By on July 2, 2008

vector-w2-prototype-and-wiegart.jpgWhich 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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22 Comments on “Tesla Death Watch 8: “This company is not out to solve a sports car shortage in the world”...”


  • avatar
    jkross22

    That Colette…. What a card!

  • avatar

    Wow! A $30 EV. Sign me up for a thousand.

  • avatar
    lth

    …his car company will launch a $30 EV by 2012

    I’m assuming that is a typo. However, 30 dollars for an EV that can fit 4? Sign me up.

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    “This company is not out to solve a sports car shortage in the world.”

    And, by all accounts, Tesla Motors is succeeding at not solving the world’s sports car shortage.

  • avatar

    I believe Nicola Tesla is not amused.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    I think it’s apparent that Tesla needs money. If Tesla convinces people that it can become a mass-producing large company, people will give them their money. So they march out press releases concerning a $60k electric sedan and a $30k electric car. This is all before they have their first car delivering and driving around. After all, talk is cheap, and a whole lot cheaper than actual vehicles. So people think “wow, this company is exploding, I better get a piece of it.” Tesla gets the money, and is then able to get the Roadster online. Once that happens (proving the Roadster is buildable), they’ll get more money to develop the other cars. It’s press generating money generating product. It’ll work, but it’ll be a lot slower. Think 2012 for the sedan and 2015 for the $30k electric car (which will probably be $40k), by my estimation.

  • avatar
    barberoux

    Why does the old 90’s word “vaporware” keep popping into my head?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I believe Nicola Tesla is not amused.

    It’s Nikola Tesla and I totally agree. I hate the fact they used the Tesla name for the scam of a car company. Especially since my new sons middle name is Tesla and I didn’t name him after this lousy car company.

    Why does Tucker get lumped into that group? Sure they folded but they were kind of forced out of business and they did come out with a damn good product for the time, all 50-something of them.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Redbarchetta
    Especially since my new sons middle name is Tesla and I didn’t name him after this lousy car company.

    Jimmy Page Van Halen Tesla Crue Ratt Cinderella Redbarchetta? :D

    Tucker was amazing and definitely should not be uttered in the same breath as the rest.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    So far all the companies you’ve listed have turned-out more cars than Tesla… even Vector! (I assume by Cobra you were referring to the AC Cobra?) You could have also added DeLorean to the list of forward-thinking car companies that failed.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    ash78

    Jimmy Page Van Halen Tesla Crue Ratt Cinderella Rhodes Wylde Adam Jones Dave Mustane Redbarchetta

    He’s unique and growing like a weed.

  • avatar
    montgomery burns

    Holds envelope to forehead: Duke Nukem Forever, Guns and Roses ‘Chinese Democracy’ and the Tesla.

    The answer is: Name a vaporware a vaporalbum and a vaporcar

  • avatar
    c. eloi marx

    Don’t drag Bricklin into this. The cars may have had a build quality best described as approximate, but they did build nearly 3000 of them. Malcolm Bricklin may have been as shady as they come, but he actually produced a car in series production; no different then other small car companies like De Tomaso, Marcos or Jensen.

    Tesla on the other hand is in the land of the dreamer car builders, like Vector and Tucker.

  • avatar
    Kevin

    Wow! A $30 EV. Sign me up for a thousand.

    Yep. It’ll be a lot easier just to abandon them to go to the trouble of recharging them.

  • avatar

    Kevin:

    Wow! A $30 EV. Sign me up for a thousand.

    Yep. It’ll be a lot easier just to abandon them to go to the trouble of recharging them.

    OK guys, you’ve had your fun. text amended.

  • avatar

    Here’s some more depth from our mates across the pond on what’s going on at Tesla. I don’t know if it’s true but it doesn’t sound pretty.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/01/tesla_motors_california_governator_grab/

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Uhhmn werent there 40 something Tuckers made? What is Tesla’s production up to? 3 ?

  • avatar
    mkeenly

    Did Tesla just hire some PR people from Zap? They’re Press Releases are starting to sound similar…

  • avatar
    Phil Ressler

    …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

  • avatar

    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.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/tesla-dead-ahead-the-automobiles-energy-lean-and-speed-restricted-future/

  • avatar
    shaker

    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.

  • avatar
    MattVA

    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.

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