Tesla: The Time Has Come
It is true that the Nissan LEAF has become a hit among Silicon Valley executives and engineers, mostly as a second, third, fourth or fifth car in the household. If you have a set commute, or if you can charge at work (which is common at Google, Apple, Facebook and so forth), you now have a very functional all-electric car that may last longer than your grandchildren will walk this Earth. All you have to do is to inflate your tires, and eventually change those tires, as well as the brakes. There just isn't much maintenance beyond that.
But ... the Nissan LEAF is not likely the car in which most people want to be seen most of the time. The exterior is a bit weird, and the interior is not luxurious. Remember, the buyers of these cars are most likely those who would have spent $50,000 to $100,000 or more on a premium car. The LEAF is a fairly ordinary compact-to-almost mid-size car, that happens to be all-electric.
The Tesla Model S changes all of that. It is a sedan that competes with Mercedes S550, BMW 750 and the like. It has cargo space vastly exceeding any other sedan in the market today. It has superior telematics compared to any other car too -- especially important among Silicon Valley engineers.
I keep harping on Silicon Valley engineers because it is possible that Tesla could meet its entire sales plan for the Model S and X strictly by selling them to the employees of its corporate neighbors. This is a much under-appreciated attribute of Tesla's business plan. Located in Palo Alto, it is the first new U.S. automobile producer to hit this kind of scale in many decades. The manufacturing will also be 100% local to Silicon Valley.
This being an all-electric car at the highest-end of the performance curve, and with a telematics system vastly more advanced than any other car to date, it is not only located in Silicon Valley, but also seemingly perfectly tailor-made for it.
You just wait: Before 2012 is over, almost every single prospective buyer of a premium performance car located in Silicon Valley will be getting in line for the Tesla Model S. Tesla already has close to 10,000 deposits -- admittedly fully refundable -- from around the world.