Ever Wonder Why Musk Considered The Original Tesla Roadster A Failure?

OCT 3 2018 BY VANJA KLJAIC 27

There’s more than one reason the first-generation Roadster failed. That’s for sure.

For the Tesla Roadster of the first-generation, there were several issues that plagued the vehicle from the start. After all, it was the first all-electric vehicle ever produced by the newly established U.S based carmaker. The snappy high-performance machine looked good, borrowing its body from a Lotus Elise. It combined the aggressive body with some off the shelf battery packs and Tesla’s own first try at battery management system. In the end, it provided the driver with some impressive performance, underwhelming range and it was the car that brought the hype, but it clearly didn’t live up to it.

For starters, the vehicle lacked the appropriate range. It was also rather rough around the edges. And clearly, the technology wasn’t ripe when it was released. There were some major PR dramas unfolding around it, as Jeremy Clarkson, the then co-host of Top Gear, bashed the Roadster in more ways than one could count. Even Musk admitted that the early Roadster “was completely unsafe,” it “broke down all the time,” and it “didn’t really work.”

However, in the end, the Roadster was the first of its kind. It drove rather well – when it worked – and it was and still is a really fun car overall.

The video above gives us all the reasons why the original Tesla Roadster was a complete “failure”.

Made by Hoovies Garage – a channel that documents the adventures of Tyler Hoover, an automotive writer who makes suicidal car purchases, and maintains a fleet of cars he calls the “Hooptie Fleet” – this makes for a complete list of items that Tesla needs to rethink for the upcoming second-generation Roadster.

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David Allen

Folks, you are missing the fact that the man’s tongue is firmly in cheek. Watch the video. It is informative, and funny, and not anti-Tesla at all.

Yes, Vanja was trying to get in the spirit of the video. Anyone should watch the full thing before replying. It’s actually quite entertaining.

Elon Musk seems to consider it one of Teslas ‘Failures’ for the company. But to anyone that actually *drives* the final product… pure fun. 🙂

Pluto

He’s like Doug Demuro’s little brother!!

Gazz

Hoover actually drives a Model S and loves it. This review is no joke it is a real assessment of the early Roadster.
Not all of Teslas history is great and pointing it out is not wrong or in bad taste.

Speculawyer

Still cool as hell. No one else had the balls to put out a crazy fast car stuffed with Lithium-Ion batteries.

And for all the Roadster owners out there….who else can say they own a copy of the car that is currently traveling toward the Asteroid belt & Mars?

Clive

Correct

And the Mercedes B250e is all Tesla.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Ever Wonder Why The Original Tesla Roadster Failed?”

In what way did the original Roadster “fail”?

Did it “fail” to turn public perception from EVs as “punishment cars” driven only by holier-than-thou treehuggers, into highly desirable, sexy cars than can beat any gasmobile in a drag race? Heck no!

Did it “fail” to make Tesla the most talked about new auto maker, with the most desirable cars, in the entire world? Heck no!

Did it “fail” to convince the U.S. DOE that Tesla was worth the risk of a “green tech” energy loan, so Tesla could put the Model S into production? Heck no!

Did it “fail” to nudge GM into making the Chevy Volt, and Nissan into making the Leaf? Heck no!

The only thing it “failed” at was in producing an overall profit on the model.

* * * * *

Like the classic example of the “complex question” fallacy — “Have you stopped beating your wife?” — the “question” posed in the title of this article can’t be meaningfully answered because it’s not really a question — it’s an assertion, and a false one at that.

comment image
Public perception of EVs — and their holier-than-thou drivers — before the 2008 Tesla Roadster

Pushmi-Pullyu

There’s a line from a movie, altho I can’t recall which one…

“If there are those heating tar and plucking feathers from chickens — I will not say them nay.” 😉

Bill Howland
Yeah, as some other commenters hinted, this ‘review’ was a joke… “Original Roadster a ‘Mess’?”. SO its ok for this guy to say that meanwhile TopGear offered constructive criticism and they’re the Devil Incarnate. There were problems with this car ( I owned one for 4 years, placing over 50,000 miles on the car – much more than the one here), but those problems won’t really show up on a 30 minute test drive. Very little was actually re-worked on this car in spite of what historical revisionism is attempted now. I placed my own tires on the car and changed the camber to make the tires last 18,000 miles rather than 4-5000 miles, and came up with better, cheaper replacements to the extent that the 2 other local owners asked me what I had done and even Tesla Corporate called one day to find out what tires I had put on the car to greatly improve the value!!! One exaggeration from both this guy and Musk was that this car was not all that different from a Lotus Elise – the one speed air bag prevented it being sold in numbers in the States which was the proximate reason… Read more »

This was mostly from the mouth of Elon Musk. He called the car one of Tesla’s failures. It’s not a hit piece, but actual fact from the CEO.

