Offbeat

Risky Business: Tesla CEO Bets Dan Neil $1 Million on Arrival of Model S

Pulizter Prize winning journalist Dan Neil and Tesla CEO Elon Musk place a $1 million wager on the launch time of the 2012 Model S.

Pulizter Prize winning auto journalist and "The Car Show" host Dan Neil and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have an ongoing bet regarding the launch of the 2012 Tesla Model S. The friendly bet began when Tesla announced it would launch the new Model S before the end of next year. Dan Neil said the schedule promised by the Tesla CEO was "an audacious timeline that makes many in the car industry roll their eyes". Neil was also quoted as saying "even people inside Tesla are leery".

Both Neil and Musk emailed each other back and forth until Dan Neil challenged the Tesla CEO to a very interesting bet on the outcome. The stipulations of the bet include: 1.) Series production models of the Tesla Model S have to be delivered to paying customers before the end of 2012. (Delivery was originally intended for 2011, but Dan Neil has since changed the date to next year to give Tesla some needed extra time.) 2.) The Model S has to have seven passenger seats and certified by the NHTSA with a 4- or 5-star safety rating.

3.) It has to have a battery pack that allows en-route swapping at a highway roadside station (a la Better Place). 4.) Prices must remain at the levels Tesla and Musk first announced at $57,400 for the version with a 160 miles range, $67,400 for the 230-mile version, and $87,400 for the top-of-the-line 300-mile version. If Elon Musk cannot deliver on his end, he must donate $1 million to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and if Neil loses, he will have to donate $1,000 to the same cause. Not exactly an evenly matched bet, but it is for a good cause and everybody wins in the end.

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