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Tesla's High-Tech Lawsuits in Silicon Valley War 79

Posted by timothy
from the lawsuits-are-positively-negative dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After pressing charges against its chief competitor in the race for the world's first production electric sports car that we broke down here recently, Tesla Motors seems to be shifting from the high-tech company re-writing Detroit's script to another Silicon Valley startup trying to sniff out the competition. So says Engadget's legal analyst in an in-depth column breaking down the legal ramifications. From the article: "This could upset the whole race for major production of an electric car in the U.S., which may be the main result of this whole drama. If anything, that's a win for Tesla. Let's just hope the company that set out to upend the automotive industry achieves its competitive goals in the lab and in the marketplace — and keeps its future fights out of the courtroom.""
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Tesla's High-Tech Lawsuits in Silicon Valley War

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  • by Hubbell (850646) <.moc.evil. .ta. .iillebbuhnairb.> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @08:26AM (#23133928)
    The guy blatantly stole information and scammed them pretty fucking hard.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ok, this clears it up. I was trying to remember if Tesla was a company we liked, or one we hated, so I could decide what to think about this. I mean, Google and Apple and Microsoft are easy to remember because there is a story about them every day. And anything Torvalds is involved with is easy too. But Tesla..... So your comment clears it up what with the +4 Insightful and all. I mean you use the phrase 'stole information', like Tesla doesn't have it any more, yet you still got the mod. So obviously we l
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        There is an easy rule to follow. /. will ALWAYS support the little guy. Because the market is so shitty in most areas there is often 1 dominating leader. This eventually leads to garbage due to the lack of competition.
         
        Anyways... tesla builds electrics cars that out race porsches how could you think it wouldnt be popular?
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          Jeebus it's EASY to make an electric car that outraces Porche, Lamborgini, fararri. There is a guy locally that has an ice cream truck that is a 7 second 1/4 mile Drag Race electric vehicle. That's faster than a Bugatti Veyron.

          Fast electric cars is nothing special. hell it's EASIER to make a fast electric car. Making one that can go 300 miles between charges, that's hard.

          • by Gordonjcp (186804)
            Fast electric cars is nothing special. hell it's EASIER to make a fast electric car. Making one that can go 300 miles between charges, that's hard.

            Exactly. The 0-60 time of any car is the last thing I consider. I need to go from 0-60 *once* in any trip I make. How well it copes with being driven flat out for 300 miles is a far more pressing concern.

            I'll start looking at electric cars when they can produce one that takes no more than 60 quid to charge from fully flat, can carry four or five large adults
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by RobertM1968 (951074)

              Exactly. The 0-60 time of any car is the last thing I consider. I need to go from 0-60 *once* in any trip I make. How well it copes with being driven flat out for 300 miles is a far more pressing concern.

              I'll start looking at electric cars when they can produce one that takes no more than 60 quid to charge from fully flat, can carry four or five large adults plus their luggage plus at least 200kg of equipment, and can average no less than 100mph for 350 miles on a charge. That would be getting close to being able to replace my ordinary car, assuming it's actually nice to drive and doesn't give me a numb backside.

              Chrysler just announced such a car at the Detroit Auto Show (aired on TV a few days ago) - up to 250 miles on a charge, all electric, carries 4 plus luggage. They also claim it will be very inexpensive (normal car price for a car of it's class).

              Now, if it IS real, I see it as something finally pushing other car manufacturers to follow suit. I'd see such a product forcing them to - IF (even though they announced a planned release year) it ever sees the light of day (which such "concept cars" never seem to

              • by Lumpy (12016)
                Chrysler's car is a load of dreams and vaporware. you CAN make the 350 mile Electric car it just takes $120,000 in LithiumPolymer batteries. and a $12,000 high efficiency set of electric motors (1 at each wheel. coupled with some other common OTS parts you can convert a Kia Optima a very comfortable and luxury car that happens to be much lighter than a BMW and Other luxury cars to get the 300+ miles at 100mph with AC running and stereo thumping away.

                nobody will buy a $190,000 electric sedan that the Gas c
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Rei (128717)
                  Lithium polymer? Why? Lithium phosphates, titanates, spinels, etc are far, far superior for automotive applications. Yes, they're also currently expensive (although your estimate on the amount of batteries needed is way overboard), but their raw materials are cheap, so under mass production, they can be expected to be quite cheap.

