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Is Tesla A Game Changer?



  • Skeptics will note that no hybrid or EV has proven cost effective for consumers. In other words, "it costs more money to save money, than the money you save".

    Tesla is playing a pretty dangerous game if you ask me, doing some things which could blow up right in their face. They are really counting on the luxury car market, which has vicious competition, and they may run afoul of state franchising laws as well.

    Perhaps that's what it takes to break the mold---again, we'll see.
  • it's a nice car. It's a good car. And in automotive history, many nice, good, technically advanced cars go bankrupt. Can you say "Tucker"? "Maybach?" "Packard"?

    What it needs to do is meet enough consumers needs, and be a good enough value, to be considered a "marketable" commodity.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    Impressive, looked like no structural issues at all. Now to let it stand without subsidy.
  • I see Tesla challenge as one of producing vehicles in enough volume to make a profit. This Model S, which with the extra battery power can break the $80,000 mark, can't be marketed as a "gas saver" obviously. So right now, it appeals to people who really like and want geeky new gadgets---the "cutting edge" folks.

    This doesn't strike me as the same scenario as Apple operates in--Apple also sells very slick and high-priced gadgets that people love---but Apple has a long history of profitability and a wide diversity of product to fit a variety of pocketbooks. Tesla has neither right now.

    One might say "Well, no one needs a Porsche either"...and that's true. But Porsche is also selling you "heritage", "prestige" and outstanding performance, to say nothing of a very exciting driving experience.

    I see Porsche/Ferrari clientele as different from Tesla clientele.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    I agree with your comments about Tesla, but take some exception with heritage. Heritage comes with time. it's the icing on the cake. Porsche, the car, had no heritage in the first years of production. If Tesla succeeds, heritage will follow over time. In the meantime the absence of heritage may even be a plus for some early Tesla adopters.
  • Everyday I see at least 3 Tesla Model S in the SF bay area. For $70K I'd choose the Tesla over a BMW or Mercedes. It wouldn't surprise me if Tesla stock hit $200.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    To be fair, Porsche the man did have quite a history,and I am sure that helped at least a few sales.

    But that's a good point, the "new kid" might attract some just on that ideal, not wanting to be seen as stuffy old tradition (even if they represent it in every other way).
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    edited August 2013
    Well not racing heritage--it'll never have that---and unfortunately, Musk is not a good name for a car :). The name Tesla is sort of a mystery to most people. Tesla was pretty mentally ill anyway, so not really a name one might want to hype too much beyond the urban legends that abound about him.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    Indeed, Ferry Porsche was a very talented and innovative engineer, while Elon Musk's talents seem more difficult to define, to me at least. Musk's penchant for promotion makes it more difficult to separate the reality from the hype than automotive legends like Porsche, Enzo Ferrari, or even Henry Ford.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    If the Tesla X SUV and the entry luxury Gen 3 are rated as highly as the S, for their respective categories, and they sell well, consumers will associate the Tesla name with the cars rather than the eccentric, if interesting, Nicola Tesla. Or, maybe the marketing and PR geniuses will engage in a little revisionist history, by hyping Nicola's genius and polishing his rough edges.

    Most people buy the product's attributes, and don't research the genesis of the brand's name.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Tesla was a great scientist who discovered the alternating current (AC) system that is the basis for all modern electricity. Rather appropriate for an electric car, certainly better than "Leaf".
  • Actually he didn't discover AC current but he figured out practical applications for it. Most definitely a genius but not so marketable as say "Enzo Ferrari" or Dr. Porsche.

    I know some may scoff, but when some people buy a Ferrari or Porsche, they feel like they are not only joining a club, but that some of this heritage now belongs to them.

    Not that I'm arguing that you NEED this heritage to succeed. I mean, look at Lexus. No heritage and the name is meaningless, and they stole a good chunk of Mercedes' market in short order, right out of the gate.

    What Lexus presented to buyers was not only a car of equal quality to the competition, and superior reliability, but at a much lower price.

    You can't beat THAT for marketing power.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 882
    Regarding Tesla,you are right; I didn't word that correctly. And most car names are pretty meaningless. I dont drive an Accord because I feel peaceful. I just meant that in this case the name actually is appropriate for the car.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    Yeah, and some brand names, such as BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke), Fiat (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) and GM are just acronyms.

    Some surnames would sound odd as auto brands, but Tesla is easy to pronounce and flows well, to me.

    I'm wondering to what extent the fact that Teslas are designed and built in the U.S., and in Silicon Valley, in particular, appeals to early adopter type buyers?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    edited August 2013
    Definitely the source of manufacture appeals to early adapters. That's a good point.

    California has a reputation, deserved or not, as the place where "new things" happen.

    A Tesla S is a very attractive "toy" if you will, offering a new experience and the prestige of being "first on the block".

    What it isn't, is a common sense way of saving money on gas.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,059
    edited August 2013
    "What it isn't, is a common sense way of saving money on gas."

    Tesla is the future of the automobile. It represents a paradigm shift from the internal combustion engine. Like all new products the cost of entry is high because of the need for a company to recover its research and development costs before competitors enter the market. (Does the PC, fax machine, HDTV come to mind?)

    Consumers always want the latest and greatest technology and they don't mind paying for that privilege. While some sit on the sidelines waiting for the stock to tank, others on the other hand are making a fortune in share price appreciation.

    The name Tesla Motors is nice way to pay homage to the great genius Nicoli Tesla. Although Thomas Edison treated him badly he still emerged with a more effective and practical method of transmitting electricity over great distances. Not unlike what Musk has done today--to extend the range of the electric car.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    edited August 2013
    Did the Tesla company write that? Seems like it.

    Whenever I see the words "paradigm shift" I know the BS machine is being refueled (or plugged in, as the case may be).

    True enough though, some people will make money on Tesla stock and some will lose money on it. Welcome to the stock market.

    and now, for some reality:

    The battery technology to create a "paradigm shift" doesn't even exist yet, nor is it in the hopper. It is probably a good 10-15 years away.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,909
    Indeed, I could probably stretch my way into a Tesla (might have to live on water and ramen noodles, or start a fake business to write it off), but right now, no thanks - I take road trips now and then, and the range doesn't work, not to mention the lack of residential charging infrastructure. When we can have a battery that is good for ~500 miles of highway driving and charges in a half hour, then I'll be pleased.

    That being said, I admire the idea and the style. If I was wealthy enough to have one as an in-town or commuter car, and had a place to charge it, I'd be looking.
  • I wouldn't mind one as a second car for local use.

    I think the best way to envision a Tesla S right now is to picture it as a Lexus with an 8 gallon gas tank.
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