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Is Tesla A Game Changer?

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,419
    edited October 2013
    The driver, besides being an owner, is an investor in Tesla.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    I saw his letter, yeah. Of course he'll want the bubble to carry on.

    What I am thinking is that if this was such a big piece of debris, why didn't the "driver" avoid it? Phone in hand, maybe (high end car with standard bluetooth, inept overmonied type behind the wheel, etc - I see the guy is from Bellevue, I see it every day)

    Musk has also issued a statement Which is kind of amusing, kind of like the wacky cost of ownership claims. Comparing fire probablity for the vehicle fleet in general vs his car. I'd assume most non-Italian cars that catch fire are old, poorly maintained, and unsafe anyway. To compare those to a brand new expensive car with not a lot of time or miles under its belt is a bit sketchy.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    I read a while back that Tesla contracts repair work with Audi since they felt they were the most advanced as far as structural engineering and exotic materials go.

    Thought I read that here on Edmunds actually...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    Could be true for collision work, since the Audi A8 is an all aluminum frame.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited October 2013
    Well, it's pretty easy to predict that at a price of $75,995 the Cadillac Volt ELR won't be a game changer.

    One of the big tail winds the Model S has going for it is that it doesn't have even one direct competitor.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Posts: 4,175
    http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/24/tesla-reportedly-poaches-apple-vp-of-product-de- sign-doug-field-to-lead-new-vehicle-development/

    Field says that he had never seriously considered leaving Apple. He began his career as a development engineer at Ford but says that he left the auto industry in “search of fast-paced, exciting engineering challenges elsewhere.”

    Certainly picked the right company IMO...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    time will tell....automobiles don't scale up like iPad minis.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,215
    Certainly picked the right company IMO...

    Things are falling into place for Tesla as "California, New York and six other states said they would work jointly to adopt a range of measures to make it easier to own an electric car."
    Read full NY Times article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/25/business/energy-environment/coalition-of-state- s-seeks-to-spur-use-of-electric-cars.html?ref=automobiles
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    Here we go again; governments picking winners and losers. Buyers aren't embracing electric cars, so our elected officials bribe consumers with money and perks to buy them, using your money and mine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    I'd rather they put all that money into bike lanes actually. This "feel good" marketing is getting tedious.

    Americans want Apple products. Americans do not apparently want electric cars, and are not prying off dealership doors to get at diesels either.

    What's the point? MAKE THEM want it?

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    Put all that money into real world infrastructure improvements (not just to help my local bicyclists who want all the rights and none of the responsibilities) rather than helping the expensive toy car of people who have benefited most from a generation of questionable economic policy.

    Maybe some powers that be have speculated in the stock, and this is a way to keep the bubble afloat.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    the benefits of bicycles lanes don't even need the input or attitude of the bicyclist---each bike is one less car on the road, which is the whole point. Think of a bike as a parking space reserved for you :)

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    You do need the cooperation of the bicyclist though, to obey traffic rules, stay in his lane, etc. That's where the rights vs responsibilities come in to play. I'm still waiting to be hit by one while I am jogging, so he can buy me a new house ;)

    Often when I see a bicyclist, it is a smarmy middle aged lawyer type in ridiculous gear, probably out on paid time, heading back to his toy car that everyone else subsidized.

    Still more of a recreational activity rather than a commuting option for the masses in my area anyway, which has cold rain for half the year. When it's 40F and pouring in December and the destination is 10 miles away, it just doesn't work.

    A topic for a different thread, I think. This one is to admire the stock bubble ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    I think my point was at least trying to be on-topic---that if the EV driver can feel environmentally smug about his choice, why not the bicyclist about his?

    It seems people buy "lifestyles", they don't crunch the numbers to see what actually makes sense.

    Tesla isn't a game changer because it's still the same game they're playing. You can wear any jersey you want but it's still 4 downs and 100 yards.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    Oh, no doubt there's as much smug in the typical bicycle commuter as there is in the typical Prius or EV driver. More aggression, too. I don't know how much either are justified.

    I took a number of ~300 mile drives last week in an efficient car that didn't require subsidies. When the Tesla gets there, maybe the game will change.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    Unlike bad car drivers though, aggressive bicyclists have a self-cancelling feature.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    Happens to some bad car drivers too.

    On that note, I bet the Tesla will rack up casualty numbers far lower than the vehicle fleet in general - as cars in its price range tend to do.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    While I haven't seen any numbers, my guess is that the average Tesla will be driven fewer miles per year than the average car and, maybe, fewer than the average luxury car too. I say this because I've read that Teslas are most often 3rd, 4th and 5th cars in households. I met just such a person last week, who, in addition to a recently purchased Model S, also owns a Cadillac and a 5-Series. His wife drives the Caddy, and he plans to keep all three.