                  As for the amount of batteries. Let's go with something like the Aptera at 200Wh/mi. Cars like the Aptera are only 80Wh/mi, but we'll go with 200. That's 70kWh. For the pack
                • Actually, there are plenty of methods of using one electric motor coupled to the drive train/shafts. I am not sure why you think it would require 4.

                  But regardless, there is still the battery issue - which I also will not touch - since someone else covered that nicely.

                  If you take into account ONE motor (as their concept car has, IIRC), and the battery options Rei noted, then you come out with a car that costs about as much (or slightly more) than Chrysler's current offerings. Do the math off that basis..

            • by Rei (128717)
              Where *can* you drive 350 miles at 100mph without getting pulled over within the first ten minutes?

              Anyways if those really are your needs, right now, your best choice is a PHEV like the Volt. I don't know how much a quid is or how much your power costs, but car-sized EVs are usually 200Wh/mi or less. So, for something like the Tesla, a kilowatt hour will take you about five miles.

            • by Gospodin (547743)

              I need to go from 0-60 *once* in any trip I make.

              Lucky bastard. ...red lights... stop signs... traffic... school buses...

            • by ebichete (223210)

              Exactly. The 0-60 time of any car is the last thing I consider. I need to go from 0-60 *once* in any trip I make. How well it copes with being driven flat out for 300 miles is a far more pressing concern.

              I'll start looking at electric cars when they can produce one that takes no more than 60 quid to charge from fully flat, can carry four or five large adults plus their luggage plus at least 200kg of equipment, and can average no less than 100mph for 350 miles on a charge. That would be getting close to being able to replace my ordinary car, assuming it's actually nice to drive and doesn't give me a numb backside.

              Your requirements are absurd. To summarize, a feasible replacement car for you must:

              - take no more than 60 quid to charge (or fuel)
              - carry 4 or 5 large adults + luggage + 200kg of equipment
              - reliably handle being driven for 3 hours at 100mph (average speed) on a single trip

              From these specifications I surmise your current "ordinary car" is substantially bigger, more powerful and more fuel efficient than any Range Rover (or equivalent).

              Every car, electric or otherwise, is a compromise in Speed, Carrying Capa

              • by Gordonjcp (186804)
                From these specifications I surmise your current "ordinary car" is substantially bigger, more powerful and more fuel efficient than any Range Rover (or equivalent).

                Not really. My current car is a 1981 Citroen CX Break. It *is* bigger than a Range Rover, or at least about six inches longer (much lower though). Having an engine a little bigger thann half the size (2400cc) and a far better drag coefficient (the name "CX" comes from the French term for Cd, the coefficient of drag) does the rest. Because it
      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I mean you use the phrase 'stole information', like Tesla doesn't have it any more, yet you still got the mod.

        There are two types of ways to protect information on a piece of paper. You can not let anyone see it (trade secret) or let everyone see it but no one copy it (copyright). When someone violates a trade secret, there was an actual loss. Before, they had a secret. After, that secret is gone. There is something that can be identified that belonged to them before that wasn't there after. But you
        • by Hubbell (850646)
          It's more a matter of just common sense. If I hire you to design something for me, and you give me a shitty design yet a month later open a business with a top notch design for the same product, aka the design you promised me, I'd go kick the shit out of you. Sadly I wouldn't be able to do that legally, so my only recourse would be to sue you. IMO they should just get a bunch of thugs together and have a towel party with the guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    God knows there's a bunch of crap going around in the courtrooms: *AA lawsuits, rediculous IP infringment, submarine patents, etc. Frankly, I'm sick of lawsuits that are practically used as part of SOP business strategy. But, having kept somewhat up to date on this particular case, I can't say that I'm totally against it. Tesla contracted Fisker to help in the design of their electric car. Fisker then turns around and starts his own electric car company. At the very least it looks highly suspicious and righ
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ... after 2 years of watching a former contractor not make cars, Fisker decides that it's high time someone actually make electric cars instead of scam investors ... however, they get sued.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Frankly, I'm sick of people not being able to spell "ridiculous". It's not copyright infrigement if you check in a dictionary. You're allowed, nay, encouraged to check in one.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Fisker is not building an electric car. Fisker is building a plug-in hybrid.
  • Come on... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "Tesla Motors seems to be shifting from the high-tech company re-writing Detroit's script to another Silicon Valley startup trying to sniff out the competition."

