Ah, the secret weapon

Remember? Musk said months ago that he has a secret weapon to boost demand AND screw around with the dealer lobby, and he said he might deploy it later in 2015, though it wasn’t totally necessary. TeslaMondo figured those pop-up mobile stores comprised the secret weapon. Well, the new referral program — through which Model S owners get $1,000 in “store credit” for referring a customer through an authorized link, and the new customer also gets $1,000 off the selling price — seems to fit the description just as well. One wonders if this is a preemptive move to ensure continued Model S demand under the shadow of mighty Model X. Or maybe, as Musk is telling the press, the company is just trying to push word of mouth in lieu of expensive storefronts and the associated legal battles. Both theories make sense.

Well, one thing is for sure: Tesla customers already love to proselytize. Now they can get paid for it.

 

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Sweet

Gigafactory Teslamondo

Exclusive spy images suggest the first of several segments nears completion.

China — Keepin’ it real

Youxia X TeslaMondoThe more EVs, the merrier. TeslaMondo wants to see Tesla become the leader of a big segment instead of a small one. And Tesla needs Chinese entries to lubricate Tesla’s penetrative efforts there — all the more so with this Chinese stock market quake. Will the wealthy still part with the necessary $$ for a newfangled electric car, despite stock market jitters? Probably. Bonus: If you order one of these unpronounceable Chinese knockoffs, powered by Panasonic cells etc. etc., you’ll get to meet the real Daisy Duke (yep, that’s her in the image).

Chandler, AZ — keep your eyes open

Dirty Model X TeslaMondoLatest vid shows a Model X caked in dried clay, heading north on S. Price Rd near Continuum St. in Chandler, AZ. What makes TeslaMondo so sure about the exact location? Just bank on it.

This location happens to be just 10 minutes away from Wild Horse Motorsports Park, formerly Firebird International Raceway. The facility does indeed have an off-road track. And you can easily see the track from I-10, a major highway. So to anyone in the area: keep your eyes on that track.

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Model X sports motorized spoiler

Model X rear spoiler TeslaMondoBusiness Insider made a big deal about those sensors yesterday — even drew red rings around them — but somehow failed to notice the motorized rear wing, or at least didn’t mention it. D’oh!

TeslaMondo has read half-baked theories about this mysterious spoiler, based on unconvincing Loch Ness Monster-quality imagery. But this photo leaves no doubt. That’s Nessie’s head for sure.

That wing must deploy at a certain speed, to help with aerodynamics. Either that or it exposes little nozzles that shoot black ink at pursuers.

This blacked-out, silent, all wheel drive stealth vehicle packed with gadgetry evokes memories of the Subaru Leone in the movie Cannonball Run. Maybe Tesla will name the black Model X color “cannonball” in homage?

Subaru Cannonball Run TeslaMondo

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Be your own analyst

UBS Bank’s negative opinion of TSLA, which caused a big dip yesterday, is outlined below by International Business Times. The italicized responses come courtesy of TeslaMondo:

* Tesla would need to grow its luxury car market share from 0.6 percent today to 8.5 percent by 2020, making it six times larger than Porsche, twice as large as Lexus and just behind Audi and BMW in terms of annual sales. “These automakers will not cede share easily,” says the note. Tesla’s goal is to accelerate the advent of the electric car via increasingly affordable machines. Luxury market share doesn’t align with that goal and isn’t a key metric for investors either. Model III hardly befits a “luxury” tag anyway.

* UBS’s best-case scenario, based on the company’s projected future sales and profit margins, suggests the company’s 12-month stock price should be $300, or roughly $31 less than the current stock price. The downside scenario, where future sales and profit margins are less than expected, would put the company’s 12-month price at $48 a share, way under its current price. Tesla’s stock price hasn’t made sense since early 2013. TSLA is about sentiment as much as volume and profit. People are excited about this new and promising company, and its demonstrable influence on the dusty, rusty automobile world. The excitement isn’t close to wearing off either, because Tesla won’t let it. People may wonder why Tesla is so focused on milking every drop of performance from its machines. Well, Tesla can’t simply get away with “competing” with gas cars. Remember, it’s trying to force a paradigm shift in motoring. That requires street credibility. What better way to achieve street cred than by spanking every single gas “dream machine” you can name? One can imagine kids taking down Lambo posters and replacing them with Tesla posters. That kind of thing.

