Elon Musk has won.

Elon Musk has won.

Ten years ago no one other than Elon, and probably even including Elon, believed what he said he will make to happen. People today all see it's real and inevitable, not necessarily in what they say but definitely in what they do.

SamO | December 6, 2017

The cockroaches are scurrying around by the light of the refrigerator.

Honest question: What would you buy instead?

Honest Answer: Nothing else is even decent. Bolt, i3, Leaf . . . sad jokes. No long-range capabilities. Just sad teasing gestures by big auto. Maybe Porsche Mission e . . . but a car far different than the one shown 2 years ago.


jordanrichard | December 6, 2017

Let's remember that it is not ONLY Elon that had this vision. Elon may be the face of Tesla, but he is not Tesla. since it has been Tesla's mission/goal to have these changes happen, it should be worded as Tesla has won.

When the Beatles, KISS, AD/DC, etc. put out new albums, you didn't say John Lennon, Gene Simmons, Brian Johnson put out a new album......

Perhaps my fear is completely unfounded, but Elon getting sole credit for Tesla's accomplishments could cause resentment within Tesla which can quickly become a cancer.

SamO | December 6, 2017

Elon is NOTHING without the Tesla and SpaceX teams. He has the vision, he carefully selects the team and mentions them FIRST at every event. He never speaks of personal accomplishment.

This team knows and when they go to start their own companies, look for a new job OR check their 401K, that this is a company that values its owners.

SamO | December 6, 2017

Elon would not be able to accomplish his goals of sustainable transporation and multiplanetary species without a team. Elon is still something special without his team. ;-)

jordanrichard | December 6, 2017

SamO +1 and he always gives credit to the teams, it is the press and to some extent people here give credit/mention Elon solely when something good or bad happens.

SO | December 6, 2017

Ingredients are good by themselves but need a chef/cook in order to make them great. Elon is the chef that pulled the ingredients (people) together.

I’m not discounting the teams at all. But being the person to bring it all together takes more guts. Especially when HE is the target for all the bad press.

Tesla-David | December 6, 2017

I agree with @SamO, EM is something special, and a visionary!

carlk | December 6, 2017

Elon has the title of Chief Architect of Tesla but in fact he is the Chief Architect of the entire auto industry. We are beginning to see that but it will be very clear in another 5 or 10 years.

carlk | December 6, 2017

jordan, SamO 100% agree. Elon is the visionary but people like JB, Franz, Jerome and probably some we don't even know their names are indispensable for what Tesla has achieved. The fact is still Elon recognizes talents and those people are willing to stay at Tesla and work for him is something very special too.

Sleepydoc1 | December 6, 2017

Ford names their team Edison. Who won that battle between Edison's DC and Tesla's AC? ;-) We will see how it turns out in the 21st century.

SamO | December 6, 2017


I don't mind the title of the thread. I was correcting the misapprehension that Elon's Team ( ;-)) is offended that Elon gets a lot of attention.

carlk | December 6, 2017

These people are smart enough to not be offended. People like PD, assume he's able to get on the team, may be offended but not people like you and I.

malcolm.hall1932 | December 7, 2017

Carik: thanks, a true and uplifting thread.

carlk | December 7, 2017

You're welcome malcolm but there is only one person to thank for.

Here is another one from today. When was the last time you hear everyone wants to send men to Mars?

KP in NPT | December 7, 2017

Yes, he's won - I remember just 2 years ago when I arrived at this forum reading how these predictions were preposterous and will never happen and blah blah...

and its looking like Tony Seba's TaaS forecast could be pretty close, as well.

Go Tesla!

Tesla-David | January 7, 2018

Thanks @carlk, yet more evidence of Tesla's dominance. Very much looking forward to seeing the competition forthcoming to the Roadster. I am betting Tesla will win. ICE is dead meat at this point and Tony Seba's predictions are absolutely sound.

