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Tesla and Fisker are essentially polar opposites right now, despite both specializing in developing luxury electric vehicles for the automotive industry. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has never shied away from speaking his mind, and the bold CEO has been highly successful in developing his businesses.
In anticipation of the launch of its new Model S electric luxury sedan later this year, Tesla has been busy expanding its retail network to meet supply. “We added six new stores in the U.S. last year, four in the last quarter,” said George Blankenship, VP of sales and ownership experience, speaking during a conference call scheduled to address concerns over the company’s recent executive changes.
It might seem strange to open dealerships without any real cars to sell. After all, Tesla’s first vehicle, the Tesla Roadster, has been discontinued, while the Model S has yet to go into full production. And yet, says Blankenship, the new stores are “working exactly as we had hoped.”
In just the month of December, Tesla saw 299,000 visitors to its stores, helping bring the year-end tally for reservations on the upcoming Model S to 8,000.
Another major contributing factor was the release late in December of pricing for the Model S, with the entry level 40 kWh model starting at $49,900 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. “The strongest week for reservations was week we announced pricing,” said Blankenship, commenting on significant demand for the flagship Signature model despite its $87,900 starting price (before tax credit).
“We’re sold out of Model S Signature in the U.S.” he declared, and then announced that a waiting list is going to be created.
The future will see a continued ramp-up of sales infrastructure for Tesla throughout 2012 with plans to add 10 to 12 new retail stores in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk held an emergency conference call today to address concerns after news broke of two key executives leaving the company last week, sparking a 19 percent decline in the electric car maker’s stock value.
Addressing investors and media, Musk apologized for how the news came across and denied accusations that Tesla was looking to “dump” the news into the weekend.
“It’s actually a positive development that was misconstrued,” explains Musk, commenting that the changes are a part of a natural progression within any company, with different people better suited to different stages in a company’s life. The executives in question include Peter Rawlinson and Nick Sampson, both engineers involved in vehicle development.
Musk also waylaid concerns that Tesla was losing its brightest minds, stating that Rawlinson wasn’t the chief engineer of the new Model S sedan in its entirety, but rather the chief engineer in charge of body and chassis. “He was not responsible for powertrain, electrics or software,” said Musk.
In addition, Musk commented that Rawlinson left for personal reasons and, “that’s not a euphemism for something else.”
Looking to reassure investors and potential buyers further, Musk said he is, “highly confident” that Tesla will deliver 20,000 Model S vehicles next year.
Hints were also given about the upcoming Model X crossover, of which two prototypes have already begun testing, with a planned debut of February 9th.
In response to the assurances Tesla stock values spiked 15 percent in pre-market trading.
The little electric company that could has some bad news for its critics as its latest vehicle, the $50,000 electric four door sedan Model S, is sold out. According to CEO Elon Musk, Tesla has received orders for “more than 6,500″ Model S cars for next year.
Moreover, Musk claims that most orders of the Model S are from brand new buyers. “Only about 600 people who have ordered Roadsters have also bought the Model S.”
Aiming for a mid-2012 deliver date, Tesla is confident that the success of the Model S will reward them with the honor of becoming the first profitable maker of battery-powered automobiles by 2013. As of now, the company has yet to report an annual profit.
GALLERY: Tesla Model S
Even though the Tesla Model S sedan has been delayed for far too long, with an expected reveal at year’s end before an official unveiling at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
The crossover, dubbed the Model X, will be based on the Model S platform. “The time is right to unveil the car,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk told Autocar. “I’ve seen the latest design for it and I’m very happy with it.”
Tesla manufacturing head touted the company’s modular platform and innovative manufacturing facility in California as the key to the company’s ability to offer a wide range of products. “We can build many models on the same line,” Passin said. “The Model S is just one ‘top hat’ on a platform that is very modular. All our pressing modules are very adjustable and we’re working on improving that flexibility even further and making it faster at the moment.
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]
Fresh from a conference call (on his G6, presumably), Musk just signed a $100 million deal with the Japanese automaker, but has dropped the hint that they could be thinking larger. “We’re in discussions with them for a deal that is an order of magnitude larger than that,” he said. Musk had spent the call informing Toyota about ending their best quarter in the young company’s history, with demand for the Model S and recently-departed Roadster still high.
Toyota, being the world’s largest car company, fortunately has this sort of cash to burn. Hopefully Musk has made a convincing case for the 8-year old Tesla and the electric car of the future.
