Tesla Birth Watch 31: WhiteStar Gets Gas

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

Who killed the electric car? That's easy: GM. What killed the electric car? Also a no-brainer: an operational range of 55 to 95 miles. From the moment Tesla Motors announced its all-electric Roadster, we've called for independent verification of their official range claims, which started at 250 miles, slunk to 220, and ended up in a real-world figure of 93 (still unofficial). Despite a rear-guard defense on the issue, Tesla's new CEO Ze'ev Drori ain't no dope. At a press conference to announce the historic fact that Elon Musk's personal Tesla Roadster had finally arrived from Europe, Drori pulled a GM: talking about the next next Big Thing. And here's the thing: Tesla will offer the formerly all-electric WhitesStar sedan as a hybrid also, with a small gas engine powering an on-board generator a la Volt. Tesla says their sedan will hit the streets by 2009, stickering in the $50 to $70k range. After that, they'll focus their attention on an economy car. First things second, eh?

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  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Feb 04, 2008
    siry @farago - it isn’t a priority of mine to arrange for a test drive for TTAC for reasons I mentioned earlier. I find it astonishing that you take the time to refute "misinformation" on this site, yet steadfastly refuse to provide a car (under supervision if you like) to establish your product's range and recharge times. This despite the fact that I've specifically stated that I'm happy to let an independent third party perform the tests (to allay your fears about our objectivity). There is but one conclusion I can reach: Tesla doesn't want the world to know the truth about its car.
  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Feb 04, 2008

    Range didn't kill the electric car; carrying capacity, price, and safety (perceived and real) killed it. The real retail price of the EV1 was somewhere around $50k if you factor out GM and government subsidies. It didn't carry a hole lot of cargo. It's low ride hight made it seem dangerous and the fact that the windows lined up with the bumpers of many SUV didn't help matters either. The main reasons a few people loved EV1s was novelty and subsidized price. Many households in the USA have 2 or more vehicles. For those households, a 50-mile vehicle would be just fine as a second or third vehicle. You need to work on price, carrying capacity, and perceived safety. The government could work on the safety problem for smaller vehicles by having "crash damage" standards instead of "crash safety" standards... "Crash damage" standards require that the vehicle tested only inflict a certain small level of damage to the thing they hit. This would require lower weight, lower ride height, and crumple zones on a wide variety of "light" truck designs.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Feb 04, 2008

    I think Tesla would be better off not trying to spin anything here. Ain't gonna work. For whatever reason, the average idiots have been unable to hang in these discussions. Those are the only people who would buy the spin.

  • Dean Dean on Feb 04, 2008

    Darkstar, Whitestar, Bluestar... Where is the Deathstar? If I had plunked down a big whack of coin as a deposit on the roadster I would be a little perturbed if I heard a this much hype on the "next thing" and little reality on the "current thing" which has been partly financed with my money.