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Elon's Long Days and Nights - May '09 C and D

Discussion in 'News' started by W8MM, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. W8MM

    W8MM R1.5 #325 + Mdl S #01380

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    "Besides building rockets for NASA and trying to revolutionize the home solar-panel business, Internet zillionaire Elon Musk, 37 - he helped found and then sell PayPal for $1.5 billion - is also trying to keep alive his electric-car venture, Tesla Motors [see our test of the Tesla roadster on page 66].


    Q: Lately, Tesla has generated bad news.

    A: It's been a bit of a soap opera just on a personal front. Some of the guys I paid to originally take the AC Propulsion technology and create a production car out of it turned out to be some bad apples, and bad apples hire bad apples. Over the past 18 months, the entire management team has changed.


    Q: Where do things stand now?

    A: We're at a steady clip of 15 cars a week, rising to 30 cars a week by spring, and getting our costs under control. [The costs] were way higher. A year ago they were $140,000 [a car], and that's just direct labor and materials, and we were selling these things for $92,000. The prior management team had been representing to myself and the board that the car cost $65,000. Pretty bad.


    Q: Indeed. How will you fix it?

    A: Right now the costs are steadily going down. We're somewhere around mid-to-low 90s in the cost of the car. When we factor in optional equipment, we're at a slightly positive margin. Call it break even. We have another revision of the power train that enters production in June and gives some additional performance. That allows us to offer the "Roadster Sport", as well as reduce the costs. We've saved money on the supplier side by either renegotiating with our suppliers or finding different ones.


    Q: What can you say to reassure buyers fearing you might go under?

    A: Even in the worst case of an Armageddon scenario, I'll personally refund people [their money] if need be. I think there's very little danger of that. We've raised around $40 million, and a bit of news that hasn't come out yet [is] General Electric is investing in Tesla. [GE Capital] will be the second-largest investor in this round, after me. Our business plan that we presented to investors gets us to profitability by the middle of this year, even if some negative stuff happens.


    Q: Any advice for someone starting a car company?

    A: Have a high pain tolerance."
     
  2. Palpatine

    Palpatine Banned

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    Is that how Martin is referred to now? :)
    You gotta admit, the victors get to write history and Elon is very good at it.

    That is huge news.
     
  3. Tdave

    Tdave Member

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    Is there a link?
     
  4. W8MM

    W8MM R1.5 #325 + Mdl S #01380

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    Only from my advertiser-copy of the magazine to my keyboard.

    I hand-transcribed it from page 30.
     
  5. SteveF

    SteveF Member

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    #5 SteveF, Mar 26, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
    I found this tidbit nice to see, assuming the interview happened after the last Town Hall Meetings:

    At those last Town Hall Meetings, he very clearly backed off from his earlier assurances that he'd refund people's deposits on the Roadster if the company went belly-up.
     
  6. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    The skeptic in me says he tailors his answers to his audience, the press gets "I have the buyer's backs". To the buyers, "I'm not that liquid".
     
  7. SteveF

    SteveF Member

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    You're probably right...
     
  8. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    The bad news: GE Changes Its Mind On Tesla (GE)


    The good news:


    Seems like Car and Driver published those comments after GE backed out - maybe it was too late to change the article by then.

    Unfortunate timing on the part of GE too.
     
  9. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Seems like a lot of eggs in one basket for DFJ.
     
  10. bobw

    bobw Tesla Reader

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    #10 bobw, Mar 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Here's the link:

    Tesla Motors: Elon's Long Days and Nights - Car News/Latest News & Reviews/Car Shopping/Hot Lists/Reviews/Car and Driver - Car And Driver

    I find the revision of history unsettling. Elon Musk himself didn't challenge Martin Ebhard's story in the early days.

    YouTube - Tesla Roadster , Best electric car, SES information

    (mod edit - embedded the video):



    The review of the car was friendly, though:

    2009 Tesla Roadster - Road Test / Sports Car Central / High Performance / Hot Lists / Reviews / Car and Driver - Car And Driver
     
  11. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #11 TEG, Mar 31, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
    Also, issues of "counting chickens before they hatched".

    Fortune article
     
  12. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    hahaha-024.gif
     

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