Does Tesla’s “D” Actually Stand For Diversion?


Last week, Elon Musk tweeted: “About time to unveil the D and something else” and instantly the interwebs were abound with people asking, “What the H is the D?” Personally, my favorite guess was when one person wondered if it could be a diesel range extended version of the Model S.

After watching the response to his Tweet, it’s apparent that Elon has become the Steve Jobs of the automotive world. All he has to do is hint at something, and the Tesla faithful go wild. But it’s not just the electric car enthusiasts, in the six days following the infamous Tweet, Tesla stock rose over 6 %.

However the market didn’t respond well to the news that the D has been revealed as an exciting, high-performance, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version of the Model S. By 11:00am the next day TSLA was down 17% $17 (6.5%) That’s not too surprising because most people who follow Tesla knew an all-wheel-drive S would eventually be available so this wasn’t any real surprise. Tesla is using the Model S platform for the Model X, which will have dual motors, and offer all wheel drive, so it would be silly for Tesla to keep that technology exclusively for the Model X and not offer it on the S. It was expected to be even higher performance than the base rear wheel drive S, but the performance is really stunning; 0-60 in 3.2 seconds.

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

The “something else” turned out to be the announcement that Tesla has finally put the finishing touches on their version of Drivers Assistant features, something that most of their competitors already offer. Again, it was no secret that Tesla was working on Drivers Assistant features; it was one of the few things that current Model S owners have complained about the lack of. Tesla offered demonstrations which showed the Model S able to change lanes, accelerate and decelerate to obey the posted speed limits and come to a stop on its own by following the vehicle in front of it. Really neat tech, but nothing groundbreaking when compared to the already available drivers assist features of the competition.

The excitement over the dual motor and drivers assist options is understandable, as both are great features, plus Tesla has done an incredible job thus far. They proven so many automotive journalists, executives and financial analysts wrong and continue to defy the odds. These enhancements also prove that Tesla isn’t going to rest on their accomplishments, and that they will indeed continue to improver their products. Tesla continues to install a vast network of Superchargers which allows their already long-range electric cars to travel distances other electric cars simply cannot. They have brought to market a car that has won an impressive amount of awards, been called the best car some publications have ever tested and achieved the highest crash test score possible and now they have just improved it.

Tesla Model X Concept

Tesla Model X Concept

But let’s not lose sight of the Tesla’s more important goals; bringing the Model X and ultimately the Model 3 to market. The highly anticipated Model X, Tesla’s next model to be released, was barely a footnote in last night’s Tesla event. Back in February of 2012, at the Model X premier, Elon said this about Model X deliveries: “We will start production towards the end of next year (2013), probably deliver a few units…and bulk production will start in 2014.” Then, in March of 2013, Elon pushed back Model X production a full year to late 2014: “We are adapting the platform architecture of the Model S to develop our Model X crossover. We revealed a prototype of Model X in February 2012 and plan to begin production in late 2014.” Then in May of this year Tesla made this announcement: “Extensive development work on Model X is underway and we expect to have production design prototypes ready in Q4.”

So, it went from deliveries in late 2013 to late 2014 to now only having production prototypes ready for late 2014. It’s now Q4 of 2014 and Tesla still hasn’t revealed the actual production version of the Model X. It’s obvious Model X deliveries won’t be happening at all as promised in 2014 and it isn’t even clear if and when they will happen in 2015. This isn’t breaking new ground for Tesla, though. Both the Roadster and Model S suffered with delays but Tesla survived unscathed because both vehicles ultimately delivered a driving experience that was intoxicating, and honestly there was simply no competition in the premium EV space. But how long can Tesla continue to deliver new vehicles years after they are initially promised?

Tesla Model 3 Coming Perhaps In 2017?

Tesla Model 3 Coming Perhaps In 2017?

Tesla’s affordable 3rd generation car, the Model 3 was initially promised in 2015. Then, in March of 2013 Elon Tweeted “We are still 3 to 4 years away, wish it could be sooner”. That would mean Model 3 should launch in 2016 to 2017. It’s only a couple months from 2015 and not only hasn’t the Model X launched, but we haven’t even seen the actual production version. It’s looking like 2017 may be a highly optimistic goal for the Model 3, but only time will tell.

In the meantime we have Elon and his magical Twitter account, inspiring hope and promise of better things to come. He’s a master at creating suspense, offering little tidbits to keep everyone waiting to see Tesla’s next move. His confidence and optimism makes you want to believe everything he says, even if reality makes it difficult to accept. But how long can he keep it up without delivering the X is the question. Does the D really stand for Diversion? Was last night’s announcements just Elon’s clever way of deflecting attention away from the problems the Model X program is having? It seems to be working because nobody is asking the tough questions about why the X has had so many delays, and when is it actually coming.

Sooner or later the Model X must launch and then Tesla needs to get Model 3 to market as soon as possible. By 2017, there will likely be competing long range electric offerings by other premium OEMs. Tesla won’t have a corner on the 200-mile EV market by then, but they will likely have the most robust nationwide DC fast charge infrastructure in place and it will be the only one that is free to use.

