By on May 19, 2008

tesla.jpgThose are poster texmin's thoughts on AutoblogGreen's report on the latest update from our friends at Tesla Motors. (BTW Daryl, we seem to have been inadvertently omitted from your email list.) The letter reveals Tesla's revised production schedule (surprise!): a 600-car 2008 model run by April 2009, followed by the 2009 models. Reader Chris H isn't impressed. "Three cars in 9 weeks…. Three weeks to build one car? At this rate it will take over five years just to get through the Founders Series and the Signature 100." In other news, Tesla's testing a new electronics module in preparation for the yet-to-see-daylight one-speed gearbox; both will be a "running production change." The standard 3 year/36k mile warranty can now be extended to 4 years/50k miles– at a price (the 2008 Roadster Club members get free extended coverage). Tesla Roadster owners living more than 100 miles from a service center no longer have to pay $8k up front to cover service transportation. They just pay for as few (or as many) trips as needed. By this time next year, Tesla plans on having stores in L.A. (done), Menlo Park New Jersey, New York, Chicago, Miami and Seattle. And finally, if you want a 2009 Roadster, the base price has risen from $98k to $109. To which leroy replied, "Save yourself $90,000 and just buy a used Lotus Elise. 90 grand will buy a hell of a lot of gasoline." 

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11 Comments on “Tesla Death Watch 1: “Tesla hasn’t produced any real cars yet, broke their promise on starting production (again) and don’t plan to build any cars for another year.”...”


  • avatar

    Battery depletion is prohibitive, given the large loads demanded by the temptation to accelerate. A fairly natural tempation in a performance roadster. The battery will regenerate badly for the same reasons.
    Wonder whether this is a solution – how about “a separate lever or pedal” to be engaged during deceleration? :-)

    Title:
    Electric vehicle motor and control system with high efficiency regeneration
    Document Type and Number:
    United States Patent 7208894

    Abstract:
    The present invention is an electric vehicle power system that uses multiple permanent magnet motor/generators connected in series or parallel and multiple battery step switching. Motor, torque and speed are controlled by steps in series connection and then in parallel connection. Smooth acceleration, regeneration and current control are provided by delaying stepping from one battery step to the next until the next step is fully engaged. Transients are limited to the effect of one battery step by using rectifier shunt switching. Multiple motors provide acceleration torque at low speed in series connections and at cruising speeds in parallel connection. Regenerative deceleration is provided in the opposite manner. Battery depletion is averaged by flipping ends of a battery bank. Controls are provided with normal foot controls and a speed setter. A separate deceleration pedal or lever may be used.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    Case in point why I think that engineering and design are the easiest aspects of making a successful car. Organizing logistics to produce it, sell it, and service it is what makes a Yaris cost 13K instead of 5. Obviously Tesla underestimated the important part. Given that by the time they’ll (maybe) start mass production their roadster will be obsolete, I can see why this is a Deathwatch.

    We’re dead alright…

    We’re just not broke.

    How big are their cash reserves at the moment?

    Even with today’s technology, electric motors can be made that weigh less than Tesla’s drive axle, make a juicy 40-60hp, and cost a couple grand each(no transmission necessary, either). Tesla is just begging to get one-upped by somebody like Subaru.

  • avatar
    ljcabrera

    I was actually shocked to see a yellow one sunday AM going south on 280 in santa clara, CA.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    So what’s the problem – bring back the economy/power switch… The economy switch limits how much power your car can consume. Same with gas cars… Your injectors will only be allowed to cycle so fast when the switch is engaged. It is plenty of power to cruise 70 mph but it’ll take 14 seconds to get there. Feel free to put your foot to the floor during that time and rest assured that you’ll get the max range under the conditions that you are driving.

    My laptop has options like this. It slows the processor, it dims the screen, and trys to minimize read/writes to the hard drive and the cooling needs go down. This is in Linux. In Windows the same laptop has fewer power saving options…

    Tesla will screw around and lose the race to the garages of the world…

    Of course fast forward a year or two and oil could drop to $50 a barrel and all of this hype will disappear. I don’t expect oil to this though will ever higher consumption habits around the world and only so much capacity to pump the oil or refine it.

    I’m still anxious for the Tesla to reach the streets. Toyota and GM built usable electrics in the 90’s – we ought to be able to do better today. Toyota’s EV was a CUV, not even a slippery sports car. They are still out there with a range of low-100 miles per charge all these years later.

  • avatar
    AKM

    I was actually shocked to see a yellow one sunday AM going south on 280 in santa clara, CA.

    Damn, that’s the one that should have gone to RF for testing!! ;-)

  • avatar

    AKM:

    Damn, that’s the one that should have gone to RF for testing!! ;-)

    Not me; an independent scientific organization. What do I know from EVs?

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    RF,

    It seems to me that if the Tesla really is all that, it would benefit them to get that scientific testing. Good results might bring in more partners to help them with their financial, production, distribution, and service issues. Not to mention give them some great quotes to put in their PR. They may not be actively trying to hide something, but the fact they won’t allow full testing seems to me like they think they have more to lose from it than to gain.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    FINALLY the DEATH WATCH!
    WAY PAST DUE!

  • avatar

    Here’s what EV customers and vehicle manufacturers should memorize.

    56% of US drivers cover a distance of less than 30 miles per day.
    75% of US drivers report less than 75 miles per day (easy to remember.)
    65% of all daily trips are shorter than 15 minutes.
    In the 50th percentile (median) travel speed is 24 mph.
    Only 30% of all daily trips are at speeds of 31 mph and over.-
    7% of all daily trips are at 51mph and over. Surprise!
    65% of all trips are with ONE person in the car.
    87% of all trips are with TWO persons in the car.

    Plug-In Hybrids will do perfectly, thank you. And battery powered vehicles will also do nicely for more than half of US drivers – if the vehicles don’t deplete their energy reservoir with acceleration that’s ludicrous in an IC car.
    And the Daimler guys are idiots – they should have had the SMART in the US years ago.

    GM, Ford or Chrysler can make a fortune by leapfrogging into the next generation of vehicles (and I’m fairly certain that’s what Mulally is doing.)
    Ten years from now, owning one vehicle that is supposed to do everything from a short commute to a long haul at speeds you rarely reach will seem like a quaint and fairly silly idea …

    For more interesting statistics (pdf):
    http://www.progressiveautoxprize.org/downloads/AXP_FHWA_driving_stats.pdf

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    How big are their cash reserves at the moment?

    In the old days, that didn’t matter…you just brokered a cocaine deal and that righted the ship.

    Of course, the guy that did that actually built a car that could be bought…even if it was a crappy one and made in Ireland.

  • avatar

    The production schedule seems to be slightly misrepresented by saying that no cars will be built until April 2009.

    1. Martin will finally get his car by the end of June, together with the other “super-early” deliveries.

    2. “Founders’ Series” by the end of October

    3. “First 600” by the end of April 2009.

    That doesn’t sound like they are not building any cars until April 2009. It sounds like the first non-founders cars would be delivered around November-December and the “2008” model year cleared by April.

    If you consider that founders’ series is only 24 cars (is that right?) this is still an exceedingly sluggish schedule. It does, however, mean that Tesla can currently deliver only five cars in a month.

    In fact, you are still looking at about 100 cars per month if you assume the next 600 are done between November and April!

    Anyone know how many Lotus Elises are produced in a year?

    D

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