The world’s first electric supercar, Tesla, is having problems. It’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Martin Eberhard, is accepting a more limited role in the company and the CEO position has been given, at least temporarily, to the former president of Flextronics, Michael Marks.

Marks is an investor in Tesla. The demotion of the founder and CEO in a company, with the elevation of an outside investor to the position that controls the day-to-day operation of the company, is usually a sign that there are problems at the company.

Such seems to be the case at Tesla.

It looks as though introduction of the Tesla roadster, its first production vehicle, will be delayed.

A letter from Eberhard to those who have placed orders for Tesla’s first addressed his acceptance of a lesser position, stating that it was designed to allow him to spend more time on developing the technology required for the car.

But it then admitted that there was a possibility that the Tesla would not be delivered on time. Eberhard’s letter says that the company still plans on beginning production at the end of September. However, it then says, “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.”

Eberhard’s letter goes on to say that the company still has further crash and durability testing to perform. He says the first 5% and the final 5% of a car’s development are the most difficult and that “the end is in sight.”

 The Tesla is named in honor of Nichola Tesla, a pioneer in the development of electricity, particularly alternating current (AC) systems. The company is headquartered in California, but has a technical center facility in Michigan.

The vehicle itself is a high performance roadster to be entirely electrically powered and that is claimed to be capable of extraordinary performance: a 200 mile range, 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds, with a top speed of 130. It is expected to be priced at or above $100,000 and uses a battery system licensed from AC Propulsion which is claimed to weigh only 800 lbs, but which is also very expensive to produce.

Tesla’s announced plans include not only the roadster, but a future sports sedan, the “WhiteStar,” and then a more affordable model, the “BlueStar.”

Reportedly, over $100 million has been invested in the company by outside sources, most of it from venture capital groups and internet billionaires, such as the founders of Google and eBay. 

The company has orders for than 550 roadsters.

Source: Winding Road

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tango  (372) posted on 08.21.2007

Err...WhiteStar? I would steer well clear of that name if I were them. Do we recall a certain company that went by that name several years ago? I believe they built a ship that mysteriously sank on its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912...She went down somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Can’t recall the name of that ship right now though, but it will come back to me...

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