Tesla-David | January 7, 2018

Here is more evidence. "Will BMW be the first automotive icon to fall to Tesla?"

rgrant | January 7, 2018

Wow, the Aston guy is a big talker! As Elon woukd say, “Do it!”

Maxxer | January 7, 2018

Can we name streets in honor of him already?

Earl and Nagin ... | January 7, 2018

Just to keep history correct: Possibly at the risk of ticking off Musk and losing my future Teslas.
Elon Musk was not the one with Tesla's original vision, nor was he the one who started it. Also @carlk, is incorrect about being offended since that was a large part of what drove the original founding management team out.
However, in no way do I intend to put Musk down. Musk clearly did come up with the same vision independently from Eberhart, Tarpenning, and company and he clearly did win. I'll also add that it was not unreasonable for Musk to not be willing or able to trust someone else to take the extreme risks with mostly his money to do what was necessary to make Tesla the success it has become.
He definitely did most of the right things at the right times for the right reasons and is worthy of all the praise this thread heaps on him.

jordanrichard | January 7, 2018

Earl and Nagin +1. I routinely correct people when they refer to Elon as the one starting Tesla or that he owns the company.

carlk | January 7, 2018

Earl and Nagin

Not sure what you meant by being offended. Elon did not start Tesla but the Tesla when he joined, of invested, had no resemblance of what Tesla eventually became and would get nowhere if continued the way it was then. We are not talking about the same Tesla. On that note do you know who started Berkshire Hathaway?

carlk | January 7, 2018 resemblance to....

Earl and Nagin ... | January 7, 2018

The secret master plan was clearly created first by Martin Eberhart and Marc Tarpening. They began its execution by personally funding AC Propulsion to create a Li-ion powered T-zero sports car to prove the 200 mile per charge, 0-60 mph acceleration in 4 seconds, using commodity priced batteries. They chose to commission Lotus for automobile design and manufacturing help since they knew nothing about building a car (neither did Musk). Musk, possibly after seeing reports of this, separately, developed a similar plan. AC Propulsion connected Musk with Tesla and he threw in his many megabucks to get it really going.
Eberhart became a media darling with the early Roadster which offended Musk greatly (hence the offend-able part) and he built the case against, then threw Eberhart and his team out.
I was in the room at Tesla in San Carlos, when Musk explained to us owners (100% deposits paid on Roadsters) what he was doing and why, when he purged Eberhart.
Musk has done a fantastic job in executing that original master plan but you can't actually credit him with much else - yet (of course that is a monumental, laudable, herculean accomplishment). Most of us, however, see that he has laid out the vision and foundation for much much more going forward and continue to support him fully.
I don't see how Berkshire Hathaway has anything to do with Tesla. Tesla is a traditional technology startup, taking a great new technological idea and making an industry out of it. Berkshire Hathaway is just another middle-man investing (albeit wisely) in other people's (generally mature) businesses.

carlk | January 7, 2018

@Earl and Nagin

What I meant is Warran Buffet did not start Berkshire Hathaway, he just bought it. That was never a point when people talk about Warran Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway. Everyone famiiar with Tesla's history knows how Elon got involve with it too. We all have read Ashlee Vance's book. Not sure why you have to make a special point to bring this up in this thread.

I think you're too attached to Eberhart who by most accounts was a good engineer, nice guy but terrible business person. Tesla was in such a shitty condition it would not have lasted long if Elon did not put in whatever money he still had left and took over opeation of the company. Elon did not have to build a case and throw Eberhart out. The company was his, not Eberhart's. Shareholders are the owner, CEO is just a hired employee in a company.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 8, 2018

I just believe that credit belong where it is due and believed that, in addition to your recognition to the visionaries, there are also some past visionaries who were key to getting the job done.
Your statement that "These people are smart enough to not be offended." was a bit optimistic. I'm not too certain about the relative business capabilities but that really doesn't matter.
I fully agree that Musk's money was critical and that it would have been unrealistic for him to not take control at the same time.
I also agree fully with your title of this thread that Musk has won and apologize if you believe I derailed your thread.

