By on May 5, 2016

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

There’s probably no s’mores or ghost stories, but Tesla founder Elon Musk is still a fan of camping out at his company’s Fremont, California production facility.

Musk admitted to giving his sleeping bag a regular workout during a recent earnings call, during which he outlined his production goals for the upcoming Model 3. The optimistic deadline of July 1, 2017 is now viewed as impossible (due to supply issues), but Musk is optimistic that significant quantities of the $35,000 EV will be out the door before New Year’s Eve.

Musk might need to splurge on an upgraded sleeping bag next summer.

Besides sleeping over, Musk said he keeps his desk at the end of the Model X production line, and test drives models to ensure quality control. Quality proved a thorny issue with the automaker’s electric SUV, so his work obsession has utility, even if it might make some workers nervous.

A bigger issue for the company is the matter of turning 400,000 Model 3 reservations into driveway-ready models before prospective customers get tired of waiting.

Musk estimates Tesla can produce between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s before the end of 2017, with production of all models hitting his near-term goal of 500,000 units in 2018. To put that goal into perspective, Tesla has delivered 121,820 vehicles over the lifespan of the company.

Musk plans to wring as much capacity out of the Fremont plant as possible, estimating it could be set up to product one million vehicles a year by 2020, but he admits a second North American plant is an eventual necessity. An overseas plant, either in Europe, China or both, would satisfy demand in other growth markets.

A recent management shakeup at Tesla has some wondering if Musk is purging problem staff in advance of the production boom. News of the departure of Greg Reichow, the company’s vice-president of production, and Josh Ensign, vice-president of manufacturing, came the same day as the updated production targets.

A source close to the issue said there is a link between the departures and the quality and supply issues that bedeviled Model X production earlier this year, a claim Tesla denies.

Tesla reported a net loss of $282 million in the first quarter of 2016, but posted a 22 percent increase in revenue ($1.1 billion) compared to the same period last year.

[Sources: CNET, Electrek, SF Gate, Bloomberg]

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150 Comments on “Musk Admits to Factory Sleepovers as Tesla Gets Real on Production Forecast...”


  • avatar
    VoGo

    I’m sure this article will trigger the usual barrage of anti-Tesla rants, pointing out that electric car subsidies violate true conservative principles; that Tesla’s business model is naive and flawed; that electricity is made from coal and not really green; and that it isn’t fair how much tail Musk gets.

    But I will ask you this: When was the last time you read an article about a leader of a traditional automaker taking a sleeping bag to the assembly line? If you want to keep buying yesterday’s technology from the Roger Smiths of the world, that’s cool. Personally, I love that Musk is publicly setting nearly impossible stretch goals for Tesla and putting everything on the line to achieve them.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I’d love it more if I hadn’t been grateful to get back in my Sonata after driving an S 90D. I admire the hell out of what Tesla is attempting, but they need to learn how to make the car-car bits of cars as well as the electric powertrains. I was a fan until I drove one; that’s not good news for Tesla no matter what makes the wheels turn.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      I am becoming a grudging admirer. My Son has fully drank the Musk Kool-Aid, and as he likes to point out -“Who else has brought any new car to market independently in the last half-century with these numbers and obstacles”? I found out that he has loaned Tesla $1000 with the possibility of actual ownership before he reaches 30. The Believers are not swayed by actuality – they prefer Musk the Legend to Musk the human. Oh well, everybody needs a hobby.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      OK…then I’m your huckleberry

      I am supposed to feel better now that the great hustler is now proving his ability as a COO/CEO/Chief Bottlewasher when I hear he has lost two of his top lieutenants and business leader/managers and he himself has now gotten a sleeping bag so he can sleep at the end of the production run?

      This is supposed to quell all the hate and worries about his long term business skill?

      Please.

      This is about as reassuring as if he crossed his heart and hoped to die.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The news of those 2 departures caused Tesla stock to fall by 4% yesterday. In a relatively immature company, such departures are pretty typical, especially after a lousy product launch (Model X). Let me ask you this: How many people were held accountable for the lousy Dart product launch? How many people were fired because the Honda CR-Z did so poorly?

        But the stock rose 8% last night on news of Tesla’s strong Q1 revenues. Half of Musk’s direct reports have been with the company for 5 years, which doesn’t sound too bad to me.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          I believe, and I may be wrong, that the stock rose because the data wasn’t as bad as expected.
          Is this really good?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            In the bizarro world of the stock market if your losses are just a little bit lower than market expectations, then, yes, this causes the stock to go up.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            TSLA stock is actually down more than 4% today as well.

      • 0 avatar

        Remember that as they were bringing the Roadster to production, co-founder Martin Eberhard got pushed out of the company too. It looked at the time like Eberhard got it for his role in the two-speed transmission fiasco:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Roadster#Transmission

        So it’s not without precedent for Tesla to dump very important execs.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Given the startup/Silicon valley management model, high executive turnover is to be expected.
        Burnout is an issue. Sooner or later they figure-out that they can get paid seven figures somewhere else and only have to work 12 hour days.

        • 0 avatar
          accord1999

          SG&A is material because the primary reason that Tesla has high gross margins (at least compared to the Detroit 3) is that they sell at retail prices. However, they have high SG&A compared to the rest of the industry for the same reason, they sell at retail and must pay for the retail and service operations. It’s so high that it basically eats up the extra gross margin so Tesla is worse off than a GM.

          And compared to a Toyota, they look terrible as Toyota has about the same gross margin and half the SG&A.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        And stuck a needle in his eye.

        Saw a Model S today..toddling along below the speed limit. After I got into the line of traffic dispatching said rolling roadblock, my first thought was “range anxiety?” Why? The nearest Supercharger is merely a mile away in the Meijer parking lot.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          and ICE cars never never drive below the speed limit. Nope, never happens. Never ever. ICE cars never ever slow down because they’re coasting into a gas station on fumes. And those red cans you see the AAA guys bringing people stopped in the breakdown lane. That’s a coffee refill cause ICE cars never run out of fuel. Just doesn’t happen.

          Someone could invent a vehicle tomorrow that runs for 5000 miles after a 2-second fueling and there will still be people that take it to 4999.9 miles and have to slow down to keep from running out of fuel before they reach a fueling station.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “When was the last time you read an article about a leader of a traditional automaker taking a sleeping bag to the assembly line?”

      You really are a sucker for these bits of carefully crafted PR.

      Incidentally, I am impressed by Musk generally and think that the company’s management is one of its advantages. But gimme a break…

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Yes, I am a sucker for good PR. And I think that every great company has origin stories like this that reinforce the culture.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Sorry, but that sort of unbridled enthusiasm just makes you look like a dupe.

