Q2 wrapup: Cat Scratch Fever!

Tesla Project Tiger TeslaMondo1. Tesla let the cat out of the bag and confirmed breaking ground near Reno. Sounds like TeslaMondo reader and desert prowler Walt Parkman was correct about Project Tiger at 2641 Portofino Drive, at Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. This is big news, for it means Tesla will not necessarily announce “finalists” before bulldozing. Other Project Tigers will soon come to life, challenging other Walt Parkmans to sniff them out and win kudos from meddling blogs. One thing’s for sure, however. They won’t be called “Project Tiger.” In, fact, you can pretty much rule out any animal reference.

2. Tesla beat analysts’ consensus. And there was much rejoicing. And then sadness*.

3. China hearts Tesla. U.K. hearts Tesla. And there was much rejoicing. And then sadness*.

4. Model X prototypes, sporting the new-and-improved design nobody has seen, will start rolling in just a few weeks. A good shot of a Model X is bound to command a hefty bounty for spy photographers.

5. TeslaMondo’s photo theory, which holds that Tesla’s original Gigafactory rendering was based on an old shot of Reno-Stead Airport, and that Reno was therefore a strong consideration since day one, now has teeth and claws. Then again, the airport property remains untouched by heavy equipment at last check. OK, never mind the claws. The theory has teeth. Ok, baby teeth. Well, it was on the news, dammit.

6. Tesla will eventually invade S. Korea — the home turf of Hyundai, a fuel cell proponent. The war games continQ2 Tesla conference call TeslaMondoue.

7. Toyota’s fuel cell ambitions continue to confound. See graphic.

*After-hours reaction is confused but muted overall. A little green one minute; a little red the next. As usual, nobody knows what to make of Tesla’s numbers, because nobody knows what to make of Tesla. All part of the entertainment!

 

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Beating could cause a beating

Tesla Q2 prediction TeslaMondoRemember Q1? Tesla took a beating despite beating. TeslaMondo thinks another beat is coming, followed by another beating. Why? Because TSLA investors are crack addicts. Anything less than Shock and Awe triggers a severe withdrawal — of money. However, the next hit of crack isn’t far off, and it’s a biggie. At some point soon, Tesla will raise its skirt and show some flesh of the Model X. Local hospitals will then receive a deluge of phone calls, especially to urology. Men will complain of erections lasting longer than four hours. Women too.

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Comments now allowed

This site began as a personal investor’s diary with an audience purely optional. The audience has grown to the point where it needs to be served, so all posts from today forward will allow comments, for better or worse. With any luck, the moderator won’t have to work too hard.

Mobileye IPO coming Aug. 1, tempting

Mobileye IPO on TeslaMondoTesla is working with an Israeli company called Mobileye, which already supplies advanced safety systems for a host of automakers. What’s Tesla up to? It won’t say. But this Israeli paper says it’s the autonomous driving system, characterized by Tesla as “autopilot.”

Some links:

1. Mobileye’s website. The company’s technology helps cars “see” other cars, pedestrians etc. It’s a science called “machine vision technology.” Sounds like something we’ll all be discussing circa 2020, while engaging in self-mutilation for failing to invest circa 2014.

2. About the IPO, coming Aug. 1. More about the IPO. And more about the IPO (it’s third down the list).

3. About Tesla’s relationship. It exists.

 

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Slow-mo Panasonic joins the Big Gig

Panasonic TeslaMondoTesla’s battery business is one the few bright spots for Panasonic, so a Gigafactory agreement was inevitable, despite Panasonic’s strategic show of reluctance. “The two companies are in the same canoe and will soon agree to shut up and paddle.” That was TeslaMondo’s observation back in May. And the size of Panasonic’s initial investment — pretty small — was also inevitable. The company can’t spook its investors by jumping into the pool with Don Quixote Musk, who wants to occupy Mars and all. It has to dip its toes in, then up to the waist etc. So yesterday’s big news about the Panasonic/Tesla inking wasn’t very big. A Panasonic retreat? Now that would have been big news.

This October piece from the Wall Street Journal is crucial reading if you want to understand Panasonic’s current business mix and why it needs Tesla in that mix. You didn’t click the link, you lazy ass? Then here’s the money shot:

Happy to be stuck with you TeslaMondo

Guess it’s true. Panasonic and Tesla are happy to be stuck with each other.

The other big winner this past quarter was “automotive/industrial systems.’’ Together with “eco-solutions,’’ that accounted for around two-thirds of Panasonic’s overall operating profit between July and the end of September. The money-makers in that category, Panasonic said, were lithium-ion batteries the company made for Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric cars.

But wait. There’s more.

What’s the moral of all this? Panasonic has already decided. The company has said it wants to shift from electronics for consumers to gear sold to businesses – indeed, many of the same kinds of products that carried it through the past quarter.

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2641 Portofino Drive continues to beguile

Tesla Project Tiger TeslaMondoThe Close Encounters of the Third Kind plot is thickening. In that movie, some people were strangely drawn to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Turned out to be a top-secret staging ground for a rendezvous with aliens. Well, this time some select individuals feel strangely drawn to 2641 Portofino Drive at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Sparks, NV. First it was TeslaMondo reader Walt Parkman. Now it’s Bob Tregilus, head of the Electric Auto Association of Northern Nevada. He says he’s been gently prying the truth from local contacts. And the truth is? Tesla ordered the bulldozing at Tahoe-Reno, say his contacts.

