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Reservation Numbers DON'T MEAN ANYTHING.

Niether does your loyalty to Tesla. Based on my conversation minutes ago with Tesla Customer Service ANYONE who will pay for a 230 mile battery pack, even if its next year, will get ahead of me in production number (I want the 160 mile pack). We are not talking signature series, we are talking Production series, it doesn't matter when you reserved.
Customer service specifically told me that eventhough they appreciate my loyalty for having reserved a year ago the reservation number are loose suggestions and holder will not receive their cars in order.
Whoever is willing to pay more will move up the line. That to me amounts to extortion, I will NOT pay more so people don't get in front of me. At this point I will be canceling my reservation unless this policy is changed, reservations don't mean anything anyway.
I'm totally blown away by this decision from Tesla. I thougth they were above your typical American corporation where the all mighty dollar is above customer loyalty.

For the love of God, go away. This is the 4th or 5th thread you've done this on. Get over it. Everyone is equal in this and gets the shot at the car in reservation order. You don't like the options at the time, too bad, you can defer. You don't like it at all, then take back your money. What an ungodly level of whining.

@ckessel, I thought maybe reservation holders cared that they will NOT get their cars in reservation order. But maybe I'm wrong.
Thanks for your understanding and support.

Mehdi, your reservation holds within your price category (ie within 160 mile pack). But they will be producing 1000 signature pack first (ie 300 mile pack) and of course those who reserved for the 300 mile pack will be ahead of the line regardless of whether they reserved before you or after you. It is only logical that way since they cannot give you something they have not yet produced.

Careful rereading, maybe over reading on my part of the blog does not indicate 300 then 230 then160. It says 300 first. Later 230 and 160. This may not indicate much change in order of production other than for 300 mile preference. The other two sizes may be otherwise uneffected.

William13, agreed that is how I read the letter as well.

Go find a perfect world to live in.

This one is messed up, and we do what we can to get what we want.

I talked to CS as well about this and got a reasonable answer..even though I have a low production number and don't need or want anything above a 160 mile battery.

Basically, the battery packs are considered "option packages"..since they are rolling out the Signature series first, they will be tooled for the 300 mile packs. This will be the first option pack available. When you're production number comes up, you have the option of buying what they have for sale, or waiting until the options you want become available. They will be making 230 and 160 mile battery pack options available as soon as possible..but this means that SOME people with later reservation numbers (not all) could move in front of you based on their willingness to buy what Tesla has on hand. If anything, this was more of a surprise than a disappointment..I just had it in my head that that 160's would be first..Tesla never claimed or announced this.

I'm not happy about the dollar-energy sequence, that being said, I'm still going to wait on the 160 battery. My average daily commute is less than 20 miles and I don't need to lug around the extra battery weight. My objective is to reduce dependence on energy, oil, coal, nuclear or solar and the associated waste-entropy. Guess I might be in the minority.

This is kind of a predicament. Pay more and get the car sooner or wait. 20 grand is a pretty hefty price, but they way I think about it, the 300 mile battery is more than enough to get from point A to point B even with 50% of the charge and with battery degradation and the "uncertainty" associated with Tesla as a company 10-20 years down the road, (I wish they become the dominant manufacturer) I think if you can afford it, the 300 mile battery is the way to go, but it is quite a premium to pay. I'm curious about the battery life of the 300 mile range. That would be the make or break point for me.

NO BIG DEAL. Tesla is smart enough to know that they can make cars faster and more efficiently if they are tooled to insert the same battery for multiple weeks at a time. So "Mr Reservation Holder# 2000" who wants a 160mi battery may actually get his car a little sooner, because Tesla can make all the cars faster this way (having some level of uniformity in a production run). Let them do their thing. A few weeks sooner or later doesn't matter. btw - I'll buy the biggest battery I can afford at the time, and I already know it won't be the 300mi battery (at $70K+) ouch!

Two points:

1) I do not believe Tesla is putting the 300 battery pack reservations 1st just to make people spend more. Signature series has 300 pack, makes sense to fill all those orders first.

