By on January 11, 2011

From Tesla’s stand at the NAIAS. Ironic counterpoint after the jump.


It’s a good thing Elon and Tesla don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, because the only new product they brought to NAIAS is the body-in-white of the forthcoming Model S. One step at a time, Elon, one step at a time…

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76 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Count The Assumptions Edition...”


  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is it me or does this look like a Crosstour?

  • avatar
    Tree Trunk

    Can mine be a flying car?, thought they were the future.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Dumb quote, even dumber to bring nothing but the skeleton of the car that was supposed to be on sale by now.

    It’s more likely Tesla will be dead and buried long before the 2018 Chevy Suburban’s unveiling.

  • avatar

    hyperbole (on Elon’s part).

  • avatar
    Ironghost

    Reality, it’s always in the way of these types of things.

  • avatar
    John Fritz

    Who is ‘we’ Elon?

  • avatar
    Hank

    Preston Tucker of the new millennium?

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Tucker was actually, um, smart.

    • 0 avatar
      mdensch

      . . . and knew a thing or two about cars.

    • 0 avatar

      And actually produced cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Elon Musk has produced over 1500 cars; Tucker only made 51.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Given that the Roadster chassis came from Lotus, and the batteries are also bought in, it’s arguable whether Tesla has really “produced” ANY cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      +1 to Brian P.
       
      Until Musk builds and sells a car with an internally-developed chassis and powertrain (with both components primarily manufactured by Tesla) his automotive achievements are not comparable to Preston Tucker.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Brian P, bikegoesbaa:

      Tucker didn’t use his own engine; it was an airplane engine produced by Aircooled Motors.

      Tesla links nearly 7000 18650 lithium ion cells together to power the Roadster.  Developing the manufacturing techniques for that process is daunting, as is the power management, and meeting all of today’s safety requirements for such a drivetrain.  You guys make it sound like he’s using a car battery and a knife switch.

      Newsflash: Nobody produces their own batteries – not the Volt, and not the Leaf. They are all produced overseas, since very few manufacturers have the low labor rates needed, combined with high startup capital, supply lines, and conducive regulatory environment in which to produce them.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Japan doesn’t have low labor rates and Korea isn’t that cheap any more either. The reason that they are concentrated in the Far East is that the demand for batteries for the electronic industry is centered there and auto batteries are a development offshoot from those batteries

    • 0 avatar

      If building the major components of your cars is necessary to be considered a “producer” of cars, then Henry Ford didn’t produce any cars until 1914. Until then, the Dodge brothers supplied FoMoCo with finished rolling chassis. Ford just added bodies, wheels and a top. Many of the car companies in the first half of the 20th century relied on outside body suppliers like Budd, Briggs and Fisher. Continental supplied finished engines to a variety of automakers and GM sold hydramatic transmissions to other companies as well.
      Assembling cars from components supplied by others may be more the rule than the exception in the scope of automotive history.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    Well as soon as you can build a electric car that will get me to work on my 32 mile 70mph commute with the AC going and cost about 25,000 I’ll check it out.  In the mean time it’s just talk isn’t it?

  • avatar
    cfclark

    Nice sentiment, but unless every generating station on the planet is emissions-free (nuclear, hydro, solar, or geothermal, and I’m leaving aside the environmental effects that these also have), having every car on the road be an electric vehicle isn’t going to help the overall situation.

    • 0 avatar
      dhanson865

      http://www.youtube.com/user/fullychargedshow#p/a/u/0/YfTiRNzbSko watch from 6:01 to 8:23 and you’ll see that electric cars would improve the situation dramatically.

  • avatar
    Mr. Sparky

    *Or Until We Run Out of Suckers Investors

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I predict Elon will be caught on camera in a hotel room trying to finance his collapsing company with nose candy.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    The media lap up that unscientific BS. Expect Elon to be Time Man of The Year in December.

  • avatar

    At least he wasn’t talking about making jeeps electric, that’s a relief. Snark aside, it’s notable how nobody brought up SpaceX in this thread yet. It always happened quicker in the previous Tesla posts. Perhaps because SpaceX is an amazing success. Also, the magnitude of SpaceX’s achievements illustrates nicely how difficult it is to make cars.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s very easy to make a cost-no-object one-off.  It’s quite another to make a mass-market product that ends up in the hands of unwashed plebes.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @psar: SpaceX is ‘bound’ by a government contract to run deliveries to the ISS.  It’s not a ‘one-off’, and there is a price tag.
       
      What SpaceX has achieved is much harder than Tesla in terms of technology and salesmanship; the government doesn’t just let anybody send spaceships up to dock with their $100 Billion investment.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      @gslippy: I understand that, but you’re right that I was ignoring details to make a point—my bad.
       