Tesla Lays Claims To Most Fast Charging Points In US - Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

Tesla Lays Claims To Most Fast Charging Points In US – Image Credit: Tom Moloughney

Despite delays, Tesla hasn’t failed to deliver yet and I’m not betting against them now, but it can’t be overstated how important it is to get the Model X off the ground and stay on schedule for the Model 3. If Elon can indeed keep his promise of a 200-mile EV that costs under $40,000 and delivers it in 2017 (2016 looks impossible at this point), customers will be lining up around the block as if the next iPhone was being released. If indeed that happens then the only D we’ll be talking about is Dominance.

Categories: Tesla

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

75 Comments on "Does Tesla’s “D” Actually Stand For Diversion?"

newest oldest most voted

OMG Tom…did you actually mention Tesla and delay in the same sentence? Time to go hide in the corner.

The pathway to affordable Tesla EV is apparently through more and more expensive models & add-ons.


To be fair, from the beginning Musk has always stressed that the only way for his company to build an affordable EV would be to work through the luxury models first. Thus, you saw the Roadster with an original base price of $109k, next you saw the S with a base price of $60k or so. The X is filling a need that doesn’t exist at all (AWD SUV EV). So again luxury pricing. But these sales and reservations allow Tesla to go to the equities markets and raise cash to build the Gigafactory which will decrease the costs of the batteries… making the Tesla III feasible. This dynamic is no different than any other market. We saw the same with DVD players, Flat Panel TVs, MP3 players, Personal Computers, Oragic Food, etc. I’m a huge Tesla Believer even though I am wary of Tesla Stock. I’m neither a Tesla Fanboy nor a Tesla Hater. I admire what Musk has done as a disrupter, despite the fact that his timelines are the worst ever. Tesla resembles Apple in many many ways. For instance, Tesla somehow gets credit for introducing something that already exists. Tesla didn’t invent autopiplot; and Apple didn’t… Read more »
Elon’s own words from August 2, 2006 The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me) ===== Critical to making that happen is an electric car without compromises, which is why the Tesla Roadster is designed to beat a gasoline sports car like a Porsche or Ferrari in a head to head showdown. Then, over and above that fact, it has twice the energy efficiency of a Prius. Even so, some may question whether this actually does any good for the world. Are we really in need of another high performance sports car? Will it actually make a difference to global carbon emissions? Well, the answers are no and not much. However, that misses the point, unless you understand the secret master plan alluded to above. Almost any new technology initially has high unit cost before it can be optimized and this is no less true for electric cars. The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium, and then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model. Without giving away too much, I… Read more »

I’ve known this “secret plan” for a long time. And that is precisely my point – Tesla is supposed to work on cheaper offerings, not more and more expensive offerings.

I absolutely don’t care for the 0-60 being 3.2 instead of 4 seconds. These are hobbies for the rich … and far from the stated goals of Elon/Tesla.

Stop being a whiner. If you want a cheap EV, go buy a 2014 iMiev, or a used Volt or used Leaf. All can be had for monthly payments that are around what a typical gas car driver pays for gas each month. AKA – for essentially free.

There is no problem with finding an electric vehicle that is cheap. There is no need for Tesla to build every car for everybody.

If you want a sub-20K premium luxury EV from Tesla, wait a number of years and buy one used, the same way folks buy used gas BMW’s and MB’s when they can’t afford to buy new.

The best part of the Model III roll-out will be the end to the endless whining about how much the Model S costs.

Nix, stop being pedantic – this is not about “me”. I’m not “waiting” for Model 3 to drive electric.

evnow, Tesla is working on the cheaper models. The Gigafactory build out, the global sales and service center build out, and the global Supercharger network build out are all towards supporting the cheaper models. To raise money to do all that in order to be able to sell, support, and break through the chicken and egg problems with hundreds of thousands of competitive BEVs means making money today. Since they are cell production constrained, each additional dollar of profit they can eek out of each cell sold is plowed back into the company to achieve the above. It’s not just introducing the Model 3, it’s building up the manufacturing, engineering, sales, and service in order to make the Model 3 a viable business.

I agree. A 0-60 time of 3.2s got my attention, but as I slurped the drool back in my mouth a quick trip to the Tesla designer gave me sticker shock: Tesla is still very much a rich, very rich, person’s toy. Spending 100k or more on a vehicle is insane, even if you “can” afford it. So many better uses for that money from job training programs, local city redevelopment, farm trusts, public transportation infrastructure, medical research, etc. I’m not saying those who spend $100K on a car don’t also support some of those more altruistic public needs, but why not buy a cheaper vehicle and spend the rest on something more publicly beneficial?

