A Look Back At The “Experts” Who Doubted Tesla’s Chances Of Launching Model 3

2 weeks ago by Tesla Mondo 63

APPLAUDING THE MODEL 3 SCOFFATHON WINNERS

Now that we’re crossing the finish line of Tesla’s first master plan, this also marks the end of the Model 3 Scoffathon. Let’s pause and reflect on the sage words of various experts who flashed their credentials and then swore up and down that Tesla would never get here, to the high-volume $35k car.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.15.59 AM

He speaks at events, you know.

Sept, 2014: Battery expert issues “sobering” report. Wanna talk credentials? This guy, Dr. Menahem Anderman, sure has ’em. He’s the chairman of AABC, which stands for Advanced Automotive Battery Conferences. It has a logo and stuff, so if you’ve never heard of it, you must be out to lunch. Anyway, the sobering report says Model III will start at $50,000, PERIOD. So a round of applause for Dr. Anderman as he crosses the finish line. This guy is a battery consultant, you know. His client list contains about every automaker except Tesla. But he’ll sell you his report on Tesla’s batteries for $2,800, the rascal.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.21.44 AM

April, 2014: Harvard Business School guy says Tesla “won’t be able to scale.” Again, check those creds. This is hah-vid we’re talking about. So why can’t Tesla scale? Because it lacks the money, clout and experience required to drive down pricing far enough to make Model III hit the tipping point. Round of applause as Tom Bartman, billed as “a member of the Forum for Growth and Innovation, a Harvard Business School think tank studying disruptive innovation,” crosses the finish line. His LinkedIn page is stuffed with Tesla knocks to boot.

max-headroom-bob-lutzFeb. 2, 2014: Bob Lutz goes on his ill-will campaign. Tesla can’t make money on Model III, but can’t afford to lose money on it like a big automaker could, so Tesla is finished. TeslaMondo has chronicled Lutz’s frustratingbrushes with EV greatness. He’s the game show contestant who hits the buzzer first but then botches the answer, over and over, while Musk keeps racking up the points. It’s enough to make a man froth at the mouth.

May 18, 2014: Wall St. Journal rounds up battery experts to sweat n’ fret the Gigafactory.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 6.57.37 AM

That stuff in the background means this guy knows what he’s talking about.

K.M. Abraham is a research professor at the Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology, has worked for 30 years on lithium battery technology, was one of the first to demonstrate rechargeable lithium batteries and invented next-generation lithium air batteries. He also has a battery consulting company called E-KEM Sciences.

 

“I don’t see how they can reduce the cost more than 20%. They are dependent on the whole battery community. We are already reaching the limit on the energy density you can get in the lithium-ion battery. Next-generation chemistries, such as lithium air, are another 25 years away from commercialization.

“It won’t be as simple as it has been so far. We’ll need scientific discoveries in the electrode materials. Usually, from invention of battery materials to production it takes 15 to 20 years, and we haven’t invented it yet.

“As far as scale manufacturing, it’s an already perfected business; just doubling the world production wouldn’t get that much improvement per unit. The major producers in Korea, Japan, are using massive amounts of material already. And battery manufacturing is a very, very low-margin business at scale.

“And [the major producers] are integrated manufacturers, they can put their battery cells into portable consumer devices, and they can make up the price there.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.04.01 AM

He passed a few months ago, so he never did see the Model III launch.

Peter Wells is a professor of business and sustainability with a focus on the global automotive industry at Cardiff Business School’s Centre for Automotive Industry Research, in Wales.

“Tesla is taking advantage of the moment to make an enormous roll of the dice.

You rush into these things at your peril. The reason the car industry has been so conservative is that there are major concerns with safety, reliability, customer confidence. That’s the reason the industry has been very slow with adopting technologies.

“The danger there is if Tesla cannot make this work, the whole electric-vehicle sector will be set back a lot.

“But it could change the way we buy cars, we use cars, the revenue streams, the business models. In an industry that has hitherto been riddled by conservatism, this is a disruptive idea.

“There’s a lot of cost that can be taken out at larger scales of battery manufacturing. But it’s all about the capacity utilization. A battery plant that’s not running will cost you a fortune.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.06.50 AM

Here’s looking (askance) at you, kid.