          At the end of the day, Tesla is a manufacturing company that operates in a space with uniquely high development costs combined with modest margins. The sleeping bag story is intended to persuade you that the company is a tech startup with high margin potential, when it isn’t really a tech company and has just about zero chance of being a high margin operator.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I see the possibility that the car industry could be transformed from one that is currently polluting, dangerous and causes climate change into one that is vibrant, green and saves lives. I find that vision exciting and want to be a part of it.

            If that makes me a dupe, I can live with that.

            At the end of the day, this isn’t about sleeping bags or subsidy politics or PR messaging. It’s about whether a relatively small company can upend the status quo and deliver a great electric car at scale for $35K within the next 18 months.

            Can they do it? Obviously the odds are long. But I believe. You don’t. And that’s OK.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I get it. I treat it as a business case, you treat it as a religion.

            I’ve never been one for evangelicals. Elevating the passion to believe over data just ain’t my cup of chai.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Since you are all business, PCH, I’ll expect that if TSLA starts to show a profit in 3 months that you’ll be open minded to the idea that it can actually succeed.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Well, I wasn’t particularly excited about Tesla’s single profitable quarter to date because I understood that it was a one-time event.

            I know enough about finance and accounting to understand how P&L’s can be manipulated. (Trust me, I’ve had guys who tried to fool me with numbers, so I know firsthand what that looks like.) The issues that I’ve noted about Tesla are structural in nature, and something in that structure will have to change.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Everything about Musk is to get you to imagine that he’s making an iCar, and he’s the reincarnation of Steve Jobs – with the attendant margins.

            None of which survives thoughtful analysis.

            Making the car industry electric will do very little to reduce pollution, or save lives. There’s much more to it than that.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “Making the car industry electric will do very little to reduce pollution, or save lives. There’s much more to it than that.”

            Right. Which is why Musk is also CEO of leading companies in the solar cell and battery industries.

            There’s an interesting article on Bloomberg about how David Keith a Harvard scientist and long time doubter of solar energy has realized he was wrong and now projects that solar energy will be the cheapest source of power by 2020.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            VoGo

            I am all for religious experience and the great leap of faith for anybody who wants or needs.
            My only complaint…ever…with Tesla was the using of my tax money towards another’s dreams or the excusing the use of large scale electricity and batteries as if they are as whistle clean as St Theresa.

            Nothin here is for real.

            AsI expressed in earlier post, batteries make me worried. Even tossing out my AAs make me feel I have contributed to the polution generations from now.
            Yet, somehow, these large expensive monstrosities are being given a free fast lane to the garden of good.

            And as if our world can supply all these earth lovin electric car. From what and where will this power come? More wind mills propped up throughout all the now clear farmlands of the midwest? So we go from a drive across the heartland admiring the landscape ONLY to one day admire giant wind farms hacking away at migrating birds?

            Or are we to suddenly find all these once former nuclear power haters who once demanded all power plants be shut down now demanding more and more plants be built? Are these one time greenies now nuclear power lovers? If so, how can anybody really trust what they stand for.

            Today they want to kill it, tomorrow they want to revive it. It all depends upon what is good for their emotional now. I guess what I am asking…how do they identify today?

            Or huge gigantic solar field blasting passing birds into fireballs?

            All in the name of what?

            So go for it Tesla…just stop the preaching and pull your open palms back…I already gave at the Mobil station.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Somehow I’ve fallen into a world where daring to think that a fast growing $33 Billion company might be successful is a “religion”.

            But continuing to support a corrupt, subsidy-dependent, polluting, dangerous Goliath of an industry that contributes to climate change is logical?

            Yeah, we’ll have to disagree on that. Because companies like GM, Chrysler, Nissan and Fiat have proven time and again that they are competent, well-led and consistently profitable.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Re: modest margins.
            Apparently Tesla is making 20% on their cars. That’s low by iPhone standards, but very good by automotive standards.

            They could make a short-term killing if they weren’t focused on long-term growth. Then again, they wouldn’t be where they are now if it wasn’t for their excess ambition.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I don’t know why I bothered to study finance and to work in it when I have all of these internet dudes with no knowledge or training to “school” me.

            If you don’t understand how Tesla’s gross margins and SG&A costs are markedly different from the rest of the industry, then you will never get it. (Big hint: selling direct inflates gross revenue per unit, but the cost of selling direct is high yet doesn’t appear in gross margin.)

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Pch,

            You are making a lot of assumptions when the answers you seek are in the earnings report. Why is that?
            Tesla is obviously a bit of a hobby for you, so why not do the maths and test-out your theories? Right now you’re insulting everyone who doesn’t share your opinion (especially if you don’t understand theirs), maybe that’s your comfort zone. If so then carry on. If not, you could do a lot of people a real favor by pointing-out exactly where you think the money is hiding, and what should be done to fix it.

            I’m not talking about generalities, but specific line items.

            You obviously have the time and inclination, so why not give it a go?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The higher revenues that comes from retailing the cars vs. wholesaling them is included in gross margin.

            The costs of selling the cars isn’t.

            Ergo, the gross margin issue.

            This shouldn’t be difficult to understand, but apparently it must be for some of you.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            “This shouldn’t be difficult to understand, but apparently it must be for some of you.”

            The guy asks you to explain your concerns – rather than rely on insults – and this is how you respond.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Pch,

            Once again, be specific. The earnings report is out. It’s a publicly traded company.

            If you think that’s where Tesla’s money is going, there must be some trace.

            It’s not that I don’t understand you. You haven’t proven your point yet. The costs that you are focusing on may be immaterial for all we know.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            SG&A isn’t included in gross margin. I can’t possibly be more specific than that. Only someone who can’t read a financial statement could possibly argue with this.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Pch,

            Once again, you don’t have anything to back-up your point, and the numbers are out there.

            SG&A isn’t included in gross margin. Granted. Is this material in Tesla’s case? You seem to think so, but not in a specific way (even though you are adamant).

            The dominant theory is that their cash burn is due to R&D, tooling, and other expansion costs (Supercharger network, etc), as well as production delays. You’re telling me that the real problem is sales costs. All I’m saying is “I’m interested, now convince me.”

            You can’t drop a bomb like that and not expect a few follow-ups.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You made a claim that Tesla had high margins without understanding what that means.

            I’m not “concerned” about it, I’m just trying to teach you how to read a financial statement.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Sarcasm does not equal substance.

            Either sales costs are significant or they aren’t.

            My guess is you’ve finally had a look at Tesla’s financial statements, realized that SG&A was the least of their worries, and now you are throwing a few insults around to create a diversion.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I can see that this hopeless.

            If sales costs were included in gross margin, then that number would be close to zero. But I don’t expect you to comprehend this, as you’re too busy trying to teach me about something that you don’t understand.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            I figured-out that this was hopeless a long time ago! It’s pretty funny watching you write over and over again that you believe Tesla’s sales costs are at least 20% of their income, without actually quoting a number from their earnings reports (or any other audited report that they produce as a public company).

