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Tesla Blogs: The Song Remains the Same (Elon Musk)

Discussion in 'News' started by stopcrazypp, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    #1 stopcrazypp, Dec 22, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2007
    The Song Remains the Same
    by Elon Musk
    Published Friday, December 21st, 2007

    Not sure if you guys heard about this, but Elon recently posted a new entry in the Tesla blogs regarding some of the issues discussed in the Townhall meetings. Here are some bullet points:
    "- we are going to deliver a great sports car next year that customers will love driving."
    -Results from third party magazine test drives will come early February next year.
    -Goal is to begin production of Roadster Spring '08
    -Transmission may need to be upgraded free of charge at later date.
    -Transmission will be safe and reliable, though not meeting original acceleration specs.
    -Limited production throughout 1st half of '08 to exercise manufacturing, supply chain, customer service capabilities before entering full production.
    -Elon's car, production VIN 1, already off production line in UK, and prepared for importation.
    -Model 2, a midsized luxury sports sedan, will be unveiled 1st half of '08
    -Roadster target 1000-2000 per year, sedan target 10,000 per year w/ much lower price
    -Model 3 aims to be even lower price and order of magnitude greater volume
    -Tesla on path for independent growth, w/ IPO along the way. No talks of selling company.
    -Tesla's "Master Plan" remains unchanged.
    -A REEV or range extended electric vehicle is "likely" in Tesla's future.
    -Elon "came out to California was to do graduate studies at Stanford on high energy density capacitors for use in electric vehicles."
    -"Tesla needs to be profitable to be viable and grow, but this is about much more than making money. The electric vehicle revolution is critically important to the world and is way overdue. Tesla Motors, with the help of its customers and investors, is going to lead the way in making it happen."

    Tesla Motors - think
  2. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    #2 malcolm, Dec 22, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2007
    Doesn't add up....

    You can't LEAD an EV revolution if your clients are US Big Auto. Something about whoever pays the piper...

    Europe is the market to go for while you wait for markets to develop in the states. We don't have a problem with smaller cars, we drive shorter averaqe journeys, we have to pay congestion charges, and we've got silly gas prices.

    Open an office up the road from Hethel, or just by Mira. Or in Norway, next door to TH!NK. Or in Germany with Smart. Or Italy with Pininfarina.

    On the other hand...

    You can make a lot of noise with your first product, get noticed by all the right people and then settle down and be a good boy and get a nice safe return on your investment by making just what Big Auto wants.

    "Every revolution is a betrayed revolution"
  3. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    My guess is that Tesla decided to focus on the US market since they are an American company. I have heard complaints in the UK asking why couldn't they sell Roadsters in the UK since they make them there anyways. I don't see that happening until past 1st half of '08 when they should have all the kinks in the manufacturing worked out, and hopefully have their final transmission.
    In regards to the EV market in the states, I think we have enough EV enthusiasts (and politicians and actors) to absorb most of the initial production. The Roadster also seems to appeal to general sports car buyers too (ie the all carbonfiber shell, 0-60 4 secs). I don't know about the sports car market in Europe, but buyers in the US seem ready to lap up exotic sports cars in the $100k to even millions range.
    Tesla seems to be one of the companies poised to become the next great automaker except for EVs. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a company that makes "just what Big Auto wants." I think Elon's message clearly states that they don't plan to sell the company out to anyone and that they are still in line for independent growth.
  4. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

    Jun 22, 2007
    Oslo, Norway
    Norway sounds like a good idea :) But as I've mentioned like 10 times before Tesla will compete ON PRICE with any german premium brand, and will be about the same price for the Whitestar at $50 000 for a well-speced Jetta... Yes the Whitestar will have to beat the Jetta, we are not talking Passat but Jetta. I just hope that the Whitestar will be available in a pure EV model or as everyone else seems to be saying, why should I buy an REEV from Tesla instead of an Opel?

  5. lasvegasreb

    lasvegasreb New Member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Based on the INC article on Elon Musk, I've really enjoyed researching and learning more about Tesla over the past few days.

    As excited as I am about TM as an independent company, though, I just don't see that happening. Musk has dropped, what, over $50m in the company already, PLUS other investors?

    They're going to want their money back. And how? It seems to me there's two avenues to do that:

    a) mass produce cars with a large profit margin -- Heh. Let's say by some miracle of the Gods, they achieve the ability to mass produce cars with a large profit margin. Do you really think the Toyotas and Hondas of the world would abide?
    b) sell out to GM or Ford looking to burnish their image -- The Silicion Valley way!

    Whatever Elon says publicly, I imagine they'll be a label on a Chevy in ten years. And trust me, I love hopeless causes.
  6. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    Well we'll see about that when the car actually hits production. It's really hard to gauge success or failure right now when their first car isn't even out yet.
    This has been discussed before here in the forums, how if they want to stay profitable without taking risks they can continue selling cars with limited production with high profit margins. Porsche and Ferrari seem to have no problem doing so as long as their mark still conjures desirability, and I don't think Tesla will have a problem remaining a premium brand. The thing is this is not Tesla's plan. They want to eventually mass produce and sell cars with much cheaper prices. The success of this plan relys on whether they make enough profit on their initial low volume cars. If the roadster is a runaway success and they sell all their roadsters, I don't see why it is impossible to achieve their goal. A lot of the money went to starting the company and future cars don't have to bear that cost. The Roadster is a high enough price point to recover all of that money and make a profit, assuming they can sell it. However, it is true this remains to be seen.
  7. lasvegasreb

    lasvegasreb New Member

    Dec 23, 2007

    I was thinking along those lines as well. I can imagine them being successful as a premium brand, but that's not the game they're talking.

