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Tesla Will Discontinue the Roadster

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the end-of-the-power-line dept.

Transportation 523

Attila Dimedici writes "Tesla has announced that their business model has failed. Their basic idea was to sell a boutique electric car to fund the development of a regular consumer electric car. With this announcement they are saying that they did not sell enough of the Roadster to make producing it profitable. If that is the case, it is only a matter of time until Tesla closes its doors. I thought their approach was the most likely to create a successful fully electric car. Although it is possible that the technology they have developed will allow the existing car companies to develop successful fully electric cars, it is a shame that Tesla has failed to become a successful car manufacturer." CT: As a huge number of you pointed out, the linked article is not nearly as doom and gloom as the submitter: Tesla isn't locking the doors and throwing away the keys, they plan on selling a $80k sedan in 2012 with a 300 mile range.

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These guys are actually innovating (0)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542398)

... unlike Chrysler and GM. Between automaker loans and clean-energy, get-off-oil money, there's got to be something to help Tesla out.

Failing that, guys, make cars people can afford. You make a bad ass Roadster. Now make a RegularCar, that I can buy for 75k, and I'll have one in the driveway tomorrow.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542494)

The article says they're working on a sedan that costs less. I don't see any indication that Tesla is going out of business.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (5, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542682)

I agree - the summary is completely incongruous with the article. My understanding was that Tesla was always going to make a sedan after the roadster. According to the article, they are doing exactly that. Doing exactly what you planned to be doing sounds like success to me.

The fact that they are discontinuing the roadster seems peripheral, although one may ask why they would discontinue them if they were profitable. Perhaps they don't have enough capital to tool more than one production line at a time? Perhaps the sedan is expected to be more lucrative and they don't want to pay the opportunity cost of continuing to make roadsters.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542990)

Even if it's profitable, it's probably better to pour their limited resources into a car that would have larger mass-market appeal. They only have so many engineers.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542508)

They bad ass roadster, but it was also expensive as fuck. Had it been 30 grand, even though that's well above what I'd have wanted to spend on a car, I'd probably have bought 2 by now. 109 grand is kinda ridiculous, even if it might be reasonable as far as cost.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (3, Informative)

Pope (17780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542748)

The Lotus Elise, which closely resembles and was the initial test mule for the Roadster, costs around 40k US, and that's a standard gasoline engine. How the hell would Tesla get their tech anywhere near 30k?

Re:These guys are actually innovating (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542796)

That's the problem with bleeding edge technology. It's priced to recoup the R&D that went in to it. Also 400lbs of lithium ion batteries isn't cheap. The average laptop battery is about half a pound and costs $50 at e-retail, and there isn't much margin in that.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

LordStormes (1749242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542518)

And, yes, before the trolls come out, I know that TFA says they were trying to fund dev on a regular car. But seriously, how much dev funding does it take to REMOVE features from a badass-mobile until it's affordable?

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542978)

Pretty sure that making a safe consumer friendly car means adding features, not removing. Sure, they can take away performance, but consumers expect a lot out of a car these days. For one hting, if I recall, the Roadster has rather limited range. There's a reason why even the Volt has an engine.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (5, Informative)

bre_dnd (686663) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542546)

From TFA: Tesla's next big thing: Tesla's roadster production is coming to halt as the maker of battery-powered cars switches its focus to the upcoming Model S electric sedan. The first sales of the Model S sedan are expected to begin around the middle of 2012. At a starting price of about $58,000, the base model will have a driving range of 160 miles.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542554)

make cars people can afford. .... make a RegularCar, that I can buy for 75k

"People" cannot afford a 75K car. I make a good living and even I cannot afford a 75K car. (Actually, I do not want to afford one because it would literally drain my wallet.)

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542790)

You could probably afford a $75k car. However you will need to adjust your lifes tradeoffs to get the car. I wouldn't do it, but some people do it all the time. Why do you see some hot shot kid in a Porsche, while they live in a low rent apartment.
But the 75k is probably towards the 1's millionaires out there (the Poor Rich). Baby Boomers who wants to relive their childhood.

