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Old 01-11-2008, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"HR bloodbath" at Tesla Motors - the free ride is over

Via the Mercury News.

Ousted Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard reported yesterday evening on his new blog that employees are being unceremoneously booted from the company at an alarming rate. The blog names 23 people.

Among the booted is Wally Rippell, motor expert and senior designer of the GM EV1.

The company is citing "accountability" and "performance management" as reasons for the terminations.



Anyone following the saga is aware of the company's claim that the reason for the delayed release of the high profile EV is problems in design/engineering of a robust & reliable 2-speed transmission that can handle the massive torque needed to propel the vehicle to 60 mph in 4 seconds.

The company is saying it's going to deliver the first batch of vehicles with a "temporary" transmission (which will limit acceleration to 60 mph to about 6 seconds), which will be replaced at no charge to owners when the final version is ready.

It's clear from comments on Eberhard's blog from some of the ousted & remaining Tesla employees that the corporate culture/morale has been damaged by the cuts. Excessive managerial torque, perhaps?

With this news, think it's fair to say the bloom is officially off Tesla's rose. The free & glowing media ride is probably over (at least from the geek media).

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Old 01-11-2008, 01:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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damn, that sucks.

I guess that means it's gonna take even longer for us to see the "affordable family sedan" that they were supposedly going to bring out after the roadster.

As much as I like the roadster, that sedan would really be the game-changer.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I, personally, think it's kind of sad that to get people to consider EVs we have to make them ferraris first so that everyone "aspires" to own them...Why don't people consider things like cars on their own merit instead of letting themselves be brainwashed by the cool factor.

That said, it's a neat car and I hope they get it done.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bugger... if it goes under for this or related...no one technically killed that electric car... It just kinda committed suicide...
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I, personally, think it's kind of sad that to get people to consider EVs we have to make them ferraris first so that everyone "aspires" to own them...Why don't people consider things like cars on their own merit instead of letting themselves be brainwashed by the cool factor.

That said, it's a neat car and I hope they get it done.
Easy.... Venture Capitol....

No offense Metro for this next part... But lets say the forkenswift was being marketed rather than the roadster.... A VC would get in - say cool... and that could be it.

Now sit that same VC in a car that does 0-60 in 4 seconds... You've got their attention.

I'm personally okay with it... It brings funding to the industry - and establishes a more mainstream feel. Sure, it would be more eco-friendly if people looked beyond the whole go fast thing - but that's not the case right now :/
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Now sit that same VC in a car that does 0-60 in 4 seconds... You've got their attention.
(None taken.)

That's exactly what Eberhard did when he was seeking the $$$ to set up Tesla: as part of his pitch, he borrowed an AC Propulsion T-zero, and took the moneybags out for a rip.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Though sad for those involved, this could eventually be a good news story. It's often not the ground-breaker who reaps the rewards (Tesla himself is proof of that) but many of these resources will staff other similar ventures and bring with them more knowledge.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Though sad for those involved, this could eventually be a good news story. It's often not the ground-breaker who reaps the rewards (Tesla himself is proof of that) but many of these resources will staff other similar ventures and bring with them more knowledge.
That's been my experience. The first-pass failure allows someone else to pick up the pieces on the cheap and make some money off of it. The same thing happens inside corporations. A new project fails and is reborn using the skill base that it creates.

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Old 01-11-2008, 07:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Unscrupulous companies often cite 'performance' when they have layoffs in hopes of saving money on severence packages and such. It's suspicious that they have a wave of 'performance issues' especially with the most highly paid employees (implying it's really only about money). It's a bad musician who blames the instrument.

In other news, I hate transmissions. Mitsubishi has the right idea by putting motors in the wheels/hubs.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't be surprised if these "irrational" actions will be followed by a buyout that is currently being courted behind the scenes. I've seen this happen inside a startup first hand. Let's see, who might want to acquire such a fledgling company?

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