            Either it’s true, and the number is published somewhere reliable, or it’s not. The fact that you are doing your best to avoid quoting any actual numbers tells me that you haven’t checked and probably don’t care.

            Short version…
            Pch: Tesla’s losing money because their sales costs are so high.
            HH: Is that so, tell me more.
            Pch: I would, but you’re too stupid, you think their costs are zero, I had the numbers right here but the dog ate my homework.
            HH: (sigh…)

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Tesla is losing money for many reasons, not just one.

            But you made a claim about the company having high margins, and it is painfully obvious that you don’t understand the concept even after it was explained in fairly simple terms.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Pch,

            So all this was about “gross vs.net”?

            Wow.

            I thought you had some new(ish) insight to provide, you certainly hinted that you did. My fault really.

            It’s all a big misunderstanding then. You are correct, gross isn’t net. Nobody disputed that, but it’s your windmill, have a go at it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Hey, you were the one who tried to educate me about margins. Shame that you didn’t know what you were talking about.

  • avatar
    tkewley

    I know nothing of Reichow or Ensign, so it’s possible they were fired for legitimate under performance, or that they were made scapegoats for failing to meet unrealistic targets. What we do know is that Tesla has typically been a “black box” in terms of providing substantive information about production, sales, quality issues, etc, etc, and that it has failed to meet most of the targets that it HAS publicly stated. None of this seems likely to change with regard to the Model 3.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      It’s already being pushed back from the initial nonsensical announcement. He’s been making the same mistakes, telling the same lies and half-truths since the Roadster. Why would anyone believe that will change?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Actually, Musk announced that Tesla was shifting the production schedule for the Model 3 AHEAD by two years. They now plan to produce 500K units in 2018, instead of previous plans for 2020. Can they deliver? That’s the big question.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Only a question if you don’t understand manufacturing, don’t understand supply chains, don’t understand lead times for machinery, don’t understand 10 years of past performance, don’t understand cash flow, capex, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

          For those who do, the question is answered.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I really hope that you match your convictions with your investments and put every cent you have into shorting TSLA.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            30-35% of Tesla float is borrowed for the short.

            I’m hardly the only one who can do the analysis.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Maybe I’ll see my Model 3 after all. And maybe not.

    Musk’s micromanagement is interesting. It could indicate any of the following:

    1. He is a caring ‘father’ who wants only the best from his business. This is the image he sends.
    2. He doesn’t trust his line managers.
    3. He hasn’t empowered the line managers to make decisions to fix things.
    4. There are serious problems on the line. This is likely.
    5. The line managers are afraid to tell him what the problems are.
    6. Internal communication is poor, either by accident or on purpose (#5 above).
    7. He has no home life. We know this already.

    He mentions this sort of oversight as an old-school romantic way to run a tech startup (well, Tesla is 13 years old now), but I think it’s a bit troubling.

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      When I first achieved management I tried to do the work of 10 by myself under the delusion that no one else could do it the right way. I was burnt out in six months, and that was when amphetamines were little pills. This does not bode well for all those shareholders of this artificially inflated stock.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It could be a variant of MBWA (management by walking around), which came out of the old Hewlett-Packard.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m sure it is. There is a lot of merit to MBWA, but a little goes a long way.

        A good manager removes roadblocks and supports his people; a tedious manager is an ever-present pain and drives people out. It’s a fine line, and trust is the key ingredient.

        I suspect Musk is a bit of both.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          In a capital-constrained venture such as this one, it is necessary to maintain a constant sense of urgency. That is bound to be stressful.

          It’s important to support the workers, but the workers also should run a bit scared — not scared of their leaders, but of the competitive environment in which the business operates. That is going to necessarily burn out more people than normal, but comfort isn’t an option in a company that has more than modest odds of failure.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        PCH101- as a Varian refugee from 1972, I can fully relate to your comment. Best laugh in days

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    “When was the last time you read an article about a leader of a traditional automaker taking a sleeping bag to the assembly line?”

    Because when you actually *know* something about building cars, that isn’t necessary. In fact, it’s even more evidence of how completely effed-up this circus is. The CEO is camping out in a sleeping bag? Has a desk on the end of a production line? Is actually test-driving cars?

    That he can’t effectively delegate all of those tasks speaks volumes about his selection of subordinates, and his leadership ability. In a real company, this incompetent behavior would be grounds for termination or at least demotion. No board would tolerate this showboating. (Of course, hiring effective subordinates got him run out of X/Confinity, since they showed how useless he was…)

    Step right up. step right up!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Tesla owns 25% market share of electric cars, and he’s run a carmaker for over a decade, so I think Musk knows *something* about building cars. He is trying to learn how to do it at 5X his current volume – what better place than on the assembly line?

      As an aside, how much did Mulalley know about building cars? How much does Mary Barra know?

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        He’s selling cars at a loss for a decade, always far behind schedule, way over budget, not meeting originally stated goals. Oh yeah, he’s got it *nailed*.

        Do you really think that “Musk” is the one to figure out how to make 5 times more cars? Seriously? That there aren’t 20 guys in the ops chain of command to do this?

        Mullaly didn’t go sleep on his desk, camp out on the line, or any of Musk’s stunts. He put people in charge of production, he provided direction. He asked why they had 12 different seat tracks, 10 different antennas, why people were doing silly things that wasted money. Barra? She’ll be in charge when they finally sell GM to the Chinese during the next downturn. She’s a placeholder, internally seen as pretty much of a joke.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I guess you want to buy cars from companies led by delegators and placeholders. That’s your choice.

          If it were the case that you thought TSLA were overvalued, you’d simply short the stock and profit from your insight. But this continuing malice points to something much broader with you, PorscheSpeed.

          Maybe you hate America. Maybe you hate great cars. Maybe you hate the entrepreneurial spirit. Share with us what exactly it is that drives all this venom.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Wow dude, the venom seems to be coming from you. Calling bs on a CEO flapping his gums about sleeping at an assembly line now equates to hating America and entrepreneurship?

            You must be going long on TSLA.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            I get it, I’m messing with your Elon-worship and how dare I. Because Tesla is continuing to make errors, basic errors that anyone who knows cars and manufacturing wouldn’t make. That the fanbois don’t even see these errors is why we keep pointing them out. That’s why I’m pissing on your Wheaties.

            I love America, I love great cars, I am an entrepreneur. That’s why I call a con, a con. Elon Musk is Malcolm Bricklin with some more money at his disposal, knowing less about cars.

