially in the battery arena, to pull this off… The second thing that seems questionable is that they will be able to manufacture a car in the volumes that they are talking about." No, that's not TTAC talking about Tesla or Volt. That's Tesla's Daryl Siry trash talking Henrik Fisker's Karma electric car, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show. In what sounds like a classic case of "if you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up" he gives Fiskar a right royal pasting in his Horseless Age blog. Speaking from experience, Siry points out "Designing and integrating the battery pack alone is going to be a very big undertaking." Then he takes Fisker to task for "already quoting a price and taking reservations on a car that isn't even in drivable prototype phase" (a la Tesla). After pointing out that Jalopnik's wrong, wrong, wrong about the demise of their WhiteStar project, Siry admits he's learned that "there is a long road between here and there." We suggest Siry contemplate the even larger space between his company's hype and on-the-ground reality.

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19 Comments on “Tesla Birth Watch 27: Daryl Siry’s Bad Karma...”


  • avatar
    crackers

    Reality bites! At least the boys at Tesla are starting to publicly admit the truth (“there is a long road between here and there.”).

  • avatar

    gosh I’m honored to be linked to on TTAC ;). By the way – regarding the expanse between hype and reality, all of the major magazines will be publishing their reviews of the car in the coming weeks. The web embargo is released on Wednesday so you can at least see what they think about the car. That being said, we need to get the car into series production and in customer hands before the gap is fully closed.

  • avatar

    siry:

    all of the major magazines will be publishing their reviews of the car in the coming weeks.

    Independent reviews of a non-production Tesla Roadster! I can’t wait. Do they test battery recharge time and range? Are they testing the car with the transmission that you’re going to swap out later?

    That being said, we need to get the car into series production and in customer hands before the gap is fully closed.

    Yes, well, there is that. So… when will that be? C’mon Siry; put someone else’s money where you mouth is. When will you begin customer deliveries?

  • avatar

    Robert – the cars they drive are very close to production intent. Closer than most long lead cars when testing in the mags. The transmission in the car they drive at length is the same we will go into early production with. The schedule for that is being firmed up right now and we will communicate it to customers (and the public) very soon (like in the next week or so)

    Several of the testers did take note of mileage and state of charge and comment on whether our claims are credible. 4 out of 5 did acceleration testing for 0-60 and quarter mile. One tested on dry ground and the others on wet roads.

    Nobody cares much about charge time because it isn’t very controversial and pretty boring. There won’t be any surprises there.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Much ado about nothing: it’s a battle royale of the vaporware green luxo-sedans, fiberglass vs. PR hot air. Can/will Henrik Fisker deliver a PHEV? There’s a lot of hush-hush about the powertrain, some Delta Force mumbo jumbo over on Jalopnik.

    Will Tesla run out of money before fulfilling their advance orders? I read somewhere that the millions invested far exceeds the expected profit margin on production run of pre-ordered Roadsters. Major uh-oh. And the worst for Daryl & company: what about Tesla’s investors if the Fisker Karma actually succeeds? I would think they’re going to want a return on their investment, except Tesla would have to make a lot more cars, never mind just getting a few cars. Methinks they weren’t expecting much competition in the $50k+ ultra-green segment and that the anticipated success of the roadster would clear the way for unfortunately named Whitestar’s domination.

    As someone pointed out on Jalopnik (I think), the White Star Line almost a hundred years ago had a tugboat knock over an ice cube, or something along those lines.

  • avatar
    Brendon from Canada

    Glad to see some banter from someone @ Tesla. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t followed the Tesla story too closely (just here on TTAC, some ex-CEO blogging and Tesla’s own web stuff and unofficial owners forums). While the owners sound delusional for the most part (typical of most forums for cars that aren’t yet in production), I’d say the Tesla roadster is far from “vaporware” the way most other EVs seem to be…

    Siry – I’ll be looking with interest to see an annoucement from Tesla in the next couple of weeks; I’m glad to see you commenting here. I hope we’re in for something definitive – while the roadster is a bit outside my financial reach right now (at least without being beat over the head by my wife), I’d seriously consider one in the coming years.

    Of course, I’ll probably get the spin from TTAC and will suitably blast away if it’s just more hype with no substance…

  • avatar

    Siry, You’re skirting over the transmission, delivery and the recharge issues– none of which is “boring” to, at the least, me. So… 1. Did the press test the “temporary transmission” that Tesla has decided to use until you can swap it out for a new one? If so, will the “real” unit be available? Who makes the temporary transmission? 2. Did the press test the Roadster’s recharge times or not? If so, how long did it take? 3. So you can’t even tell us when you’re going to tell us when a production-ready Roadster will be ready? Why not? 4. When can TTAC test the car, as you promised before? Our man in LA is ready to go.