    Also contributing to lower casualties, people who can afford Teslas tend to fly more, rather than drive. I'm sure these factors won't be included in marketing materials touting Tesla's safety.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    October 26, 2013 - FRANKFURT (Reuters)

    "Tesla Motors is aiming to sell around 10,000 cars a year in Germany by 2015 as it builds out its networks of charging stations, Elon Musk told a German paper."
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    Sounds like people who need that rebate! It'll trickle down, I promise.

    re: Germany, I'd wager the gvt there will issue similar incentives (there are already carbon and congestion charges that EVs can dodge), and Germans do like tech. With high population densities and lots of good local infrastructure, developed Europe might be a great market for expansion.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201
    edited October 2013
    I'll give credit where credit is due; under Elon Musk's leadership his company created the best electric car ever produced. By many measures, the Model S is an outstanding automobile. Compared with it's internal combustion and hybrid rivals it falls short on range, the Achilles heel of all electric vehicles. Even there, though, it does exceptionally well, albeit at a high cost.

    I'd argue that the S has been more of a product success than a commercial one so far, because without the subsidies and other legislated advantages it wouldn't sell in nearly the numbers that it does.

    Due to the product and impressive sales in the luxury class, considering that Tesla is a fairly new company, Musk enjoys exalted status among many. He's been compared with Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Some say that, in addition to being a tech genius, Musk is an automotive genius (more on that below). I say, not so fast. It's too early to put him in that category because he has yet to prove that the success of the Model S is scalable at lower price points, with fewer incentives.

    Henry Ford, Karl Benz, Andre Citroen and Soichiro Honda didn't have the government backing and support that electric cars enjoy, so it's premature to call Musk an automotive genius. I'll put him in the same category as Ford, Benz, Citroen and Honda if the Models X and mass market E are commercial successes. If they achieve this based on product excellence, and are competitive on price, it'll prove that Tesla's recipe is scalable. If Tesla is in business as a major car producer in 10 years, Musk will have succeeded where others, such as Henry Kaiser, John DeLorean and Preston Tucker, failed.

    One area where Musk exceeds the earlier automotive greats is his marketing and public relations abilities. If only Henrik Fisker had had those talents Tesla might have another upstart rival. Come to think of it, DeLorean was also a skillful promoter. Maybe more flash than substance there.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    edited October 2013
    "Oh, no doubt there's as much smug in the typical bicycle commuter as there is in the typical Prius or EV driver. More aggression, too. I don't know how much either are justified."

    As far as justification, per fueleconomy.gov (using 2012 modesl in their most fuel-efficient version)
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=31788&id=31374&id=31765&id=- - - 31767
    an Accord, Camry, or Malibu, on gas you'll average about 28mpg and 50mpg in a Prius, with the reliability of a Prius on par with an Accord & Camry and better than a Malibu. The battery of a Prius has a longevity in the few hundreds of thousands of miles. If you kept each car 5 years and drove 15,000 miles per year with gas averaging $3.50/gal, you'd save $4,125. Since it's such a reliable car, driving 10 years at 150,000 miles trouble-free is the norm and that would save over $8K in gas. The Prius being a hatchback has more cargo space at 21CuFt when compared to the 15CuFt standard on most mid-sized sedans. It is slightly narrower, so three wide bodies in the backseat of a Prius would be less comfortable than in most mid-sized sedans, but legroom & headroom in the Prius is about the same.

    Then you have the Prius V, which has about the same cargo and passenger space of a small SUV (RAV4, CRV, Escape, etc., but will save you $4250 in gas over 5 years based on fueleconomy.gov comparison: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=32196&id=32128&id=31481&id=- - - 31836

    Again, being highly reliable, there's no reason the Prius V won't go trouble-free for 10 years 150-200,000 miles, saving $8,500 in gas. As far the hybrid "price premium," similarly equipped small SUVs will cost in the upper $20K to lower $30K price range depending on options. With respect to the regular Prius, it will cost in the mid-$20sK to the upper $20sK again, depending on options, which is also comparable to similarly equipped mid sized sedans. Even if you end up paying a couple of thousand more for either the Prius V or regular Prius, the over $8,000 you save in gas (assuming the price of gas remains around $3.5/gal--if you think it will go up more than so will the savings) will more than compensate for the increased initial cost. The resale value of a Prius is better too than an Accord or Camry. I've seen 8 year old Accords and Camrys for sale with 150,000 miles for $5,000, but a Prius will run about $7000 with the same age/miles.

    So if a person is looking for a highly reliable car to hold 4 adults comfortably with 21CuFt of cargo space behind the second row, I'd say a Prius would be easily justified. Similarly, the Prius V would be easily justified if looking for a something with a small SUV cargo area, as the Prius V has 34CuFt of cargo space behind the second row. The only "green" image you need to have is the image of wanting to save yourself green-backs in the long term of car ownership.

    P.S. VW TDI diesels, while averaging MPG in between gassers and hybrids are an option, but to me the long-term quality and reliability of VW with respect to their electrical systems, transmissions and other components, as well as the higher cost of diesel fuel make diesels a non-option for me.

    P.P.S. I've driven sports cars (eg Mazda RX-7) and while I agree that the Prius may not be the sportiest car out there, for 99% of local and highway driving where sporty driving doesn't even occur, I'd rather be in a Prius than in some sporty car that I can't even use.

