If you've followed the Tesla Motors story from the beginning, you know that there have been trials and tribulations along the way. How many speeds would the transmission have? When would the cars be delivered? How fast would they actually be? Today, Tesla Chairman, Elon Musk gave some insight as to the extent of those tribulations, in an email to Tesla customers.
Musk admitted that the electric car company grossly underestimated production costs for the Tesla Roadster when it originally set prices at $92,000. Whereas the company believed production costs would be about $65,000 per vehicle, they turned out to be almost $140,000. Oops. That explains the house cleaning Musk performed of the company's management team in 2008.
Tesla has since reduced production costs with different manufacturing approaches and suppliers, but each vehicle still costs between $90,000 and $100,000 to make. Who will pay for the err of Tesla's ways? You guessed it! The customers!
Tesla is still offering to deliver roadsters for the original $92,000 price to customers who have already placed $50,000 deposits. There's only one catch. The $92,000 vehicles will not include the originally promised turbine-blade wheels or the high speed charging cord. Each of these 'options' will cost an additional $3,000. If you refuse to pay the extra dough, the car will ship with a standard 100-volt cord that would take 37 hours to fully recharge a drained battery.
If you can afford a car that costs $92,000 you can probably afford a car that costs $98,000, but that's beside the point. Imagine the backlash if Tesla were a mainstream automaker, like they say they want to be someday. Would Congress be turning the screws to them like they did the Detroit Three last year? If Tesla needs the $350 million in federal loans they're going to ask for to work on their future Model S sedan, they ought to come with a plan to prevent their inexperience in the auto industry from boondoggling their future customers.
Source: Edmunds, Image: Tesla
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