Recently, a good friend sent me a note expressing his skepticism about our stalwart pioneers at Tesla Motors. It went something like this:
...but even after ten years they are in the development stage? Why go to three models? Oh yeah, right… To get more people interested and put down the money…http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/teslas-ambitions-fueled-by-customer-down-payments/?ref=automobilesI hope the best for the boys at Tesla, I’d be interested in buying one… but I wouldn’t be putting down cash like this.
My response: Ye of little faith, my friend!
The pent up anticipation about this car is overwhelming here in California, and the price point I believe puts the Model S at the top of its class in terms of performance, practicality and style. The danger is that the Model S ends up with some early reviews like Fisker, which had a Karma arrive DOA when Consumer Reports was reviewing it. Ouch.
The Model X is a fantastic prototype, super exciting and more than a concept from what I've seen. It's purely designed to generate investor interest in the stock, as well as advance orders. There's no good business reason that I can see to tip their hand so far in advance of production if their cash position wasn't the principal driver. Although it has been very successful at generating great buzz for the Model S.
I think consumers feel better about a car company that has more than one model, even if not yet in production. It creates a sense of security, a larger image of a brand. Losing the ability to produce the Tesla Roadster was unfortunate for them, IMHO. Continued production of the Roadster would have really helped bridge the Model S production gap.
It's difficult to find any reviews on the Roadster that are not glowing and exceedingly positive. Sure, there's the novelty and 'shiny new toy' factor that gets everyone putting on rose-coloured glasses, but the reality is the thing goes like stink and hasn't stranded anyone out on the highway just yet to the best of my knowledge.
I'm a big fan of what Tesla is working to achieve. Let's put aside the environmental benefits, and the positive impact a reduction in imported oil dependency can have on our foreign policy for the moment. This is about innovation, entrepreneurship, and an amazingly cool set of cars that are fun to drive and nice to look at.
Where's the debate here exactly? Americans need to get behind this company.