Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Tesla Chronicles: Tesla plans "abandoned" in San Jose...

Environmental stewardship = economic development is the pitch that Mayor Reed and the City of San Jose have been pushing for nearly two years. If you saw/read the Mayor's State of the City speech yesterday, you know that it is one of the things that Mayor Reed focused on as away out of the City's current economic shit-storm.

(If you missed the speech, Scott Herhold has as close to a glowing review of the speech as you could get, San Jose Revealed (obviously) takes the opposite view in their recap, and The Fly called it subdued...)

Tesla was/is the green feather in the City's environmental stewardship/economic development cap...after a competing with other Bay Area cities, San Jose rolled out more red carpet and gave more incentives the electric automobile start-up and landed the company last Fall. But since the celebrated announcement, the road has been bumpy for Tesla. If you've been reading Watch Dog at all, you know the writing has been on the wall for months about Tesla's challenges:
Now, the writing on the wall becomes even clearer (if that is even possible) with these two Watch Dog "exclusive" updates:

Update 1:
For those of you car geeks out there that watch the annual Detroit Auto Show closer than your teenage daughters watch Gossip Girl, you may have noticed an announcement about a car company building a 100% electric roadster with a sleek, cool, and fast Lotus body. Well, the Tesla Roadster is a 100% electric car built with a Lotus body...but this announcement wasn't from Tesla, it was from Dodge... Let's see: Both cars are electric and both cars are Lotus-like. One comes from a company you've heard of that has dealerships everywhere and the other is no-name brand with few dealerships...We know the Big Three are in trouble, but Dodge's Tesla rip-off can't be good for Tesla. (In fairness to Tesla, they have actually delivered just over 100 cars and Dodge's is just a concept...) Auto experts expect that if Dodge makes their Circuit into a production car, it will be on the market for (far?) below Tesla's $100K+ price tag. No matter how hard Tesla spins, this isn't good news. And bad news for Tesla is bad news for the City of San Jose which loves (and needs) Tesla.

Amazingly, that isn't even the really bad news...

Update 2:
Word made it around the Mayor's State of the City yesterday that Tesla's plans may already be dead. According to spies, someone with direct knowledge of Tesla's plans for San Jose was describing how the plans for the 650,000 square foot assembly plant for San Jose have been "abandoned"...begging the questions:
  • Does the Redevelopment Agency know?
  • Does the Mayor know?
Watch Dog thinks yes. And a quick scan of the Mayor's speech may provide hints that the Mayor does indeed know that Tesla's plans are dead -- but is keeping that news under wraps. Tesla name wasn't even mentioned once in the speech. Quite a change from a few months ago when San Jose almost broke its arm patting itself on its back about landing a big, green fish...

Watch Dog believes Tesla will not move to San Jose...perhaps this blog post will push the City of San Jose, or Tesla, to make that news public. Because right now, you won't find this news on the Tesla Motors website or anywhere else.

Sorry to disappoint everyone...

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