Regular cars are not 75K (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542604)

First the article title sucks and the summary is worse.

They are not going out of business, not yet at least. They are going to stop producing the roadster which had a very limited market and work on getting their sedan out.

As to the person I am replying too, it is not the big American three that are at fault, as far as I can tell each continent it quite adept at producing and buying gas guzzlers. In fact while the average person in Europe might be keen on efficient small cars Europe is the land of gas guzzling exotics. I guess the little people should be happy with their itty bitty cars while the rich and powerful blissfully ignore any such concerns.

Don't pile accolades on Tesla, they have yet to prove they can deliver this sedan and have a sustainable business models. All the dreams in the world amount to nothing if they don't come to fruition. Just because someone claims they can solve the problems of the world does not excuse them from actually delivering. Seems to me that vaporware is very common in most industries and far too many investor's lose their shirts over well executed glossy presentations.

Re:Regular cars are not 75K (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542718)

+1.

Building a really good, innovative car that costs $100,000 is easy. Lots of car companies do it.

Building a really good, innovative car that costs $25,000 is incredibly difficult to near impossible.

It's rumored that Toyota and Honda have been selling their hybrids at a loss, mainly to keep their CAFE average in conformance as they were selling more SUVs. A small start-up can't afford to do cost-shifting like that.

Re:Regular cars are not 75K (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542870)

It's rumored that Toyota and Honda have been selling their hybrids at a loss, mainly to keep their CAFE average in conformance as they were selling more SUVs. A small start-up can't afford to do cost-shifting like that.

The major car companies have been selling their sub-compacts at a loss for years due to CAFE averages.

Just goes to show you what regulation really does. It prevents new entries into a established market due to the costs being so high.

Re:Regular cars are not 75K (1)

csnydermvpsoft (596111) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542984)

Just goes to show you what bad regulation really does. It prevents new entries into a established market due to the costs being so high.

FTFY

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

Biggseye (1520195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542618)

No, If Tesla can not make it on their own, without governmental support they do no deserve to exist. A great goal does not justify governmental intervention. Before you get to warped, I disagreed with and will always disagree with the government intervening in any business, there is no such thing as too big to fail.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542914)

No, If Tesla can not make it on their own, without governmental support they do no deserve to exist. A great goal does not justify governmental intervention. Before you get to warped, I disagreed with and will always disagree with the government intervening in any business, there is no such thing as too big to fail.

GM and Chrysler could not make it on their own with out government support and yet they still exist. Had they been allowed to fail (nothing is to big to fail), maybe they would have left a void waiting to be filled by Tesla. But alas we get the government subsidized Leaf instead.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542640)

75k is definitely not a "RegularCar". 30-40k is closer to a reasonable high end sedan. Most sedans are still in the 20-30k range, but at least 30-40 would be a consideration for a lot more people.

your chance is coming (3, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542648)

Now make a RegularCar, that I can buy for 75k, and I'll have one in the driveway tomorrow

The actual article - which sadly the slashdot editor apparently made no attempt whatsoever to read in any way, shape, or form - says that is exactly what they are working on next.

Actually, they'll do you one better. The Tesla model S (for sedan) will start at $58k. Some details are in the article; you can get a 300 mile range version for around $80k. If you look up information on it, you can find prototype pictures, it looks like a Jaguar XJ or XF sedan of the current generation.

However, there is a wait list. You won't have it tomorrow, but if you go put some money down, you can have one when one is ready for you.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542704)

If you're spending 75K on a car, you can probably afford the Roadster anyway, even though it's 25K more.

--
BMO

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

yarnosh (2055818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542802)

r. Now make a RegularCar, that I can buy for 75k,

WTF? 75k? That's a luxury car. GIve me something under $20k. I assume you mean USD.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542908)

I think he meant monopoly money. :-D

Re:These guys are actually innovating (5, Interesting)

rilister (316428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542858)

You can tell the Roadster served it's purpose because "Besides building its own cars, Tesla has a business partnership with Toyota Motor Co (TM) to produce a plug-in electric version of the RAV4 SUV and a deal with Daimler (DDAIF) to provide batteries for an electric version of the Smart ForTwo minicar."

