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back to article Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

The stock of space-faring Elon Musk's more down-to-earth business of selling Tesla electric cars is heading skywards after the company reported its first-ever profit and saw its Model S sedan get a stonking 99 per cent approval rating from the testers at Consumer Reports. Tesla's stock is currently up over 25 per cent after the …

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Yay!

Great work from Elon Musk - he's the Edison of our age.

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Re: Yay!

Edison was a theiving douchebag. I don't think Elon Musk is nearly as bad as Edison.

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Megaphone

Re: Yay!

>Edison was a theiving douchebag.

2nd worst in modern history behind only Walt Disney. When we get eternal copyright (directly because of the Disney company) know Walt loved stealing fairy tales from the public domain and got rich doing so but his company will never let any of their stuff go public domain.

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Re: Yay!

That nasty Mr Edison also electrocuted an elephant. He used this to 'demonstrate' just how dangerous that alternating current was, as advocated by Tesla. He even filmed it, which I hadn't realised: YouTube linky

I seem to recall he did the same trick with dogs at a few public displays as well.

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Headmaster

Re: Yay!

"[...] stealing fairy tales from the public domain [...]"

By definition, you cannot steal from the public domain.

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Re: Yay!

He also lobbied (hard) for the first use of the electric chair as a method of execution, simply to demonstrate how dangerous A/C was: The first run did not go well.

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Re: Yay!

Old thread now but that elephant had killed several people including the trainer that abused it in the first place (people were such aholes to animals then) so it wasn't put down just for entertainment (although primitive screwheads did that back then, read white fang).

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Musk...

I have few people who I look up to (I'm not a hero/celebrity worshipper), but Musk is one of the few (only?). He really does seem to have a knack for this sort of thing.

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Re: Musk...

I feel this way too. His career--running his own space program and developing awesome, new-tech cars--is straight from an 11 year old's dream about their own future. And damn it, he's succeeding. He is my inspiration.

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Re: Musk...

I don't understand why he gets so much hate from some people, though. Yes, he's rather arrogant, like every CEO. Is it just that he's pursuing electrics instead of oil, though?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Musk...

Because

a) His current 3 companies are all in big gubmint areas: EV mandates and subsidies, space* (lots of money in NASA and excesses going to other companies, and they do get invaluable help from NASA) and solar with its subsidies (tax credits, purchase mandates and net metering).

b) Because some people just hate the idea of electric cars succeeding.

Tesla posted a profit but they wouldn't have without ZEV credits and other special items. It was improved from Q4 2012, but they still have work to do to make it profitable long term as the subsidies dry up. But in the meantime they'll keep adding Superchargers and stores and bring in more customers. And they haven't even started selling outside of USA and Canada yet.

I really hope they can keep improving margin and make it to Gen 3. They're using a disruptive model and their use of a commodity form factor is a great way to get access to rapid improvements in battery technology and a low price.

* If SpaceX succeeds with reusable rockets it'd be nearly as awesome an achievement.

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Re: Musk...

When the inevitable happens and he transforms into a Bond villain I will be volunteering to be among the ranks of his henchmen.

There's a a spirit of adventure about his projects that's seriously lacking from the mercantile focus of everything else today. Some of us want to sail beyond that far horizon.

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Happy

Re: Musk...

"I don't understand why he gets so much hate from some people, though. Yes, he's rather arrogant, like every CEO. Is it just that he's pursuing electrics instead of oil, though?"

I've listened to him speak and compared to the rehearsed-to-death slickness of banking and most CEO's he's not.

Watch some of the testimony of Bankers and other CEO's (car makers spring to mind, Chrysler is on its 3rd IIRC) asking for a US taxpayers government bailout.

Americans like confidence in their leaders. He's very smart and confident of what he's planning. That can come across as arrogant to people who've not done as much analysis as he has (which is likely to be most people).

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Re: Musk...

I have watched a couple of videos of his speaking and to me he looks like he is literally trembling with fear of speaking in public.

He should get better with time but he certainly doesn't look arrogant to me although for all I know he may be in private.

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FAIL

Re: Musk...

In the meantime, oil is never subsidised at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Slight mistake..

85Kwh should be 85 kWh.

S does look like a fantastic vehicle..

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Paris Hilton

99% from AMERICAN testers

Does this mean it can go around corners properly without heeling over like a sailboat in a typhoon???

Oh, OK, I wouldnt mind one, it looks a LOT better than the alternatives (except for this Chinese 3 wheeler that appears to have been inspired by TRON).

Paris - she LOVES big electric toys!!!!!

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lost almost all respect for consumer reports

I watched an interview with consumer reports on this topic on CNBC this morning.

