Some people have a way of earning your respect. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with them on every issue, their actions set them apart. For me, Elon Musk is one of those people. He just increased the warranty on the the Tesla Model S 85kWh drive unit to eight years or infinite miles, whichever comes first, so it now matches the battery pack. It’s also retroactive, so if you already own one of these, your warranty is extended and if you buy one used, you get it, too. If you think about it, the battery and drive unit pretty much covers everything that makes the car go. Impressive.
When Tesla makes warranties like this, along with their efforts to sell cars direct instead of through dealers, it must drive the other companies crazy, especially General Motors, that has recalled more vehicles this year than it has sold.
Batteries are still the weak spot, but his new battery factory which will be built in partnership with Panasonic, is going to build more batteries than all of the other battery factories in the world, combined. That should bring the cost down which will make possible a new model Tesla at a much lower price. If anyone is going to make electric cars more popular, it’s far more likely to be Tesla than any of the established car companies.
Elon Musk recently open sourced all of Tesla’s patents on electric vehicles. He figured all they did was open the company to perpetual lawsuits by someone looking for a quick buck, so he gave them all away. Problem solved.
I recently came across this video (now removed by CBS) of his interview on 60 Minutes, telling the story of his life from his early years in South Africa to his move to the USA and the serial adventures from selling a software program he wrote for millions of dollars, co-founding PayPal and selling that for $1.5 billion, taking his share of the proceeds, starting Tesla to build electric cars and then SpaceX to build rockets so he could go to Mars. Wow.
It seems his method is go big, and when you win, double down and go bigger. As the video shows, both Tesla and SpaceX were hanging by a thread and at the last moment, they pulled through. When you look at everything he’s done so far, a retroactive, infinite mile, any number of owners warranty seems like no big deal. Like I said, much respect.