That's Toyota, developer of the Prius, admitting that Tesla have technology and know-how that they need. That's what the Roadster bought Tesla.

Re:These guys are actually innovating (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542926)

Now make a RegularCar, that I can buy for 75k...

Can I live in your world where "regular car" equals 75k? Jebus...

just opened store in local mall (0)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542406)

Closing? And here they just opened a showroom with two cars in it in my local mall. Maybe less high rent showrooms would have helped. I wonder how fancy their corporate HQ offices are.

No need to worry yet (4, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542564)

Tesla is not closing or going away. Some idiot here at slashdot didn't bother to read the linked article. If they had, they would realize that this is not the end for Tesla as a company, just the end of a vehicle that was too expensive for many people to buy.

Furthermore, anyone who knows anything about Tesla knows that this has been part of their plan for some time. Build a roadster to get the technology working - and to show to the public that it really is as good as claimed - and then discontinue it to focus on a family sedan. Their first car achieved brand recognition and proof of concept, while bringing in investors. Now they are retooling and setting up a new shop to show that they can make it work on a larger scale.

Unfortunately, they have already sold out in part to a traditional auto maker, so how far they will be able to go unhindered is anyone's guess.

Re:No need to worry yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542628)

If the readers don't read the articles, why should the editors or the article submitters?

Re:No need to worry yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542850)

Well put, can't wait for my Model S next summer :)

Don't forget Tesla is providing the drive train and battery pack for Toyota's Rav4 EV that will be coming out in 2012.

Re:No need to worry yet (4, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542900)

Furthermore, anyone who knows anything about Tesla knows that this has been part of their plan for some time.

You are 100% correct about this. A friend of mine went to work for Tesla about a year ago. He was telling about all of the planning that they were doing to shift their production from the roadster to the sedan.

Above and beyond that, Tesla has a lot of patents. They have the best batteries in the industry. Tesla is a long way from going out of business. If anything their biggest concern is probably trying to figure out how to not get gobbled up by another company who just wants their intellectual property.

Re:No need to worry yet (4, Informative)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542920)

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the roadster's sales. It was the supply side that had issues. There has never not been a waiting list to get one of those things. The problem was that they cannot keep up with demand. They might be priced outside the reach of the average middle-class American but that never hindered sales. A 6 month wait list hindered sales.

They announced this a year ago, not a failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542412)

The plan has long been to stop roadster production to tool up for the Model S. This is not news and not a failure.

Sad, but not unexpected (0)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542422)

Until we're completely out of fossil fuels and their alternatives either run out or become too prohibitively expensive for the general population to afford, I'm afraid this is going to be a recurring theme for electric vehicles: not enough interest, when a fossil-fuel-powered vehicle is relatively cheap to purchase and simple to operate.

Re:Sad, but not unexpected (1, Insightful)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542592)

Considering that approximately 66% of electricity in the US is generated by fossil fuels, electric cars are not really much of an alternative. Just because you don't burn fossil fuels directly in the car doesn't mean they are not dependent on fossil fuels.

Here's the source of the 66% number for the "I don't believe your number" types. http://www.eia.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/epm_sum.html [eia.gov]

Re:Sad, but not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542784)

Then 36% comes from alternative energy... which is better then the 0% right now. Also, engines in cars are only about 30-40% efficient in converting fossil fuel into energy, compared to actual power plant where efficiency is around double efficiency. It would still be a reduction in fossil fuel usage with a switch to electric engines. Also, you could technically be fully free of fossil fuel if say people had installed a solar powered car port at their house to charge the car as a possibility.

Re:Sad, but not unexpected (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542856)

So in theory that is a 34% drop in emissions then. Then you add Hybrid like energy savings to the car (Charging battery for deceleration or going down hill) Still it is better. Also for the electric grid, A lot of the cars charging time is on off peak hours. Where the plants still need to run and burn fuel but less are reaping the power. So the question is with the extra power on the grid durring non-peak hours how much more fossil fuels will be in delta from the extra load.

