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Kidding, it's not really a DeWalt edition rifle, it's just an M-16 some guy modded to look like one.
The one with the integrated stock and grip is one I designed for Cav Arms (formerly of Chandler, AZ). Elon Musk's Tesla Motors isn't just an electric car company—it's perhaps the greatest test of Silicon Valley's innovation model. When Tesla Motors moved into its new Palo Alto headquarters in 2010, CEO Elon Musk raised a flute of Champagne and toasted his cheering staff. Tesla represents the most extreme test in modern history of the limits and capabilities of the Silicon Valley model. Tesla Motors almost certainly represents the most extreme test of the limits and capabilities of the Silicon Valley model of innovation. After a pause, he adds, "When we got Tesla going at the very beginning, if you asked me what I thought the odds of success were, I would have said less than 50%.
To put it starkly, the future of Musk's company now hinges on the success of the Model S. To understand why the Model S is innovative as well as risky, a quick gearhead primer is useful. Musk and others at Tesla contend that the Model S may be the first mass-produced car ever designed, from the ground up, with the specific purpose of being an EV; therefore any design conventions of gas-burning technology have been avoided. Still, even if a Tesla proves itself as both simpler and more sophisticated than a conventional car, there's plenty that can go awry. To Musk, the conventional thinking about the EV market is one reason why so many people fail to grasp Tesla Motors' potential. Not long ago, I spoke with Paul Scott, a longtime EV advocate who now works selling Nissan Leafs in downtown Los Angeles.
One afternoon in California, I make a visit to the Tesla factory in Fremont, about 30 minutes northeast of the company's HQ.
If there are any suspicions that Tesla has more modest ambitions than it lets on, a visit to the 5.5-million-square-foot plant will quickly dispel them.
This may explain why there's a lot of chatter in Silicon Valley about whether Tesla can be the next Apple.
Musk doesn't push the Apple comparisons, but he sees them as a useful point for debate. If you require further details regarding the transaction data, please contact the supplier directly.
Yet after spending time with Musk, you begin to see that Tesla is not really a company that exists to sell electric cars. Not hard in the way that working day and night on a new website or a social-media launch is hard. He has put all his chips on the table; his company has even suspended production of the Tesla Roadster for several years to focus on the new model. MOTOR When you press the car's pedal, you increase electricity flow from the battery to the motor. The company is planning to produce about 6,000 Model S cars this year, but next year it intends to scale up to 20,000. Then, I went down to the DeWalt factory service place a few miles from the house to get a sticker. But, in fact, this is the kind of thing that Musk says all the time, in television interviews and at technology conferences, and he's been saying it about his firm even before people began paying much attention. Soon enough, Tesla will demonstrate to the world that its products are not for millionaires but for everyone. Rather, Tesla is a company that exists to overturn the entire global automotive infrastructure, an infrastructure that presently functions on petroleum and internal combustion engines but in Musk's belief will eventually, and inevitably, glide forth on exhaust-free electricity.