Bill Reinert was national manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s advanced-technology group from 1990 to 2013. He co-led the U.S. product-planning team for the second-generation Prius and worked on several advanced hybrid electric products, direct hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrid concepts, among others.

“We didn’t anticipate Prius would sell like it did. There was at least a year or more where we couldn’t increase sales because not just the battery but a whole host of other parts couldn’t be ramped up quickly enough.

“But the worst thing in the world you can do is plan for a high volume and not reach it. Then you’ve got all these factories that are idle, and all these workers who are idle, and all these parts that you ordered. It’s better to slowly add to production when you are making a profit than to shut down lines when you are losing money.

“Toyota can take a suspension they use on hundreds of thousands of cars and put it on a low-volume car. Volkswagen is the king of this. Tesla doesn’t have that ability. It has to be bespoke, built from the ground up.

“If I were in [Tesla Chief Executive Elon] Musk’s shoes, I’d be on a jet tomorrow to go to [battery makers] LG Chem, Panasonic, GS Yuasa, and telling them this is our long-term projection. But if [they couldn’t commit to meeting my needs], I wouldn’t be discussing this grand design, this mythical plant.

“What I would start out with would be bare-bones manufacturing and make sure that we are making as many of the product as we need.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.09.08 AM

Musk succeed where I failed? Impossible.

David Vieau served as chief executive of A123 Systems from 2002 to 2012. The company, which manufactured lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, power tools and utility grid applications, raised more than $1 billion in venture capital, public equity and government funds. In 2012, the company filed for bankruptcy, and its assets were acquired at auction by China-based Wanxiang Group.

“It was very clear back in 2008 that there would be in the long term a market for electrified vehicles. The question was, how long would it take to develop? It was also very clear that if left on its own, without some stimulus, it would take quite a long time.

“The difficult part is if you get out in front of demand and the industry just doesn’t make it. It could be a tremendous success in five years, but if you are caught with a factory at the wrong time, that’s where the obituary comes in.

“What [Tesla] is saying is that they need the capacity. It’s unlikely their suppliers are going to take the risk. They are going to have to take it themselves. The risk associated with their growth will be theirs.”

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

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63 responses to "A Look Back At The “Experts” Who Doubted Tesla’s Chances Of Launching Model 3"

  1. SparkEV says:

    And there’s me. Tesla was always late, and 3 is no exception. They’ll only ship few dozen Tesla 3 in 2017 was, and still is, my prediction! I am 100% confident that my prediction will come true.

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      You got to be kidding.

      Sure, many people predicted they would be late, but a few dozen with 5 months left in the year?

    2. Nix says:

      Are you still sticking to your “the earth is flat” thing too?

      nobody can force you to think.

    3. Well, a few dozen, is like, what? 4 dozen? Hey, I guess they are half way there, already, in their first, and Slowest Month!

      10 Dozen? They stated they will deliver 30 in July, and Did! They also stated they will deliver 150 in August, so that is more than 10 Dozen More! A few moments to add those up, and you get 180, or 15 ‘Dozens’!

      OK, if they stop there, to start making fixes, you might be near correct! However, watch out…September is coming!

      That is when they said they aim to deliver 1,500 units of the Model 3! That would be a jump up to almost 400 a week, from about 40 a week in August (Remember, this is Deliveries, and they also need some production for Stores to get Test Drive Cars)!

      Then it is on up the chain of ever faster production targets, with just 3 Months: October, November, and December, to reach 5,000 units per week!

      It IS going to be a very interesting next 5 months!

    4. Mark.ca says:

      “They’ll only ship few dozen Tesla 3 in 2017”
      I agree…my guess is about 1000 dozens.

    5. FISHEV says:

      It’s not clear that Tesla has started to deliver Model 3’s. 30 cars to 30 employees and then silence. Is there any evidence of any other Tesla’s being delivered?

      1. Unions suck says:

        The factory is on strike now. Unionized. No more model 3s. Tesla is done for.

        1. SJC says:

          That is not true and you should know that, in fact you probably DO know that which makes it a lie.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “It’s not clear that Tesla has started to deliver Model 3’s. 30 cars to 30 employees and then silence. Is there any evidence of any other Tesla’s being delivered?”

