I’m Gonna Just Put This Right Here…

“While Tesla has built a very dedicated fan base that has been willing to excuse poor build quality, customer service, and service infrastructure, we continue to be skeptical around broader adoption,” Osborne said. He rates the shares underperform with a price target of $210, implying a 51% decrease. Of the analysts tracked by Bloomberg, 15 analysts rate the shares the equivalent of a sell, while 11 rate it buy and 10 hold, with an average price target of $297.

Bloomberg, 12/30/19

Some other bearish analysts also raised their prices targets after the third-quarter numbers. Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy took his price target from $189 to $200 a share, and J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman raised his from $200 to $220 a share.

Barron’s, 10/25/19

Ives maintained a price target on Tesla stock of $270, with a neutral rating.

Investors Business Daily, 11/22/19

Can Tesla Ever Be More Than a Niche Automaker? Wall St. Increasingly Thinks No

New York Times, 6/3/19

Cross-Sell Interactive is trying to give investors a new edge on Tesla stock by tracking new-vehicle registration data in two dozen states. Cross-Sell’s third quarter report—released Monday evening—is alarming, showing lower prices and stagnant sales.

Barron’s, 10/15/19

Goldman: Tesla’s earnings and deliveries likely to disappoint this quarter, so sell the stock

CNBC, 3/13/19

Just because it trades 22% off its high ($302), does not make Tesla a buy.

Forbes, 1/20/19

I expect the stock to continue to fall over the rest of the year and into 2020, as Tesla continues to miss its targets as a result of under-investment, constant turnover in the executive ranks, and unrealistic promises.

I will not be surprised to see the Shanghai Gigafactory run behind schedule and fail to start production this year.

Forbes, 9/9/19

At this point, TSLA stock has had several months of poor performance, both in terms of metrics and the stock price. Therefore, before committing any capital into the shares, I’d like to see the next earnings statement, expected in late October. By then, we might even have an earnings warning statement, which would send the stock even further south.

InvestorPlace.com, 8/19/19

Forget $300, Can Tesla Stock Reliably Get Back to $200?

InvestorPlace.com, 6/5/19

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.


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.

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.

Tesla to Add 50,000 PowerWalls in Australian Homes, Creating Virtual Grid Battery

According to this story from Electrek, the government in South Australia is working with Tesla to install 5kW solar arrays and 13.5 kWh battery packs on 50,000 houses, including 1,100 low-income houses, creating what amounts to 250MW virtual power plant, with 650MWh of battery storage. Australia seems to be embracing the modernization of its electrical grid having just complete a 129MWh battery site just this past Fall.

Now if only we could fix Puerto Rico with his solution.

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:

Our state is run by idiots

Tesla is asked by DMV to stop giving test drives out of Charlotte gallery

Tesla has a really big location in Charlotte, North Carolina – pictured above. In most other states, it would be considered a Service plus location, which includes both a store and service center, but due to direct sales restrictions and Tesla’s inability to obtain a dealer license, the location is considered “gallery” and service center.

And now we learn that Tesla is subject to further restrictions as the DMV asked the automaker to stop offering test drives out of the location.

Nonetheless, Tesla was still operating its Charlotte location as a “gallery”, where it doesn’t make any transaction, but where it still educate the public on its products. The company told us that they had an understanding with the DMV commissioner that they could still offer test drives to the public with the goal to educate them on their offering.

But Tesla confirmed to Electrek that they were asked by the DMV this week to stop giving test drives out of the Charlotte location.

The demand comes a few months after the DMV had a change of leadership and Torre Jessup was named the new commissioner of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

I look forward to the auto dealerships going the way of shopping malls.

Tesla wins one, loses one

Tesla delivers record 26,150 vehicles, only 220 Model 3 sedans

Tesla confirmed today its third quarter 2017 delivery numbers and the automaker delivered a record number of vehicles, including a few Model 3 sedans for the first time.

The automaker had previously guided over 23,000 Model S and Model X deliveries during the third quarter and it significantly beat the guidance with 14,065 Model S sedans and 11,865 Model X SUVs.

It represents a 4.5% increase quarter-over-quarter and 17.7% increase over the same period last year.

It’s a new record global delivery number for Model X – beating the previous record in Q1 2017 by over 300 units.

As for Model 3, Tesla confirmed slow production of only 260 units.

Oops. Yeah, that’s a big miss. The short sellers are going to be all over this. That said, should we worry? Telsa seemed to think we shouldn’t.

It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

Of course, they would say that. But, Tesla has an excellent track record of missing deadlines, but still delivering the goods. I don’t think this will be any different.

