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Summary:

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk begins his email to would-be Roadster owners — those who have already plunked down $50,000 deposits for 2008 models of the sports car and will now have to pay extra for previously standard features — like so: A much fuller account […]

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk begins his email to would-be Roadster owners — those who have already plunked down $50,000 deposits for 2008 models of the sports car and will now have to pay extra for previously standard features — like so:

A much fuller account of the history of Tesla is worth telling at some point, but for now I will just talk about the essentials of why we needed to raise prices on options. Fundamentally, it boils down to taking the tough steps that are difficult but necessary for Tesla to be a healthy company and not fall prey to the recession.

When the initial base price, for cars after the Signature 100 series, of $92k was approved by the board a few years ago, it was based on an estimated vehicle cost of roughly $65k provided by management at the time. This turned out to be wrong by a very large margin.

He goes on to describe some of the company’s challenges: Its lack of auto industry experience (once billed as an advantage in the fight to topple Detroit’s high-and-mighty Big Three), a body supplier that charged “nutty money,” and an unreliable HVAC system.

From the opening line (a hint at dreams of optioning his story to Hollywood, perhaps for “The Eberhard Redemption,” or “Raiders of the Lost Roadster”?) to the final reminder that Tesla must prove viability in order to receive federal aid on its Model S sedan factory, we have to wonder if Musk truly thought this message would appease would-be buyers, or if it was simply an effort to put the company’s logic on the record. Because fact is, they’ve rooted for the startup through thick and thin — and at least 400 of them have little to show for it besides an invitation to yet another town hall meeting.

  1. [...] a crash from which even the Prius isn’t exempt — any buyer willing to put down a $50K deposit on a electric car that has yet to be built should probably be given a free toaster or gift [...]

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  2. [...] a crash from which even the Prius isn’t exempt — any buyer willing to put down a $50K deposit on a electric car that has yet to be built should probably be given a free toaster or gift [...]

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  3. [...] an­­y buyer wi­l­l­i­n­­g to p­ut down­­ a $50K depo­­si­t­ o­­n a elect­ri­c car t­hat­ has [...]

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  4. [...] a crash from which even the Prius isn’t exempt — any buyer willing to put down a K deposit on a electric car that has yet to be built should probably be given a free toaster or gift [...]

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  5. [...] not there to offer only mea culpas (according to Left Lane News, he did express regret over the way Tesla communicated the new charges). He also revealed details about the planned Model S sedan and Daimler’s electric Smart car, [...]

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  6. [...] before raising $40 million in convertible debt the following month — and low margins. And Musk said in January that the initial production costs estimate of $65,000 “turned out to be wrong by a very large [...]

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  7. [...] the company (from the founders feud, to months and months of delays of the Roadster, to layoffs, to slapping Roadster customers with charges for previously standard features, to recalls) most are still rooting for the company to make [...]

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  8. [...] the company (from the founders feud, to months and months of delays of the Roadster, to layoffs, to slapping Roadster customers with charges for previously standard features, to recalls) investors might just want a piece of its hip-factor. [...]

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