Mar 25

Is Tesla Model S outselling the Chevy Volt?

 

It must be nice for Tesla Motors to have a list of people numbered in the low five figures waiting for the opportunity to buy a Model S.

As long as this keeps up, and we know of no indication it has tapered off as of yet, the S Models are flying out the door at the rate of 500 per week, according to a recent Inside Tesla enthusiasts’ blog report.

At least, this has been the case for the last three weeks, and the company says it expects to sell on this level again this week, and if so, that equates to 2,000 per month.

Tesla-Model-S-Feature-1213
 

If this rate of progress had been the case in February when the Volt’s 1,626 units sold ranked it the top plug-in car among automakers which officially post their monthly numbers, it would have meant Tesla was actually the unofficial leader.

Bear in mind, Tesla’s sales performance is for a car which in the 85-kwh version costs somewhere around $80,00-$120,000 – 2-3 times what the Volt does when factoring all taxes and ancillary costs. Normally, cars at this echelon do not outsell kind-of similar $30,000-$45,000 cars, as the Volt kind of is – depending also on how you do the subsidized or unsubsidized math.

How long can Tesla keep it up? Tesla is not saying. Its self-reporting selectively highlights the most flattering news while not reporting any more than it has to. For instance, it euphemistically mentioned it has had “a great learning experience” since planting its San Jose store two years ago – the first of several NADA-upsetting retail stores without even hinting any negative press or lawsuits had surrounded some of its other locations.

The impressive Model S sales news is due also to the positive fact that Tesla has been at peak production capacity since December, according to George Blankenship, vice president, worldwide sales and ownership experience.

More favorable news Blankenship highlighted in last week’s Tesla enthusiast blog is that on Thursday, Tesla registered its 3,000th Model S in California.

And while that sounds good, it raises a question about its distribution of cars. Isn’t California the top EV state, and where more people are lined up than anywhere else?

It delivered its first Model S June 22, 2012. We know it started with very slow and careful production, but since December it’s been at peak capacity. How long has Tesla been selling close to 2,000 units per month actually? Or even 1,500? And where are these cars going?

No doubt people from all over are getting the Model S. So if Tesla has been sending them out at maybe 300-500 per week since Christmas, only a decent amount are going to California, and many are going elsewhere – including Europe and Asia – and Blankenship did say the car is now a “world car” and test drive fleets are on these continents as well.

Tesla-locations
 

Blankenship also divulged that more Supercharger stations, retail stores, and service centers are beginning to dot more spots on the map.

Even so, since Tesla is doing so great, it would be nice if it would change its policy to one of true transparency, and let the world see what its actual numbers are.

Until then, all is good at Tesla, says Tesla, and Blankenship says “we’re just beginning,” while looking forward also to “hitting many new milestones this year.”

And for all anyone knows, this could well be so.

Question now is, will its next milestone be that in March it’s the dominant U.S. seller of electrified cars, even surpassing a certain model known to many of you here, and made by Chevrolet?

Inside Tesla

This entry was posted on Monday, March 25th, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 58


  1. 1
    TomServo

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    TomServo
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (6:31 am)

    I read that Tesla would be opening a Sales/Service store in St Louis as well as a few SuperCharger Station in around the St Louis area sometime in 2013. Until that happens I’m a fan but unable take the plunge until I have some infrastructure to support my needs. Until then m Volt will keep my CTS-V company.


  2. 2
    Mark Z

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Z
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (6:43 am)

    Service plans have just been announced for the Model S. Four year plans start at $1900 with $100 for each service call away from the service center. $2400 allows unlimited remote “Ranger” service or service center repairs for four years or 50,000 miles. Double the above four year rates for the 8 year plans.

    The above does NOT include extended warranty. $2500 for four years or 50,000 miles. Add another $900 for the “Tire and Wheel Replacement Program.” It’s insurance for four years or 50,000 miles against damage to the tires and wheels. Cosmetic repairs are not included.

    One more thing… My 80 amp High Power Wall Connector requires a cutoff or disconnect switch for meet NEC requirements. The $100 versions are huge, but not to fear, a smaller $400 switch will look better on the wall according to the electrician. Buyer beware!

    There is no charge for use of the SuperChargers.


  3. 3
    Nelson

    +15

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (7:55 am)

    If the top of the line Volt listed for $37,500 (pre Gov. incentives), it would out sell every car in the US.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  4. 4
    Roy_H

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Roy_H
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (7:59 am)

    There is no charge for use of the SuperChargers. That is true for purchasers of the top models Signature and Performance only. Those with lesser models will pay for their supercharge.

    Note also the bottom line 40kwhr model cannot use the supercharger at all.


  5. 5
    Bonaire

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:17 am)

    It’s good to see a success story playing out. I do hope they can then add their next-gen cars at a pace that allows for a lower-priced sedan model by 2015. I don’t believe everyone needs the level of luxury Tesla offers in the Model-S. Many people do want the level of utility of a high mile-per-charge BEV. They should take a shot at the Leaf in 2015 with something smaller and 30-40kWh in capacity.


  6. 6
    Ziv

    +12

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ziv
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:42 am)

    I am with all the “Good For Tesla!” crowd here. It is excellent to see another American car maker, and especially one that is building the greatest BEV’s out there. Which makes the Volt at $39.2k less $7.5k a great success story in its own right! The Volt as an entry level Tesla? :-)
    But I also think it is time for GM to take the training wheels off and reduce the MSRP below $37.4k, while maintaining the volume incentives that allow the top Volt sales dealerships to go even lower than that.
    With 6500+ Volts in inventory on Cars.com and GM just having painted its 39,000 2013MY Volt (not bad since mid-July of last year!), GM has more inventory than they have ever had and they don’t appear to be ready to shut Hamtramck down again. (And it is just 3 months to the summer shutdown anyway.) So March sales should be a surprise to the upside.
    Good days for the Volt and for Tesla, both!


  7. 7
    Nelson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:52 am)

    Roy_H,

    If ChargePoint owned and operated there charging stations they could negotiate with auto manufactures to allow them to offer one year free charging at ChargPoint locations with purchase of select EV models. Almost like getting free oil changes for the first year. Because of inconsistent owner rates at ChargePoint chargers this makes this type of business opportunity impossible. That’s why the big boys (GM, Ford, Toyota) need to start creating their own charging network.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  8. 8
    Todd

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Todd
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (9:17 am)

    <<>>

    I actually think this is good for alot of reasons. Build the car in California, Sell/Service the bulk of 1st year cars in California and build out the Super Charge Stations in CA. Once Tesla gets their bugs worked out then expand.

    I totally concede CA sales are driven because people are EV enthusiest, but it does not hurt they have 6 strategically placed Super Charge Stations. I suspect as Tesla sells ~ 15,000 cars and we hear they are running fine that sales will blossom around their infustructure.

    The wild card to me will be the mid west. Looooong stretches between major cities. The southeast is NOT EV friendly but we are setup up nice for a Tesla style network our cities (Memphis, Nashville, Atl, Bham, Charlotte etc.) are ideal distances for Super Charge Stations. Not to far not to close.

    I’d love to see a future VOLT drop the ICE and run 300 miles. Bob Lutz said from the beginning that would be the inevitble path.


  9. 9
    George S. Bower

    +10

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (9:34 am)

    We had this conversation over at Insideevs. Jay pretty much prides himself in being the production rate guru. Seems to me we concluded that Tesla was chipping away at their backlog at a rate that would get them caught up in about a year or so. Even though they claim new orders being logged at a rate of around 2000/mo there also is a high cancellation rate.

    So the speculation is that real demand for the S is only around 800-1000 cars per month.

    The question is: can Tesla survive with that kind of steady state sales??


  10. 10
    Mark Brooks

    +7

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Mark Brooks
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (9:37 am)

    Its great to here that the Tesla is a hit! These are early days for Plug in cars, but both Tesla and Volt sales show that the early adopters are climbing aboard the Electric train! The Long term implications are huge, just think how strong the US economy would be without having to import a Billion dollars a day in oil… Awesome!


  11. 11
    Gary

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Gary
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:04 am)

    I did not know that. As nice as the Model S is, between these charging rules, the extended warranties that seem to add only extra years–not miles, Service Plans required to maintain your warranty (a.k.a. extra profit padding) and get “annual inspections”, I find it all rather annoying that I would have to pay thousands of dollars extra after the fact.

    I thought that people with pure electrics claimed that they would be free from extra ongoing maintenance costs?

    Roy_H:
    Those with lesser models will pay for their supercharge.

    Note also the bottom line 40kwhr model cannot use the supercharger at all.


  12. 12
    steve

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    steve
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:15 am)

    Still isn’t going to make me run out a buy one.


  13. 13
    Energy Tyrant

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Energy Tyrant
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:20 am)

    This is great news. If you consider the millions of vehicles on the road, there is oceans of room for Tessa and the Voltec vehicles. And a positive experience with ANY electric vehicle is a positive for all the other electric vehicles. Bravo.


  14. 14
    Ross

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Ross
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:26 am)

    This is a tangential question regarding Tesla. I too am happy for Tesla’s continued success and would like to know if it is word of mouth and the Internet driving sales or something more. Here in Colorado I’ve seen no ads for Tesla cars in traditional media.

    It would be nice if GM could replicate whatever Tesla is doing in the advertising area.

    I would be happy if GM just had inspired advertising for the Volt even if it was no better then Fiat’s efforts.

    Ross


  15. 15
    Eric

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Eric
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:29 am)

    I was disappointed that Tesla was a no show at the recent Denver Auto Show. Admittedly this is not a top tier event, but many high end makes were there. I think that auto shows generate a lot of potential buyer enthusiasm, and Tesla needs this as their backlog thins. Maybe Tesla wasn’t there because the Denver show is primarily put together by traditional auto dealers?


  16. 16
    vdiv

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    vdiv
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:30 am)

    “it would be nice if it [Tesla] would change its policy to one of true transparency”

    Yeah, it will be nice if GM does that too. It will not happen.

    The Model S selling in numbers similar to the Volt’s indicates that the Volt is not just too expensive, it is too expensive for what it is. It should be a sign that customers want a better Volt and they want a better user experience (sales/service/support/online access).


  17. 17
    ClarksonCote

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    ClarksonCote
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:39 am)

    When will Tesla start publishing monthly numbers? They have shareholders, just like GM and the other automakers. Why are they not required to do this?


  18. 18
    BLIND GUY

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    BLIND GUY
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:40 am)

    I want to see Tesla succeed because in many peoples judgment it would validate that the time is right for EVs. I say Tesla because they are not in competition with themselves for sales of other drive-trains. Too me, success means to satisfy the needs of your customer threw-out the life of your vehicle. Even though the Volt has some extra warranty protection above many others, I am seriously considering purchasing a PPM plan for more peace-of-mind. I am concerned of many Dealers ability to service the Volt with any unusual problems JMHO. BTW, our Volt has been working great for us for 4 months now. 


  19. 19
    Jon

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jon
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:03 am)

    George S. Bower:
    We had this conversation over at Insideevs.Jay pretty much prides himself in being the production rate guru. Seems to me we concluded that Tesla was chipping away at their backlog at a rate that would get them caught up in about a year or so. Even though they claim new orders being logged at a rate of around 2000/mo there also is a high cancellation rate.

    So the speculation is that real demand for the S is only around 800-1000 cars per month.

    The question is: can Tesla survive with that kind of steady state sales??

    Right now if you order a Model S you have to wait a year to get one. That turns many buyers off. As the backlog gets worked down demand will go up. Once the backlog is through the market is open to customers who want a car now. There are plenty of sales to make in the meantime.


  20. 20
    Jackson

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jackson
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:23 am)

    Even if the claimed numbers are correct, and all of the waiting list names result in sales, they represent a great deal of pent-up demand. Once the well-heeled have their green-mobiles, Tesla may clear a small, steady production volume (depending on how the recharging and dealership situation develops), though possibly not enough to fund a new, lower-cost line in the foreseeable future (sorry, that’s just how I read the tea leaves).

    Remember too that the 40kwh version will be subject to range anxiety with no range extender or advanced temperature control, and predictable incidents could lead to some unfavorable press.

    Tesla may become an important player in the everyday adoption of EVs, but aside from a strong role as a charging-station pioneer, IMO this will most likely be as a latter day Duesenberg instilling overall desire for electrification in the masses.


  21. 21
    stuart22

    +5

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:34 am)

    What the robust sales figures of Tesla show is that EVs are pricey, and people who have the means are willing to pay $$ for an eclectic electric.

    Tesla is a hot commodity. They are the David against all the Goliaths, and people have been watching as Tesla has delivered on their brash promises.

    David vs. Goliath. The videos of Tesla S kicking ass on the legendary BMW M5 and Mercedes Benz bi-turbo performance sedans in separate drag races offered indisputable truth as to whether the Model S was real or not. Those videos shredded the old myths the Bimmer and Benz crowd held. The Model S turned their world upside down and became their new hot-to-have motorcar.

    Which leads to where the real sales thievery is more likely happening – to the ultra premium luxury sedans of M-B, BMW, Audi, etc. The Volt is still going to sell. The big question however is with the ELR.