First: the truly affluent can buy this expensive car AND spend a ton on other beneficial things Many of the people buying these cars would buy this OR they’d buy some other $100k+ car. They aren’t going to buy a MiEV. So why not let them buy something that can lead to a better world, even if it is only indirectly? Secondly: I’m not sure that there are many things that are more beneficial than Tesla’s vision. America’s addiction to Oil is what leads to eternal war with the Middle East. our addiction to ICE technology is harming the environment. Obviously, it’d be better if people walked and biked more. But Americans won’t do it. Thus: lead them with a carrot. Let the rich drive an awesome car. The proceeds will lead to normal Americans driving cars that reduce their carbon footprint and hopefully wean us off of Middle Eastern war and thus help get us out of the Middle East. It’s just like the Prius. One of the reasons it did so well is because Hollywood superstars rode those to the Oscars, and Regular Folk thought “hey, if it’s good for Brangelina and Bennifer, it’s good enough for me!”… Read more »
Yes, I see your point. I kinda hate to bash the plan of Tesla to ultimately deliver an economical electric vehicle. But this latest announcement does seem, as Tom points out with his title, to divert us away from that ultimate goal so many of us, myself included, would like to see happen. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight and the wealthy could subsidize the transition. That all makes sense. But even if they delivery a $35k car with 200 miles range in 2018, it’s still more expensive than most can afford (especially without going into a debt Ponzi scheme). Worse, it diverts us away from better transportation solutions and/or the need to build a society that doesn’t require such herculean tasks to just live, work, and be happy. We are falling for a ruse that Tesla is our environmental/energy independence savior of some sort through selling cars. Really? We’re just seeing a corporation/CEO hyping their product to make a profit; a true mass market vehicle (a Leaf competitor, for example) will not be offered from Tesla until after 2020, if ever. It just doesn’t seem to be in the “reality” for them – even if the “plan” is a… Read more »

You veer off message here. It sounds like you are complaining about the fact that we have designed our societies around the car, and perhaps, that is not a good thing. (Totally agree here, hate the suburbs.)

But to wax poetically about how bad they are and how we should fix them misses the point. Not enough people want to fix these problems. And Tesla, at least, is trying to present a way forward in the current framework. It’s a bandaid on top of a system that doesn’t feel very sustainable. The ‘burbs are built around the idea of endless growth, an idea that wasn’t present in ancient cities.

Don’t throw Tesla our here, they are at the least, providing a way for consumers to do less harm. It’s not perfect, but its a start.

S500 AMG or SP85D, one is remarkably efficient, the other is not.

I’m willing to admit I am no Immanuel Kant when it comes to arguing for a moral imperative, but may basic point is that Tesla is selling a very expensive elite product with the promise that they will be able to provide something more affordable later on that will reduce emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. I don’t blame them for having this stated goal, I just don’t think they are as sincere in reaching it as they are simply interested in making a profit. Yes, good for them – and the rich people who can afford their cars – but not exactly good for the planet or oil independence. I hope they achieve the goals, but this latest diversion makes those more altruistic promises of the Tesla corporate charter seem less important to the company. I’m sure there will be people who say, “Tesla is not a non-profit / charity … they have to make a profit in order to succeed and make good progress. Without them we’re worse off, we make no progress.” As you say, “Don’t throw them out.” That analysis and opinion fits well with our consumerist attitudes and desire to have technology let us… Read more »

Danpatgal – the “all free cash flow is plowed back” is what could convince you that they are still following the Original Plan – Oil is Bad, but no one is willing to do anything about it.

I point to the IS crap to define what we Must do militarily, whenever there is a threat to our energy status quo. We can talk about the cities in danger, but it is.. Simply.. the oil, and the world knows this.

To have even a glimmer of hope of solution is a good thing.. to create more stores and superchargers than are presently needed according to sales is a Statement. MHO.

I hate it when people call Teslas “a rich person’s toy”.

That’s like calling a Cadillac a rich person’s toy. It’s not a toy, it’s what they use to get to work. It’s transportation. It’s completely practical and useful. And more importantly, it’s not holding people back with its shortcomings.

Just like their marketing says: Zero emissions, zero compromises.

AVERAGE wages for 2012 was $45k (according to SSA). Subtract housing, food, clothing, medical, and the rest, you’re not talking about having very much left over for transportation. Even if you’re well above the average, earning say $100k/year, to spend one YEARS salary on an vehicle … makes the Tesla (and Cadilac, Mercedes, BMW …) rich people products. Yes, I use the term “toy” because, like a toy, a much simpler and efficient solution exists to get the job done, but a fancier version is used to please or otherwise amuse.

Not disagreeing so much as pointing out that the average car transaction price is in the $31,000 range. And not all of these people making $40,000 are buying used cars and Nissan Versa’s. Even if that is the better choice. Because sub-prime auto lending is Waaaaaay up, as is the length of loans being taken out. It’s moved from 48 months to 60months to now 72 months being very normal…

No. These are catch-up features that are in demand so Tesla tried to make a big splash with them.

If I had five million dollars I would not spend a $100,000 on a car in that every finical show and book out there tells you it’s a very bad idea to lock up a $100,000 in a car. The reason is the car’s value crashes in value after I buy it and they are more of a money sink then a asset.

I really think Tesla might be out growing the fish tank it is in that there are only so many people who would have gobs of money or the lack of saving who would buy a $120,000 car.

It raises the technical bar and lets them pad their accounts while not jacking up the existing product’s price. Don’t forget that the market would bear a higher price for the S if they wanted to charge it. Finally, I trust these guys will work their tails off to make the 3 the best EV in its class when it comes out.

