The Hidden History of Tesla, part 3/3

[End. Beginning in parts 1/3 and 2 / 3 .]

So, as a result of a massive PR campaign Tesla Motors gained fame and orders, and Eberhard has become a true star. For example, in 2006, his face appeared in commercials BlackBerry Pearl. If you believe Research in Motion, to his credit it was that he created the first electric sports car. Meanwhile, Elon Musk roles had not liked. In an email Harriganu of 18 July 2006, he wrote:

«The situation with how to depict the moment my role, and what they call me just" early investor "is outrageous. It's like calling Martin [Eberhard] "early employee».

In addition to the leading role in the first and second round of investment and participation in the third impact on my own car extends from the headlights to the threshold of the doors and tailgate. My strong interest in electric transport exceeds age Tesla decade. Of course, Martin has to be the central figure, but at the moment the picture of my role was extremely offensive.

I do not blame you or other employees of Tesla - the media is difficult to control. However, we need to demonstrate a serious effort to correct this perception. » Blockquote> Two days later, after the Times wrote about the last action Signature One Hundred, Musk again felt that he paid attention. Here is an excerpt from a letter Eberhard and took Harriganu:

I was extremely offended article NY Times, where I not only forgotten, but which Martin called the chairman of the [occupied this position Musk]. If this happens in the future, please, consider working with Tesla PCGC [company PR] to immediately stop the publication of such materials. Please make sure that the NYT as soon as possible publish a refutation. Blockquote> A week later, in the колонке about Tesla said: "Martin Eberhard, CEO, admits that new technologies often appear as costly. He and his team are working to ensure that their car has become a welcome new gadget, a status symbol. If you like to buy rappers and footballers, perhaps, the company will be able to shake the market. "Mention was no mask.

Eberhard says that the debate about representation in the media was the first conflict. They had the technical differences, but the problems were resolved to its proper level. It was the first time when it came to emotions. Soon Musk Harriganu said that if the latter wants to continue to work in Tesla, he will have to provide public recognition for Ilona.

The first problems
Eberhard expected that Tesla will begin delivering the first Roadster in 2006, growing volumes of up to 500 copies in 2007 and will have a plus to 2008. He was wrong a few years. The first deliveries did not begin until February 2008.

In October 2006, the mask seemed to Roadster at a crossroads: either Tesla donates six months and receives a market-mover advantage, or is focusing all its efforts on bringing the product to the mind. Eberhard wrote in an email that the output of the car into production is necessary to solve a huge variety of problems. It was everything from serious issues of cost and supply (transmission, air conditioning) to its own internal unpreparedness. "I do not sleep at night, to send the vehicle into production at least somewhere in 2007," - wrote Eberhard.

Eberhard says that the original release date in 2006 seemed possible due to the following schedule: Tesla provides chassis components, and Lotus collects them. Production obtained cheap and does not cause problems. As Smith says, the idea was to reduce costs and staff due to outsource all electric. Then it was proposed to add some additional system, a little change frame panels, the result was similar to Lotus, and stop production.

It did not happen. Smith blames excessive idealism in the car were places that could have been done a little better. That is what Tesla.

The original plan contained the five main components - the individual systems of the future electric cars that come already prepared, we need only otvёrtochnaya assembly. For example, Tesla is responsible for the battery pack, and Lotus are chassis - tires, shock absorbers, wheels. Tesla just need to install their systems. But instead of five nodes in Tesla began to take on hundreds. Here and began complexity.


Custom lamps among others pushed the release date, the material is Martin Eberhard em>

It was decided to use a carbon fiber body. On request mask sill was understated, in order to simplify access to the interior. Traditional lights were replaced with custom made. The mask did not like the seat, so they remade. Eberhard says that as the mask seemed cheap material dashboard. With transmission also has constant breakdowns terms. As stated by the mask itself is a simple affair, the delay begins when two vendors are trying to fool you.

"All this - intelligent solutions", - says Eberhard. - "It should be remembered that this will cost money and affect the timing, but that no one thought." All these changes have led to the fact that Tesla became responsible for the whole chain of supply of various automotive parts. The company in Silicon Valley for the first time for themselves was to provide automakers in England hundreds of components. For Eberhard it was the most severe in a series of unexpected difficulties.

