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Is Tesla A Game Changer?

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  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    edited August 2013
    Interesting idea. If nothing else, more EVs in New York City might cut down on the incredible noise level in that city. I hope they do a better job of execution than they did with the CityBike program. The bike kiosks are ugly and utterly destroy the look of some of NYCs prettier streets. (Not that you go to NY for beauty, but...)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    Consumers Report says it's the best. The Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's the safest. It's environmentally friendly and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. It's got great performance. Plus, it's also elegant and beautiful. Gosh, why would any luxury car buyer even consider anything other than a Model S?
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    "Gosh, why would any luxury car buyer even consider anything other than a Model S?"

    Because it'll probably get stranded in an inch of snow? It also has a very minimalist interior, not as striking or as posh as a BMW, Audi, Lexus or Merc... Lastly, there is that nasty dispute between Tesla and the Dealers union which is doing everything it can to make buying a Tesla as difficult as possible...

    Or am I missing a bit of sarcasm with your post?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited August 2013
    Yeah, there's some sarcasm in my post. After all the accolades by what are generally regarded as reliable sources, I'm waiting for someone to claim that the Model S can also slice bread. Kidding aside, I'm a little conflicted regarding Tesla, the car, the company and Elon Musk, and whether or not they're game changers. I remain skeptical.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    Still needs a lot more range, and less subsidy for people who have already made out like bandits over the past decade.

    Cool to see though, a company led by an innovator who is all about the product, vs ones with endless scores of useless execs and middle managers who can only think about costs and stocks.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    Join the crowd. Lots of people are on the fence about Elon and his "Visions", just like people are on the fence about how Tesla continues to make a name for itself in an overly crowded market. But quality and safety are key values that others like myself find very valuable, now lets see how it holds up over the long haul.

    Toyota has millions of Prius on the roads and many with crazy mileages and few issues over the years. But that is after 15 years of history and reputation. Heck, look at Fisker, pretty much dead... For Tesla, the model S is brand new, the model X isn't even here yet. Still got a ways to go...

    Me, I'm still kicking myself for talking the wife out of buying shares in Tesla when it was trading in the 40 dollar range...

    At the moment it's got a "1" in front of that number. :(
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    Although I'm generally not a fan of subsidies, I can accept them for certain applications if there's an end point. My friend who owns a Model S certainly doesn't need the subsidy. Interestingly, he usually drives mass market cars. The test drive sold him on the S, however. I've ridden in it, and it's impressive and interesting, but it didn't ignite the "gotta have it" spark for me. I'd choose something like your E-Class over the Model S.

    I agree completely with your second paragraph.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,907
    I don't know if subsidizing cars for those who don't need the subsidy is a good use of funds. I can take it for cars that cost less than 40K or so.

    I'd pick my car simply because it costs nearly half as much, has a lease aided by the maker, and has potential for ~800 mile range. It's not as cool, but also more affordable, and for now, practical. Not really apples to apples with a Tesla though - the Tesla is its own thing. More interesting than a mid lux car, not a barge like a large lux car.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    Yeah, I lament not having bought the stock much more than the car. At this level I think the stock factors in perfection, which usually doesn't happen, so I wouldn't touch it.

    Since the Tesla has far fewer moving parts than internal combustion engine cars, I expect it to be reliable. I could be tempted by the 3-Series competitor that Tesla plans to introduce around 2016.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    edited August 2013
    The Tesla reminds me of the Tucker--it was a sensation, and a great performer, but not a game changer at all. Big American sedans never went to rear engine, nor did they abandon conventional automatic transmissions, nor did they even adapt a "pop out" windshield or the "safety zone" under the dash that you were supposed to dive into in case of a collision (LOL!). Moreover, the Tucker had plenty of quirks to work out.

    But Tucker himself was a great showman, that's for sure.