        WOW! 😯 I realized that Tesla bashing short-sellers were desperately grasping at straws following Tesla’s unexpected, surprisingly on-time launch of the TM3, but this… this is so laughably desperate that I find it genuinely funny!
        😀 😀 😀

        Hey SHORTEV! Getting your shorts in a twist, huh? Just how much money have you lost trying to short-sell Tesla stock?

        Go Tesla!

    6. EVDrive says:

      They will never be able to build the Model 3. And if they did build the Model 3, they would all fall off the edge of the flat earth because there is no such thing as evolution. Furthermore, trump is not making America the great laughing stock of the world again.

      If they did figure out how to build this darn thing, my Alleged delivery date will be between November 2017 and January 1.

      Thank goodness my alleged delivery date is coming up soon cause I’m so excited about this Model 3 dream, I can hardly sleep! I don’t want it to be too soon though… so they can fix the buggies before I get mine.

      Eat my dust, soon, spark EV =\

    7. windbourne says:

      Do you realize that they are already over 3 dozen?
      U have already lost.

    8. jelloslug says:

      They have already shipped more than that now.

  2. theflew says:

    Calling the Model 3 launched to me is a stretch. This is basically what a traditional automaker would call a captured test fleet. The fact they are charging employees for them is new.

    1. Nix says:

      The sales are real and legitimate. And they are actually AHEAD of where most car makers would be launching a brand new from the ground up clean sheet of paper car.

      Everybody seems to love to compare it to the Bolt, but GM had delivered zero cars in the first month after starting manufacturing in the last week of Oct 2016. At the end of 10 weeks (by the end of 2016) they had only sold around 580 cars. Based on their schedule, Tesla will also be in the 500’s after 10 weeks.

    2. Andrew S says:

      Exactly this. It’s difficult to call this a “launch” when the cars have only gone to board members and employees. Let’s see how the next few months go.

    3. FISHEV says:

      There’s no evidence that the employees paid for the cars or that Tesla can legally sell Model 3’s with not NHSTA or EPA rating yet.

  3. Someone out there says:

    I think it’s a bit early to call people out. So far Tesla has only sold 30 cars, whether they are able to scale up and make a profit is yet to be seen.

    1. Nix says:

      Really? So you think the folks who said it would be 2019 or 2020 for volume production might still be right???

      De Nile is a river full of Crock-odiles

  4. Nix says:

    This comment section isn’t going to go well….

  5. Texas FFE says:

    Chevrolet hit the ground producing nine Bolt EVs an hour. Tesla is up to a little over one Model 3 a day right now and will be up to three a day by the end of August. Sounds like Tesla is really in hand built pre-production and all those currently taking delivery are beta testing the Model 3.

    1. Nix says:

      Fact check:

      1) GM had delivered zero cars in the first month after starting manufacturing in the last week of Oct 2016. At the end of 10 weeks (by the end of 2016) they had only sold around 579 cars. Tesla’s schedule has them putting out cars sooner after production began, and about the same number after 10 weeks, then growing much faster after that.

      So you think we should be concerned, oh so concerned about Tesla production??

      2) Tesla actually built around twice as many cars as they sold.

      1. Loboc says:

        Here’s a fact. ~80k cars in 2016 or ~6.66k cars per month. And they now expect us to believe 20k/month (5k/week) by December? Of a new model??

        Yeah right.

        1. Nix says:

          Loboc — That is not a fact. It is a distortion. You’ve just posted 2016 US ONLY sales numbers. In reality Tesla actually sold cars outside the US too.

          And your second error is to average the total year and claim it is monthly numbers, when in reality Tesla roughly doubled the number of cars they built, leaving them at a post-rampup rate much higher than the average of all months. Math fail.

          ___________________________

          We actually went through all this before when you guys were all so Concerned!! that the the Model S could never scale. We had endless Oh So Concerned!! posters who said it was impossible for Tesla to ramp to even 1,000 cars a month, because they had never done it before. They were all proven wrong.

          The reality is that Tesla hired Audi’s head of A4/A5/Q4 manufacturing and put him in charge of the Model 3. He is absolutely capable and proven that he knows how to scale.

          PS — I don’t actually expect you to correct your obvious and blatant errors. Those who are Concerned!!! never do….

          1. Nix says:

            oops! Time for me to do what you guys never do. correct a mistake. My bad, I was looking at total cumulative sales to date numbers, not yearly numbers, and I got it wrong.

