Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Cubical-aka-Moltar

Tesla ousts 3 top executives

11 posts in this topic

I've long thought Tesla was just a smoke-and-mirrors scam...here's an interesting new article..sounds like more delays, more talk..

SJ Mercury News article on Tesla

Tesla ousts 3 top executives

By Matt Nauman

Mercury News

Article Launched: 01/10/2008 07:27:22 PM PST

Three senior executives and more than a dozen other employees have been ousted by Tesla Motors as the Silicon Valley electric-car company struggles to get its much-delayed roadster to market.

Two manufacturing vice presidents already are gone from the San Carlos start-up. The last day for the third, Mike Harrigan, a senior executive and former vice president of customer service and support, is Friday.

Tesla isn't doing layoffs, said Darryl Siry, Tesla's vice president of sales, marketing and services. In fact, it lists 39 job openings on its Web site.

"This is about accountability," said Siry. "If you don't get the job done, there are consequences. We haven't had that before."

That directive comes from Ze'ev Drori, the high-tech executive named Tesla's chief executive officer in December, Siry said. Drori's arrival coincided with the departure of Martin Eberhard, Tesla's co-founder and ex-CEO who had been replaced on an interim basis earlier in the year.

On his new Web site late Thursday, www.teslafounders.com, Eberhard named 16 people who have left the company in recent days. He call it "a bloodbath," and says Tesla's new management team has made cuts to its top executives, many engineers, its service organization and its firmware team.

Contacted late Thursday, Siry confirmed that at least 16 people have been let go. "I don't know what the total number is," he said. "It's really about

Advertisement

performance management."

Originally scheduled for delivery early in 2007, the first production Tesla roadster has yet to be built. Delays, most related to the car's transmission, mean the first customers won't get their $100,000 cars for at least a few more months, and that car will be getting what Tesla calls an "interim" transmission.

Siry wouldn't say how many cars will be assembled in calendar 2008. "We don't know that," Siry said. "It depends on two things - one is exactly when we start, and the other is how aggressively we can ramp up production."

The Tesla roadster will be made at a Lotus factory in England. Full production capacity, once reached, is "upward of 120 to 150 cars a month," Siry said.

Drori continues to restructure Tesla's management. "Tesla as an organization was very top heavy," Siry said. All of Tesla's engineering staff now answers to J.B. Straubel, the company's chief technical officer and one of its first employees.

Tesla, which promises a series of zero-emission cars starting with its two-seater roadster, remains a poster child of the Valley's shift toward green technology. Tesla executives continue to speak at conferences, often bringing a prototype model to display.

But the launch of the first car continues to be problematic, mostly related to the high-tech transmission - an essential component that puts the power from the car's electric motor and huge battery pack to the wheels. The company says the Tesla roadster will be able to travel from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds, but a recent revision of that performance claim speaks to Tesla's problems.

In December, Drori and Tesla Chairman (and single largest investor) Elon Musk held a virtual town-hall meeting with some of the 600 people who have put large deposit checks down for a roadster.

In a letter posted on the www.teslamotors.com Web site, Drori wrote that two suppliers have failed to provide a durable transmission for the roadster. "Now we have the appropriate level of internal resources combined with external expertise to get it right this time," he wrote.

Two other companies are both working to engineer a transmission for Tesla. Until that happens, Drori wrote, an "interim" transmission will be installed in the first production models. This simpler design will produce a 0-to-60 mph time that's slower - 5.7 seconds instead of four - than originally promised.

A few days later, Musk blogged on the company's current situation.

He emphasized that production will begin this spring, but with the interim transmission. Customers will be able to an upgraded transmission installed for free, once it's available, he wrote.

Teslas will be built "in limited qualities throughout the first half of 2008," Musk wrote.

In that blog, Musk also revealed that Tesla is considering a somewhat controversial move - offering pure electric models as well as so-called "range-extended electric vehicles." It's a concept being researched by General Motors for its forthcoming Chevy Volt, where a small gasoline engine can be used to charge the battery on longer trips, although the car would only use its electric powerplant on short trips.

Harrigan, a two-year Tesla employee who first headed marketing efforts as the company revealed itself in 2006, would only confirm his departure, saying it was "not voluntarily."

He wouldn't talk otherwise about Tesla's future. "All of us feel a lot of allegiance to Tesla and the people still there," he said.

