Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tesla's Wild Ride

I meant to post a link to this Fortune article when I first read it over the weekend, but better late than never: "Tesla's Wild Ride". The subtitle gives a good summary of the rest of article:

Building the world's first electric supercar was never going to be easy - even without the hubris, infighting, and mismanagement that nearly sent Tesla spinning off the road.

Somewhat surprisingly, Tesla Motors posted a link to this article on its website.


J K said...

Great read. The story is quite ironic given the company namesake's history with J.P. Morgan and Edison. I hope they are able to work things out.

DaveinHackensack said...

It's a more compelling read than some of the earlier, fawning press on Tesla. I think Tesla will be able to work things out -- at least with respect to its roadster. It's a good sign that hardly any of its customers have asked for their deposits back, despite the big delays in getting their cars. Whether Tesla will succeed with its "White Star" sedan designed for the mass market is another question.

I missed this headline the first time around, but this is also interesting: WSJ: "Tesla Hires Chrysler Executive
To Beef Up Its Profile"
. Founding Tesla has given the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs an appreciation of how difficult it is to manufacture cars. It's telling that they have decided to bring in someone with some Big Three experience.

J K said...

Yeah startups are never all peaches and cream, especially when you have big VC money involved on a low margin product like cars, ha.

But its still a great feel-good story of modern American ingenuity and entrprenurial spirit. We need that inventive, forward-looking spirit in our larger blue chip companies also. If we had, then maybe we wouldn't be so worried about gas these days.

DaveinHackensack said...


From the article, according to the original plan, the Tesla roadsters were going to have ~40% margins. Of course, those margins started shrinking as the costs added up.

You may be interested in this Atlantic article too, if you haven't read it yet, "Electro-shock Therapy". That's about the development of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid at GM. I first linked to that article in this post, "Why Oil Prices will likely be Higher in 5 Years -- but not necessarily in 10 or 15".