"We had no experience making cars, and we had a lot to learn," Eberhard said.
They had a realization: The automotive ecosystem had quietly made itself inviting to startups.
"We discovered that in the preceding 20 or 30 years, the car industry had completely refactored itself," Tarpenning said. "It turned out that no car company made windshields anymore. They always bought them from the windshield makers, and the rear-view mirrors were purchased from the rear-view-mirror makers."
The car companies had even outsourced their electronics people, he realized, since they didn't think that was a part of their core competency. They really only kept the internal-combustion-engine design, final assembly, and sales and marketing on the inside, plus auto financing, which is where they made most of their money anyway. Even styling was outsourced.
The auto industry had developed into a segmented network, one that, if the founders played their cards right, Tesla could become a part of. They'd always been confident about the electronics half of things — that's what Silicon Valley does — but they'd worried about the Detroit stuff, the nuts and bolts of automobile manufacturing.
Now it seemed the manufacturing partners were already there. They just needed to connect with them.
"In previous iterations, whether it was DeLorean or Tucker or whatever, which we were constantly asked about, those people really had to either sell their souls to get into GM's part bin, like DeLorean did, or they had to actually manufacture their own windshield wiper blade," Tarpenning said. "All of that stuff you can just buy now. You have to be Ford to get a good price, but at least you don't have to have an engineering group trying to make a windshield wiper motor. That would kill us."
After all this education, Tarpenning was convinced it was time to start an electric-car company.
Last Edit: Sept 11, 2016 17:18:51 GMT 1 by eglio -