But even during these processes Eberhard realized that Tesla will have to go to SAP, enterprise management software, which Martin calls "fucking nightmare." And all this without a financial director. Because of this, the financial affairs of the company are deeply entangled. Eberhard admits that he had never run a company of this size.

It became clear that the company needed a more professional management. The following January, Eberhard had dinner with a mask in San Carlos. It was the evening before the meeting of the Board of Directors. Eberhard, the current executive director, had the idea that they need a new head, pointing to the fact that bringing order to the financial part and the deployment of SAP beyond its level. Package SAP was too complex, because of this it was not possible to implement. This led to the unclear situation with finances. And yet Eberhard faced with the complexity of enterprise management of 140 people.

The next day was a meeting of the board members, and here Eberhard and Musk have voiced the idea of ​​a new CEO. Eberhard same could instead focus on the product, in particular, the following car called Whitestar. Today we know it as the sedan Model S. Eberhard received strong support. Several members of the Board thanked him for his work as head of the company, and supported the decision to remain with the company in a more technical role. Eberhard says that the discussion took place in a friendly atmosphere. Some said that for start-ups (some even mentioned Google) is typical situation where the founder-head changes the role as the company grows.

The following month, already without Eberhard Musk went to the main office to check the Lotus Engineering work on the process Roadster. Powell said that the purpose of the visit was to confirm the financial support of the project to Lotus can continue to work with confidence. Musk including wondered at what stage the production. According to Lotus - a company that was largely responsible for the future success of the Tesla Roadster and the all - electric car, which was to change the world, had been lagging behind in three months.


Masks with the Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, February 2007. Photo Associated Press em>

In his presentation, Simon Wood Lotus engineer sounded the alarm company of some significant problems with the Roadster, from design and testing to ensure safety. 94 have been resolved, but there were still 846 uncovered.

The tone of the speech mask changed after a visit to England. January 24, he wrote: "The Roadster has more urgent problems that require immediate attention Martin. We have already significantly exceeded the release date, and now there is a risk to go even further. I firmly believe that Martin should minimize any additional activities, in particular, low to medium priority: public relations, financial meeting. He needs to focus on the activities of the company, which will have the primary effect of our funding and the estimated value. »

Musk said that the most important advantage in hiring the executive director - is that Eberhard will concentrate on the Whitestar and future models to ensure their flawlessness. I accumulate stress, but fortunately, Musk and Eberhard yet communicated adequately. Musk Eberhard wrote: "Of course, we sometimes have different views, but in 90% of cases, we understand each other, or can reach an understanding of small talk».

But if you believe the staff Tesla, the responsibility for the failure of the timing and lay on the mask. Yes, he gave some advice and followed the process, but very often Ilona was not in the office, and irregular appearance brings chaos. Vice President of Design Malcolm Smith says that the screen shows every few weeks, casts all eyes, studied the details, and then demanded the changes for a variety of reasons.

Among maskovskih merits in terms of shift workers Tesla mention seat threshold and door handles. According to Powell, the biggest problem was the threshold. As already described, the door of the car change is not so easy. Forms aluminum frame complicated input and output, and the flexibility required by the driver of Indian yoga. With an open roof had to sit down first, and then bent over, to carry his head and legs inside. Musk popolzovalsya prototype and adamantly demanded to lower the threshold by as much as three inches (7, 62 cm). He wanted to make the electric car more affordable to potential buyers, who are accustomed to sophisticated vehicles. It's the same car for 100 thousand dollars, there is no place for acrobatic maneuvers.

Yet the structure of involvement Mask complicate the process. Tesla employees agree that the reasons for the changes were justified, but the comments received irregularly. Feedback came in fits and starts.

Meanwhile, Musk granted a request Eberhard. The process of finding a new chapter was begun in earnest in February 2007, this company Tesla turned to Russel Reynolds. But none of the candidates did not meet the criteria. The correspondence indicates that began June 13 calls from journalists. They questioned, whether the leadership does not look for a new head of Tesla to replace Eberhard. Then Musk wrote that it would be best to confirm this speculation, as did Larry and Sergey in Google: «I am happy to correct the perception that you are dismissed. You yourself started the search for a new executive director a few months ago, and it is an objective fact ».