Going from 100% fossil fueled to 66% (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542874)

Is still a pretty big deal. If everyone cut the transportation portion of their fossil fuel use by a third, we could put a big dent oil imports and cut pollution by quite a bit (probably even more than a third cut in this, as it's easier to capture pollution from one big smokestack than from millions of tiny ones). Additionally, you'd probably actually cut energy usage by more than a third, because electric vehicles are a lot more energy efficient than internal combustion ones (most of your energy is lost as heat). Further, as wind/solar/nuclear use replace coal/oil/natural gas, you automatically improve all this stuff without having to do anything else, just because your cars instantly become even less dependent on fossil fuels.

Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good here. Switching to electric cars would be a big step forward.

Re:Sad, but not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542986)

But the point is that grid electricity can come from ANY source, without any change to the vehicle itself. 66% fossil-fuel today could be 30% fossil-fuel tomorrow, all with the same vehicle.

Re:Sad, but not unexpected (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542752)

    It's all about pricing. If you sell, as they called it, a "boutique" item, it will have limited acceptance. Only those with money to throw around will be able to afford them, and they will never become a high volume item.

    I know a lot of Slashdot readers and car enthusiasts wanted them. We also don't have over $100k to drop on a 2 seat car that is still essentially a prototype.

    If they had an entry level model priced for the average consumer, and possibly a mid-range and high-line car, that would satisfy the markets. More people would have bought one priced closer to $10k. At $109k, you can buy two of any of the common hybrid cars available, *AND* you could get parts and have it serviced almost anywhere. Those with the money will get the high line model. Many who look at the entry level model would consider or buy the mid-range model.

    I was interested in buying a Tesla. I can't justify buying a novelty car for more than the current market value of an average home, regardless if it's better or worse for the environment.

Business model for a booming economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542432)

Probably it's hard to build a business around expensive boutique electric roadsters when the economy is in the shape it's in. That wasn't as much the case when Tesla was starting out their business, but things have changed.

wow totally wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542436)

Not what I heard from the SF Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/17/BU9U1JUUEO.DTL

How did you come to that conclusion? (5, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542452)

The statement

it is a shame that Tesla has failed

Doesn't make any sense if you read the linked article.

From TFA:

Tesla Motors (TSLA) will stop taking orders for the car in the U.S. in about two months as the carmaker focuses on its Model S electric sedan

Further:

the two seat Tesla Roadster sports car was never intended to be a huge seller. Tesla reported sales of 1,650 Roadsters worldwide by the end of April, 2011.

And

Tesla's next big thing: Tesla's roadster production is coming to halt as the maker of battery-powered cars switches its focus to the upcoming Model S electric sedan.

There is absolutely no indication in the provided article that Tesla is going away. They are just stopping the roadster so they can focus on a new car, which was part of their long-term plan some time ago.

In other words, things are going as planned for Tesla. People claiming this is the end of the company are just spouting FUD for whatever reason.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542614)

Please bump this up. The title of this article is misleading.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (1)

jimmerz28 (1928616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542624)

Thanks for the clarification/disambiguation!

I always wanted to own a roadster when I could afford such a thing; they look HOT

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542658)

This is one of the few times where I wish there was a bury option for stories, if not outright delete. The summary is the exact opposite of what is said in the story,is reported by everyone else, and even of what can be inferred through looking at Tesla's financials.

Maybe instead of filtering stories on editors, we need the ability to filter stories on submitters. I have yet to see a story by Attila Dimedici where the summary wasn't the exact opposite of what was actually going on.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542696)

The summary is the exact opposite of what is said in the story,is reported by everyone else, and even of what can be inferred through looking at Tesla's financials.

