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Discussion in 'News' started by doug, May 15, 2008.
Tesla sends out a new production update to customers - AutoblogGreen
Lots of details in this one.
Tesla Motors - think
Since we last provided a program update we have achieved an extraordinary milestone - on March 17th, the Tesla Roadster entered regular production. In this program update we will focus on a wide variety of topics that relate to the program now that we are in this new phase, including:
4.New "Out of Service Area" Policy
5.Store and Service Center locations and timing
Now that production has started, we would like to provide you with an update on the plan and status of production. Although everyone is eager to receive their cars as soon as possible, it is important in this program, and any automobile program, to start the production line slowly and to increase the rate at which cars are manufactured at a very deliberate pace. This "slow ramp" ensures a high level of quality even with the first cars off the line. Inevitably, there are process and quality issues that come up as one increases the rate of production and a slow ramp rate enables us to address a myriad of issues in a controlled manner – remember that the Roadster is not just a new car it is a new automotive paradigm.
After an initial period of slow production rates, the pace of production starts to pick up until we are producing in excess of 100 cars per month by November. For this reason, the delivery of the approximately 600 2008 Model Year cars is weighted toward the end of this year and beginning of next year.
The data below is intended to provide a guideline as to when we plan to achieve specific milestones in vehicle production. While this data will give you a sense of when your car will be produced, the actual delivery time will lag by about 8 weeks to allow for shipping and finishing. You will be contacted by Member Services 3 months prior to your expected production date to confirm details.
VIN# Planned Production Month
Founders' Series March-June 2008
Signature 100 #1 July 2008
Signature 100 #100 October 2008
VIN #200 November 2008
VIN #300 December 2008
VIN #400 February 2009
VIN #500 March 2009
In the past 2 months, we have moved more slowly than our planned pace of 1 car per week. At the time of this writing, we are preparing to put cars number 6 and 7 on the line. This is by our own doing, as we have identified and addressed some minor supplier issues and teething pains. We expect to get back on pace so have not changed the overall schedule.
This is exactly the kind of situation we anticipated and is the reason for the slow initial ramp. In the early going, it is easier to address issues that inevitably crop up and then get back on track without major impact to the overall schedule. One thing is for certain: we will not sacrifice quality or customer satisfaction to force the schedule.
As we have mentioned before, the plan is to stick to a relatively slow pace of production until "Powertrain 1.5" is ready for insertion into the production process. At this time, we can then start to accelerate the production pace.
The development of "Powertrain 1.5" is progressing very well. We have the newly designed PEM (Power Electronics Module) running at the higher 850 amp level in a prototype car being used for durability and other testing. The higher current levels are generating the expected higher levels of torque (~280 lb. ft) that will enable the same 3.9 second 0-60 acceleration with the new single speed gearbox under development. This new powertrain configuration is planned to be inserted into the production schedule in September, at about the 40th car. All cars produced prior to this switchover will be upgraded free of charge as previously discussed.
Tesla has established a comprehensive warranty for the Roadster. The 3 year/36,000 mile base warranty covers all aspects of the car for defects in materials and workmanship. The battery pack is part of this comprehensive warranty. Details about the warranty will be covered in your owner's documentation.
Tesla will offer an extended warranty option at no cost to 2008 Roadster Club members, extending the coverage to 4 years/50,000 miles. Purchasers of later model year Roadsters will be offered the extended warranty at additional cost.
The battery pack is expected to last longer than the warranty period, although repairs beyond the warranty period will be charged at regular part and labor rates.
All high-energy lithium ion cells experience a gradual loss in maximum capacity based on usage levels, time, and other factors. Your owner's documentation will include information on expected behavior of the battery over time and the factors that affect the rate of wear.
Out of Service Area Service Policy
Based on customer feedback and other practical considerations, the "Out of Service Area" policy has been changed. The original policy required a fee of $8,000 to be paid on delivery of the car to cover additional transport costs over the life of the warranty for customers who are located further than 100 miles from a Tesla Service Center.
This policy has been replaced with a simpler approach. Instead of paying an up-front fee, customers who are located outside a Tesla service area are responsible for the costs associated with transport to and from Tesla Service Centers. Tesla Customer Service will coordinate long distance transport on behalf of the customer if desired.
Store and Service Center Locations
Tesla's flagship Los Angeles Store is now open to the public. The Menlo Park Store will open this summer, although it will be operational and servicing cars sooner than that.
Over time Tesla Motors will build additional Stores containing both sales/service facilities across the country. For now, the priority is to establish purpose-built service facilities to service cars that are planned for delivery over the next 12 months. Based on the number of cars due to be delivered in various markets, we anticipate opening additional service facilities in the following order:
1.Los Angeles – Open
2.Menlo Park – Summer 2008
3.New York – Q4 2008
4.Chicago – Q1 2009
5.Miami – Q1 2009
6.Seattle – Q1 2009
Specific locations and dates are yet to be established. Additional locations will be announced in the future. We expect to establish service offerings in all major US cities by 2010.
Tesla Motors recently announced that the Tesla Roadster would be available for delivery in Europe beginning April, 2009. For the first year, a special "Signature Edition" of 250 cars will be offered for all of Europe. This special edition car, fully loaded and highly customized, sells for 99,000 Euro (excl. VAT). We plan to establish service facilities in key European cities, starting with London, Paris, Munich, Northern Germany, Milan, Oslo, Copenhagen (this list is being finalized). Many of you have enquired about European delivery for yourself or on behalf of a friend or colleague, so we wanted to let you know about this special offer. If you are interested in learning more or want to help us with our European launch, just let us know or email [email protected].
We recently announced pricing on the 2009 Tesla Roadster in the U.S. The base price is expected to be $109,000. With all factory options, the Roadster will cost about $120,200. This price increase does not affect any member who has already reserved a 2008 Roadster.
