Will Silicon Valley’s electric carmaker Tesla be able to replace Detroit’s automakers in the event of a bust? Reporting layoffs, failed funding rounds and cash crises, Newsweek‘s Dan Lyons says no.
He calls Tesla flagship model, the Roadster “a classic Silicon Valley product—it’s late and over budget, has gone through loads of redesigns, still has bugs and, at $109,000, costs more than originally planned.”
It can’t help that the company’s cofounders Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk — who continues to fund Tesla with money he earned selling his first company, PayPal — seem to hate each other. Reports Lyons:
Eberhard, the ousted cofounder, says Musk interfered with the design of the roadster, demanding changes that were costly and led to delays. These included installing electronic door latches, building a lightweight carbon-fibre body and lowering the doorsill by two inches. “It cost us $1.5 million to lower that doorsill,” Eberhard says. “We would have been better off to have a simpler car shipping a year earlier.” Musk says his design changes were not the cause of delays. Eberhard says that despite Tesla’s green-tech credentials, the roadster has a coolant pump that operates even when the car is parked, wasting as much electricity as two refrigerators. Musk says that will be fixed next month. Eberhard also gripes that Musk controls the board of directors, whose members include his brother Kimbal Musk. “I’m very unhappy about what’s happened to my company” under Elon, says Eberhard, who still owns about 3 per cent of Tesla. “I think he’s a terrible CEO.” Elon Musk responds that “Martin is the worst individual I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.”
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