    P.P.P.S. Just found an interesting article from Motor Trend:

    http://wot.motortrend.com/rental-review-2012-toyota-prius-a-good-camry-i-4-alter- - native-419187.html#axzz2j1HkEB2N

    "As it is, the current-generation Toyota Prius makes a decent argument for itself as a midsize sedan alternative. Based on my short 350 miles behind the wheel of a 2012 Prius, it’s clear you do give up a lot in the form of acceleration, steering feel, and handling, but lots of people don’t care about handling as they crawl at 10 mph home in rush hour traffic."

    PPPPS Here's the Oct 28 Motor Trend comparison:
    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/1312_the_big_test_2013_2014_hybr- id_and_diesel_sedan_comparison/viewall.html

    "The 5-year cost of ownership order is, best to worst: Prius, Civic Hybrid, Jetta TDI, Cruze Diesel, Jetta Hybrid."

    Here's their bottom line:
    "No driving enthusiast wants to admit the Prius is good in any way. But since it'll constantly have your back at the gas pump and is least likely to nickel-and-dime you over 5 years, it earns second place. The first-place Jetta TDI punches above its weight, delivering beyond its stated ability. It's easy to live with and always satisfying from behind the wheel. It does more with less, which ultimately is the definition of proper efficiency."

    But again for me, long-term reliability and cost of ownership outweighs the better drive. And since Motor Trend is more for "drivers" cars, it's not surprising that they put the Prius as #2 behind the TDI, but back to the first article, "lots of people don’t care about handling as they crawl at 10 mph home in rush hour traffic." To me driving a sporty car at 2% of it's capability which occurs 99% of the time is no fun at all and not worth the "fun" of the other 1% of time you're zooming on a highway entrance/exit ramp!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    Great post!

    In the Tesla owners' income bracket, "cost to own" simply isn't being factored---that's fine for a boutique automaker but not for a mass-market one.

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  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,215
    edited October 2013
    cost to own" simply isn't being factored---that's fine for a boutique automaker but not for a mass-market one.

    But why does Tesla have to be a mass-market automobile? If Tesla follows this strategy it will become yet another failed venture. And here is why.

    The average transaction price of car today is about $31K. If Tesla were to sell its vehicles at $31K every auto maker would join the fray (as they have done with hybrids) and Tesla would have to compete on price -- a strategy it cannot win, not to mention diminishing the brand's image and cachet.

    Free advice to Tesla, target the high-end market in North America and Europe. Even Toyota (Lexus), Nissan (Infiniti) and Honda(Acura) have realized that their real profits come from the marque brands.

    Consider this fact. Luxury brands make up 9% of automakers' sales, but 50% of their world-wide profits. I rest my case.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,781
    I don't think Tesla can mimic the Ferrari business model. There is simply no passion or heritage whatsoever in an EV. It's a boutique toy at this point. It's an $80000 iPad right now.

    I can't believe Tesla is actually making any real money doing what it is doing. All I see is a high burn rate.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    If it wants to avoid backlash from undeserved perks given to buyers, and sketchy numbers for the company in general, it will have to eventually go more mainstream. I know the stock pumpers don't like to see that.

    Oh, another fire

    Maybe they just attract errant owners?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    I never questioned the Prius works well for many people, don't need to defend it to me. But it also has an image which isn't borne out of thin air. Spend some time in the Seattle area, you'll see it. It'll either be driven obliviously (ignorant of other cars, or aggressively) in the city, be merging onto a highway at 38mph, or be cruising down the left lane at 55. Extra points for bleeding heart bumper stickers.

    It's also ungainly looking inside and out, squishy handling, and the Prius C I have experienced firsthand is only really fit for city use. There's more to life than saving money on gas. If I wanted a hybrid, I would get one based on a normal car. 99% of my driving time isn't in the commuting slog, I need something with more feel and more design.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    I'd be more inclined to bow down and worship without the reverse socialism, too. Musk is indeed a brilliant man, and the car is pretty amazing, but it isn't self-sufficient. And when it aims at that part of the market, it needs to be.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I've driven around the country a lot, and I don't see any pattern of hybrid drivers being any better or worse than those driving BMWs, Chevys, Hondas. Maybe folks prejudiced against hybrids see this sort of thing. Most people look at a car as a way of getting from point A to B in a reliable, safe and cost effective manner. Looks are purely subjective, and most 4 door cars are pretty similar looking. It's true that there's more to life than saving money on gas, but then I for one would rather have several extra thousand dollars and sacrifice a little "handling." There sure is a lot more to life than the car you drive.

    PS...You don't "need" something with "more feel and more design." You WANT something more... You sound like my kid when you say you "need" it. ;-)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,683
    edited October 2013
    It might be a local thing. My area is an epicenter for the eco-weenie movement who wears it on their sleeve. Yes, to most people, a car is an appliance - hence so many Camry and Corolla sales. Nothing wrong with that, but it might not be good to expect someone who extracts more pleasure from a car to smilingly accept an appliance, no matter how cheap it might be to run. It's nice having a little extra money - if there's a use for it. Life is too short to die with a nice bank account, but no experiences.

    BMW drivers are probably jerkier, on average ;)

    I need something more...I am skating on thin ice in terms of sanity already, it might not take much to push me over the edge ;)
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