            Tesla still still increased production to higher than the average by the end of the year.

            1. AlphaEdge says:

              > Time for me to do what you guys never do.

              LOL!

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Yeah, the number of Usual Suspects here who not only admit to, but correct, their own errors, is dismally low.

                I’m proud to be with Nix among the very few who do. (However, Nix’s error rate is much lower than mine!)

        2. AJ says:

          Just a FYI… they went from making 600 Roadsters a year to over 10,000 Model Ss per year in a very short time. So wait and see. When China saw a boom in automaking, the Chinese automakers collectively increased their production at a faster rate than this. So it is not impossibe.

      2. Texas FFE says:

        Fact Check: At the end of December Chevrolet had “sold” almost 600 Bolt EVs and had another 600 in inventory (on dealers lots) so Chevrolet had “delivered” about 1,200 Bolt EVs in December.

        It takes almost a month to go from the assembly line to dealers lots so by the end of December Chevrolet had probably “built” over 3,000 Bolt EVs, but that of course is speculation. What I do know is that Chevrolet has “sold” about 10,000 Bolt EVs to date and has another 6,000 in inventory so Chevrolet has “delivered” about 16,000 Bolt EVs. By the end of the year Chevrolet will have delivered well over 20,000 Bolt EVs in the US alone, already getting close to the Model S annual sales record.

        If Tesla keeps to their production schedule it will be at least a few months before M3 monthly deliveries catch up to Bolt EV monthly deliveries. And I don’t believe M3 total deliveries will catch up to Bolt EV total deliveries this year. I actually believe M3 mania will spur Bolt EV sales so M3 deliveries may have a hard time catching total Bolt EV deliveries next year.

        I hope the Model 3 is successful. I’m not interested in buying a Model 3 and I still have a serious problem with the Tesla proprietary charging network but I think a successful M3 will spur EV innovation in other auto manufacturers. But I think Mr. Musk is pushing too hard and he is making enemies so I think his projected production schedules are going to be very difficult if not impossible to achieve.

        Even his own employees have the potential to turn on him. I know I would have a serious problem with a boss that said I had to live through six months of hell. That might be okay for single people that have nothing else to live for but six months of hell is not going to be something people with families can accept.

        Anyway the next year should be very interesting, I’m glad I’m just a spectator.

        1. Nix says:

          Texas “At the end of December Chevrolet had “sold” almost 600 Bolt EVs and had another 600 in inventory (on dealers lots) so Chevrolet had “delivered” about 1,200 Bolt EVs in December.”

          I see, so the big thing that everybody is worried about is that after 10 weeks of production, that GM had built (but not sold) 1,200 Bolts. But Tesla won’t break past that number until the 11th week of scheduled production? Before blasting past Bolt weekly numbers before the end of the year?

          Well, we obviously should all be sooooo incredibly Concerned!! and wring our hands endlessly! That changes everything!

          I mean, Tesla beginning deliveries sooner, but taking a week or two longer to hit 1,200. They will have to close the doors of the factory!!

          /sarc

          __________________________________

          Sorry, but this continued meme that Tesla can’t do this or can’t do that as if they will never get better than their first car and first SUV is getting old. Especially after they spent so much well documented efforts EXACTLY so they wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes.

        2. AJ says:

          What is wrong with a proprietary charging network??? As long as they don’t lock down their cars to be charged only on that network that is fine. If you are expecting them to open up their network to other automakers that is not going to be easy. The other automakers will have to make sure their batteries and battery management systems must be compatible. The other automakers will never do that because that would give Tesla too much power. BTW.. that is why Tesla opened up their patents so the other automakers would jump onto the EV bandwagon sooner. So there is plenty of reason to support Tesla.

  6. Loboc says:

    I’m an observer not an expert. I still think that Tesla Model 3 will not ship in volume (>2000/month) until Q2 2018.

    There could be all kinds of delays that Musk has already identified. And will use via tweet if anything happens. Most of these have to do with logistics and the clean sheet build.

    First – supplier issue (including their own batteries!)
    Second – regulatory issue
    Third – design issue
    Forth – recall

    1. Loboc says:

      Fifth – Hell turns out to be worse than anticipated.