    SNUFF! The cliche is "snuff out the competition," as in to extinguish a candle.
    • The cliche is
      Sorry, that's not a cliche. It's a perfectly acceptable phrase.

      A "cliche" is a demeaning way to refer to a phrase that you think is hokey, dated, or just shouldn't be part of the language. "snuff out" is embedded enough that you've got as much hope of panning it as "think outside the box", "in the nick of time", or, the best example of linguistic snobbery, "ain't".

  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @08:48AM (#23133976) Journal
    Calling Fisker's Tesla's chief competitor is a lot like calling MS IBM's chief competitor. Fisker was a sub-contractor to Tesla and had signed on as just that. Apparently via documents, Fisker was not going to go into car development, just stay in design. During that time, Fisker found out how to build the car, as well as the relatively low cost of doing so (much easier than a gas car) and decided to create his own with a one-off design of the roadster. So he basically delivered less to Tesla than was promised and then used the internal information that he had acquired from Tesla to help design his own, and as well as obtain funding.

    Almost certainly, Fisker will have to pay back all the money that they obtained from Tesla. The real question is, can Tesla block Fisker's new car company?

    The true loser on this will be customers and the world. In a way, for Tesla/Spacex to be successful, they need to move with speed. Spacex has contractual obligations to meet, and tesla will have to compete against major car companies in about 2-3 years. This lawsuit is taking Musk away from Tesla core AND Spacex. Both of these companies are innovative and are pushing the industry forward. But if he gets bogged down in court, they will stall. It would be far better for Tesla/Spacex, if Musk settles with Fisker quickly and moves on. In addition, the more companies that are doing EV, or even REV, the better it is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aranykai (1053846)
      Reminds me of some other situations. Windows 3.1 for instance :P

      Anyways, just wanted to say I enjoyed your post. Don't have mod points, but it was quite insightful.
      • by Tablizer (95088)
        Reminds me of some other situations. Windows 3.1 for instance :P

        The Altair computer comes to mind. They decided to focus on suing competitors rather than move forward with technology. Getting bogged down in court, they folded just when the market for micros exploded in the late 70's.
               
  • Hard to call (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueParrot (965239) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @08:55AM (#23134010)
    Not a chance we can call this ourselves. It will be down to what evidence Tesla has for its allegations. If their claims are true then I have little sympathy for the guy ( forget trade secret laws, fraud and sabotage alone should land him a decent slap if proven true ). If these accusations cannot be proven, on the other hand, then Tesla deserves a great kick up the arse for making such accusations against a competitor without reliable evidence.
     
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Narpak (961733)
      Never the less Fisker has lunched a product in direct competition with one he designed on contract for Tesla. Even if everything is above board and legal he has still kicked his own reputation in the nuts.
    • Fisker Coachbuild, fraudulently agreed to take on Tesla's $875,000 design contract to gain access to confidential design information and trade secrets, then announced a competing vehicle. Tesla Motors Files Suit [nytimes.com]

      7/8 of a million just doesn't seem like a lot of money for what they were hired to do, I suspect that if the contracts had real NDA's and non-compete clauses the costs would have been substantially more. Even more likely the "trade secret" was that there were no trade secrets and any joe snuffy can

  • Add a small removable hydrocarbon fuelled generator to an electric car with just enough battery capacity for your daily commute and you have a great system. Emission free and chargeable by various clean technologies for your daily commute but with extended range for occasional trips. Generators are cheap and if you leave it behind on a daily basis your car is lighter. You can power extended trips with biodiesel or ethanol. I don't see how electric will work very well for long haul trucks though.
    • by Dersaidin (954402)
      I'd say Tesla are doing fine with a pure electric approach. Swappable batteries at service stations or super capacitor based batteries with incredible charge times would work well for longer trips. Better to leave the fossil fuels behind completely as soon as possible. Having an engine as well as a motor is kind of wastefull.

