Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/22/tesla_eberhard_lawsuit_resolved/

Elon Musk, Eberhard 'resolve' Tesla Motors wrangle

Pledge eternal chumship through gritted teeth

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 22nd September 2009 09:09 GMT

Famous electrocar firm Tesla Motors - known as maker of the Roadster battery supercar and as one of PayPal hecamillionaire Elon Musk's pet projects - has announced that the dispute between it and co-founder Martin Eberhard "is resolved".

Eberhard had mounted a Californian lawsuit against the firm and against Musk personally in June, alleging that interference by Musk had almost wrecked Tesla Motors during the period when Eberhard was CEO - and that after Eberhard's ousting Musk had slanderously tried to shift the blame. Furthermore, according to Eberhard, his long-promised personal Roadster had been supplied "wrecked".

Following the suit, Musk - perhaps unwisely from a legal point of view - responded with a number of stinging comments on a company blog. He wrote:

Eberhard has simultaneously implied that I had nothing to do with the creation of the Roadster and that I micromanaged the design and thus caused the cost overruns. Obviously, those claims are mutually exclusive...

There were several smaller items I suggested, such as the touchpad door latch that Eberhard tries to use as an excuse for why it cost over $140M to bring the Roadster to market instead of the $25M that he estimated in the 2004 business plan. That would have to be one hell of door latch!

Musk stated that after Eberhard was fired by unanimous decision of the company board, "almost every major system on the car, including the body, HVAC, motor, power electronics, transmission and battery pack, had to be redesigned, retooled or switched to a new supplier," in order to allow Tesla to turn a profit on the $100k car.

Tesla representatives also stated that Eberhard's suit was "twisted and wrong" and that the firm would "likely be filing counterclaims and in the process present an accurate account of the company's history."

Last month, however, Eberhard told his lawyers to drop the suit and neither side in the dispute said anything further. Tesla and Musk, rather than crowing over their apparent victory, remained silent - leading to speculation that they had been forced to reach a financial settlement with Eberhard, or anyway give him a new Roadster.

Today the firm has finally issued a statement on the matter, saying that the argument is "resolved" and including quotes.

"As a co-founder of the company, Elon's contributions to Tesla have been extraordinary," Eberhard now says.

"Industry-changing efforts are virtually impossible. Without Martin's indispensable efforts, Tesla Motors would not be here today," comments Musk.

"The terms are confidential, and we are not disclosing details... again keep in mind I am not going to discuss details", adds a company spokesperson.

However one does note that the vitriolic blog post by Musk has now been taken down from the company website. It can still be viewed for a while, though, courtesy of the Google cache.

You also have to say that today's quotes aren't such as to suggest that the enmity between Musk and Eberhard is actually over. ®