By on March 23, 2008

tesla-roadster.jpg Whatever else you can say about the aspiring electric vehicle (EV) maker– and we've said plenty during the previous thirty-nine installments– you can never accuse Tesla Motors of humility. Before they've delivered a single car to a single paying customer, Tesla is now talking about European sales. Innovation Beat carries the glad tidings. "We have always wanted to distribute in Europe, but with the low dollar we are going to move quicker,” says Darryl Siry, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Service at Tesla. “The introduction date for the Roadster in Europe will be announced in a couple of months.” Will that be that before or after the White Star sedan EV prototype hits the streets? Meanwhile, Wired reports that Siry was equally vague about the delivery date for the second "production" Tesla Roadster. "The factory turns out 'gliders,' or rolling chassis without drivetrains. The cars will be shipped — Siry said he imagines [Tesla founder Martin] Eberhard's car will be flown — to San Francisco for final assembly. Every Roadster will have its battery pack, transmission and motor installed in San Carlos. 'The whole process before they're passed to sales takes a couple of weeks,' Siry said, and Eberhard will probably get his car in April.'" Probably? 

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12 Comments on “Tesla Birth Watch 40: European Sales! Customer Deliveries! Maybe....”

  • avatar

    Jay Leno’s got a video up on his site of a “customer car” from Tesla. No mention is made if this is his car, or a company demo model, or…

    I wonder if this is really a true customer car, or just a friendly demo. I’ll admit that I’d like to see Tesla deliver what they’ve been promising — so would the initial deposit holders, I’m sure.

  • avatar

    I don’t see the problem here. Vaporware is easy to export — hell, you can email it — so transportation costs are low. And there’s no need to worry about complying with European emissions and crash standards if you just take their deposits and don’t ship anything back in return. Sounds like a great idea to me!

  • avatar

    Does anyone out there believe this concept is ingenious? Especially if they don’t have to make a profit, yet.

    6,800 lithium cells? Elongated Lotus Elise chassis? Maybe 200 miles on a charge?

    This car and these people are pioneers.

  • avatar


    I heard the same words spoken about Malcolm Bricklin, so I say this about Tesla, “I will believe it when I see it”.

  • avatar

    Well, it is a different Tesla from the one I rode in last fall. And as Leno says, the torque is truly awesome, as is the handling. But when Musk talks about 3 hour recharges and home extension cords in the same breath, I don’t think they go together. When I rode in the thing, after they were done giving buyers test drives (3-4 of them got to drive it that morning) they had it charging with some rather impressive charger that was connected to the car with a rather impressive cable, and the sound was, uh, heavy metal, sort of like some of the sounds you hear when you’re getting an MRI.

    Musk makes putting the things together sound easy, which makes me wonder what the hold-up is.

  • avatar

    This weekend I spotted a Tesla driving on 280.
    I was doing about 80 MPH and that Tesla was VERY fast passing me.
    So, at least one exists and somebody was having fun with it…

  • avatar

    Why stop there! They should start to non-export vehicles to Asia, South America, and Australia. They should non-deliver to customers far and wide.

  • avatar

    Even better, Antarctica. We could get Greenpeace to donate money for Tesla deposits for penguins. After all, the penguins won’t be able to tell the difference between a vapor Tesla and a real one.

  • avatar

    Penguins could tell the dif. They just wouldn’t care.

  • avatar

    The car Jay Leno drove is obviously Elon Musk’s “P1” car. You will note it’s the same color as Musk’s car and you can see him watching over it like a hawk during the interview. I’m impressed that he allowed Jay to drive it without a minder inside.

    I was disappointed to notice that Elon and Jay really tried their best to blur this issue, with it being described as a production model and not the only one in the world. He seemed to be trying to imply to the world that there were plenty of production models to be found, and this was just one of them, even though that is not the case.

    I, too, was a little surprised by Musk’s pronouncement about being able to plug it in and go after three hours. That seems perilously close to fraud on his part, and it’s not even necessary – the target audience for the car will be more than happy to set up special power arrangements for it, including solar panels.

    Since these lies are so obvious and trivial to prove wrong, it seems amazing that he would attempt to make them.

    I miss Martin Eberhard. As far as I know he has never lied to us and always tried to be as honest and transparent as he could be. The Musk era’s use of transparent untruths in publicity about the car has me genuinely worried.

    As I have said before, delivery times don’t particularly worry me, because anything this complex is going to have delays and unanticipated problems. As long as you are straight about delivery problems, most people stick with you. I have confidence that the cars will eventually be delivered and that they will please their customers.

    But somehow I sense that a lot of the life and enthusiasm left the effort when Martin Eberhard was pushed out. I think Elon and Martin should have patched up their differences somehow.

    And I hope someone writes a book about this. The whole story deserves to be told.

    On the other hand, I’m happy to see that Jay Leno genuinely was having a blast. The car looks like it was genuinely great. I look forward to hearing what Martin has to say about it on his blog.


  • avatar

    David Dennis, I don’t understand why Elon’s claims were close to fraud. You plug it in and after three hours it is charged and you go?

    It is a pity that Martin is not there but Tesla will continue regardless.

    I think it is amazing that a startup can do what it has done. There will always be someone to shout them down no matter how many cars they make. These people will complain no matter what.

  • avatar

    Skid, in answer to your question, he said that you just had to plug it in to a standard outlet.

    To get the three hour time you actually have to plug it into a range-style (220 volt) outlet, which few people will have available in their garage.

    The real problem in making this claim is not the garage outlet, which can be obtained at basically trivial cost.

    The problem is that if you are elsewhere (say a hotel), you almost certainly cannot plug into the kind of power needed to recharge the car fully by the time you need to continue your journey.

    By the way, what happened to Birth Watch 41? We lept straight from 40 to 42, which makes me wonder …


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