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My Letter to The Electric Consumer & Editors response.

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Al Sherman, May 29, 2013.

  1. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

    Nov 29, 2012
    Batesville, IN
    It's late with some incorrect info and much not included due to magazine lag times. I wrote the letter in early April.

    Context: The Electric Consumer magazine had a decent 4 page article on "EV's" with no mention at all of Tesla. I was annoyed so I fired off this letter:

    Just finished reading the April 2013 edition of Electric Consumer. The
    article "Charge 'Er Up" by Richard Biever was of particular interest to
    me since I own a pure Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) the Tesla Model S.

    I was shocked to see that the article made no mention whatsoever of this
    groundbreaking, revolutionary vehicle. No disrespect to the Volt. It's a
    great vehicle and I am happy to see folks using it and not burning any,
    or burning much less gasoline than they have in their past cars.

    BUT, the Tesla Model S is a true Battery Electric. No gas, no emissions.
    Ever. It is capable of 300 miles on a single charge. It is completely
    made in America by Americans. Unlike your list of cars "coming down the
    pike" their are over 8000 Model S cars ON the road. Tesla has over 20,000
    reservations for the car currently. Unlike GM, Tesla makes a profit on
    every car it sells. Unlike GM, Tesla got a government loan and is
    actually paying it off. In HALF the time required no less. Tesla is
    profitable as of Q1 2013. They are coming out with an AWD SUV in late
    2014, and a much more affordable sedan with MORE range than the already
    world leading Model S in 2015. All are pure electric.

    In the meantime. The Tesla Model S is the 2013 Motor Trend Car Of The
    Year. The first unanimous decision of the judging panel in the 49 year
    history of the award.

    Not even making mention of this game changing vehicle in your article is
    a huge oversight at the very least.

    Please contact me anytime if you would like more info or a test ride in
    the Model S. There are currently two in Franklin County.


    Al Sherman
    RSE Coop Customer

    And his response:

    Hi Mr. Sherman,

    Thank you for the letter. You are correct: I should have mentioned Tesla.

    With this article, I was trying to stick with the larger production
    models. I see on Tesla's website it is producing 2,500-3,000 of the Model
    S each year. I admit the last time I took a close look at Tesla, I thought
    the price for its vehicles was still in the $80,000 to over $100,000
    range. I see Model S starts around $60,000, which is certainly much more
    consumer friendly, but still a little out of the mainstream, too. I was
    afraid the Volt at $40,000 sounded far-fetched for the majority of our
    consumers. Since the best selling cars are in the $25,000-30,000 range, my
    thinking is that's where the average electric co-op consumers are.

    I'm always a little put off by magazine and newspaper articles that
    showcase the beauty, splendor and technology of homes and cars that only a
    tiny percentage of Americans can actually afford so I didn't want to take
    the article too far out to where most people would just turn the page and
    wonder who I was writing for.

    I wanted to expose the average readers to the potential for an electric
    vehicle without tossing in cars priced so high they'd roll their eyes. But
    I should have mentioned Tesla. I've seen one in Indianapolis as well.

    We'll no doubt continue writing about the evolution of the Evs and we'll
    make sure we include Tesla in the future, especially if, as you noted, it
    comes out with the lower priced version in 2014. In the meantime, we'd
    like to include your letter in the next issue.

    Thank you for reading and, again, on second thought, I do regret not
    mentioning Tesla.

    Richard Biever
    Senior Editor
  2. andrewket

    andrewket Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    His figures on the number of cars produced each year is still wrong by an order of magnitude. I wonder where he found that figure.
  3. Johan

    Johan Funds for M3 secured. Contingent on wife aproval.