I think that this update confirms some of the things that I've been saying recently. For example, under the heading "Production Schedule", paragraph 1:
"Now that production has started, we would like to provide you with an update on the plan and status of production. Although everyone is eager to receive their cars as soon as possible, it is important in this program, and any automobile program, to start the production line slowly and to increase the rate at which cars are manufactured at a very deliberate pace. This "slow ramp" ensures a high level of quality even with the first cars off the line. Inevitably, there are process and quality issues that come up as one increases the rate of production and a slow ramp rate enables us to address a myriad of issues in a controlled manner – remember that the Roadster is not just a new car it is a new automotive paradigm."
In corp-speak this translates to "expect a VERY slow ramp up". In addition, the following paragraph,
"In the past 2 months, we have moved more slowly than our planned pace of 1 car per week. At the time of this writing, we are preparing to put cars number 6 and 7 on the line. This is by our own doing, as we have identified and addressed some minor supplier issues and teething pains. We expect to get back on pace so have not changed the overall schedule."
indicates that so far they have only completed three cars since March 17th (VINF002, F004, & F005). That's three cars in nine weeks, or 3 weeks per car. 3X slower than their original projection, which is exactly what I said on post #17 on the "Campaign to reinstate Martin" thread.
Now, I'm not going to say what you think I'm going to say.
All the best,
I must say I like the part that lists Oslo by name..... in case someone hasn't noticed check out my location listing
I think the slow ramp up is fine. Makes sense to work out most of the kinks early. Issues with Martin's car aside (we are NOT going to rehash that here), I'm sure they're doing the best they possibly can to get the production rate up. It is simply in their best interest to do so.
What I do find odd is how they're defining their model years, given the production schedule:
So the cars after the Signature 100 series will not have been produced until October 2008 (a time that's conventionally considered the 2009 model year). And the last of the "2008 model year" cars won't be made till April 2009. Why then cling to calling them 2008 cars? I'm unfamiliar with whatever rules allow that.
I would think the point at which the Signature 100 are finished, makes a natural break for Tesla to start calling the subsequent cars as model year 2009. They can then finish that 500 or so cars, honoring the current "2008 model year" agreement. Then in April 2009 or whenever, they can shift to producing the 2009 European Signature 250 cars. After that, they can then interleave Euro and US spec'ed cars in the production line as needed (perhaps in order of reservation or in logical batches). By then it might already be the 2010 model year.
Anyhow, I think that's win-win. It gives the Founders' and Signature 100 cars the extra cachet of being the only 2008 model year cars. Allows the next 500 to be earlier in their model year and have a model year that makes sense. The only "problem" is that it the makes delays more noticeable (since they were originally supposed to be "model year 2007.5"), but that transparency should not be considered a problem.
Well June can't come fast enough in my book. I just want to get back to being a fan of these cars.
Feeling very stupid here, but why June? What does that change?
Maybe very little. I understand the need for a slow start and that there's nothing to do but sit and wait.
I know that realistically, a decent volume of owners' opinions won't appear until August/September.
Why would you ever have stopped being a fan of the Tesla Roadster? There is nothing wrong with the car, that cannot be fixed. The problem is with the company, and the current leadership.
All the best,
No no. It's just sometimes I lose sight of the bigger picture.
This is (still) the biggest step forward in the history of the Electric Vehicle. Eventually it will be the Roadster sitting in the Smithsonian, not Tesla's guide to customer care.
True (though there may be a description of some of the delays, and other problems, as part of the exhibit :smile.
I have found TM's leadership with electric cars to be the most exciting development to come along in the industry since I-don't-know-what. I really want them to succeed, as they have made electric tech feasible in a way that no other car company has done since the early days of autos. When Martin was there, I really felt the company combined a passion for cars with a passion for electrics. These days, I'm not really sure what to think. We've seen so many delays, so much baloney and malarkey, so much puzzlement ... well, we'll just have to see what happens.
Whatever the case, I wouldn't be surprised if TM grows little beyond what it is now. I think the industry is rapidly catching up, and will pass TM very quickly. Of course, the Roadster is already a success, and will sell as long as it remains unique. (That status could change quickly if Porsche or equivalent introduces something similiar.) But I see Whitestar as stillborn. All the announcements we're hearing from the majors -- Merc, Chrysler, GM, Nissan, etc. are all planning some form of battery-based tech -- may be hype, but it's hype at least as believeable as the hype about Whitestar.
It would be a sad fate for TM if the Roadster did end up only as a museum exhibit, not far from the DeLorean, and around the corner from all the relics of an overpromised future (jetpack, anyone?). But perhaps TM's greatest contribution may already have been made, and gives it a place in the history books: a catalyst for change, a vision of the future.
Very well put Brent. I agree.
Well I feel it's a little premature to dismiss Whitestar as hype (Hype-star anyone?)
But the automakers are closing the gap on Tesla's technological lead fast enough without Tesla meeting them half way with a hybrid of its own.
Excluding the Karma I haven't seen anything to matche the reputed specs of the Whitestar yet. As in Luxury sedan all-electric or REEV. The volt isn't luxurious enough, and not pure EV, the Think City and Ox is too small/not luxurious enough, Renault/Mitsubishi/Subarus solutions are too small and too low-end to compete directly.
So there seems to be a niche for Whitestar at least for a year or two IF they release it in 2010. But the Renault PBP car and Volt will mean they have to sell the Whitestar on luxury features. Doing that same comparison with the Roadster and a Porsche I'm pretty sure most people would go for the Porsche if luxury is your thing....
The timing and the final product features is essential. The roadster can now pretty easily sell for $150 000 (all the Norwegian importers promised signature European models has been sold already), but the Whitestar has it's niche only and need to have a price that matches that niche...