Bond Submarine Easter Egg instructions

Easter Egg TeslaMondo

When it comes to quirky humor, this trumps the “Insane” button in the P85D or the “All our patent are belong to you” declaration. In a nod to old-school video games and their cheat codes, secret zones, secret rooms etc., Tesla has embedded a secret screen in Model S software that shows the car as the Lotus Esprit submarine/car from the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Click the image for an instructional video.

Musk bought the vehicle — a functional submarine but not a car — a few years back with the intent of making it drive-and-dive as in the film.

TeslaMondo has already pointed out the rarity of humor in auto-making. Tesla once again shows it has no interest in behaving like its stiff peers. Still waiting for Tesla to produce a Model Q, named after the gadget guy in Bond films.



Resale value reaffirmed

Tesla resale value TeslaMondoLast month, Credit Suisse said auction activity suggests very high resale value for the Model S.

Today the WSJ corroborates the claim, citing data from NADA’s used car guide. Even while the Chevy Volt, Plug-In Prius, Nissan Leaf and Ford Plug Slug are coming off lease and stinking up the joint, the Model S is emitting no such odor.

The WSJ dryly attributes this to Tesla’s low sales volume. No mention of the fact that Tesla builds genuine excitement and is immune to gas fluctuation and the inevitable ROI formulae. Classic WSJ. Oh Rupert.


Consumer Reports: Model S again the best

For the second consecutive year, Consumer Reports says the Model S is the best car you can buy. For a renegade, maverick, rogue, wild ‘n crazy automaker to get such kudos from a the most buttoned-up of publications is very comforting. It means the most sober of product reviewers, and the driest of consumer surveys, — consider them “ground control” to Elon’s Major Tom — have again determined that Tesla really does, in the most scientific sense possible, kick ass.

There really was a better mousetrap waiting to be built all along. All it took was some first-principles reasoning to give it life.

Investors are still struggling to think positive, however, because of yesterday’s headlines. Merrill Lynch, a Tesla contrarian that has totally missed the boat, re-affirmed its yucky $65 price target on TSLA. It declared that consumer demand for Tesla’s products is waning despite ostensible data and Tesla’s own statements about supply constraint. TeslaMondo avoids boring data debates and instead looks at the big picture. And the big picture reveals daily headlines about other automakers, and now even Apple, trying to get a piece of Tesla’s action. Merrill Lynch would have us believe there’s no action to be had. Hey, gotta respect contrarians. Elon is one of them.


Another job fair, another stampede

Tesla job fair Fremont 5-3-14 TeslaMondo

Tesla short-lived job fair on May 3, 2014

It happened again. Last May, Tesla attempted to hold a job fair (pictured) at its Fremont HQ but had to cancel it immediately due to crowd control issues. Well, today the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) held a career day. Everyone wanted an internship at Tesla. Here’s a glance at the three-hour waiting line. The other participating companies didn’t generate anywhere near this much interest.


Apple is bored. So is the press.

And so the articles keep a comin': Apple is building a car. No, it isn’t. Apple should buy Tesla. No, it shouldn’t. The only way Apple can suddenly catch up to Tesla is by using Tesla’s patents, Tesla’s powertrains and Tesla’s assembly line. In other words, by buying Tesla. But that would limit Apple’s automotive adventure to a single brand — and an unproven one, in many minds. So any in-house Apple car is now — and will remain for a many years — a concept. That’s the automotive industry term for a vehicle that makes the issuing company look good while managing to avoid the tough part. And the tough part, of course, is existence.

Update: Apple is stealing employees from bankrupt A123 Systems, which specializes in Li-ion batteries. This would suggest Apple is cooking up more than just automotive connectivity systems. It might indeed make an actual car, or least provide a design for someone else to assemble. But again, no worries here. It’s hard for Tim Cook to steal Elon’s lunch money when Elon has already gone through the lunch line and is now sitting down and eating his pizza wedge and sipping his chilled juice. Cook, meanwhile, is still shivering outside the cafeteria with his nose pressed against the glass.

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Another posse now props Tesla

A few months back, a big crew of academics wrote an open letter in support of Tesla’s battle with American states. Then the Federal Trade Commission chimed in, siding with Tesla. Now another open letter has hit the web, again with many cosigners from the consumer protection side.

Yet so far, NOBODY has sided with the dealers — except other dealers. And some politicians who play ball with them, sometimes literally. Dealers and politicians are often hometown chums.

So it would seem dealer groups will eventually concede defeat, as dealer coach Jim Ziegler has already done. Will Tesla’s victory inspire other automakers to go direct, as Ford and GM attempted in 1999? Well, the incumbent automakers have existing franchisees to deal with, so franchise protection laws have a lot more teeth. Tesla was born without franchisees, rendering such laws irrelevant. That’s the crux of the various open letters in Tesla’s support. Here’s some convenient linkage:

Letter One
Letter Two
Letter Three
Ziegler on Tesla
When Ford, GM Tried To Ditch Dealers
NADA Pro-Dealer Video
Connecticut Dealers’ Anti-Tesla Video
White House Responds to Petition

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Tesla paradoxes

This is what happens when you follow Tesla headlines every day for a year or so. You become puzzled.
Tesla might use franchised dealers someday.
And yet it might use a secret weapon against dealers.
Tesla’s stationary batteries will hurt utility companies.
And yet they will help utility companies.
Tesla builds exciting cars to drive.
And yet it will remove driver input by ushering self-piloting cars.
Tesla is a drain on the American taxpayer.
Yet it’s hiring a lot of Americans and building world-beating cars.
Tesla hires official spokespeople.
Yet Elon delivers every remotely important statement himself.
Tesla was worth too much last fall, said Elon.
Yet in a few years it will be worth about $700 billion, says Elon.
Tesla wants competing EVs.
Yet Elon literally laughed at offerings by BYD and BMW in Bloomberg interviews.

Gigafactory is looking like 2016, not 2017

So says the latest from Nikkei, quoting a Tesla official Friday. This mean’s Elon Musk’s self-acknowledged punctuality problem, the one that delayed the Model X for, um, quite a spell, might be cured. It also likely means an earlier push into the energy storage market, since roughly a third of the Gig’s output is supposed to supply that industry.


The roughage we ordered, part II

Bulgur frittersWe’ve already compared Musk’s demeanor to unrefined bulgur, as opposed to the refined white rice we’re normally served by business big-shots. The Q4 conference call served us more bulgur fritters. Musk used the word “bullshit.” He wondered aloud about Tesla’s market cap trajectory and concluded it could hit Apple’s current valuation within a decade. He called 2015 capital expenditures “staggering.” He said his own Chinese retail team was “brain dead” for telling potential customers that charging a Tesla is a chore.

Sounds like an ordinary guy at the water cooler, not a CEO on the world stage. Moreover, he sounds like a guy who doesn’t really care about the inevitable knee-jerk reaction of stock traders and the red numbers they will generate, but thinks instead on a much bigger scale, where progress is measured in planets, and traders are mere molecules.

Driving a Tesla thus implies thumbing your nose at not just old-school automakers, and not just Big Oil, and not just car dealers — but the whole of corporate culture. And that last one might be the most satisfying of all.

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