I think the perfect storm for electric cars to take over is 5 years from now, when gas approaches $6 to $8 a gallon while electric hovers around $1/gal equivalent. If auto manufacturers ramp up production on a compact electric sedan and sell them for around $25K, people won't be buying them because it's a novelty, they'll be buying it because a gas vehicles will be far too expensive for typical day-to-day use.
First off: They have 2 car models: the first was the Tesla Roadster (which was based on a Lotus Elise) which was a testbed for their engineering. The Model S is designed from the ground up as an electric car.
Currently they're only using about 20% of their manufacturing plant to build the Model S and plan to expand it for faster production of a lower priced car. That will also take huge capital costs, but the success of the Model S should reassure outside investors who passed on Tesla the first time around.
I'm not sure how it's outclassed. It accelerates 0-60 in around 4 seconds which is faster then most high-end sport sedans you can get for around $100K, and it's made for urban and suburban folks that typically drive less then 250 miles a day (which is a vast majority of people) while seating 5 adults+2 kids.
Musk put up $70M of his own money, as had to bust his ass to gather up financing from many others friends and investors, since traditional investors stayed away from his companies since they were brand new and had no track record.
Meanwhile, the US bailed out a LOT of very established banks/mortgage/insurance/autos manufacturers, and each of them got WAY more money then a paltry $465M, and much of it was not a loan.
They've already paid one year of the loan--- and now they're doing well enough to pay it back in an accelerated rate within 4 more years (rather then 9 more years). I still don't get how that's hard to comprehend.
The headline "Tesla Motors To Pay Off Government Loan 5 Years Early" is a statement of intent, not something that already happened. How is that a lie?
They didn't have to bribe anyone. The Model S is a highly acclaimed car from everyone else's perspective:
- Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year
- Motor Trend 2013 Car of the Year.
- Popular Science's Auto Grand Award Winner Best of What's New list 2012.
- Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award.
- Yahoo! Autos 2013 Car of the Year.
- CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2012
- Green Car Reports' Best Car To Buy 2013
- 2013 AutoGuide.com Reader’s Choice Car of the Year
- Natural Resources Canada 2013 EcoENERGY for Vehicles Awards in the full-size category
Not bad for a car company that didn't exist 10 years ago
we spent $500 Million A DAY in those proxy oil wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.. and we don't have a hell of a lot to show for it.
If you look at the competition for $90k+ sports sedans (BMW M5, Mercedes CLK, Porsche Panamera), the Tesla performs competitively. They're selling high-end cars now to help fund the scale-up for the more common-end cars later.
Yet the range of Tesla's cars are within what most people use for running errands and driving to work... If you need something for edge case scenarios (driving a 1000 miles in one sitting or towing a boat), you can rent an appropriate vehicle. It doesn't discount the fact that (as of now) electric miles are 1/5th the cost of a gasoline equivalent and are practical for most urban and suburban uses.
He wrote a piece critical of electric cars even before he saw the Model S. Something tells me I wouldn't call him unbiased.
Because... right now the vast majority of privately owned vehicles are not driven more then 200 miles a day. If you need a longer non-stop range you'd use/borrow/rent something else.. Or you can wait a few more years for battery tech to advance... eventually they'll do 600 miles nonstop, putting most ICE cars to shame.
A an electric car like that already exists: The Tesla Model S: up to a 300 miles range, and 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.. It's basically a BMW M5 without a gasoline tank.. and just as expensive.