    I am afraid if the ELR only offers small performance gains over the Volt, it will be a joke to the kind of buyers who can afford and are willing to pay six figure prices for something which, in return, is expected to put them in the front row of luxury and performance and respect among their moneyed peers.

    GM better take note of the lessons happening with Tesla’s rise to prominence. If Cadillac is to attain those highest levels of motordom, it’s got to have no compromises.


  22. 22
    Nelson

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Nelson
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:52 am)

    When comparing the Model S sales numbers to the Volt sales number one needs to remember the S comes in three versions that vary in price by $10K.
    If GM Volt had a three price tier $50K, $40K, & $30K we could make a better comparison.
    :)

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  23. 23
    pjwood

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pjwood
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:56 am)

    Even if they temporarily beat Volt numbers, the larger question of Tesla’s market remains. I think Autoweek covered it really well, to presume the time will come when they’ll have to rely on more mainstream buyers. And for this transition, I don’t blame them for witholding unit sales.

    There are a lot who bailed between price hikes (~$2,500?), charging owners of 60kwh cars for super charging gear ($1,000-2000) and the kicker of these service agreements. These cash raises went looking in the wrong place, IMO. I hope they can thrive at 1,000-1,500 a month. There’s so much to “amortize” down, and with such a lock on the segment, perhaps they can stabilize without “gen 3″ and then try and get back a few priced out Model S customers, with value, with dropping the warranty-void if someone doesn’t pay the $1,900 ransom, etc.

    I saw 20-24 MS’s in Watertown, MA, on Sunday, all lined up near the Ford pickup and its open trailer.


  24. 24
    CaptJackSparrow

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Roy_H: Note also the bottom line 40kwhr model cannot use the supercharger at all.

    The reason is battery cell issue. The lower pack models use less capacity 18650 cells. Trying to charge that pack on the supercharge will burn the bejeeebers out of them.


  25. 25
    CaptJackSparrow

    +23

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (12:05 pm)

    You guys might neg me to death on this buttt……

    If Tesla isn’t allowed to sell their cars freely in certain states because of NADA that argue it’s unfair, then why the hell should they bother giving actual sales info?!?!?!?
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-23/dealer-group-leaving-tesla-retail-challenge-to-states

    As far as i’m concerned, Tesla should line the borders of each of those states with sales lots in other states and say screw you NADA!

    /nobody likes going to a dealer lot to get stalked by a Shark……


  26. 26
    CaptJackSparrow

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (12:07 pm)

    Nelson: If GM Volt had a three price tier $50K, $40K, & $30K we could make a better comparison.

    And 5 seats, and more electric range, and no shark stalking you…..


  27. 27
    Noel Park

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (12:59 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    We had this conversation over at Insideevs.Jay pretty much prides himself in being the production rate guru. Seems to me we concluded that Tesla was chipping away at their backlog at a rate that would get them caught up in about a year or so. Even though they claim new orders being logged at a rate of around 2000/mo there also is a high cancellation rate.

    So the speculation is that real demand for the S is only around 800-1000 cars per month.

    The question is: can Tesla survive with that kind of steady state sales??

    #9

    That’s how I see it too. +1

    My mother always told us “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. So good luck to Tesla, but I’m from Missouri.


  28. 28
    Jim I

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:13 pm)

    Trying to project future sales, based on the initial pent up demand is not a good long term strategy, IMHO.

    There were initially over 50,000 people that said they wanted a Volt. Not all of them bought.

    So Tesla had over 10,000 people interested and made them wait quite a while past the original delivery date. Not all of them are still going to buy, and it is a fairly niche market in that price range.

    How sales will go after the initial buyers have purchased is the real question………..


  29. 29
    Noel Park

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Noel Park
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:30 pm)

    Jim I: How sales will go after the initial buyers have purchased is the real question………..

    #30

    Exactly. +1


  30. 30
    Bonaire

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Bonaire
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:34 pm)

    What I think happens is you get two good years of Model-S sales while they tool up the Model-X and perhaps Model-s (S Junior) for the common-man. If they could somehow come up with a $40-45K BMW 3-series competitor which also allowed supercharging, they’ll do very well. They’ll have to work with suppliers and figure out deep volume discounts and cut out the silly fee-based add-ons that upsell buyers today. Give a good $45K car for $45K and maybe some sort of fair service fee of $200-300/year. Today’s buyers are paying some interesting fees on top of purchase price. Including hefty tire/wheel insurance fees, which are optional but high.


  31. 31
    Cameron Chien

    +8

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Cameron Chien
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:36 pm)

    For all the complaining about the Volt’s price, there are a lot more potential customers at $40k than at $80k.


  32. 32
    James

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:54 pm)

    Gary:
    I did not know that. As nice as the Model S is, between these charging rules, the extended warranties that seem to add only extra years–not miles, Service Plans required to maintain your warranty (a.k.a. extra profit padding) and get “annual inspections”, I find it all rather annoying that I would have to pay thousands of dollars extra after the fact.

    I thought that people with pure electrics claimed that they would be free from extra ongoing maintenance costs?

    Tesla needs to sprout. They’re a budding business in a category where everybody
    else is failing and going under. Tesla knows it needs to ramp up profits, pay off
    it’s loans and get going in the black column to survive, thrive and even conquer the
    big boys in their own game. In that, I can see the philosophy in the “profit padding”.
    I’m no big fan of it, yet neither can I afford a $100,000 or even a $60,000 car. So
    I do believe earlier, wealthier adopters can pay a bit of surplus to have what I
    believe is the best car in the world. I know I’m starting to sound like a Democrat
    re: taxing the rich…etc. etc. …But in this case it makes sense to me BECAUSE OF
    THEIR NEWNESS IN THE INDUSTRY and their clientele.

    If they do survive and succeed, I expect them to make good on their promises
    of an affordable mid-upper-middle class machine. I don’t see Tesla at that point
    charging those folks the same extended maintenance plan charges. If they do,
    they plain just will not survive. So at this point in Tesla’s story I have zero problem
    they folks who pay $100,000+ for the best car ever have to jump through a minor
    hoop or two.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  33. 33
    DonC

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (2:58 pm)

    The question for Tesla is simple. Can they sell enough cars at a price high enough to make a profit? Right now they are selling the $100K+ models which gives them the best margins. However, the number of people able and/or willing to spend that much money on a car is limited. Since this quarter will be the last in which Tesla will have the higher priced models predominate in its mix, Musk will need to figure out a way so this quarter is “profitable”. If he can’t then it’s all over because from a profit perspective it’s downhill from here, though slowing deliveries to the US of lower priced cars in order to ship the higher priced models to Europe can delay judgement day for a while.

    The problem for Musk is that he doesn’t have an exit if Tesla is not profitable. Originally he probably counted on a major manufacturer buying Tesla, for its IP is nothing else. This appears highly unlikely since the lack of customers for pure BEVs (aks Toyota and the RAV4-E) has all the majors avoiding pure EVs and looking at hybrids. Very hard to see a major interested at this point.


  34. 34
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:01 pm)

    I agree with George and Jay re: Supply catching up with demand. Also – what are
    we comparing these two vehicles in the same category for? Just because they
    both have a plug? That’s not prudent thought. Right now, today – there are more
    and more options in cars with a plug at various pricepoints. I’ll liken comparing Volt
    and Model S, to comparing Malibu sales with Mercedes S Class or Porsche Panamera
    sales. Senseless? You bet.

    Volt is a car I aspired to – a bit high, but semi-reasonable for my income level. I’d much
    rather pay $30,000 before tax credit – as $44,000 pushed it a bit for me. Tesla is
    a company I’d aspire TO WORK FOR. When I sold cars in the ’80s, all the guys at work
    couldn’t afford the product they sold. That’d be me with Model S or used Roadster. When
    I was a kid, not being able to afford a Mercedes didn’t stop my admiration for their
    engineering prowess and quality.

    Volt Fifty-Fifty!, ,

    James


  35. 35
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:07 pm)

    Jackson,

    “and predictable incidents could lead to some unfavorable press.”

    An easy prediction, considering that this (the Broder Experience) has already happened. Of course, if Musk had kept his mouth shut, fewer people would have noticed.

    It is possible that this incidenct caused some cancellations.


  36. 36
    James

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:14 pm)

    DonC:
    … Originally he probably counted on a major manufacturer buying Tesla, for its IP is nothing else. This appears highly unlikely since the lack of customers for pure BEVs (aks Toyota and the RAV4-E) has all the majors avoiding pure EVs and looking at hybrids. Very hard to see a major interested at this point.

    I agree with your first point – but on the one I listed above – I don’t. Elon, from the beginning
    has been all about EVs against the world. I don’t think he ever intended to spin
    off Tesla as another PayPal. One reason Tesla is still here and shipping 500 cars out
    per week is due to his inner belief he is changing the world. That passion may not
    have been so strong in companies like Fisker or A123. I am on the plus side, believing
    Tesla will succeed against great odds because of this passion vs. pure intent of profit.

