By on February 7, 2008

roadster-motor.jpgIf you can't get the whole car to market, sell the pieces. At least that's what Tesla's thinking these days. According to CNET, Tesla is expected to announce that they will sell drivetrain components (presumably excluding transmissions) and software to other companies interested in developing their own electric car. Chairman Elon Musk (who already has his Roadster even if no paying customer does) indicated that Tesla might start peddling their technology by 2010 "or earlier." In addition to parting-out the Roadster, in an interview during this week's Clean Tech Investor Summit in Indian Wells, California, Musk also revealed that Tesla was trying to finish a styling prototype of their sedan (code named "Whitestar") in the second quarter. He suggested a working prototype would be "possible" by the end of the year. Based on Tesla's present nomenclature convention, "Tesla Sedan" seems the likely name for their unlikely machine.

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12 Comments on “Tesla Birth Watch 33: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow...”

  • avatar

    Just thinking about laws of unintended consequences, and since my paycheck is generated by a very power-intensive business…

    Like the thought of BioFuels cannibalizing the food chain, won’t electric cars just shift the problem off oil and onto the grid? The amounts of power it will take to equate what petroleum provides is astounding, and electrical power is not really that cheap, or easy. Electricity is a fine tool, but portability has never been one of its strong points.

    Just thinking out loud here…


  • avatar


    It is far more efficient–like 2.5 times more, roughly–to generate electric power at a combustion plant, and run a car with that, than to run the car directly on liquid fuel.

    Furthermore, collecting solar energy via PVs, wind, or ocean tech is far less land intensive than collecting fuel via plants. For every molecule of CO2 that they fix, a land plant has to suck up roughly 500 water molecules.

  • avatar

    Tesla doesn’t make the electric motor or the batteries or the transmission or the car body. What parts are they going to “part out?”

    To Chuck,
    An additional advantage to electrical cars is that you can use a wider variety of fuels. The USA has a lot of coal. As environmentally dangerous as coal is, we’ll be burning a lot of it when oil prices get sufficiently high.

  • avatar

    are they going to build the ‘Tesla SUV’, ‘Tesla minivan’ and the ‘Tesla wagon’ later on? They need to give the cars real names. None of that XRTG32 type name either…

  • avatar

    Chuck, no, absolutely not – if we ever did get to a feasible battery for a vehicle like this, it’d be a godsend, because a lot of power generation works inefficiently when only used at peak times. Nuclear power plants, for instance, run best at the same load all the time – which doesn’t work well on the demand side. Meanwhile, a lot of wind power actually comes in highest at night, too.

    Electric companies would LOVE to be able to sell more power at night – if we actually had feasible variable pricing now at the consumer end, you’d get a huge discount for it.

  • avatar

    Well, in Texas we are building wind farms at a really big rate. We just announced a project to add two more reactors to the South Texas Nuclear Project southwest of Houston. Solar is getting a good look down here as well.

    We are into large distances here, but we are going to have the power I think. How about you guys?

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity


    You know you live in Texas when you measure distance in time, not miles.

  • avatar

    Virtual Insanity:

    People do that in Southern California as well.

  • avatar

    Electric companies would LOVE to be able to sell more power at night – if we actually had feasible variable pricing now at the consumer end, you’d get a huge discount for it.

    The technology IS there for variable pricing. And the capital cost is reasonable – wireless meters are now standard.

    However, to make it really work, you’d need some big changes in consumer billing and mentality – such as large monthly discounts for using minimal power on peak summer heat events. The problem: that sort of billing becomes POLITICAL. There’s a huge entitlement mentality when it comes to getting electricity at fixed rates. And many people (and politicians) would work tirelessly to prevent the guy down the street from getting a ‘better deal’.

  • avatar

    I would love to buy power at variable pricing. We are getting hit hard here in our all-electric California home because our pricing per KWH goes UP as you use more. Kind of counter-intuitive as it is inverse volume pricing. Supposedly this was needed to deal with the Enron pricing scandal years ago, but oddly enough it has never gone away.

    In the winter I’m paying a premium price to keep our home warm enough in the night (around 60 degrees) and then on sunny days, which is most of them, the heat doesn’t run during the day. But, I pay a premium for using electric heat.

    I suppose I could install a propane furnace, but isn’t that going backwards from a macro-environmental point of view? The propane would have to be delivered by truck to a big tank in the yard, which I’m not crazy about having.

  • avatar

    I am thinking about putting PV on the roof. I’d consider it worthwile if it could pay for the house air conditioning during hot sunny months (which is most of the year).

    Potential Problems:

    1. Panel anchoring mechanisms can interferes with roofing structure.

    2. If not properly anchored (and/or in SPITE of proper anchoring), PV panels can become giant wings in hurricanes.

  • avatar


    I’m a little late to the game here, but Elon is a paying customer. He didn’t even get a discount. No one does.

    Also – the idea of selling drivetrain components and integration services has been part of our business plan for many years. It’s a profitable business and there are many OEMs wanting to do business with us on that front.

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