carlk | January 8, 2018

When I say those people I meant people like JB, Franz and Jerome. Those people, including JB who also has the title of cofounder, were all hired by Elon. I don't think they would in anyway jealous of Elon. Not to mention they in general do get their due credit even though they don't get books written of them. The fact that they stayed at Tesla for that long while many others came and go do speak for itself.

carlk | January 8, 2018

This is from JB's side of the story. That's pretty much what was in Ashley Vance's book too. A little different than your description. Either way I think we all agree Elon has won. It will be very different today without him.

Straubel made the decision to begin raising money for an electric car project. He wasn’t successful alone. Later, he met Harold Rosen and together they set up a meeting with Elon Musk. It was agreed to connect with AC Propulsion and begin the launch of Tesla. As they say, “the rest is history”. Straubel shared:

"Elon and I first met at Lunch in LA… And ironically I was trying to pitch him the idea to build an electric airplane. It was a passion of mine as well to actually start a separate company before Tesla. Elon wasn’t particularly interested in that concept… but we realized we both had incredible passion for electric cars. He understood that we’ve got the opportunity ahead of us – with advances with lithium ion batteries – better than anyone I ever talked to. Only few months later we connected with other early co-founders of Tesla and he did the series A funding for the company.”

J.T. | January 8, 2018

@carlk A few props to George Blankenship might be in order. I mean as long as you’re handing out trophies.

carlk | January 8, 2018

Good point. It's no doubt a great team work even though Elon has been the resident visionary.

Tesla2018 | January 8, 2018

Who was the person that finally figured out the drivetrain for the roadster? They originally were going to make it have a 2 speed transmission if I recall and it kept overheating and breaking diwn? Getting one that worked on the final project was a najir breakthrough. And Elons wife can be credited with having the door stills changed instead of using the Lotus ones so that it is easier to get in and out of the car. | January 8, 2018

Tesla and Elon are on the way to winning but haven't gotten there quite yet.

Talk is cheap. It is easy to say you are committed to building BEVs. Let's see what actually shows up in 2020.

Let's hope that Tesla can actually build the M3 in the quantities needed in a timely way. So far they are slipping 3 months every three months. This is not a good sign.

Great start but they haven't crossed the finish line yet. I'm pulling for them.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 8, 2018

I think JB Straubel gets the credit for eliminating the 2 speed drivetrain. Alan Coconni's original AC Propulsion analog inverter couldn't drive enough current to get the necessary supercar acceleration (0 - 60 in less than 4 seconds). The original 'low risk' solution was the gear box. However, Straubel had started a parallel project for a lower-cost, potentially higher performance inverter. When the gearboxes couldn't handle the necessarily fast shifting loads, the new digital inverter allowed them to dump more current into the motor to do essentially the same thing.
One could also argue that the lower door sill was the thing that almost bankrupted Tesla in the beginning as well. It has been said that a car's doors are the most expensive design part on a modern automobile. I'm on the fence with this since most people I know who traded Roadsters for Model S did so because even it was tough to get in and out of. It may have been expensive but the lower door sill may have been what enabled enough people with deep pockets (ie older and less limber) to get in and out of the Roadster.

DarkSpearTriant | January 8, 2018

Elon is definitely a visionary, no one can deny.

DanielJefferson | January 10, 2018

despite the fact that Elon is setting ambitious goals for his team, he understands that recreation is important for people and cares for the physical health of their employees and gives them enough time for rest and free lunch...

carlk | January 10, 2018

Looks like another win. Clarkson now says he's fine with electricity as means of propulsion. Who would have imagined he say that.

jordanrichard | January 10, 2018

Clarkson, has to say this. Their show hinges on show off the latest and greatest in cars, with obviously an emphasis on power/acceleration. They can no longer look the other way. These latest and greatest that they are testing, or antiques already. Perhaps for an ICE they are the latest and greatest, but for cars in general, they are not.

