Telsa Transmission Troubles

Every startup has problems. Flashy startups, such as Tesla Motors, have more public problems.

The company swapped out its PR and Marketing team in early 2007, then “transitioned” cofounder-CEO Martin Eberhard to an advisory role in favor of interim CEO Michael Marks. Then Tesla suffered a series of transmission troubles and delays during 2007 before getting into production of its Roadster. The company also had problems with its battery supply and backed out of a $43 million deal to supply battery packs to Think Global last fall, according to reports. Marks has since been replaced by CEO Ze’ev Drori and the company has, over the last several months fired as much as 10% of its staff, according to reports.

Now lawsuits are becoming a part of its seemingly daily woes.

The company is suing Kleiner-backed Fisker Motors over alleged industrial espionage in what promises to be a high profile case. The national papers have covered it in depth.

But there’s another suit afoot, one discovered by the intrepid reporters at Katie Fehrenbacher’s Earth2Tech blog. One of the companies contracted to do a two-speed transmission for the Tesla Roadster is suing for $5.6 million in unpaid expenses.

The complaint, exhumed from the San Mateo, Calif. court, by reporter Craig Rubens, sheds light on the transmission troubles Tesla faced and some of the reasons its roadster was delayed.

It’s a good scoop and worth following as the Tesla saga unfolds.