In August, Eberhard spoke to conference Motor Press Guild, but suddenly called him excited mask. The chairman of the board were bad news: Michael Marks, a former head of Flextronics and one of the investors in Tesla, has been approved as an executive director. The Board held a meeting without Eberhard and decided to fire him. There was no discussion, not even a possibility for Martin to hear their arguments. Eberhard said to his uncle, a lawyer, and learned that this decision was taken in circumvention of the rules of the company. Therefore, the second meeting was held at which Eberhard had a decent chance to get away from his post. August 8, 2007 Martin abandoned his post of the head, taking the position of president of technology. Tesla became the new head of Marx.


Michael Marx, picture Riverwood Capital em>

While Eberhard continued to be a member of the board and remained in the company, he withdrew into the background and are now determined only secondary issues. He was deprived of control over the company, which he himself founded.

Everything happened was in the spirit of Elon Musk, says Harrigan, vice president of support and customer service, who later became vice president of marketing: "The Mask - is a head with which every day it is not clear whether you're in the company, or no. If he sees that you have to work not fit, it would be impossible to convince. This has happened many times with many, and the same happened to Martin. When he decided that Martin could no longer be the head of Tesla, it was a foregone conclusion. He was dismissed ».

Birth Roadster
Tiff between Eberhard and Musk did not pass without a исков and response actions in all directions . A little chaos reigned in the company. "After the departure of Martin was a great confusion," - said Harrigan. - Everyone knew that Marx - interim head until you find the right person. He knew nothing about electric transport or our business - he is a man of the industrial production. He did not try to establish the case. He only provided a further operation of the company ».


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Roadster, in May 2007. Photo Associated Press. Em>

Has classic looks manager from California, Michael Marx made a name by managing Flextronics. In 13 years as head of the he expanded the business in 35 countries, has made 100 acquisitions and proceeds raised from 93 million to $ 16 billion . In 2007 it invested 2, 5 million in Tesla. He did it because previously worked c Malcolm Smith Flextronics and continued to maintain contact with him after the departure of Smith's Tesla.

In summer 2007, Musk suggested Marx become temporary head of the company. Jobs did not seem easy. Marx says that it was already clear that the money for the product because of the cost will not be possible, besides regularly frustrated time. Because of this, the company is not dominated by the most optimistic mood. Marx never listed as an employee of the company, he does not receive a salary, he never signed any documents. As he himself says, he has not been officially hired to work as the head of Tesla.

Marx said that history goes Eberhard is typical of Silicon Valley. Martin well versed in the technology and knew what to Tesla, but the manager of it was not so hot. Many staff members at the Eberhard can not run the company. Marx thought that perhaps Eberhard should leave his position early, because Martin was not useful for Tesla in his role.

Michael himself compares his work in a few months with Tesla relay race, he initially received, and then handed the stick. Similarly, Eberhard did before him. When he first came to the company, Marx was faced with a running condition of the company. The new head took three steps.

Firstly, Marx found that the design of the product is not ready yet. This Tesla planned to bring to his California office materials for the construction of 30 million dollars. Marx immediately canceled delivery. Secondly, Tesla started doing research and development for other companies, as it does Lotus Engineering. But the main product of Tesla - the Electric Roadster - was not ready, so the initiative had to cover.

Third, a few weeks after taking office, he gathered all the directors at the meeting and did what was called "a list of Marx." They were about 30 items that had to be made to customers enrolled Roadster. Then, each of the items was appointed individual managers. To monitor the implementation of the hold weekly meetings. Gradually, all the problems were solved.


Ze'ev Drori, Photo Reuters em>

November 27, 2007 Marx succeeded by his Ze'ev Drori. Prior to that, he worked in the producer Drori car alarms Clifford Electronics. Drori promised that the Roadster will be released in the first quarter of 2008. Manufacturing началось March 18th. Drori announced this in a company blog: "Our key objective to work on the Roadster is a gradual and controlled the pace of the increase in production reaching more than 100 copies per month by early next year. " Model Tesla Roadster was the only car produced with zero emissions.

As VauxHall VX-220 and the Opel Speedster, Roadster going on capacities Lotus. 33 car was bought by Stephen Kasner summer he and his wife went to England to watch the production process with their own eyes. As he writes blog usually build process took two and a quarter days. Every week, it got away from the conveyor 12 electric Roadster, and the number is constantly increasing.


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