2) Even if you thought they were doing this for more money, it still is not wrong. It takes an immense amount of money to do what they are doing and real people have real money at stake. I am just glad they are willing to take the risk and will accept my car when it is ready. You want yours sooner, you put up the money to make the car, then you can call the shots. Just please do not bash the company that is driving the whole EV movement.

It is also quite possible that they simply don't have those other options ready for mass-production yet. If they wait for that to happen before starting production from Signature series you would have a lot longer wait in your hands.

The way I look at it, they have only one facility to take care of this car. So it is only logical that if they are working with the 300 mile packs first they will just keep turning those out until the orders are filled, then I suspect they will work on the 230's and fill those orders and then the 160's.

Simply put, they are utilizing every resource they have, simplifying the procedure and focusing only on one thing at a time. Make their work easier...

I don't agree with the "production" run theory of why the 300 will be first out of the door. I believe it's calculated to optimize revenue and the early public's acceptance of the car ("How far will it go? 300 miles"). If it only takes 'minutes' to swap a battery pack the decision as to what pack they'll lead with can't be based on production run limitations. I can't imagine the battery mounts to be any different for the three sizes. And I agree with the OP that it's a slap in the face to take your money then effectively cherry pick who gets delivery at the consumer's expense. I wonder how many people would have plopped down money if they were aware of that "rule"? I think it's a legitimate gripe. That being said, the option is to withdraw your down payment if it bothers you enough.

Ever think it's because they ran into an issue with the smaller packs?

From my point of view, they had to design the model s to handle the larger 300 mile pack, then they had to build the 'smaller' packs into a case that's sized for the larger batteries.

As far as I know, the 'spot' for the battery to be mounted is the same on every model s, meaning all three battery packs are the same physical size. That to me says the insides have to arranged very carefully, since the pack lends rigidity to the cars frame.

Plenty of electric car companies have gone under because they were thinking more about being idealistic than being practical, and bankrupt companies don't help anyone. If structuring sales this way makes Tesla more profitable I say do it. You can poo poo the evils of capitalism all you want, but that's what brings the product to market in the end.

Vawlkus: agreed. I postulated on another thread that very same theory, given Tesla's push for simplicity and modular design. I also assume that the car will be built the same regardless of battery pack, meaning it would be designed to handle the size and weight of the largest pack. Therefore, it makes sense that they just roll out the 300 mile option first, both from a marketing perspective and a manufacturing perspective.

I would imagine that the other packs would have to be designed for the volume left by the 300 mile pack. The driving dynamics, weight distribution, etc., would be affected by the difference in weight. All that would have to be tested, and they want to deliver these as fast as possible, so the 300 mile pack options are built first.

After that, I wouldn't be surprised if the portion of the production line that installs the battery pack will be versatile enough to handle the installation of all three battery packs in any production order. Custom production lines like those at Peterbuilt have basically one flexible assembly line that can make the trucks efficiently, in order, regardless of options/configuration. I would expect no less from Tesla.

I thought the 300 mile pack was using a different newer battery, than the 160 or 230 packs. If they are starting with 300 mile packs, they only have to deal with one battery model to start with.

You could carry the conspiracy theory farther. Why do the Signature series people get to go first, just because they put more money down. Why do Roadster owners and their friends/family get bumped ahead of me in the production line?

Is it ideal? Maybe not but shouldn't make a whole lot of difference in your delivery date. So you wait 19 months instead of 17 months to get your car.

From my experience, Tesla treats their customers very well. If you're willing to cancel your order out of spite, I don't think you'd been happy with the car anyway. It's not like you're buying a Chevy you can get serviced at 3 different places in town. It's going to be a different kind of car experience.

Read the press release about the new battery cells:
http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/panasonic-presents-first...
The cells are same form factor (18650), just higher capacity.

Just restating information from various entries here: Tesla builds battery packs in a modular way. I assume they will do the same for Model S battery pack. The 160mi pack will be around 6000 cells, so possibly 12 modules with 500 cells each. The 230mi pack would be roughly 8000 cells organized in 16 modules - every module using the same 18650 cell with same cell capacity. Of course, the 230mi pack will be heavier than 160mi pack.

