Anyone Still Shorting Tesla Stock Are in for a Bad Time if This is True

Anti-pollution Protesters Protest Factory Making Non-Polluting Cars

Protesters at the GF4 site in Grünheide, Germany

Local residents protest against deforestation for Tesla plant
RBB24 (German language news site)

The planned Tesla plant in Grünheide does not meet with enthusiasm everywhere. Above all, the planned clearing of a piece of forest provokes criticism. Local residents have therefore protested on Sunday and want to take action – possibly also legally – against logging.

Around 50 people protested on Sunday against the planned construction of a factory for the US electric car manufacturer Tesla in Grünheide (Oder-Spree). According to rbb information, they gathered at noon near the planned factory site.

The demonstrators, wearing yellow safety vests based on the French yellow vest movement, criticized insufficient public participation and called for the preservation of the forest. There are also concerns that the drinking water supply may be at risk.

*Sigh*

Actually, this is a good idea

Our friend Nikki over at Transport Evolved has a great suggestion about a smaller, more versatile pickup for folks with no bullets to deflect, or Mad Max marauders to intimidate. I used to drive a Mitsubishi Might Max, and have fond memories of the El Camino.

I didn’t realize the El Camino went back this far. Talk about “retro”.
A nice pickup for folks who wanted good MPG and to haul things occasionally.

MIT sacrifices its reputation at the behest of Oil and Legacy Auto companies

You get what you pay for

In a recent story in MIT Technology Review, we were surprised to read that we should not expect EVs to compete with gasoline cars on price any time before 2030.

The findings sharply contradict those of other research groups, which have concluded that electric vehicles could achieve price parity with gas-powered ones in the next five years. The lingering price difference predicted by the MIT report could stunt the transition to lower-emission vehicles, requiring governments to extend subsides or enact stricter mandates to achieve the same adoption of EVs and cuts in climate pollution.

The most quoted number for lithium-ion battery packs to reach price parity with ICE is $100/kWh, a price that has been predicted to happen by 2022 for the industry based on prices declines over the last decade (the price was about $1200/kWh in 2009).

MIT researchers contested the 2022 price was accurate, claiming they couldn’t be sustained.

The problem is that the steady decline in the cost of lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles and account for about a third of their total cost, is likely to slow in the next few years as they approach limits set by the cost of raw materials.

“If you follow some of these other projections, you basically end up with the cost of batteries being less than the ingredients required to make it,” says Randall Field, executive director of the Mobility of the Future group at MIT. “We see that as a flaw.”

Well, that would be a flaw, but it flies in the face of decades of actual real world experience with high tech commodities. Computer memory for example, went through numerous boom/bust price cycles over the last 50 years, then has become so cheap that you can almost get a flash drive in your corn flakes. Hell, even oil prices have defied this thinking (in the U.S.), with gasoline currently costing about the same as it did in the 70s (adjusted for inflation).

The article then goes on to state that the adoption of EVs is going to be much slower than economists and advocates have predicted, so we are going to have gasoline cars around for at least another decade.

I started to go dig into the logic and research behind these conclusions, but decided to skip all that work, and instead go straight to the report, Insights Into Future Mobility, skipping to page 8 of the 220 page report where researchers thanked the groups who “sponsored” the “research”.

The MIT Energy Initiative gratefully acknowledges the 10 consortium members whose generous sponsorship made this research possible: Alfa, Aramco, BP, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Ferrovial, General Motors, Shell, and the Toyota Mobility Foundation.

Representatives from all of these companies engaged with the MITEI team in extensive discussions, providing valuable critique and perspective that helped us sharpen our analysis and improve this report.

Yeah, I bet they did help “sharpen” your analysis. A study paper that basically says, “Never mind EVs, they won’t really be a thing for another 11 years, so keep burning that gasoline in the cars automakers are currently selling”, sponsored by the largest oil companies and the biggest car maker in the world.

No conflict of interest here.

Now adding MIT to my list of unreliable sources.

