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I don't remember it that way?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by mpt, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    I've been reading the press coverage of the recent event where Elon discusses the history of Tesla with shareholders.

    USA today posts at Elon Musk recounts the secret history of Tesla Motors the dialog but there seems to be a number of inconsistencies, one that jumped out was:

    "After being told that AC wouldn't make an electric car just for him, Musk says he asked if he could make one himself. That's what led him to the consortium that would launch Tesla."

    and "Musk says he "was basically the chief designer of the body" of the original Tesla roadster. And he adds: "I don't think I'm a good designer." His inspirations: The Ferrari and Porsche."

    Is this just inaccurate reporting or have Martin and Mark been written out of history?
     
  2. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    They are being written out, day after day.
    They are only attributed with the bad stuff.
     
  3. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #3 TEG, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  4. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    There is a lot of nonsense currently circulating - even to the point where one story basically says Elon is admitting Jeremy Clarkson was right.

    e.g. They talk about redesigning the braking system. In which case why are the brakes on my 2.5 the same as an Elise?
     
  5. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    Worth watching the full 'show' > 2016 Shareholder Meeting | Tesla Motors

    I have a beef about is Elon 'designing' the Roadster - yes, if flying in and evaluating the design of a young lotus designer, Barney Hatt's work means he designed it. But barney should get more credit - winner of the design competition to find best direction for the roadster (against many more 'famous' designers).

    Here are the pix / real story > IDSA / ICSID Connecting Congress 2007
    Also a lot of typical 'click bait' bad reporting / blogging going on about this - just because Elon's no.1 Roadster was badly finished/unreliable/unsafe , doesn't mean ALL roadsters were like this.
     
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  6. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    #6 mpt, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    This is a good write-up The Making Of Tesla: Invention, Betrayal, And The Birth Of The Roadster - It mirrors my recollections however, what's interesting to me is that, in the early days Martin appeared to be far more vocal than Elon, it seems Elon hadn't found his voice yet. I'd always assumed that was because Martin was in charge.

    I remember the first time I heard Elon at the open meeting regarding the re-evaluation of the price of the Roadster. He was as nervous as hell, it took balls to tell a room full of techies who'd spent all their nerd-savings on a dream car that they might not get now... oh, wait, that's just me.... Anyway, it makes me wonder, was Elon more influential at that time than I thought? Was he just quiet at that point? Just waiting to finally call the financials into question?
     
  7. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    #7 lolachampcar, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    My take away was that Tesla started off with the AC Induction technology and was forced to move away from it. The story presented was along the lines of "it was good for technology demo but not produceable". The first to go was the move from an analog to a fully digital controller. I do not think there is an engineer alive that would not have done the same thing given the advent of DSPs and the improvement in BJTs. The next was the motor design itself although the team was less clear on why that bit of technology did not survive into production.

    As for Elon being responsible for the Roadster body, he likely was. He was likely responsible for picking the winning sketch, paid the bill for the person(s) who did the work and approved the work along the way. He calls himself the chief designer (or something like that) at Tesla but I suspect he has never sat down in front of a monitor and designed anything to do with MS or MX. It is a luxury term afforded to the one who pays the bills and runs the show.

    I was amazed at how Elon was perfectly comfortable using several hours in a shareholder meeting and the bully pulpit it provided to write his version of Tesla's history. It will likely be the only comprehensive summary on youtube for future generations. It was a nice touch standing next to JB and bringing up several others from the early days to tell stories.

    I have no idea how accurate the story was. We all remember history differently. One thing is certain, the show gave the appearance that all on the stage backed the version being given and it is unlikely that any on the stage would say otherwise.

    One other comment that is likely to draw fire.
    It has been my experience that having the idea is a very small part of overall success. It is the doing that is the hard part and the doing often involves running the maze of dead ends and adjusting along the way. Tesla is another example of this and a pretty spectacular one at that. There will always be people that were around at the beginning to claim credit for bits and pieces; some often are upset that they did not play in the success. Early contributions that help set the path are important but are, by themselves, of no value without execution. Like it or not, Elon pulled it off. Had the complete package been with any of the other early contributors, they would still be around today and we would have two BeV car companies.
     
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  8. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    I have.
    Not very accurate, with some bits I'd call a lie.
     
  9. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Ok, that is an interesting observation to make from Slovenia....
    Care to share your insight?
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Elon's "brief history of Tesla" (my words) at the shareholder's meeting was not an attempt to provide a detailed story of the company from the start up to today, or to re-write history. I believe that it had three objectives:

    1) To emphasize how far the company has come from just a few years ago when it was less than 1,000 people making one car model in very low volume.

