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*

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.

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.

Production Hell Comes to Porsche

Porsche Taycan reservation holders from Norway recently received a rather disappointing message from the veteran German sports car maker. As it turns out, deliveries for the all-electric Taycan will be starting later than expected, with the automaker estimating a delay of about 8-10 weeks. 

The message, which was recently sent out to Taycan reservation holders and shared on media outlet Tek.no, explained the reasons behind the automaker’s delivery delays. Based on the information provided by the carmaker, the complexity of the Taycan’s production is a key reason behind the vehicle’s longer-than-expected delivery timeline. 

Sorry to see them have problems, though according to a lot of Wall Street analysts, “real” car companies aren’t supposed to have problems like this.

Flawed narrative

In their hurry to write headlines about “Ford versus Tesla”, the financial press/pundits are missing the bigger story, which is “EV versus ICE”, and more subtly, “Ford versus Ford dealerships”.

People are sending their $500 reservations directly to Ford, reserving their Mach E’s online, not at the dealerships. The dealerships are now the delivery boys for Ford. What will the dealership’s add to the transaction? Electron rustproofing?

Actually, there are some things a dealer could do to “add value”, starting with installing home charging equipment, but that is going to take effort on the dealer’s part.

Tesla Semi Rolled Out to Enthusiastic Crowd

At an event reminiscent of Steve Jobs rolling out the iPhone, Elon Musk showed off his new Tesla semi, a vehicle that, if it delivers on half of its promises, can remake the trucking industry.

Typically for Musk, the event started about 40 minutes late, but as usual he did not disappoint.

Musk introduces Trucking: The Next Generation

The sight of a massive tractor-trailer moving onto the stage in almost complete silence was surreal. Aside from the typical Tesla “look”, two things jumped out to the observer. The rear wheels of the truck where completely shrouded to reduce drag and the driver’s seat was centered in the cab as opposed to the usual left-hand location. Musk claimed this was a “safer” way for the driver to sit. I will leave that claim for auto engineers to evaluate, but one immediate advantage to that design is it eliminates the need to have separate assembly lines for right-hand/left-hand drive vehicles. This truck can be sold anywhere in the world.

All right, let’s get to the specs:

Range: 500 miles

Performance: 0-60 in 5 seconds. 20 seconds will full 80,000 lbs load, 2 kWh per mile.

Drive system: 4 independent motors, allowing the truck to continue moving even if two of its motors fail.

Recharge time: 400 miles in 30 minutes using a new Tesla “Megacharger”

Safety: Enhanced Autopilot providing lane keeping, emergency breaking, collision warning and anti-jacknifing software, and hardened windshield glass (resistant to breakage and cracking)

Warranty: (Should be said in Doctor Evil’s voice) 1 MILLION miles.

No specs so far on battery size and some unconfirmed rumors that the truck would run $200K-$250K with operating expenses 20% cheaper than current trucks, 50% if the trucks travel in “platoon mode”, meaning a convoy. Details on the mechanics of this were missing, but with AP mode and the ability of the trucks to talk to each other, it would be easier to run trucks close together with each truck’s brakes linked to the truck in front of it. Meaning that if a lead truck must brake suddenly, it automatically signals the truck behind to automatically brake as well.

The design of multiple motors to enhance performance and reliability is a masterstroke of engineering, and something not really practical, or economical, on a diesel rig. Electric motors are small, yet very powerful, so Tesla has one driving each wheel on the rear axles. Since the motors are software controlled, performance can be optimized and altered to prevent the rig from “jack-knifing” by altering power to each wheel.

Tesla will have to “show its work” to convince skeptics about a lot of these specs like battery range and charging times, but the rest looks pretty much within Tesla’s capability.

Doing some back of the envelope calculation, I was able to infer a few facts. Tesla claims the semi will expend 2 kWh of electricity per mile, which means that for a truck to have a 500 mile range, will require a 1,000 kWh (1 megawatt hour) battery. The newest, most modern and fuel efficient diesel semi gets 10 mpg, which at $3.00 a gallon, works out to 30¢­ a mile. Tesla is promising that its solar-powered Megachargers will deliver electricity at 7¢ a kWh, which translates into 14¢ a mile.

