• May 12, 2008
Martin Eberhard first conceived of what ultimately became Tesla Motors and the Tesla Roadster when he couldn't get AC Propulsion to build him a TZero. Since he wanted a battery-powered sports car, Eberhard set out to bring together a team that would build his dream car. Of course, it was always his intention to buy the first car for himself, but creating a car company from scratch is not a low budget proposition. Hence Eberhard had to bring in some investors to fund the program. PayPal founder Elon Musk came in big with a pile of cash in return for which he requested the first car. After some haggling, Eberhard agreed to take Roadster number 2 and things moved along.

As we now know, Tesla encountered some speed bumps along the way and production got delayed by many months. The first production model was completed in December 2007, and delivered to Musk in February. Series production officially kicked off on March 17 of this year with the car with serial number 2 starting down the line. That car destined for Eberhard has yet to leave the Lotus factory in England. Meanwhile two other cars have been completed and one has been delivered to a customer in the U.S. while the other has been touring Europe for the last couple of weeks. Needless to say, Martin Eberhard is not pleased about other people getting their Roadsters before him. The problem is that automotive build sequences are a very complicated matter, which are only made worse when you blend big egos into the mix. The matter comes down to the difference between what the VIN numbers say and which cars we're actually built when. AutoblogGreen has a detailed report on what was "promised" to Eberhard, and what is being delivered, including documents provided by Eberhard.

[Source: AutoblogGreen]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      As much as it is annoying he has a point...If it wasnt for his vision there wouldnt be a Tesla today...It was his vision and ideas that made Tesla what it is today...Is there something wrong with the father of a company wanting to have serial 1??? who wouldnt???
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can understand how it would be appealing and important to get the first car that your company makes.
      I don't blame him for being irked. The investor who ponies up the all important cash gets the first car, that's fair. However the person who puts the work into making the company gets number two, that would sting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know you have problems when you've barely been able to make two vehicles and you're arguing about who gets one of them. I will bet that Tesla will pull a Silicon Grpahics and will be a patents-only company in a year or two, and will exist only by licensing rights to bigger companies who haven't proven to be operational failures.

      I really hope Tesla pulls its socks up, because this kind of crap is exactly why people treat the electric car market as either irrelevant and incompetent (at best) or the domain of vulture capitalists (at worst).
        • 6 Years Ago
        While I wouldn't argue your point about the direction Tesla's heading, I think it's unfair to Silicon Graphics to state is as you have. They actually made cutting-edge hardware for years before the market caught up with them and it became a volume business rather than an absolute-capability business. Yeah, I'm a geek, how'd you guess?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You have to look at the situation differently. They weren't arguing for the first cars because that they fear the company will go bankrupt before they make more. They are arguing because the first production models are the most significant models. Think about the first ferrari or porsche, probably worth lots of money today and a great collectors item. But for a guy so involved in the company it also holds lots of symbolic value too. We are all car guys here, so I think you should know what I mean.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Silicon Graphics hasn't been itself since that shill from Microsoft, Rick Belluzzo, took the reigns and ran the company straight into the ground. Some (myself included) might argue that they jumped the shark when they became dropped the boxes logo and became "SGI".

        They were a good company, and they made good stuff (I still have an Indigo2 from my old life; remarkable box for the era) but they're split between patent-troll and dead-company-walking.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll second that comment
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess its important.

      #2 is just the first loser :P
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mr Jay Leno has car #1.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do a barrel roll!
      • 6 Years Ago
      ABG read link doesn't work for me.
      • 6 Years Ago
      B O O - H O O
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about making the Serial Number 1 car available to a regular customer? You know, to show the customers come first?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I was about to say that a regular customer would probably be happier with a car built after the initial build issues had been ironed out, but then I thought about the Tesla. Anyone spending that kind of money for a Tesla won't really care if it's imperfect, they'd prefer the bragging rights of the low serial number.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Good points, DKB. Although I was thinking of Tesla ironing out most/all of the bugs with engineering prototypes that do not get serial numbers, then when everything is good to go, issue Serial Number One to a regular customer.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ctrl+Alt+Delete should clear up this confusion
      • 6 Years Ago
      With an attitude like that, he'll (Eberhard) always be #2.
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