We’re kind of there, sort of, or were if you have read this post from Jalopnik today.
Tesla released some news today regarding the $35 000.00 Model 3 and how they have limited the choices for you in how you can get your hands on one.
According to Tesla, you now have to head into one of their dealers and fill out the order there: remember though, the dealer network is limited already and they want(ed) to close all of them.
It certainly seems that Tesla is going through a change or transitioning into a slightly different business model than originally stated. I’m not passing judgment on that or feel it’s either negative or positive at this point but, this seems to exemplify exactly what’s been wrong with Tesla from the get go: Elon Musk, his volatile emotional state and his big mouth.
Put aside for a minute, your knowledge or preference of propulsion. Stop being a fanboy for gas/diesel or battery electric, hydrogen or any other form of propulsion: how and with what you fuel an engine is irrelevant for the moment. Take a quick look around the automotive landscape and list for me the cars and companies that are new, fresh and exciting. Who and what is really pushing the envelope in technology and delivering for us, what we really want and desire?
Here we are in May of 2019 and perhaps the hottest most exciting vehicle for enthusiasts here at OPPO and Jalopnik might be the new Jeep Gladiator. In its own right and category I’m sure it’s a fine vehicle. Here’s the problem: %99 of us do not spend our time off road and that %99 of us do spend %99 of our time of the paved roads, even if you live in Northerly climates with snow for parts of the year.
Most Jeep owners are honest about their Jeeps and why they love them and they fully admit and recognize that a Jeep is not for paved public roads: in fact Jeeps are fucking terrible road machines and we all know it. We Just love the idea of go anywhere any time adventure vehicles that can fulfill our Indian Jones or Lara Croft fantasies.
So, besides the Jeep Gladiator, what or who else is ‘bringing it’ right now? Well it is Tesla!
New, innovative, desirable, sexy, ego stroking, righteous indignation, conscience satisfying, cool or kool: Tesla, whether you like them or not, love or hate Elon Musk himself, decry the overhyped fear of autonomous vehicles or have just sold your sole to the oil and gas industry, Tesla is delivering the ‘Shit’ right now.
I am clearly very skeptical of Elon Musk. He is smart, genius I’m not sure, but I hope his company succeeds. However, I don’t think it will in the traditional sense of what we think a car company is or has been.
They have a fresh and at times naïve set of eyes looking at the car business and that has been good for the most part. Tesla is now 16 years old, yes 16! Growing pains have been the story for quite some time now and the Model 3 is and was the make or break vehicle for them. It seems to be a success and if they move in the right direction carefully over the next 12-24 months, I think they will set their future in stone, maybe.
The announcement today also said that your choice is now pay to play essentially. All Model 3’s and I assume all Tesla vehicles will come fully equipped as standard with all equipment installed but only functional if you pay up. So, for instance, if you want to use the heated seats option that is already installed in the car, you have to order and pay for the OTA software to activate that feature.
Maybe this is the smartest way to go, I’m not sure TBH but something doesn’t feel right and seems to upset the balance of an ever increasing general consumer economy of the individual, customized and immediate delivery model that Tesla was promoting originally and what I describe as the Amazon Economy: the ‘Give me exactly what I want right now’ consumer model.
It makes me feel like ‘negative billing’ is the next move for Tesla. I certainly hope not as that could really sink the ship in a time when the competition, real competition from established automakers and new entrants’ from China hit the market over the next 2-3 years. Scoffing at those competitors could easily be the death of the Detroit Big 3(2) and as much hype and press as Tesla gets, they are a tiny and paltry size next to GM or Ford. If they can go down, Tesla would be an afterthought.
New innovations must be on the horizon, not just updates and Elon Musk must keep his big mouth shut or at least be more tactical in what he says to whom and how. Tesla as a company, needs to keep and bolster its consumer first and friendly approach. This is a long game and damage to your reputation now will kill it. Just ask the Big 3(2) what it’s like to get shit kicked and how long and how much it takes to get that reputation back.