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Tesla's Musk Steers Through Rough Terrain

posted 19 Jun 2013, 12:16 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Jun 2013, 12:16 ]


Reuters Business  Report - Tesla CEO Elon Musk's next step in trying to make electric cars more mainstream - stations for battery-swapping in addition to battery charging.


"As long as you have the right mechanical device to switch out the battery pack, and it's in an accessible location, you can obviously do the battery pack swap well."

Musk is preparing for a battery-swapping tech demo this week. And he estimates it will cost him between $50 million and $100 million to build a nationwide network of fast-service swapping stations.


"We're planning on having a couple of hundred, basically to cover the entire country. You only need few hundred to cover the entire United States."

Aside from figuring out how to help his customers get more juice, Musk is also fighting a battle with local car dealers who don't like his idea of selling directly to customers.


"I do think it's a tough battle we face. We don't necessarily have all the answers. I certainly believe that if we were to go through the regular franchise system that we would not succeed."

Talking about succeeding, in the first quarter Tesla made the first profit in the company's 10-year history. But on Wednesday, the company recalled more than a thousand Model S cars due to a defect in the mounting bracket of the rear seat. This is the first recall for the Model S, blemishing a clean public record for the electric sedan that received a rare, near-perfect score from the influential Consumer Reports magazine.

That may be just a speed bump.


"The main thing is that I committed to get mass production vehicle into market, which is also affordable, long-range car. And that is going to be four years before we are in production and five years before we are in high-volume production."

Musk's other passion: Space Exploration Technologies. But he says his first job is convincing car buyers that an electric car is more than a novelty.