CNBC reports Model Y will ship almost a year early

Tesla is poised to deliver Model Y crossover in first quarter of 2020, says Deutsche Bank
CNBC 12/3/2019

Red Model Y in the wild

Tesla is poised to start deliveries of its crossover SUV, the Model Y, in the first quarter of 2020, according to research out Tuesday from Deutsche Bank.

If Tesla could begin Model Y deliveries in the first-quarter of 2020, that would be a full season ahead of CEO Elon Musk’s promised schedule. Early production and deliveries would be a symbolic win for the company, which has often failed to meet self-imposed delivery deadlines.

This would be a major coup for Tesla and one that was predicted a week ago by Gali on his Hyperchange channe.

Given that 75% of the Model 3 components will be in the Model Y, the ramp up should be much quicker than the M3s. This would catch most of Wall Street and the auto industry sleeping deeper than usual, and would be a particularly nasty surprise for legacy automakers who are years behind Tesla in engineering and design.

Of course, this being CNBC, they had to end on a dig at Tesla:

Musk has promised or is taking pre-orders and deposits for more products than Tesla is able to produce at scale currently, including the Model Y, Semi, the recently unveiled Cybertruck, Solarglass rooftops, an all-electric ATV, and full-self driving software.

I don’t believe that pre-orders for the Y were anywhere near the M3s number (400K), and I don’t know if we will find out what they are anytime soon. I would guess somewhere in the 100K range, but I think there will be a spike in orders as this news filters out. Tesla has no incentive to share the number since, unless it is on par with the M3, the financial press would report it it as a massive failure, and Wall Street shorts would hammer the stock.

This scenario works more in Tesla’s favor since as initial production starts, each model will be snapped up, and the revenue booked. Thus, Tesla is looking at a Q1-2020 with new revenue from the MY in the US and China.

With MY starting at two factories in 2020, Musk’s prediction of 1 million cars sold suddenly looks on the mark.

Again?

German Prosecutors Raid Volkswagen Offices in Diesel Probe
Bloomberg News, 12/3/2019

Volkswagen AG offices were raided by German prosecutors as part of a probe into diesel engines, marking a fresh setback for the manufacturer’s efforts to draw a line under an emission-tests cheating scandal that erupted four years ago.

The search was “directed against individual defendants” and related to diesel vehicles with EA288 engines, VW said Tuesday in a statement. VW “proactively disclosed the technical facts underlying the allegations to the responsible investigation authorities and registration authorities at an early stage” and “considers the public prosecutor’s legal opinion and the resulting investigations to be unfounded.”

If true, why have you paid $33 billion in fines over the issue?

Insurance companies refusing to insure new coal plants

Coal power becoming ‘uninsurable’ as firms refuse cover (sic)
The Guardian, 12/2/2020

The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal projects more than doubled this year and for the first time US companies have taken action, leaving Lloyd’s of London and Asian insurers as the “last resort” for fossil fuels, according to a new report.

The report, which rates the world’s 35 biggest insurers on their actions on fossil fuels, declares that coal – the biggest single contributor to climate change – “is on the way to becoming uninsurable” as most coal projects cannot be financed, built or operated without insurance.

The first insurers to exit coal policies were all European, but since March, two US insurers – Chubb and Axis Capital – and the Australian firms QBE and Suncorp have pledged to stop or restrict insurance for coal projects.

At least 35 insurers with combined assets of $8.9tn, equivalent to 37% of the insurance industry’s global assets, have begun pulling out of coal investments. A year ago, 19 insurers holding more than $6tn in assets were divesting from fossil fuels.

This is definitely the end game for coal. Governments could step in to create insurance pools for coal companies, but 1) these pools would likely cost more and cover less, and 2) the public will not be happy with tax funds being used to prop up coal plants.

The next, more catastrophic insurance industry move will be when these companies and their re-insurers (like SwissRe) refuse to write polices for coastal areas because of escalating flood and hurricane threats. When that happens, governments will either have to underwrite the risk at tax payer expense, or see the entire housing market for those areas collapse.

Another ominous rumble in the news

German car industry faces ‘day of reckoning’
Financial Times, 11/25/2020

Days later, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and Volkswagen’s Audi brand announced more than 20,000 job losses, in the first real signs of the huge human cost of the sector’s transition from combustion engines to electric vehicles.