* The company’s current stock price assumes it will be selling 1.5 million cars and using all of its battery production capacity annually by 2025. UBS believes this is “unlikely.” No, the stock price simply assumes successful deployment of Mothra X in September and increasing demand for its wares, both automotive and stationary. Nobody is thinking about 2025 auto sales volume — except analysts who have nothing else to think about.

* To sell 1.5 million cars by 2025 “would require adding two more assembly plants and probably two more gigafactories” at a cost of $6 billion to $9 billion. And so we’d have more of the same, which is solid revenue growth offset by equally solid capital outlay, with little or no profit left over. That doesn’t seem to bother us now. Yes, Musk guessed at full-year profitability around 2020. Let’s say it doesn’t happen. If Tesla simply stays the course, executes Model III on time, and continues to sign Tesla Energy contracts as foreshadowed in 2015, even a lack of full-year profitability in 2020 won’t crush the stock. Sure, the seed-planting stage does need to end. Flowers need to bloom at some point. But investors do expect a long ramp-up in this hostile auto sector.

* Early orders for Tesla’s Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage units are misleading. “Customers did not put down deposits, so these are just solicitations of interest,” says the report. Early adopters will drive up initial orders, but making a leap to the mass market will be a big challenge. Not as big a challenge as creating a high performance all-electric car for $35k, and doing so in only three generations of product (Roadster, Model S and X, Model III) while gas-powered cars have enjoyed hundreds of generations of refinements and scalability without achieving any comparable price reduction. They should cost $1,000 by now.

So summarize, this UBS analyst is yet another chart-humper who gets off on dry, rational formulae, and analogies, and then decides Tesla stock is overrated. We’ve seen other pundits fall victim to the same faulty approach. Even Tesla bull Adam Jonas from Morgan Stanley screwed up by saying low gas prices would harm Tesla. That makes perfect sense, yet it has turned out to be perfectly false. Tesla doesn’t make sense. It hasn’t made sense since its very conception. Even Musk thought it would probably fail. Doubtless UBS would have laughed at Musk if he’d approached for seed money.

Analysts should burn their charts. You cannot employ old-school tools to measure Tesla’s significance, share price or future. Normal metrics are useless here. And stop thinking 2020-2025. Think September, 2015, when websites of all stripes. automotive and otherwise, descend on Mothra X.

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Tesla’s “fundamental physics problem”

Willy Nelson TeslaMondo

Wet Willy. Yuck. But at least he’s not Full Nelson.

That’s the latest wet willy in this ongoing wet willy war between the battery crowd and the fuel cell, um, crowd. Toyota says Tesla and its BEV powertrain are rubbing the ceiling of real-world potential, due to the elemental limits of batteries and their charging requirements. Fuel cell vehicles, meanwhile, have more room to improve, while becoming a lot cheaper too, Toyota says.

There’s no need for one to eclipse the other. The world’s automotive fleet has room for more than one solution. Perhaps fuel cell vehicles, a.k.a. Rube Goldberg Transport, will indeed become the world’s powertrain of choice, eventually. Very eventually. But we’ll be too old to drive anyway, and we’ll be quite wealthy thanks to our timely investment in Tesla, which doesn’t have to win this wet willy war in order to prosper. The world needs battery technology, for cars and otherwise, and Tesla owns it.

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About that doubling of Gig property

Gigafactory One TeslaMondo

A slide from the Tesla Energy debut.

