40's Need a Fix

Lots of folks who've waited faithfully for a long time, and committed to an MVPA for a 40kWh car, and now are justifiably hurt to hear production is delayed again, while noob 85's get their cars quickly.

This gripe is legitimate - TM has made business decisions that have the effect of stringing along 40KW reservation holders. (Even if that wasn't the intent).

I think TM needs to mend fences with them. Here is my suggestion:

If you have a 40KW reservation and signed an MVPA, TM will refund your money on request, but grandfather in your option to purchase at the original price when the 40 starts production.

This would be a good faith gesture to credit supporters who've loaned them money. I think it would fix the problem and reaffirm folks' faith in the company's decency.

What do all of you think?

(Please note your res type in your post).

@cmeyers - if the battery pack is being redesigned, it is possible that they encountered problems in testing. In particular, the amount of current that the battery can produce or accept (for regen braking or charging) is proportional to the number of cells. I assume that is the reason for reduced performance of the 40 vs the 60 vs 85, for example.

So, they may well have found that actual measurements of simply using fewer cells proved to be inadequate, and they are having to change to use more cells.

This is just a guess anyway.


Yes, this is very similar to what I heard today, except that I was told for the 40Kwh batteries, the delivery would by 4 to 6 months from today, so closer to July, and that date might be good for Dave75, who has been waiting since 3/26/2009. Plus, if they keep letting the 60 and 85 jump in line, it will take even longer. Just wait until a model X gets done before the 40’s.

Cmeyers. Enlighten me. Did TM approach you to upgrade to a larger battery to speed up delivery?

TM never contacted me to upgrade from a 60 to an 85! As a matter of fact TM, hardly ever contacted me - until my "S" was in Los Angeles and would I like to swing by and pick it up or have it delivered. I am not sure the 40kWh battery has been certified yet, so how can they sell them?


Yes, that is the problem, no 40kWh cars are in production, and they have been delayed for a third time, for now a total of over 6 months.

@petero - I called them, regardless I am stating how it feels to me to be "on the hook" for so long and they keep moving the end date. They did say that would give me a full refund though which is a nice consideration considering how the contract we signed it totally written in favor of Tesla.

Tesla doesn't have to wait for EPA to build a 40, they just build a run of them and hand one over to the EPA. It is what it is and Tesla will sell it regardless of the EPA range ratings. They even stated that the EPA testing is rather quick.

@cmeyers - Interesting. When I spoke to a representative on the delivery information line today, I asked if I could get my deposit back and walk away. He said he would check on that and get back to me by the end of next week. I would very much like to get off this ride. Tesla's had my $5,000 deposit for almost 4 years now. I think I'd sleep better with that money back in my bank account. Are you going to pull out or wait it out?

Two suggestions for TM:

(a) If there are only 150 or so 40kWh orders, use the small scale as an opportunity to over communicate. These folks are bridge between the premium market and the Gen III car. Make them feel good about early adoption and a very long wait. Let them know TM appreciates them.

(b) Delight them on delivery. Use the time to find ways to exceed published specs on the delivered 40 kWh vehicles, as the supply chain and components improve. A tad more range, a little more acceleration?

@defmonk - thanks for suggestions above. I've seen the ~150 count of 40kWh reservations in other posts. I'm curious where that number came from. On the investor call Elon said ~10% of the reservations were for the 40kWh battery. If there are about 15K US reservations left to fill, that would equate to ~1,500 customers waiting for the 40kWh car.

Long term, tesla is only getting less than 10% (survey by me says 8%). Moving the perduction on 8% percent of cars that bring in less money is not good for a company that is trying to post a profit. I would think Tesla is going to shock people with the profit, than continue with the same profit in Q2 because of trying to get all options rolling. They are probally posting a profit this quarter because each person is putting on average 12k-15k extra of options. I expect revenues of 412 million and EPS of 25 - 50 cents a share. based on what they have stated wall street in for a surprise!! they estimate Q1 EPS at (17)... I bought more shares today, couldn't resist

I find it odd that the Model S 40 Kwh battery is not available, since Tesla is providing Toyota with a 40 Kwh battery system for the RAV-4 EV. Different design perhaps, but still...

I thnk the sales of the 40Kwh would be higher if they were actually selling them.

