Tesla Model S launch won’t be affected by the departure of the two top engineers, CEO says

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 17, 2012

With Tesla Motors Inc.’s claim that there won’t be a delay in the production and sale of its all-electric Model S sedan due to the departure of two top engineers, its shares increased by 15% before regular trading started. When the departure was reported last week, its shares fell by 19%. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that he’s “highly confident” that in 2013, the company will be able to deliver a minimum of 20,000 cars.

He added that he believes the company will “do better than the delivery date of the first Model S cars being in July." On Jan. 13, Tesla shares dropped the most since it started trading on June 29, 2010.

It was right after Bloomberg announced the departure of Peter Rawlinson, Tesla's vice president and chief engineer, and Nick Sampson, who supervised vehicle and chassis engineering.

As of 10:02 a.m. ET, its shares increased by 18% to $26.86. Tesla, which received a $465 million U.S. loan to make advanced autos, is slated to begin the output of the Model S luxury cars at its Fremont, Calif., plant by the middle of the year.

Tesla said that initial units of the sedan could go as far as 300 miles per charge and will sell for up to $92,400 before a $7,500 tax credit is considered.

Musk gave an apology of the manner that the departures were revealed. He said that the company had intended to talk about the changes in its personnel on Feb. 15, which is when results in the fourth quarter are unveiled.

Musk, the largest shareholder in the company, said, “A positive was misconstrued as a negative development.” Alan Baum, principal of Baum & Associates in suburban Detroit, said that Tesla’s shares are volatile as Tesla stays as an "unknown quantity" and the outlook for battery-powered autos is uncertain.

Tesla’s Model S is the first full-electric sedan, representing a great evolution in automotive engineering. The car combines performance, efficiency, and safety, resetting the expectations for a 21st-century vehicle. It boasts the highest safety ratings possible, the longest range, as well as over-the-air software updates, which continuously make it better.

The Model S battery is located on the floor, giving the car a very low center of gravity and greatly reducing rollover risks. This also enhances performance and handling. Without an engine, the Model S has a much larger crumple zone compared with other performance sedans, allowing it to absorb the force of any front-end impact.

Additionally, the Tesla Model S is considered one of the safest vehicles on the road. A lot of its safety prowess is because of its unique electric drivetrain, which sits beneath the car. What’s more, the safety record of the Model S is proven with its Euro NCAP and NHTSA 5-star safety rating. It also boasts the lowest likelihood of occupant injury when tested in the U.S.

The car boasts standard active safety features, which include collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and blind spot detection. What’s more, it has optional convenience features such as a traffic-aware cruise control, auto-park, auto-steer, and summon.

Tesla Model S also has two motors, one located in the front while the other is in the rear. With this, the Model S is able to digitally and independently control torque to the front wheels and the rear wheels. The result is an unparalleled traction control in every condition. Not like any conventional all-wheel drive vehicle that achieves increased traction but compromises fuel efficiency, the company’s Electric All-Wheel Drive system actually increases efficiency.

The Model S reaches 0-60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, making it the fastest four-door sedan ever developed and produced. Meanwhile, superior handling is achieved through its exceptionally low center of gravity, which in turn, is due to a battery pack fitted along the floor pan and centered between the axles. There is no other production car with a more ideal mass placement for optimal handling.

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