Tesla Motors, from Bud Conrad

October 13, 2007 |

TeslaI went to a presentation by Martin Eberhard, co-founder and President of Tesla Motors, on Wednesday. I've seen one of the eight cars built and it is slick: 0 to 60 in 3.86 seconds with no shifting. And Eberhard is a slick presenter. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered a car.
But they have a huge mountain to scale with gargantuan problems, not the least of which is the distribution and service. They have taken the unprecedented step of making a completely new car that is to be status symbol and new technology at once. It is a complete design from bumpers and fenders to suspension and the electronically controlled antilock breaks. I think they have bitten off too much. Battery technology is the latest lithium, but with stacks and stacks of cells, it is a huge battery. It takes all night to charge from a 220 electric dryer but does go for 250 miles. The electricity is cheap at pennies per mile. The car is expensive at over $100K. Divide that by 100,000 miles of useful life and you have capital costs of $1/mile.
Great breakthroughs in technology, but the take-out is a rich Asian car company with lots of dollars. Reminds me of Tucker Car that after WWII developed the best technology but was squashed by the big guys.

Alan Millhone adds:

Nice to see something new and innovative in the automotive area! My first car was a 1964 Mustang fastback that was raven black with a white interior, 289 H.P. and a Hurst shifter and Hurst mags. I ordered it from the factory for $3,105! I still have the original owner's manual, bill of sale and a sterling Mustang tie-tack (still on the card). The car is gone, but the memories of taking possession of that car at the dealership will stay with me like it was yesterday. America has always had a love for the automobile and I hope the Tesla will have its own following.

J.P. Highland remarks:

For $100,000 I would rather buy a Porsche Cayman and a Toyota Tundra, one for the fun and the other to be my workhorse.


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