In the Model S, something different happens: The motor becomes a generator, spinning in the opposite direction and turning the excess mechanical energy back into electricity that partially recharges the battery.
Each beta is for a different type of testing and data collection—on brakes, suspension, noise and vibration, crashworthiness, and so forth. We head out of the garage and up into the hills, on the winding roads above the Tesla offices. The company has more than 300 patents on its technology, all of them highly technical, and in addition has a fair amount of proprietary engineering. These numbers are not large for a big carmaker—Toyota sells more Camrys in a month than Tesla plans to sell in a year. But then Leaf production caught up with demand and what Scott perceives to be an initial group of early adopters all received their vehicles. Car companies, with their sights set on meeting high-mileage and low-emissions requirements for their fleets, view electric and hybrid vehicles as crucial to their vehicle portfolio.
When I ask Musk if it's possible that Tesla could fail to sell 20,000 Model S cars annually, he says that it already has more than 8,000 preorders. Tesla bought most of the factory buildings in 2010 for $42 million—the equivalent of pennies on the dollar. Passin, a native of France and a manufacturing wizard who spent his career at Toyota and Volvo, is driving us around in a golf cart. At the factory, the large Tesla battery packs are assembled on the second floor and are eventually joined with the car chassis and bodies on the ground floor. And the same kind of proof that silences the critics who cry elitism will likewise burn the stock-market speculators who are betting big money that Tesla's failure is imminent.
Another Tesla model, an SUV known as the Model X, was unveiled in early February and will likely hit the market sometime at the beginning of 2014, at prices close to the Model S. To Musk, the most significant problem with this transition is that we don't know how fast it can or will happen. But if the car has larger issues of performance, safety, or durability, it gets more difficult to see how Tesla could endure. Tesla is not letting any outsiders drive the vehicle yet, but Ali Javidan, who runs the garage, offers me the shotgun seat in beta car No. At the same time, customer rebates of up to $7,500 from the federal government and up to $2,500 from the state of California bring these cars into the realm of affordability.
It's a stylish, high-performance car, with a battery pack that gives it greater range (between 160 and 300 miles before recharging, depending on the model) than any other electric car. And Tesla does not advertise, does not give discounts, and has never given any test-drives. With the help of a $465 million federal loan (another example of federal policy nurturing the fledgling EV industry), the company began a strenuous effort to rehabilitate the old space.
The plant is almost too large to walk through; we go past the production lines, the tool dies and presses, the plastic molding shop, in and out of buildings, and on and on for what seems like miles. But the chassis move along not on an automated assembly line but on bright red robotic carts that follow a magnetic strip on the concrete floor.
Tesla is in the process of building a network of elegant stores in affluent areas (all of them overseen, incidentally, by George Blankenship, an Apple retail veteran). There are really two things that have to occur in order for a new technology to be affordable to the mass market.
A standard lead-acid battery can only be discharged down to 40% of its capacity, whereas a lithium battery makes 90% of the charge available. Yet further down the road, should Tesla survive and thrive, a prospect that is by no means certain, things get more interesting.
Even with its alliances with other automakers, the company could be hundreds of millions of dollars in the hole.

The software especially, which can translate into large efficiency gains for a car, may be Tesla's biggest advantage.
But most of the auto analysts I spoke with think Tesla's sales projections are still far too high, a belief reinforced by modest sales figures for the Leaf and Chevy Volt.
Yet two other factors shift the equation: The price of gas, though climbing, has remained fairly low over the past year, and the price of lithium-ion batteries is fairly high. When I visit the plant, the final beta versions of the Model S are making their way through a gleaming new assembly area. In just a few weeks, production will start in earnest and sparks will be flying everywhere.
How quickly will Musk be able to scale up his business to have an actual impact on the world?
And Musk's public assurance of company profitability in 2013 would likewise be jeopardized. One of the hallmarks of a well-engineered electric car is its torque—that is, what drives its acceleration. Straubel notes that one benefit of being located in the Valley, as opposed to Detroit, is that it offers the company a huge pool of software engineers. By the calculations of Menahem Anderman, arguably the country's leading lithium-ion battery analyst, gas would have to be about $10 a gallon to recoup the lifetime cost of an EV like the Leaf. Straubel, Tesla's CTO, has little doubt that EVs will soon become competitive, even without incentives, with gas cars. When a Tesla Model S is complete, in fact, you can actually test-drive the car on a bumpy road built within the factory.
But for the moment, at least, the factory is immaculate, poised for action, a place of pure possibility.
And when will his competitors—some of whom, Toyota and Daimler included, have paid Tesla hundreds of millions of dollars to build motors and battery packs for their own electric cars—get on board in a big way?
In part this is because electric-vehicle (EV) technology is significantly more efficient than a gas engine. Anderman believes the economics look far better for the new plug-in Toyota Prius—$6 gas makes it a sensible economic proposition.
And because Musk is assured his EV technology will prove superior in performance (and emissions), it will thus succeed.
In sum, his firm projects that the global EV market in 2015 will be quite modest in size (250,000 in sales) and will be dominated by Japanese and German automakers. By Straubel's calculations, if batteries get 50% better, it will put EVs on an even playing field with gas cars.
The company, moreover, has the highly unusual intention to make its own dies to stamp sheet metal to its own specifications. The big car companies have a lot of models, he remarks, and success for them can be a game of statistics. So he floors it, and my head immediately snaps back, not unpleasantly, against the headrest.
And he doubts the company is doing anything in terms of technology that the bigger carmakers couldn't do if they decided to enter the EV market with gusto.

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