I don’t think Tesla can charge higher for their existing product. And Tesla might get more downward pressure on their prices once the other EV makers start raising their car’s ranges and charging abilities.

Tesla as of now is only winning due to it’s high differences in range and abilities. But if that gab got closer Tesla would be under more pressure.

Yes, yes it is. *cut through the snark with a fog horn* Introducing more variants of a given platform and AWD not only open up the market more increasing sales but they are also HIGHER margin items. Increasing gross margin increases the cash flow available to reinvest in the business. Also for Tesla, AWD on the road is good way to increase the validation miles of the Model X drivetrain, and for testing out suppliers and parts to smooth out the Model X launch. Look at the new 187-221hp front/rear motors. They are smaller, lighter, more efficient, and cheaper to produce having less total material. It just so happens that 185-250hp is the standard output of all base luxury cars, almost all cars around the world too: Small Luxury: Audi A4 – 200hp BMW 320i – 180hp MB C300 – 241hp Volvo S60 T5 – 240hp Regular Cars: Subaru Legacy/Outback – 175hp Camry – 178hp Mazda 3 – 155hp Subaru Impreza – 148hp

It’s fine for Tesla to improver their products, but I need them to make cheaper products.

This industry moves slowly, but if you poke the bear with a stick, you may eventually have to run. Tesla has awakened the competition, which is now hard at work — mostly in 100% secret, witness Ford for example — and will unleash their products closer to 2017.

Anton, you keep threatening all of us with secret products.

I’ll believe Ford or GM will come up with a viable non-compliance EV, when I can buy one here in Seattle. Until then, I’ll be looking forward to announced cars like Model 3 or Leaf 2.

BTW, will Ford make a “utility” plugin vehicle with more utility after the secret project or before ?

I don’t know what you mean by “utility” plug in vehicle, but I am betting on this: Almost all automakers will have 200 mile or near 200 mile EVs in the market by 2017. The pricing and margins will be brutal.

I’m talking about the so called “CUV” – CMax Energi.

“[Elon’s] confidence and optimism makes you want to believe everything he says, even if reality makes it difficult to accept.”

Tom, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Great writing Tom. My only nitpic, stock is down ~17 points, not percent. It is down ~6%.

Tesla has managed to thrive despite not hitting Elon’s overly aggressive targets by knocking it out of the park on the product. I think the priorities are constantly reshuffled, as they should for a small company.

The big issue will come if the 3 design isn’t ready when the GigaFactory is or vice versa. There is major money on the line based on this execution. As long as they don’t go bankrupt getting Model 3 out the door, the customers will forgive the timing of it.

I think it is a delicate balancing act to create hype and avoid creating future disappointment. Elon Musk is a visionary who thinks bigs and inspires big things. I’m eagerly anticipating the Model III but waiting with baited breath knowing 2016 is unlikely and 2017 may be as well.

Musk is able to temper this somewhat by exceeding expectations when his products actually launch. I hope as Tesla matures that its timelines become more reliable because delivering a nearly perfect product on time would be as good as it could get!

Very underwhelming evening all in all. Finally the mighty Tesla Model S has almost all of the safety and convenience technology that I have had on my i3 ever since it was released nearly a year ago. And at only 3 times the price, outstanding.

Once they add a feature as advanced as i3 Range Assistant then they will really have something.

I agree, it was underwhelming.

I was sure there would be a surprise production X shown last night.

So far Musk has been able to keep Wall Street and Main Street happy, and he gets a pass.

Thus Tesla gets credit for inventing things that are already in production elsewhere. It’s just like Apple who remains in Main Street’s good graces, so much so that people line up for a new release despite the fact that the newest iPhone is usually equivalent to a 1-2-3 year old Samsung.

But I still wish him luck. We cannot let Wall St/Main St tear Tesla down. if we do, then it relieves pressure off of the ICE manufacturers, and we’ll be at risk of another EV1 fiasco.

Agree on all points!

Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.

The i3 is a RWD and not AWD and as far as Range Assistance who needs it when the 85D can go 295 miles per charge?

Oh, I guess the i3 still does.

The model S would need at least 400 miles range at 80 mph or megawatt level hypercharger before it could really claim that a BMW i3 rex is a useless option. For now an i3 rex in a Model s would be a usefull tool, even if they don’t want to do that.
But starting from the 200 miles range at 80 mph and 135 KWh it has now, we can hope that steady progress will bring that up to 300 miles at 80 mph and 400 KW quiet soon and that the final goal of 400 miles at 80 mph and 1000 KW hypercharge will be reached. Until then the BMW i3 configuration makes a potential solution for an alternate EV sedan. This would be especially the case with a free piston direct generator as a more compact and efficient rex.
In the mean time it is always nice to enjoy the exceptional driving performances that electric drive allow.

Unless you want/need AWD in which case, the i3 won’t cut it.

I’ll take a robust Supercharger network and near 300 mile range over the REx, but to each their own.

There should be a sedan with an i3 type system, but this does not exclude supercharge capability.It should be EV sedan plus Rex plus supercharge, all of it and still affordable.

