Tesla’s Model S electric car has won rave reviews from auto critics.
But the company’s first crack at an electric car, the Roadster, had some problems.
In fact, CEO Elon Musk now admits that the car was “completely unsafe.”
During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, Musk recounted the company’s bumpy road to building an electric car.
The Roadster, which went on sale in 2008, used a chassis made by sports-car maker Lotus.
“Frankly, this car, although it passed all the regulatory requirements for a street-legal car, was completely unsafe,” said Musk.
He noted that the vehicle broke down all the time, tended to get “stuck” in second gear, and was primarily “hand-built.”
As it turns out, the first Tesla Roadster sold was actually to Musk himself, the CEO recounted on Tuesday. A Tesla representative said that Musk’s comments about the unsafe car referred to only that first Roadster that he bought, and not to the first generation of Roadster vehicles.
In any case, Musk noted that within a year Tesla did a “complete reboot” of the car’s design, technology, and suppliers. That paved the way for a generation of Roadsters that performed better and which actually generated a profit, according to Musk.