Musk, during May conference call: “We’re actually trying to figure out if we can go from our current production target of thirty-five gigawatt hours at the cell level and fifty at the pack level in our Nevada plant to maybe fifty percent more than that or even higher. Because, just the sheer volume of demand here is just staggering.” Soon after that conference call, Tesla bought more land at the Gig site. The media caught wind of that acquisition only recently, but it’s actually old news.

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Life During Wartime

May 19, 2014: “I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles. I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.” — Lu Guanqiu, chairman of Fisker Automotive Holdings.
April 9, 2014: “Impossible.” – Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. Ltd, when asked if Tesla kicks ass or what.
April 9, 2014: “BYD could make a Tesla as soon as consumer demand for electric cars really takes off.” — Wang Chuanfu, BYD founder and chairman.
July 16, 2015: “We’re not Tesla. But we’re not Fisker either. We’re not fucking around.” — Faraday Future.*
Summer, 1979: “This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no foolin’ around.” — David Byrne.
June 12, 2014: “All our patent are belong to you.” — Tesla Motors. Translates to, “Here you go. Now build something, you buffoons.”

* You realize what this means? It means Fisker chairman Lu Guanqiu is fucking around.

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Driving matters — for a while longer

Kaizen TeslaMondo

It’s not just Japanese anymore. See those colors?

The company that makes the quickest stoplight dragster in the world plans to divorce car from driver, step by step, as automotive transport slowly becomes more automated. Let’s enjoy these last few years of “dumb” cars before they grow up and get married and move out of the house.

But back to the here and now. Today’s revelations remind everyone that when you buy a Tesla, you buy membership in an exclusive ecosystem defined by Kaizen on crack — not just continuous improvement, but speedy and relentless improvement. That feeling of membership is more important than the 0-60 time and inevitable YouTube vids pitting the P90D against Ferraris, Hellcats etc.

This company does not rest. In fact, in the latest blog post, Musk says Tesla expects a roughly five percent improvement in battery capacity every year going forward. Compare that pace with the Prius. The new Prius, due early next year, will boast roughly five percent better fuel economy than the current one — which debuted in 2004. Continuous improvement, yes, but slow. Speaking of slow: fuel cell vehicles, a.k.a. Rube Goldberg Transport, will not improve at Tesla’s pace, at least not until these early FCV efforts rack up a lot of real-world experience, and that will require proliferation of fuel cell infrastructure, blah blah. But FCVs do have the advantage of fast recharging — albeit not at home. Tesla’s kaizen needs to focus on recharging time right now. It needs to shorten. Erase that one weakness and you’ve left no possible reason for zero-emission devotees to look beyond battery EVs. The Rube Goldberg Transport program will have no chance.

Model X will deliver two months from now. No delay this time, apparently. If the X proves as potent as predicted today — which means VERY — what other SUV could come close to stepping up, at any price? Porsche? AMG? BMW? Audi? No, no, no and no. All will succumb to Tesla in any performance test. And none will have Model X novelty factor. In the $100k stratum, that’s a big factor. Why spend six figures for something that won’t get a second glance on the street, adheres to old-school design and power delivery, and will never improve during your ownership?

If Tesla delivers on all fronts, the Model X will enter the super-hot premium SUV segment with:

1. The best third-row access of any SUV.
2. The grooviest second-row seat.
3. Some yet-unknown Q-factors.
4. The best all wheel drive system.
5. The most potent performance.
6. The best conversation piece in the neighborhood, even Land Roverish neighborhoods.
7. The best “fuel economy.”
8. Probably the best crash ratings.
9. Probably the best resale value.
10. Unique OTA upgradability, making the purchase less of an ending and more of a beginning.
11. The cleanest buying process.

It seems Musk was right when he suggested the X is a better SUV than the S is a sedan. Now, just imagine if the Model III continues the pattern and becomes a better $35k sedan/crossover than the Model X is an SUV. In other words, leapfrogs its segment rivals — and there are many — by an even bigger margin. TSLA $500 here we come.

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