      Electric for haul trucks, well, idealy you'd want (electric) trains for transporting heavier things.

    • by loshwomp (468955) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @09:52AM (#23134230)
      Add a small removable hydrocarbon fuelled generator to an electric car with just enough battery capacity for your daily commute and you have a great system.

      People who aren't automotive engineers always trivialize the implementation and think it's a great idea. Actual vehicle engineers realize that in many ways a series hybrid is the worst of both worlds: more complicated than an EV and a gas car combined, less efficient than an EV for short-range driving (because of the extra weight), and less efficient than a parallel hybrid (or even a normal gas car!) on long trips.

      Yeah, I realize you said you wanted the generator to be removeable, but that's another fantasy of armchair engineers. Yes, it's possible to engineer your complicated system, but it will add unacceptable weight and cost. At least you didn't say you wanted a removeable (swappable) battery.

      Look, we need electric vehicles for short range -- several standard deviations of our vehicular transit. Some applications and some drivers need longer range. The hybridization doesn't have to be in the vehicle -- it can be in the fleet. Gas cars will be around for decades, so you can borrow/rent/own a second car if/when you really need it.

      I don't see how electric will work very well for long haul trucks though.

      They're called railroads. Many countries use electrified rail for hauling freight. It's the only option that's long-term sustainable. The US is screwed in that respect -- a pathetic rail system and approximately none of it electrified.
      • In the US (unlike Europe) we have decided not to have a $1/gallon+ gas tax to subsidize passenger railroads. So, not surprisingly our passenger rail systems aren't very good outside of NYC & Chicago. The freight rail system is actually pretty good considering how large the US is compared to Western Europe. Just like what you said re: electric & gas cars, electric rail makes sense around cities, but diesel-electric makes more sense for 1000+ mile routes.
        • by njh (24312)
          I agree that the US freight rail is good (heck, rail is still used to deliver to lumber yards), but I disagree about the spending for decent passenger rail. Europeans spend 7% of their incomes on transport (including indirectly), Americans spend nearly 20%. Diesel electric is certainly an excellent starting point (getting up to 1000pmpg); just like buses are an excellent starting point for streetcars and subways. But in the long run you want 90mph light rail and 220mph AGVs powered by renewables. Europe
      • by bbn (172659) <baldur.norddahl@gmail.com> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:44PM (#23135078)

        People who aren't automotive engineers always trivialize the implementation and think it's a great idea. Actual vehicle engineers realize that in many ways a series hybrid is the worst of both worlds: more complicated than an EV and a gas car combined, less efficient than an EV for short-range driving (because of the extra weight), and less efficient than a parallel hybrid (or even a normal gas car!) on long trips.
        The so called series hybrid is very old tech. It used to be called diesel-electric and is what many locomotives use. If it was less efficient, it is curious how it came to be _the_ standard for diesel locomotives.

        Yeah, I realize you said you wanted the generator to be removeable, but that's another fantasy of armchair engineers. Yes, it's possible to engineer your complicated system, but it will add unacceptable weight and cost. At least you didn't say you wanted a removeable (swappable) battery.
        Some not so armchair engineers at Renault decided to implement battery swapping. They have announced to make 500,000 cars with that system. What makes you qualified, to denounce what a real car company like Renault is doing?
        • by Hasmanean (814562)
          The main reason is because at 3000 hp, an electrical drive system is easier to build than a mechanical transmission.

        • Diesel-electric does not store power even for short periods. It uses a generator attached to the engine to drive a motor attached to the wheel shaft. The technical challenges of the extra stages of conversion needed to store electrical energy in the middle are considerable. Not least is that to make a light generator/engine combination you need high voltage (kilovolts) whereas electric storage is usually in batteries at tens of volts. The conversion up and down is not efficient.

          It is also not that efficient

          • by bbn (172659)
            It is trivial to make a bypass system that connects generator to motor directly. Perhabs that is even how it is done - the battery is charging as an extra load on the generator-motor connection.

            A car like Tesla is not using tens of volts. IIRC it using something like 400V. Each cell might only be 2.5V, but even a kid knows how to connect cells in series to get any voltage.
          • by Thelasko (1196535)

            but in terms of efficiency nothing beats a low speed direct drive engine.

            The big advantage of a Diesel-electric drive is that the engine speed is not a proportion of wheel speed. If you always drive on level roads, with your cruise control set at 60 MPH, and never stop, you are more efficient with a mechanical drive. Once you vary speed and load you have a big advantage with an electric drive because speed and load can be varied independently. This advantage usually outweighs the losses of the electric transmission.

        • by MushMouth (5650)
          I big reason it is standard is that you would need an enormous clutch to start a train from a stop with a straight diesel engine, whereas the electric motors can put out very high torque at very low speeds.
      • People who aren't automotive engineers always trivialize the implementation and think it's a great idea. Actual vehicle engineers realize that in many ways a series hybrid is the worst of both worlds: more complicated than an EV and a gas car combined, less efficient than an EV for short-range driving (because of the extra weight), and less efficient than a parallel hybrid (or even a normal gas car!) on long trips.

        Somehow I think you're ignoring some important considerations, such as "gasoline generator runs at maximum efficiency", "no need to combine drive trains", "electric motors built with fewer moving parts", etc.

        Considering that a "serial hybrid" is how diesel freight trains and M1-A1 tanks work, I'm less than convinced of your random dismissal of their potential. Especially with GM pushing exactly that concept as their next fuel design.

        Yeah, I realize you said you wanted the generator to be removeable, but that's another fantasy of armchair engineers. Yes, it's possible to engineer your complicated system, but it will add unacceptable weight and cost. At least you didn't say you wanted a removeable (swappable) battery.

        Wow. If only there was some way, some magical way that we could (1) sta

        • by loshwomp (468955) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:37PM (#23135342)

          Considering that a "serial hybrid" is how diesel freight trains and M1-A1 tanks work, I'm less than convinced of your random dismissal of their potential. Especially with GM pushing exactly that concept as their next fuel design.
          It's not a random dismissal; I'm an electric vehicle engineer, and I'm less than convinced by your use of GM (or their vaporware product) as an example of success.

          Neither locomotives nor the tanks you mention use any type of electrical storage. Rather, the only reason for the the hybrid electric system in those vehicles is to replace what would otherwise be a very complicated ultra-high-torque transmission.

          A removable generator is hardly the engineering nightmare you make it out to be. Heck, the darn thing has to be removable ANYWAY, for service/replacement/etc. Throwing in the manual and letting a dedicated owner do it themselves is hardly an engineering problem.
          Like I said. Fantasy. Armchair engineers. Sure, the internal-combustion engine in your car is technically removeable. Along with the fuel system, exhaust system, cooling system, etc. Making their removal easy and practical for the uninitiated in a consumer product is just crazy.

          Quick: how many Americans will buy a car they cannot drive from one end of the country to the next?
          More than the number of people who have any desire to remove their engine. Economic reality will eventually cause cars in America to approach what they are elsewhere in the world: primarily for short-range travel. $4/gal gasoline has only caused whining. Real behavior change will happen as prices near $7 or $8.

          I'm not sure what your point is; that's what gas cars are for. And driving across the country is, by and large, stupid, and it represents an astronomically small fraction of what we do with cars. But for those who want to do it, gas cars will be around for decades. (But no fair whining about fuel prices!)