      1. Someone out there says:

        That would be the union issue that suddenly surfaced again.

    2. Nix says:

      You forgot:

      Fifth: The sky is falling!! The sky is falling!!

      Yes, there can be delays with absolutely anything. But:

      First: Tesla completely revamped their supply chain for the Model 3, including going directly to workers on their supplier’s factory floor and confirming progress on parts manufacturing. They also were able to jump up to first-tier suppliers for this volume of manufacturing.

      Second: What regulatory issues? The only open issue is have is a delay in the EPA review their numbers they already submitted. Tesla has already stated that they completed all the rest of the regulatory issues ahead of schedule in mid June. At worst, the EPA review would only embarrass them if they had to put out lower numbers than they announced. It wouldn’t actually halt production.

      Third: Design issue? Short of a recall, what is it that you are so Concerned!! about that would be separate from your Fourth issue?

      Fourth: Recall? You mean like the Pacifica PHEV? Or every car with a Takata airbag? Or every GM that was built with bad ignition switches for about 2 decades? Yea, every car can be recalled. Why would that be any more a risk for Tesla that would justify a prediction of volumes at just 10% of Tesla’s guidance, twice as many months out? Seems like baseless Concern!! for the sake of the sky falling.

      1. Loboc says:

        Nix,
        The fact that there is a ‘revamped’ supply chain is further risk, not further cause for optimism.

        Musk is constantly tweeting about ‘regulatory issues’ mostly for AP2 and future. What if AP2 doesn’t lead smoothly to Level 5? Huge risk to claim they can do true autonomy with existing hardware. Including Model 3.

        Design issues are rampant in clean sheet designs. Ya don’t know what ya don’t know.

        Misdirection of my recall concern to another manufacturer is not going to make the concern disappear.

        What was their build rate at the end of 2016? Can they ramp that to 5000/week for Model 3 alone PLUS X and S builds? Doubtful. Ramp rate has very little to do with total yearly builds. Just future builds. If there are no issues.

        Freemont is an ‘eggs all in one basket’ proposition. Any weather or other disaster is another risk.

        1. Nix says:

          Loboc, I see you will search high and low in search of Concern!! and even just fabricate some if your search is in vain.

          1) No, improving their supply chain doesn’t add risk, it reduces risk. Fixing things that were broken fixes things.

          2) How EXACTLY does Level 5 autonomy impact Model 3 production?? It doesn’t, it can’t, and it was never planned for before the rollout of the Model 3. Although bonus points for imagination in fabricating a false reason to be concerned about Model 3 production. I have to hand it to you that you put in the extra effort to make up stuff that could never impact production here in 2017.

          3) Your design and recall concerns however lack creativity. They are what they are and every car maker faces them. You still haven’t actually justified how Tesla’s risk is so much substantially higher that they would be at only 10% of production targets after double the time.

          4) Model 3 and Model S/X are on different assembly lines. Assembly of one does not exclude assembly of the other. It isn’t like the Bolt where they have to switch the assembly line back and forth between Bolt and Sonic.

          5) Finally with all creativity expired, you decided to talk about the weather:

          “Freemont is an ‘eggs all in one basket’ proposition. Any weather or other disaster is another risk.”

          Heck, why didn’t you include Earthquakes!! Tidal Waves!! Asteroids!! Lions!! Tigers!! Bears!! Oh My!!

          But let me guess, that wouldn’t have been a risk when GM and Toyota successfully ran the exact same factory in the exact same location and narrowly avoided having all their workers eaten alive by marauding hungry lions tigers and bears…..

          /sarc

          If you spend all your time dreaming up the worst doom and gloom that could possibly happen to you at the slightest of distant odds, you might as well never go outside. Yet people somehow manage to get out and face the weather day after day, year after year.

          1. Loboc says:

            Nix – 5) Finally with all creativity expired, you decided to talk about the weather –

            Because THEY ONLY HAVE ONE FACTORY!! It’s a HUGE risk.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Loboc said:

          “Huge risk to claim they can do true autonomy with existing hardware. Including Model 3.”

          Now there is a concern I agree is quite likely to be a real roadblock. I just don’t see that full autonomy is possible when relying on nothing but cameras and very short-ranged sensors such as ultrasonics and very short range radars to the sides and rear.

