By on May 13, 2008

tesla_roadster_crash_test02.jpgAuoblogGreen is at it again, doing whatever it can to support Tesla Motors in this, their decade of need. This time 'round, the tree hugger's favorite automotive website is trying to referee what the Brits call a "slanging match" between ousted Tesla founder Martin Eberhard and Tesla mouthpiece Darryl Siry re: Eberhard's Roadster. As in where the Hell is it? Is Eberhard's Roadster VIN number 2 or the second car produced or both or neither? What did the company promise him? Why did Tesla build VIN 3 and 4 first? Feel free to click over and get the "he said, she said" version. Suffice it to say, I couldn't give a shit. And I have a very hard time understanding why anyone would. The reason I'm blogging this: we still don't know whether or not to end this Birth Watch (and convert to Death Watch). Hard to believe, but Tesla hasn't announced a single "real" customer delivery. We've heard unconfirmed reports that Autoblog founder Jason Calacanis got his (so to speak). Tesla should either promote this fact or tell Calacanis to shut up, while Autobloggreen should focus on what's really going on (or not) at Tesla. IMHO.

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21 Comments on “Tesla Birth Watch 46: Eberhard Cat Fight Obscures Customer Delivery...”


  • avatar
    AKM

    What I wonder is how all those people are paid, if no one actually took delivery of a car? Are there enough idiots to still have their deposits out, and are those refundable?

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    From the sound of it, VIN 3 was produced from a prototype vehicle and may have been delivered or is sitting in the dealership. VIN 2 does not exist and VIN 4 is somewhere in Europe and of indefinite origins.

    Considering this production is taking place at a Lotus facility with Lotus employees who likely know a thing or two about producing a car, there is very little other than major technical difficulties to explain the 0 customer vehicles that have been produced since J1 in March.

  • avatar
    steronz

    From Siry’s blog last week:

    “Since I inevitably get these questions, I should offer the update that VIN F003 has been delivered to its owner. VIN F002, which is reserved by co-founder Martin Eberhard, is soon to be shipped to the states. It had to stick around for a while because our quality team replaced the roof panel to improve the fit and seal and since the custom paint job involves the roof we couldn’t send it over and then send the roof later.”

  • avatar

    steronz: “Since I inevitably get these questions, I should offer the update that VIN F003 has been delivered to its owner…” Is it me, or does that sound like, “Since I’ve always got to deal with this shit…?" Is Darryl as fed-up as some/most its erstwhile customers? If it’s true that Tesla has finally delivered its first car to an actual honest-to-God customer, why aren’t they shouting it from the rooftop of their swanky LA dealership? Even if the owner wants anonymity, the fact of the matter is extremely significant. Perhaps Tesla doesn’t want to receive a flood of phone calls of the “where the Hell is MY car” variety. Either that or they're lying.

  • avatar
    doug

    Shouldn’t this be Birth Watch 47?
    I think Jason Calcanis borrowed Elon Musk’s car (P1). Calcanis hasn’t yet received his own car (and probably won’t for a while yet).
    They’re probably not too vocal about the delivery of VIN F003 because of this very controversy. Everyone expected Eberhard to get the second car.
    Also the first 24 or so cars are what they call the Founders’ Series (hence the F in the VIN). These cars go mainly to primary investors in the company. VIN F003 went to someone from eBay. I’d expect the Google guys are probably next. I’m guessing these people don’t fit your definition of an “actual honest-to-God customer.”
    At any rate, it’s nice to see some progress and I’m rooting for Tesla to succeed.

  • avatar
    lewissalem

    Maybe they’re fighting over the existing cars because there’s only going to be four of them.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Good for them. I hope to hear about VINF004 – VINF300 soon…

    If I ever see one of those Teslas on the streets here in small town TN I’ll like rubberneck myself right into a ditch.

    Am anxious for EVs to reach our streets in number. I think they are a great short distance solution.

  • avatar

    My bet is on what lewissalem says.

    Speaking of bets, I have a bet with a depositor on a Tesla that he’ll never receive his car. Loser buys a Sushi dinner.

    –chuck
    http://chuck.goolsbee.org

  • avatar

    Why did the founder of the company order “custom paint” on the second f’ing unit built? I’m adding Eberhard to my list of people who I would punch in the face if I ever came across them in public.

    “It’s okay, Martin. You can have it however you want it. Our PAYING customers will just have to wait.”

    Sounds like their priorities are as solid as the Big 2.8.

    Speaking of which….can we add Tesla to the Big 2.8? Making it the Big 3.14159? Just like Pi. It’s circular…and it’s fitting.

  • avatar

    MgoBLUE, Martin did in fact pay for his car.

    If anyone deserves a Tesla, it’s Martin. He achieved the vision and was running his company with honesty, integrity and transparency. I really enjoyed the Tesla blog when Martin was in charge.

    Without Elon Musk’s funding, Tesla would not have been able to start, so the guy has his role, but some of the things he’s done, like try to pretend the Roadster charges on 110 volt power when it actually needs 220, are a little slimy for my taste. Nobody who buys a Tesla is going to worry about installing a 220 feed in his garage, which I think costs about $250, so his lie was pointless and stupid. Shabby things like that make me really miss the days of Martin.

    I don’t know what to think about P2 because Jeffrey Skoll, #3′s owner, agreed to accept a pre-production prototype and have it labelled #3. So theoretically Martin’s car is the second “production” model and Jeffrey actually has a car older than Martin’s.