          Electric rail only makes sense if you don't have a more cost-efficient alternative. Even if all the fossil fuels go away and we are forced to produce all our own fuel, I wouldn't assume that hydrogen or artificial hydrocarbons won't be more efficient -- and both are every bit as long-term sustainable as pure electric.
          Hydrogen is way less efficient, and artificial hydrocarbons are a joke. Electricity is the ultimate flex fuel -- you can make it from anything, and you can use it to power your rail directly with no further conversion or storage. (Round-trip conversion to hydrogen is about 25% efficient.)
          • I lost mod points just before I saw this. A note of practicality in this thread (bbn is a complete fantasist). I'm afraid a lot of these whiny NASCAR types are going to have to face up to it - their fantasies about driving 600BHP hydorgen fueled SUVs across America are just that.

            The Mitsubishi electric vehicle, on the other hand, is being to look like not being vaporware and I already want one.

          • by bbn (172659)

            Neither locomotives nor the tanks you mention use any type of electrical storage. Rather, the only reason for the the hybrid electric system in those vehicles is to replace what would otherwise be a very complicated ultra-high-torque transmission.

            That might be true, but it is also true that it can not be significantly more inefficient than the alternatives. Fuel cost is a major cost in operating a train, and inefficient engines would not be able to compete.

            The loss from converting motion to electric and back again, is made up by being able to run the engine at optimal load and RPM.

            You can also not ignore that all other (mechanical) transmissions have losses. There is no such thing as a lossless transmission.

          • by BlueStrat (756137)
            Economic reality will eventually cause cars in America to approach what they are elsewhere in the world: primarily for short-range travel. $4/gal gasoline has only caused whining. Real behavior change will happen as prices near $7 or $8.

            One thing about the people of the USA. We *Love* our high performance gas burning cars, trucks, and SUVs. Once fuel prices reach those levels, expect a huge black market for fuel and massive amounts of thievery..tank-truck hijackings, theft from gas station holding tanks, br
      • by bitrex (859228)

        The US is screwed in that respect -- a pathetic rail system and approximately none of it electrified.

        I'm not sure where people get the idea that the US has a pathetic railroad system - there's over 140,000 miles of track currently in freight operation. Rail accounts for 40% of all freight-ton miles, more than any other mode of freight transport. The tonnage hauled per year has been increasing steadily over the past 15 years. Personally, I'd call the US rail system our hidden jewel.

  • Tesla Motors seems to be shifting from the high-tech company re-writing Detroit's script to another Silicon Valley startup trying to sniff out the competition.

    "Sniffing" out the competition would mean Tesla is trying to figure out who their competition is. I have a feeling that the intended word should be "snuffing" out the competition, which would mean Tesla is being anti-competitive, which seems to be what the article is talking about.

  • Familiar situation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wrook (134116) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @09:13AM (#23134088) Homepage
    I'm curious. Is Tesla looking for more investment money? TFA has an all too familiar ring to it for me. I've worked in a number of startups before. When you're 90% the way there and you run out of money, one of the tactics I've seen is to:

    1. Stop paying your bills
    2. Get into a big court case that effectively ties you up until your development has a chance to deliver.
    3. Go to potential investors and say "Well, we would have delivered on time if it weren't for our competitors cheating. We're in court with them now. As soon as the court case finishes we'll get a good chunk of cash *and* we'll be in full production.

    As wacky as it sounds, it's better than saying "Well, we didn't quite meet the sales window, but we're hoping you'll give us more money so that we can keep working..."

    I'm not saying this is what is happening. It's looks very similar to what I've seen on a couple of occasions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iamsamed (1276082)
      I've never been in that situation but I understand that if you start missing deliverables, the VCs usually have some sort of clause that enables them to throw you out on your ass. You lose everything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by WindBourne (631190)
      They are delivering their roadster and are backed by a billionare with plenty of money. I doubt that this is the case. I think that the real issue here, is that fiskers delivered an inferior product to Musk while at the same time, stealing Tesla's IP to be able to create their own.
      • Bingo. And after Musk got hosed by the whole Paypal fiasco, I doubt he's going to let Fisker pull this crap based on principal alone, no matter how much he has to spend to fight him.
  • It's one of those stupid divorce-type business litigations, where someone involved with the project went off to do one of their own. It's a vague trade secret case. But the "secrets" are available to anyone who buys one and takes it apart. That, incidentally, is normal practice in the auto industry; all the big automakers buy each other's new models and disassemble them.

