GM et al need Mobileye. Tesla doesn’t.

Tesla can detach from Mobileye and in-source its machine vision technology? That’s great. But this doesn’t mean any normal automaker can follow suit. In this “race to autonomy,” Tesla is a Usain Bolt. It’s a Silicon Valley company from birth, genetically suited for this type of race. Everyone else has love handles and a bum hip. They’re all forced to piggy-back on a Mobileye in a desperate bid to stay in the race, never mind win it. For this dependency to change, they would have to:

  1. Put together an FI pit crew on the sidelines.
  2. Suddenly jump off Mobileye at the right moment and head to the pit for a shot of Red Bull, a quick hydrocortisone shot and a heart transplant.
  3. Re-enter the race and hope to God that everything works.

This latest divorce shocker just underlines the very large gap between Tesla and everyone else in the auto racket. Mobileye shares will recover within a week as people remember the increasingly vital role Mobileye will play in this race.

TeslaMondo owns shares of MBLY.

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Buy a horse before they go extinct

It seems like you just met your spouse, but it’s been 25 years.
It seems like you just bought your house, but it’s been 17 years.
It seems like you just became a parent, but your oldest child is 13.

Hindsight compresses everything. The past is shrink-wrapped.

Conversely, the future seems extended, inflated, super-long. Cars are going full-electric? Oh sure, wayyyy down the road. Gas cars will be around for another, oh, decade or more. And they’ll drive themselves? Aw, that’s way-out too. Gotta be an interminable fifteen full years away or more. Yeah, there’s no point in dwelling on that stuff now.

Oh yes there is. In the time it took for your oldest child to go from potty training to driver training, the automobile will start to look and smell like a horse. You like horses? Who doesn’t? Buy one you can imagine keeping for the rest of your life, and then proceed to do exactly that. Everyone needs a hobby, you know.

We’re entering a transient phase where we get to play with powerful electric cars. The instant thrust is an accident of the technology that Tesla is exploiting to the max. It makes for a cool party trick. If the silent grunt suits you, then make it your “horse.” Buy and hold one until the death. Before long, that thrust will be removed from your hands, just as babies soon lose custody of their parents’ totally awesome cell phones. It’s for their own good.

Automobiles will become horizontal elevators. Does the electric thrust of an elevator turn you on? Probably not. Zero to 60? Lateral Gs? Torque curve? Blah blah blah. That’s the language of old farts. “Grandpa is babbling about cars again. Let’s hop on a pod and get out of here before he starts humming Black Sabbath riffs.” That’s what your grandkids will say, and soon.

How soon? Consider this: If you met your significant other about 25 years ago, and it seems like a blip, then you’ve got one more blip before you’re either elderly or a pot of ashes on someone’s dresser. And as soon as you’re gone, the first thing the kids will do is take the horse out back and shoot it.

 

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Part II likely easier than Part I

2006: Tesla had no brand cachet, no scale, no supplier relationships, no manufacturing experience, no charging network and not much capital. Yet its master plan called for puncturing its way into mainstream automobilia, the most heavily-armored industry in recent industrial history. The initial bayonet was a — wait for it — a modified Lotus Elise. Yes, a niche car among niche cars. A thumbtack, basically. Despite near-zero odds of success, and despite the Great Recession, Tesla punctured, germinated and started splitting cells con brio.

2016: Tesla DOES have brand cachet, scale, supplier relationships, manufacturing expertise, charging network and capital. Sure, it will need more capital, but Tesla knows from the Model III experience that people will abide a capital raise if it funds a compelling product. Basically, we are the Shark Tank venture capitalists. Tesla shows us something exciting; we pony up. TeslaMondo expects this cycle to continue.

Anyone surprised at TSLA’s slump today should think back a bit. The stock slumped a day after the Q1 conference call this year, when Musk predicted 500k Model IIIs in 2018 instead of 2020. A day after he unveiled the dual-motor Model S, the stock slumped just the same. There’s often an anticipatory stock run-up before his revelations, followed by a selloff due to profit-taking and head-scratching. Tesla is trying to change the world — a bit of a grind, eh? — without alienating shareholders along the way. This is bound to do funny things to the stock.

And anyone shocked about Tesla’s migration into heavy trucking, as TeslaMondo was yesterday, should consider the origins of car companies all around us. Migration is the norm.

Nissan–Military trucks
Toyota–Automated looms
Subaru–Aircraft
Lamborghini–Farm tractors
Honda–Piston rings and aircraft propellors
BMW–Motorcycles
Porsche–Consultant on VW’s original Beetle project
VW–Auto supplier to the Third Reich
Jeep–Military Transport
Ferrari–Manager for Alfa Romeo race cars
Jaguar–Motorcycle sidecars
Peugeot–Coffee, salt and pepper grinders

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Ho-hum. Just another shocker.

TeslaMondo is writing this in full hermit mode, having read ZERO reactions from anyone else.

You’ve got a brain ache right now? That’s a good sign. It means Tesla is still Tesla. Like a good college professor, Musk knows how to stoke the imagination. Thank you for this cranial workout.

