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 |  Aug 27 2011, 12:00 PM

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and auto journalist Dan Neil have a bet going regarding the launch of the 2012 Tesla Model S. The bet began when Tesla said it would launch the new model before the end of next year. Neil said the schedule promised by Musk was “an audacious timeline that makes many in the car industry roll their eyes”. Neil also said “even people inside Tesla are leery”. Neil did not believe Tesla would be able to deliver on Musk’s promise. The two began emailing each other back and forth until Neil challenged Musk to a bet on the outcome.

The requirements for Musk to win the bet are as follows:

1) Series production models of the Tesla Model S have to be delivered to paying customers before the end of 2012. (It was originally 2011, but Neil concedes that Tesla said it wouldn’t make that date fairly early, and has since stuck to its 2012 date.)

(2) The Model S has to have seven passenger seats, certified as such by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and earn a 4- or 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

(3) It has to have a battery pack that allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station, similar to the Better Place battery swapping scheme.

(4) Model S prices must remain at the levels Tesla and Musk announced: $57,400 for the version with 160 miles of range, $67,400 for the 230-mile version, and $87,400 for the top-of-the-line 300-mile version (which will comprise the bulk of early production). All prices are before any Federal or other incentives.

If Musk does not deliver on any of these targets, he must donate $1 million to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). However if Tesla fulfills the criteria, Neil must donate $1,000 to the same group.

[Source: Green Car Reports]