    I don’t think Martin would have any trouble selling his car since as his car designed and built specially for the founder, it has a special cachet. So in a sense he really has nothing to be grumpy about, and in a sense he does since it looks like Tesla is prioritizing his car way down, which is not fair. After all, we’re up to #4 at least and that’s looking to be delivered to a customer about the same time as Martin’s.

    And I wonder how #4′s customer feels – his car was diverted to Europe to drum up business for more cars. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t strike me as something I would tolerate if I had been waiting patiently for over a year for #4.

    All in all, this saga seems like pretty shabby treatment of many customers and it may not bode well for the future.

    Why is Tesla working so hard on selling cars when its problem is that it can’t deliver cars, and any ears it sells are over a year away? I wouldn’t be doing any of this sales stuff right now. I would let buyers come to me.

    D

  • avatar
    minion444

    “doug :
    May 13th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Shouldn’t this be Birth Watch 47?
    I think Jason Calcanis borrowed Elon Musk’s car (P1). Calcanis hasn’t yet received his own car (and probably won’t for a while yet).”

    Calcanis, did infact borrow the car for 4 days. He gave an audio interview on a podcast and for 55 minutes gushed about how the car will change the world!!!

    The best proclamation was this. (I quote loosely)
    Since battery technology is getting better, when the batteries die in the Tesla at a 100k miles, you should and will want to replace the unit with better technology and more battery life.

    This works real well with laptops. Technology advances aevery 5 years, and you throw the sucker out, cause it sucks!

  • avatar

    They sure are strange about delivering cars.

    This forum post shows that Jeffery Skoll’s car has not been delivered – it’s in the dealership!

    What other company has customers who would tolerate this kind of thing?

    Does Skoll actually have his car yet?

    I believe Tesla Motors will eventually deliver cars but this kind of thing does not build confidence.

    D

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    “Why is Tesla working so hard on selling cars when its problem is that it can’t deliver cars, and any ears it sells are over a year away?”

    Because they are out of money and can’t deliver cars any faster.

  • avatar
    doug

    David Dennis, the Roadster can charge on 110V (via a wall plug even), it’s just at a MUCH slower rate than with the home charger. You’d only do this if you were in a bind or if you were gonna be parked for a while and had the opportunity to get some cheap electrons. The problem is when PR people use (at times purposefully) imprecise language that allows this kind of confusion.

    Car #4 belongs to a major investor. I’m sure he didn’t mind his car staying on the other side of the pond for a few days before flying to the US to get its drivetrain installed. Supposedly the European promotion landed quite a few new customers.

    # minion444 :
    May 13th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Calcanis, did infact borrow the car for 4 days. He gave an audio interview on a podcast and for 55 minutes gushed about how the car will change the world!!!

    The best proclamation was this. (I quote loosely)
    Since battery technology is getting better, when the batteries die in the Tesla at a 100k miles, you should and will want to replace the unit with better technology and more battery life.

    This works real well with laptops. Technology advances aevery 5 years, and you throw the sucker out, cause it sucks!

    Minion, I’m sure Calcanis meant that he’d replace the battery pack after 100K miles with whatever better battery technology Tesla is using at that time, not the whole car. Though, I do know people that replace their cars every 5 years regardless.

  • avatar
    pfingst

    Color me bored.

    Wake me when they are rolling off the line at the rate of several a day, not one a month.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    Minion, I’m sure Calcanis meant that he’d replace the battery pack after 100K miles with whatever better battery technology Tesla is using at that time, not the whole car. Though, I do know people that replace their cars every 5 years regardless.

    I think that Minion is saying that people had the same notion with laptops. Buy it now, and replace the battery in the future with a better battery. The reality is that people just throw out the laptop and buy a new one as the battery cost is a good portion of the cost of a new laptop.

    The same idea here. In 5 or 8 years, the cost of an electric car might be down to 25 or 30 thousand, while the cost of a new battery pack will be 8-10 thousand. Why fix up an old car.

  • avatar
    minion444

    Cavendel!

    Thanks! That is what I meant.

  • avatar

    Doug, that was my point – you could charge it on a 110 volt circuit but if my memory serves it would take 36 hours, not the three hours Elon Musk was claiming in the video.

    Oops.

    Looks like they are going to try for an IPO; this fellow just joined the board.

    D

  • avatar
    doug

    David Dennis, I get ya. It’s about 30 hours… the time depends on how much current you can pull from the outlet. I wrote about it in this post: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tesla-birth-watch-46-autobloggreen-hearts-roadster-bathroom/comment-page-1/#comment-421912

  • avatar
    doug

    Robert Farago :

    “Since I inevitably get these questions, I should offer the update that VIN F003 has been delivered to its owner…”

    Is it me, or does that sound like, “Since I’ve always got to deal with this shit…?” Is Darryl as fed-up as some/most its erstwhile customers?

    Robert,

    Though I typically disagree with the general stance that TTAC has towards the Tesla Roadster, and am confused by your usage of the word “erstwhile” (you seem to use it to mean “would be”), I too have wondered what you ask above.

    I’ve been perplexed by Siry’s handling of this matter, given that he’s a PR guy. He went so far as to make a dramatic exit from the Tesla Motors Club (TMC) forum in response to one of those “inevitable questions,” and TMC is essentially a fan site. The people there are no where near as harsh on Tesla as TTAC. So what gives, I wonder?

  • avatar
    doug

    That link didn’t seem to work the way it was supposed to. This might work better.


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