LE MANS: Nissan Announces Electric LM24 Racer For 2014 There was a series of episodes on Auto Mfrs on History Channel, which I recorded on DVD. ALL the major mfrs (Ferrari, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, etc) had Racing Programs to support development. Durability/Reliability testing (long term data) can be supplemented with racing experience. This is one of the major HOLES in Tesla Motors, their lack of presence in Racing. The Tesla Roadster debacle in 2007 (production delays, a major one due to transmission breakage: Xtrac & others), can be traced to this. They were trying to do something that had NEVER been done before: mating a high torque electric motor (near instantaneous torque curve on acceleration) to a multi-speed transmission. There was an eerie NBC video (M. Eberhard taking a female journalist for a ride), & the Roadster broke down during the interview!! Little did anyone know, this would come back to haunt Tesla. This kind of thing would have been spotted IMMEDIATELY under racing conditions (Extreme Duty Environment, aka EDE). I actually know an Xtrac development partner (in Racing) who solved this problem: they had the SAME transmission breakage issues, & over a series of races in 1 year, they finally found a solution. Via Empiricism (trial & error), & won their FIRST race the following year. Tesla was trying to "throw $$ at the problem", especially with EM (who apparently doesn't have a Physics degree from U of Penn, as per M. Eberhard's lawsuit) thinking that R&D can happen instantaneously.. It DOESN'T..& it CAN'T. Applied R&D takes TIME "It takes Talent also [ in addition to time ]" -- Dr xxx, Harvard PhD, Dir of Ford Research (?) [ I met him at 2012 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) ] There needs to be a "bridge solution" YYY (cooperative R&D Org, linking Academia & Industry) for all of "emerging Economy" of Alternative Energy (incl EVs), to lessen the risk/burden of all the startups. There already are many startup failures: solar (Solyndra), batteries (A123). "Time to Market" is crucial in business, & YYY could minimize this. Xtrac is involved with many major Racing series, incl Indycar. I've been involved with Offroad & Indycar. Sample here: Indycar 2.0 [ Xtrac supplies the gearboxes for Indycar ] CORR Racing [ I know a Pro 2 & Pro 4 team, who were using Xtrac transmissions ] Nissan made a huge leap with the Nissan Leaf, the 1st major Auto Mfr to jump in with a mass-market EV (after General Motors EV1..only leases, limited run). They are demonstrating their commitment, by understanding the value of Race Development. Ford uses to have a SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) unit, headed by Michael Kranefuss, designed to address the RoI in Racing. Tesla Motors simply doesn't have the resources for an SVO type of unit. It's recent debacle with NY Times (& Tesla customers..unresponsive emails), demonstrate it's lacking in Customer Service. It was said by General Motors, that a new vehicle launch requires 1 billion. With close to .75 billion (?) by Tesla, it's becoming clear how true this "critical mass" figure is. They might end up "running out of gas" (irony, that's the term used to forward Alternative Fuel innovation). "You scratch, the game's OVER" -- Mitch MacAleer, hang-gliding aerobatics champion One slip-up by Tesla in the Model S, it's over. Already, there are a LOT of red-flags. Model S has some shocking imperfections - lack of fit/finish (right front hood sticking up 5mm!!, rear door "gap" - door has to be slammed to closed - niggling problems in auto-electronics (trunk opening by itself, etc) which is unacceptable for a $59K - $90K pricepoint luxury car. How are they going to deal with the massive warranty work? The lurking monster is a massive recall due to XXX. Auto Racing development (Durability/Reliability testing) could minimize chances of XXX popping up.