What kind of mileage does your Prius get at 80 mph. (severe stereotype follows) I wasn’t aware that the Prius had actually been driven over 75mph, and that 74mph was ‘just that One guy’.
LOL, but I just had this conversation with better-version, and when I told her that DA could read and automatically respond to speed limits, she replied ‘ughh’. She got the point when I reminded her that range suffers considerably from speed, and that speed does not coincide with time saved.. us OTs got into that Speed mindset back in the 55mph days, I drove in uhmmm.. groups.. that exceeded the speed limit by (horrors) over 50%. to do that now would be 110 mph. To believe you save remotely any time going ~10% faster is fallacy, and we proved it to ourselves. 80mph is crap, just say No, lol.

For some reason, this didn’t make it, definitely operator error, last line was:

“This your Prius… This is your Prius on SPEED”

Well a Prius can indeed go 400 miles at 80 mph and it has a top speed of 110 mph. But it is in the same time an affordable car that sits five. That is actually its main performance giving range speed and space in an affordable package. The Model S is a fantastic car but still has not the capability to make the 400 miles at 80 mph the Prius can do and even the Tesla factory workers can’t afford it. So, pragmatically it is a major step in Elon’s valid plan to progressively get to affordable electric cars with range and fast charger but for the Tesla factory worker a Prius is still the realistic option for now. This will change over time with used model S becoming available and the future Model III but in the intermediate time there is not much else. The Volt is an option, the i3 is to small for a family and already high priced. In fact it is very sad there is no sedan ev with a Rex available from a lower price brand like Ford, Nissan or Toyota.

Right, they’re just matching all the other AWD BEVs.

Tesla has a simple aim to move the vast majority of the market to BEV. To do that they need long range (check), performance (check), crash safety (check) , fast charging (small check), AWD (check), active safety (mark), towing capability, and lower prices.

Every mark, small check and big check on an item on the list expands the market potential of their cars, which keeps them moving forward, working to check off more items on the list. So yes, AWD is a big deal and yes the Autopilot/safety hardware is a big deal.

It’s easier improve a luxury car, the less expensive model will only happening once the batteries reach the right price per kw/h.
Be patient Tesla will deliver what they promise, so far they showed to us that better efficiency can be achieve with dual motors and just $4000 increase in price. ” S60 and S85″

I just saw a news story here in Seattle that stated Space X recruiters had been seen several times camping out in our fair city and enticing tech types to consider becoming employees. It seems Space X is expanding and looking to possibly locate in the Seattle area to work with Boeing on the manned Falcon space vehicle. Is that a good thing? I mean, really? American jobs – to work on an American project in America to transit American astronauts to the mostly American-funded ISS? Of course, now we pay hundreds of millions of dollars to our good pals, THE RUSSIANS to ferry our space men to the space station. Couldn’t we just keep doing that since that Space Shuttle was so archaic and expensive? Of course, I am using this info to be sarcastic. Listen to Tom there – the biggest BMW ( German company ) fan and advocate I know of. Funny Tom chooses to write an article that, on the face of it seems to share well-known-already facts, like timeframes it has taken brand-new company, Tesla to put out products it’s championed. Tom doesn’t mention how tenuous it’s been for Tesla. The bankruptcys avoided, the engineers… Read more »

I am an Indian but i totally agree with you.

These fruitcakes that accuse Elon of only manipulating stock prices forgot that nobody on Earth has figured out how to make an American car company since Ford and GM did it 100 years ago. Small, narrow-minded people who see things this way are the same beings who claim, “I was a big fan from the beginning!” after said company vanquishes and achieves. I don’t mean to mince words, but to call last nights happenings “underwhelming” is plain stupid. These words spoken by people who think it’s normal for a 7 passenger, five door sedan to travel at Nissan GT-R velocities. These are folks who work for other car companies. These are people who are sour apples because they can’t afford the car, or can’t wrap their heads around the master plan to make batteries cost less and electric cars affordable. They want it now. They’re not realists. They complain and criticize while watching the risk-takers and innovators take all the chances. Will you detractors benefit from these perceived “diversions” and stock manipulations you think you so cleverly see? You bet. In a few years some of you may even drive Teslas and yep, you’ll be one of those saying you… Read more »
James: Although there are Tesla Haters out there (subtle or not), I think you do need to recognize that there are dangers with Elon’s strategy. There is no question that the Tesla Model S is an amazing car. However, one must be careful about over-hyping incremental changes to this amazing car. yes, the Dual Motors are impressive. They were also anticipated for YEARS (ever since the X was presented, since they share the same basics). The Auto Assist though? This is already present in a lot of other cars. It’s hardly frontier breaking. Is it great? Yes. Is it worthy of a huge press event? Uncertain. The danger is that we’re hearing about small incremental changes but not hearing about the thing that’s going to make or break Tesla: The X (and the III). If Tesla can get that X out to customers, and if it impresses as much as the S did, then all will be forgiven As it is, Tesla is playing the Apple Strategy, and playing it well. Bring out a new feature that exists elsewhere, and pretend you invented it. (Like “Apple Pay” or fingerprint or a big screen). If people say “hey, that’s not new”… Read more »

For the record I am not an Elon hater, quite the opposite, I believe he is an archetype the comes along once every 100 years and he is using his talent to change our world in more ways than any other billionaire at the moment.