          • 0 avatar
            accord1999

            I’d imagine Mr. Toyota doesn’t need to be sleeping in one of the factories because he knows the people already at the factories are experts at high quality production, that the few mistakes are almost always caught by well-located and comprehensive QC checks and that even if he’s not there to drive the completed vehicles, statistically it’s going to be well-made and reliable.

            Unlike say the Model X launch which has been pretty horrendous in terms of fit and finish and problems that are quickly discovered by customers.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            To be fair, Toyota makes more cars in two days than Tesla makes in a year. The CEO of the latter should be more engaged.

            On the other hand, some members of the Tesla fan club don’t seem to appreciate that manufacturing isn’t easy. Building a car is a lot more challenging than assembling a handset.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Mulally knew complex manufacturing and Ford hired him based on the success he had with Boeing.

        What is Musk’s background in complex manufacturing? No snark. He may indeed have this experience, but AFAIK, he does not.

        I’m not sure why Musk thinks this folklore of him sleeping at the assembly line is helpful. If anything, it makes it appear that he’s hired the wrong people to scale up production.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Yes, Mulalley did know a lot about complex manufacturing. But building hundreds of jets and building and marketing millions of cars are different, and Mulalley didn’t know anything about cars.

          But I think he was very successful at Ford, mostly because he was a breath of fresh air who knew how to lead and manage effectively.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Mulally was empowered to make things happen, including major cultural changes at Ford. He hired people to implement strategy and got involved when needed by asking the right questions. He didn’t sit with the marketing dept. to become an expert in marketing or with procurement to become an expert in seat rails.

            Musk is a great visionary, but is struggling with some of these issues. Probably his ego getting involved. Tesla’s success would help consumers have more choices, so we would all benefit, but selling this folklore is some bush league stuff.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A CEO’s job is to deal with strategic matters. Someone in Musk’s position only needs to know enough about manufacturing so that he can hire people who do understand it.

  • avatar
    jberger

    Not going to engage in the usual Musk bashing, love him or hate him he IS changing the world in multiple markets, Automotive, Space and Solar.

    Ashlee Vance (of theregister) has a very interesting look as Musk if you are all interested in how the guy actually works.

    https://amzn.com/B00KVI76ZS

    He’s certainly not my idol, but I am deeply impressed that one guy can make such a difference in multiple markets at the same time. Has he been lucky? Of course, but there is a lot more too him than luck.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      In space, he has accomplished goals that governments and established players have trouble achieving.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Dig past the illusion that is being sold.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      HAHAHAAHAHA….oh this is serious.

      As solar companies go bankrupt left and right, his other companies not making any money, his space company is behind the guy at Amazon’s and none of this is without heavy government subsidy. Have him try to do it honestly without free money; we should not be subsidizing things for rich people.

      We went to the moon in the 60’s, our government has put something on Mars, big whoop about Musk.

  • avatar
    Pan

    I think that Elon Musk will be seen as the “Henry Ford” of the 21st. century.
    More power to him.

    • 0 avatar
      Ihatejalops

      Henry Ford made money and made things cheaper for the average consumer. Elon Musk does neither of these things.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Um, no. Musk’s companies are in the lead in reducing the costs of batteries and solar cells. And remind me, who else has announced production of a premium electric vehicle with a 200 mile range for $35K?

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          General Motors, with the Bolt (yeah, dumb name). Which will certainly beat the Model 3 to market, by a lot. And probably be put together better, and is a more useful form factor. But not “Tesla cool”.

        • 0 avatar
          Ihatejalops

          @VoGo

          Honda insight was cheap and electric and sold at cheaper price than the 35K you quote which actually won’t be the price but more than 60k.

          GM had a hybrid in the 60s…..Electric cars existed in the 19th century, just stop.

          Again, he doesn’t make money and has less cash than their expenses. I get you’re blind to this, but Nissan has 10 plants to make 1 million cars globally, Tesla has 1, so how are they going to do it….

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          His companies are hardly leaders – except when it comes to losing money. (SpaceX is government, so it’s cost+, there is no real savings motive beyond stealing business from a competitor.)

          I’ve already posted battery factories that will be bigger than the “giga”. He doesn’t control any cutting-edge research, and he’s at the tail end of it all.

          If you actually read any of the industry news, you’d know this. But instead you’re a poorly-educated millenial who has been told all opinions matter. The moronic ones don’t.

          I don’t comment on the articles I read in particle physics journals, because though particle physics is an interest, I know better than to make completely uninformed statements.

          Please, go learn something. Attempt to actually support your arguments other than with “beliefs”.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Everything I’ve stated is fact. Fact you disagree with, hence the insults.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @VoGO

            My bad on the name. Lease was only $455….About the same as a Tesla would be

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_EV_Plus

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            That’s a 66hp econobox with 81 miles of range from 1999, not a modern 3-series competitor.

            Very different leagues.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            3-series competitor?

            Bwahhhahahaha!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Well, the Model S *is* crushing the 7-series…

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            So a piece of eco-cred jewelry is out-selling an actual luxury/performance car. That’s priced higher. Much higher.

            Got it.

            You next brilliant observation will be that they are also “crushing” Audi R8 and Lambo sales.

            If only logic classes were still mandatory in high school…

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Yeah, right. Sales numbers are padded and resemble a Ponzi scheme. This company will be lucky to sell 10k of that hideous cheap model.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Is just a little nuance too much to ask in these discussions? For some reason nobody seems to be satisfied with anything less than absolute admiration or absolute hatred for any individual or enterprise, and not only that, but such admiration or hatred is always pinned inexorably to the wielder’s own political self-image.

    How can we expect to make any progress as a society when all anyone considers in any context is winning the next argument?

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Well, let me try.

      First he strawman argument used to protect Tesla is support for oil. IF we support the oil industry, then we must support Tesla and other electronic or green energy goals.

      No. Social engineering and taxing for anything the government thinks is THE new way to go is wrong.

      Oil is in a gret deal of products and encompases all out lives to the point our entire civilization would be harmed without enough of it or the expense of using grows beyond control. With or without it used as fuel.

      Second. Electric power will save humanity and our home Earth.
      Nonsense. Nobody has yet to fully explain how we will handle battery waste. Our lovely planet can’t be soon filled with wind farms.

      Musk and Tesla are given almost religious, blind faith allegiance and if you ask why a CEO has to spend sleeping hours at the end of a production run rather than have the management skills to find and hold onto qualifies managers is followed my your being scorned…this is scary. In fact the entire reason for a CEO IS the finding of people who know more and surround yourself with them. Then let them do what you cannot.

      And finally…after seeing the results of years of delay and even the product itself for over 100K is enough to make any non-Tesla fanatic a bit cold sober. I know. I am pretty close to all of his products and I can say for 100K these are NOT luxury quality. Tech cool and fun, but not even close to 100K luxury. They are jewelry for those with money.

