Is Tesla 'Vaporware'?

Wired's poll placed the Tesla Roadster right next to a perpetual motion machine.

Published: 02-Jan-2008

So it's come to this. Wired News just handed San Carlos-based Tesla Motors a Vaporware award. Wired's poll placed the Tesla Roadster right next to a perpetual motion machine. Ouch! That's how it goes with the media -- first building you up with fawning praise (from iPhone-hating San Franciscan Paul Boutin for one) then tearing you down.

We’ll bring you up to speed about what's happened since our previous post, (oh the hate mail that generated -- use the Comments Section instead people, that’s what it’s there for right?) and we'll prognosticate about 2008 and beyond, after the jump. Zoom zoom!

Since our last post, there have been two more official delays announced by Tesla. However, their production schedule now appears more doable, so that's a good thing.

Another change is the lack of hubris emanating from down south. We remember hearing about how all other electric car designs "sucked", about how such and such people working at a large automotive firm were "incompetent." Don’t hear that anymore. How refreshing!

So, they’re calling the first car a beta. Seriously. They'll put in a better transmission a little later on. You’ve heard of fixed gear bikes? Well the first Tesla Roadster is a fixed-gear car. Consequently, if grandpa going to church in a humongous Toyota Avalon sedan (0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds per reports) gets the jump on a Roadster (0-60 in 5.7 per reports), then it's a toss up who would win in a drag race circle jerk. Imagine that.

The whole concept behind Tesla is to come in on the high end, to produce a dream car as the first model. Is that a good idea? Mmmm. Another idea would be stop trying to impress people and work on fulfilling your promises. If you didn’t have this onus of being faster than a Ferrari, then a one-speed transmission might be O.K. Work on a two-speed later, maybe?

And who cares how fast an electricar goes anyway. Is another superfast car what we need? More driver-error, single-car accidents to be blamed on deer, or phantom cars, or mechanical defects? Who’ll be the first to die in a Tesla Roadster? An athlete, an Internet millionaire, an Internet billionaire? We'll have something like this sooner or later, no?

But the Roadster is supposed to show us the way to the future of electric cars. Products from Tesla in the pipeline might use a hybrid-style “range extender.” That means power from diesel or gasoline – something like that. A practical approach, but not all that much different than what bigger automotive outfits are working on.

We won't be able to pin Tesla down as much in the future as their forecasts are hazier than before. That's probably a good thing. We'll start thinking of Tesla as a reborn company. One that's a little more realistic, a little less hubristic. Tesla 2.0 if you will.

You know Hummer was a hot brand in the previous decade. So much so that GM bought it. If Tesla establishes itself as another hot brand, then a similar purchase might occur. Seems more likely that this would happen than Tesla actually pumping out hundreds of thousands of cars on its own.

Only Time Will Tell.

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