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Thread: Tesla's new offering

  1. #1
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    Tesla's new offering

    Tesla's new sedan will make or break the company


    It's a make or break moment for electric-car maker Tesla Motors.
    Tesla has lost nearly $1 billion selling high-end electric sports cars to the likes of George Clooney. Now it's going to attempt to sell them to the rest of us and try to make money doing so.
    [COLOR]The company's first mass-market, five-seat sedan will be delivered Friday. The car, called the Model S, will either propel the company to profitability or leave it sputtering on the fumes of a $465 million government loan.
    [/COLOR]
    "The Model S is the going to be the first true mass market product experiment for Tesla, one they cannot afford to fail," says Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at car buying site TrueCar.com.

    Tesla, the brainchild of PayPal billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, has always been a moon shot. Analysts and auto industry insiders scoffed at the idea that a new car company could be created from scratch and built in a high-cost state like California. Boardroom turmoil and a string of technical problems repeatedly delayed the launch of the company's only car, the $109,000 two
    gasoline engine that kicks in as a backup, as there is in the electric Chevrolet Volt.

    Tesla is trying to ease worries about range by throwing in three kinds of chargers for home and public use and planning a network of fast chargers at highway exits. Buyers can upgrade to a battery with an industry-best 300 miles of range. The base model can go for 160 miles on one charge.

    The company's retail strategy is also untested. Its 14 U.S. stores have a tiny presence compared with Lexus' 230. When Roadsters need repairs, Tesla deploys technicians to the owners' house. It will be far more expensive to do that if Tesla sells as many Model S sedans as it hopes. The company's plans for servicing the cars are hazy. Musk said recently that Tesla simply wants to make cars that don't need servicing.

    "We want every aspect of that car to be as perfect as possible," he said.

    For investors, the Model S will test whether the company is built for endurance or a quick test drive. So far, the company's glamorous founder and its sculpture-like cars have generated enough buzz to keep the stock hot. Its price has nearly doubled from its initial public offering level of $17 a share two years ago.

    Tesla's current stock price of $32 assumes achievements the company has yet to accomplish, says Carter Driscoll, who researches clean energy companies for Capstone Investments. The company has lost $759 million since it was founded in 2003 and has never made a profit. It survives, in part, on its loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. It also sells electric drive systems to Toyota and Daimler AG.

    "It's sexy," says Driscoll. "People want to believe in it. But there are so many what ifs, ands or buts."

    Tesla Roadster.

    Tesla survived by creating something so unique that the price tag was almost irrelevant: A beautiful car that could tear up a race track without burning a single drop of gasoline. Celebrities flocked to it, giving Tesla a cache that an established brand like Cadillac could only dream of.

    Now Tesla must do something much more difficult. It has to convince more traditional car customers to buy an expensive vehicle with limited range from a small, untested company.

    The Model S carries a starting price of $49,900 after a federal tax credit about the same as a Lexus RX hybrid crossover. Models top out at $101,550, or about the same as a hybrid Fisker Karma sports car.

    A car that's half the price of the Roadster lets Tesla break into a bigger market, but those customers will take a hard look at the value they are getting. This isn't a trophy car to park on Rodeo Drive. It's a sedan for hauling kids and groceries.

    The high price will limit sales, says Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive. She doubts Tesla will reach its goal of selling 20,000 Model S sedans in 2013. Nissan has sold just under 30,000 all-electric Nissan Leaf sedans since they went on sale at the end of 2010. But the Leaf is little more than half the price of a Model S.

    Still, the Model S already has broader appeal than the Roadster. Tesla says more than 10,000 people have put down a refundable deposit for the sedan, and it expects to sell 5,000 this year. The Roadster has sold just 2,150 since 2008

    But if you're a believer, all you have to do is point out Musk's latest accomplishment: Last month, his SpaceX venture became the first private company to send a cargo rocket to the International Space station. Edit H - Who paid for that?

    Moon shots can work.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else object to using the name of Nicola Tesla on this turd hunt?
    Deo Vindice

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  2. #2
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    NASA was a literal moon shot, and it sure as sh!t didn't make any money.

    Govt subsidization of a good idea in the national interest is not always evil.

  3. #3
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    On an unrelated note - kinda - I saw a Fisker Karma about a month ago on the highway. It was flying and it looked and sounded awesome...

  4. #4
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    BTW, the loan provided by the DOE was to convert a former toyota plant into a facility to build the new car. Guess what, they put that loan to the desired use and built the plant. Car & Driver seems to like the car, based on their very early review. If it pan out great. If not, let's hope the technology is good enough to find its way to other car companies.

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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    Quote Originally Posted by Orgcrush View Post
    NASA was a literal moon shot, and it sure as sh!t didn't make any money.

    Govt subsidization of a good idea in the national interest is not always evil.
    Make sure you skim over the salient points.
    Deo Vindice

    "Put a federal agency in charge of the Sahara Desert and it will run out of sand".

    Peggy Noonan


    "One idiot is an idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party."

    Franz Kafka

    I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted. W.C. Fields



  6. #6
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawg in Dallas View Post
    BTW, the loan provided by the DOE was to convert a former toyota plant into a facility to build the new car. Guess what, they put that loan to the desired use and built the plant. Car & Driver seems to like the car, based on their very early review. If it pan out great. If not, let's hope the technology is good enough to find its way to other car companies.
    Car and driver liked the Countach. So did I. That doesn't mean it can be mass prouduced.
    Deo Vindice

    "Put a federal agency in charge of the Sahara Desert and it will run out of sand".

    Peggy Noonan


    "One idiot is an idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party."

    Franz Kafka

    I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted. W.C. Fields



  7. #7
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    I just want to know how they got the rights to use Tesla's name. Tesla was awesome. When I think of electric cars, I think "not awesome".

  8. #8
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    Looks sharp:



    Herchel, I am not sure it can be mass produced either, but it is a relatively small investment. They claim they will begin paying back the loan by end of year.

    Ford also took advantage of this loan program for a much larger loan.

    If the technology pans out - even if not in their car, then would you still consider it a waste?

  9. #9
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    Surely there are better ways to improve battery technology than to pay people to buy electric cars.

    As an environmentalist, I find it disappointing that tax dollars are used to subsidize cars that potentially pollute worse than your typical car.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Tesla's new offering

    Quote Originally Posted by Herchel View Post
    Make sure you skim over the salient points.
    You and "salient points" do not mix. I've yet to see you make one, unless you're bragging about your civil war ancestors.

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