Project Tiger sign TeslaMondo

Credit: KRNV-DT Reno

See the Project Tiger signage? It marks the entrance to the mystery site. The website for F&P Construction shows it has worked with Nissan — albeit on a dealership, not a factory. Snap! So close.

But wait — The site is suddenly dark and the construction crew gone. Was it behind schedule, as rumored here? Will razing begin anew with a new contractor, or is the mother ship now destined to land elsewhere? UPDATE: No worries. Crews are just taking a much-needed break.

Tesla has repeatedly said it intends to break ground on multiple sites and narrow it to one by year’s end. Any permitting snafus will mean, “No Gigafactory for you.” The coincidence of the Model 3 launch and Gigafactory output is essential to the future of the company. Without the new-generation battery, the Model 3 is a lawn ornament. Though, come to think of it, Tesla could probably sell every single Model 3 as a lawn ornament if need be, and without a discount. Such will be the hype surrounding this vehicle. It even completes Tesla’s wink-wink erotic nomenclature, as noted by panting horndog journalists everywhere.

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Japan badly needs a win with fuel cells

Diplomacy war game TeslaMondoAnd so Japan will subsidize Toyota’s FCV to the tune of $30k in some areas despite the fact that Japan already carries the world’s biggest debt burden. TeslaMondo has already covered the undulating international war game between FCVs and EVs, with Japan heavily arming its home players Toyota and presumably Honda, while Tesla is looking to form a battery alliance with Nissan, BMW and Mahindra using the bait of easy patent-sharing. Will Korea up its ante for Hyundai and its FCV program in response to this maneuver by Japan? We’ll see. Norway is all-Tesla. And back home, Fremont, CA is setting up a tech battle station around Tesla we speak.

This is war.

So far, Tesla is still a technological outlier — not where it wants to be. It would benefit from comrades. TeslaMondo’s pie charts show the potential benefits of a more robust EV segment. It’s lonely on the front lines of battle, especially now that the Japanese government has essentially printed Musk’s face on an international most-wanted poster. On the other hand, Tesla has the most-wanted product — an exciting, rebellious, aspirational product — and a viable infrastructure when you include the favored home-fueling option that FCVs will never enjoy. And let’s not forget Tesla’s tie-in with the fast-growing solar industry that eventually will make the EV energy footprint so clean that hydrogen will smell dirtier than Clinton’s peeper by comparison.

Bloomberg quote TeslaMondo

Pulled this quote from Bloomberg

Toyota is circulating a marketing video for its fuel cell vehicle, and even grabbed an anonymous Rent-A-Musk to narrate it. But the smart money is on Tesla. Fool cell buyers and their money are soon parted. Except for the “soon” part. This is shaping up to be a protracted world war and a clear winner may not emerge during our lifetime.

The clear loser, however, will be the ICE and its heavy metal soundtrack we’ve loved since childhood. Sniff sniff.  The revolution will be very quiet. Only a fool would deny that.

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Factory prepping for mystery machine

Mystery Machine TeslaMondoModel X is a mystery because nobody except Tesla knows what it will look like. Any other car company would have floated several renderings, concepts, prototypes, what-ifs, howz about this — then gauged public feedback, and then whittled to a final version before tooling up to build it. Tesla seems to have fast-forwarded right to the tooling part in a beautifully gross display of self-confidence. Zoinks!

So what will the Model X look like? Will we have to wait until the 25 new robots spit one out the back door? Seems that way. We’ve seen only an in-house rendering on Tesla’s website, and a prototype from years ago. But Elon took a mulligan on the original design, causing a delay. The production versioMannequin X TeslaMondon is going to buckle our knees and require us to have our jaws surgically reattached to our skulls, to liberally paraphrase Musk. Who dares doubt him, given his track record of delivering the goods even when the goods seem too good to be deliverable? So then, isn’t it time to at least pull back the wrapping paper for a teaser shot of the Mannequin X? Yes, that’s what this site is calling it, thanks to translation folly.

Although, hang on a second. Tesla is so secretive that perhaps Mannequin X is a real product after all. Yes, of course! New robots. Mannequin X. New robots. Mannequin X . . .

Tesla factory robots TeslaMondo

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Model S ubiquity in Norway. Man!

How popular is the Model S in Norway? Here’s a man-in-the-street observation for ya. Click image for video.

Telsas in Norway TeslaMondo

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News tidbit casserole

Tesla News CasseroleChina — Seems Tesla will adapt to China’s fledgling charging network as part of its Chinese assimilation. Good news, but details are skimpy. Like a lot of material in Want China Times, this article leaves the reader wanting.

England — The UK is weighing the Model S as municipal transport, as governments try to go green in ways other than collecting taxes. Perhaps the upcoming long-wheelbase version with the larger back seat could be utilized as executive limos. And bodyguards could sit in the rear-facing child seats. Short bodyguards.

Sci-fi — The FBI thinks autonomous cars could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Elon Musk says artificial intelligence could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Car-hacking could become a dangerous sport for the wrong people. And so, putting this all together in a B-movie scenario, we could one day see disgruntled robots remotely hijack a fleet of English municipal Teslas, put them into a reckless autopilot mode that pays no heed to pedestrians, and force the British Secret Intelligence Service to respond with its own fleet of autonomous Teslas in a high-stakes game of Robot Wars. And at the conclusion, Tesla would see a fresh order for more Model S’s.

 

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