Co-Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla wins bet over Tesla Model X, but donates $1M to charity anyway

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    Jul 01, 2012 10:28 PM GMT
    http://blogs.wsj.com/drivers-seat/2012/06/29/to-elon-musk-and-the-model-s-congratulations/

    On or about May 1, 2009, Elon Musk, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO of the electric car maker Tesla Motors, fired off an angry email to me regarding a story I had written in the pages of my then-employer.

    I no longer have these emails, but as I recall, at issue was my public skepticism that a car such as the Model S could be built, within the technical specifications Mr. Musk laid out, before the end of 2012.

    After many years writing about the car business, I have come to appreciate how difficult it is for an established manufacturer to build any car, even a conventional automobile relying on incumbent technologies.

    Mr. Musk’s Model S was a radically different automotive vision — a premium sedan with an all-electric powertrain, potential seven-passenger seating, and a battery back that would serve as a stressed, that is, a load-bearing member of the chassis, and yet would be easily removed and replaced. That such a car should come in three years from a company that at the time didn’t even have an assembly hall seemed an impossible boast.

    Mr. Musk then bet me $1 million that he would do it and, graciously acknowledging our rather different financial situations – he’s wealthy and I’m not – said the bet would be only $1,000 to me. In either case, he wrote, the winnings would go to the charity Doctors Without Borders. Seeing this as a rare opportunity to facilitate a $1 million donation to a worthy cause, I accepted.


    https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/218897974242181121

    Thanks Dan, you are a good sportsman. I will still donate to DWB as though I'd lost.
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    Jul 01, 2012 10:35 PM GMT
    This reminds me of the $10 bet made in the movie "Avengers."
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    Jul 02, 2012 2:15 AM GMT
    I think he is a great entrepreneur and give him credit for not giving up his vision of an electric vehicle being created here in America, especially in Silicon Valley and then East Bay Area by opening the Fremont plan as well, where Toyota had shut down its plant, giving those workers some opportunity to re-join the workforce. Also, that these new workers will be re-trained with future skills making them more valuable in this hard economy.

    My only criticism is the point of scale of entry to purchase his vehicles, is definitely high at 49K for his entry vehicles (i.e Model S - 49K to 97K) - places most of out of his market. But yet again, I think he is definitely going for the wealthier-eco friendly purchaser, rather than the average consumer. It would be nice if they start thinking of an entry electric vehicle around 20K for the average consumer.
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    Jul 02, 2012 4:09 AM GMT
    I dont think you are obligated since Tesla went belly up ( as per your prefiction) and was bailed out by the federal government. A $ 564 million loan makes charitable contributions a bit of a joke.
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    Jul 02, 2012 4:17 AM GMT
    uombroca saidI think he is a great entrepreneur and give him credit for not giving up his vision of an electric vehicle being created here in America, especially in Silicon Valley and then East Bay Area by opening the Fremont plan as well, where Toyota had shut down its plant, giving those workers some opportunity to re-join the workforce. Also, that these new workers will be re-trained with future skills making them more valuable in this hard economy.

    My only criticism is the point of scale of entry to purchase his vehicles, is definitely high at 49K for his entry vehicles (i.e Model S - 49K to 97K) - places most of out of his market. But yet again, I think he is definitely going for the wealthier-eco friendly purchaser, rather than the average consumer. It would be nice if they start thinking of an entry electric vehicle around 20K for the average consumer.


    The price point is way too high, nevermind Fisker's Karma. I took one of those around the autocross pad at work and for a $115K car that is, according to the rep, meant to compete with the Maserati GranTurismo, the thing understeered like a beast and had ZERO communication to the driver. Spending this much developing luxury performance electric vehicles right now is somewhat silly. The technology needs to be proven on a basic level before we get more complicated with it. I was shaking VIOLENTLY when i got out of that thing because it scared me to death not being able to tell what it wanted to do!