    2) To rebut some persistent myths about the company that naysayers and FUDsters endlessly repeat (the DOE loan, the Gigafactory Nevada state incentives, and others).

    3) To publicly recognize a group of employees who have been with Tesla since the early days when it seemed the company could not possibly achieve its objective of building a mass market long range EV. Now that Tesla is on the cusp of accomplishing that objective, it was nice to acknowledge those who have worked so hard for so long to make it happen.

    What I heard was Elon making clear that he did not found Tesla, that he joined "Martin, Mark, and Ian" as an early investor. He said nothing negative about them. Of course he did not spend time reviewing the power struggle that took place in 2007 when the company was near death, that would serve no purpose at a Tesla shareholders meeting.
     
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  11. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    ...And that's why I started this thread with a question. I've always assumed that my early recollections where genuinely how it happened. I was only on the side-lines of course, I've spoken to both parties but never directly about the histrionics. I welcome clarifications to shut up the FUDsters and am left wondering about what I originally understood. It's never black and white either so I expect the truth to lie in between but, I'd love to get them in a room together - there's no way that Elon would blindly erase Martin to assume the mantle and there's no way Martin/Marc could claim 100% of the rights to being the creators.

    I think that, personally, right now, I'm drifting towards, Martin/Marc created the company based on excitement over the TZero, Elon was invited and joined as an investor to make it really possible because he believed in the ideal and, oversaw the project in greater detail than I originally thought.

    I do hope though, that the world never forgets Martin and Marc though. At the moment, I feel that the creators should comprise Martin, Marc, Elon and JB... unless further information surfaces.
     
  12. stevejust

    stevejust Pati ≡nc ≡

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    I don't think there's any danger of that ever changing, per the terms of the settlement of the lawsuit between Eberhard and Musk.
     
  13. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    How was that settled?
     
  14. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #14 TEG, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    I don't think the terms were made public. I suspect that there was a settlement that left both sides instructed to go away quietly and stop discussing the matter.
    I am hesitant to interject any of what I recall about that era because it feels like re-opening a wound.

    Well, I recall that E was very busy on Space-X in the early days of T, and so was glad to have M run things until some point where he felt like he wanted-to / had-to step in and take over which was a difficult / messy transition.
    There were accusations of unprofessional behavior flung in different directions.

    Some people will say it is common for start-ups to have messy management changes as they grow.
    Some will say that egos were colliding.
    I recall at some point someone said it was "the golden rule".... "He who has the gold makes the rules..."


    It was a bit bizarre and interesting at the same time.
     
  15. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    My wife and I actually attended the meeting in person for the first time and I would say that Elon and JB stayed to take ALL questions from those lined up. Even after he gave a "last call."
     
  16. GSP

    GSP Member

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    Some of the non-financial terms of the settlement were made public. They should be in the archives here at TMC. I remember two items:

    1) ME was to take down his "Tesla Founders" blog
    2) ME, MT, EM, anf JB all were to be considered as founders of Tesla Motors. I think maybe Ian Wright also, but I don't remember.

    Also, I expect that ME got the back pay that was due to him, but that is just a guess based on lawyers comments here at TMC that said that almost always happens in lawsuits to get unpaid wages.

    GSP
     
  17. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong but didn't all 1.x cars contain AC Propulsion technology? I thought the 2.0 PEM changes were in part to remove the need to pay them royalties.
     
  18. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    That is correct. The 1.5 PEM has a label on the left end stating the license from AC Propulsion. This is for the "reductive charging" technology where the motor coils are repurposed as inductors during charging to avoid the extra weight of separate coils. The original idea was that they could use the circuit design of the analog AC Propulsion drive system, but as JB explained they found it to be not reliable or producible enough so they replaced it with a digital implementation of the same functions.
     
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  19. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    One of the reasons to get away from the reductive charging was possibly to remove the need to pay royalties to ACP anymore.
    There was a big cost reduction effort as part of the 1.5 -> 2.0 redesign. They were desperate to reduce costs on Roadster at that point.

    Costs to produce Roadster in the early days of Tesla was a big reason why there was a bunch of turmoil and turnover.

    I think the point about vendors basically saying "who are you?" and then hanging up was one big reason why it was difficult. They ended up having to use more costly, and less proven suppliers for many parts until they could prove to the world that they were going to stick around.
     
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