Elon Musk acquires 82645 shares in Tesla Motors stock

24 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New partnership brings Tesla chargers to more Airbnbs.

A handful of Tesla’s key executives have made millions of dollars exercising stock options this year, showing how the long hours and hard work at the 12-year-old electric car company can lead to a big pay off.Tesla Motors Inc. has launched a wholesale revamp of its stores worldwide as the electric-car company prepares to debut the Model X, its first sport-utility vehicle.Test drives are always important, but because electric technology is markedly different from what most car buyers are used to, this is even more the case with Tesla. But some of those top managers have cashed in while exiting or shifting roles within the company, which has a reputation for grueling hours and a passionate CEO, Elon Musk, who pushes employees to the limits.

The effort is largely devoted to telling the Tesla story, critical for a young company selling a product that remains mysterious — and intimidating — to most drivers. Tesla has already hooked up a dozen houses along the California coast, and is now accepting applications from other Airbnb hosts who want one. “Together, we’re building a world with no limits to how far you can travel and how you get there,” the companies said in a statement. “From remote deserts to lush forests, we’re unlocking highways, backroads, adventures and unique homes.” To be eligible for a free charger, you need to be renting out your entire property, have had at least five bookings, and an average Airbnb star rating of 4+. During an exclusive tour of a newly refreshed store at the upscale, outdoor Santana Row shopping center in San Jose, California, Tesla representatives showed off interactive displays focused on four major themes: safety, autopilot features, the company’s charging network and the dual motors that power each axle. “People who buy an electric vehicle go through a very different process than someone buying a car with an internal combustion engine,” said Ricardo Reyes, Tesla’s Vice President of Communications. “No one goes into a car dealership and says ‘How does a gas station work?'” But the first questions we get are always about charging.” Luring new customers and keeping current ones loyal to the Tesla brand is crucial if Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk is to reach his avowed goal of selling 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020. The Mandarin Oriental Washington DC, one of the capital’s finest luxury hotels, allows guests to answer either question with its new “Electrifying Getaway” package launching next month (September 8) – just in time for peak fall foliage colors in the nearby Virginia countryside.

Despite five years as a public company, Tesla still remains nimble and retains its appetite for risk, similar to many of the most disruptive Internet startups. But Tesla is now moving into a risky and crucial stage of its development, as it pushes to expand with several new products that involve colossal challenges. Unlike most car-related hotel packages that allow a certain number of hours, guests here get exclusive use of a Tesla Model S for the duration of their stay, just as if they had brought their own car from home. The package also includes the hotel’s more luxurious accommodations in choice of a signature suite or Tai Pan Club room, on the hotel’s club floor.

The retail refresh includes new oversized photographs of the Model S in recently introduced colors, like Titanium Metallic, on the walls of the store, and big graphics focused on the four main themes. The company is also reportedly planning to hook up high-speed, 240-volt electric car chargers in two dozen parking garages throughout Manhattan to make it easier for city dwellers and visitors to find a charge. While growing in popularity, club floors at luxury hotels are still not as common in this country as it in in the Pacific Rim, and that’s a shame because they are great, adding a quiet escapist lounge, better concierge services and lots of freebies, in this case European Breakfast, a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception from 5 to 7 p.m. nightly, all-day snacks, and more. Tesla also earlier this year rolled out a software update for its line of Model S EVs that automatically maps routes to the nearest Supercharger where drivers can top up their batteries quickly and for free.

In many ways, Tesla locations are much like the so-called experience stores once favored by Sony and other purveyors of consumer electronics; the idea is less to sell a product on the spot than to let shoppers spend time with the brand. That’s a steep out-of-pocket cost for home owners, but one that Airbnb and Tesla think will ultimately lead to more reservations at those properties. According to the biography of Tesla CEO by Bloomberg writer Ashley Vance, the relationship between Musk and Blankenship fell apart in late 2012 after Tesla started having trouble converting customer car reservations into purchases. Room rates fluctuate like any city hotel, but in general, the Tesla S package runs about $350 more than just a room, starting at $785 per night (most of the difference is the price of the signature spa treatment).

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies answered the call, and this week said it secured the help of several new firms that want to bring the Hyperloop to life. Because the hotel only has one car available, the package has a maximum two-night stay, and vehicle use is consistent with check-in and check-out times (no late check-out available). Given that Teslas are all-electric, some drivers have “range anxiety” when they travel, fearing that they’ll accidentally travel out of range of a charger and become stranded. While there are quite a few charging locations available, particularly in California, offering the service at Airbnbs is definitely an added benefit for owners, and could certainly ultimately drive more rentals by Tesla owners at the locations that offer it.

Yet according to Tesla’s latest earnings report, Guillen has now taken a leave of absence until the end of the year, and it’s unclear if Guillen will return to the company. Guillen told Tesla he would be taking the leave on August 4, and Tesla’s board subsequently decided Guillen was no longer an officer required to publicly report stock ownership under U.S. securities law.

Like BMW, Porsche and Ferrari before it, Tesla has its own fashion line — the Tesla Design Collection, which includes a $300 tote bag, $100 sheepskin leather driving gloves and a $40 iPhone sleeve. Ahuja described his tenure as “a nonstop adrenaline rush,” but said he wanted to “check a few things off my bucket list and pursue other life goals.” The millions he’s made from Tesla will help Ahuja do that.

The current revamp, now rolling out to stores in North America, will last through two quarters; the next will arrive in the first quarter. “Tesla is able to pivot in their stores the way they release new software,” said Ken Harris, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group in Chicago, which advises consumer and retail companies. “This is important to an emerging brand.” On the contrary, he has seemed to have taken on a more public role, as well as more responsibilities like helping build Tesla’s new grid battery business, which sells batteries to utilities and commercial customers, as well as helping lead the construction of Tesla’s huge battery factory near Reno.

The company has also jumped into the grid battery industry, which has itself has only just emerged, and is a yet another entirely new product line for Tesla. On top of all that, Tesla TSLA -4.71% is hard at work designing the Model 3 car, a lower cost vehicle that it hopes will be able to sell in higher volumes than its previous models.

To achieve all of these huge goals, Tesla needs to both retain its key longtime employees, and find replacements for crucial roles that are now left unfilled.

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