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Elon Musk almost sold Tesla to Google in 2013, before Model S sales started picking up

This tale from the upcoming book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, due out May 19 from Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins seems a little far fetched (via Bloomberg).

In the first week of March 2013, Musk reached out to Page, say the two people familiar with the talks. By that point, so many customers were deferring orders that Musk had quietly shut down Tesla’s factory. Considering his straits, Musk drove a hard bargain. He proposed that Google buy Tesla outright — with a healthy premium, the company would have cost about $6 billion at the time — and pony up another $5 billion in capital for factory expansions. He also wanted guarantees that Google wouldn’t break up or shut down his company before it produced a third-generation electric car aimed at the mainstream auto market. He insisted that Page let him run a Google-owned Tesla for eight years, or until it began pumping out such a car. Page accepted the overall proposal and shook on the deal.

As an early buyer who had to wait almost 6 months to get my Model S, I don’t remember a time when the Model S wasn’t selling well. In fact for the $49,000 original price that I paid, I think the lines were “out the door” so to speak so I’m not sure how true this all is.

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  1. Dafty Punk - 8 years ago

    You have a S40?

    • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

      I do/did. Tesla gave me a great deal on an S60/Supercharger software update

      • Dafty Punk - 8 years ago

        You should do a write up of predictions for 2015. The last month has been a roller coaster with all the changes. With the 70D out I put my 85D order on hold. At this point I’m waiting for the X announcement (I don’t want one, but I want what options are probably coming with it rolled into the S). Hoping a larger battery pack will lower the price of the 85, or replace the 85 to make it more of a value compared to the 70. Generally it seems like a lot of that hinges on the gigafactory, but it will be awhile before that’s up to speed.

      • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

        The 70D really is the sweet spot for me. I don’t need “insane acceleration (5 seconds is fine!)” and I’ve had very few range issues with the 60.
        You are right on 3 accounts:
        1. The 85W battery isn’t much of an upgrade anymore, something new is obviously coming
        2. I think the X will bring in many innovations which will trickle to the S line and one of those is a bigger battery (I think the 70 was needed to bring the X to 200 mile range – minimum stated by Musk
        3. I would upgrade to the 70D right now if I ddin’t think something interesting would come with the X.

      • Dafty Punk - 8 years ago

        I agree that the 70D exists not because the 60 wasn’t great (although it wasn’t selling particularly well), but because it’s needed as the minimum for the X. The downside is that it’s introduction has really hurt the 85 from a value perspective. The $10k, (or for the P $20k) added doesn’t really bring much overall to the table. Sadly the talk of 100 batteries won’t happen in it’s current form factor without release of new battery chemistry, and I don’t see that coming anytime soon. Are the Roadster 3.0 batteries out in the wild yet? There is mention of a new chemistry there possibly for them but I haven’t heard anything more about it. Seems like a good test platform for that, as it’s a small sample size, and the people are willing to be Guinea pigs already, (they did buy the roadster after all).


Avatar for Seth Weintraub Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting