Continuing my true fashion of only blogging every now and then, here I am.
Basically, what happened is this:
- In March 2016, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new car, the Model 3; promising the car would eventually cost around $35,000
- …later doubling down on Twitter (as a true CEO does) that it would cost “around” $35,000 from the start
- …and deliveries would start late 2017
- As Tesla is known to do, they, of course, delayed deliveries for four more months. They did, however, deliver the first 30 cars on July 28th 2017.
- Finally though, Elon got production ramped up to 55,840 cars in the third quarter of 2018.
- Deliveries are going fairly smooth nowadays, ignoring any of this, or this or any of this.
Okay, back to present. As I write this, it’s the 1st of March, 2019. Late yesterday, Tesla finally announced the availability of the once promised $35,000 Model 3, only a mere 7 months after deliveries started (Here’s the official announcement)
Rejoice, right? Well, not so fast.
What they announced was not only the much anticipated cheaper version
something something people’s car, they also announced
Model 3 Standard Range Plus, 240 miles of range, top speed of 140 mph, 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds and most premium interior features at $37,000 before incentives. For 6% more money, you get 9% more range, more power, and an upgraded interior.
Consider me impressed, anything else? Of course.
To achieve these prices while remaining financially sustainable, Tesla is shifting sales worldwide to online only.
Uhm, wait a minute, what?
We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed.
Note what they say, specifically: You can’t test-drive a Tesla anymore.
You can easily just buy one, see?
We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund.
Of course Elon, I’ll just get a >=$35,000 loan, drive the car for a week and give it back if I don’t like it Fuck, no.
They will also remove most stores and convert some to showrooms:
Over the next few months, we will be winding down many of our stores, with a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers.
I do consider this very impressive:
we will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system, with the goal of same-day, if not same-hour service, and with most service done by us coming to you
But keep in mind what Marco Arment, Tumblr co-founder, founder of Instapaper and Overcast and owner of a Model S has to say:
Same-hour service isn’t going to help when the parts they need are backordered for months. https://t.co/33qGVamoRA— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) March 1, 2019
All in all, I consider this the wrong decision. What Tesla desperately need was more scale, more delivered cars, more service infrastructure and as many test drives as possible to get as many interested customers as possible. I know literally no one who would ever buy a car without being able to test-drive one.
Please, for the love of whatever you consider holy, read the entire thread and come back here.
Okay, now think about what you just heard.
Does this sound like a company you’d be willing to give a hefty amount of money for a car you’ve never driven before?
What Tesla is able to:
- generate a massive amount of hype for a very expensive product
- build an amazing electric drive train and power supply for that drivetrain
- build passenger cars that go crazy fast down the quarter mile (10.79 seconds)
What Tesla, seemingly, is not able to:
- build a battery that doesn’t catch fire after crashing
- build a car that doesn’t loose body parts after driving through water or that get’s wet inside when it rains
- build a car with functioning doors
Look, I admire what they do.
I even test-drove a P85+, back when it was the fastest Model S, during their fully charged tour through Germany.
I loved it. I enjoyed driving this massive, fairly luxurious, heavy car, that despite all that, would accelerate like a proper sports car, it even almost drove like one all around!
But all I see nowadays is how bad Tesla is at scaling and how good Elon is at over-promising and under-delivering.
I would have been a happy camper if Tesla came out of nowhere and just left a burning mess of the slow, boring shitshow that (most of) the automotive industry really is. But it seems Tesla just wants to build cars for people who don’t enjoy cars.