Originally Posted by son_of_siggy
As pointed out, Tesla is making its way into profit. You can't compare this type of endeavor to other successful automakers, as it's not apples to apples. If Tesla was another ICE-car builder, then yes, you could make the comparison. But they're not. A better comparison would be when people went from horses to cars, where only the wealthier could afford the automobile.
As I said, other companies that have gone down this route had the bulk of their business coming from their standard ICE-car sales, so they could make more affordable cars. Tesla didn't have that luxury, and had little interest building ICE-cars in order to build a base. There is simply a bigger profit margin, per car, in a luxury vehicle.
I agree that the Volt is an awesome car. The range-extending generator is handy, though I don't use it that often. Once the infrastructure exists, and technology catches up, you'll be able to charge much quicker than today. Tesla has chargers that will give you the full 260-300 miles back in about an hour.
Yes, people who are driving cross-country may still have an issue for another 5-10 years. But the majority of drivers don't use their vehicles like that. Buying with that sole focus is kind of like buying a 1-ton pickup for the 1-2 times you're going to haul something.
Personally, I hope to always have an electric, and ICE vehicle in the garage, for different purposes.
I'm not going to take one month of being "cash positive" as proof that Tesla will be financially successful in the future or that their business model is sound. The reason Henry Ford was finally successful was he was selling better technology to a large mass of society who could afford his product. Tesla is selling a product that is not technologically better and is expensive in initial cost, operating cost, and does not offer equivelent usability. The total ownership cost does not compete with ICE powered automobiles when you consider selling a BEV that the majority of the public can purchase.
From what I can gather from Tesla's website, the best recovery charge rate is about 130 miles in just over an hour, not 300. Also, this car cannot be used for a roadtrip, such as many people take, for sightseeing because there is just too much physical area of the country to cover with Tesla "supercharging" stations. People who don't buy $100K sport sedans do those kind of things.
Also, from what I can tell is Tesla is asking it's customers to finance the company with pre-paid battery replacements and pre-paid yearly maintenance packages.