They already have the Model S sedan, which is set to go on sale in 2012, but now they are also working on a crossover vehicle, which is referred to as the Model X.
Tesla is hoping to debut this new model by the end of 2011 (perhaps at the next L.A. Auto Show), is offering a secondary stock offering of 5.3-million shares in order to raise funds for the project.
The Model X will utilize the same technology as the upcoming Model S, but offer it in a more practical platform. If all goes according to plan, this model will hit showrooms in 2014. Plans for the car were revealed in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Tesla Roadster will end its production run by December of this year.
[Source: Inside Line]
Tesla Motors announced that 3,000 people have submitted their deposits for a Model S sedan. Slated to go into production in 2011, Tesla also announced that crash testing and other necessities will begin next year, with deliveries starting in 2012.
So far, Tesla has sold 1,400 Roadsters, and is helping automakers like Toyota and Mercedes-Benz made electric powertrains and fully assembled vehicles. The Model S is expected to cost roughly half of the Roadster’s sticker price, or about $50,000.
[Source: USA Today]
Hot on the heels of Tesla’s IPO (which is down $1.89 as of 3:40 PM today) comes their newest product, the Roadster 2.5, which receives a host of largely inconsequential updates designed to keep an old model in the public eye just a little bit longer (perhaps Tesla isn’t that different after all).
The Roadster gets the usual revised fascias and wheels, as well as a 7″ LCD touchscreen, a backup camera and more sound deadening. Power is unchanged. The Roadster 2.5 should hit showrooms in a few weeks, to coincide with new Tesla stores opening in California and Denmark.
Despite never turning a profit and selling as few as just 1,000 vehicles, Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla Motors has raised $226 million in an initial public offering. Even more amazing is the fact that Tesla was able to generate such investment in the midst of a still shaky economic recovery that has seen dozens of other companies postpone IPOs.
Tesla has said it will use the funds to, generated by selling 13.3 million shares at $17 each, to build factories and possibly acquire new assets as it looks to introduce its second vehicle, the Model S, to market.
Company CEO Elon Musk, who founded Tesla in 2003, has risked his personal fortune on the startup automaker, after making $300 million by selling off PayPal and Zip2 Corp.
Other investors in Tesla include powerful names and companies including Toyota, Daimler, the government of Abu Dhabi, as well as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The company has also received significant support from the Obama administration, with a Department of Energy loan totaling $465 million granted as a part of a larger plan to get 1 million electric cars and pug-in hybrids on the roads by 2015.
[Source: Automotive News]
American electric car maker Tesla is about ready to launch its IPO and go from a small niche market automaker to possibly a large international electric vehicle powerhouse. But in order to make hat next big step CEO Elon Musk needs money, and lots of it. So before he opens up his company to the market, Musk is shopping it around, hoping to convince investors with a business model for the future.
In a presentation that Musk will use to sell Tesla to investors, we get our first glimpse at what the company is looking to do in the future – including the addition of three new models. On slide #19 of the presentation we see plans to develop not only the Model S luxury sedan, but also a cabriolet, a crossover and a van (presumably to target the commercial vehicle fleet market that Ford is about to control with its new Transit Connect EV). As for that Cabriolet, it looks like a major shot across the bow of rival Fisker, and its upcoming Sunet convertible.
As much as we still have significant doubts abut Tesla as a mainstream automaker, there’s a lot of promise and it’s not just internet bloggers that think so, with Tesla having singed deals in the last 12 months with both Daimler and Toyota.
[Source: Newsbasis via Autoblog]
The end goal for most venture-capital financed start-ups is to issue an IPO and help get some money into the hands of those investors brave enough to give the company money at the early stages. Tesla Motors, perhaps the first Silicon Valley car company(and headed by Elon Musk, a former dot-com executive), is about to do just that, after filing papers with the Security and Exchange Commission, detailing terms of their IPO.
Tesla is expected to issue roughly 11 million shares of the company, with the shares going for $14 to $16 each. As a reward for the IPO, Toyota will invest another $50 million in the company, as part of an alliance between the two companies, which includes the NUMMI auto plant in California, and a new mass market sedan in 2012.
So far, Tesla only sells a 2 seat sports car, the Tesla Roadster, but the company plans to introduce a high end sedan, known as the Model S, in the near future. So far, Tesla has continually lost money each quarter, with total revenues of just under $150 million.
[Source: Detroit News]
At 38 years old, Elon Musk has already lived a life filled with more adventures and pitfalls than most of us can fathom. The founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX was also a one time owner of a McLaren F1, the holy grail of car collecting, and served as the inspiration for Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, in the latest films inspired by the Marvel Comic franchise.
