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Summary:

High profile electric car company Tesla Motors is going through a changing of the guard. The company says in a press release this morning that Martin Eberhard, the founder and CEO has stepped down from his post. Eberhard will remain with the company as President of […]

High profile electric car company Tesla Motors is going through a changing of the guard. The company says in a press release this morning that Martin Eberhard, the founder and CEO has stepped down from his post. Eberhard will remain with the company as President of Technology and focus on the Roadster, the company’s first car to market.

The company says it has appointed Michael Marks, former CEO of Flextronics and an investor in Tesla Motors, to take over as interim CEO. The release says: “Martin and the board have been planning for CEO succession since early this year, and will continue the search for a permanent CEO to lead Tesla Motors.”

Jalopnik posts an email that it says Eberhard sent to would-be buyers, that suggests the Roadster might face delays. “We are still planning to start production of the Roadster by the end of next month and deliver the first cars to customers this fall. We have a good chance of meeting this goal, but to be fully transparent, I want you to know that while it is within our reach, it is not yet fully within our grasp.”

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Based in San Carlos, Calif., Tesla has raised close to $100 million in funding, and is backed by a long list of high profile investors including Elon Musk, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Jeff Skoll, and Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

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  4. It seems a bit odd that they announced Eberhard’s change of status without his final replacement already selected. If they don’t have his replacement yet, why the change? Why the announcement?

    I think Tesla Motors big problem is that they were conceived as a company before the PHEV strategy was popularized by Felix Kramer (Calcars). Now everyone knows their strategy (all-electric) is economically, quite problematic.

    The problem with an all-electric car is that they need adequate range for them to be acceptable to the broad consumer. I think the Tesla gets 200-250 miles per charge, which is on the low side for range. Most cars get 300 miles plus. But it’s not too bad.

    But contrast this with the other consumer reality that the typical driver only drives less than 50 miles per day or thereabouts. So, assuming you can plug-in your vehicle most nights, that “last battery” on your Tesla, that you’ve paid so much for, is rarely used. It has very little utility to the consumer, yet the consumer has to pay so much for it. Many thousands of dollars.

    Contrast this to a PHEV, which may drive 40 miles or so in an all-electric mode, and then, for the rare occasions when more range IS needed, they have an engine and lots of dense energy in the form of gasoline or ethanol or whatever. A PHEV utilizes both resources (batteries, and expensive liquid fuel) much more efficiently than either an all-electric vehicle or an ordinary gasoline-powered car.

    Tesla is faced with buying 5 times the batteries (compared with a PHEV) to get an insignificant improvement in “greenness” or utility or whatever. They need to convert to a PHEV strategy unless batteries get a whole lot cheaper right away, and I don’t see that happening.

  5. Katie Fehrenbacher Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Jim, I totally agree that it’s a weird move to step down before a long term replacement has been found. We’ve been trying to look into what’s going on.

  6. Earth2Tech » Blog Archive Tesla Founder, Former CEO Responds « Friday, August 17, 2007

    [...] Tesla Founder, Former CEO Responds Written by Katie Fehrenbacher No Comments Posted August 17th, 2007 at 8:44 am in Startups There’s been a lot of speculation about why Martin Eberhard, the founder and former-CEO of high-profile electric car company Tesla Motors, recently stepped down from his CEO position. [...]

  7. They may make 50 cars to try to satisfy investors but this company will fold shortly after that. I see no future for this company. People love sports cars and they love the sound of the engine just as much. This car will be too quiet and will have too many squeaks. Just don’t see it going anywhere with the hybrids available, I think they missed their boat !

  8. Tesla Gets New CEO, Delivery Date Looms « Earth2Tech Thursday, November 29, 2007

    [...] Startups When Martin Eberhard, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley electric car startup Tesla, suddenly stepped down from his post last August, we knew it would take some time to find a permanent replacement. Now roughly three months later, [...]

  9. Earth2Tech » Blog Archive » Tesla Gets New CEO, Delivery Date Looms Thursday, November 29, 2007

    [...] Martin Eberhard, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley electric car startup Tesla, suddenly stepped down from his post last August, we knew it would take some time to find a permanent replacement. Now roughly three months later, [...]

  10. Tesla to Eberhard: See Ya « Earth2Tech Monday, December 3, 2007

    [...] a friendly one. Last Friday, Tesla said company co-founder and former CEO, Martin Eberhard, who had stepped down in August to become the president of technology, will now transition from the board of directors and executive management of the company to the [...]

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