Tesla News Flashbacks: 2009–2014

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I was searching for some old information on the Model X on Friday and I stumbled across interesting old news that made me reflect a bit on Tesla’s development. Then I stumbled across more. And then more. So I ended up deciding to put together this piece on some Tesla news flashbacks.

Back in 2009, a prominent auto journalist bet Elon Musk $1 million that Tesla couldn’t roll out the Model S by the end of 2012 with the specs presented. Tesla did. Elon donated $1 million to charity anyway.

Back in 2010, Toyota & Tesla announced that they’d team up on an affordable electric car. Confused? That was the Toyota RAV4 EV, which had Tesla internals and a Toyota exterior. It was a well loved car by the few people who got one into their garages, but it didn’t see many states, let alone other countries.

Back in 2011, Tesla expected that it would sell 30,000–35,000 Model S and Model X vehicles combined each year. Tesla now sells 100,000 per year.

Also back in 2011, Elon Musk projected that Tesla would show a quarterly profit in 2013. (Snicker, snicker.) It did.

Back in 2012, Tesla was very excited because it got 500 Model X reservations in 4 days! (Seriously.) My, how times have changed!

Back at the end of 2012, Tesla opened its first two Superchargers on the US East Coast.

In January 2013, we found out that Tesla had trademarked “Model Y,” which would mean that Tesla’s eventual vehicle lineup would be S-E-X-Y (back then, it was expected the Tesla Model 3 would be the Tesla Model E … before Ford blocked that from happening).

Also back in 2013, Tesla announced that it was delaying release of the Model X almost one year … because the Model S was so popular. This is something that has long been forgotten or overlooked, but it was an early sign of Tesla vehicle demand being much greater than just about everyone expected.

A couple weeks later, Tesla proudly announced that it was producing a whopping 500 Model S sedans per week. Wow! (Okay, I’m making fun now, but that was a big milestone and a multi-year series of milestones like that is what led us to today. Perhaps it won’t be that long before 90,000 Teslas a quarter seems like small fries, and even funny.)

Also back in 2013, Elon Musk said that the company’s 4th model (which had not yet been named the Model 3) would be released by 2017. Many Tesla critics laughed at that as an absurdity. Tesla did indeed release the 4th model in 2017.

Also back in 2013, we started getting word that the Tesla Model S was crushing the large luxury car  competition in the US. Of course, the claims of Tesla critics and shorts back then were that the high demand was just a blip, a short-term thing, and that demand was starting to drop and Tesla would soon be in for a big hurt. Actually, the Model S continued to dominate the large luxury car segment and continued to hold the #1 spot in 2018 — by a wide margin.

In January 2014, I summarized the 13 electric vehicles coming to market that year in the USA and Europe, the: BMW i3, BMW i8, Tesla Model X, Volkswagen e-Up!, Volkswagen e-Golf, Cadillac ELR, Kia Soul EV, Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric, Porsche Panamera Plug-in S E-Hybrid, Nissan e-NV200, and three Via Motors models (that never actually got to the consumer market). My, how times have changed!

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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