Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is not one to shy away from controversy. Recently, Martin Ebehard, Tesla's former CEO, filed suit against the company for libel, slander, and breech of contract.
Musk has written a new voluminous blog post in an effort "to correct several misconceptions propagated by Martin that are now being reported as truth."
He goes through many of the conflicts he had with Eberhard over such things as the car's design and transmission in particular. A couple of things stick out.
Musk says when he met Eberhard through an introduction by AC propulsions, Eberhard "did not have a prototype car and he owned no intellectual property relating to electric cars but just a plan to commercialize AC Propulsion's T-Zero electric sports car." Musk joined Tesla, invested $6.5 million, and created the current business plan.
In the critical reason for the Eberhard ouster, Musk says that Eberhard told the Tesla board that the cost of the Roadster would be $65,000, and that it would be in production by September of 2007. The cost however turned out to be $140,000, and the production deadline was not met. By the end of 2007 Musk writes "it soon became apparent that Eberhard had in fact known that the cost was far in excess of his estimate and that there was no chance of meeting the promised production schedule. " This failure was the reason Musk states there was "no way that Eberhard could be allowed to remain as part of Tesla at that point."
Musk goes on to detail his view of the turnaround at Tesla; finally producing the car, fixing its problems and reducing its costs, announcing the Model S and getting Daimler to take a 10% stake in the company.
As of this month claims Musk, Roadster cost has been brought down to $80,000, and along with production quantities of 20 to 30 per week, and high uptake of the more expensive Roadster Sport, "we expect to cross over into profitability next month," he writes.
2012 Tesla Model S prototype
2009 Tesla Roadster