But he is also the guy that laughed publicly about the i3 when it was released. At the time, the i3 was a far more subtantial technological breakthrough than the S with carbon fiber. Audi did remarkably sexy aluminum bodied cars in 1980. Elon bolted an electric motor in it.

Elon should definitely do what he is doing and he will be in the history books next to Edison and Tesla but he desn’t have to denegrate other achievement around him to get there.

Do you think for one moment BMW would have considered making the i3 or i8 if Tesla did not exist?


“Do you think for one moment BMW would have considered making the i3 or i8 if Tesla did not exist?” Nelson: not sure if you’re responding to me or to yiiikes with this. Obviously I agree with your point because as I said above: “Tesla’s most important contribution is NOT the Model III. It is the pressure they are putting on all the legacy ICE manufacturers forcing them to acknowledge that EVs can perform well and are desirable to the world – forcing them to bring their own products to market or get left behind in the dustbin of failed brands.” and in another post above: “But I still wish him luck. We cannot let Wall St/Main St tear Tesla down. if we do, then it relieves pressure off of the ICE manufacturers, and we’ll be at risk of another EV1 fiasco.” ========== So I’m rooting for Tesla 100,000,000%. I think their product is top notch, even though it lacks things that other ICE cars may have. No car is #1 in everything, right? But I also recognize that Elon’s strategy is very risky. And I am increasingly nervous that there are nondisclosed problems with the X, a car that… Read more »

The BMW i sub brand development project started LONG before the Model S.

Nearly 8 years ago BMW made a strategic decision to completely change their product offerings to include sustainable energy vehicles. The program is far more comprehensive than just an automobile – it inlcudes sustainable manufacturing, sustainble material selection and recycling.

The plant in Leipzig is 100% wind powered, Tesla had nothing to do with those choices, they were made by a progressive team at the cost of billions of dollars by a company with a complete vision for the future to reduce footprint.

The Board at BMW didn’t even know who Elon Musk was when they made those decisions for their company’s future.


I think you have historical EV dates wrong.
The Tesla Roadster was officially revealed to the public on July 19, 2006 then came to market in 2008. This historic event led other manufacturers like GM, Nissan and BMW to start thinking about entering the nascent EV market.

BMW’s field testing of the Mini E was part of BMW Project i, and the first trial was launched in the U.S. in June 2009.

The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of BMW Project i.


My dates are good –

“BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility – all with a focus on sustainability”, explained Robertson. The BMW i brand comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions.

1. BMW was working on the sustainable manufacturing and product vision before the Roadster was launched. They invested $2Billion in the program.

2. Obviously if the Mini E was released in 2009, there were years of work prior that went into it.

3. Only 2400 Roadsters were delivered, hardly a historic event or even noteworthy, more like kit car numbers. DeLorean delivered 8500 cars and then vaporized, 2400 cars is far from historic.

BMW did not invest $2Billion because of 2400 Roadsters. They were well down the road themselves on their own, taking the concept much further than Tesla has even to date.

Tesla has never even seen $2Billion let alone made that kind of investment in anything ever. BMW is 5-8 years ahead of the world in the sustainable manufacturing and product technology.

“The concept much further”

That I don’t get….

The i3 will never sell in volume. I suspect it will never catch the Model S even when the X cannibilizes

OK, here’s food for thought. How much do you think every single thing from Musk’s Twitter account to the October 9th gala and announcement, replete with test drives, demonstrations and security guards cost – compared to just ONE AD CAMPAIGN from ONE CAR COMPANY for ONCE INFERNALLY-COMBUSTED SUV starring ( Matthew McConnaughy or voiceover from a celebrity… ) that runs regularly on TV, radio, in print and on the web? Just tell me – from ad agency in New York or Hamburg – to finished ad campaign for one ICE model. Which one do you believe costs more? Remember, Tweets and Bloomberg interviews cost Tesla nothing. Either one is an idiot, and the other a genius – and you and I are asked to cop for the costs of endless ad campaigns baked into the MSRP of that old-tech dinosaur they call “revolutionary”, or…??? See my point? Fool me once, shame on me — fool me every single time I buy a new car…??? Shame! Musk’s little bash was a small expense compared to what established carmakers do and spend – all to convince you they are good! That their products are worthy of our money. I’ve stated here before… Read more »
AWD is essential for Europe, for northern climes, and for direct competition in Tesla’s present demographic. Look how aggressively Tesla is going into Germany. It’s war – people. Commerce and capitalism at it’s best. And Tesla is in it to win it. Who cares if the platform is simultaneously being developed and perfected for Model X. Who cares if Model 3 meets YOUR deadlines? What cracks me up is that Musk delivers. Always has – so why doubt he will in the future? Critics like these poke and prod and try to diminish great things. To me, it is really sad. It was the documentary, Who Killed The Electric Car? that slapped me in my face and converted a lifelong “car guy” into an electric car fanatic. Over a few years, I realized how badly the current industry has scammed us all, and plied us with oil burners that have seen better days. The biggest takeaway from that film was the scientist who said, “in the history of our planet, organisms that have refused or were unable to evolve have ceased to exist”. I realized how strong the pushback would be for the transportation industry, so ensconced into our psyche… Read more »

Q: Does Tesla’s “D” Actually Stand For Diversion?

