Elon Musk is a perfectionist, so it's no surprise that he's willing to admit that the original Tesla Roadster was a mishmash of parts that looked great on paper, but didn't quite mesh in the real world.
Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum, Musk told the audience that the two core principles underpinning the Roadster – adapting the Lotus Elise chassis and counting on the AC Propulsion drivetrain to be plug-and-play – simply didn't work as easily as expected.
"We ended up changing most of the damn car," Musk said. "So we thought later, why did we do that?"
The lengthy list of issues that went with reworking the chassis and powertrain were partially to blame for the delayed launch of the Roadster in 2008, and certainly had a hand in the recalls that came after owners finally took delivery.
But Musk and his team learned from the experience, and all those hard lessons helped mold the Model S into what it is today.
And naturally, Musk used the fireside chat to extol the virtues of the S and take a few digs at gas-powered cars. According to GigaOm, Musk said that every type of transportation, with the exception of space travel, will be electric in the future, and called the design of internal combustions vehicles everything from "absurd" to "ridiculous".