DanielJefferson | January 11, 2018

My love for Tesla started with S ( Then there were solar panels. I can not stop

AnthonyPorter | January 11, 2018

He is a distinguished figure in modern history

carlk | January 11, 2018

Earl and Nagin I just realized an interesting point in your mentioning of JB's inverter helped eliminated the need of the second gear. A lot of speculations now about whether the new Roadster will need another gear to achieve the 250+ mph top speed. Very likely Tesla/JB found a way to make huge improvements in current output there.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 11, 2018

My understanding is that the main limitation on top speed is the ability to handle the power demands of sustained, high speed driving. One can always just put in another motor or more motors and a lot of batteries, however, the next problem is the amount of cooling required.
A lot of this is just the cooling of the battery and I2R losses in all of the the motor and inverter wiring. Clearly, from the ICE world, we know how to cool things, however, a challenge with EVs is that, unlike an ICE, we need to keep temperatures around 100F (~38C) instead of several hundred degrees like steel and other metals in ICE can tolerate.
I suspect that, like the Model S today, there will be a lot of use of the HVAC for this cooling. Perhaps the new Roadster will have 4 or 5 HVAC units (or a large one) instead of the 2 in the Model S.
The large amount of battery in the new Roadster is necessary to get the power output as well. As with the original Roadster and all of Tesla's EVs, the long range is a fortuitous side effect of having enough power for the top speed and acceleration. Or, you could say that the power and acceleration is a fortuitous side effect of the long range.
The good news is that JP Straubel is still on the job so we can feel confident there's someone, with the actual numbers, who will make it happen.

Tesla2018 | January 12, 2018

Is it possible to use a liquid nitrogen based system to cool the batteries?

RedShift | January 12, 2018

To cool the nitrogen to liquid you will spend a lot of energy.

Earl and Nagin ... | January 12, 2018

While liquid nitrogen is very cold, I'm not sure how much heat capacity it holds per weight or per dollar (depending on what you're optimizing for). Probably for a sports car, you'll want to optimize for weight, meaning you'll want the most BTUs of cooling capability per pound carried. I suspect that batteries driving a conventional HVAC will probably be best but I'm not much of a thermodynamics expert.

Rutrow | January 16, 2018

Thermoacoustic cooling?

johnse | January 16, 2018

There are two elements they were trying to balance using the 2-speed transmission:
* low end torque is proportional to the gearing ratio
* top speed is inversely proportional to the gearing ratio. Using a 2nd gear allows for a faster top speed without pushing the motor to higher RPMs.

Th second point there, and what JB solved: how to drive the motor at a higher frequency, thus allowing it to spin faster.

The primary reason any EV needs more power at higher speeds (and thus more cooling) is the geometric increase in aerodynamic drag as speed increases. This can be countered in three ways:
* reduce aerodynamic drag
* higher efficiency in the motors, inverters, and batteries (reducing internal restance, optimizing sizing of conductors, optimizing inverters, possibly using variable pole motors, and all sorts of things I can’t imagin because I am not steeped in EV design)
* higher cooling capacity

The existing cars were not built for the track. Specifically, their cooling systems are designed to handle their primary purpose: transporting people and delivering an excellent driving experience.

Roadster 2.0 seems to have the mission to drive a stake through the heart of ICE supercars, and it can only do that by beating them on the track and the Autobahn. And that means matching the power and cooling requirements to handle the top end design parameters.

Mike83 | January 16, 2018

johnse Great post. One day I would like to test drive the new Roadster.

carlk | January 16, 2018

One more to surrender to Elon.

Remember what Marchionne said just a few months ago? ""We still don't have a viable economic model for delivering an electric car," That's before Elon showed him how the Roadster is done of course. Panic buttons are being pushed everywhere.

jordanrichard | January 17, 2018

Didn’t he also say that there would never be an all electric Ferrari? It would be nice if the press would bring this point up to him.