• Oct 15, 2007
Recently, I wrote that Tesla's co-founder Martin Eberhard made a joke about the lack of quality in other electric car companies. Does Martin really feel that other electric car companies suck? YES! In a video interview (which you can watch below the fold) with the Wall Street Journal, Martin says all other electric car companies business approaches are "wrong" and they make "crap." Here is the full quote:
"In general, it seemed to me that, the way all other people started electric car companies, got in the business, was wrong. They wanted to make a car that would save the world. So, they needed to make a car that everyone could afford and they tried to come in at the bottom end of the market. They try to go up against very, very mature companies in a very, very mature industry. Every single component they buy costs them double what Honda or Hyundai or somebody pays for that same part. So they wind up with a car that's a piece of crap. No one wants to buy it.

No other industry does that happen. No other industry do you start in the low end and work your way up. Think about cell phones and flat panel TVs and camcorders and refrigerators and air conditioners. All these things start off as an expensive product and are sold to people who can afford it that are buying it not to save a lot of money but to experience the luxury of this new thing. That allows the companies to develop their technologies, to develop their supply chains and to drive the costs down, step by step as they reach a broader and broader market every time."


Martin also explains Tesla was delayed a year (from the original schedule) because they added safety equipment to the battery to absorb the heat of a burning cell. The safety equipment added 15 percent to the size of the battery and hundreds of pounds to the car's weight. The interview ends with Martin talking about the mistakes of DeLorean and Tucker that, of course, Tesla is not repeating either. If Tesla fails, this interview will not seem ironic at all.

Editor's UPDATE: if you're going to comment on this post, which you're welcome to do, please read the comments that have already been posted. Mr. Eberhard himself contributed and said the WSJ took his "piece of crap" comment out of context. Just want to make sure we're all aware about the full story here. Thanks.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]


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