Tesla Death Watch 28: WhiteElephant's Rump Revealed

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
tesla death watch 28 whiteelephants rump revealed

Now that the economic downturn has liberated Tesla Motors’ inner Curly– we’re a victim of coimcumstance!– CEO Elon Musk has finally admitted what TTAC said all along: they’re not making a dime on the $109k Tesla Roadster. OK, the self-annointed CEO says they weren’t making a profit. In fact, Musk tells BusinessWeek that the EV maker was $40k over budget per vehicle. Which would make it a break-even proposition. Yes, “Tesla had to delay the launch by six months while it looked for a way to make the car profitably. Musk fired founding CEO Martin Eberhard and brought in as interim chief Michael Marks, an executive at electronics maker Flextronics International.” And now Musk is busy re-writing recent history. “A few weeks ago, Tesla seemed to be on the road to making that [world domination] happen. Musk had verbal commitments for $100 million in private capital, federal loan guarantees geared at jump-starting development of alternative vehicles, and thoughts of going public next year.” OK, that brings up to Musk’s favorite time period: the future!

“Our sedan will crush everything out there,” Musk says. What sedan you ask? Good question. “Musk insists Tesla’s next models will be irresistible. The Model S will go up against formidable competition—cars such as the Lexus GS 450h hybrid, the diesel Mercedes E-class, and the Chevrolet Volt. Not that those cars feature Tesla’s neck-snapping acceleration and running cost of 4 cents a mile.” That’s assuming of course, a) Tesla builds an EV, I mean hybrid sedan and b) it has neck-snapping acceleration and running costs of four cents a mile. Anyway, TTAC has one piece of advise for Tesla; the same advice we gave them at the beginning: raise the price of the Roadster. If that works out, can we test one, as Daryl Siry promised? No, I didn’t think so. Corporate culture eats strategy for lunch.

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  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Oct 24, 2008

    optic: Yes. Done. Apologies to all involved for getting it wrong. Although I take NOTHING Musk says at face value.

  • Optic Optic on Oct 27, 2008

    thanks for the correction, Robert. the article is still pretty devastating for Tesla.

  • Jkross22 That's a great looking shifter. Reminds me of the old school late 70s BMW manual - BTW TTAC, that would be a cool article to run - Best looking shifters in the last 30 years. My vote:Audi gated shifter from the R8. Should've offered that on every RS model and let people special order.
  • Ajla Maybe they should not have released several special edition Broncos when they couldn't even get regular trim orders out within a year?I'm not sure who is in charge of Ford's production but they deserve to be very fired.
  • ToolGuy "Removing them saved 16 pounds, according to Dodge. Snazzy optional two-piece lightweight carbon fiber wheels are also part of an overall SlimFast program shedding 157 pounds compared to a Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody."From a different writeup: "The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 shaves weight with the addition of lightweight front brakes, hollow sway bars, passenger and rear seat delete, trunk trim, noise, vibration, harshness pad delete, and lightweight interior carpet with a minimal audio system."• Did Dodge consider any lightweighting efforts with the lead-acid starter battery? Because Group 94 LiFePO4 saves 35 pounds of mass vs. standard lead-acid.(If Dodge already did this, Old Guy apologizes for being mired in the past and slinks back to his cave.)
  • Mattwc1 I grew up as a Datsun/Nissan fanboy. I cringed when the lineup (early to mid 2000’s) was a large amorphous blob of uninspired design. However, I think Nissan is starting to turn the corner in design and engineering. Let’s face it, the Rogue is the moneymaker for Nissan and as such it is well positioned in the market. I like the refreshed Sentra, Frontier, Pathfinder. I bought my daughter a Kicks to replace her trusty but rusty Vibe for a very good price.She essentially wanted the Vibe features in a newer packNow if they could do something about the public perception of the Altima driver…..
  • ToolGuy Dear EV Manufacturer,I tend to accumulate multiple vehicles and hang onto them longer than most people. In the future it is extremely likely that I will own multiple electric vehicles which occasionally sit for some period of time without being driven much. On the EV's that I acquire, I would appreciate the following feature:• 'Battery Maintenance Mode' where I can keep the vehicle plugged into a source of power and it maintains the battery at an ideal state of charge for 'long-term' storage (40%? 50%? 60%? Probably not 80% and certainly not "100%")• Also in this mode it would automatically perform cell balancing and whatever the equivalent of desulfation is for the relevant battery chemistry. If it can advise me the human owner that it needs to be 'exercised' every 60 days or whatever, that would also be appreciated.• Once this mode is selected, we need it to *stay* in that mode regardless of power outages, resets, over-the-air updates which I didn't request, etc. If anything software-related kicks it out of Battery Maintenance Mode and it reverts to nervous-nellie-range-anxiety-i-can't-move-the-vehicle-3-meters-if-it-isn't-completely-fully-charged-to-100%-let's-destroy-this-battery-RIGHT-away Mode, that's no good. (A physical switch would do this -- and a rotary switch would look cool.)Yours in Saving the Planet (and my wallet), ToolGuy