Tesla Death Watch 6: 98 Days and Counting
On March 17 (of this year), Tesla Motors supposedly began production of their $98k Lithium-ion-powered Roadster. Ninety-eight days later and nada. Niente. Nix. Nothing. So while we await independent confirmation that a single paying customer has received a single Roadster, here's an article in The SF Gate about the Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance, which has dressed-up its parade of pistonhead perfection with alt power-mobiles. One of which was, of course, the Roadster, presented, of course, with obfuscation and unsubstantiated PR spin intact. "Nearby, Bob Liems walked past a 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia, the lightweight $305,000 model with 515 horsepower, and to the Tesla Roadster, the electric sports car with 248 horsepower and a 220-mile range. The Tesla, which takes anywhere from three to seven hours to fully recharge, costs $98,000 and tops out at 125 mph." You can't buy that kind of publicity. Or can you? Anyway, I'd like to suggest that the Palo Alto show was the perfect place to view the Roadster, nested as it was amongst other rare and exotic machinery that have faded into minor, adored and ultimately irrelevant historical relevance.
The problems are multi fold. First of all, having vehicles built in the UK of all places. Have they ever been known for high volume production of anything? What do they work these days? One shift, four days a week, ~6 hours a day? Hand built aluminum/carbon fiber. Not just stamping out sheet metal and spot welding it together. I'd be interested in seeing how the aluminum is joined, and how the CF is attached. How long does it take to transport vehicles from the UK to California? That is where the battery pack is installed? Why? How many cars a week does the plant turn out? Who builds the inverter? And the million dollar curiosity question; what brand or model is the new fancy capacitor they are using?
OTOH, Mattel has just released a Hot Wheels version of the Tesla. Given the prices of the real Tesla, even if they actually build them, the Hot Wheels version is about as close as I'm ever going to get to owning one.
RTZ the teslas are made by Lotus in Hethel in England not france. 5 days a week 8 am till 5 p.m. standard working week. Admittedly that isn't as long as the americans work because we all know american minutes are bigger than our GMT minutes.
@RTZ: OK I'm also sceptical about the Tesla, however the Lotus production and Aluminum chassis are the one part that is actually realistic: The aluminum frames are delivered by Norsk Hydro, joined by state of the art glueing techniques. Just recently Lotus has built their 20,000th Elise that way, so that seems to be proven technology. Oh, and making fun of European working hours might be a nice game Americans like to play (just like incorrectly calling Europe "Socialist"), however you shoudn't forget that better training and more modern production methods also provide the European autoworker with a healty productivity advantage compared to his UAW controlled peers.