    There's not really much innovation in the Tesla; it's a bunch of laptop batteries, an electric drivetrain, and liquid cooling on the b

    • by Hasmanean (814562)
      It's not a prius. The Tesla does not have an IC engine. Only batteries.

    • You my friend need a lesson in patent law and the Tesla Roadster.

      First, when someone sinks millions or billions of dollars into R&D, and than patents the resulting technology, you don't get the pleasure of buying the end product, reverse engineering it, and then making/selling said products yourself for pennies on the dollar. If patented, it's illegal, and personally I think people who think that's OK to do the above should be dragged out back for a "conversation".

      Second, Tesla Motors (or more speci

  • Tesla got screwed over by Henry Fisker, and now they are trying to get some compensation (presumably after Fisker refused to settle outside of court). I wrote that this negativity would happen [xprizecars.com] on the day the lawsuit went public, and I truly hope it doesn't hurt the nacient EV industry.

    I am especially hopeful that the Automotive X Prize [progressiv...xprize.org] will drive this industry forward - and on that count, don't you think it's interesting that Tesla is an official contestant, but Fisker is NOT? See X Prize Cars [xprizecars.com] for more
  • After reading the links I'm left scratching my head... I thought the whole point of Tesla was to build Electric cars, not Hybrids. I mean, let's face it - what kind of market is there for a $60K hybrid sedan when you can purchase a Prius for about 1/3 that amount? What happens if Toyota wakes up one day and says "We need a 2-seater hybrid", or "We need an upscale Prius" and actually builds one? In my opinion, Tesla has just admitted defeat - that they can't build an all-electric sedan for less money.
  • At least Tesla and the other EV/REV startups aren't facing what Mr. Tucker faced when he decided he could build a better, safer car.

    Yet.

    Cheers!

    Strat
  • I go by the Tesla dealership site in Menlo Park regularly, and it's still not open. Not even close. Their blog claims the car "began regular production" on March 17th, but they're not actually delivering cars.

    They may still be struggling with the fragile transmission problem and the motor cooling problem.

    • by Zuato (1024033)
      They've delivered one car so far (as reported) and that went to the CEO. So far they have not delivered a single production car to paying customers outside of employees of Tesla.

      It's starting to look like they are heading down the litigation route that SCO was going. Hopefully they can actually deliver the product and not just sue people for IP.

      Magna has already filed as suit against Tesla in regards to the transmissions used in their cars, so it should get interesting soon.
    • by I kan Spl (614759)
      Funny... I've seen at least 3 or 4 Tesla roadsters driving around near Redwood City (CA) on a regular basis.

      Somebody must be getting them.
      • by Zobeid (314469)
        They have a lot of prototypes and demo cars, and have been giving test drives to people who are already on the waiting list, showing them off to magazine writers, etc. But the only person who's actually taken delivery of his own car thus far is Elon Musk.
    • Tesla's flagship store -- in L.A. on Santa Monica Blvd. -- will have its debut on May 3. It won't actually be opening for business that day, but will be having an "open house" for customers and their guests, so they are calling it a preview.

      The cars are being assembled, albeit at a very slow pace, and some of them I believe should already on the boat from England. Tesla's approach seems to be: assemble four or five cars and then put them on a ship in one lot. Then it takes a few weeks to cross The Pond.

      C
  • ... their technology is snake oil, and they know it.

    All they've done is turn out a couple of one-off prototypes that work *sometimes* but mysteriously don't seem to be usable when anyone with a camera and half an ounce of engineering nouse is around.

    Funny that.
  • Because Tesla had them, and I bet he's not afraid to use them. Who needs lawyers when you can just melt people?

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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