Tesla Death Watch 8: "This Company is Not Out to Solve a Sports Car Shortage in the World"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
tesla death watch 8 this company is not out to solve a sports car shortage in the

Which is just as well, really. By it's own (highly suspicious) count, Tesla has delivered less than five cars to paying customers since it began production on March 17th (of this year). Meanwhile and in any case, Tesla Chairman Elon Musk has now informed the Palo Alto Daily News that his car company will launch a $30k EV by 2012. For those of you keeping score, this as-yet-unnamed mid-market motor will arrive [in theory only] after Tesla's $60k EV– or part-EV– Whitestar luxury sedan. Sorry; "model S." And in large numbers, apparently. "The company hopes a new Bay Area plant will allow it to start production of 10,000 "Model S" sedans per year and ramp up to 20,000. It has no hard estimate yet for the $30,000 vehicle, but spokeswoman Colette Niazmand said she would anticipate 'tens of thousands' produced annually." OK, hang on a mo. I know talk is cheap and newspapers are entirely gullible when it comes anything green. But it should be clear to any observer with the slightest concept of automotive development lead times that Tesla is in the business of BS, not car construction. Given Musk's ability to raise cash and spout bluster, I realize this Death Watch series is headed for double-digits. But anyone who thinks Tesla is the future needs to read-up on Vector Motors. Or Bricklin. Or Tucker. Or AC Cobra. That's all I'm saying. For now. Obviously.

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  • Phil Ressler Phil Ressler on Jul 03, 2008
    ...Tesla is in the business of BS, not cars. C'mon, Robert. You did learn, didn't you, never to trust a software guy with a hardware deliverable. Tesla, SpaceX -- same story. There's a lot of elasticity to the notion of ready-for-prime-time in software. Musk has no idea what constitutes "ready" in the human-transporting hardware business, Nor, therefore, what's left to be done. Phil
  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Jul 03, 2008

    Tesla is like the economist at the bottom of a deep hole in the ground who states that getting out is a cinch, all he has to do is imagine a ladder. They had no idea what they were getting into, and had little respect for the real world laws of physics they were up against. You can design a snappy EV on a light frame with a maxed out torque as a hobby project for personal use. But the moment you are intending to offer that as a product, for the general public, with what that entails as far as direct and indirect safety is concerned, you're up against a completely different game -- the liability insurance alone would be enough to kill Tesla. But my main complaint about the car, as stated in this editorial, is: There are far better ways of using stored energy than driving Hell for leather in a lithium-ion equipped Tesla Roadster powered by a consumer electric grid. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tesla-dead-ahead-the-automobiles-energy-lean-and-speed-restricted-future/

  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 03, 2008

    I actually squeezed my 6'3" frame into a lime-green Bricklin in a showroom in the mid 70's -- I would *not* have been able to drive the car, as my head was canted to one side to clear the roof. But I doubt that I'll ever be able to try the same in a Tesla... Actually, if the car computer is programmed properly, it should be easy to have an "eco-mode" that would limit peak current to the motor and utilize the car's superior weight and aerodynamic advantages to increase energy usage efficiency. In this case, the two-speed tranny could make a noticeable difference.

  • MattVA MattVA on Jul 03, 2008

    Unless there is some news about Tesla only mod-ing sedans they buy from real car companies, I think the funniest part of this story is a bunch of non-automotive guys thinking they can design, source, and establish capacity to make cars from the ground up in two years. If this was remotely true, they would already have some permits for the early construction phases of the factory build. "How hard could it be?" I love how none of the usual news outlets question this at all.