Even for my 40, the out the door total is $69,539.46, which is more than three times the final price of my last car. And later hearing that yearly maintenance is also required, on the car that only need the wiper fluid topped off. We have been strung along, and delayed. I'll have to drive the S for close to 225,000 miles to break even with my old ICE car.

Still pushing the "only the wiper fluid" wheeze, huh? Sure hope you get your refund soon.

Reading through the posts, and considering what TM already appears to be doing, here's a refinement to the policy suggestion that TM might post to formally resolve the concern:

"Any 40kW MVPA holder who signed before the production reschedule is allowed to exit the agreement at any time before their car enters production."

TM can send an email notice a couple weeks before manufacturing starts on these cars, so people have a clear window to decide.

Financially, I believe a small minority of folks will opt out, but everyone will feel relieved that it is again their choice after they know the actual schedule.

Most people will want to keep their $2.5K pricing advantage, and will simply wait and see how TM does on the 40kW cars, but the acknowledgement will mean a lot to them.

These supporters trusted TM for years. They really just need reciprocal trust and goodwill from TM.

I think that would fix it.

You know, this is a very atypical, even remarkable situation. It is so rare to see so many customers so emotionally engaged with a company ... and it's pretty wonderful for TM. When you are lucky enough to have such extraordinary goodwill, its easy to understand why sensibilities might be more delicate, and sometimes require a little TLC.

These are the very folks whose testimonials will carry TM to fantastic success, and they totally merit the attention.

This may be scant consolation to some of you, but I feel the need to say it nonetheless.

I know waiting for the 40kWh is frustrating, especially when many of you have helped Tesla survive the last few years via your deposits. However... I would argue that waiting for a right hand drive Model S is even more frustrating, especially when you have been a reservation holder from day one. Yes, we RHD-ers are a minority of the total reservation backlog; yes, the car requires some re-engineering versus the standard LHD models; yes, we aren't resident in Tesla's home market. But it is fair that we get our cars a year and a half after they first went on sale? I reserved my non-sig car in early 2009, and it looks like I may not get it until 2014.

I'm sure Tesla could speed up the 40kWh or the RHD cars if they wanted to. I'm not so sure that this is the right business decision for them today. With perfect hindsight I would have put my £x000s into IPO shares rather than a reservation, but Tesla was always going to be a risky enterprise and I knew the deposit was refundable ;-)

So I'll have to stay sitting here, reading forums, looking at pictures and dreaming of my new seat for 2014!

Good commentary from everyone.

@tshsock - the 150 number may have been started by my earlier post in this thread. It was my estimate of monthly throughput for the 40kWh

Thanks for the support from those 60 and 85 kWh owners that have sympathized with the 40kWh reservationist. I agree that it is insensitive to preach "shut up and wait, it's what's best for the company" when your car is already delivered or on the way.

@Chuck L - 4 to 6 months is an even longer delay that I thought. I was thinking May-June were still good estimates. Given this much of a delay, Tesla definitely has an obligation to reach out and address this with the 40kWh folks. In hindsight, it was pretty wimpy to announce this the way they did. Surely they understood how this would effect us. To not get out in front of this is another promise from George B. not realized (better communication).

I need a few more days to weigh my options.

Another helpful action would be a quasi-technical letter of explanation of the delay sent to all reservation holders. "We're having difficulty keeping the framblitzers from over-caspignating during hard deceleration. Our engineers are coring their pumpkins to find a solution. If they can find one before their mortality rate gets too high, we will begin making these dang 40kWh batteries right away."

Tesla needs in a big way, a excellent PR team......

Tesla trying to max out it's profitability is fine but Their margins are NOT the customers job to worry about. They said "X" and they need to deliver "X" or take the associated lump and bad press that's no doubt coming surrounding the 40kw cars. Broder and many like him are still out there.

Do you really believe the 40kWh model will be produced? What makes what you read more than just an assumption? The demand is not there. It will cost them more to produce the 40kWh model than they will ever recover. Why do you possible believe they keep delaying?They simply have used the 40kWh entry price to lure customers in, advised them the 40kWh is going to be delayed and customers would need to upgrade to get a Tesla now. The real reason - PROFIT. It has helped them achieve the profits needed quickly. This looks as high tech in advertising as the Tesla S is in cars with the exception its against the LAW! That's sales method is referred as bait and switch and Tesla is not immune. A class action lawsuit for this behavior might get Tesla's attention.

