Ball Joints Out of Whack at Tesla and Daily Kanban
by Mark Stevenson and Bozi Tatarevic
A day after former TTAC editor-in-chief and current Daily Kanban blogger Edward Neidermeyer hit out at Tesla regarding suspension failures and Tesla’s supposed customer bullying through a goodwill agreement on Wednesday, the electric vehicle manufacturer hit back.
According to Neidermeyer’s post, a 2013 Tesla Model S owner on the Tesla Motors Owners forum experienced a ball joint failure at around the 70,000-mile mark, and the owner referred to Tesla for a fix. The automaker offered what’s commonly known in the industry as “goodwill assistance,” which covered half the $3,100 total cost of the repair, as the Model S was out of warranty.
However, the vehicle owner and Neidermeyer took exception to part of the written goodwill agreement as it seems to include a non-disclosure clause, which Neidermeyer contends could dissuade other Tesla issues from reporting issues to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and subvert the federal vehicle issue reporting process.
Is Tesla silencing its customers via threat of litigation? And is this ball joint issue even a problem in the first place?
Tesla's Q3 Losses Widen
Tesla recorded a third-quarter loss of $110.8 million, versus a $65.1 million loss in the third-quarter of 2011.
Tesla To Go Public; Kill The Roadster
Here’s some gutsy news from one of the gutsier companies around. Tesla filed papers for an initial public offering (IPO) today, hoping to raise up to $100 million. In its Form S-1 registration statement with the SEC, the Silicon Valley start up said the stock would be issued “as soon as possible”. That part is not very surprising, coming on the heels of securing a $465 million loan from the DOE to help build the Model S. But deeper in the that filing comes a couple of juicier facts: Tesla has lost some $236 million so far, and plans to kill the Roadster, its only product on sale, in 2011.
Tesla Birth Watch 42: NPR Hearts Rich People… Third Model!
There are a lot of places you’d expect to find a defense of trickle down economics (the idea that wealthy people create jobs for people further down the food chain). National Public Radio is not one of them. And yet there it is: the publicly-funded [via rich people] bastion of liberalism ran a piece thanking Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags for . . . buying the Tesla Roadster. Otherwise, Tesla wouldn’t have the capital to build cheaper Teslas for the rest of us (providing you exclude their applications for federal funding, paid for by rich people). “Using money from rich customers to fuel mass-market production is a fairly common business model,” NPR’s reporter reports. “Think of the Tesla Roadster as the $2000 cell phone of 1985,” Tesla spinmeister, Diarmuid O’Connell, suggests helpfully. Is it a coincidence that the DeLorean-lauding movie Back to the Future came out that year? Probably. Anyway, “O’Connell says we take for granted our easy access to cheap products, and forget the role of the rich in making it happen. He says we wouldn’t enjoy such low airfares today if it weren’t for the initial wealthy travelers.” Me, I worship first class passengers. Anyway, big news! New car!
Tesla Birth Watch 41: "The Tesla Roadster is More About What It is Than What It Does"
Christ symbolism optional, presumably.
Tesla Death Watch 40: A Million Here, A Million There…
Tesla Death Watch 28: WhiteElephant's 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!
Tesla Death Watch 27: Elon Musk Talks IPO
In this breathless interview by an adoring newswoman, Elon Musk says that the Tesla Roadster is doing great! And that Tesla’s OEM supply business is doing great! And that the Silicon Valley electric vehicle maker (retrofitter? is slowing down on WhiteElephant sedan development because it’s the fiscally prudent thing to do so. Musk anticipates some cheap government capital in six months (courtesy of tax payers just like you), so why raise more money now? In other words of wisdom, Tesla’ self-appointed CEO says falling gas prices aren’t a concern for the company’s business plan because gas prices “aren’t the main reason” for buying a hot sports car which is “environmentally friendly.” (Hint: it’s all about green cred.) Officially, Musk has “no comment” about specific time frames for an IPO, but says it’s “within the realm of possibilities” that Tesla will fleece more investors let outsiders buy a piece of the automaker’s mean, green dream sometime next year. Meanwhile, if your idea of great reporting is a newsbabe hanging on every word of a sanctimonious rich guy, today’s your lucky day.
Tesla Death Watch 20: California Dreamin'
Tesla Death Watch 16: Number Five is Alive!
Actually, we're not sure what number Tesla Roadster is chronicled here. But a private and likely very well off citizen in California has procured one and put a video of himself driving it on Ye Olde YouTube. What we can see from the video is: (1) The carbon fiber hood is very light and (2) mother of god, it's quick. A confidential source confirms that the customer paid sticker ($120k) for his lithium-ion-powered automotive trinket. No word on recharge time or range in the video. (As this guy's stable probably includes a fleet of slick cars, I doubt it's of very much consequence.) Now, if Tesla can just amp-up production, not "fad out," keep costs under control (have you seen that showroom?), raise more money, build a more profitable product and fend off competitors, we can take them off the Death Watch. [hat tip to Jonny Lieberman]
Tesla Birth Watch 48: Done.
Tesla Birth Watch 47: Scandal-Tainted Shark to Help Tesla Prepare for IPO
Tesla Birth Watch 46: Eberhard Cat Fight Obscures Customer Delivery
Tesla Birthwatch 45: LA Dealership Opens! So, Uh, Where Are the Cars?
Tesla Birth Watch 44: Tesla Talks Transmission Troubles to TTAC
Tesla Birth Watch 43: Magna Sues Tesla Over Transmission
Tesla Motors Sues Fisker for Stealing EV Secrets
Tesla Birth Watch 42: European Dreams
Tesla Birth Watch 42: "It Depends What You Call Production"
Tesla Birth Watch 40: European Sales! Customer Deliveries! Maybe.
Tesla Birth Watch 39: Boil Some Hot Water
Tesla Birth Watch 38: PR Assault on Battery Recyling
Tesla Birth Watch 37: We Ain't Afraid of No Myths
Tesla Birth Watch 36: Maybe They Should Have a Bake Sale
Tesla Birth Watch 35: Redefining Chutzpah
Tesla Motors has apparently run out of toilet paper again. Valleywag reports that they're off in search of another $250m to [s]keep the lights on[/s] fund development of the "Whitestar" electric sedan. That's right, if you have a quarter of a billion dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you too can invest in a company that has produced exactly one working "production" car (delivered to the company's CEO) in five years, in exchange for over $145m and Federal regulatory exemptions. I'm not an expert, but this strikes me as a particularly optimistic investment. Oh, and Tesla also wants a guaranteed loan from the Department of Energy to build a factory for these new electric sedans. To quote President Bush, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me – you can't fool me again." [NB: I know we're a little late to this story, but that's kind of appropriate don't you think? And here's an old video for potential investors that shows the critical coverage given Tesla by our blogging pals. Driving range of 250 miles. Those were the days…]