Edited by moltar
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not so easy to just make a cute little start up and start building something that only mega companies have been able to sustain.

i find it hilarious and amusing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope they get everything sorted and start churning 'em out. I'd hate to see an idea with such potential go to waste.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
not so easy to just make a cute little start up and start building something that only mega companies have been able to sustain.

i find it hilarious and amusing.

I find it a bit comical as well. All the greenie-weenies were up-in-arms when they announced the car, saying stuff like "the big 3 just don't want to create efficient cars, even a small startup can do it if they want to."

Well, it turns out, it's not as easy as they thought, now, is it??

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing is, Bob Lutz said that he started the Volt program in direct response to Tesla. So without Tesla spurring innovation, no Volt.

Just about a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Lutz at his palatial office in the GM tower. We spent a good couple of hours talking about battery-electric vehicles, and what it would take to make them happen. This is when he told me that he started the Volt program in direct response to the Tesla Roadster. I thought this would be a story nobody would believe until he said the same thing in the press!

...

Lutz: Then I read about Tesla, these battery-powered cars with a 200-mile range. To do that, they're using thousands of laptop batteries wired together. When Tesla announced they were building a car, that kind of tore it for me. I thought, "If some little West Coast outfit can do this, we can no longer stand by."

And besides, the cars have begun production, and the reviews should be out early February.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So without Tesla spurring innovation, no Volt.

Maybe in a "looking back" sense. They won't pull the plug on Volt if Tesla fails.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe in a "looking back" sense. They won't pull the plug on Volt if Tesla fails.

No, they'll just delay production until it's ready, like Tesla.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, they'll just delay production until it's ready, like Tesla.

I have more confidence in GM being able to bring something to market than Tesla, though...Tesla is going to down in flames before they ever deliver a single car, it looks like.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I find it a bit comical as well. All the greenie-weenies were up-in-arms when they announced the car, saying stuff like "the big 3 just don't want to create efficient cars, even a small startup can do it if they want to."

Well, it turns out, it's not as easy as they thought, now, is it??

exactly. the cute little engine that could BS is amusing but its childish to think they could put out a safe, reliable car like the big dogs can.

start ups are usually to promote an idea or product to the point where the ground in people can sell out and cash in. it looks like here they couldn't even get enough momentum without gutting a bunch of staff.

building cars is different than say, writing email software or some other cute little job like that.

Edited by regfootball
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tesla Announces Launch Date for $100,000 Roadster

Date posted: 01-23-2008

SAN CARLOS, Calif. — Tesla Motors has confirmed for Inside Line that production of the delayed Tesla Roadster will begin on March 17.

Tesla spokesman Joe Powers said production will ramp up in a "slow cadence" of about one car per week. "We'll be getting the processes down and getting a feel for the build of the vehicle," he said. "The eventual rate will be 40 cars per week. That is realistic based on what Lotus has committed to. We'll get there eventually. The question is, how soon can we ramp up to full production? I would say we'll get close to full production in late 2008."

Powers confirmed that the first Roadsters will be delivered with a one-speed transmission with what he calls "a reduced performance spec of zero to 60 [mph] in 5.7 seconds." Originally, the Roadster was to have been equipped with an electric motor with a two-speed electrically actuated manual shift transmission and could sprint from zero to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Powers said the "ultimate goal is a one-speed that still gets the same [original] spec." He said that transmission would not be ready in March, but later in the year. "We'll retrofit all the initial cars as needed with the final transmission, which is also a one-speed," he noted. Tesla Motors will not disclose who is supplying the transmissions for the Roadster.

The company says the main issue with the transmission has been "durability.... The transmissions [are designed] to last the lifetime of the vehicle," Powers said. "The two-speeds we were working with wouldn't meet that."

Powers described the mood at Tesla Motors in glowing terms. "We're entering a new phase as a company," he said. "The confidence level is very high. The reason for that is, now we do have a date for production and we do have a clear line of sight with the transmission solution. That's big for folks internally and validating for people anxiously waiting for the cars."

Regarding some concern in Los Angeles about a "Coming Spring 2008" banner that disappeared from the front of the company's L.A. dealership, Powers had these reassuring words: "It blew down and fell on some cars. Right now, we're still on top of an April [opening] for the dealership."

What this means to you: The Tesla Roadster takes a giant step toward becoming a reality in your driveway.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0