Elon's 1M bet: Win or Lose?

Elon's 1M bet: Win or Lose?

Here as noted on

For Musk to win, the Model S:
1. Needs to start series production and be delivered to the first paying customers by the end of 2012.
2. Have to be certified by NHTSA with a four- or five-star safety rating and it has to have seven seats.
3. 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).
4. 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 don't have all the answers yet, looks good for Elon so far BUT

if 0-60 in base model at 5.6 sec was on the list ... Dan would have won the bet already!

Schlermie | 23 December, 2011

1. It feels like he's on track for this one.
2. It's been ominously silent on the safety rating. I have a feeling he's struggling here and scrambling to get the rating up.
3. So far, he's solidly on track here. He'll just keep throwing more features into the Tech Package to keep the base price down.
4. Done.

Timo | 23 December, 2011

That five star rating cannot be achieved before they have production model completely finished, and even then it can take some time before they actually get the certificate. I'm betting 2013 for that to resolve.

mscottring | 23 December, 2011

Timo - That said I think they will get it.

Timo | 23 December, 2011

Same here. I have no doubt that they get at least four star, and I would be a bit disappointed if they don't get five. Considering how the car is build five star should be easier to get that what it would be for ICE car. You don't have a huge ICE threatening to jump into your lap in front of the car in case of head-on accident, and flat battery under the floor should make passenger space more rigid which should help protecting crushing from side impacts.

mscottring | 23 December, 2011

Timo - To me it just makes sense that this design should be a safer one than any ICE design could possibly be. I think they'll nail it. But as you pointed out, we'll have to wait a while to find out.

Brian H | 24 December, 2011

One of the points made was that the entire 'frunk' area was pretty much a purpose-designed crumple zone, impossible in an ICE vehicle (other than the rare rear- or mid-engine models).

olanmills | 26 December, 2011

This bet is nothing. I can't find it now, but there is a video of Elon Musk showing the Model S to a journalist. In the video, Elon claims that he will personally repay all of Tesla's government loans should something go wrong and the company can't pay off the loan.

h8young | 21 May, 2012

Uh, not so fast my friend. What about the battery pack that allows for en-route swapping? So far, I've not heard any announcements from Tesla that would allow for battery swapping. We've only been told that Supercharging would be the method for charging on road trips.

Volker.Berlin | 22 May, 2012

He'll weasel out of this because technically the battery can be removed/swapped very quickly (like, under 5 mins, with the appropriate machinery). It's designed like that because it is located in the floor, anyway, and it's a convenient feat for servicing the battery. There are just no battery swapping stations in existence for the Model S, but the swapping stations weren't part of the bet, just the battery.

ThomasN | 22 May, 2012

He'll win, but likely concede on the stations aspect. Great PR and I suspect he could use the write off.

Brian H | 22 May, 2012

"Weasel" is such a derogatory word ... how about "wriggle"?

Volker.Berlin | 22 May, 2012

How about I chose it b/c I meant it?

Brian H | 22 May, 2012

Careful consideration of the smiley I used will reveal that I actually assumed that, and was trying to josh you into playing nice. Despite the odds.


Volker.Berlin | 22 May, 2012

Here's my strictly personal opinion (I know you don't care): Whenever you find yourself typing a smiley, I'd like you to hesitate for a moment and reconsider whether your post is actually contributing to the thread or just adding noise. In the unlikely event that you determine that it's the latter, chuckle for yourself about your brilliant stroke of genius, and move on without submitting your post. Thanks.

I apologize to everybody else for getting off topic.

BYT | 22 May, 2012

Oh Volker.Berlin, it's just a little fun on a blog post. Doesn't hurt for all to chuckle from time to time. If I wasn't great at what I do, I would have considered becoming a comedian. Looking back, I'm glad I am good at what I do because it pays pretty good and I'm not that great of a comedian!

Volker.Berlin | 22 May, 2012

BYT, I wouldn't even comment at all if it were *one* little fun blog post. Brian H's posting habits border on spamming and I'm majorly annoyed by this guy. It's too much of the same thing to be funny, the vast majority of his posts are mere noise without any contribution to the topic at hand and marginal humor at best. I manage to ignore him for the most part, but today I had to vent just a little bit. I'll go back to ignore mode now.

CPM | 22 May, 2012

+ 1 VB

JoeFee | 22 May, 2012

Point 4 states: "Has to have a battery pack that allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station, similar to the Better Place battery swapping scheme".

Key here is the term "allows" swapping. The stipulation does not say Tesla has to provide swapping or that it can't be done by a 3rd party latter.

It's clear to me Elon met this requirement head-on with the MS pack design i.e. no "Weasel" nor "wriggle" involved!

Timo | 22 May, 2012

It's not only talk or design to win the bet, I think there was or is a plan that allows people to swap small battery to bigger one at Tesla store for longer road trips and then get that smaller back after the trip. Costs you some rental fee of course. Battery pack swapping capability is a real deal.

Brian H | 23 May, 2012


Brian H | 23 May, 2012

As is well known, 'German humor' is an oxymoron. My sympathies.

petero | 23 May, 2012

My guess is Elon will gladly pay the $1M to charity conceding the battery swap was a consideration at the time. Neil will probably also write a $1K check to charity, write several (well received) articles extolling the virtues of Musk, TM, and the “S.”

Both will claim the moral high ground. Win-Win.

bsimoes | 14 June, 2012

I would say that the bet has been won! Any word on checks being written?

Volker.Berlin | 15 June, 2012

It currently hinges on the quick-swappable battery. Most of us believe that the Model S battery can be swapped quickly, but none of us has yet witnessed such an operation. However, in the shareholder meeting Elon slipped that there is something interesting to be announced wrt battery swapping.

Strictly speaking, the NHTSA judgment is still out as well, and we don't know when those results will be official. NHTSA has to buy a car (or more?) first, through the regular process, and we don't know (and Tesla don't know either) where they are in line.

Volker.Berlin | 15 June, 2012
VolkerP | 15 June, 2012

"the NHTSA judgment is still out as well, and we don't know when those results will be official. NHTSA has to buy a car (or more?) first"

NHTSA does several crash tests (at least frontal + side pole impact). Plus we all want to see a rear impact with dummies in the rear-facing child seats. Several cars are needed therefor.

Brian H | 15 June, 2012

It could be that the NHTSA is even posting here under an agent's name, or a nom-de-web. "On the internet, no one knows you're a bureaucrat."


JoeFee | 14 July, 2012
Brian H | 14 July, 2012

dan agrees Elon won. Both were going to pay off by donating to Doctors Without Borders, (dan $1,000 and Elon $1,000,000). Elon will donate anyway, despite having won.