Katy Perry is now less annoying

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TeslaMondo finds few songs more annoying than “Firework.” When Perry barks “Oh oh oh” she sounds almost exactly like a sea lion. But all is forgiven. Bark away, ye foul vixen.

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Two benchmarks spanked at once

Acceleration and range, spanked. Myopic investors might not care much about today’s P100D, just as they brushed aside the original dual-motor unveil, but when Tesla clears these “incremental” hurdles, the electric car robs another slice of public mind share.

  • The ICE’s forte is supposed to be acceleration. We can now officially uncheck that box.
  • Okay then, travel range between fills. Uncheck that one too.
  • Okay, then, engineering advancements. Uncheck that one. Tesla’s technology is improving much faster than the ICE’s. This company is relentless.
  • Safety! There ya go! Regular cars crash better, yes? Well, no.
  • Meanwhile, in Romper Room, fuel cell technology still hasn’t graduated from diapers to pull-ups.

It’s all quite tantalizing. If Tesla does to the “affordable” market what it’s doing to the “premium” market — specifically, making stalwarts look like regular warts — we’re going to witness something akin to automotive genocide over the next five years. Nameplates that we’ve known since childhood might be annihilated as Big Auto is forced to revamp its product strategy to survive the Model III and Y dual pandemic.

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Tesla, the silent brand

Tonight, let it be Lowenbrau. Michelob Light for the winner. If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer: Miller beer. When you say Bud, you’ve said a lot of things nobody else can say. When you say Bud, you’ve said it all. Go for the gusto: Schlitz. I’ve got Pabst Blue Ribbon on my mind.

TeslaMondo has retained all of these 1970s beer slogans despite a total lack of interest in alcoholic beverages. We’re talking about bona fide brain implantations here. And one quick scan of the kitchen will stir up plenty more, accurate or not:

Bounty — The quicker picker-upper.
Elmer’s Glue — Nothing in particular, but Krazy Glue is that stuff that glued that construction worker’s hat to a steel girder or something. Or was that Gorilla Glue?
Wheat Thins — Sandy Duncan.
Rice Krispies — Snap, Crackle and Pop.
Raisin Bran — Two scoops of raisins.
Cheerios — You get a pow-pow-powerful good good feeling from Cheer-Cheer-Cheerios.
Peanut butter — If you believe in peanut butter, clap your hands to Peter Pan. Wait — peanut butter has non-believers?
Poland Spring — What it means to be from Maine. What does it mean, anyway?

You know, maybe it’s time to take a shower and wash all of this away. Start clean. But the bathroom is another minefield of pop-up ads. You’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean. Coast deodorant soap is the eye-opener.

And when it’s time to shampoo, there’s a brand that makes your scalp tingle more than the other brands. Denorex! Yes, that’s it. Okay now it’s time to shave. Is Gillette Foamy thick and rich enough to hold back a roller coaster? No. Somehow that means it’s the best for hair removal. And regarding the razor blades, if you have a Norelco system, there’s no need to worry about cutting yourself. No more “Gotcha!”

Time to brush your hair. A little dab will do ya. Dab of what? Can’t remember. Is that a flake of dandruff? Should have used Head & Shoulders, dammit. And breakfast cereal was the wrong idea this morning. Coulda, or shoulda, had a V8! Head slap!

Time to drive to work. Oh boy. Every car has a commercial built into it.

There’s a Ford Focus. Have you driven a Ford lately?
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.
Dodge trucks are Ram tough.
Yeah, but Silverados are like a rock, and the announcer’s voice is a little deeper. Maybe it’s more manly to have a Silverado.
A Toyota. You asked for it. You got it. Oh what a feeling. Yeah, but the new Dodge Omni does it all. Then again, nobody demands more from a Datsun than Datsun.

Wait a minute. There are no more Omnis or Datsuns around. Doesn’t matter. What a feeling indeed. We’re poisoned for life by exposure to marketing toxin. Thank you, Tesla, for not contributing. You are not only exhaust-free but also jingle-free and slogan-free.

Time to shut down the computer and move on with the day. Intel Inside, eh? Four ascending notes come to mind. Better check email before shutting down. You’ve Got Mail. Doesn’t matter whether it’s AOL or not. You’ve Got Mail just the same. O the madness . . .

Range anxiety, like most anxiety, is BS

A neurologist once explained anxiety to TeslaMondo thus: “You have two brains, a primitive one and a more advanced one. Sometimes the primitive one keeps sounding an alarm. The advanced one knows it’s a false alarm, but there’s still that initial reflex response that’s hard to stifle. Alarms are alarming. And so a struggle ensues.”

