Bigfoot. El Chupacabre. The Loch Ness monster. Honest politicians. People swear that they’ve had encounters, and swear on a stack of bibles that these critters exist. The Tesla Model S, revealed to the public just about one year ago, fits in the same realm; call it “auto-cryptozoology”. With clean lines reminiscent of a Maserati, it looked to be the out-of-the-park home run alternative to Chevy’s plain vanilla Volt electric sedan.
Twelve months down the road, Tesla has a concept vehicle, but no finished production prototype or finalized design. They also lack a development partner (Lotus helped on the Tesla Roadster), a manufacturing facility, a build process and, soon, a source of revenue. As Lotus will discontinue the current Elise / Exige platform in 2011, this leaves Tesla without a manufacturing partner for Roadsters until a new platform can be engineered and adapted.
Tesla has already received a government loan for $465 million, and will soon be shopping their IPO. It’s a crapshoot on whether or not the company will be able to pull off a successful launch of the Model S, but doing so would establish them as America’s premier electric car manufacturer. Personally, I’m going to wait a little longer before buying Tesla stock.