As enthusiastic as I am about the actual product (when everyone was ready to crap all over Tesla based on some bad information, TTAC was one of the few publications to go to bat for the upstart auto maker), Elon Musk’s series of announcements, frequently couched in hyperbolic descriptions of their significance, are beginning to grate on me. Every week, Musk seems to descend from Mount Sinai bearing yet another set of tablets that promise to “disrupt” (to use a favorite term of Silicon Valley) the automotive landscape forever, yet end up being little more than a not-quite-a-lease program or some announcement about after-sales care.
Tag: Elon Musk
We don’t get enough good questions from the readers, and it’s a damn shame. Reader Steve Hofer sent us a great one via email; what if Elon Musk was running General Motors?
Yesterday’s Tesla “lease offer”, (which turned out to be Elon Musk’s “big announcement”) was a classic display of Tesla’s penchant for theatrics. On the surface, the move is a smart one; most customers in the large luxury sedan segment tend to lease their cars, so Tesla’s move is nothing out of the ordinary.
Tesla announced plans to pay down their $465 million dollar Department of Energy loan in 5 years or less, as Tesla seeks to achieve profitability.
While following the he said he said back and forth between the New York Time’s James Broder and Tesla’s Elon Musk, over Broder’s unsuccessful drive from New York to Boston in a Tesla Model S, it seemed to me that one important factor affecting consumer acceptance of EVs is being obscured by all the Sturm und Drang of the NYT and Musk both working this story for maximum bad publicity for their respectless enterprises. That factor, ironically, is why Tesla set up the media road trips in the first place, the fact that EVs will need a publicly accessible charging infrastructure if they are going to be seen as anything other than town cars. The Model S press trips from DC to Beantown were supposed to demonstrate Tesla’s expanding network of locations equipped with Tesla’s “Supercharger” quick charging stations.
Tesla has officially launched their long-awaited “Supercharging” network last night to a star-studded crowd in Southern California. (We assume it was star-studded since our invitation got lost in the mail.) The EV network promises to enable Model S and Model X owners to charge 150 miles of range in 30 minutes. What about your Roadster? Sorry, you aren’t invited to this charging party. Have a Tesla and a LEAF? You’ll have to be satisfied with separate but equal charging facilities as the Tesla proprietary charging connector restricts access to Tesla shoppers only. Is this class warfare or do we parallel the computer industry where connectors come and go with the seasons?
What good is a twenty-minute test drive?
Well, when most sources are getting a ten minute test drive, a twenty-minute one is twice as good. The problem, of course, is that range is as critical to an electric car as tensile strength is to parachutes; it’s the difference between a safe arrival and a harrowing trip. Without a genuine understanding of the Tesla’s range, we can’t say for sure whether it’s a great car or not.
That doesn’t mean we can’t pass along what we did learn during those twenty minutes.
Summer is always a slow time in the industry, so what better way to boost traffic than to manufacture a controversy out of thin air about a “third rail” topic like electric cars?
An article in the New York Times Dealbook blog claims that Tesla is using their customer deposits on upcoming models as a major source of cash to finance operations.
From the first part of this clip from Bob Lutz and Elon Musk’s recent appearance on the Charlie Rose, in which the two discuss “The CO2 Thing,” you might guess that the two are at odds with each other. After all, Bob’s the gruff, “Global Warming is Bullshit” type and Elon is the sensitive, change-the-world type. But by the end of this brief clip, the two industry mavericks are falling all over themselves with mutual admiration. But then, both have learned from the other (however indirectly) over the past few years: Lutz’s legacy of the Volt was in part motivated by Musk’s endeavor, and Musk himself has a lot more respect for Detroit’s “old school” manufacturing know-how now that his firm is actually trying to build its own cars in volume. It’s a study in contrasts watching these two iconoclasts from such separate worlds going at it… and yet you get the distinct impression that these two guys aren’t quite as different as you might think.
Watch the complete Musk-Lutz interview here.
Watch Lutz’s one-on-one interview here.
Yes, the Model S can fit eight… just not legally. Meanwhile, those are some pretty small kids in the old-school, rear-facing jumpseats (they’re only approved for passengers under five feet tall). But hey, it’s Elon Musk’s party, and he’s free to say whatever he likes until the car is actually on sale.
Speaking of which, it seems that the multiple versions of the Model S will not only be differentiated by range (with 160,230 or 300 miles of range) but Autocar reports there will be a performance version of the 300-mile car as well, which will hit 60 MPH in 4.6 seconds instead of the standard 5.5 seconds. The 160-mile version is reported to cost around $50k, the 230-mile version about $60k, the standard 300-mile version around $70k and the performance version will hit $80k. For a taste of the Model S’s performance, hit the jump for a brief, chauffeured test ride video.
When the mess gets sorted out, I’d like to have a conversation with whoever’s in charge at the time — the car czar or whoever — and say “I’d like to run your plants, if you don’t mind”
We’re really trying to put together a world-class manufacturing team. We’re trying to create a Spartan army of expertise.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk give Automotive News [sub] his most inspirational metaphor for Tesla’s effort to ready production of its $50k Model S sedan. And though Musk is quick to call outsourced production “wishful thinking,” the vehicle’s transmission and battery cells as well as “wiring harnesses, skeletal mechanisms for the seats, and glass for the windows” will be supplied by outside firms. Musk says that sourcing for 80 percent of the Model S’s components has been narrowed down to one or two companies, and a plant location in Southern California will be announced shortly. But, he notes, the factory deal isn’t done yet. Or, as Musk puts it:
It hasn’t yet been finalized. We’ve almost fully negotiated the deal, but it has not been signed yet