That’s why you find yourself talking to yourself, during bouts of anxiety, like so: “Cut it out. Cut it out. Calm down. Breathe. This isn’t a problem. Man this is so stupid. Will you stop with the heartbeat and the fast breathing? It’s exhausting.” It’s your two brains duking it out.

This MIT study about the electrification of personal transport says range anxiety hasn’t a toe in reality for most people. We’re dogs with plenty of unused leash. This makes perfect sense to your advanced brain, but try explaining this to your caveman brain who thinks you’re going to be stranded. It’s the same brain that reminds you about the distinct possibility that your headache is actually a fatal aneurysm in the making, and going grocery shopping means sniffing that smelly pet food aisle. You don’t even have a pet and have no reason to visit that aisle? Exactly. That’s anxiety for ya.

Stress: Portrait of a Killer.

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Why dealers stink at selling EVs

The Sierra Club did a “secret shopper” survey to gauge the EV scene at dealerships and, of course, found that car dealers make lousy EV evangelists. They don’t have any EVs, or can’t find the keys, or have their sole EV stashed somewhere behind the dumpster, or they’ve forgotten to charge it. Consumer Reports has done similar studies and reached similar conclusions. EVs get lousy retail support — excepting Tesla, of course.

But so far, no study has discovered one of the primary sources of the malaise. Dealer insiders will understand this post better than the average reader, but here goes anyway. Ready?

Every manufacturer surveys its customers and compiles a customer satisfaction index (CSI) for each dealership and each salesperson. Underperforming dealers face fines. They often pass those fines onto the underperforming salespeople. Sometimes CSI is the sole topic of morning meetings. It’s a big issue. Many dollars are at stake. Jobs are at stake.

So far, this sounds like a reason for dealerships to stay on the ball, right? Yes, but it also becomes imperative to dodge hot potato situations that could result in bad surveys. EVs are hot potatoes. Despite their alleged simplicity, they’re complicated. They raise questions that salespeople might not be able to answer because they’ve forgotten the stuff they learned in that training course six months ago. EVs even draw sticky tax questions. Yeek! All of this spells CSI disaster.

Also, EV customers might have a bit of a ‘tude, or may come across that way because they feel like they’re imposing on the staff by even breaching the subject. They can read body language.

The bottom line: If an EV customer leaves the dealership without buying anything, it’s a bullet dodged, plain and simple. Let someone else take the CSI hit and face the fines. And so, folks, many dealers will continue to boot EVs behind the dumpster because they represent big risk with little reward.

Sales manager: “Are you still with that cruncher?”
Salesperson: “No, she finally left.”
Sales manager: “Good. Stay alert and get another up.”

You think this kind of dialogue would freak out the dealer principal if he/she were to hear it? Absolutely not. A job well done. This isn’t the week to be dabbling with dorks. The dealer is a half-point below the regional CSI average and can’t afford a bad survey right now.

So what would it take to get this situation turned around? TeslaMondo sees three possible paths to better EV retailing:

  1. Wait it out. Eventually, the technology will become commonplace, so dialogue between salesperson and customer will rise to the current ICE level. In other words, it will go from exasperating to merely annoying.
  2. Automakers must take control of the retail experience. This means inciting war by trampling dealer franchise agreements, but the outcome might justify the brutal bloodshed. Think Normandy.
  3. Build better EVs. The sales staff would love talking about truly exciting products. But who wants to talk about a friggin’ i-MiEV? Compliance cars get short shrift at dealerships because they deserve no better, period.
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Credible P100D “sighting”

A Dutch Tesla forum declares that a Euro-authority has approved nomenclature for a new class of 100 kWh Teslas. Could this be the fruit of Tesla’s contract with mad scientist Jeff Dahn? When will Tesla officially unveil the upgrade? When will it hit the streets? Will it boost acceleration or range, or both? Can Tesla be caught by the tail by rival automakers, or is it pulling farther ahead with every iteration? How much more juice can Tesla extract from the battery array that fits in the S/X platform? Will vehicle size ultimately corral the potential? Is charging speed the next frontier?

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TeslaMondo leaves TSLA, back later

Over the last month, TeslaMondo sold off its shares of TSLA and MBLY and piled everything into NVDA. Yes, all-in. Tesla and Mobileye will likely trade sideways for a few months while NVDA rises. TeslaMondo plans to pile back into TSLA, with more $$$ in hand, in time for part II of the Model III reveal. As for MBLY, we’ll see. The company will become increasingly important for sure, but Model III will arrive first.

So think of this move as going to the ATM to withdraw more money for TSLA. TeslaMondo will still publish in the meantime, of course, because the fodder never stops.

UPDATE: Per reader request, here’s where the decision originated. TeslaMondo is all about gut instinct, you see.