I was pretty shocked.. maybe I shouldn't of been but basically they said this car has problems - range limits, issues with not leaving it plugged in over night - "it's not a car without issues - if you want a problem free car look elsewhere". Is one approximate quote from the consumer reports guy.

At the same time the same guy says "this car is better than any other car we've EVER (EVER!) reviewed"

that makes absolutely no 3@$#@ sense WTF.

He went on to say stuff like - "if at some point you can charge the car in 4 minutes we may make it 100/100" or something like that. Currently apparently the fast charging process takes 30 minutes for half a charge. At the moment those charging stations are obviously very very few and not so far between.

I have no doubt that this car is a nice car, I'm sure it works well. but they are giving far too much credit to the electric nature and "green" that it is towards it's overall score.

Totally ridiculous score, absolutely insane. It should probably be more in the 65-75 range at best. With other all electric cars perhaps sub 50. Maybe rank them higher if gas in the U.S. was closer to $15/gal (fifteen).

Saving $$ on gas is obviously not a concern if you are paying upwards of $90k for a car. If being green is that important you can get significantly more impact by buying carbon offset credits. Though that doesn't make as much of a statement(in public) as driving an electric car.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Have you driven one?

The CR reviewers focus on driving. They really don't give a crap about anything else. It's a classic problem with car journalism: it attracts people who want to spend lots of time driving cars.

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

I have not -- I'm not in the market for $90k car.

If they focus on driving it should still lose a bunch of points for lack of places to charge up, and range. They even specifically mentioned the issue where if you don't leave it charging overnight it loses something like ~10-12/miles of capacity overnight (they said the company is working on fixing that).

Stuff like that is not worth a 99/100.

There have got to be better/more fun to drive luxury cars than the Tesla and have significantly more range and flexibility. Of course they are not as green..

I have no doubt it's probably the best electric car out there.. but they emphasised that too much over everything else.

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Alert

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

You sound like an auto shill sent to derail a thread.

The thing has a range of 265 miles. Who cares if it loses 12 miles a night. You could leave your garage with a full load, go a hundred miles, stay there the weekend then come home. Hardly crippling.

Charging a device that runs on electricity isn't the burden you are cracking it up to be. We charge our smart phones all the time, at night, in out cars etc.

As to buying credits, that doesn't improve the tech. You know why I love the first gen Prius and the people that bought them? Because them buying that ugly piece of shit car meant that Toyota improved it. Now every taxi in my city is a Prius because they are flat out a better car for city driving.

Props to Elon, and props to the early adopters who will justify the 3rd, 4th etc generations of this car.

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

I'm saying those issues does not deserve it getting a 99% rating.

I'm not saying the issues should prevent anyone from buying the car. My problem isn't with the car it's with the rating.

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Happy

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

" Now every taxi in my city is a Prius because they are flat out a better car for city driving."

I've started to notice this as well.

Taxi drivers.

Societies least recognized green activists.

Who'd have thunk it?

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

About half of the taxis in my town are prius, the first time I took a taxi after noticing it I asked the driver "How come? is it the mileage, the low maintenance, something else?"

He answered that the mileage is great of course, but that it was definitely the low maintenance.

He also told me that he was one of the first to get a Prius and how the other drivers had laughed at him but "who is laughing now?"

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Mushroom

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Gas powered cars are way greener than the Tesla as most of the electricity used to charge the Tesla is generated by non renewable sources, and making those batteries generates a lot of pollution, whereas gas is just Ethane and is one of the cleanest burning fuels that there is....They also have the advantage that they can be designed to be dual fuel and use petrol too....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Not only the low maintenance, but the absence of a gearbox, meaning that it is as easy to pootle at 3mph in a jam as at motorway speeds. The controllability of a Prius at low speed has to be experienced to be believed.

Because of the regenerative braking, you can travel for an hour in a motorway traffic jam without the engine coming on, and without the ordinary brakes ever being applied.

I imagine that electric cars behave like this as well, but without the security of doing 600 miles on a full tank.

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Stop

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

@TheVogon - do you do ANY research before you come up with this $h*t? There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, including scholarly reports that say that unless you get your power mostly or totally from coal then EVs are a better solution.

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

"whereas gas is just Ethane and is one of the cleanest burning fuels that there is"

You mean octane? Most of it isn't even octane, it's some more complicated molecules, for example (2,3)-dimethylhexane. But anyway, no need to let facts get in the way of a good bullshit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Do you know the range on a Bugatti Veyron?

Clue - it does 3 mpg at top speed. Three.