  • avatar

    Robert

    1. Yes, the press tested the single speed xtrac transmission which will be used in the early production cars. They also tested the two speed transmissions that are not yet ready for production. We don’t have a date for the final transmission yet (we will announce when it is firm)

    2. No, they did not. They could have if they wanted to.

    3. No, because we always announce these things first to our customers, then to the press. You will see something very soon. I won’t scoop myself here.

    4. Because I don’t think TTAC has been objective enough. (uh oh, I better duck before the flame hits me)

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    Siry:
    4. Because I don’t think TTAC has been objective enough. (uh oh, I better duck before the flame hits me)

    If you let TTAC drive a car and it works as you advertise, I bet you would have a lot of support from this website.

    If you are afraid that TTAC will find a lot of bugs and deficiencies that you would rather hide, then you are doing the smart thing.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Speaking of EV roadsters with a single-speed transmission, anyone know what’s going on with the Venturi Fétish? It was announced back in 2002, and there are some nice sales videos on YouTube, and…that’s it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Nobody cares much about charge time because it isn’t very controversial and pretty boring.

    I have to agree. It must be boring as all hell, driving around a strange town trying to find an electrical outlet, and then waiting several hours to recharge the thing. Doesn’t exactly put the “road” in “road trip.”

    Sounds as if driving a Tesla will require an abundance of downtime. I can only hope that a magazine rack is provided as standard equipment.

  • avatar
    pfingst

    Siry:
    4. Because I don’t think TTAC has been objective enough. (uh oh, I better duck before the flame hits me)

    Or worse, they might be too objective and fail to gush over the “green machine” the way the rest of the press has.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    Siry why was there not a Tesla showing at the Detroit Auto Show?

    4. Because I don’t think TTAC has been objective enough.

    And the correct objectiveness would be believing what Tesla says just because they say it without backing it up.

  • avatar

    @redbarchetta

    simple answer is it is really f-in expensive. We shouldn’t be spending our money on that since we have people who have paid for cars and we haven’t yet delivered them. We were only at LA and SF (and more recently Montreal) because we were able to do so for free.

    I don’t necessarily expect people to believe what we say without backing it up, that’s why I offered the first five test drives to all the large buff mags. They are by no means boosters, especially Csaba at Car and Driver and Angus at Motor trend.

    TTAC has a different style and point of view and I get that. Heck, I comment here more than any other car blog these days. However, given the nature of TTAC I would rather wait for a production car for TTAC to review. I’m sure many of our customers are fans and will lend TTAC the car.

  • avatar

    siry : However, given the nature of TTAC I would rather wait for a production car for TTAC to review. So, how long will that be? Oh sorry. Right. Customers first. THEN the media. 'Cause shhhh. It's a secret! Either that or you don't know, and don't want us to know you don't know. Or you do know, but worry that if you commit to a time line, you'll find yourself unable to satisfy those expectations. As you have several times before.  Meanwhile and in any case, I guess our collective desire to find out the truth about your Roadster– rather than simply repeating your unsubstantiated (and changing) performance and delivery claims– renders this website and its supporters “biased.” More to the point, Siry, if you don’t think TTAC is more willing to call a spade a spade than a magazine that depends on advertising revenue from car manufacturers for its survival, magazines with a long and ongoing history of pulling their punches for that very reason, you may be visiting TTAC, but you’re not paying attention. In fact, your excuse for not fulfilling your promise to us– now there's a trend– is patently ridiculous. If you’d said we’re too small, well, fair enough. But to claim that TTAC lacks sufficient objectivity to render judgment on your car– in a forum where you have the immediate right to reply– is a slur against the site, our reviewers and our readers’ intelligence.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I am gravely disappointed that Siry hasn’t been forthcoming in public or here.

    As for announcements, I think Siry should probably acquaint himself with the laws and regulations regarding Fair Disclosure to the investing public.

    I don’t think one can (legally) announce “only” to customers before to the press without breaking the rules (and maybe the law). Look up Sarbanes-Oxley for more on this.

    But beyond that, to me, the rejection of TTAC’s review accompanied by the “slam” against TTAC’s supposed lack of objectivity raises a stink worse than last week’s fish.

    It makes me MORE suspicious of the product’s viability and readiness, not less. And that is why I am very disappointed.

  • avatar

    ZoomZoom – Reg FD and SOX is for public companies. We are private. We don’t have public disclosure requirements.

  • avatar

    What will drop first, a Tesla Roadster or a Wagoner deadlines for GM profitability?

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    siry wrote:

    ZoomZoom – Reg FD and SOX is for public companies. We are private. We don’t have public disclosure requirements.

    I stand corrected then.

    But if you really want to play with the “big boys,” why not use the same rulebook?

    Note: I did NOT say use the same playbook.


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