    Volt 50/50 ,

    James


  37. 37
    CaptJackSparrow

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:20 pm)

    DonC: The problem for Musk is that he doesn’t have an exit if Tesla is not profitable.

    who does?
    when GM and Chrysler were not profitable, what did they do?


  38. 38
    CaptJackSparrow

    +2

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    CaptJackSparrow
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:24 pm)

    James: succeed against great odds because of this passion

    that will get him to Mars too!


  39. 39
    James

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (3:34 pm)

    I’d venture to say that if Elon were to sell Tesla to GM, Ford or ? – it would
    be the death knell for all BEVs and likely most PHEVs. To deny Tesla has
    that much influence would be incorrect, IMO. Bob Lutz mentioned Tesla
    as an inspiration for Volt, besides gaining back the bad PR they got from
    EV-1. Toyota and Daimler are directly and indirectly involved with daily
    operations in Fremont, and it’s kind of like, “keep your friends close and
    your enemies closer”. Rivalry is predominant in the auto industry and if
    Tesla has paradigm-shifting technology, companies will try to first defeat
    them in court, second, try to buy them out and quash the technology and
    then finally, reluctantly spend the money to try and compete.

    I don’t for one moment believe Musk is trying to build rockets to sell the
    company for a profit. Neither do I believe he is attempting to stick it to the
    big auto companies just to sell out to them. If I’m wrong, and he does -
    so will go the BEV, PHEV industry. Tesla’s the carrot the others are running
    after. If Tesla fails, and conservatives gain political advantage, EVs are gone
    gone gone. Tesla really is showing the way – and partly because of the
    Roadster – we all got Volt. LEAF is surviving on a thread and it alone does
    not an EV market make.

    We see lots more cars with plugs today – but that doesn’t mean we’re out of
    the woods. The EV-PHEV industry is in it’s infancy and the baby isn’t out of
    the incubator just yet. Talk to me in five years.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  40. 40
    DonC

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    DonC
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (4:17 pm)

    James: Elon, from the beginning
    has been all about EVs against the world. I don’t think he ever intended to spin
    off Tesla as another PayPal. One reason Tesla is still here and shipping 500 cars out
    per week is due to his inner belief he is changing the world.

    I think you’re totally misreading his personality. Elon is all about Elon, and that means being about the “Next Big Thing”. I can’t see him running Tesla for any extended period of time. But in some sense this doesn’t matter. If Tesla doesn’t work as a stand alone it’s not going to be rescued by a major with a bag full of money.

    CaptJackSparrow: when GM and Chrysler were not profitable, what did they do?

    I’m assuming this is not a serious question. GM and Chrysler were the exceptions that proved the rule. If Tesla isn’t profitable it will go away like many other companies. There won’t be a government bailout.


  41. 41
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (5:04 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: that will get him to Mars too!

    Unlikely. But to me, taking sales away from premium luxury carmakers – and even
    Cadillac ( L :) L ) is a Mars shot! David vs. Goliath. I have to believe Elon Musk is
    the same. I’m not sure what Don C is basing his suspicions of the man on. He sold
    PayPal – so what? He stated that was his plan all along – to get his feet wet in
    the IT biz. Without PayPal there would be no Space-X or Tesla. He’s made no
    hint that he’s in it for the short term. One thing I know about industrialists – and
    the American history thereof – they like to prove a point – that they are right.
    There’s a decent amount of ego in building the electric car. There’s even more
    to prove in showing the “green haters” that sustainable energy industries can
    prosper and conquer. There are huge opportunities and gigantic challenges in
    the industries Elon has chosen: Space, EVs and solar. He’s the kind of guy who
    basks in challenge and his ego is large enough to prove to the world he can
    succeed in those controversial, new-era industries.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


  42. 42
    James

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    James
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (5:08 pm)

    DonC: I think you’re totally misreading his personality. Elon is all about Elon, and that means being about the “Next Big Thing”. I can’t see him running Tesla for any extended period of time. But in some sense this doesn’t matter. If Tesla doesn’t work as a stand alone it’s not going to be rescued by a major with a bag full of money.

    Could the New York Times be influencing your sourness on Elon?

    Remember, I’ve noted the NYT is the media outlet for the affluent
    “progressive”. Broder brought out the worst in the NYT as they don’t
    know what to do with Musk. He’s green – which would mean he’d be
    up their liberal alley,but he’s rich and has taken federal loans, which
    would demonize him in their editorial eye. More than anything they’ve
    shared DonC’s attitude, and I’m not sure he’s done ANYTHING to merit
    such skepticism.