This is where Tesla will have to convince a lot of skeptics. Can it build a viable charging station powered by a solar array (with battery packs to store power to supplement the station at night and in inclement weather) which can realistically perform as promised? If we take a more realistic rate for grid electricity of 12¢ per kWh (the national average) Tesla still outperforms a standard diesel by 20% (6¢ a mile). But, to be fair we should then use the more realistic average fuel efficiency of 6 MPG for diesel trucks, which drives the price per mile for to 50¢ a mile, leaving the Tesla again with roughly 50% less fuel cost.

Tesla has zeroed in on the main issues of importance to freight haulers: Operating cost and keeping trucks moving. An electric motor will always outperform its internal combustion counterpart by at least a factor of two and electricity is more ubiquitous, easier to make, and safer to be around, compared to diesel. In order to make money, a truck must be on the road as and moving as much as possible. A truck that isn’t moving due to a cracked windshield, a motor/transmission/emissions problem, or an accident is a truck losing money.

Tesla has addressed all of these challenges elegantly and economically.

And since no reveal with a Steve Jobs flavor would be complete without “Oh, and one more thing…” Musk ended his presentation, went to black as his trucks pulled off, then lit the overhead screen with “plaid” graphics, while his truck silently backed up and disgorged its cargo of one Tesla Roadster, Mk II.

The car was stunning, but the specs were definitely something Tesla critics will want proven to them. The base model promises “Plaid” mode, 0-60 in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 in 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 250 MPH. Next we get to things that are really difficult to believe. First is a 200 kWh battery promising 620 miles for range. The second, and certainly most difficult to accept is that the Roadster is a 4 passenger vehicle. I think they are definitely using a flexible definition of passenger as in person larger than 5′ tall or weighing more than 100 pounds.

And with those caveats, let the debate begin.

Update: Here is a synopsis of the even from The Verge:

Greensboro Buying 4 eBuses for $3.8 Million

Greensboro to buy 4 battery-powered buses
News & Record

The city will spend $3.8 million on four battery-powered buses, which will join the transit system’s fleet this summer.

The purchase will make Greensboro the first city in North Carolina with all zero-emission, battery-electric buses.

The new buses will replace diesel buses that have been driven past the recommended 12-year, 500,000-mile life. Officials estimate that each new bus will save taxpayers $325,000 over their lives, since they use less energy and need less maintenance than the diesels.

The city will pay for the buses with money from the transportation bond that voters passed in 2016, along with federal and private grants.

Meanwhile, in the dark of night, our own intrepid chemical engineer, Dr. Vernon Gilliat, spotted this marvel of engineering near the Thomas Built Bus plant.

eBus made by Thomas Built Bus of High Point, NC

GM tries Tesla tease

General Motors’ EV Teaser Reveals Low-Slung, Sporty Coupe
InsideEVs.com

General Motors intends to debut 20 electric vehicles in the next five years, and the company’s teaser image hints that at least one of them could be something to excite enthusiasts.

The photo shows the Chevrolet Bolt in the foreground, and there are 9 vehicles under sheets behind it. A model slightly to the left from the center is clearly a low-slung coupe with prominent fenders. The low, pointed nose has a resemblance to the Corvette, and the angular sculpting at the rear takes a cue from the Camaro. Judging by the models around it in the photo, the coupe appears to be fairly compact, too.

GM has produced two solid cars: The Volt (PHEV) and the Bolt (BEV). That’s great, but they were also the company that literally destroyed the EV1, and their former CEO is a virulent critic of Elon Musk. I like the idea that they claim they are going to produce more EVs, but would prefer that they simply show us what they have. Although they (and all other legacy automakers) are professing a new found love of electric driving, they are also currently spending millions of dollars on lobbyists to roll-back fuel-efficiency standards so they don’t have to make more efficient cars. Criticize Tesla all you like for missing delivery numbers, but there are still 200+ more M3s on the road than GM/Ford/Chrysler have promised