          This is one case where I don’t even hope to be proven wrong. I hope Tesla does not get approval for full autonomy by relying on nothing but camera images in every direction except forward. There are too many fatal accidents where the car was hit from the side or rear.

          Being a computer programmer myself doesn’t make me an expert on computer-driven optical object recognition, but I understand at least something about the problems with using software to reliably recognize and interpret objects in camera images. Active scanning in all directions would be much more reliable, and where human lives are at risk, definitely the preferred solution.

    3. koz says:

      The only big risk in ramp up is in design. They have validated vendor capabilities on the vendors’ floors and built the ramp up into their contracts. They have redundancy in supply. The issue could come from unforeseen design flaws like they had with the Roadster, S and more with the X. Their compressed development and more limited testing leaves them vulnerable to this. These issues should be far less likely with the 3 however since they have much more experience now, have designed the 3 with the intent of production simplicity, have built more validation vehicles, and done a lot more testing with the 3 than with its predecessors.

      Proclamations of imminent demise or huge struggles are wishful thinking by Tesla detractors. Now, if you predict that the $35K small battery version won’t be seen anytime soon, I would have to agree, but that has nothing to do with vendors or production ramp.

  7. ffbj says:

    I wonder what they have to say about the non-Tesla auto industry, which in point of fact, are getting their fanny’s whacked with downturns in sales across the board.

  8. Nix says:

    I predict that all the folks who got their predictions completely wrong will quickly fill the comments section with even more wrong predictions.

    Because when you get it wrong over and over, you might as will at least be consistent… *laugh*

    1. Texas FFE says:

      What predictions do you think people got wrong?

      That Tesla can’t make a profit and will go bankrupt? Tesla still has a negative cash flow and appears to be a long ways from making a profit.

      That Tesla won’t start production of the Model 3 in July 2017? I don’t know of anyone that would consider the delivery of 30 cars to employees production and it’s yet to be seen if Tesla can get Model 3 delivery numbers up to what people would consider production level.

      That the Model 3 would be much more expensive than the advertised $35,000 price? The $35,000 still seems like a pipe dream and even the most simple options will drive the price of the Model 3 well beyond $35,000.

      That the Model 3 will cost less than the Bolt EV? Many Bolt EV dealers are already giving as much as $5,000 rebates on the Bolt EV, the federal tax credit will run out for Tesla before most people get a chance to buy a Model 3 and many states will not allow state rebates to go to Tesla, there is not a chance in hell a Model 3 will cost less than a Bolt EV.

      Please be more specific with your derogatory remarks so people will be better prepared to de-bunk you.

      1. Nix says:

        Texas, It’s not my fault if some folks aren’t self-aware (or intellectually honest) enough to know what they themselves got wrong in the past. That’s on them, not me.

        Are you trying to imply that everybody who has posted negative BS about Tesla have all been correct?

  9. speculawyer says:

    While I love some good Schadenfreude, Tesla is by no means on easy street. As Elon himself said “We are about to enter production hell.”

    Tesla needs to be able to create a really smooth and fast-moving Model 3 assembly line in order to make the Model 3 success. This is not a high-price vehicle like the Model S or Model X that can be build slowly. They need to have an assembly line that churns them out efficiently or else it becomes a money-pit.

    1. HVACman says:

      Production is half the equation. Sales are the other. They really, really need to get their retail ordering process up and running to turn those refundable order reservation place-holder deposits to committed sales contracts. They will be burning cash like crazy now for parts, labor, to actually build their vehicles. Cash flow will be a big deal.

      1. Nix says:

        All of that is already up and online and functioning. There are already multiple screen shots of it available on the internet.

        It just is invitation-only to access that website, so folks can’t see it until they get the invitation.

  10. FPD says:

    All of the article and some of the commentary follows the same general plot:
    1) Initial comments: Tesla will fail due to blah-blah-blah….
    2) Tesla delivers.
    3) Resulting comments: Tesla can still fail due to blah-blah-blah….

    Tesla is creating the future instead of seeing if they can exist in the present. That is one big difference that so few can see.

  11. HVACman says:

    Color me skeptical. The question of whether these new Model 3’s were actual retail “deliveries” or not will be answered in a few weeks. You can monkey with the truth via euphemist Musk-isms to fans, public, and investors but you can’t fool the California DMV. Pink slip titles means something. Vehicle registrations mean something. They mean actual ownership. Which means every i- dotted and t-crossed both technically and legally to be able to sell a new vehicle.

