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interview > eberhard > eberhard 3

Eberhard 3 (1:50)
Topic(s): Auto Industry / Car Culture / Electric & Hybrid
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Eberhard

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When people asked me what's different about Tesla cars, they usually ask me for technological questions: is it the different motors, is it the different batteries, the carbon fiber bodies, what is it? And that sort of is the answer, but the real answer is that we approach the problem from a different way. We set about to build a car that people would want to drive and we said, "let's build the very best car we possibly can;" high performance, good handling, beautiful, the right appointments, the right kind of materials to build it, and say—and also of course from the electric perspective—the right kind of driving range. And say ok, now if we build that car, what's the price of that car? And not a cheap car, but it's pretty competitive compared to cars that it's performing similar to. So approaching making electric cars from that perspective, from that attitude, developed a completely different kind of car and opened up technologies to us that wouldn't have been available other wise. We would have never considered a lithium-ion battery pack if we are trying to make a utilitarian car ‘cause it's simply too expensive today; expensive just because the batteries are expensive and also expensive because we are a start up company and every single thing we do costs more than a big car company with giant volume. So coming at the market from the top with the high performance and relatively inexpensive car makes a business that works and allows us to develop the technology we need to consider lower-priced cars and so on. But the difference for us was coming at it from the perspective of building a great car first. That allowed us to consider a proprietary and fairly expensive lithium-ion battery pack allowed us to consider developing our own motor and a factory to build that motor. It allowed us to consider very, very high performance power electronics to drive all of that and allowed us to consider all of the things to make a great sports car—carbon fiber body, a high-class aluminum chasse...

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