The 300mi pack will be same number of cells, same number of modules, same cell form, just different cell chemistry. Weight difference to 230mi pack will be small, if any.

Some speculation here: The 18650 cell required for the 160mi and 230mi packs (and the Roadster) can be supplied by multiple vendors today, but Tesla has finally secured cell supply for more than 1000 packs of the type needed for the 300mi version. Without that, they wouldn't have committed themselves to rolling out the 300mi pack first.

I broke the golden rule of posting, I posted while angry. I certainly could have been more diplomatic about the subject. Up until this decision by Tesla I was treated very fairly by them, I even got a callback within minutes of emailing them about this decision, not an email but a personal phone call.
So I like to explain, more diplomaticlally.

THERE IS ABSOULTLY NO TECHNICAL REASON WHY TESLA CANNOT BUILD AND DELIVER ALL THREE BATTERY PACKS AT THE SAME TIME.

I say this because that is what I do. I am a manufacturing engineer specializing in designing and implementing Mixed Configuration production line. I have worked for over 20 years in the Automotive, Aerospace and currently in Class III medical equipment manufacturing. I was trained right down the street from Tesla at Stanford University. My training included studying the Toyota Production System (TPS) and actually working in the NUMMI plant where the Model S is being built. At the time Toyota was manufacturing the Toyota Tacoma, all the varieties of the truck on the same production line.
I could set up the Mixed Configuration Battery Pack line within weeks for them. Tesla has over a year to do it and they have the help of the experts, TOYOTA. (If they can't get Toyota engineers to help them I would offer to come down to my old stumping ground and help Telsa setup the Battery pack line.)
There should not be any material availability issues since by Teslas own information the 230 and 160 pack CELLs are identical, just more or less of them. And if the 300 pack CELLs are available first then all three would be available.
This leads me to believe that the decision to offer the more expensive battery packs was based on Financial reasons alone. (I'm certainly willing to be convinced otherwise but I was not given any reason to think so.)
If it's a Financial survival issue to sell my production slot to the highest bidder, so be it. But at least it should be explained to the early adopters such as me who believed and invested in Tesla, before Toyota and Panasonic did.

@ chargeme

haha nice.

@dsm363

I said something very similar previously also. It may take an extra month or so to get your Model S because you only want a 160 pack, but honestly, you are willing to wait this long, who cares at this point if its an extra couple months.

I personally am on the fence about the 160 or 230. I really only need the 160 but like the comfort of the 230 just in case, but settled on the 160 I think due to costs a bit. So I just hope I get it before year's end in 2012. If not then so be it I will have to just wait a few more weeks only probably.

Mo technical reason, but logistics can be different and manufacturing line for those other battery packs might just not be ready yet.

Technically I could fly to the moon. In reality I can't.

Mehdi, you are missing the total process and i think it's the source of your anger and confusion. Here is a process (also seen with other cars e.g. Leaf that had "pre-ordering") as I understand it:

1. You put money down for a reservation -> 2. When your number is up you are given a chance to place an order -> 3. The order (includes your options, color, etc.) is then assigned a production date, i.e. order/delivery # -> 4. Car hopefully gets delivered shortly after production date.

You are confusing the reservation step 1 with the ordering step 2. Think about it. When you place a reservation Tesla/Manufacturer has no idea what options you are intending to buy. Only after your order is placed (and matched to their supply chain) can they tell you when YOUR car will come out the other end.

Hopefully this will alleviate some of your angst. Leave all the conspiracy stuff home, It's just drama for no reason. Cheers mate.

msiano 17, if I wasn't getting the 300 mile pack, I'd definitely get the 230. Driving the Roadster - nominally 240 miles - on a daily basis I don't even think about the charge level. It's always enough for anything I want to do with the car. For driving around town there simply is no range anxiety whatsoever.

Yes, you would have plan a bit more for a road trip, but you don't do that very often. And once you've figured it out for a particular route you just repeat as necessary.