    Keep an eye out for these new M3’s on the road – if they start showing up with regular CA license plates, they were a “sale”. If they have nothing, or just CA manufacturer’s plates, they are Tesla factory-owned “loaners” and will be exchanged for actual retail-ready M3’s when the finally actually roll of the line for true delivery.

  12. Stephen Hodges says:

    Great article…. goes along with my desire to chisel climate change deniers names in granite in a very public place (not too low down though). Oh yea of little faith!

  13. Lou Grinzo says:

    Really happy to see this article. Thanks.

    I’ve been pointing out to people that for a long time in economics courses one of the main examples they’d present of something you’d “never” see is a brand new, starting from zero, car company. The arguments were obvious — you’d need a bargeload of money, but you’d also have to overcome some hideous hurdles in terms of developing in-house engineering expertise. Even now, things like designing, developing, and mass producing an ICE engine are about 50% black magic. (I’m exaggerating for effect; engineers, please don’t beat me up.)

    So along comes the Tesla founders, who not only want to start a new car company, but they want to make (get this!) nothing but BEVs and sell them without a traditional dealer chain! What a setup for a spectacular failure, right? Except several models and many thousands of units and a gigafactory later it didn’t happen.

    Yes, they will have struggles, even beyond the hubris of those absurd doors whose name shall not be mentioned in polite company. But I am quite sure that they will have more hits than misses, and will wind up greatly accelerating our transition to electrified transportation. As I’ve said here before, I can’t wait to see what effect the success of the T3 has on other car companies’ plans and products.

  14. CCIE says:

    A lot of those “disproven” commentators haven’t yet been disproven.

    The car hasn’t really been sold yet, so it is late. They’ve just delivered (not sold) some hand built beta models to employees.

    The initial price is closer to $50k than $35k.

    Their ability to scale remains to be seen. Though I think they’ll manage reasonably well.

    Lutz is likely right that they can’t make money on the stripped base version @ $35k. They’ll do everything they can to avoid selling that config.

    The comments about battery prices not going down significantly and not being able to scale up are clearly wrong. Battery production is coming close to following Moore’s Law.

    1. AJ says:

      Yes… They cannot make money on the 35K model (at low volume) That is why they are not starting the production of the 35K model now. Once the volume is up and battery manufacturing volume is also up, then making the 35K model will be profitable. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand. The current 44K model with options could cost upto 49K. And is as quick and nimble as a BMW 330i as described by auto reviewers. Go configure a 330i with a couple of premium options and see what the price is.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        AJ said:

        “They cannot make money on the 35K model (at low volume) That is why they are not starting the production of the 35K model now. Once the volume is up and battery manufacturing volume is also up, then making the 35K model will be profitable.”

        Ah! Thank you, AJ.

        Finally, a post on the subject by someone who understands how the economy of scale affects profit and loss.

        Sadly, all too many will ignore your post and keep right on repeating the same fallacious claim that Tesla “can’t possibly” make a profit on a $35k Model 3.

  15. Get Real says:

    Lol, all these supposed “problems” some people here like to repeatedly whine about here are actually good things to have-HUGE demand for your potentially revolutionary car!

  16. Just_Chris says:

    I think it is interesting that all the predictions about cost are all about about battery prices. I wonder how big they all thought the battery in a 200 mile car would need to be? If you look at the Leaf efficiency numbers to get 220 miles you’d need over 60 kWh. If you look at things like the Coda’s (well don’t look at them, just at the efficiency numbers, no one should ever look at a coda) you would need a 90 kWh battery to do 200 miles.

    Tesla have been really sheepish about the size of the battery in the model 3. I wonder if they’ve managed to get below the ionq’s 25 kWh per 100 miles efficiency? If they have they might only have a 50 kWh battery in the 3. If they are close to 20 kWh per 100 miles they might only have a 45 kWh battery in the vehicle. That would make a massive difference to the production cost and might not be something a battery expert would think of.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      If you look at things like the Coda’s (well don’t look at them, just at the efficiency numbers, no one should ever look at a coda)…”

      Oh, snap!

