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Low Cost Roadster?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by graham, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. graham

    graham Active Member

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    So that article from last months Fortune we have previously discussed:

    Tesla's wild ride - Jul. 9, 2008

    Makes me think that Tesla loses money on every 2008 Roadster. Tesla probably will be only breaking even if not also losing money on all the U.S. 2009s. At some point in time, the company needs to start making money to pay for the significant R&D as well as day-to-day overhead they incur.

    They are a long way from seeing any money from a Model S. It will require a significant investment to get to selling any sedans. They have not finished the design, therefore they haven't started the crash testing. We all know crash testing is one of the most expensive (and time consuming) parts of bringing a new car to market in the U.S. *mayyybe* they will start seeing some revenue by 2011... but that is a long way away.

    Since the Roadster has already incurred those crash test costs, are there ways to take the current Roadster design and make money off of it? One way seems to be: jack up the price which they have done slightly for U.S. 2009 and more significantly for Europe. They could continue down this path, but they end up reducing their potential market significantly. Another way is the rumored even-more-high-end track car, and try to make a profit off of that. I assume the market for that is fairly limited. A third way seems to be to let all the Roadster owners smash their cars and charge a fortune to repair them. This is a silly idea.

    What about the idea of a low-cost Roadster? Replace the carbon with fiberglass or some other less expensive material, halve the battery capacity (and weight!), limit the torque and top end to hang onto range and sell it as a low-end model for, say, $80k starting in 2010 Model Year along-side its carbon fiber big-brother still at $110k. Assuming this made money for the company, would this be a reasonable idea? Would such a car require more crash testing before it was sellable? Would such a car dilute the high-end brand image of Tesla and the Roadster to a net negative effect?

    Would anyone here by a car that looks like a Roadster, sells for $79,999 has a range of, say 150 miles and a top end of 110?

    Would anyone here planning to buy a current Roadster be unhappy that a cheaper cousin existed?
     
  2. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I would welcome a "cheaper cousin" with lower cost and reduced range.

    Also, Tesla could find other ways to cut costs, such as to built it in their own factory, and get more of the parts made nearby so they don't have to ship so many pieces around the globe to put one together.

    I would expect by now that they have discussed all sorts of options, so we just have to wait and see what they have decided to do.
     
  3. mt2

    mt2 Member

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    I don't think we'll see a "cheaper cousin" of the Roadster until sometime after the Whitestar is introduced. I think it would undermine the perceived value of the Roadster and cause some people on the waiting list to reconsider their purchases. In fact, (without giving it too much thought) I figure Tesla would lean more toward an ultra high-end limited edition Roadster which would enhance their position as a performance vehicle manufacturer.
     
  4. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I suspect there are some early adopters with "pent up demand" for a vehicle like this, and in some years the wait lists might start shrinking. At that point perhaps it could spinoff some variants to attract more customers. As long as the waitlist goes years into the future, it doesn't seem they have to change anything. It is mostly selfish reasons (being able to afford one someday) that would cause me to want them to do a cheaper version.
     
  5. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    It's funny but a "Higher performance" version could be cheaper to make if one were willing to forgo some range, just cut the size of the battery pack, making a lighter, less expensive vehicle. So instead of a 245 mile range pack you stick in a 120 mile range pack, still plenty for many people, and the lighter weight would improve handling and acceleration. With half the battery pack you might even do better than half the range since you are moving less mass. I don't know if you'd price it higher or lower or the same :confused: It goes faster but not as far.
     
  6. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    I'd have to disagree with some of the opinions in the first link, sacrificing some ah capacity, (range) should not prevent the battery pack from producing the needed volts and amperage for acceleration. That's how the drag racers do it, high voltage, high amperage, low amp hours to keep battery size/weight down.
     
  7. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    It depends on the exact type of the batteries used. We know that ESS is capable of somewhere around of 200kW of peak power so it is safe to assume that half of it would be capable of 100kW at similarly "stressed" cells.

    This goes nice with "less performance, less range, lower price".
     
  8. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

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    If you reduce the size of the paralleled battery strings the voltage would stay the same, I think the discharge rate or amperage would be the same, but the reserve capacity or amp hours would be less. However I may be mistaken.
     

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