With Tesla's first mass production-intent electric car now on sale, one of the automaker's bigger investors issued a cocky warning of sorts for the company's established rivals.
"I would be saying, 'OK, they've won this. Now let's move to flying cars," investor Tim Draper told Reuters at a conference in Detroit .
Draper was referring to the fact that Tesla is now selling its Model S fastback sedan to consumers. The startup is also planning a more compact sedan and a midsize crossover and its CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed yesterday that a smaller crossover and another sports car are also on the drawing board.
Reuters sought out General Motors and Nissan, both of which have missed sales targets for their high-profile electrified and partially-electrified vehicles, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. Both automakers declined to comment, but former GM vice chairman and Volt backer Bob Lutz had his own wodrs for Draper.
"I'm not surprised that GM and Nissan declined to comment," Lutz said. "It's so absurd that one doesn't want to dignify it with a rejoinder."
Draper's caustic remarks come well before Tesla has shown an ability to sell and deliver enough volume to make a dent in the marketplace. The Model S went on sale earlier this summer, but the company admitted last month that it has built only about 100 units. Current reports suggest that Tesla is building about five Model Ss a day at its Fremont, California, assembly plant, a figure that will need to increase exponentially if it wants to meet its goal of delivering 5,000 cars this year.
By comaprison, about 13,500 Volts have been delivered this year, while Nissan has found buyers for less than a third that many Leafs.
Draper also said that hewon't sell off Tesla's stock unless its value reaches Toyota's level. Notably, Draper didn't single out Toyota, which is buying powertrains from Tesla for its new RAV4 EV.
And just who is Draper? The founder of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Draper has been a Tesla investor since the company's beginning. His firm has helped launch such tech giants as Hotmail and Skype, and Draper himself is credited with inventing viral marketing.
Photo courtesy Tim Draper's blog. http://theriskmaster.blogspot.com/