Tesla's Motormouth Marketer Dodged Deposit Dilemma

What happened to Darryl Siry, the Tesla Motors marketing chief who left the electric-car startup abruptly last December? He's turned up as a cleantech analyst. And we've learned the real reason why he left.

Last December, we'd heard his departure might have something to do with wrongful-termination lawsuits Tesla was facing. (Our sources had told us the employee lawsuits been settled at considerable expense; in fact, they're still pending. And Siry, who was subpoenaed in a case, ended up not being asked to testify.)

Tesla's Motormouth Marketer Dodged Deposit Dilemma

What actually prompted his departure: Siry learned last fall that CEO Elon Musk planned to collect deposits from customers for Tesla's Model S Sedan, a car that exists only in prototype.

Why would that drive Siry to quit? Tesla has no factory to build the car, and no financing for it. Musk recently said that Tesla had gotten $350 million in loans from the government; in fact, it hadn't, a reality even Musk's own flack had to acknowledge. Taking deposits from customers under those circumstances in the hopes that everything will come together amounts to a fraud, Siry believed, and he wanted no part of it.

Valleywag first reported Musk's plans to take deposits from customers for the Model S. And sure enough, he's going ahead with them — taking $40,000 deposits starting next month, for a car he may never be able to deliver.