      And having my money used so other family members can save money on their 135 or more cars is maddening.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        TT,
        You continue to repeat the same arguments without recognizing that many have been addressed.

        1. The point on the oil industry is that people whine about tax credits for electric cars, but are silent on all the corporate welfare for Big Oil, which is many times larger. I would love to see the Federal government get out of the business of picking winners and losers in energy, but let’s start by making fossil fuels pay their fare share, no?

        2. Lithium batteries are recycled. Really.

        3. No one is trying to put a wind farm on your land. By 2020, solar will be the cheapest source of electricity for the majority of Americans. It’s cheap, clean and there is no “Peak Sun” to worry about. But you will need batteries for night time.

        4. If you don’t like the Model S, don’t buy it. But apparently enough people like it to make it the best selling car in its segment, ahead of the S-class, 7-series, A8, etc. AND, demand is up 43% from a year ago.

        5. Sleeping near the assembly line doesn’t mean you can’t hire or delegate; it just means you are sending a message to the company that you are really committed to making this happen.

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “…silent on all the corporate welfare for Big Oil,…”

          This tired canard again. You lefties will continue to claim oil is subsidized until the government confiscates every single dollar of oil company profits. Anything less is a “subsidy” by your retarded definition.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I am a lefty and I will continue to bemoan corporate welfare for Big Oil so long as it is true. Oil companies are subsidized in many ways, and you are free to google them.

        • 0 avatar
          Ihatejalops

          @VoGo

          Oil companies may be subsidized, but without them you wouldn’t have gas, electricity, super markets, interstate travel etc…OIl does more for poor people than any liberal scheme has (in fact, liberal scheme’s destroy societies faster, see black/native american communities).

          I think you need to be at Gawker, much more fitting a place for you to be delusional in.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Did you just write that subsidies to the oil industry are necessary for Americans to have electricity, highways and supermarket? For reals?

            Please. Please! Please educate the world on this unique perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            Ihatejalops is might not be right in the sense that oil subsidies help poor people. But, if you hate oil subsidies so much VoGo I’d suggest not buying any of these types of products. Also no asphalt roads, no jet rides, or heat if you live in an area that uses it for that.

            http://alaska.conocophillips.com/what-we-do/oil-production/Pages/what-is-oil-used-for.aspx

            Sure 75% of oil goes to making gas, but most of those products on that list are important for just about everyone. You can’t deny it, which is why it makes sense to make the US as energy independent as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Oil subsidies help oil companies, some of the most profitable firms on earth. If you want to help poor people, invest in mass transit.

            I agree that oil is used for more than gas. If you want those products to remain cheap, you need to reduce demand or increase supply. Gas taxes and support for clean energy reduces demand, and keeps oil cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      And now we get people shrieking about “liberal schemes” in a thread I started to bemoan polarization and politicization.

      I f*cking give up.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        @IAHawkye
        Cheap prices absolutely help poor people, that’s why if they keep getting money to dig to keep things cheap, it helps everyone. More money for all. It’s the failure of the environmentalist movement, it fucks the people that need every penny.

        @Perisoft
        Liberal schemes comment is not about polarization, but about the joke that they never work…

        See Russia, Great depression, Venezuela et al…..

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Ihatejalops,
          Russia was communist. The great depression was caused by Republican Herbert Hoover and Venezuela was ruled by a strongman supported by the wealthy families.

          None of these is liberal. Get better data!

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @VoGo

            Communism/socialism is a liberal scheme! They didn’t work during the depression, you have all that Data! “Democratic Socialism” is liberal. All fascism starts with liberal ideals (gov’t owned utilities, companies)

            Christ almighty, are you really that much of a fool?!

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Ihatejalops,

            Your understanding of economic history is 180 degrees from mainstream. Please share your sources.

            Soviet style communism and modern democratic socialism are very different.

            Liberals don’t want to nationalize industries; we want to help feed, house and heal those who need it.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            Russia was “communist” for about 10 years. At most generous. The rest of the time it was a perverse form of power politics capitalism.

            There are as many good theories for the Great Depression as there are economists.

            Venezuela is a complicated stew of over spending and under producing. Very much a liberal problem.

            The world is not a tumblr or reddit. Get an education, learn critical thought.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            PS,
            You have confused critical thinking with being a critical person. And you have confused insults with insight.

            And just so you know, it was the Soviet Union which was communist.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @VoGo

            Read the “Forgotten Man” by Amity Shlaes…part of the “state” doing the essential functions requires the redistribution of wealth. I would go into further detail to prove you wrong, but I won’t because it’s a waste of time, effort and energy to do so because you’ll just refuse it outright.

            If you really believe that a giant economy collapse was caused by 1 president then you’re truly a buffoon. It was caused by drastic over-valuations (cough, tesla, cough) and would have been shorter if not for the failed socialist/communist policies of FDR and his liberal friends. Read Lords of Finance along side the Forgotten man, you might actually learn something, but probably not.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Is that the same Amity Shlaes who works for the George W. Bush Presidential Center?

            Sorry, but I’ll take a pass on reading economic history from a right wing Yale English major associated with Bush. I am much better educated in economics than she is.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            My dog understands economics better than you do.

  • avatar
    derekson

    The CEO insisting on testing quality of products himself seems like A. a ridiculous level of micromanagement and B. a complete failure of delegating properly. If you can’t trust your QA department, then you need to do better at hiring QA engineers and management, not try to do the job yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Key pillars of progressivism are anthropomorphism and hero worship. Like it is for children in general. $30+billion capitalization demands constant attention to Tesla’s only currently “profitable” business: Keeping progressives sufficiently enthralled, to keep the worship visible enough to borrow money against.

      Doesn’t mean they can’t be doing potentially interesting things on the side. But keeping the lights on, has, for now, little to do with their profitability, or even ability, as a car maker.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Musk can drive the cars all he wants, but if parts are not engineered properly and or prone to latent failures then he’s wasting his time.

    He really needs a solid QA team to drive down internal and external issues. Do they not have a set of standards for “voice of the customer” audits? 100% vehicle auditing is fine, but the CEO of the company doing it is insane.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t see any reason why they can’t churn out that many cars if they have the funding to make it happen – the factory used to make that many ToyotasGMs. What I don’t see is how they are going to sell, deliver, and especially support that many cars. And to date, Teslas need a LOT of after sales support. Where is the huge push to open Tesla stores all over? Service bays all over? Or at least hiring and training an army of dudes with little pickups like drive up from MA to ME when my buddy’s Model S decides that its front footwells will make GREAT ponds, like it has now done twice.

    I think it is going to be hilarious when a bunch of Toyota owners get their Model 3s, and find the build quality is like GM on a bad day in the early 80s. But at least it doesn’t use any gas! My buddy loves the car, but even he will tell you the only reason he puts up with it is the absolutely gold-plated encrusted with diamonds service. Which there is NO way on God’s green Earth they will be able to provide to hundreds of thousands of $35-50K car buyers. Just not going to happen.

