• Dec 4th 2007 at 11:53PM
  • 13
The saga of Martin Eberhard's abrupt departure from Tesla Motors continues to unfold. A story on the Green Wombat blog at Fortune's site has more details on what happened during Eberhard's last few days with the company he helped get off the ground. It appears that a personality conflict between Eberhard and Chairman Elon Musk was at least partly behind the firing.
It also looks like at least a majority if not all of the members of the Board of Directors had lost confidence in Eberhard's ability to get development of the Roadster back on track. Given the continuing issues that Tesla has had with transmission suppliers, things did not bode well for the chances of getting the WhiteStar sedan done on time and on budget.

[Source: Green Wombat, thanks to Peter for the tip]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      They don't make them in San Carlos. They are assembled at Lotus in the UK. It's my understanding that the Lotus factory there is capable of producing a few hundred Roadsters in a year, once they iron out the transmission problem.

      This transition was not well-managed if it had to happen. Tesla/Musk are going to need to reconnect with their customers and their market. They cannot discount the value that Martin brought to the company in terms of public relations, in addition to his role as founder. He had/has a deep passion for this project...I'm not so sure about them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not surprised that Martin Eberhard was ousted. His comments have always been caustic. He has no patience for anyone who disagrees with him. And no willingness to look at others' points of view.

      Couple that with a guy like Elon Musk, who would stab his own mother in the back, and it's surprising the two of them lasted this long.

      But I don't think that will hurt Tesla Motors. Tesla's problem is that they are all flash and no substance. Their Roadster is an expensive toy. They have no technology of their own to speak of. Their patent on their battery containers is a joke.

      Tesla has indeed accomplished a lot. But it took them five years and $105 million to get to this point -- a point where they have yet to sell anything to anyone. To me, Tesla is teetering on the brink of failure.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Final assembly takes place in the UK? Or just the chassis?

      First I heard finally assembly takes place in the UK, but I do have to admit it makes a lot of sense, especially next to San Carlos.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is no assembly line in San Carlos because the Roadsters are being built in England by Lotus.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Musk should be tarred and feathered.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No class, this was handled very poorly, especially considering the profile of Eberhard. Makes me worry about the people calling the shots. Was such a drastic, nasty action necessary? My guess is they've completely underestimated the damage this will do to their credibility and perception in the market.

      As for Ze’ev Drori, he seems to jump into existing companies, dust them off, then sell them. Is he preparing Tesla for a merger or sale?

      If I'd plunked down a deposit, I'd be really nervous right now.

      Nightmare Scenario: One of the Big 3 offers them a whack of money under the guise of starting their own program, the program is then cancelled, poof, no more Telsa.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Okay. Great. I'm kinda cheesed it's in no way an American car now, but this plan does seem feasible, which is good for Tesla.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I know these kinds of changes can lead to a lot of speculation but I can assure you that there is no aspect of this that has to do with the impending sale of the company to one of the big 3 or another large OEM.

      @Dave: Martin is a brilliant man, but even he cannot make the ZAP-X come true. It is reality-proof. Once he starts blogging again you can ask him about that directly. Martin and I had many a discussion on that subject!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to see Martin go build the ZAP-X...and actually put it on the road. It's a publicly trade company that needs some brain power. One gear please.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The Big 3 would be fools.."

      Yeah, can't imagine that happening :p
      • 7 Years Ago
      Interesting point. The Big 3 would be fools to buy in to Tesla for this very reason. Tesla as a company isn't exactly a proven concept yet and if a big 3 company buys in and then Tesla fails naturally, the big company will look like they killed them.

      At least to someone who thinks the big 3 is somehow anti-EV, which I never understand.

      Tesla is a long way from out of the woods right now. Once they get the transmission fixed, they still have to figure out how to make 600 cars in 1 year in San Carlos with no assembly line.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Continuing problems with the transmission, eh? According to an article in Inc magazine, Eberhard wanted the Tesla to have a simple one speed transmission while Musk fought for the more complex two speed. But I suppose it's natural to lay the blame elsewhere.
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