I don't see Jeremy Clarkson whinging about it's range, though

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Headmaster

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Maybe a transatlantic language problem here? I think @TheVogon is referring to LPG power which is usually Butane or Propane rather that the US meaning of 'gas' which of course is 'petrol' in Europe! LPG is very clean as far as particulate emissions go and produces about 80% of the CO2 of a petrol/gasoline engine. Whether that makes LPG vehicles 'better' than an EV I couldn't say.

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Assuming that he WAS talking about LPG (which certainly isn't ethane) you still have the same problems of using an IC engine (30% efficiency if you're lucky, compared to 80%+ from a modern power station, nitrogen oxides as by products of the combustion, the need for oil lubricants etc.) combined with a limited refuelling infrastructure. You could equally well have used the same fuel at a power station, where you can get more bang for your buck AND mitigate any emissions problems in ways that mobile IC engines can't. Gas fired power compared to coal is a factor in favour of EVs.

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Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

its doing 3mpg but you are going 250mph

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Holmes

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

I wonder if immunity from the congestion charge influences mini cab owners in London?

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FAIL

Re: CR reviewers focus on driving.

Right, that's why their car reviews always include information about frequency and cost of repairs as well as resale value when calculating the ratings for other cars.

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Re: leave your garage with a full load, go a hundred miles

So it's suitable for maybe Denmark or Luxembourg, but probably wouldn't get me to and back from my alma mater's Saturday football game.

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Mushroom

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Really? post some of these reports then. The only ones I can find say Gas is less polluting:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/02/13/chinese-electric-car-pollution-more-harmful-to-humans-than-gas-cars

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/natural_gas_emissions.html

For instance The Chrysler CEO said natural gas is the “cleanest alternative available”

http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/chrysler-ceo-rush-to-evs-will-be-masochism-in-the-extreme-pushes-for-natural-gas-options/

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Mushroom

Re: lost almost all respect for consumer reports

Gas for vehicles is a mix of Methane, Ethane, Propane and Butane depending on the source....

No I don't mean Octane. Those sort of long chain hydrocarbons are only found in petrol and similar fuels, not in gas.

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Re: CR reviewers focus on driving.

that's why their car reviews always include information about frequency and cost of repairs as well as resale value when calculating the ratings for other cars

Not to mention efficiency, comfort, safety, convenience, fit and finish... The "focus on driving" claim above is unsupportable. CR reviews have often rated cars with mediocre handling relatively highly, and the road-test portion of their reviews starts with "ride quality and comfort" before moving on to handling.

They put the Tesla in their "luxury car" category (reasonable), which means somewhat different expectations - that group should have excellent fit and finish, for example. But if anything they put less of an emphasis on handling for luxury cars than they do for, say, sedans; the Hyundai Genesis is currently their #8 luxury car, with an 87 rating, and they complain about its "unsettled" ride and say the responsiveness "isn't in the category of a sports sedan". CR is not Car and Driver.

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Traditional verbiage

It's sort of traditional in motoring circles to never give a bad review of a new model. You over-grade the innovations and ignore the fact that this is an over-priced, short lived device with no proven long term durability.. The magazines know well, that a review that is a tad critical will meet up with a serious shortfall in advertising for the forseeable future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Traditional verbiage

Tesla doesn't advertise anywhere. I'm sure some other luxury car companies would like to see some trashing of Tesla.

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Re: Traditional verbiage

Consumer Reports is hardly a typical car magazine that runs on the manufacturers advertising. To quote them:

"To maintain its independence and impartiality, CR accepts no outside advertising and no free samples and employs several hundred mystery shoppers and technical experts to buy and test the products it evaluates."

I helped a girlfriend research them for her MBA and they really do seem to be above board. An independent and ethical voice which is amazing considering they operate in the US market. I'd be far more inclined to listen to this review than one by the regular press with their dependancy on the advertising revenue.

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Re: a review that is a tad critical will meet up with a serious shortfall in advertising

except that Consumer Reports is not an advertising supported magazine. Theoretically they are unbiased because they are a member supported group. In fact, if you've got a subscription you'll find it comes with a disclaimer that if they give you a good review, you can't buy copies to put in your showroom.

The unbiased bit is of course pure bunkum. Their leftist biased. Okay as long as politics doesn't enter into it, but bring in an issue like AWG and their impartiality goes out the window.

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Mushroom

Battery tech is still not there yet...

if it takes a $60,000 dollar battery in a $30,000 dollar car to go just 208 miles. I don't see why electric cars cannot be designed to accept a simple lawn mower engine, which could be dropped into a generator housing by the owner. A simple, cheap range extender and battery recharger. Pump the choke, pull the starter cord, and the old Briggs & Stratton starts recharging your battery while shopping, dining, or even while driving. Use an auxiliary gas tank for even more range. Think cheap - cheap is good. Why the Volt needs a 4 cylinder range extender that could power a regular small car is beyond me. And 40,000 bucks ? Cheap is good, and that's not cheap !

