According to Green Car Reports, the bet hinges on Neil's 2009 comment that the Model S is "ambitious" and that Musk's promised delivery date of late 2012 was, "an audacious timeline that makes many in the car industry roll their eyes." Musk, also a bit of a boisterous one, apparently emailed Neil in 2009 to say: You wanna bet? The exact emails have apparently been lost, but GCR says the details, according to Neil, are as follows. For Musk to win, the Model S:
- Needs to start series production and be delivered to the first paying customers by the end of 2012.
- Have to be certified by NHTSA with a four- or five-star safety rating and it has to have seven seats.
- Needs to be priced at $57,400 (for the base model with the 160-mile range), $67,400 (230 miles) and $87,400 (300 miles).
We hope, for Musk's sake, that someone got their wires crossed here. As far as we know, the Model S was never supposed to have Better Place-style batter swap capability. Instead, the plan has always been, "When [Model S drivers] take an occasional two-way long distance trip, they'll get a replacement pack and then pick up their original one on the way back," with the swaps done at Tesla dealerships.
[The Model S] has to have a battery pack that allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station, similar to the Better Place battery swapping scheme.
We have to assume Musk would like this clarified, too, since Neil claims that Musk will have to donate a million dollars to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) if Tesla doesn't hit these targets. If Neil loses, he's willing to donate a more modest, journalist-level $1,000 to MSF. Which side of the bet would you rather be on?