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Why Tesla Goes Beyond Insane, To Ludicrous

The electric glide goes beyond insane. And, why it matters.

Last year, Tesla’s fully electric car Model S featured a renowned “Insane” mode, allowing the car to speed from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds.  That’s “insanely” quick. Porsche Cayenne Turbo quick.  McLaren 570S quick.

Now, the Model S is getting a “Ludicrous” upgrade. The new Ludicrousspeed will deliver 0-60 in 2.8 seconds

How quick is ludicrous?  Quicker than a Lamborghini Huracan, quicker than a Ferrari 458, and just as fast as a $2.5 million Bugatti Vernon. The Tesla does not have an internal combustion engine, it runs on battery power, and it sells for $125,000.
"It’s faster than falling,” 
according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, acceleration that fast pins you to the seat at over 1G.
"It’s like having your own private roller coaster.”
The phrase “Ludicrous Speed” derives from the Mel Brook’s film, "Spaceballs."  Use it when “Light Speed” is not fast enough.

Take these pull-quotes and sound bites seriously. The press and public eat them up.

Great Video: Real Reactions to Tesla’s Model S at “Insane” Speed

So What? The North American speed limits are 55 - 75 mph

Along with it’s speed, Tesla’s rate of sales continues to accelerate. Although precise numbers are not published, it is estimated that Tesla will sell 50,000 units in 2015, up from 33,000 units last year. That’s an impressive 50% increase.

However, those numbers pale in comparison with say, Ford Motor Company. Ford will sell nearly 3 million cars this year.

The Auto Industry will spend $15 billion in advertising this year, reports WWP's Kantor Media.

Tesla's ad budget, PR machine, and marketing spend cannot compete with Ford, GM, Toyota, and other major competitors. In fact, Tesla has virtually no marketing budget.

In pure awareness, and Google Search stats, here’s how Tesla measures up to Ford.

Google Trends Chart: Blue for Ford, Red for Tesla (by the author)

Ford has more than 10 times the Google search base.
  • Ford has a $58 billion market cap, on revenues of $140 billion, a price to sales ration of 0.48.
  • Tesla has a $35 billion market cap, on revenues of $3.5 billion, a ratio of 10.0.

For Tesla, getting noticed, and talked about, matters a lot.

Influencers, auto enthusiasts and the press care about speed. Or, how to get $100 million in publicity...

Tesla, and CEO Elon Musk, need a soaring stock price to fuel capital expenditures, including the $5 billion battery factory now under construction in Reno, Nevada. [Disclosure; Randa’s new half-million square foot distribution center is located across the street].

Tesla stock leaped 3% on the Ludicrous Speed announcement. That's $1 billion in market cap.

Speed is not all that Musk has built into each Tesla, each Tesla's radio volume goes to "11." A reference to the film, “This is Spinal Tap.” Note, we're writing and talking about this.

And, Tesla is about to enable “self-driving” mode, via a software update.

Mel Brooks, Spaceballs and “Ludicrous” Speed

In “four years,” Musk said an all-new Tesla Roadster will have “maximum plaid” speed. Another Spaceballs reference.

Buckle your seat belt. We're in for an interesting, high-speed, ride.

(c) David J. Katz, New York City

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