Looks like everyone was a little bit right. Car-sharing is a go. Solar integration is a go. Autonomy inevitable. But nobody predicted Tesla would so brazenly move into “semi” or “bus” territory. That’s probably because there’s no sexy side to those markets. They’re all gritty and dirty-like. But it’s exciting to hear that Tesla will apply first-principles reasoning in a quest to, oh, reinvent ground transport. Of course, the English language might not suit the products on Tesla’s whiteboards. The word “semi” evokes images that likely lead us far astray.

A Tesla pickup truck, eh? TeslaMondo no gusta. Thank goodness it’s a “different kind” of pickup, but still, that’s a fickle-as-hell segment for Tesla to chance. If starting a car company is idiotic, and an electric car company is idiocy squared, then an electric pickup is idiocy cubed, at least for now. The company isn’t financially robust enough to soak up a flop, or even a moderate disappointment. In other words, a Toyota Tundra. More about this subject here.

Full autonomy to include sleeping in your car, eh? Only until you’re jolted awake by a collision with a dumb ol’ Toyota Mr2 Spyder registered to TeslaMondo. But seriously, until the entire fleet is equally smart, you’ll have to nap with one eye open.

No apparent need for a cheaper vehicle than Model III — contrary to what Musk said just three months ago about a Gen IV car? Interesting. Model III will probably generate rental income for the owner, he says now. So Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley was onto something with his loaded questions during Tesla conference calls. He’s undoubtedly smiling right now.

And we all should be smiling. Ground transportation might see more innovation in the next decade than in the past century. Why didn’t Musk write those words? Speaking of Musk, how much of this master plan will he personally oversee as CEO? And speaking of words, did he really write MP Deux while listening to 2Pac Shakur? That’s quite a hindrance. Everyone knows it’s Flava Flav who really gets the verbiage flowin’. If only Melania Trump had called him, maybe she would have come off sounding brain-knowledgeably wizzy.

Robin shocked TeslaMondo

“What? Nothing about motorcycles at all? We need a better browser, Batman.”

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Master Plan should withhold some cards

Everyone in the world is waiting for part II of Tesla’s master plan.
Rival automakers are in the world.
Ergo, rival automakers are waiting for part II of Tesla’s master plan.

TeslaMondo thinks Tesla is weighing just how much product info to reveal and how much to conceal.

Prepare to be enticed, but not satiated. In other words, teased.

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Tesla may disrupt pop culture too

Apparently we’re going to learn part II of Tesla’s master plan late today or early tomorrow, following a SpaceX launch. Seems likely that Tesla will outline a plot to remove fossil fuels from personal transport and household power. It’s about time. We’ve been feeling guilty about our mishandling of the earth for quite some time now, as reflected in movies about pollution coming back to bite us, literally.

A few decades ago, a Japanese Smog Monster sucked fumes from smokestacks to make itself bigger and stronger, until Godzilla, born of atomic radiation, killed it using his atomic breath. Everything was “atomic” back then, a reaction to real-world use of atomic bombs. Atomic ants attacked us in Them!. But radiation and related hocus-pocus aren’t all bad. Spider-Man got his powers from a radioactive spider bite. Captain America got his mojo from radiation too. Dr. Bruce Banner was pelted by gamma rays and turned in to The Hulk.

Moving on to “mutants,” we could spend all day cataloging mutant creatures that threatened humanity. Poor sanitation management led to a giant Alligator living in our sewer system. Forest pollution led to a mutant bear in Prophecy. Toxic waste created Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers (C.H.U.D.) More recently, The Host shows us what happens when formaldehyde is dumped into the ocean. You get a big, ugly fish. But even mutation has an upside, like the Ninja Turtles and X-Men. And remember Toxic Avenger? He derived his strength from being tossed into a vat of toxic waste.

Say, weighing the good against the bad, it seems that mishandling the earth, though troubling, is vital to pop culture. Maybe Tesla should be stopped before it ruins not only the dangerous thrill of driving an unconnected car, but also the dangerous thrill of destroying “the ecology.” Remember that term?

So how can we stop Tesla before it’s too late? Send Musk et al on a hiking trip. They’ll never come back. Ozone depletion has made the animals loco enough to attack and eat people willy-nilly. Don’t you remember Day of the Animals? Or we could send them on a wintry expedition to Alaska, where fossil fuel ghosts attack humans as payback for oil drilling. No joke. Haven’t you seen The Last Winter?

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.24.49 AM

No air pollution means no Smog Monster. That’s no fun!

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Wanna play “fill in the blank”?

As foreshadowed here, Tesla has quietly consolidated its web presence. Teslamotors.com now links to Tesla.com, instead of the other way around. Also, the company’s mission statement is now about sustainable “energy,” not just “transport.”

With this in mind, Tesla’s main page has a parking spot for a bright, sunny, two-syllable word starting with “S.”

Tesla.com restructure TeslaMondo

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Cost of complacency going way up

The NHTSA is about to whack ICE automakers with much steeper fines for missing CAFE standards. With very short notice, the fines will almost triple starting next month. A mere speeding ticket? Not anymore. Peddling uncouth cars that drink too much and fart too much is becoming ugly indeed. Look for more automaker epiphanies about an all-electric future, now that the Status Quo Stinky is getting too expensive. Eureka! Tesla had it right all along.

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