      The point I was making is that consumer technology has to deal with issues of cost and maintenance (or lack thereof) that something like, well, a rocket, doesn’t have to deal with.

    • 0 avatar
      cugrad

      To call SpaceX a success, it would need to turn a profit after figuring in R&D costs.  It has not, and there is at least one quote out there were Musk basically admits the company isn’t about generating a profit.  So gov’ts have thrown money at space and launched things, and 50 years later Musk has thrown money at space and launched things.  How is that a success?

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @psar: FWIW, SpaceX could be profitable if they got into launching commercial satellites.  Manned space travel doesn’t produce a product or service, and therefore exists solely as an adventure for exploration, of which I am a fan.  But for SpaceX – or any other private space company – to claim that they will profitably send people into space is a stretch to me.  The ‘profit’ would be on the backs of the taxpayers, which is a fairly open-loop process.

      Your point about consumer products is well-taken. My company builds a commercial telecom product that people expect to be priced like a consumer product yet last like it was built for the military. I’d hate to be in the cell phone business, for instance.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Shove it! I’ll be dead in 60 years or so and will do my damnest to avoid electric cars.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Every car is already electric. Start pulling wires and tell me differently. (Oh, sorry, I forgot this is the Era of Apple: tell me different.)

  • avatar
    Zackman

    How long has this Tesla thing been going on now? At least Chevy actually produces the Volt (although not yet in wide-release). Meanwhile Toyota’s Prius runs rings around everyone else’s “different” type of car! Bravo, Tesla. For now, I’ll stick with what I currently own. Maybe there will be a Tesla at the Cincinnati Auto Show? Nah.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Still not as pie-in-the-sky as Saab’s Victor Muller.

  • avatar
    FleetofWheel

    Entrepreneurs and New Thinkers are expected to make grandiose “disruptor” statements.
    See TEDTalks on You Tube. It’s mostly a healthy optimism but can at times seem like a used-to-be-hot band straining to remain hip and relevant.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    For as much as I love TTAC, I am amazed at the anti-Musk rhetoric that is so easily sparked here.  See my comments on SpaceX above; what Musk is doing there is rocket science, and much harder than Tesla.  NASA doesn’t let just anyone have a contract to send spaceships up to dock with their $100 billion space station.
     
    The guy is a genius risk-taker; nobody else is doing what he is.  Name another startup car company from the last 40 years that has sold 1500 cars and growing.  Sheesh.
     
    His NAIAS poster?  Silly.

    • 0 avatar
      Zombo

      I for one admire genius/entrepreneur Musk who was the inspiration for Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies , co-created Paypal , founded SpaceX and designed rockets , and co-created SolarCity all before the age of 40 . But keep in mind this is a site where a very small sporty car getting 40 mpg is expected to have tons of torque , enough rear seat room for 3 Jethro Bodine sized children , minivan carrying capacity , and 63 Vette looks . Or so I’ve heard .

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      If Tesla is easier than SpaceX, then I fully expect that Musk can make a Volt-killer at a cheaper-than-Volt price within a less-than-Volt timeframe.

      The Chevy Volt concept came out in Jan 2007, and went production in Dec 2010, for a sub-3-year timeframe, despite bankruptcy turmoil.

      The Tesla Model S was announced Jun 2008, and won’t go production until 2012, so at best, they’re 6 months slower to market than Chevy.

      OTOH, in its first month (Dec 2010), Chevy sold more Telsa Roadsters than Tesla did in their entire first year (326 > 320).

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @SVX Pearlie:

      OTOH, in its first month (Dec 2010), Chevy sold more Volts Telsa Roadsters than Tesla did Roadsters in their entire first year (326 > 320).

      I’m guessing this was your intent?

      Your year-count is off.  The Volt – by your calendar – is sub-4 years, so the Model S appears to be about the same.  I’d say that’s pretty good, given the limited resources of Tesla, which doesn’t have a century of carbuilding experience behind it.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Zombo
      Iron man is from 1963, Musk from 1971. I don’t really think that he was the inspiration

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, rocket science is not that hard. Pretty much basic physics and life support. NASA did it with technologies and computers that were very primitive by today’s standards so today it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
      Besides, I’m not sure how much crash testing or other government regulations rocket scientists have to comply with.

    • 0 avatar

      Robert Downey met with Musk to study his behavior and mannerisms for the movie.  The director mentioned this in a few interviews last year.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “Actually, rocket science is not that hard. Pretty much basic physics and life support. NASA did it with technologies and computers that were very primitive by today’s standards so today it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
      Ronnie: In addition to the above, FWIW, The SR-71 spy plane I supported was updated 1950’s technology and flew at the edge of space, the absolute altitude is still classified. The plane was supported by a computer that consisted of 7 trailers massed together in a maze, kept at a constant 55° and the guys wore arctic coats to keep things (and themselves) running. The navigation system was a punch-tape on-board computer. If that went out during a mission, the RSO (recon sys. officer) pulled out his hand-plotted back-up charts drawn by yours truly and my fellow illustrators! It was very expensive, but it worked very well. Only a government could afford that program and it still got too expensive. So, not as basic as you think and definitely was rocket-science!