    The true believers seem to think that just because the cars lack an internal combustion engine they must be problem free. But they are still CARS, and the majority of issues with the majority of cars are not the engines.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Try to explain reality to VoGo.

      I have and have failed.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        @porschespeed

        Impossible I think. The guy just keeps saying say you don’t have enough data. Even though one plant can’t produce that many cars. Ford has 2 plants for the F-150 and one is purely dedicated to the truck only, yet Tesla has to make the model 3, s and x out of one with a 500K (supposed) capacity? I don’t think so.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Modern auto plants are designed to produce 300-500K cars annually. That includes assembly of all the components of complex ICE vehicles.

          When Toyota and GM owned the plant in Freemont (NUMMI), they produced 300K vehicles annually on average. It produced a variety of vehicles, including the Prizm, Vibe and Hilux.

          Electric cars are simpler, esp. the Model 3 (have you seen the IP on the Model 3 prototypes?) so, 500K sounds reasonable to me, but you are free to think otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You’re being too logical (or, as VoGo would claim, “hating”).

      Don’t worry – Musk is sleeping at the end of the Model 3 Line in his sleeping bag, eating MREs, and will personally stamp each vehicle with a black stamp showing “Musk QC Approved/Passed,” and that will ensure Tesla vehicles climb the Consumer Reports reliability index\'(short and long-term).

      Oh, and it won’t be a logistical & manufacturing & parts sourcing issue to produce nearly 400% more Model 3s in a year as the total amount of any vehicles that Tesla has produced in its entire life while improving quality and reliability, and also improving margins and actually achieving a real profit on a vehicle that costs 1/2 as much as Tesla’s current vehicles.

      Just ask VoGo. He put a $1,000 pre-order deposit down for a $35,000 Model 3 to be delivered sometime around 2018, or 2021…or whenever.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I don’t think anyone knows how difficult ramping up production will be more than Musk. He gets it, which is why he stays close to the action. That doesn’t mean he is doing QC, or ordering parts, or anything else best delegated to experts.

        You don’t have to make things up to disagree with me!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Excess logic has long been a failing of mine. :-) I also got booted out of Sunday School as a child for asking the wrong sort of questions…

        I know six people who have deposits on Model 3s. The only one I expect to actually buy one is the guy who already owns a Model S – it is for his husband.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      When you don’t have an internal combustion engine, it does eliminate a great deal of maintenance. I have both Japanese and European cars, ICE, EV, and hybrid with all of the cars (with the exception of the EV which only has 30k) going well beyond 100k miles before replacement. They’ve all been ridiculously reliable when you start talking about actual failures. When you put maintenance into the equation, then you’re talking about a large chunk of time and money being expended on ICE related issues. Exhaust replacement, cat replacement, belt replacement, oil changes, coil replacements, plugs, evap hoses, clutch replacement, and oxygen sensor replacement isn’t needed. Not having a transmission, all of those issues are gone as well. With the hybrid and the EV, brake replacements are a rarity thanks to regen braking. We have 150k on a Prius doing a Boston commute and the brakes are still fine.

      You can argue that the majority of issues aren’t engine related. However, when you throw in maintenance time and expenses on components that are eliminated in an EV, the equation changes. My particular Leaf might need a battery replacement when it gets beyond 100k (at 30k, it’s still not showing any capacity loss) and mine has a liquid cooled inverter and motor, so I still have to deal with coolant. Other than that, it’s tires, wipers, washer fluid, and carnauba.

      Today was a 100 mile round trip in rainy 45 degree weather with a 2 hour meeting at the 50 mile point. Unplugged at home, plugged in during the meeting. Non-stop both ways with most of it freeway – although the trip home was a 24 mph crawl exercising my regen skills.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Tesla reliability is below average. And regular cars don’t have to worry about their fuel tanks shrinking.

        • 0 avatar
          porschespeed

          Don’t try to explain science to the denizens who attend The Creation Museum.

          They’re one and the same.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Tesla’s reliability is below average, but typical for a $90K car that competes with German luxury cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            MCS keeps droning on about the supposed virtues of (alleged) simplicity vis-a-vis reliability when it should be obvious that (a) no car is particularly simple and (b) the alleged simplicity of a Tesla doesn’t produce any measurable reliability benefit.

            Reliability is a function of engineering and design. If the Germans had better lean systems ala Toyota, then their cars would be more reliable.

            Part of Tesla’s reliability problem comes from over-stressing the batteries, which contributes to the range that it likes to brag about. Topping up batteries and draining them to the max will maximize their range, but that comes at the expense of battery life.

            And anyone who has owned a mobile phone or laptop knows that battery degradation is almost always a given under even the best of circumstances. Gas tanks don’t lose capacity over time, but batteries certainly do.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            I’d be interested to see the average lifespan of the Model S battery (obviously dependent on the charging regime and environmental factors), and more importantly, how much it will cost. How much will it be on a Model 3?

            In both cases, my guess as to cost is a shekel or three more than the cost of a timing belt/water pump on an ICE vehicle!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >>> I’d be interested to see the average lifespan of the Model S battery (obviously dependent on the charging regime and environmental

            That’s a really good question. As much as I like the Model 3 and Tesla, the latest Nissan battery that I’ve got in my Leaf has been surprising me at its resilience. The Tesla battery is a bit of a mystery. I think you have good points about the cost of the Tesla battery and questions about how long it will last. The battery issues might keep me in the Nissan camp.

            Soon, I’ll try to change my avatar to one of the latest snapshots of my Nissan dash showing mileage, the number of charge bars, and estimated range. I’ve been rough on this battery in it’s almost 30k miles. I put 20k+ miles on it a year. I always charge it to 100% even on 10 mile days. It’s spent time is subzero f and 90 degree temps. According to stats I just pulled from the car, I have 29,294 miles, 148 Quick Charges, 1,504 L1/L2s. It still shows 100% health and in the real-world the 12th bar still gets about the same mileage as the rest. I’m surprised myself. It’s supposed to be the same as the 2016 Nissan chemistry, but my friends may have given me a ringer.

            I do know of even better batteries coming about 2020 (meaning in mass production in factories) and may end up with a prototype before then in the Leaf. I’m getting closely involved with one of the labs hoping to be in mass production by 2020. Hopefully, I’ll be getting one of the cells in my hands within the next couple of weeks. Knowing what’s coming in that timeframe is another reason I didn’t cough up $1000.

            I have a busy day, but will try to get a shot of the dash on the avatar asap. there we go, photographic proof. It’s the best I could do for now.

