Tesla Death Watch 37: Number 16 Delivered

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
tesla death watch 37 number 16 delivered

We’ve often wondered how many cars Tesla has actually delivered to paying customers. The company claims there are some 60 cars out there, somewhere. Well, thanks to Jason Calacanis’ patience over the last two years, we can now bring you this update: 16. Well, at least 16, as Jason has just taken delivery of Roadster number 16 (says so right on the VIN plate). But wait! That’s number 16 after the “Founders’ Series” of 27 Roadsters. So that would be… 43! But wait! Calacanis says the numbers aren’t delivered sequentially. His is 16, but, ’cause he asked for special paint job, cars with higher VIN numbers may have been delivered earlier. Anyway, after an intro that makes the opening credits of the original Batman series seem like a subliminal message, the 169th edition of TWIT (This Week in Technology) reveals all. Calacanis describes the prototype Tesla four-door as an Aston Martin combined with a Porsche and a Maserati, and says Tesla’s problems are now behind it. Which probably means they’re dead ahead.

Join the conversation
4 of 38 comments
  • Dublinmotor Dublinmotor on Nov 24, 2008

    Tesla Death Watch was founded for a reason – the bell tolls for thee Tesla. The spin continues to boggle the mind. I can’t wait for Jason to check his range in 1 year then in 2 years etc. The battery capacity and range degradation issues are not yet fully known and solved for the 18650 cells other than the known horrible decay associated with our everyday laptops. Elon’s interview citing that a quick re-charge station can exist 220 miles out from LA may work on week number 1, but what about week 52 and week 104, etc when the range decays to 60% of original state? Remind me what a battery replacement costs? Also, hill climb in the summer will be a thrill when you drive to Vegas from LA and you can’t pass a Ford Taurus pulling a trailer uphill as your powertrain is overheating and the car diverted to “safe mode” to protect the superhot motor. The car is a blast to drive initially, but this toy will not pass the test of practicality or real scrutiny when premium sedan buyers who look at the Model S compare it to real cars for the same price. As a toy with short quick trips around town it is groovy, but it is not yet ready for prime time. Applaud Martin and Marc for their vision, but fault Elon for Tesla's demise. Comforting note though, Elon fired a quality manager to save $60K in the UK last week, but decided to replace the high cubicle walls in San Carlos with new Ikea furnishings this week for $100K. At least his priorities are in the right place: window dressing. Perception is reality...

  • Tesla deathwatcher Tesla deathwatcher on Nov 24, 2008

    I don't think people wish Tesla ill. Speaking for myself, I thought Tesla, including and especially Martin Eberhard, took too much credit for what they did. Best technology of the year. Green technology of the decade. On and on. Eberhard and Musk accepting prizes and congratulations for leading us all into the electric car age. Except they weren't leading us anywhere. They burned through a lot of cash and have a business plan that does not work. Tesla's electric propulsion technology may be of its own design, but it is, technology-wise, a dead knock-off of the AC Propulsion tzero. The body and chassis is a knock-off of the Lotus Elise. What has Tesla really accomplished? Not a whole lot. Had we seen more humility from Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard and less hubris, they might get a more sympathetic reception now. I listened closely for any acknowledgement from Tesla of the contributions to the Tesla Roadster of AC Propulsion and Lotus. Not a word of acknowledgement, let alone praise, was spoken. According to Martin Eberhard, the Tesla Roadster is all of Tesla's own design. To top it off, Tesla has the gall to sue Henrik Fisker over trade secret infringement. The arbitrator finds in favor of Fisker, and chews Tesla out for bringing the case in bad faith. What does Elon Musk say about it? He says the arbitrator made the wrong decision. Oh, right. Entrepreneurs and companies that labor long and hard through difficult times to bring something new to market deserve their reward. I am sometimes envious of those people, but do not begrudge them their success. They earned it. But I do feel it only fair when a company like Tesla that basked in glory it did not earn has to taste the bitter fruit of adversity. They had money to burn, and they sure burned it. If they still find some way to make it, great for them. They already took their victory lap. Now win the race. I will hold my applause until then.

  • MarkLatham MarkLatham on Dec 02, 2008

    "I don’t think people wish Tesla ill...only fair...a company like Tesla that basked in glory it did not earn has to taste the bitter fruit of adversity" Is there a contradiction there Tesla Deathwatcher? I think that sounds bitter and is an unbalanced reaction to Tesla, their car, their perceived place in electric automotive history etc. I'm sure Messrs Eberhard and Musk have their flaws, I imagine ego and bloody-mindedness help sustain people who are pushing boundaries. This thread is strangely negative. Isn't the Tesla car important in itself; it appeals to the emotions we fight against when we think of the planet/climate change. The Tesla is a piece green indulgence in a sea of green sacrifice. In this way it is totemic.

  • Tesla deathwatcher Tesla deathwatcher on Dec 02, 2008

    Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. Seriously, though, I don't wish Tesla ill. And I'm not bitter about what they have done, or are doing. If they can succeed at it, great for them. But when people like Jason Calacanis tout Tesla as a great success, I beg to differ. In my eyes, they have failed as a ompany. Burning money like a GM with no hope of a profit. That's all.