Tesla Birth Watch

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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tesla Birth Watch 41: "The Tesla Roadster is More About What It is Than What It Does"

Christ symbolism optional, presumably.

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Tesla Death Watch 40: A Million Here, A Million There…
Saturday’s San Jose Mercury News carried a short piece on the swift conclusion of the Tesla v. Fisker arbitration hearings. “Tesla had alleged th…
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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!

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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.

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Tesla Death Watch 20: California Dreamin'
Tesla Motors says it’s secured 90 acres between San Jose and Santa Clara, CA to build its world headquarters. Oh, and production facilities for its (su…
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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]

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Tesla Birth Watch 48: Done.
When we started the Tesla Birth Watch last August, we said "we'll be following this developing story as it develops." Then, i n January, we stated "we're obl…
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Tesla Birth Watch 47: Scandal-Tainted Shark to Help Tesla Prepare for IPO
AutoblogGreen sets 'em up. We knock 'em down. This time, Tesla's cheerleaders are hailing the fact that Larry Sonsini has joined Tesla's Board of Directors.…
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Tesla Birth Watch 46: Eberhard Cat Fight Obscures Customer Delivery
AuoblogGreen is at it again, doing whatever it can to support Tesla Motors in this, their decade of need. This time 'round, the tree hugger's favorite autom…
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Tesla Birthwatch 45: LA Dealership Opens! So, Uh, Where Are the Cars?
I know it's a small point, but it's worth making. Of course, first you gotta party like its 1999! Automotive News follows the Tesla-friendly PR template, k…
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Tesla Birth Watch 44: Tesla Talks Transmission Troubles to TTAC
Tesla spokesman Daryl Siry explains the EV makers transmission troubles
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Tesla Birth Watch 43: Magna Sues Tesla Over Transmission
Magna sues Tesla Motors for breach of contract over transmission development.
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Tesla Motors Sues Fisker for Stealing EV Secrets
Tesla Motors sues Fisker Automotive for stealing EV secrets
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Tesla Birth Watch 42: European Dreams
Electric car maker Tesla says its selling their Roadster to European customers-- at a large premium.
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Tesla Birth Watch 42: "It Depends What You Call Production"
Those of you familiar with our coverage of Tesla Motors' struggle to produce a lithium-ion powered sports car know that we believe that they believe every wo…
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Tesla Birth Watch 40: European Sales! Customer Deliveries! Maybe.
Whatever else you can say about the aspiring electric vehicle (EV) maker– and we've said plenty during the previous thirty-nine installments– you…
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Tesla Birth Watch 39: Boil Some Hot Water
"Tesla Starts Full-Scale Production!" "Stop the Presses, The Tesla Factory is Cranking" "Tesla Begins 'Regular' Production of Roadsters" Reading the ever-cre…
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Tesla Birth Watch 38: PR Assault on Battery Recyling
Tesla Motors says their batteries are environmentally friendly.
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Tesla Birth Watch 37: We Ain't Afraid of No Myths
Tesla's Daryl Siry starts a series on Tesla's blog to debunk myths about the car
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Tesla Birth Watch 36: Maybe They Should Have a Bake Sale
Tesla's raised $40m of the $250m they said they'll need to keep going.
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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 keep the lights on 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…]