      • 0 avatar
        porschespeed

        Other than oil changes and the 100K timing belt, you’re just making stuff up.

        Cats? Coils? Maybe on a Beemer, not on a run-of-the-mill Hondota-Acurfini.

        Those costs on a properly designed ICE are about the same as your battery replacement. Except they go 300+ miles before they need about 2 minutes to refuel.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> Cats? Coils? Maybe on a Beemer, not on a run-of-the-mill Hondota-Acurfini.

          I’m talking over 100k miles and what I listed were actual replacements. A coil on the BMW at 130k, one of the Toyota’s had a coil at about 110k, cats on two toyotas in the low 100’s, oxygen sensors all around, clutch replacement on a Toyota (independent shop wanted $900, but we did it ourselves for under $200). There was a hardened leaky evaporator hose on one of the Toyotas. One of our Toyotas had a starter go at around 100k. One of the Toyotas needed a new belt at around maybe 120k. I also had a BMW alternator go at about 80k.

          What I didn’t originally list was a $5k transmission replacement on a just out of warranty Mazda MPV. The same vehicle needed plugs when it was in the low 100’s, but was going to require some major engine disassembly to reach the back plugs, so we got rid of it.

          It also takes more than 2 minutes to fuel a vehicle. Sometimes you have to go off of your route, pumping fuel takes more than 2 minutes, and you can be stuck in line behind a Suburban filling it’s tank. Not a lot of 24 hour stations near me and that can be a problem too.

          I’ve put several thousand miles on my EV since I think January without having to take time out for charging. Yesterday was a 100-mile round trip and I plugged in at home and plugged in at my destination and the car charged for the duration of my 2-hour meeting. We’re talking about seconds to plug it in. For me, and I’m a high mileage driver, an EV is a virtual perpetual motion machine.

          How much time do I save vs. a gas station? Let’s say 22,000 miles a year. Divide it by 350 miles. that’s 62 stops for fuel in a year for me. Multiply that by 5 minutes, and you get 5.2 hours. Add in another hour for a couple of oil changes and it’s 6 hours. Another thing about that 5 hours is that it is time standing outside with your hand squeezing a hose. Sometimes in cold weather. With an EV, when I do have to take time out for a charge, it’s time spent having a meal, taking a bathroom break, or getting work done on my laptop. At least twice I’ve stopped for a charge when I didn’t need it. There was a charging station nearby with clean bathrooms after I had spent a little too much time in traffic and needed a break. On one trip it was the dog signalling that he had to go and we pulled into a Rhode Island charging station at a rest stop on I-295.

          A 100 mile EV doesn’t work for everyone. I always fly for further than maybe 120 miles one way. I did the research when I was shopping for a daily driver and it fit my driving situation perfectly. I had planned on an 80-mile range with it dropping to 40 miles, so 100+ miles without signs of a drop in range has been a bonus. I may be getting another prototype battery soon and that will be interesting if it’s as good as they are saying it is. Not sure if it’s going to happen, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.

          It wasn’t going to work for my son and he ended up spending $13k on a new Toymazdion iA ICE car. If he could have picked up a 200+ mile EV for under $30k, he would have definitely gone for one, but know such animal exists outside of the R&D world.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            The same people who constantly remind us of V6 Hondas with failing transmissions, sludging 3.3L engines, VW coil pack recalls, GM ignition woes and all manner of turbo replacements suddenly and conveniently forget all those posts when it’s time to criticize Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            “I’m talking over 100k miles and what I listed were actual replacements. A coil on the BMW at 130k, one of the Toyota’s had a coil at about 110k, cats on two toyotas in the low 100’s, oxygen sensors all around, clutch replacement on a Toyota (independent shop wanted $900, but we did it ourselves for under $200). There was a hardened leaky evaporator hose on one of the Toyotas. One of our Toyotas had a starter go at around 100k. One of the Toyotas needed a new belt at around maybe 120k. I also had a BMW alternator go at about 80k.”

            So a coil, a couple of cats (which is indicative of an engine issue, usually head gaskets caused by overheating), O2 sensors are a consumable and rarely last more than 100K, timing belts are also a wear item as well routine maint, and a clutch at 120K? Somebody doesn’t know how to drive a stick, or that car has serious problems. If you don’t get 200K out of clutch in city driving, it’s either junk by design, or you shouldn’t have a stick.

            That a BMW (post 80s, those things are trains) needs anything, from a cam chain at 100K, to an alt, is to be expected, And I believe I noted as such.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        A Leaf is an econobox. It is not going to have the kinds of issues that $50-100K luxury cars have with the gizmos, because it doesn’t have any. It is also made by a company that actually knows how to make cars.

        My currently Tesla-owning friend had a Leaf prior. It did get a battery pack under warranty, I don’t hold that against it. But other than that, it was just like a Corolla, nothing went wrong with it at all. The Tesla on the other hand, is a service visit of the month club member so far. But the Leaf wasn’t cutting it, he drives too much with shuffling his kid to a distant private school twice a day.

        Until they get quite old, the overwhelming majority of cars only need tires, brakes, washer fluid, wipers and a cheap annual oil change. Most people who can afford new cars don’t keep them long enough to need to do much of anything else. Not seeing a huge difference, especially given the difference in up-front cost.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Don’t you own an old Land Rover?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Yes, I do – your point being?

            My 15yo Range Rover is more reliable than my friend’s 1.5yr old Tesla. Rather more useful too, given actual adults can sit in the back seat, it can go through 30+” of snow, and it tows a 6500lb boat around all summer. Oh yeah, and I can refuel it about anywhere in about 10 minutes. I could have bought a dozen of it for what he paid for the world’s fanciest used golf cart. That pays for a LOT of gas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What was the deal with you LR, something about MY01 is good but the later ones were problematic?

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Oh, they are ALL problematic by the standards of the Camry set. The 95-02 “P38” second generation Rovers are better than what came before them, and better than what came immediately after in a lot of ways. The ’00-02s have some major improvements over the older P38s. The First generation ones are much cruder and have more overall mechanical issues – it’s just an ancient design. The next generation after the P38 is a BMW, and not in a good way… Ford eventually sorted them out, but those are too spendy and blingtastic for my taste.

            AS I have said here before, mine has various little odd things that it does, but it always gets me where I need to go. I would never have it as my only car, but I can roll with the little things. They do make you feel like royalty when you drive them. :-)

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    If Musk really does have a sleeping bag at work, I wouldn’t want to be part of his team, as you can bet he expects all his key people to have the same or greater level of devotion to the cause.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Exactly. He is sending a cultural message that only the best and most devoted need apply.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Having experienced working at two startups (one of them a 501c3), you don’t sign up expecting 9-5 hours.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        The funny thing is (outside of people not knowing about above/below the line expenses), if he’s sleeping at the end of the line and his cars are still terrible in quality, what does that say about his abilities? No one seems to think about that side of the die. Clearly he has no idea what to look for.