    • 0 avatar
      Zombo

      @charly

      There was an Iron Man movie made in 1963 ? I must have missed that one !

      http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1984685_1984745_1985495,00.html#ixzz0nqwIGGJD

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The issue isn’t regulation or current technology vis a vis rockets, it’s that you don’t put rockets or jets in the hands of, eg, my mother,** who is a nice woman who can weave, sew and knit with the best, but isn’t good about things like oil changes.
       
      A more down-to-earth example (literally) is race cars.  They’re supported by a team of expert technicians with all the parts available immediately at hand, designed to last the length of race and given the best of maintenance between runs.  This is exactly the opposite of how, eg, my mother’s Toyota Echo lives, and why Audi or Ferrari’s ability to build a race car has no bearing on their parent company’s ability to build a grocery-getter that gets maintained on a four-hundred-dollar-a-year budget.
       
      ** God help us if we did.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Comic book

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      This is exactly the opposite of how, eg, my mother’s Toyota Echo lives, and why Audi or Ferrari’s ability to build a race car has no bearing on their parent company’s ability to build a grocery-getter that gets maintained on a four-hundred-dollar-a-year budget.

      True, and I’m always puzzled by ads that claim there is a connection between racing prowess and street durability by vehicles of the same mfr.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    We won’t stop until every car is electric…and every home has its own coal burning power plant in the backyard.

    Yay progress!!!

    This is what Tesla has – a white at the 2011 Detroit show.  Car on sale next year – good luck!

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    While one can and should perhaps debate the merits and practicability of his plan, at least he has a vision that’s worthy of healthy reflection and debate. As long as he doesn’t try imposing his ideas on anyone and leaves his proposal open to critical discussion and debate, then I see nothing wrong in that. In fact, I’d say that at least he’s pushing people to think about energy-related issues at a broader, deeper and more complex level, and that, surely, is a good thing.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I have nothing personal against the guy or his cars.  My problem is they have a ways to go before they become viable for my personal use as a daily driver/commuter.  I don’t expect them to take the place of my Silverado or Lotus Elan but they do need to be economically viable compared to my current driver a 2007 Audi A3

  • avatar

    Ol’ Elon will have to kill my Honda.

  • avatar
    dhanson865

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMtNkB8iFyI a video that at 9:00 mark asks and answers the question of Are electric cars too silent to be safe. It’ll only take 30 seconds to watch enough to make the point.

    Electric Cars are not silent when traveling at road speeds.

  • avatar
    alfabert

    Tucker didn’t use his own transmission either; every operational Tucker had a transmission from a Cord 810/812.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Ken Lay
    Bernie Madoff
    Elon Musk
    The greatest con-men of our time.
     
    Stuff a couple thousand AA’s into a Lotus – declare yourself a genius – go public. I’m not much of a stock market gambler, but I’d love to do some kind of short-sale on Tesla. This thing is going to go down in infamy.
    The future of electric cars is not yet written, but when it is it will be by Toyota, Ford, GM, Nissan ect. You know, people who actually know how to build things. Not some Silicon-Valley snake-oil salesman. This guy has “all sizzle and no steak” tattooed all over him. Just another piece of Cali vapor-ware.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Hey, you forgot Malcolm Bricklin. Time will tell if Elon is in the same bottom-feeding class. So far, the Tesla roadster is putting up the longest range-per charge of any of the pure electrics. No small feat there.
     
    And the 1500 cars produced? The roadster by its very nature appeals to those with pockets so deep they can plunk down the coin for one with the same ease that most of us spring for a Grande Latte at Starbucks.
     
    Smart move, because these guinea pigs can test the cars long-term, leaving no doubt either way for the rest of us regarding the sedan’s long-term viability. If the Roadster stands the test of time and scrutiny the “I’ll just wait and see how viable they are long-term before I buy one” stance (one that could result in bankruptcy) will all but disappear. Here’s hoping.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “I’ll just wait and see how viable they are long-term before I buy one”
      Ha Ha Ha! Just like my dad when he said he’d buy a color TV “when they perfected it”! He never did. He died before that happened.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’m looking forward to seeing this beautiful car on the road; the negative vibes notwithstanding.

  • avatar
    AJ

    My favorite bumper sticker: My Jeep is burning what your hybrid is saving.


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