Don't get me wrong - I would LOVE to own an electric car - no oil changes, no smelly gas pump handles, and a LOT less to maintain. But the RANGE !!! It's killing electric car sales, me included. If they only had overhead grids above the roads - electric cars could be equipped with a pole to reach the overhead grid, like a bumper car. Unlimited electric range on the road - and a 20 mile range battery for areas without an overhead grid - parking lots and the like.

Project better world - too cumbersome, changing out batteries every 60 miles. Solar roof - forget about it. The best thing would be to authorize the government to gather the best and brightest, and start a Manhattan-Project type think tank to brainstorm better energy storage solutions. Nikola Tesla is dead - we need to find new geniuses to take his place. Energy transmission via quantum physics ? Storing lightning ? Maybe something we cannot imagine yet. Round up the scientists, give them the funding, and let them do what they do best.

Nuke because that's how I feel about L-ion battery costs - KABOOM !

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Mushroom

Re: Battery tech is still not there yet...

That design already exists. It is called a Toyota Prius....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Battery tech is still not there yet...

Lawnmower engines won't do it. They are poor in efficiency, and they have rather limited life, and produce very little power. Even a 10HP engine, which vibrates rather a lot, will take hours to get you a reasonable battery charge. High quality small Diesels like Kubotas are a lot better, but they too vibrate rather a lot and by the time you have fixed the NVH (noise, vibration,harshness), the fuel tank and supply to vehicle safety levels, and the rest of the control gear, you might just as well fit a standard 4 cylinder petrol engine. I costed one once for a hybrid electric boat, and quickly realised that it was far, far simpler and cheaper just to carry a small outboard.

Toyota have got it right. The engines they use in their hybrids are designed like racing engines, with slipper pistons, lightweight valve gear, and minimal friction everywhere. But they are then detuned so that very little fuel passes directly from inlet to exhaust during overlap, and with the latest possible exhaust valve opening. (They also have variable valve timing). This means that the engines are long lasting with very little wear, and use as little fuel as possible.

It also means that the engine can be used directly, so that part of the cost is offset by the smaller electric motors.

The Toyota drive is simply unbeatable, as GM and others have found out.

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Thumb Up

Re: Battery tech is still not there yet...

You sir have received an upvote from me. Purely for the Tesla comment :D

Rest of it makes sense.

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Re: Battery tech is still not there yet...

I don't see why electric cars cannot be designed to accept a simple lawn mower engine, which could be dropped into a generator housing by the owner

See also: series hybrid vs parallel hybrid electric cars.

The Volt/Ampera has a purely electric drivetrain (albeit with some slightly curious dual motor stuff) and a combustion-engine driven generator. Compare this with the Prius, which I believe can be run using the combustion engine alone (using a similar dual motor setup).

There are some more interesting (and exotic) things on the drawing board too... there's a Brit company (Bladon Jets) who have a very small gas turbine engine design, and a couple of fancy series hybrid concept car ideas have been based around using such things as generators. Much more interesting than piston engines, and rather more versatile too! Too bad it will take a good few years more for that sort of tech to trickle down into the sorts of vehicles normal people can afford.

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"I was pretty shocked.. maybe I shouldn't of been but basically they said this car has problems - range limits, issues with not leaving it plugged in over night - "it's not a car without issues - if you want a problem free car look elsewhere". Is one approximate quote from the consumer reports guy.

At the same time the same guy says "this car is better than any other car we've EVER (EVER!) reviewed"

that makes absolutely no 3@$#@ sense WTF."

This really isn't contradictory. Every report I've seen is that it handles great, accelerates very well, while still having low operational costs, has nice controls, nice ammenities, and is nice to ride in too. I.e. very good if you exclude the simple fact common to EVs that you can't charge any of them up in a few minutes like you can gas up a car, so you wouldn't want to go on a cross-country trip in one (in the US, where "cross-country" is over 2500 miles.)

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Unhappy

Bah

If they suddenly figured out cold fusion and got it to market so that we could all have cheap, clean power, then I'd be all over it. Until then, I'm trying to CUT my power bill, not pay out of the nose for power from a nasty coal plant to charge up my $90k car to lug around 556kg of batteries full of toxic chemicals!

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Stop

Re: Bah

1) The US has only got coal power stations hasn't it? People should know better before trotting out this argument.

2) The lithium cells that Tesla use aren't toxic, and they are recyclable. Meanwhile the petroleum spirit (or gas as you yanks call it) that your car runs on is toxic and a fire risk. Stop kidding your self on this one.

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