    In any case, I'm fascinated by what's next. You always love to see ingenuity at work.
  8. BlackbirdHighway

    Sep 20, 2007
    Tesla has lots of ways to make the business work.

    They've said that at the current price the Roadster is profitable. The Roadster is already sold out for the 2008 model year, and they're now selling spots on the waiting list for 2009.

    There is no reason to think that the Whitestar won't be profitable as well. The Blue star will be more of a challenge, but by then, I expect gasoline will be significantly more expensive than it is now, so that should help. We might even have a carbon tax, or a cap and trade system in place.

    Consider also that they want to sell drivetrains, either whole or in parts. Carmakers are facing new CAFE standards, and high mileage REEVs or PHEVs will help them meet the new targets, so I see potential demand there.

    Finally, starting in 2013 carmakers will be able to buy and sell CAFE mileage credits, and Tesla might be able to turn that into a good source of additional revenue.

    Sure, the car business is tough, and it won't be a walk in the park, but Tesla has a good shot, better than any other auto startup in a very long time.
  9. Brent

    Brent Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think TM's best shot at success remains in the luxury segment. Batteries are expensive, and probably will remain so for a considerable time. Many environmentally conscious consumers understand this, and are willing to pay a premium to obtain an all-battery car.

    I think this whole "range extended" business will backfire. Adding an ICE strips the car of one its most desirable characteristics, that of reliability of a kind we've never seen in cars before. With the Roadster, TM is talking about regularly scheduled maintenance intervals of 24 months; a REEV Whitestar would probably have the old every-six-months schedule. I can't imagine how TM would ever compete with the reliability of Honda or Toyota, or provide the service level of Mercedes' Roadside Service, which just last week arrived within an hour of my call for help, and got me on my way minutes afterwards.

    If AC Propulsion can convert a Scion Xb to an eBox with a 140 mile range, it seems that TM could at least match that range, and maybe add a few miles more. That range is probably enough for my needs, and anything extra is icing on the cake.
  10. lasvegasreb

    lasvegasreb New Member

    Dec 23, 2007

    That's what I see, also. I can certainly understand the idea that one of the reasons for Tesla's foundation is bringing electric cars to the masses. But practically speaking, I just don't see how that works.

    The luxury market is one thing. And if Tesla was able to mass produce economic electric cars currently, I think they'd be overwhelmingly successful at it as well. But we're looking at a timeframe six or seven years down the road, and by that time, GM, Toyota, Honda should all be heavily invested in that market segment. I think the better bet would be utilizing their brand to concentrate fully on luxury automobiles.

    That all being said, I'm wicked excited about the company. I think people who aren't, or otherwise downgrade the company, are just jealous.
  11. Voice_of_Detroit

    Voice_of_Detroit New Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    Tucker with a Delorean Twist ?

    Very interesting " " style approach to marketing EV's with 15-20 year old technology. Detroit is watching Tesla Motors as a point of interest on the radar screen but, is skeptical as to the sustainability of their business model.
    For us who have been doing this for over 100 years, if it could be done any quicker
    or easier we'd be all over it ....

    The auto industry is a very tough business that is very capital intensive and one
    that requires a very deep understanding of the Product Life Cycle, the multiple
    constraints and pit-falls that can happen with an extensive and global supply chain. Automobiles are not produced like IPODS or On-Line Payment Systems .... They are the culmination of several hundred suppliers and several thousand worker's innovation that is typically lead by a charismatic (CEO) entrepreneur. The loss of Martin from the Tesla Motors Company is a signal to us in Detroit that things are not well in silicon valley. We suspect that Tesla is a "Tucker with a Delorean Twist" in the making .... Thus, partnering and or investing in Tesla is along the same riask level as
    the Dot.Com's of the 90's

    This note is intended to be a bit controversial so as to stimulate a good discussion
  12. JRP3

    JRP3 Hyperactive Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Central New York
    OK I'll bite. Sure there are risks, no question. However, part of the problem with Detroit is you've basically been doing the same thing for 100 years, tradition can be hard to break. It's comfortable, it works, sort of. It also lacks imagination and innovation.
    An EV has the potential to be less complex, therefore involving fewer suppliers.
    Properly geared you can eliminate the transmission, (the Tesla has great performance even using one speed), the e-motor has a single moving part, and the electrical systems CAN be produced like Ipods. The rest of the vehicle need be no more exotic than any other vehicle in production today, though weight saving composites would be beneficial, (to any vehicle really).
    Look at the RAV4EV, which still sell used for 50K and still have 120+ mi. range even with the original Panasonic batteries. Imagine that same vehicle with better lithium batteries available today. In today's world you could sell those at $40K all day long. Of course you'd have to sell them and advertise in more than just California, no car would survive with that type of marketing.

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