    RECHARGE ! ,

    James


  43. 43
    Loboc

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Loboc
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    James: Tesla’s the carrot the others are running
    after.

    This may have had influence in the early days like 1990 to 2005.

    I seriously doubt that everyone will drop their EV programs if Tesla fails. Heck, they haven’t dropped their fuel-cell programs and nobody even sells them yet!

    All these car makers have got to keep up with new technology to compete. If someone is into fuel cells, they all have to take a look at them. If someone starts selling compressed-air cars, they all have to take a look. (Two technologies that I don’t believe will ever compete with EVs.)

    Look at electronic ignition, computer controls, fuel injection, electric steering assist, anti-lock brakes, traction control and all the other advances across the industry in the last 10-30 years. These were all rolled out to high-end vehicles and then rolled to the fleet later.


  44. 44
    Charlie H

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Charlie H
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (5:56 pm)

    James,

    Oh, please. The NYT has had plenty of favorable coverage of SpaceX and Tesla. However, as Jackson noted earlier, an EV is bound to run out of juice at some point and then an EV is a d*mned nuisance to deal with (nobody can bring you 100 miles of range in a five-gallon can).

    Broder ran into the perfect storm for the Tesla:
    - Not a particularly good briefing on the Tesla (there’s no indication Broder has ever driven an EV before) and nobody told him about the Max Range option.
    - Bad advice from Tesla people.
    - Chargers situated near range limit.
    - Over-confidence on Tesla’s part.
    - Extreme cold.
    - (probably) Lack of patience on Broder’s part (two hours spent charging on a 5 hour drive would be more than enough for me) combined with the strong desire to be someplace particular at a particular time.
    - Ill-founded trust in the “Range to Empty” number on the dash (“Plenty” when the car was parked vs “Not Nearly Enough!” first thing in the morning)
    - More bad advice from Tesla people.

    However, if you’d prefer, I’m sure you can continue to believe the NYT has some sort of anti-Musk/anti-Tesla/anti-EV slant and go read the Washington Times or watch Faux News to get a much more realistic and honest news brief on the world of EVs.

    Good luck with that.


  45. 45
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (6:05 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow: that will get him to Mars too!

    Shit you beat me to it!!


  46. 46
    George S. Bower

    -1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (6:21 pm)

    James :D onC, Could the New York Times be influencing your sourness on Elon?

    NYT’s position on the Tesla S is almost as confusing as prominent Republicans trying to put a squash on Elon’s Space X project to provide tax payers w/ a more cost efficient space vehicle delivery system via private enterprise.


  47. 47
    rdunniii

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    rdunniii
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (6:27 pm)

    People with the 60Kw battery pay $2K for the supercharger hardware in the car. They do not pay to use the Superchargers. Initially the 60Kw battery cars were not going to be able to use the superchargers at all.


  48. 48
    stuart22

    +4

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (7:56 pm)

    Tesla is in the process of gaining that holy grail of the automobile business – a lofty, iconic type of status where people will be dreaming to have the honor of owning one because it is a statement that whoever is at the wheel is one badass dude, however anybody defines the term.

    That they have accomplished this with their first mainstream car (the roadster was a fringe-mobile) at premium price levels has put them in a position to not only survive, but to become a respected world-class automobile company whose products are among the most desired automobiles one can buy.

    Right now, they are cutting edge in everything they do. If I were running the company, I would continue milking the upper echelon of the market and not go too fast in appealing to the broader masses at least in terms of cheaper priced models. Stay with products that the mass market dreams about, and the top 2%ers fight over to obtain. Don’t push it – keep things rolling and take the time to come up with the right kind of products that will appeal to that broader market.


  49. 49
    George S. Bower

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:05 pm)

    stuart22:

    Right now, they are cutting edge in everything they do.If I were running the company, I would continue milking the upper echelon of the market and not go too fast in appealing to the broader masses at least in terms of cheaper priced models.Stay with products that the mass market dreams about, and the top 2%ers fight over to obtain.Don’t push it – keep things rolling and take the time to come up with the right kind of products that will appeal to that broader market.

    Well they need to expand somewhere cuz I think we will see model S sales steady out at around 600/ mo. next step is Model X.

    …but is it the proper way to go?

    After all it still pushes 100K with AWD and 85 kwh of pack.

    Maybe they should offer a Tesla Twizzy?