“The auto industry is in the midst of a far-reaching upheaval,” said Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess, whose company is seeking to reinvent itself as a world leader in battery-powered cars.

“No one will survive in the form they exist today,” predicted Ralf Kalmbach at consultancy Bain & Co, who has spent 32 years advising German carmakers.

It is estimated that the German car industry, which directly employs 830,000 people and supports a further 2m in the wider economy, will be forced to plough some €40bn into battery-powered technologies over the next three years.

“In this industry you can only cut jobs in a crisis,” he added. “Deep down, they all know that. They all know they’re going to have to, they are just trying to postpone the day of reckoning.”

When staid, and pro-auto publications like the FT start talking about massive job cuts in Germany’s auto industry, things are looking dire indeed.

Here is the key point of this article, in my opinion:

The market for petrol and diesel engine components will decline at 7 per cent a year, according to a recent McKinsey study.

If the market for ICE is going to decline by “7% a year”, it follows that gasoline/diesel would likewise decline in the EU market. This is an existential crisis for the oil industry in that market. A crisis I expect they will not take lying down.

Remember, he gets paid for this “advice”

CNBC’s Jim Cramer, a longtime Tesla critic, says he might be about to buy a Model X — because his wife says so
MarketWatch.com, 11/26/2020

Back in 2011, with Tesla Inc. shares trading down around $22, CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer told a caller to “cut her losses” and unload her position. “Nothing there. Don’t like that stock,” he said.

Booyah! The stock closed Monday at $336.34.

So, for those of you playing at home, assuming she had 1,000 shares, she walked away from a gain of $314,340 by listening to this chowderhead.

Apparently something funny happened over the past couple of days: “I took a ride in a Tesla this weekend that made Lisa say, that’s it, we are buying one. Enough already,” he tweeted on Monday.

This “investment expert” has been advising people about Tesla stock, and yet he never bother to check out the product?

Cramer has had plenty to say about Tesla and its boss, Elon Musk, along the way. Earlier this year, he said Musk is like P.T. Barnum and it’s “annoying.” Before that, he floated the idea of Musk being removed as CEO. More recently, he panned Tesla’s new Cybertruck as “a bit of a bust.”

Hmmm… It seems that Cramer’s job is to talk about companies he doesn’t understand, and advise gullible people about whether they should invest their money, or short the stock. Talk about “one born every minute”.

He explained in a later tweet directed at Musk that the Model X is the version that he took for a spin and it was a “fantastic ride.”

via GIPHY

Not quite a fair start

While I have no doubt the Tesla truck would emerge victorious from a tug of war with a F-150, to be fair the contest should have started with the line taut, not slack. Also, both vehicles should have moved at the same time. In this video, the Cybertruck moves first, giving it an advantage it doesn’t need. This contest must be done over.

It occurs to me…

that I saw no wing mirrors on the truck. Also, with the roll down bed cover, a rear-view mirror is not going to work, so they must be going to cameras in place of mirrors. Which is fine by me, since they have wider fields of vision.

Update: This has been confirmed by people who road in the truck. The rear view mirror is a camera and side cameras fill in for wing mirrors.

Okay, let’s start with the elephant in the room…

Tesla Cybertruck is definitely different

Tesla’s much anticipated “Cyber ” pickup truck was revealed last night and it definitely is not going to win over the “traditional” pick up truck owner. Then again, nothing Tesla makes is going to interest that crowd.

The customer segment for this truck is going to be the “pro-Tesla” crowd, and any fleet owners, or contractors who are looking at the specs and the bottom line. More on that in a moment.

The moment of the reveal (which is now destined for immortality as a meme for all the wrong reasons, under the header “Fail”) is the moment Elon Musk had the truck’s designer Franz Holzhausen chuck a steel ball at the side windows to demonstrate the unbreakable glass, which promptly broke. Then, because he couldn’t avoid doubling down, he had Franz try the same thing on the rear window with identical results. We then spent the remainder of the reveal with these two failures on prominent display.