The original reservation I made 7/20/09 says in the priority clause "Tesla will establish the Model S production sequence according to the order in which payment and signed reservation agreements are received. Note that there will be a Founder Series and a Signature Series that will prelude the regular production". Those models have been completed. Tesla has produced 4000+ cars. My reservation number P1020. Nothing else is said about a delay may be experienced due to the Model S selected.

@davidslagle - do you believe that standard suspension cars will never be built? Or that red cars will never be built? Both of those have not happened yet, and have been delayed (admittedly not yet as much as the 40kWh cars), so by your logic you must assume they won't be.

Unfortunately the 40kWh Tesla S has never been available and may never be. The price $57400 is a base price for something that only an upgrade was available in 2012 and to date in 2013. The base price for a Tesla S 40kWh is false advertising - proto type. Should have read $77400 for a 80kWh Tesla S and been reduced to $67400 when the 60kWh was made available(price does not include $2500 increase). That's the way other car makers do it. If its a proto type there can be no price. Reading why the 40kWh is not available is buying Tesla time to continue selling upgrades. Preorders may not have been as brisk. If Tesla decides the 40kWh Model will never be produced the sum of money Tesla has required customers to pay for an upgrade will be in legal question.
Get real. The standard suspension has the air portion removed. Tesla had to start with standard suspension to add air suspension. Is red paint in shortage? I think not. Tesla is stalling by design. Dont be fooled by what you read. Your fighting a technician of 30 years in the auto repair field.

Until Tesla offers us an explanation for the delay, theories such as David's will be presented and then accepted by more and more people. Not unreasonable outcome in my opinion.

I think the genesis of the 40kW battery is (1) DOE loan required them to publicly commit to a price for that model, (2) hope that the meme of "price is under sixty thousand" to help deflect criticism the car is not affordable for many buyers except people like us (!), and (3) startups always are over optimistic about how fast the volume ramp up and cost curve will occur.

Bottom line for me: the 40 WILL end up in production because of (1) but they are forced to delay because of (3).

Traversing "the valley of death" is never easy.

I'm P364 (3/2009) and I'm not very happy about the latest delay.
My wife was absolutely furious last night when I told her,
she wants to call Elon and bend his ear. We gambled $5k on Tesla being able to produce
the Model S and our expected payoff was to be one of the first Model S owners.
We could have lost all our money, but we took the chance anyways.
Now I see people who made reservations in late Dec 2012 for 85kWh
getting VINs and delivery dates in the next 3 weeks! This is just torture.
I understand the talk about profit margins, but I took the risk and now I won't
get my reward for it.

Sorry for the rant. I'm very frustrated.


Your my mirror image. High risk, no interest, no end reward. Best Tesla will offer is your money back(lol). Tesla is treating the very people that help them go to into production like dogs. How can we possibly deserve this inhuman treatment?

dbalog +1. I'm P1399 and feel exactly the same way. Tesla should offer longer term 40kWh reservation holders something significant to restore goodwill; $1,500 off any upgrade on your 40kWh or a solid discount to upgrade to a 60kWh. Something like this would go a long way to restore my former enthusiasm for Tesla.

+1 for all of us 40's for still waiting!
+1 dbalog
+1 Brian10

I'm an early adopter - P1267. Made my reservation in October 2009. Configured and signed the paper work on 8/8/2012. I am a very patient person, but my patience has reached it's end. Am I really supposed to be patient and take delivery a year after I configured the car?
Tesla has the ability to manufacture the 40's. They just don't have the will. I get all the financials and manufacturing efficiencies - I am a shareholder so it's in my best interest for TM to be profitable. But it is absolutely insulting to be treated so shabbily by the company the I've been touting for the last 3+ years.
The wait isn't half as bad as the humiliation I feel every time a friend, family member or coworker asks when I'm getting my car. End of 2012 -- no wait, April -- uhhhh August???
I don't want a refund, I want my car - and some soap to wash the "dumb-ass" writing off my forehead.

It may be time to Lawyer Up.

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