    Musk does not seem to share Tucker's arrogance or talent for making enemies, however.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    Yes, Tucker made enemies, but I wonder how much was due to his character and demeanor rather than the Big 3s' dislike of innovation and innovators. I'm wondering whether Tucker was vilified by Detroit executives who feared that he was a disruptor, in a time when the major domestic manufacturers were much more dominant than they are today. The fact that Toyota and Mercedes invested in Tesla enhances Tesla's standing and credibility in automotive circles. Would Musk be suffering a similar fate as Tucker if Detroit still ruled?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    edited August 2013
    I don't think so. Tucker was small potatoes to Detroit, hardly a blip on the radar. That's like saying Carroll Shelby (low tech) was shut down by Porsche (high tech). Makes no sense.

    Tucker antagonized the Big Three, then ridiculed them, and he started annoying some very powerful people in Washington with his provocative big mouth.

    Tucker's worst enemy was only himself. The little mouse can only pull the tiger's tail so many times.

    Telsa is cutting edge hi-tech. Tucker's *dreams* were innovative but not his actual cars.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,937
    edited August 2013
    How many cars did Tucker actually make? Fifty odd? Elon probably crash tested that many.

    The CBS This Morning camera crew came to the 3rd floor at Edmunds today to speak to Jessica Caldwell for a feature due to air tomorrow morning about Elon Musk and Tesla. Film at, I dunno, 7?
  • He built 51 cars, Tucker did.

    By "normal" automaker standards, Musk is a very small player. And to some, he's cheating at cards. Between tax breaks for each car and the emissions credits, it's pretty clear that the company can only make money at this point by living off taxpayers and other automakers.

    And at $80K a pop, vast increases in sales aren't that likely.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,059
    edited August 2013
    And at $80K a pop, vast increases in sales aren't that likely.

    According to a Tesla sales manager, they expect prices to drop to the $40K range in a year or two.

    By the way, I posted this on another thread but I just wanted to share my experience with the Tesla acolytes and skeptics.

    Last Friday, I spent about an hour at the Tesla showroom in Natick, Massachusetts (the Natick Mall). I must say it was a pleasant experience. There was only one Model S on display as well as the bottom frame and skeleton of a second car displaying the battery pack, suspension system, and electric motor, etc.

    Our host, an electrical engineer, explained every facet of the car from the tires to the onboard electronics. Oops, I forgot to ask if one has to be an engineer to sell these cars. Nonetheless, until recently they could only show the car but now they have a license to sell cars in Massachusetts, completely bypassing a dealer network.

    And that makes sense as the car does not require routine maintenance as is common with cars with an internal combustion engine. He said, if the car is damaged in an accident, they have an arrangement with Audi to do repairs since Audi is highly skilled with working on aluminum frame vehicles.

    To say I was impressed would be an understatement because the Tesla Model S is perfect in every way--just the right size and feel. Too bad there were no cars available for a test drive.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,159
    Wow, that's the first I heard of Audi doing repairs. That's pretty cool IMO. Never owned an Audi but I can see why they would be called upon, they know their stuff (if it's a bit overly-complex).

    I visited that place in Natick about a year ago. Sure, it seems kinda tacky (to me) to have a dealership in a mall but it was pretty neat to be able to check the car, see how the thing actually works, browse the options, etc all without any sales pressure at all.

    I'm looking forward to the Model X myself. My wife loves the idea of electric cars and to have the utility and the bonus of AWD is a huge plus for us.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,637
    edited August 2013
    "According to a Tesla sales manager, they expect prices to drop to the $40K range in a year or two."

    That's simply not possible unless they offer a) a vehicle other than the S model and b) this model has a much shorter range OR c) there is a startling breakthrough in battery technology that nobody right now knows about.

    If the Tesla plan is B (shorter range so as to cut production costs), then they should look first to the fate of the Nissan Leaf.

    EVs with 75 mile range don't sell.
  • jpp5862jpp5862 NCPosts: 297
    We stopped there on vacation over Memorial Day and actually got to do a test drive. Very impressive, but definitely a price premium. Like fintail if I had the money I'd get one for an around town car, but it's a bit of a stretch right now.

    Musk has the vision to bring a smaller car to market in 3 years or so at a better price point, will be interesting to see if it happens.
  • He'll have to cut the range, though. Batteries are mighty expensive, so the more you put in the car, the more it's going to cost you to build it.
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