Musk had already tested samples of the glass by dropping these same steel balls on sheets from about 20 feet with nary a problem. So, their is definitely a miscalculation somewhere, and I am guessing someone’s job just ended last night.

As expected Tesla stock price is taking a SERIOUS beating in pre-market trading (down 6%, or about $20 as I write this). Which is to be expected, since Musk just handed the financial media (who pretty much hate his guts) a Cybertruck load of steel balls with which to pummel the company.

This is a shame, and a distraction from the truck itself. With a stainless steel body, looking very “Deloreanesque”, it did weather an assault with a sledge hammer with nary a dent, so things started off well.

The specs were quite impressive

  • 250-500 mile range
  • 3,750 lb cargo capacity
  • 14,000 lb towing capacity
  • 6 passenger
  • 0-60mph in 6.5-2.9 seconds
  • Onboard 120v/220v electrical service
  • Onboard air compressor
  • Adaptive Air Suspension
  • 16″ ground clearance
  • Retractable bed cover
  • Built-in tailgate loading ramp
  • RWD/AWD/Tri-motor performance
  • Starting price of $39,900, ($49.9K for AWD, $69.9K for performance model)

So, if you are looking for a tough truck, cheap to operate, hard to dent, that includes 120v/220v electrical service, air compressor and room for six, this is your truck. Just don’t hurl any three pound steel balls at the windows.

Today Ends in “Y”, so Market Watch has a Negative Tesla Story

Tesla ‘Blade Runner’ pickup truck could be so
futuristic that it leaves buyers cold
MarketWatch.com 11/20/2019

Claudia Assis never saw good news come from Tesla that she didn’t interpret as bad news. This week with Tesla’s much anticipated Cybertruck debuting tomorrow, she made the rounds of Tesla critics and short sellers to find out why this was a bad thing.

Some on Wall Street were sounding skeptical about the new Tesla Inc. pickup truck, the Silicon Valley car maker’s first foray into the top auto segment in the U.S.

“We expect focus to be on how well the actual design resonates with pickup buyers,” Emmanuel Rosner at Deutsche Bank said in a note Monday.

There’s a risk the vehicle would be so futuristic as to not attract “traditional pickup buyers, leaving it a lower-volume niche product,” Rosner said.

Yes, that would be a worry if Tesla was trying to sell to “traditional pickup buyers”, who would not drive a Tesla if it came free with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tesla’s customer base are people who want a pickup truck that isn’t coating the insides of their lungs (and their children’s lungs) in a way that would make a bare-handed coal miner leery. Oh, and contractors who don’t want to pay 25¢ a mile to haul around their tools, including a generator to power said tools, when they can pay under a dime a mile and power their tools with their truck.

Back in March, Tesla revealed the compact SUV Model Y just ahead of its first-quarter results. Many analysts faulted Tesla for that timing, and the reveal renewed concerns about production issues. The stock fell 5% after the Model Y unveiling.

True. The stock fell to around $280. Of course this week it is trading at $350+, so I don’t think the “concerns” were lastingly concerning.

“After the model Model Y launch fizzled on concerns this will cannibalize the Model 3, we expect a similar response to the truck,” said Craig Irwin, an analyst with Roth Capital Partners.

In 24 hours after the reveal of the Model Y, 5 million people had watched the livestream on Youtube. Contrast this with the 50,000 who watched Ford’s Mustang Mach E reveal. We seem to have a different idea of “fizzled”.

Roth Capital can’t seem to make up its mind what it believes. They rated Tesla a buy at $208 this past June, but then rated it a sell October 29th, with a target rating of $249. Tesla closed that day at $323, and as I write this is trading at $353.

“We do not expect initial truck production until mid-2021, around a year after first Model Y production,” Irwin said in a note. Tesla could also walk back from prior suggestions that the “cybertruck” would start at less than $50,000 and with the 400-500-mile range, he said.

Tesla “could” do that. They also “could” build robotic fire ants and send them to Mars, then bury fickle analysts in the mounds covered Karo Syrup­. I don’t expect that idea to begin production until mid-2021.