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Solar roof, not panels, caps the package

“What if we could offer you a roof that looks way better than a normal roof? What if we could offer you a roof that lasts far longer than a normal roof? Now it’s a different ballgame.” — Elon Musk quote from SolarCity conference call yesterday

Looks like Tesla/SolarCity is going to unveil a solar roof product that makes your entire roof photovoltaic. It’s a product YOU configure to the same extent you configure your Model S. Sounds pretty enough to complete a ménage à trois of pretty electric car in the driveway, pretty battery system on the wall and pretty lid on the house. But it also sounds potentially problematic for aircraft pilots, birds and satellites. When these solar roofs become super popular, that’s a whole lot of light and heat pointed upward. TeslaMondo eagerly awaits assuaging words on this subject. Will the solar roof somehow be non-reflective?

Moreover, if these PV pieces serve as shingles, how will they survive harsh winters? Shovels? Ice dams? Reindeer?

Tesla/SolarCity’s efforts are not an assault on utility companies. Musk: “I really want to emphasize that our goal is to work with utilities, and to collectively solve the future energy-electricity demand of the world. As the electricity demand rises tremendously, due to electrification and sustainability — I don’t think anybody wants to have huge new power lines pulled through their neighborhoods and mass expansion of substations, and all those things that would be necessary to fully electrify transport and heating. It’s a huge headache to do that.”

And striking solar/battery deals with utilities — we might see hundreds of these deals — would be awfully slow and sloppy if the boards of two different companies have to approve all of them. That’s yet another reason for the TSLA/SCTY merger.

Meanwhile, looks like the aging terms “going green” and “going solar” might change to “going Tesla,” as hinted by TeslaMondo last year. If that lingual transition does indeed happen, it will make it all the tougher for, say, Mercedes to sell a “me too” solar/battery/car package. Can you imagine anyone emailing Mercedes to ask about going Tesla?

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You’ve had some problems? No problem.

Model S is the most-loved automotive product on the road, says Strategic Vision. Just another touchy-feely survey? Maybe, but look at the comment from the SV marketing director:

The Tesla Model S was again rated as the highest quality vehicle in the entire industry.  The electric performance car consistently reinforces the fact that according to consumers, quality is far more than simply a lack of problems.  The Model S does have its share of minor issues, but the innovation and excitement of the product overpowers any lasting negative feelings regarding those issues.  

 According to Karl Miller, Director of Marketing at Strategic Vision, “Even the way Tesla fixes problems often turns a product drawback into a benefit.  To be able to fix problems and add features through a software download overnight instead of a trip to the dealer is a powerful tool.  In many cases, it actually enhances their confidence in the product more than if the problem had never existed in the first place.”

TeslaMondo has long opined that Tesla enjoys a forgiveness factor that’s totally unfair to rivals. When you buy an unprecedented product from a young company, you know you’re flying Uncharted Airlines. All part of early adopting. That’s why a Consumer Reports blessing, while optimal, is also optional in Tesla’s case.

The Strategic Vision winners’ roster (below) is odd indeed. The thoroughbred Model S rubs shoulders with the Fiat 500, a quivering, tinkling automotive chihuahua. So even a shitbox can win a Strategic Vision award if it’s a cute n’ cuddly shitbox. Yay Sergio!

Marchionne Godfather TeslaMondo

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BMW looking desperate? Unmöglich!

A little while ago, BMW publicly accused Tesla of desperately trying to associate itself with BMW by concocting rumors of a product partnership. Well, look at these videos below. Who is desperate now? Nissan tried something similar back in April. Meanwhile, across a few ponds, Hyundai is taping its windows and piling sandbags in preparation for Hurricane Tesla’s arrival in Korea. It threatens to wash away the poor little Hyundai Ioniq.

Hybrids are done, folks, even plug-in ones. No wonder the elite BMW i-team went AWOL in China and joined Future Mobility.

But wait — German carmakers have nothing to fear from Tesla, says this German writer in a German magazine, based on his dialogue with German auto industry people, some unnamed. Here’s an excerpt:

Take Tesla. For all its supposed tech savvy, Tesla has no technology of its own that the German carmakers don’t have already. In fact, Tesla is loaded with components from German suppliers, from chipmaker Infineon to Bosch, which supplies the sensors for self-driving. Batteries are a commodity once production is up and running. German carmakers’ autopilot technologies – involving cameras, infrared, radar and more – are at least as advanced as Tesla’s, industry analysts say. Tesla’s innovation centers around the ambition and vision of its founder, and its willingness to burn investors’ cash, a German industry source says.

Sprockets! BMW

“Ich finde ihre beleidigungen seltsam erotisch.”

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