      😀 😀 😀

      Well, I can’t disagree with your characterization of the almost painfully dowdy and outdated, both inside and out, CODA Sedan.

      I was going to post “I wonder what the comments would have been had InsideEVs been around back then”, but then I checked and discovered that InsideEVs was around back then! Rather sparse comments, though; the most I saw on any CODA-related article was 10. I presume the InsideEVs readership was pretty low back then, and I only recognize one screen name matching that of one of us current Usual Suspects (Hi, Bonaire!).

  17. Steve says:

    Great article!

    I wish there was a compilation of all the interviews Bob Lutz has done on CNBC about Tesla over the last 4 years.

    And another one with Cory Johnson, that clown over on Bloomberg.

  18. Bill Howland says:

    The thing that Lutz, and then the more presigious than him (at least in their own minds) big experts, all forget is, is that Tesla has a different business model than most any other company.

    The things they say may be all true to a certain extent, but the main point is it JUST DOES NOT MATTER.

    Wall St. Loves Tesla, and as long as that is the case (I for one see this not changing as long as Wall St. remains the same), then Tesla will prosper.

    Since Musk just cashed out a $Billion or so, he seems to be doing all right for himself.

  19. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Before I say anything at all on this subject, I should confess my own failed prediction: Until just several months ago, certainly well within the past 12 months, I repeatedly predicted that Tesla would only manage to produce a token handful of Model 3’s at the very end of the year.

    I’m not merely happy, but ecstatic, to have been proven wrong!

    However, that said, many of the comments that TeslaMondo** is pointing and laughing at, are not about Tesla being able to start production of the TM3, but rather about whether or not it will be able to profitably scale up production as quick as Tesla is planning to.

    We can certainly hope that TeslaMondo will turn out to be equally correct on that subject, but at the moment it’s counting your chickens waaaaaay before they’re hatched!

    **Note it’s TeslaMondo, not “Tesla Mondo”, no matter how many times InsideEVs prints that mis-spelling.

    https://teslamondo.com/

  20. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I see that some of our Usual Suspects are experiencing the Five Stages of Grief over Tesla successfully having entered production of the TM3 on time (GASP!): Namely, SparkEV, Texas FFE, and HVACman.

    It’s interesting to see this human psychology mechanism so very plainly displayed here.

    As a reminder, here are the five stages:

    1. Denial (that’s where they’re at now)

    2. Anger (some of that beginning to be shown, too)

    3. Bargaining (some of that already on display also: “Oh, those sales don’t count because they don’t have pink slip titles!”)

    4. Depression

    5. Acceptance

    It’s going to be interesting watching these Usual Suspects going through the classic Five Stages over the next few months.

    I’m not counting the outright troll posts from FISHEV and “Unions suck”, because unlike those listed above, they know that what they’re posting is B.S.

  21. Spider-Dan says:

    How many Model 3s did Elon claim would be built in 2017? I can’t remember whether it was 200k or 400k.

    I look forward to an update of this article adding Elon’s name to the list of clueless “experts” who don’t know what they are talking about.

  22. Brave Lil' Toaster says:

    Congratulations! You’ve just won the “Tesla Fanboy of the Year Award!”

    How does it feel to be wasting your life simultaneously counting chickens before they hatch, declaring winners of the race at the starting gun, and deciding that the game is over before the fat lady has sung?

    I wish Tesla the very best, and I hope that we’re all driving electric cars in 8 years. But if you had *any idea* how many technology companies had made it to product launch and then failed in spectacular fashion shortly thereafter, you would be making exactly none of the claims you’ve made today. Clearly, you have no concept of the kind of disasters that can still befall Tesla over the next 12 months, nevermind 12 years. Here’s a short list:

    – The stock market could crash tomorrow, or anytime in the next 2 years, dooming Tesla instantly.
    – Volkswagen (or Ford, or GM, or BMW) could produce a vehicle that sells better than the Model 3.
    – Any one of Tesla’s parts suppliers could totally drop the ball or go out of business.
    – A civil war could break out in America. No. Really.
    – A tornado or earthquake could hit the Gigafactory. Or any one of Tesla’s parts suppliers.
    – Elon Musk could have a coronary.

    But because they handed out the first 30 cars last weekend, you’re declaring the race finished and that they’re the winner. Please.

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