Journalist Ed Niedermeier remembers the exact moment he became a Tesla skeptic: Memorial Day Weekend 2015. It was then that Niedermeier traveled to the Tesla Supercharger plant in Harris Ranch, California to see the first (and, it turned out, only) battery replacement.
At a demonstration program two years earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed a Model S getting a replacement 90 seconds battery ̵
"I was there for three or four days," Niedermeier told Ars recently. "There was a ton of shipping and a ton of lines for the Superchargers." Some people have been waiting for hours. Tesla introduced replacement superchargers powered by diesel generators to accelerate work. But the battery replacement remained closed.
A few weeks later, Ilon Musk announced that Tesla would not extend the service because it was "not very popular". This explanation to Niedermeier made no sense.
"There was definitely a demand," says Niedermeier. He talked to a number of Tesla owners who regularly traveled between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Some would happily pay a premium for a battery replacement service if it were available. But at least this weekend it wasn't.
So what was it? Niedermeier believes that Tesla cynically played in the California zero-emission car loan system. In 2013, California began providing automakers with additional credit for selling electric vehicles that could charge in 15 minutes or less. Overcharging is not fast enough to qualify.
But importantly, car manufacturers did not have to prove that customers actually enjoy fast charging capabilities. While the carmaker was able to demonstrate that vehicles were theoretically capable of fast charging, they were given extra credit – even if most customers had never used the opportunity. Niedermeier estimates that Tesla received tens of millions of dollars in additional credit through this trick (Tesla did not respond to emails seeking comment).
"Then I decided it was worth delving into," Niedermeier told me. "Companies don't just do something like that once."
Ilona Musk's "Campaigning"
In recent years, Niedermeier has become one of Tesla's most astute and insane critics. And in August, Niedermeier published Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors . Relying on preliminary reporting and offering fresh scoops, the book offers a skeptical view of the electric car outlet manufacturer.
Niedermeier identifies the year 2013 when Muss demonstrated the ability to replace a Model S battery – a watershed moment.
That year, Model S began to sell significant volumes. Tesla earned its first quarterly profit, and the stock increased to record levels. In response, writes Niedermeier, Musk "began a campaign that constantly kept up with Tesla's ambitions and separated him from anyone else in the public sphere. the media quickly turned into a side train. "
For example, in 2013, Musk stated that solar panels and batteries would allow SuperCharger stations to continue operating even when the grid was lowered. "Even if there is a zombie apocalypse, you will still be able to travel across the country with Tesla's injection system," Musk nodded.
Three years later, in 2016, Musk tweeted that while Tesla had already installed "some" solar panels, "full solar panel rentals depended on a future upgrade of SuperCharger technology." only one and a half dozen "of the first 800 supercharger stations by June 2017 had" solar panels of any type. "Tesla did not respond to my message asking how many SuperCharger stations have solar panels today, but it still seems that without them many stations.
In October 2016, Musk announced that all new Tesla mat machines they have the equipment necessary for full self-driving, and he predicted that it will take about two years to release the required software.After three years, Tesla is still trying to master self-driving in parking lots.Mask continues to claim that full driving takes less than two years, but it's still hard to believe.
"Many things have happened"
Hamish Mackenzie, author of the book about 2018 Crazy mode: how Ella Musk's Tesla exploded to end the oil age states that we should not neglect Tesla's achievements.
"What is amazing, even if he misses all the terms, many of those things have happened," Mackenzie tells Arsou. Tesla missed the delivery times for each of its new car models. But the vehicles were eventually shipped and customers were usually happy with them.
Not surprisingly, McKenzie would have had more positives on Tesla than Niedermeyer. In January 2014, he left the job of journalist Pando to become Tesla's leading writer, and worked there for just over a year. He wrote Crazy Mode after leaving Tesla; today he co-founded the launch of Substack technologies.
Mackenzie admits that Musk has repeatedly made unrealistic predictions about how fast technology can be developed. "I have no idea if this is a deliberate strategy or not," he told me. "I think he believes the things he says when he says them."
At some level, the realization of unrealistic promises is an integral part of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to persuade a bunch of people – customers, employees, investors and others – to risk a new and untested company. It essentially means predicting success, though failure is a likely outcome.
This is especially true when someone starts a car company. Bankruptcy is the most likely outcome for a car startup, as a number of Tesla electric car competitors have shown in recent years.
"It's crazy that Tesla exists as a car company," Mackenzie told me. And, he said, it was even more crazy that Tesla turned into an electric car company – something most people found wildly impractical when Tesla was founded in 2003.
One way to interpret Moscow's behavior over the last 15 years is by making unrealistic promises, delaying payments to suppliers, crediting deposits long before products and features are ready for delivery – it's just doing everything you need to get a new car company. To get Tesla to where it is today requires billions of dollars from investors, and the company has ridden bankruptcy several times over the last few years. If Musk were less shameless about using noise and boundaries to push borders to get investors and customers out the door, Tesla could easily have fallen into the abyss.