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Tesla Birth Watch 34: Where's Number 2?
Ousted Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard may be facing legal action from the company he founded
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Tesla Birth Watch 33: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
Tesla plans to sell their components and software to other car makers.
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Tesla Birth Watch 32: Musk Gets a Roadster. Is This the End of the Beginning?
Elon Musk got his Tesla. Does this constitute a "delivery" of a production car?
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Tesla Birth Watch 31: WhiteStar Gets Gas
Tesla's WhiteStar sedan will have a gas-electric as well as all-electric version.
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Tesla Birth Watch 30: No Road Trips for Now
Autobloggreen relates their experience with the range of the Tesla Roadster
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Tesla Birth Watch 30: NHTSA Saves Tesla From Bankruptcy
Tesla gets a free pass from the feds on airbag standards
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Tesla Birth Watch 29: 93 Miles Per Charge
Tesla lends its Roadster to the big car mags
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Tesla Birth Watch 28: Could This Be the End…
Tesla sets a(nother) intro date for their EV
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Tesla Birth Watch 27: Daryl Siry's Bad Karma
Tesla's Daryl Siry speaks out about Fiskar's Karma
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Tesla Birth Watch 26: Spring Cleaning Comes Early
Tesla Motors fired 10 percent of their employees yet remains mum about it.
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Volt Birth Watch 25: Inspiration? / Tesla Birth Watch 19: Eberhard and Lutz, Sitting in a Tree
Tesla founder Martin Eberhard on his meeting with Bob Lutz
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Tesla Birth Watch 18: NOW How Much Would You Pay?
Tesla Motors raises more money for their ill-fated pursuit of a production-ready Roadster.
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Tesla Birth Watch 17: Shop 'Til You Drop
Tesla opens an on-line store. At least now you can buy something from Tesla.
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Tesla Birth Watch 16: Martin Eberhard Says… FU
Tesla Founder Martin Eberhard bites the hand that fed.
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Tesla Birth Watch 15: How the Tesla Roadster Works. Or Not.
Howstuffworks web site relies on Tesla's press releases.
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Tesla Birth Watch 14: Spring Forward, Leap Back!
Tesla does it again. Or not.
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Tesla Birth Watch 13: Tesla Jumps the Shark?
Tesla Roadster wins Wired Magazine's Vaperware award
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Tesla Birth Watch 12: Autoblog's Calcanis Passes the Kool-Aid
After listening to TWiT (This Week in Technology) co-host John Dvorak nearly choke to death on a cashew, for two minutes, I persevered to hear Jason Calcanis…
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Tesla Birth Watch 11: Tesla Needs Trannies
AutoblogGreen reports that Tesla Motors held an open town hall meeting yesterday; "open" in the sense that only customers who've plunked down a hefty depos…
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Tesla Birthwatch 10: Tesla Roadster Vs. Toyota Corolla
Slate's "Green Lantern" is the columnist who aspires to offer "illuminating answers to green questions." Brendan Koerner takes a quick look at the relative…
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Tesla Birth Watch 9: Hip-Hop Hype Harbinger of Hidden Hopes
If you have a brain, pulse, and/or soul, you probably missed "VH1's Fabulous Life Presents: Insane Celebrity Superspenders," which aired last night (12/10).…
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Tesla Roadster Birth Watch 8: Eberhardly A Happy Camper
So Tesla has a new CEO: Z'ev Drori. Drori made his money back in the '70's founding and running Monolithic Memories, a producer of bipolar PROMS (nothing to…
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Tesla Roadster Birth Watch 7: '08's Not Here, All Gone
So here we are, living large in the fourth financial quarter. Those of you keeping track of the thrice-revised date for the first delivery of an all-electric…
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Tesla Birth Watch 6: "If You Think of Tesla as the IPhone, We're AT&T"
After failing to ascend to the top slot at software maker SAP, forty-year-old Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has decided to populate the world with electri…
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Tesla Birth Watch 5: Tesla Amps-Up The Hype. Again. Still.
Now that Tesla's delayed the delivery of their $100k lithium-ion-powered Roadster for the third time, and lowered production expectations again, you'd think…
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Tesla Birth Watch 4: CBS Hearts "Scrappy Little Tesla Motors"
CBS' Sunday Morning program has joined the caravan of love for Tesla Motors' not-ready-for-prime-time electric car and GM's not-ready-for-prime-time electric…
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Tesla Brith Watch 3: Lightning to Steal Tesla's Thunder?
As Tesla prepares to miss another deadline release its electric sports car to its customers, there's a chance competitors may get there first. Or at least…
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Tesla Birthwatch 2: 200-mile Roadster Road Trip– With Recharge Stop
Tesla Motors is set to send its lithium-ion battery-powered prototype Roadster on a 200-mile road trip. According to Green Wombat , it's a "publicity stunt d…
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Tesla Birth Watch 1: Tesla Threatens to Deliver Cars
You may recall that TTAC took Tesla to task over its range claims for their all-electric Roadster– which the company stoutly defended, then revised dow…
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  • Lou_BC While we discuss Chinese cars, Chinese politics, and Chinese global desires, I'm looking at TTAC and Google display advertising for Chinese tires. They have nukes aimed at us but their money and products are acceptable to consumers and business?
  • TheTireWhisperer And a thankful Memorial day to all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Take some time today to realize that virtually zero soldiers had died defending your border.
  • Tassos As somebody who is NOT a stupid fanatic about EVs one way or the other:No manufacturer has built a "Better Tesla" EV yet. Most have tried, we wait for TOyota only (last hope for the Tesla haters)UNLESS a DIRT CHEAP Model 2 comes along (will never happen in the next 2 or 3 years), Do NOT expect that 7% to go to even 10%, let alone the ... 30% clueless Idiot Joe Biden voters expect. If anything, PLUG INS and HYBRIDS may, in the SHORT term, bring the 7% down.
  • Pig_Iron 💝