And the other shoe drops. In an e-mail to customers, Tesla's Ex-CEO hinted that the Tesla may be delayed. Here is what he said. "And naturally, the question on many Tesla customers' minds is "When will I get my car?" The short answer is: We are still planning to start production of the Roadster by the end of next month and deliver the first cars to customers this fall. We have a good chance of meeting this goal, but to be fully transparent, I want you to know that while it is within our reach, it is not yet fully within our grasp." Of course, Martin Eberhard leaving, search for an operations CEO and possible delay may have nothing to do with each other. Go below the fold to read the LONG answer, which shows why Jalopnik might be building up from a molehill.

[Source: Jalopnik via Treehugger, Register]
Eberhard's e-mail:

"Since my last formal update to you in December, we've made tremendous progress in building and testing the second generation prototypes. With each successive technical improvement, the driving experience has improved as well. We're waiting to publicly announce the results of our EPA range validation tests until all the results are in, but I'll let you know in advance you will be pleased. You are going to love this car.

So what's left to do? Testing, testing and more testing. It falls into two major categories.
  • Crash testing. We're in the midst of final crash testing now, as outlined in the most recent issue of The Roadster newsletter. We feel confident about passing these tests, since we conducted these same tests on the first generation prototypes much earlier in the program. However, there is always the chance that something unpredictable occurs causing us not to pass this time, in which case we would incur a delay to address the issues. As soon as we complete crash testing our customers will be the first to know.
  • Durability testing. This is where it all comes together to ensure that your car is durable and reliable. Durability testing includes both the mechanical components of the Roadster and also the software that controls everything from door latches to battery cooling. This testing has been underway for some time and will in fact continue after we start production of cars. This is typical of all car manufacturers; we want to insure that our test cars discover any long-term durability issues ahead of your car. We will soon enter the next phase of durability testing that incorporates all previous fixes. The results of this testing are critical to the schedule.Once we enter production, we will build the first cars very slowly - about one per week - accelerating as we gain experience. It takes about 5 weeks to ship the car from the U.K. to the U.S. So a September production start translates into an early November delivery of the first car to a customer.
We will hold short of projecting a specific delivery date for your car until we work through the milestones outlined above. In the meantime, we are working to the general timeframe of delivering Founders' Series cars this year, Signature 100 cars in Q1 2008 and other customers' cars after Q1 depending on when you placed your reservation. If we incur any additional delays due to the ongoing testing, I will let you know."

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