    Feb 9, 2012
    Drammen, Norway
    Still the general public, general media, even people "in the business" such as Electric Consumer Magazine are still gravely underestimating Tesla. So much will change in the coming 12 months. It will be exciting to sit back and watch (in the comfort of my Model S).
  4. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

    Nov 29, 2012
    Batesville, IN
    Yes. I emailed him and told him how wrong his numbers were. We agreed to not go back and forth in the actual magazine. He promised his research would be better in the future.
    It seems to me that he still is missing the point and I told him this. The point is Gen 3 and beyond. He's fixating on the price of the MS which is certainly way above the mean for rural Indiana but not that ridiculously high in the country as a whole.
  5. ipdamages

    ipdamages Roadster Sports 835 & 972

    Sep 25, 2011
    Southern California
    The odd thing to me was how he wrote multiple times that he was sorry and then flipped to say that on further reflection he wasn't sorry. If you get to the end of the letter and feel differently than you did when you began writing it, go back and edit it so you at least seem to have a position.

    In fact, I think he hadn't really considered the Model S and did a lazy job of researching the article. The data he referenced likely were obtained in response to your email as he sought justifications for his omission.

    That said, is there a lesson for Tesla or any of us? It is that the world really doesn't yet know or consider Tesla. Having a bunch of rich Californians buying Model Ss doesn't mean much in terms of mass adoption. If you observe people in a Tesla store who are first really understanding the car, it is quite interesting to see people's minds open to a new possibility - especially on a product like a car, with so many deep personal preferences. As a result, I agree that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and even getting a Gen 3 that is under $40k after incentives, with the currently anticipated specs, will be a category killer and game changer.

    Also, Al, Tesla currectly makes a profit after the ZEV credit revenue. In Q1 that was $68 million, though it is forecasted to decline substantially as Tesla sells fewer of its cars in California and the value of those credits additionally falls. As a result, Tesla is not currently forecasted to be profitable in Q2, though it is thereafter.

    Tesla Motors Q1 Earnings Triples Expectations, Stock Rockets -

    In Q1 Tesla had negative operating income.

    Financial Statements for Tesla Motors Inc - Google Finance

    To the bigger issue, looking past accounting details, I earnestly agree with your general point, Al, and thank you for helping to spread the word. Person-by-person, minds are opening, thanks in part to folks like you.
  6. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

    Jun 24, 2012
    Redmond, WA
    It looks like he saw Tesla's numbers for how many cars they sold in 2012 and extrapolated that to 2013.
  7. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

    Nov 29, 2012
    Batesville, IN
    Very kind of you to say so. Thank YOU. What can I say, I'm a true believer. I can't believe myself how much time I spend trying to sell EV's. I'm still tuning my presentation. I'm finding that it's a fine line with non evangelists. If you come on too strongly, they write you off as a nut.:wink:
  8. Soflason

    Soflason Member

    Feb 19, 2013
    agreed... Al, thank you for keeping these writers on their toes -- this bias against Tesla is still prevalent and your letter is just one example of how to alert the media (and, once published, the readership) of the groundbreaking work that Tesla is doing in the space.
  9. TI Sailor

    TI Sailor Supporting Member

    May 4, 2013
    Treasure Island, FL
    If you take Mr. Biever at face value, admittedly a stretch, his point about price appeal to a broad market is probably valid. However, he managed to skate past the $40,000 Chevy Volt's real problem: extremely conservative styling. I apologize to Volt owners out there, but I believe if it looked more like a 4-door Cadillac ELR, or even a Hyundai Sonata, it would have had much greater acceptance. To appreciate my point, consider how sales of the Sonata and Kia Optima skyrocketed after the introduction of their redesigns.

    If the GenIII looks like a smaller Model S, it will attract buyers. If it looks like a Coda, it won't. Of course I know EM has already said it will resemble the former rather than the latter, and the clay models posted on another thread are very promising. I hope they get both the X and the GenIII into production sooner than their target dates.
  10. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

    May 17, 2009
    Great letter Al.

    It's easy, tell him to write something like
    'while out of reach for most consumers, a new player in the market is out with the Tesla Model S. Priced from $70-110k before a $7,500 federal tax credit they have already delivered over 10,000 cars since last summer with the goal of 20,000 per year. They received a $465 million DOE grant but payed it back in 1 year instead of the required 10 years with interest. No other company including Nissan or Ford in the same ATVM loan program has fully paid back their loan'

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