Washington Post bailing on gasoline cars

Death of gas and diesel begins as GM announces
plans for ‘all-electric future’
Washington Post

After nearly a century of building vehicles powered by fossil fuels, General Motors — one of the world’s largest automakers — announced Monday that the end of GM producing internal combustion engines is fast approaching.

The acceleration to an all-electric future will begin almost immediately, with GM releasing two new electric models next year and an additional 18 by 2023.

At a media event at GM’s technical campus in Warren, Mich., on Monday, Mark Reuss, the company’s chief of global product development, said the transition will take time, but the course has been set.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”

While I am very glad that a mainstream newspaper can read the writing on the wall, to be fair to GM, they didn’t exactly say they were relegating the internal combustion engine to the landfill of history. Their language was pretty non-committal and they avoided any timelines. The rest of the article notes that, as we have seen, automakers are tripping over each other to announce “plans” for EVs to be delivered at some future date, in the meantime check out our “concept cars”.

Ford was rather amusing in their announcement, telling us about their plans which involved the formation of “Team Edison”, name after a man of questionable genius, but an enormous talent for stealing other people’s ideas, to compete against Tesla, a company named after a certified genius whom Edison cheated out of $50,000 when Tesla proved he could improve Edison’s own dynamos. Ford’s EV exec, Sherif Marakby was quoted as saying:

“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles. We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”

“Strategy plans”? Seriously?

What was that line again from Shakespeare? “…Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Yeah, that was what that sounded like to me.

In the meantime the only folks to believe are those actually making EVs, and not just “compliance” cars.

Musk sends Tesla

Tesla Is Sending Battery Packs to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. is sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels in an effort to help the battered island territory restore electric power, the company said Thursday. Some of the systems are already there and others are en route.

The equipment is sorely needed, since the island remains largely without electricity more than a week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. The company has employees on the ground to install them and is working with local organizations to identify locations.

Apparently, that S.O.S. paid off. I note from the article that Musk moved faster than the U.S. government in dispatching equipment and trained techs to coordinate with locals on which arrays to get up first.

Battery price drop still vastly understated

This chart shows the predicted price of lithium-ion batteries by the Energy Information Agency (part of the US Department of Energy), Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Navigant, a technology consulting group. Each of these groups predicted where battery prices would be from 2013 through 2048.

So, how accurate have their predictions been four years out? Let’s look:

EIA – $575 per kWh
BENF – $450 per kWh
Navigant – $400 per kWh

Average – $475 per kWh

Right, so what was the actual price? Well, we are not sure, but the best guess based on industry watchers who have taken Tesla cars apart and priced the components, the best estimate is $227 per kWh, meaning the EIA missed the number by a mile, and even the average was more than twice the actual. But what is the price actually? According to Tesla probably somewhere around $124 per kWh.

If true, “experts” need to seriously re-evaluate their price prediction methodology.


Just some numbers to ponder…

According to the latest figures, U.S. sales for EVs/PHEVs 121,502 through August of this year. Since 2010, 686,192 cars have been sold. These sales represent dozens on models sold by sixteen car companies.

Currently, the confirmed pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 stands at a minimum of 400,000 cars, with a minimum sale price of $35K each (though the average price is more likely to be $43K). This means that one car company, Tesla, is set to sell the equivalent of roughly 60% of all the plug-in cars for the last seven years, in the next 16 months.

One company.

One model.

400,000 units.

A minimum of $14 billion in sales.

It keeps going, and going, and going…

Finnish Tesla Model S taxi driver crosses 400,000 km, 93% of battery life remains

Ari Nyyssönen, a Finnish taxi driver, has racked up an impressive 400,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) in his Tesla Model S and is confident that the car could last until 1 million kilometers or over 621,000 miles.

Having logged over 400,000 kilometers of taxi service in his 2014 Model S with 85 kWh battery pack, Nyyssönen had the vehicle’s motor replaced and battery pack serviced under warranty. “They are the biggest worries,” Nyyssönen said, “but they are not very bad because the most important defects have been repaired according to the guarantee.”

Arguably the most important component in a Tesla is its battery pack. After 400k km (250k mi), Nyyssönen notes that the battery was still able to maintain roughly 93% of its original driving range and showed little signs of degradation. Nyyssönen’s story can be considered a testament to the reliability and durability of Tesla’s lithium ion battery cells, but also the maintenance and service plans the company offers.

The two things that can be hard on Lion batteries are extreme heat and extreme cold. Finland is definitely a chilly locale. Oh, and lots of charge/discharge cycles, which a taxi certainly goes through.

Were there any problems with the car? Yes, some problems with both the motor and battery pack at one point, but both were repaired, under warranty by Tesla.