A: No! It stands for dual motor, longer range, better handling, better traction, faster 0-60 performance Model S.

The obvious so easily escapes the blind.


I also disagree with the idea of calling this a Diversion. It is a huge accomplishment in EV technology and previews the same technology that is going to be in the highly anticipated Model X that is only months away from production. Tesla doesn’t need a diversion. They’re still selling as many cars as they can build and are focused on building them while and continuiously improving their processes and products. They’re doing all the right things and aren’t releasing products until their ready which is very important in the market they are competing in. Tesla has exceeding all expectations and if all we can do is complain that they are taking a year or two extra to perfect their products and blow everyone away then I think they’re doing pretty well.

I’m sorry, i just don’t buy that any of the major automobile manufacturers will have an “affordable” 200mi EV on the market by 2017… it is extremely clear that sourcing that many batteries is just not possible. LG has announced that they will have a 200mi battery for GM but it is a GIANT PIPE DREAM… Panasonic produces 5x more li-ion EV batteries (by capacity) than LG and can barely keep up with Tesla Model S production. How can LG even dream of keeping up with the production requirements of a $30,000 GM EV?

With the gigafactory, Tesla is the ONLY manufacturer that is making real progress towards being able to supply enough 200mi affordable cars to keep up with demand.

Sure I saw those… i just don’t believe the math adds up.

GM sold 23,000 Volts last year with a 17kWh battery for 38mi (2.2mi/kWh) range for a total of 391,000 kWh of batteries.

Assuming GM could get 200mi out of an 85kWh (2.4mi/kWh) battery and have annual production of 100,000 vehicles it would still require 8,500,000kWh of batteries.

Last year LG sold less than 800,000kWh of plug-in batteries while Panasonic sold roughly 3,500,000kWh.

Are we really supposed to believe LG production is going to grow 1000%. I just don’t buy it.

Who says the batteries are 85 kwh? They could easily be more or less.

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, however. The math doesn’t add up, and arguably the common sense also. I mean it took Tesla a generation to get a 60k base sedan. Whereas this is one of GM’s first honest forays into EV world (or at least beyond compliance cars). The battery production isn’t there or any of that.

Kind of a FUD-y article regarding the Model X, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt, unless you have details of the “problems” the Model X is having–and simply being later than expected does not count–or are you advocating they ship to hit an arbitrary date, even if they are not happy with the product yet? Speaking of which, on the last earnings call, Elon stated that production of the MX would start in Spring of 2015. Any kind of slippage would have material impact on the company’s earnings and they would cover it here. BTW, there is a sound business reason for introducing new products in the last qtr of the fiscal year, it creates needless churn as some number of folks cancel orders in favor of waiting for the new thing. While Tesla likely has the backlog cover the cancelled orders there is some risk that the replacement orders will not get into production in time which would translate to a unit volume and revenue miss. With 20K Model X reservations in hand (at $5K a pop) I think they can afford to take their time, there is no demand issue on the Model X… Read more »

I don’t own a Tesla, but I’m a huge fan and I desperately wish I could afford one. That said, IMO the delays on the Model X are of Tesla’s own making.

I wouldn’t be surprised if getting everything right with the dual-motor set up is part of the delay with the X.

But I believe the falcon-wing doors have caused the bigger chunk of the problems in getting to production, and I, like many people, see them as an unnecessary gimmick.

Are there any gimmicks that might hold up the Model III? I hope not, but it is a new size of body, so there’s a lot more groundwork to lay than the Model X. Yet, the software work is already done, the dual motors are here, and the Gigafactory is on its way.

So, the tldr: Model X needn’t be this delayed, but I don’t anticipate the same issues causing problems for the Model III.

Tom writes: “….in the six days following the infamous Tweet, Tesla stock rose over 6 %.” “However the market didn’t respond well to the news that the D has been revealed as an exciting, high-performance, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version of the Model S. By 11:00am the next day TSLA was down $17 (6.5%)” ………………. In other words, the stock rose 6 percent in anticipation of Musk’s announcement, then fell back 6.5% to the stock’s pre announcement level. The stock fluctuations are basically just a wash… The autopilot and 4 wheel drive announcements may have underwhelmed some folks, but the 3.2 sec. time from 0-60 is impressive and the fact that the twin motors actually improve battery efficiency by 10%, with a bonus gain in top end speed. Now that was actually some pretty interesting, but counter intuitive news from Musk’s press conference. Remember that one of Musk’s stated aims has always been to show that EV technology is not only equal to, but actually superior to ICE technology. How better to do that, than with expensive sports cars (like the Roadster) and/or pricey sports sedans like the Model S. The carbon fiber body panels in the i3 and i8 don’t come… Read more »

Last night was a strategic move, akin to scorching the earth around one’s castle.

