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."
Those 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."
FINALLY the DEATH WATCH! WAY PAST DUE!
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
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