Tesla Gets New CEO, Delivery Date Looms

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, the company, which has raised close to $100 million in funding, said it has named Ze’ev Drori as its new chief, effective Dec. 3rd.

Tesla Chairman Elon Musk said the ideal CEO for the company “…is someone that understands the automotive sector, but also has a proven entrepreneurial and high-tech track record.” Drori seems to have those qualifications. He founded semiconductor firm Monolithic Memories, which was acquired by AMD in 1987. He later bought auto security startup Clifford Electronics, which he sold to Allstate Insurance in 1999.

Drori’s major task as the new chief of Tesla will be getting the company’s first car to market. After delays, the flashy electric sports car company needs to meet its impending delivery date — Q1 2008 — or face some unhappy well-to-do customers.

Musk told the WSJ that Tesla still plans to deliver its first cars in the first quarter of next year, starting with his own car, No. 1. How considerate! Though Musk also told the WSJ that Tesla “is still working on durability testing for the car’s two-speed transmission with a new supplier. That means production of subsequent cars will likely ramp up slowly.” O.K., but Flea wants his now.
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