So Where Is Tesla Right Now?

Bringing a car into the world is no easy deal.  Bringing an electric car into this current industry is even more difficult.  So imagine being a Silicon Valley start up on top of it all.

Tesla is the poster child for the new generation of electric cars.  Starting with the idea Martin Eberhard had that it would be nice to have a fun, attractive and performance all electric car, it opened the door to a frenetic race for an alternative to the venerable, yet polluting internal combustion engine.  But giving birth to such a project is no small feast.  You need vision and plenty of money.  Steps into the picture Elon Musk.  Musk was the co-founded for PayPal and was eventually forced out of the online-payment company.

Tesla who?  Eberhard wanted to name the car Tesla for the genius Nikola Tesla, an eccentric late-19th- and early-20th-century inventor who was an extraordinaire inventor whose work include AC electricity, electro-magnetic energy and some very far-out technologies and research that would be at home on a Star Trek series.

As always, when finance, vision and technological savvy meet, egos collide.  It wasn’t long till Musk outed Eberhard.  After enduring months of bad news, moving the production date back time and again, a few of the original team were axed off.  The main reason to remove them was that the team couldn’t work out a
working solution to bring the car to the promised 125mph top speed.  In order to do that they needed to develop a gear box able to withstand the incredible torque shift from first to second.  A gear box was devised but it became apparent it wouldn’t last long enough and have to be replaced after a few thousand miles.  Not very feasible.

On top of this Musk wanted to car to be just right.  Fiberglass was out, carbon fiber was in.  It even went as far as redesigning parts of the car instead of taking bits and pieces from other manufacturers.  As a side note, the base platform of the Tesla roadster is a Lotus Elise but that’s where it ends.  The new finish  obviously added tens of thousands of dollars more than the projected price and months behind the originally planned production date for the roadster.

So where is Tesla now?  It’s being manufactured at last.  The first part of the Founder’s Series is being manufactured and delivered (and some even crashed!)  This roadster is a work of love, frustrations and wonder.  It’s amazing it made this far given what it had to go through.  It is the electric car that has received the most publicity from Bono driving it in Monaco to a Le Mans showing, it is an impressive task these folks have delivered us.  Now can I get mine please?

And if you want to read more about the Tesla story, CNN Money did a good job recapping the entire adventure here.