        Also, see first paragraph, executives have done it before (Musk is never unique)

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-09-08/vw-strategy-revealed-in-lambirghini-bentley-suv-rivalry

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Musk isn’t claiming to be unique in sleeping on the shop floor. He’s claiming to be unique in upending one of the largest industries on the planet.

          Tesla is certainly challenged by quality issues with the Model X, in part because some design elements (seats, doors) were overly ambitious.

          Feel free to look up the quality issues surrounding BMW’s first SUV, the X5. You may also know that as the most recalled vehicle in the history of the US market.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            What does “upending one of the largest industries on the planet” even supposed to mean exactly?

            If losing $17,000 per unit is “upending” the business, then it would seem that GM has already beaten Tesla to the punch.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I get it. Tesla has not been profitable. Margins have been low. You have made that point like 30 times in the last week. Do you have new insight to add?

            Look, some people have a vision of a transportation industry in which vehicles are increasingly electric (fed by solar and improved batteries), self-driving, sold direct and green. You don’t have to share that vision – you can stay locked in your ICE blinders for as long as you like.

            But you can’t stop it from happening either.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The only thing that I’m trying to stop is all of this hollow rhetoric.

            This site was founded as a counterbalance to all of the PR-driven verbiage in the automotive media. All of this grandiose prose with no basis in reality runs counter to that objective.

            If the company is so fantastic, then surely it shouldn’t be difficult to make a substantive, factually accurate comment about it instead of resorting to this “we’re changing the world/ haters gotta hate” nonsense that is used by those who are trying to conceal the fact that they are playing a bad hand.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I agree that TTAC should be a counterbalance to the usual autocompany PR BS.

            But in this case, there isn’t much to balance all the skepticism from you, DW, PorscheSpeed, TrailerTrash, IhateJalops and all the other MasterBaiters.

            You have all made the point that the odds are against Tesla. I fully acknowledge that.

            But the odds were against Soichiro Honda ever making much out of that bicycle shop in a wooden shack. They were against Henry Ford when he expanded annual Model T production from 10K units to 500K (sound familiar?).

            These things actually are possible – history proves that again and again, but only if the people working towards them have at least some faith.

            I don’t expect you and your crowd to believe in anything you don’t see. I simply ask that you keep your eyes open.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m not sure that I would blame Mr. Honda for a guy on the internet who tried to explain margins to me when he clearly didn’t know what he was talking about or for another dude who can’t figure out that “simple car” is an oxymoron.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            PCH,
            You did make one point that I think is insightful – which is that it is SG&A which is killing Tesla’s profitability. Let me put it another way – the insistence on a direct sales model is the obstacle to profitability.

            Eliminating SG&A expense would bring Tesla essentially to breakeven. Just taking it down to the levels of other carmakers would get you close.

            If calls for profitability strengthen, I wonder if Musk would consider ditching the direct model and cutting a deal with a dealer group like Autonation. That would allow Tesla to focus on production and silence most of the criticism about low profitability.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “You did make one point that I think is insightful – which is that it is SG&A which is killing Tesla’s profitability.”

            Except that I didn’t say that.

            What I have pointed on this website many times is that Musk loves to talk about gross margins and gross profit because it appeals to the ignorance of his drooling fanboys who can’t read a financial statement.

            I don’t fault Musk for selling cars directly; if I was him, I would be doing exactly the same thing at this stage. Rather, my issue is with the illiterati on this website who make comments based upon nonsense or hot air.

            Tesla loses money for several reasons. The high cost of retailing is just one of them.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Vogo, don’t forget about a guy named Elon Musk landing 2 rocket boosters in a row on a barge bobbing in the Atlantic. Even Musk didn’t believe that one. I still think Musk’s personal earnings from SpaceX can keep Tesla going.

            Over the years, I’ve encountered the same negativity and I ignored it. I’m even hearing it about my son now. Oh, there’s no way he’s going to stay in that position, they’ll replace him. Yeah, when a big pharma buys him and his patent portfolio out (and no private equity to pay back). I tried to resist complimenting him on the great cup of coffee his son brewed for me the other day at Starbucks. It really was good. True story – and I think my friend’s negative attitude and my f’it, just do it and if you fail, learn from it and try again attitude definitely impacted our kids. His son is just as smart and capable as mine.

          • 0 avatar
            Ihatejalops

            @VoGo

            You must work for Tesla. There’s no other explanation for this.

            Mr. Honda could prove why his engines were better and actually make them and when he made them, he made them better. They didn’t go from 50K a year to 500K in 18 months. Not sure how he’s “upending” an industry by making cars the same way as the rest of them in their dinosaur factories.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You upend an industry by:
            – creating the first commercially successful electric car
            – building the largest battery factory on the planet, with capacity bigger than every other battery factory on earth
            – becoming #1 in luxury car sales
            – building scale so quickly competitors can’t catch up.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            There were successful EV makers in the early 1900s that turned a profit.

            Tesla has had losses of $1.2 billion over the last three years, so it isn’t commercially successful.

            Is it really so bad that factual misstatements have to be made in order to support the Tesla story?

          • 0 avatar
            porschespeed

            MCS, The point is that *Musk* had nothing to do with landing a booster. The ‘if only we were allowed to play with money’ has been the conversation in NASA and JPL bars for decades.

            The one thing *Musk* had to do was hire a bunch of people and turn them loose. God knows he has no actual input at the place, seeing how he’s camping out at Tesla. Don’t forget about SpaceX’s failures – they have more than a few.

            SpaceX is a contractor – so it’s cost+. He’s guaranteed a profit. But it isn’t anywhere near the burn rate of Tesla per quarter, let alone Solar City.

  • avatar
    WheelMcCoy

    There’s no denying Tesla burns through money ($1B a year?). Yet, it’s too soon to measure Tesla in traditional financial terms. I’m not religious about Tesla, but I believe there’s room, and a future, for the electric car. (Not so much the hydrogen fuel cell, but that’s another discussion).

    Musk needs to be a salesman, so I understand the theatrics of the sleeping bag. But he’s not a con man as many commenters claim. Con men go after easy marks, like stealing retirement money from widows. Con men have insider advantages, like Goldman Sachs who plays both sides and then brags “I ripped their face off!” (Google it.) Producing an electric car is hard hard work, and the road is littered with failed attempts — Fisker comes to mind. I actually saw 2 Karma Fiskers on the road — beautiful car, and they came close! So Tesla didn’t come all this way without a healthy dose of competition. And new competition appears in the form of the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, and the Chevy Bolt. Con men wouldn’t bother with electric cars, and I believe Musk is sincere in his efforts.

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