Tesla Death Watch 19: 38 Roadster Retrofits

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Followers of this Silicon Valley saga will remember that Tesla decided to install “termporary” transmissions in their lithium-ion-powered Roadsters, so they could deliver something to someone sooner rather than later. Well, later is now. Autobloggreen reports that Tesla is “ready to build real cars.” By that, scribe Sam Abuelsamid means that the electric vehicle maker is finally ready to fit its well-heeled tree hugger-mobile with a proper working transmission, courtesy of the Borg-Warner. Oh, did I say now? It seems that “now” means “later.” The automaker’s spinmeister– who has yet to provide TTAC with its promised test drive– reports that his employer’s delivered 27 cars, with another 23 in progress. But rather than stop the presses and deliver the 23 in-build autos with the new box, eleven lucky Roadster owners will get the old tranny– and a free upgrade later. At some point. In fact, I wonder whether Tesla will give priority to the expensive, time-consuming and technically challenging free retrofits or the [relatively] simple continuation of full production (and msrp) Roadsters? Anyway, the new production fantasy plan is in place. “Tesla will ramp production starts from four cars per week to ten per week,” ABG reveals without question. So, 520 per year @ $102k each? I make that $53m gross income, if Tesla can find 520 willing buyers before some other EV-maker creates the next big thing (Fisker Du?). Can Tesla survive on that? Doubtful. Underpriced and under-developed. Sweet.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on Sep 10, 2008

    Second time in two days the Fisker Du joke/analogy has been used. Next.

  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Sep 10, 2008

    Stephan Wilkinson : It was Husker Du last time. I want to warn other commentators that Mr. Wilkinson, former C and D editor and TTAC's resident grande dame, has papal dispensation to criticize our style. He is the exception that proves the fool. (Or "don't try this online.") I would also like to remind Mr. Wilkinson that I have your book review on my hard disk. To employ another over-used TTACism, just sayin'...

  • Shaker Shaker on Sep 10, 2008

    Husker Du... Needs umlaats, or oregano, or something. :BG:

  • Dutchchris Dutchchris on Sep 10, 2008

    Mr. Farago may be aware that I'm not a big fan of the Tesla hype machine (of which ABG is an integral part BTW), but on the other hand I do wish them the best of luck in their effort to become something of a posterboy for the EV revolution (coming to a town near you soon, count on it!). So I for one don't look at their mistakes thinking "sweet". Furthermore I do hope there is a market out there for some 2000 roadsters per year, even though the 125 miles effective range is somewhat disappointing for a $102k car. Shouldn't the last line of the article have read: "Overpriced and underdeveloped."? That would explain the "sweet" remark.