Tesla “D” Unveiled

Tesla D

Social media at its finest.  On October 1st, Elon Musk tweeted: “It’s about time to unveil the D and something else…”.  In the week that ensued, both market and media buzzed with anticipation as Tesla stock (TSLA) climbed 6% – roughly $2 billion in value.

Imagine if you had the power to generate two billion dollars with just ten words.

Last night in Los Angeles, the Tesla “D” was revealed – a faster, all-wheel drive, dual-motor version of the Model S.  The D entertains some remarkable features. For starters, the vehicle has the ability to read speed-limit signs to self-adjust its velocity, and change lanes when prompted by a turn signal. Moreover, a driver can actually exit the vehicle in his/her driveway, and rely on the car to open the garage door, park itself, and turn off.  Not too shabby.  And, for the nervous drivers, the new and improved car encompasses additional safety attributes, such as the ability to detect obstacles and actively brake in advance of possible collisions.

But what really got the crowd excited last night was the acceleration. Tesla D can go 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds (for comparison, the Roadster Sport could travel 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds and this was extremely fast).  If you weren’t at the reveal last night you missed out – the entire audience was invited to take a test ride to fully experience Tesla’s fastest car yet.  Check out the reaction on YouTube.

Robot arm

In true Elon Musk fashion, a robotic arm flaunted the Model D chassis. Quite the spectacle. The D, suspended in air, rotated in front of an impressed audience as Elon Musk described the car’s three different driver settings: “Normal”, “Sport”, and “Insane”.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is somewhat of a superhero.  Founder of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and PayPal, the billionaire tech guru has made it his mission to ban petrol cars, and “help ensure the survival of humanity”, by creating a self-sustaining city on Mars.  That’s right – as in, on a different planet.  Musk says his SpaceX spaceships will take humans to Mars by 2026, with or without NASA.  Overly ambitious?  Maybe. But if anyone is warranted to make such a claim – it’s Elon Musk.

Right now (10:43 AM EST) TSLA is down about 7%. Evidently, those investors who were anticipating the reveal of a fully autonomous car are taking out their disappointment in the stock market.  To be fair, when stocks trade at roughly 250 times earnings, expectations can become easily inflated. James Albertine, analyst at Stifel with a $400 evaluation of Tesla’s worth says, “We believe TSLA managers and engineers are very smart in their own right, but stylistically, we would leave the tweeting to tech companies with sub-$1k product price points”.

Tesla’s current stock price is irrelevant.  The Model D is certainly just a small fraction of what the company has in the works. I have full faith that Musk will have TSLA stock sky-rocketing soon.  I would also remind the disappointed crowd to be patient –  Elon Musk told Bloomberg just last year that he plans to produce an autonomous car within the next three years.

Musk is undeniably one of the most influential and inspiring figures in technology and business today.  The awe is widespread. Earlier this year at a TED conference, Larry Page (CEO, Google) stated that when he dies, he’d rather give his billions to Elon Musk than a philanthropic organization.  Why?  Larry Page wants his money to go to people that will change the world.

4 thoughts on “Tesla “D” Unveiled

  1. Nice post. But perhaps this is the wrong strategy. How about better public transport and not focusing in how fast we can drive?

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  2. Patty – I see where you are coming from, but think about it this way. Tesla mission has remained constant for a decade: “To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible”. Undeniably, the masses (particularly Gen Y) get more excited about speed & aesthetics than “better public transport”.

    I ask you this – if Tesla achieves its goal of mass sustainable transport using electric, fuel-efficient vehicles, does it really matter which marketing ploys they used to get there? I would argue Tesla IS focusing on better public transport – they are just doing so in a manner that will appeal to the most people.

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    • Yes. I agree with Thesustainableinvestor. It’s not Tesla’s mission to change the driving habits of America. Tesla can provide electric cars or electric buses or electric trains. All will do their part in reducing carbon emissions. It is the responsibility of private and public transportation systems to change habits and attitudes toward modes of transportation.

      What a shame if Tesla only produced electric buses or electric trains. So much would be lost! Yes, Americans need to change their driving habits. But, that is not something that Tesla will be able to accomplish on their own or should try to accomplish

      Patty : you are right. It is the wrong strategy. Not the wrong strategy for Tesla, but the wrong strategy for America and principally the public governments. I live in Boston. The strategy of the MBTA is to raise rates to generate money in the subway and commuter trains. They should try the reverse…..Lower rates and obtain more riders. Recently we have point to point private sector buses that charge sometimes as low as $5 per trip to NYC from Boston. Meanwhile, Amtrak charges on their regular fare well over $100.. And is still losing money. The bus is packed and the train empty. The bus is making money and the train is not. What a shame!

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  3. I agree with Josh and Patty. We need to have a concerted effort to improve public or private transit. An electric car, while admirable, if it is powered by a coal generating plant…. What’s the point? Plus all the carbon needed to make the batteries, as well as the frame….never mind all the workers who are driving to the Tesla assembly plant in their gas guzzling cars…. Not even ire durn you add it all up, the electric car has a smaller carbon footprint over its lifetime. Anyone know?

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