Tesla needed to check these, AWD, Radar Cruise/Auto-brake, and crazy S-class AMG fighting power, off the list to fully utilize their investment in the Model S and it’s platform. These types of development’s don’t preclude the Model X from arriving, Jaguar made a similar move a year ago, to very little press. By simple offering AWD on their sedans to increase US market penetration. They have since gone on to launch more models across the whole of Jaguar/Land Rover. This isn’t some Enron-magic, it’s just good business.

Just because tonight is getting some press doesn’t mean it is a distraction for distraction’s sake.

Andrew K said:

“Just because tonight is getting some press doesn’t mean it is a distraction for distraction’s sake.”


Musk himself said he thinks the AWD for Model S will help sell the car.

Let’s face it, by the end of 2015, the Model S is going to be getting a bit “long in the tooth” without some significant improvements to the drive train or other mechanicals, or the software, or the styling, or creature comforts, etc. Preferably, all the above.

Why wait until some new model unveiling in the Fall of 2015 to introduce new technology and added features. Why not introduce them now ?

Besides, the 4WD option should help sell the car this winter in northern Europe.

Perhaps yesterday’s press conference was simply called to draw attention to improvements in the Model S.

As I see it, Tesla needs the Model S to continue to sell well after the addition of the Model X, if they want to dramatically increase sales as Musk has outlined.

Does the D really stand for Diversion? Yes.

The Model X pre-order holders are getting tired. The Model X offered AWD and was arguably Very important to some %age of pre-orders ‘pulling the switch’ and plunking down. If you were anxious enough to get toward first-in-line due to Christmas ’15 being your best hope of receipt of your ‘normal’ shiny new X, you chose Signature, are into Tesla for over 30 large and for over six months. And… no hope in sight.

Offering the D brings relief to pre-orders that might decide to give up on Tesla when the only alternative was a RWD Model S.

I am a fan, but I am disappointed.. a pre-production, but mostly complete Model X is, simply, overdue.

and as a fan, and corporate/investor aware, I realize that the first question from Ms. Liu would have been, “When will the first X arrive in your customer’s hands.”
The reply Might be, “There are still relevant issues that we need to improve — believe me, No One, including our customers, wants the Model X out for usage and review More than the Tesla development team..
The customers that have invested in the Tesla Model X.. Will.. be at least as pleased with their purchase as the Model S owners that helped convince them.”

A number of capabilities will dissuade us, personally, from switching to the Model SD, but since the X -cannot- yet be shown, I do hope that other ‘Tesla reservists’ will look more favorably upon the 60D and 85D, choose Not to wait, and deliver the sales that this ‘D’iversion intended.
I do empathize with the fact that telegraphing the Model X -that so many wanted against the ‘P’erformance car, in the first place- has possibly cost sales of the Model S.. but your original plan had to gamble, ‘One or the other’.
Pay up, the Other is waiting.

Nissan “may” have a 150mile Leaf at some point.
Chevy “may” have a 50 mile Volt at some point.
BMW’s first attempt is 100mile range
VW think that 300 mile range could be possible in two to three years.
Against that backdrop, Tesla announces an AWD that increases efficiency and range of their existing car to almost 300miles – with an American designed & American built car, and people complain because its more expensive and they can’t afford it – yet its built to compete against Mercedes and BMW.

I almost spat my drink laughing when someone suggested Ford would come out with a competitor.
Ford & GM will produce “Car 1.1” that happens to have an electric motor but everything else will be standard Ford or GM.
The Ford/GM etc cars will still have paid Nav updates, still need a dealer install to update the car firmware.
It will still be tied to a dealer network who make most of their money from selling add-on services and uses maintenance as a cost center.

Mike ftw!

Has anyone stopped to consider the S as a technology testbed?

Think about this, they’ve proven aerodynamics, therefore perhaps scaling down the S, we get the 3. They’ve proven 200 plus miles on the battery with a given weight, therefore a smaller, lighter car will need a smaller battery to achieve similar range. They’re proving the smaller front motor capabilities, I’d imagine that under specific conditions (low speed snow & ice) the S may operate in a FWD mode. Thus proving that the smaller front motor could be a primary driver for a lighter vehicle. They’re testing the functionality of the new sensor platform and will be able to ascertain what will work with the smaller car. And finally, software is software, as long as it’s modular, they won’t have to reinvent the wheel to accommodate the 3.

So, my thought is that the lessons learned by the millions of miles driven in S’s around the world will contribute to making the 3 easier to get from drawing board to the street.

Well here’s one for the rumor mill—-
Tesla could have made the P85D a lot faster to 60 but they were afraid the pubic could not handle such speed so they actually pushed the 0 to 60 time back up to 3.2 seconds—–

Personally i think the X has been delayed for it was so much more important to get the jump on all other auto Co’s trying to make a splash on autonomous driving and Tesla certainly wanted it on ALL their models now and in the future—

Think people have overlooked how important is it going to be having a car with 295 mile range—-pretty sure that car will also be a big seller—-