The editors do have the ability to go back and adjust the text of the summary. I've seen corrections before, though this one needs a correction of a rather enormous magnitude since barely anything in the summary is correct in any meaningful way.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (1)

Crag (18776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542832)

I'd like a scoring system and a way to get a custom RSS feed which only shows stories above a certain score with a minimum time spent published.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (5, Informative)

Bertie (87778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542714)

Seriously, who wrote it, Jeremy Clarkson? It just stinks of negative PR by somebody with an axe to grind. Slashdot should really be ashamed of itself for giving such a tirade of obviously biased bullshit such a wide audience.

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542946)

If Clarkson had written it, it would have stated "Tezzzlah roadsters have ceased production. Why? Because they are the worst sports cars..................... in the world."

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542744)

Agreed. The summary is horrible. Gives the impression somebody is trying to devalue the stock.

"Tesla has announced that their business model has failed."

WTF?

Re:How did you come to that conclusion? (0)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542828)

So, it's pretty commonplace for a company to stop selling their only product to "get ready" to go into production on their next, sole product? That's an incredibly weird way of doing business.

I guess they can coast on their stacks of cash raised by VC and their IPO, but they are going to have to produce something more mass-market, and quickly. Automotive development burns through cash really fast.

RTFA has never been more true (2, Insightful)

Toksyuryel (1641337) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542454)

This summary seems to have nothing at all to do with the article.

Failed? No, succeeding. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542456)

From TFA:

Tesla's next big thing: Tesla's roadster production is coming to halt as the maker of battery-powered cars switches its focus to the upcoming Model S electric sedan.

Closing the doors? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542460)

TFA doesn't imply anything of the sort. The Roadster is being stopped to allow focus on the S.

Dimdeici is jumping to conclusions (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542462)

The article says they they are focusing on the Model S, their new luxury sedan. He obviously didn't read the article that he linked.

Re:Dimdeici is jumping to conclusions (0)

assertation (1255714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542852)

Shame on the author of the post. Double shame on the mods for letting fallacious posting through.

Oh, he read it (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542898)

He just wanted to spin the results in a certain way. Even on Slashdot, though, there's only so much spin you can get away with without people noticing.

Re:Oh, he read it (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542930)

Even on Slashdot, though, there's only so much spin you can get away with without people noticing.

Correct. If he would have blamed the "failure" on President Obama, it would have gotten through with even less scrutiny.

Worst summary ever? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542466)

Wow, I think this summary is pretty much the opposite of the article. They have not at all said their business model has failed, and are planning on making a less expensive car in the future.

Summary bears no resemblance to article (2)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542478)

The linked article implies that their business model for the roadster has succeeded, and they now have the cash reserves to switch production over to making a more affordable car, exactly the opposite of the conclusion drawn in the summary.

How has it failed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542482)

From TFA: "Automaker Tesla Motors (TSLA) will stop taking orders for the car in the U.S. in about two months as the carmaker focuses on its Model S electric sedan."

Everything in the article says simply that they are discontinuing the Roadster to focus on the Model S. Their business model seems to be working just fine.

Call in the usual suspects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542496)

Paul Allen, Donald Trump, T. Boone Pickens...

cool car but... (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542500)

They are an awesome machine, but the Tesla is a high end green vehicle. Most (not all) people who could afford such a beast don't give a damn about the environment.

RTFA, PEOPLE. (2)

jra (5600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542504)

The summary is -- as is so often the case, but I really would expect better here -- not only wrong, but *exactly wrong*.

It is Pessimal.

Re:RTFA, PEOPLE. (4, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542536)

And I think it's time to take away Samzenpus's keys, for letting that summary out.

Re:RTFA, PEOPLE. (3, Insightful)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542806)

concur - this is an important story to get so wrong. you know, google news results include slashdot. People that never, ever thought of slashdot will be reading about this "failed business model". This needs to be redacted now. /not involved with tesla, just don't like lies.

Re:RTFA, PEOPLE. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542760)

Is there anywhere to send in corrections directly to the editors?
This goes beyond just bad journalism; it looks like malicious rumor-spreading that could hurt Tesla Motors.

Summary is just plain wrong (5, Informative)

benjamin_scarlet (99428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542520)

The article says they're stopping production of the roadster to focus on the S. It says nothing about anything failing.

Summary fail. (1)

LoganTeamX (738778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542524)

I am disappoint.

Editorialize much? (1, Insightful)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542530)

Summary is just some guy's half-assed opinion, and has nothing to do with the article.

This post is wrongheaded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542540)

tesla is not going to be shutting its doors. it has always been a part of the plan that the roadster would be phased out as they began to focus on the model s. this isn't some harbinger of the end, its a implementation of a business plan that has been discussed publicly for quite some time. as tesla moves to the model s and makes contracts with toyota and daimler they will no longer need the showpiece of the roadster to keep the company alive

Was the Roadster ever supposed to be profitable? (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542552)

Didn't Tesla say at one point that the cars they built were more about testing and demonstrating the technology behind electric vehicles, and that the real money was to be made in licensing the technology to other car makers?

Also, doesn't TFA state that the Model S is still going ahead as planned, even if the Roadster is not?

Re:Was the Roadster ever supposed to be profitable (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542710)

Correct. The Tesla was sold to help offset R&D costs. What better way to get real world data than have people pay you $100k to be test drivers. If they really sold 1650 cars at 100k that is $165 million towards R&D.

All of the lessons learned are going into the sedan which will be priced to be profitable. We shall see what happens.

You must have read a different FA (3, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542558)

The news bit linked only says they've stopped producing a car, intended to be low volume, to focus on a sedan designed of higher volume. While they may or not be successful, nothing ITFA says "there business model has failed."

It'd be nice if some actually read the submission before... oh wait, this is /.

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542568)

Tesla never intended to continue building the Roadster. They only have one production line, and cannot produce two models at the same time. They are shutting down production of the Roadster so they can switch the line over to the new S sedan that they've been taking orders for.

Battery waste? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542574)

This is just another conspiracy by the big oil companies. lol I write this because of the dumb a$$e$ on here.

Perhaps too much reading in between the lines ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542590)

The article implies a much less dramatic situation than your comment indicates. Although the roadster has indeed come to the end of its production life (and as you mentioned, perhaps it could never be a profitable venture for Tesla), there's no mention of intense financial struggles or an impending doom for Tesla. A partnership with Toyota certainly seems to encourage faith in Tesla's future S model sedan and their future as a company. Did you find other information to support your comment?

Call me cynical, but... (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542594)

I have always suspected that Tesla's REAL business model involved being bought out by one of the major automobile manufacturers.

Wow - pessimist much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542622)

The article sounds like they are pretty much on track with their original plan...

Battery packs are thier future (1)

jzarling (600712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542632)

They were probably never going to succeed beyond being a boutique auto manufacturer. Their real innovation is their battery pack technology. Sure its a bunch of small cells, but its semi affordable, and more development may bring down to fully affordable.

Somebody wants them to fail, but they aren't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542638)

This isn't the first confusing report in the press I've heard. While it might be true that the Roadster didn't bring in enough revenue to fund ongoing operations, VC money, IPO money, and the new model will certainly help. To paraphrase the (perhaps misattributed) late great Mark Twain, "tales of their death are greatly exaggerated".

Uh what? (4, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542652)

>Subby writes bad summary totally at odds with the meat of an article - probably didn't read the article and submits it anyway.
>gets "voted up" in the firehose by idiots that didn't read the article.
>gets posted on the front page by an "editor" that didn't read the article.

There are 3 layers of fail here, all of them inexcusable.

>Slashdot readers actually read the article and call Subby and the editor stupid

The Apocalypse is here.

--
BMO

Stock market disagrees with summary (5, Informative)

rcs1000 (462363) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542698)

Well: there's a surprise. Summary says: Tesla announces business model has failed and bankrupcy imminent.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Tesla's stock is up in an down market. The company is trading comfortably above its six month average price. The company, IIRC, always said that there would only be 2,500 Roadsters made...

Next year, the Model S will launch. The company has thousands of preorders, with people having put real money down.

The Model S may, of course, fail miserably. But the absurd FUD in the summary is ridiculous.

Alternative narrative (1)

foetusinc (766466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542706)

As I understand it, the current Lotus Elise, on which the Tesla is based, is also being discontinued. In Lotus case, they're replacing it with a brand new Elise built on a slightly larger chassis - and they can afford to do this because (compared to Tesla at least) they're high volume.

Tesla on the other hand doesn't have the time & money to reengineer the Roadster to work with the new Elise chassis at the same time they're trying to launch their sedan model. And they certainly don't have the clout to force Lotus to keep churning out an obsolete chassis for them.

End result: they disco'd an old model to focus on a new model. For every other car company on the planet this is called "Business As Usual", but apparently when you're Tesla it's a sign of impending collapse.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542726)

electric cars charge YOU!

No.. No.. No.. (4, Informative)

LoveMuscle (42428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542728)

This was Tesla's plan for a while now, and the article says nothing about their business model failing. The cannot use the government funds they were given to develop a sports car, it must be used for the Model S. Also they based the Roadster on the Elise Chassis, and Lotus has quit making them. This isn't reddit or I'd down vote for the horrific summary. There is lots of info in their IPO filing, and elsewhere..

Also the basis of the business model for the Roadster was to smash the image of the electric car being a hippie-green eco-shitbox, which most electric car's to date have been. That was a resounding success.

http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/tesla-gets-loan-approval-us-department-energy [teslamotors.com]
http://www.allcarselectric.com/news/1042150_tesla-roadster-production-to-end-in-2011-new-version-expected-in-2013 [allcarselectric.com]

#740..

Editor (1)

Palshife (60519) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542730)

Fix this shit. Submitter didn't read the article and is making things up.

Makes me sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542776)

This article and the general green lighting of false and incorrect stories are making me not read Slashdot anymore. Seriously WTF is going on with your editors?

I'll miss them (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542788)

I see Tesla roadsters on the road almost every day. I live in Silicon Valley on a hilly, winding road which leads to a lightly used road along a lake. It's about the only place in Silicon Valley where driving a sports car is a fun experience. The Silicon Valley Tesla dealership is nearby . So I see the little roadsters go quietly swooshing by as the dealership demos them.

There are enough Teslas in Silicon Valley that I see them around, being driven, parked in parking lots, and just routinely being used. Only once have I seen one on a flatbed truck, being hauled into the shop.

Not having anything to sell for a year seems a business mistake. Even if they're not making much money on the roadsters, keeping some product on the market seems necessary to retain attention. There are competing electric sedans, after all. The Tesla Roadster was unique, and finally killed the image of the electric car as wussy.

The Tesla Roadster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542792)

It was an interesting project, but the Roadster was just a heavier, slower, more expensive Lotus Elise . The Lotus, however, could be had new for under $55k, where the Tesla was roughly double that and had all the various limitations of an electric car.

The real innovation is happening now with the Nissan Leaf. It's truly a mass-market electric car that doesn't cost a fortune. It also doesn't try to be a sports car. The Prius and Insight didn't spark hybrid innovation because they were for the super-rich. Similarly, the Leaf is also inexpensive to the point where normal people (who don't care about performance) might buy one.

Another failure brough to us by samzenpus (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542812)

I thought I had seen a craptacular job by this hack before, and indeed, back in 2009 we saw a completely inaccurate front-page story posted by him [slashdot.org] where he didn't bother to read the article that he linked to.

But apparently on the front page, FUD sells, eh?

Doesn't sound like a failure to me (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542822)

They sold over $1.5B worth of Roadsters (1650 @ $109,000) and have used Roadster technology to help produce a more affordable car that will let them sell more cars. The $100K car market is only so big, I don't think they planned on selling millions of the Roadsters. The new "affordable" Model S won't hit the market until next mid next year.

Tell me again where the failure is?

Gov't Loan to Tesla (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542846)

Tesla received $465M in Federal money [engadget.com] according to engadget. They couldn't possibly have burned thru it already.

Re:Gov't Loan to Tesla (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542902)

No, the whole program existed to get that government money in the first place.

They have not succeeded yet either (1)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542862)

While I agree the intro did not reflect the article many responses act as if they have succeeded which is also not true. As of now they are burning investor and government money in search of profit. They might get there or they might not. But acting like they have failed is wrong but so is acting like they have succeeded based on an announced product and no history of profit is also wrong. There is a lot of 'green' technology that is cost effective and despite the desires of some the technologies that are not cost effective will fail no matter the 'green' factor. The only temporary exception is something that is mandated and even that will expire after causing damage to the economy.

Summary fail (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542872)

"business model failed" ??? that's not even close to summarizing or paraphrasing the article. They delivered 1650 Tesla roadsters. Lamoborghini, which is somewhat a competitor, sold around 1200 units over roughly the same time period. The Model S should be comparable to the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide or Maserati Quattroporte in terms of luxury and performance. They will probably be competitive with these high performance gas drinkers. So to say a low volume boutique company's business model failed is stupid and irresponsible. The relative rarity of the Roadster makes it even more desirable, which is what buyers of low volume boutique cars want. I think Elon Musk and his team have done a extremely difficult thing, albeit with a lot of money to help them along. RTFA before you write shit like this.

Even so, Tesla is too late (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542880)

Tesla will fail, no matter how much people want them to succeed. Why? Economies of scale.

Toyota have already delivered something like 3 million of their hybrid drivechains. The latest Prius is the biggest, heaviest, fastest and most economical to date, and now they will produce a small hybrid (Yaris). They have nearly 20 years of hybrid development. GM has what is in reality a plug in hybrid. Mercedes planned the original A-class to be electric; they have lots of development, as yet unused, probably over 20 years. Nissan has the Leaf entering volume production. Mitsubishi is ramping up its city car. The simple fact is that the moment batteries are good enough to go it alone - and they are not, yet, except for niches - these manufacturers can do it all over Tesla because they can crank out reliable, proven designs in volume. The sheer amount of development it takes nowadays to build a car reliably and economically is staggering, and Tesla cannot amortise that over large production runs. Their products are always likely to be way overpriced - and although some people will pay for a badge, the total number as a percentage of the market is very small indeed.

Toyota is in the strongest position because they can vary the relative amount of electric and gasoline power according to the state of energy costs. As gasoline gets more expensive, the gas engine can shrink and the battery can grow. As a result they can sell vehicles people actually want to buy. (OK, I admit it, I ended my support for Diesels and bought a Prius this year.)

Slashdot editors... (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36542910)

Are the Slashdot editors pissed off because Tesla doesn't accept bitcoins for their cars?

Wasn't this the plan all along? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542952)

I'm pretty sure Tesla has been planing this all along. They had announced a few months ago that they didn't plan on keeping the current Roadster around once they ran out of contract with the Lotus gliders. Sure they never said that they were taking the Roadster off the market, but it seemed like a possibility as they never announced another model of Roadster.

And a failing car company? Probably not, even though they aren't racking in the cash, they still move a lot of money around.

Wrong summary, good news (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36542960)

Tesla has in fact succeeded with most of their goals for the Roadster:
Created a good looking, high performance, pure electric vehicle that both proved the advances in electric car tech and that electric cars can be a viable alternative for some people NOW.
Admittedly the Roadster is not viable for everyone- lack of cargo space and lack of real range being the biggest problems.
But they PROVED that a pure electric can also be a GOOD, enjoyable car.
Something that no other manufacturer has done.

Since their business model was to use the Roadster to test and prove tech in small numbers and create buzz about the product and company and then stop production in favor of more mass-market friendly models.... well, so far they are doing exactly what they intended, and doing so successfully so far.

Strange situation here- I am not a fan of pure electrics as they don't meet my needs and I don't care for the increased pollution they cause in most of the US (electric generation plants are not exactly the "greenest" things around, not to mention battery disposal!) but Tesla has improved automotive tech for both pure electric and Hybrid (which I DO see as truly viable in the real world) and has so far been a very successful company.

Cowboy Neal needs to slap Attila Dimedici down for being an idiot, methinks.

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