I actually agree with Mehdi in parts on this. Those with low reservation numbers have obviously put a lot of faith in Tesla. If that faith is answered by them sending me and him to the back of the line unless we upgrade to the biggest battery than that is bad customer service. It might be necissary for Tesla's survival, but as a minimum clear and concise information about this BEFORE the announcement would be normally courtious.

The big kicker you see is that the announcement is unclear about if ALL 300 mile builds are done before they start on the 230 mile and then ALL 230 miles before they do the 160 miles pack. That means the difference is probably 6-12 months extra between the 160 and 300 mile pack. If they simply do these in batch lots and you end up loosing a month or so then the issue is a lot less serious depending on how much you care about the principle of the thing.

Sindre

First of all, I do find it humorous, all the "excuses" I have heard why Tesla has priced the different batteries at the price point they chose.

Come on, you're trying to tell me that it costs exactly 10K more for each 70 miles?...these batteries that supposedly take 5 minutes to swap out will cause a big production problem for the 160 and 230??...its simple, Tesla is making more profit from the larger batteries...they intend to maximize their profit early and often.

I can see why the OP is upset...Tesla should have made it clear this would/could happen when they took the deposits but they didnt as they prob didnt know at the time they were going to do this....by not mentioning this, they did "imply" the numbers actually had meaning.

Am I upset???, no.

I accept that Tesla will do what favors them and we will do what favors us....if you dont want to get gauged, then ask for your deposit back and move on...simple as that...you can whine all you want but it wont change anything.

Do I agree with the OP we are getting "ripped off" for lack of better word?... I answer, yes...but am I gonna cry about it, no...I choose to pay the extra 10K and get the 230 battery pack because I really want this car.

BTW, when they announce the "options list", these same posts will come up yet again but by different people...if you dont think the option list will be spendy and extensive, you are kidding yourselves....this is a luxury car that happens to be electric, not the other way around...you want practical and electric, get the Leaf or Volt.

lastly, if you truly think by being a 160 reservation holder that you will get your car a "month " later, I think you are kidding yourself...I bet its a lot longer than that.

Automakers producing "special, high priced editions" as the
initial run is hardly unusual - it is a means of generating sufficient cash while the production line is operating at startup, or slower speeds. There is no reason for those who wanted 160 mile versions to assume that they would be first in line, and that
production would allow for building in the order the cars were "reserved," although some Tesla dealers may have thought so. I can say that it seems like every time that an automaker offers prospective buyers to "preorder" their car, there are problems. The Chevy Volt crowd went thru the same thing - ended up
that signing up online meant nothing when it came time to actually buy the car - they still had to go visit a Chevy dealer and hope that dealer would get some early vehicles. GM is not selling very many Volts - the figure I heard was a couple hundred last month,
despite the fact that tens of thousands had "expressed interest" in buying the car. Of course, the claimed "less than $30K price" ended up being $42K.
Its also not certain that larger battery pack versions will always generate more profit for Tesla. That would likely have
a lot to do with the options selected other than the battery pack size.
As for battery lifespan, the larger packs should last longer,
in a linear fashion, all things being equal, since the number of complete charge/discharge cycles will be proportionally less. I'd
like to hear a Tesla battery expert discuss that assumption of mine.
As for the economics, I suppose everyone realizes that the longer you wait the better off you are - battery prices will
only go down, and competition will only increase. Early adopters always get the worst deals for any new technology.

@ mact3333

about the timeline from getting a 300 to 230 to 160. base on conversations with sales reps i actually do think that it will only take an extra couple months to go from the 300 reservations to the 160. They expect to do 5000 units their first year and hope for 20,000 units a year afterward. So if it is August of 2012 the first signatures role off the lot, I can expect that if I get a 160 it will be some time in November or December, which is actually what I have been expecting all along. It is well within the production's capabilities to turn out that many units in just a few months. The battery technology is new, but building a car is not. This car will have great features but most of which has been done before so the process is known already. Furthermore, they have a fantastic team of engineers heading this operations with vast amounts of knowledge to streamline the process and still not sacrifice quality. Truly, the wait will likely only be a couple months or so after the Sigs.


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