  50. 50
    George S. Bower

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    George S. Bower
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:27 pm)

    CaptJackSparrow:
    You guys might neg me to death on this buttt……

    If Tesla isn’t allowed to sell their cars freely in certain states because of NADA that argue it’s unfair, then why the hell should they bother giving actual sales info?!?!?!?
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-23/dealer-group-leaving-tesla-retail-challenge-to-states

    As far as i’m concerned, Tesla should line the borders of each of those states with sales lots in other states and say screw you NADA!

    /nobody likes going to a dealer lot to get stalked by a Shark……

    Capt’n Jack goes green!


  51. 51
    steve

    +3

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    steve
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (8:42 pm)

    Jim I:

    There were initially over 50,000 people that said they wanted a Volt.Not all of them bought.

    How sales will go after the initial buyers have purchased is the real question………..

    And the estimated price was initially was about $25k, how many would have purchased if that price point was realized?


  52. 52
    Koz

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Koz
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:10 pm)

    Noel Park: #9

    That’s how I see it too.+1

    My mother always told us “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.So good luck to Tesla, but I’m from Missouri.

    Jay’s pretty good at that stuff but there just isn’t visibility to enough data to know a whole lot and there is no data for how the take rate will be once there more of the Model S on the streets and Tesla has more of a track record. There are plenty of cars sold in the Model S’ price range and the Model S is superior to them on many counts but it does have its limitations too.


  53. 53
    smithjim1961

    +6

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    smithjim1961
     Says

     

    Mar 25th, 2013 (10:26 pm)

    It’s been more than two generations since an automotive start-up company has reached this level of production in the United States. This is a BIG news!


  54. 54
    stuart22

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    stuart22
     Says

     

    Mar 26th, 2013 (12:20 am)

    George S. Bower: Well they need to expand somewhere…. next step is Model X.

    …but is it the proper way to go?

    After all it still pushes 100K with AWD and 85 kwh of pack.

    What do you mean by ‘proper’? Tesla is a business fighting to survive in a cutthroat industry that takes no prisoners. They need to make profits the best way they can so they can get out from underneath the weight of debt atop them. That their Model S has become such a hot commodity with all its great media reviews and awards, and the giant-killing legend it has built for itself, they need to continue aiming high and ride the wave they are on for as long as they can.

    If the Model X is as good against its competition as the Model S is against its own, keep the prices high – it’s in their own best interest to keep things rolling along in the stratosphere they’ve ended up in.

    The irony is, Tesla’s success operating at the ultra high end of the spectrum will help spark widespread interest in EVs of all stripes. The Model S is helping to open people’s eyes to the great qualities of EVs — the fabulous performance and comfort and low daily cost; how great freedom from oil feels. Maybe most people can’t afford a Tesla, but it serves to influence them to consider one of the growing number of mainstream EV/EREVs available.


  55. 55
    pat

    +1

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    pat
     Says

     

    Mar 26th, 2013 (2:42 am)

    Tesla and others should open charging stations at critical locations around say Starbucks, chains along interstate highways, shopping malls so folks can gab something to eat/drink/rest/walk and do window shopping while car is being charged.. unlike going to a gas station which charge exorbitant prices for nick/knacks etc


  56. 56
    Jim I

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Jim I
     Says

     

    Mar 26th, 2013 (11:21 am)

    steve: And the estimated price was initially was about $25k, how many would have purchased if that price point was realized?

    The price on the Tesla has also increased, and now there are required maintenance fees.

    Doesn’t seem much different than what happened at GM.

    And let’s not forget that when Lutz made that price announcement, GM had no intention of building the Volt. So they had no idea what it would really cost………..

    Real figures came after all the design and engineering were completed.

    JMHO

    C-5277


  57. 57
    Franklyn Vilhauer

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Franklyn Vilhauer
     Says

     

    Apr 9th, 2013 (11:42 pm)

    Great blog here! Also your web site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol


  58. 58
    Joseph Wallace

     

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    Joseph Wallace
     Says

     

    Apr 18th, 2013 (10:32 am)

    vdiv,

    Obviously everyone wants better of anything, but looking at the positives, the Volt and the Tesla are the best 2 cars on the road. The Volt needs a sportier look, maybe slightly longer. Besides that, the interior of the Volt is unmatched in high tech info available and constantly displaying. It is like having over 20 gauges showing. These cars also drive better than ANY gas car. The electric steering is awesome. The sweet sound of the electric motor that you cannot hear until you purposefully try to hear it, is really nice. Sitting in traffic with no vibration of a motor running or sound is nice. Love my Volt. Wouldn’t mind my 2nd car being a Tesla.