Very true. Watch the whole video.

Pushmi-Pullyu

The title could have given a hint as to the ironic or tongue-in-cheek nature of the suggestion that the original Roadster was a “failure”. But it doesn’t. In that respect, it is indeed — as you say — click-bait.

For that matter, the body of the article similarly fails to give even a hint that calling the original Roadster a “failure” is meant to be taken ironically.

But onto positive criticism: The title could have been “Why the Original Tesla Roadster ‘Failed’ So Successfully”

-or-

“The Original Tesla Roadster: The World’s Most Successful ‘Failure'”

Either would be, I think, sufficiently intriguing to generate clicks, without being misleading about the content.

Yeah, it’s Musk who has referred to the car a ‘failure’. And the video talks about most of the points Musk has made in the past… it certainly had a troubled development and many issues.

Not surprising since it was Tesla’s first baby and it was charting the way for EVs!

But then the video pivots to the fact that, well, none of that internal Tesla stuff matters. The car is just plain awesome to drive. 🙂 (Spoilers!)

Musk considers it a ‘failure’ for the company in a lot of ways. Or at least he has characterized it as such multiple times.

But in the end that doesn’t matter. If you watch the video… the youtube ‘failure review’ ends up with him absolutely loving the car. To an owner/driver the issues Tesla had don’t end up mattering. The car was a blast.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Wasn’t the Roadster the first vehicle to use many 18650 cells, arranged in modules with active battery managent?”

Not quite. Martin Eberhard commissioned AC Propulsion to convert one of their tZero prototype roadster supercars from lead-acid batteries, to use thousands of li-ion laptop battery cells. He then urged AC Propulsion to put the car into production. It was only after they refused that Eberhard decided to create Tesla Motors. (If you’ve heard the company was founded by someone named “Elon”, well that’s fake news.) And the rest, as they say, is history!

Eberhard borrowed the tZero to serve as Tesla’s prototype, to convince potential investors that the Roadster would be worth making.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_Propulsion_tzero#Lithium-ion_battery_conversion

Doggydogworld

Also known as the tZero. The original was lead acid, but Tesla founder Martin Eberhard had them make a lithium ion version. Tesla used that one to raise venture capital.

Spider-Dan

You should probably finish the video. The reviewer says he wants one.

Elemental

Ha ha. Original Tesla Roadster was a failure. Psyche! The written part of the article should have made it a little more clear that the video delves heavily into sarcasm for the sake of humor. I’d hate to see FUD sites referencing it. Was an enjoyable watch none-the-less. Makes me want to drive one 🙂

Bruce

Did you guys actually watch the video, or did you watch it and just miss all the tongue in cheek of the headline?

Vertigo

Musk said that the *prototype* broke down all the time, around when they were giving the first demonstrations in 2006. Not the actual production car that people bought.

It also had an extraordinary range for an EV at the time, which mainstream models are only now starting to match. Not enough for Jeremy Clarkson maybe, but enough for people like Carlos Ghosn to see the potential in the technology.

The problem with the Roadster was that it initially cost more to build than to buy, which is why Tesla came within hours of bankruptcy in 2008. The supply chain was messy and inefficient, with parts requiring international shipping several times over. Once Musk took control of the company that was resolved fairly quickly, and by the end the Roadster did bring in enough money to make the Model S feasible.

BEVfan

The concept was and is still wrong.
If they would fit the Model 3 drivetrain and a smaller battery pack in that body, with a 50.000$ price, it would be a huge succes.
200.000$ price would fit it into a very small market and the investors will not want that until profits will be considerable.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Miata like EV?

Gazz

The early Roadsters had to have all their gearboxes swapped out. Yes he is talking about the earliest Roadster and it was bound to have problems. Hoovie drives and adores his Model S he is no short and no hater.

Stop being a snowflake and accept the rough with the smooth. Especially as the Roadster has been out of production for years and few people know or care what it was.

Gazz

Did any of you Fanboys actually watch the video?
He owns a Model S, Elon admitted the Roadsters shortcomings and Hoovie explains the cars achievements along with it’s faults. The companies reputation is not threatened by this video it is just an honest review by someone who has driven the car. Describing it as the “best failure he has ever driven” and saying “I want one”.

How many of you ever drove the Roadster?
How many of you have even seen one? I have seen one btw.

Dave100e

The majority haven’t watched it through, instead they skim read through the main page, open a tab for anything that mentions Tesla (pretty much everything on here now), scan them for any even slight negative suggestion towards Tesla or Musk and then transfer their autistic screeching through their keyboard and onto the comments section.

BEVfan

You could also fit it on the passenger seat of the I-Pace.

It was a joke. The video is a joke. Musk called the car a failure for Tesla, although it was a huge success for the segment and the company. Watch the whole video. We we’re not trying to cause all these issues. We figured people would catch it.