Well, too bad. You only get a teaser. Still, the bits of wheels and headlights peeking through the tantalizing cover hint at sleekness and style. If it is cut from the same cloth as the Roadster, we can be pretty sure it will look good. The bigger question is – will Tesla be around long enough for us to see it?
Have no fear, says CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is doing just fine. He says the company expects to have a prototype of the Model S ready by March, the company will start turning a profit on the Roadster in mid-2009, and production of the Model S can proceed in 2011.
It also looks like Tesla will receive about $350 million from the DOE. Although the request has not passed the last stage of approval, if they are able to seal the deal the cash will start coming in over the next couple months. That, combined with an additional $40 million from investors, should be enough to keep things going on schedule. It looks like they are going to make it.
My question is – do they deserve it? I have nothing against the Tesla Roadster – it is the poster child of electric vehicles. The Roadster’s performance is enough to silence anyone who questions whether an EV can deliver a solid drive. It’s a fantastic car. The only problem is that Tesla keeps draining cash out of its customers to keep the business afloat – they raise the price (which is now over six figures), start charging more for features that originally came standard, and keep asking more from investors. And yet there is still a waiting list for Roadsters through November.
So should Tesla really be getting $350 million in DOE money? Until the Model S comes out, they are simply building toys for the rich, not the average American. And the Model S itself is supposed to be half the price of the Roadster, so what does that mean - $50,000? Now you’re talking about a car for the upper-upper-middle class, but still far beyond the means of the average American.
One thing, it seems, that the DOE likes about Tesla is the fact that they build good electric drivetrains, and are in the process of building them for other auto manufacturers, like Daimler. If Tesla can help other EV manufacturers make better cars, I’m all for it. Maybe the $350 million should go primarily into ramping up that process. I just would like some reassurance that DOE money is going towards the greater good, and not just bailing out a luxury car company which already has plenty of eager customers.
Via Treehugger, Earth2Tech, AP
written by Roy, February 12, 2009
written by Roy, February 13, 2009
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