Unlike the real Tony Stark, Musk is currently mired in a messy divorce, and the latest court filings show that he is pretty much flat broke, relying on “emergency loans” from friends, which we presume is the wealthy billionaire version of asking “Dude, can I crash on your couch?”
While various gossip blogs are injecting their own analysis into the mix (it doesn’t help that Musk left his wife for 24-year-old actress Talullah Riley), The Truth About Cars’ Bertel Schmitt managed to extrapolate just how the divorce problems will affect Tesla Motors (emphasis added by Autoguide).
If Tesla’s IPO is successful, his finances would look brighter. But there are two problems. The court has slapped a protective order on Musk’s holdings, says Venturebeat. He won’t be able to liquidate significant holdings without first getting permission from his ex-wife. That’ll cost him. Then, there is the matter of how Musk’s precarious finances will affect the IPO.
Should the IPO fail, then no money from Toyota – it’s contingent on the successful IPO. We, the U.S. taxpayer likely won’t see any of the money the Department of Energy loaned Tesla. Should the IPO succeed and the Tesla stock sink afterwards, then you won’t have to wait long for an onslaught of lawyers. The dirty laundry most likely will feature prominently.
If you think that’s bad, wait till you see what Musk’s ex-wife is asking for in the divorce settlement.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
The United Auto Workers is busy inserting itself into the Toyota/Tesla joint venture barely 24 hours after it was even announced. The two companies announced that they would be collaborating on electric vehicles, and Tesla would be taking over the revolutionary (at the time) NUMMI plant in Fremont, California, to build their new Model S sedan.
The NUMMI plant was a groundbreaking venture between Toyota and GM that saw one of the first instances of Japanese management practices and American-style union labor. Before the collaboration, the Fremont plant was responsible for some of the most notorious horror stories regarding American auto workers, such as on-the-job intoxication and workers putting coke bottles inside vehicles so that the rattling would annoy customers. By the time the plant had closed at the end of 2009, the plant had experienced a 180-degree turnaround, with quality levels on par with Toyota’s best-performing Japanese factories.
4,500 NUMMI employees lost their jobs when the plant was shuttered, and it’s no surprise that the UAW is pushing hard to get the jobs back. An all-American, union made electric car would probably go along way to boost the perception of electric cars in the public eye, but with a pricetag of over $100,00, you can be certain that the amount of tomfoolery and quality defects that Tesla will tolerate is essentially zero.
Tesla Motors is set to expand its lineup with the previously announced Model S sedan, as well as an all-new crossover. First up is the Model S sedan, due in 2012. It is expected to retail for $50,000, about half the cost of the Tesla Roadster sports car. By 2014, Tesla will introduce a replacement for the current Roadster, as well as a new crossover vehicle.
Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla, said that future vehicles will feature four-wheel drive, a 17-inch touch screen and the ability to swap batteries out in one minute. The cars will also have a range of 300 miles and the ability to achieve a five-star crash test rating.
Tesla also announced a deal to supply some electric vehicle technology to Mercedes-Benz for their A-Class and Smart compact cars. Tesla plans to supply other companies with similar technology and make it a cornerstone of their business.
Daimler has just announced that it has reached an agreement with Tesla Motors Inc., that will see the German automaker gain a 10 percent stake in the California-based electric car maker.
Along with an undisclosed amount of money the agreement will help forge a partnership between the two companies as they work to bring electric vehicles to market in increasingly high numbers.
Tesla has already been working with Daimler to equip 1,000 SMART fortwo models with lithium-ion batteries for use in special test projects in Berlin and Italy. Daimler also plans to introduce an electric Mercedes vehicle by 2010.
As for Tesla, it will gain the engineering, production and supply chain expertise available at Daimler in order to move the upcoming Tesla Model S into production by 2011.
“Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, the board member at Daimler responsible for research and development. “As a young and dynamic company, Tesla stands for visionary power and pioneering spirit. Together with Daimler’s 120 years of experience in the automotive sector this collaboration is a unique combination of two companies’ strengths. This mark another important milestone in Daimler’s strategy for sustainable mobility.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was equally as enthusiastic about the future partnership saying Daimler is on the “leading edge of sustainable mobility.”
“Daimler has set the benchmark for engineering excellence and vehicle quality for more than a century,” said Musk. “It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Daimler would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla.”
Official release after the jump: