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Thread: Chelsea's opinion

  1. #71
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    EVs with extended range, such as the Model S and the Volt/Ampera seem to be doing *much* better in the marketplace than limited range econoboxes like the Smart ED, MiEV, Leaf, Th!nk, etc. These extended range premium segment EVs will be the cars that provide their makers enough funds to design and build the next generation of EVs, not the sub 100 mile "penalty cars."

    GSP

    PS. Thanks Chelsea for your thoughtful post. I am somewhat embarrassed by the hard time other posters in this thread gave you based on the out of context quotes in a Wired article that you did not even author.
    Last edited by GSP; 2012-11-17 at 06:38 AM.

  2. #72
    Model S 85KW, VIN #2236
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    I want to add my thanks for your post, Chelsea.

    As for the dysfunctional culture aspect, that's somewhat sad but not too surprising. Most companies that I know of have corporate cultures that are dysfunctional, many in major ways. It's a fact of life and amazing that so many companies do as well as they in spite of their handicap.

    Here's hoping that Tesla is one of them.

  3. #73
    Senior Member JRP3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSP View Post
    EVs with extended range, such as the Model S and the Volt/Ampera seem to be doing *much* better in the marketplace than limited range econoboxes like the Smart ED, MiEV, Leaf, Th!nk, etc. These extended range premium segment EVs will be the cars that provide their makers enough funds to design and build the next generation of EVs, not the sub 100 mile "penalty cars."
    What you meant to say was longer range EV's such as the Model S and plug in hybrids such as the Volt/Ampera seem to be doing much better, and I agree. My example was strictly in reply to the "engineering only" standpoint. However the jury is still out on the actual profit margin for the Volt/Ampera because of the engineering and design complexity of building two systems into one vehicle, a complexity that EV's avoid.

  4. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by GSP View Post
    EVs with extended range, such as the Model S and the Volt/Ampera seem to be doing *much* better in the marketplace than limited range econoboxes like the Smart ED, MiEV, Leaf, Th!nk, etc. These extended range premium segment EVs will be the cars that provide their makers enough funds to design and build the next generation of EVs, not the sub 100 mile "penalty cars."

    GSP
    The data set is too small to draw conclusions from.
    The Smart EV isn't on the market yet. Th!nk failed before they could deliver cars. That leaves Imiev and Leaf.
    Besides being short range, they are ugly, weird looking and slow charging if CHAdeMO isn't available.

    The Volt/Ampera and Model S are long range, good looking, normal car shaped with fast refueling ( even the base 10kW of the Model S is fast compared to 3.3kW )

    The relative importance of all those factors is not clear. Can a shorter range car succeed without the other penalties? Unknown.

  5. #75
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richkae View Post
    Can a shorter range car succeed without the other penalties? Unknown.
    There is a market for shorter ranged cars, but I don't think it's in North America.
    1. Do not copy anything that I post outside of the TMC forum without permission.
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  6. #76
    Model Sig 304, VIN 542 Arnold Panz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by evchels View Post
    And fwiw, Wired is well aware of Bob's previous employment w Tesla. While he worked there, they specifically wouldn’t allow me to do any writing about Tesla and generally wouldn’t quote me about them. There was also a disclosure attached to the last article I did for Wired, even though he's no longer a Tesla employee. I too, prefer erring on the side of disclosure, and can’t explain the lack of any reference in this article.

    However, in the time I've known him, Bob's worked either for corporate or at a dealer for Saturn, Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Toyota, and Nissan in addition to Tesla (and I'm probably still missing someone!) So if the standard for bias is “her husband once worked there”, the list of disclosures attached to almost any comment I make would be pretty long. Just comes along with us both being involved in the same industry, and why his employment status has never been a factor in my opinion of or comments about any company- though I’m sure there have been times when he and/or the company wished it was.

    Likewise, his termination doesn't specifically impact my overall support of Tesla. The details of that situation and its aftermath are both heinous and deeply disappointing, even after knowing of others’ termination horror stories. According to current employees, there’s been a company-wide edict not to acknowledge or speak to either one of us- which is sad, and makes what professional interactions with me that they can’t avoid that much more awkward. But it is what it is, and I expect that the latter part will pass at some point.
    Thanks for you thoughtful reply. I'm glad you took my comments in the spirit which they were intended, which were more a dig at the reporter than you for not disclosing your indirect (former) relationship with Tesla, especially if Wired knew of the issue.

    Two additional points -- first, I don't think there should be a standard for anyone that if their spouse formerly worked there they need to disclose that if commenting on the company. Rather, I think this is a somewhat unique circumstance because of the nature of the employment separation and the fact that it was semi-public, at least to some extent, and other rumors following it. It seems to me your possible bias towards Tesla (whether it actually exist or not is another discussion) should be disclosed, yet the fact that your husband worked for other car companies shouldn't require any disclosure if you commented on those companies.

    Second, I am an in-house lawyer for a large company and wanted to provide some possible context for the internal edict at Tesla regarding discussions with you and your husband (assuming that is true). I don't know what happened here, but am 100% confident that I would give the same advice regarding a former employee (and his spouse) if we had similar cirucmstances at my company. In fact, in circumstances with less risk involved we've had to give similar advice. The bottom line is that any contact between you and Tesla employees could be used against the company in slander/libel cases, or other types of legal actions, so the best and easiest way to deal with that is to avoid contact altogether. The fact that you wrote a blog about the termination, that you participate on message boards like this one and others, makes it even riskier (from Tesla's lawyers point of view).

    All of which is to say, I don't know enough about Tesla to say that the culture is good or bad or dysfunctional, but I wouldn't ascribe the ban on speaking to you to anything having to do with Tesla's culture. Rather, I assume that this is simply the Legal department being overly cautious in an effort to avoid any potential issues in the future. Companies like Tesla that have had these types of cases in the past are going to do what their lawyers say, so for all we know, nobody at Tesla is happy about the ban, but most executives probably understand why it is necessary.

    Keep up the good work on EVs. "Who Killed..." was such an influence on my life that it led pretty much directly to me buying a Tesla, and you were a big part of that!

  7. #77
    Senior Member evchels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrComputer View Post
    After speaking with Chelsea many times at several events, as many people here have said she does have a specific perspective on how she thinks the EV movement should progress. Only history will show us if her views are correct or Elon had it right. Either way, I tend to agree more with Elon's approach.
    Sure, I have perspectives on how things will and in some cases should evolve- just like everyone else. But they’re not as narrow as some here seem to think, and not inherently contradicting Tesla’s. I think Elon’s approach to cars is the right one for Tesla- just not for all car companies.

    It has always been my position that as a start-up, Tesla took the right approach in vehicle development, both starting with a sexy rocket of a car (still the first one I'd put in my driveway if I could) and starting with a high-end model and working down. As others have noted, start-ups who've tried the reverse approach obviously haven’t shown it to be viable. I've been a Tesla fan since 2005 when I first spent time with Martin, Mark, JB and the others, and drove the mule for the first time. Not long after, I introduced them to Vantage Point, who ultimately became Tesla's largest venture investor. At one point during my tenure as an advisor to VP, I very nearly ended up being its member on Tesla’s board- an insightful series of conversations. And the advisor role certainly gave me a deeper view into the company than most have in general. I've also supported Tesla in various behind-the-scenes ways over the years in addition to being a public cheerleader and regularly defend Tesla’s DOE loan. And of course, I helped produce a film that that’s pretty much a Valentine to Elon and Tesla. I mention these things for those who don't know much of my experience with Tesla other than through Bob working there. Overall, I’ve been suspected of being biased toward Tesla far more often than against them, and typically only hear the latter from this group.

    The Roadster and Model S are awesome in the true sense of the word- especially given my well-known love of torque. I can’t wait for BlueStar. And imo, Tesla’s most important contribution to the industry is its aspirational quality, outweighing how many cars the company has actually sold or might in the next couple years (even though I hope they sell tons of cars too). By that, I mean that the cars themselves were the first and remain the best examples of “what’s possible” from a performance, range, and design perspective- all of which are important in shaping public perception about EVs in general, even for those who may never own one. The original media buzz around Roadster and the continued attention on Model S has been many people’s first exposure to EVs at all, and important in getting them to consider owning a plug-in of some type themselves even if it ends up being a different one. For that reason, I do find some of the arrogance off-putting, but it's not unique to Tesla. And to a certain degree, Tesla has challenged the mainstream industry, and certainly drawn other luxury brands into introducing sports car or supercar concepts of their own. All good things, in addition to building hot cars.

    Yes, I’ve disagreed with some decisions the company has made- mostly around charging, and to a lesser degree how many stores it makes sense to open right now from a resource standpoint. To state the obvious though, mine is just one opinion.

    I have other internal concerns, but haven’t talked of them publicly and am not looking to. I simply hope Tesla gets them sorted before they have a visible impact. And agree completely with those who've pointed out that many companies succeed in spite of a dysfunctional culture. So to the degree Tesla's is, I'd like them to be one of them.

    I don’t think the Model S is expensive for what it is, and love that Tesla is giving people range choices. I wish the others would too. But while Tesla’s “top down” approach to affordable cars makes absolute sense for Tesla, I don’t see it working for Ford or Honda or the other non-luxury brands. Even if the price is justified, the Model S isn’t considered affordable to most. And the current state of battery tech does require OEMs to strike a balance between range and price. So yes, for those companies (and especially Nissan, who has so publicly staked its reputation on a “mass-market” EV) and absent some unforeseen battery advance, I think it’s more important to focus on getting range up some (yes, ~100-120 solid, real world miles is the minimum goal based on my experience- but not where things should ultimately stop), but beyond that aim at affordability over really long range in the next few years.

    Contrary to most in the industry, I don’t think price is currently the biggest hurdle- there are more people who can afford and would be fine with paying current prices than there are plug-in vehicles being built by all car companies combined, not to mention some damned attractive leases out there. But it will become a factor in as vehicle volume expectations and sales goals increase. If someone talks to me about long range, I point to Tesla, or to a PHEV (depending on the other specifics of the conversation). And I think the larger economy brands should develop attractive, fun-to-drive vehicles that won’t necessarily have Holy Grail range in the next few years, but will be compelling to lots of people who can’t buy a Model S. And I like the Cadillac and Infiniti variants, based on what I’ve seen so far. The more options, the better. But suggesting that 300 miles shouldn’t necessarily be first priority for all EV models and believing that more economical versions is key to more EVs on the road in the long run is not the same as saying Tesla is wrong for going that way.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by TEG View Post
    (stating the obvious, but)
    There is a difference between doing things the best possible way and making compromises to get to a price point that more people can afford.
    Many LEAF buyers could not afford any Tesla right now, as much as they might want one.
    Chelsea acts as an advocate for the more average consumer.
    I think she personally likes Tesla products for what they are, but continues to push for the industry to produce mainstream products that can sell in high volumes and make a real difference in terms of the mass benefits society can receive from reduced oil consumption.
    Pretty much. Tesla and the incumbent auto industry also have very different core competencies, and I think each should pursue EVs that reflect theirs. Over time, I think that line will start to blur some (hope so, anyway)- but we're not there yet.

  8. #78
    TSLA will win Norbert's Avatar
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    That's a much better clarification. No issues with this one.
    Buying an EV is one thing, being able to drive it beyond city limits another...

  9. #79
    Senior Member evchels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norbert View Post
    she discusses Tesla, and for example its connector and Superchargers, on wired.com, transportevolved.com, and even mynissanleaf.com, but not here (except occasionally some time ago). For example, on mynissanleaf.com, she wrote:
    ( My Nissan Leaf Forum View topic - Tesla Supercharger Network )...she questions that Tesla is making proper use of DOE funds. That's a serious thing! And she does that on mynissanleaf.com, so to speak behind our back.
    I’m sorry, I just don’t see participating on a thread in a different public forum as talking behind your backs, especially given how many of us participate in more than one. Second, I did not question whether Tesla was making improper use of DOE funds...any question was aimed squarely at the DOE, and what considerations are going into their funding choices. From the original Ecotality announcement, I’ve said that part of the policy discussion should be to what extent “restricted access” public infrastructure should be publicly funded (restricted access could be based on connectors, networks, private parking, etc.) But it was also a response to a LEAF driver who was accusing me of not really being an EV advocate because I wasn’t placing extra emphasis on serving the specific infrastructure needs of LEAF drivers- i.e., making pushing for CHAdeMO installations my first priority - since there are currently more of them on the road than other EVs.

  10. #80
    Senior Member evchels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yggdrasill View Post
    EVs can be sexy and cool. It's not a bad thing for them to be so! Even if they do end up expensive.
    Absolutely! I don’t think you’ll find many people who think I don’t want sexy, cool EVs. I am constantly pushing for more passion-based marketing and education campaigns that include how fun they are to drive (yeah, some more than others!) and the other emotional and visceral experiences of using an EV. "Cool" has always been the #1 attraction to EVs, even to many that some of you probably wouldn't think of as so cool.

    However, I think that even “affordable” EVs can be fun, sexy, and cool too- and are worth pursuing. That’s all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yggdrasill View Post
    You don't need fast chargers if all you want is for EVs to attain maybe 50% market share. But personally, I'm not happy until you have 100% EVs, and for that, you need fast chargers.
    I agree here too. I am not opposed to fast charging, really. Some of it should be out there, for the psychological aspects as well as actual range extension. It’s some of the framing I disagree with- trying to suggest the LEAF becomes a true road trip car with a little fast charging, for example. And some of the estimates of how many are needed and when are way overblown, and often created by those with a vested interest, like the charging companies. It makes sense to stay a couple steps ahead of deployed vehicle volumes, but not ten. On that point, I’ve publicly complimented Tesla’s approach to the number of initial Supercharger locations- 100 makes total sense. The hundreds planned for CA alone just between the Ecotality and NRG projects in their time frames? Total overkill, and makes their mission of a viable business plan that much harder. It’s also not the best speed for all locations- sometimes L2 is better, and vice-versa. I get the whole "chicken/egg" issue around fast charging, and public infrastructure in general. In a variety of ways, I’d just like to see some moderation around expectation-setting on required fast charger volumes, installation promises, and just how much having DC charging will enhance the day-to-day experience of driving today’s EVs. It is one of the features that will make EVs attractive to more people, but only one.

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