The 60 Minutes transcript, unedited

All of this italicized material ended up on the cutting room floor, the rascals — but TeslaMondo has restored it.


Lesley Stahl: Here are some of the words written about you.

Elon Musk: It’s a lot of words! (LAUGH)

Lesley Stahl: –over this summer. Erratic, unstable, reckless, operatic.

Elon Musk: Operatic? Ah, that’s not bad, actually. Sometimes I wear a dress and perform the Habenera from Carmen.

Lesley Stahl: Is that your favorite, you uncultured swine? I like Cursum Perficio.

Elon Musk: Never heard of it.

Lesley Stahl: It’s Enya.

Elon Musk: She’s considered opera?

Lesley Stahl: Well, she’s operatic.

Elon Musk: Bullshit, but no matter. What are you doing later today? We should get together and listen to some music. I’ll get on my dress and you can be Don Jose. And we’ll see what happens. I’m super-excited about plant-a-seed day.

Lesley Stahl: I’m not even going to ask what you’re talking about. You tweet a lot.

Elon Musk: That’s funny you should say that. I’ve always been nervous about hitting the high notes. Oh, Twitter? Well, I’m sleeping in the factory floor, soaked in stress. I’m stuck in a cage. My Twitter account is the caged bird singing. You’ve heard of that book, right, about why the caged bird sings?

Lesley Stahl: You want to sing for us? Go for it.

Elon Musk: Never mind. Obviously you haven’t read it.

Lesley Stahl: You use your tweeting to kind of get back at critics.

Elon Musk: Rarely.

Lesley Stahl: You kind of have little wars with the press.

Elon Musk: And I’ll have one with 60 Minutes if you mess up the editing. And don’t insert some revvy engine sound over Tesla footage like you did in 2014. Twitter’s a war zone. If somebody’s gonna jump in the warzone, it’s like, “Okay, you’re in the arena. Let’s go!”

His warzone tweeting drew fire when out of the blue in August he tweeted, quote: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” The SEC disputed that claim and charged him with securities fraud. The case was settled with Musk agreeing that his “communications relating to the company… including… Twitter” would be overseen by his board.

Lesley Stahl: Have you had any of your tweets censored since the settlement?

Elon Musk: No.

Lesley Stahl: None? Does someone have to read them before they go out?

Elon Musk: No. But this talk about rebellion is getting me super-excited about plant-a-seed day.

Lesley Stahl: Stop it. So your tweets are not supervised?

Elon Musk: The only tweets that would have to be say reviewed would be if a tweet had a probability of causing a movement in the stock. And since the stock market is now hyper-reactive and computerized to the point where one ill-advised word like “secured” can make billions of dollars go sloshing around, that means every tweet.

Lesley Stahl: And that’s it?

Elon Musk: Yeah, I mean otherwise it’s, “Hello, First Amendment.” Like freedom of speech is fundamental.

Lesley Stahl: But how do they know if it’s going to move the market if they’re not reading all of them before you send them?

Elon Musk: Well, I guess we might make some mistakes.  Who knows?

Lesley Stahl: Are you serious?

Elon Musk: Nobody’s perfect.

Lesley Stahl: Look at you. I’m still trying to picture you in a dress. Do you shave your legs?

Elon Musk: I want to be clear. I do not respect the SEC. I do not respect them.

Lesley Stahl: I’d ask why not, but this is 21st-century journalism. We skip the crucial questions. But you’re abiding by the settlement, aren’t you?

Elon Musk: Because I respect the justice system.

Abiding also meant he had to relinquish his position as chairman of the Tesla board. He’s been replaced by board member Robyn Denholm.

Lesley Stahl: Did you handpick her?

Elon Musk: Yes. She helps me with jewelry and makeup on concert nights.

Lesley Stahl: The impression was that she was put in to kind of watch over you.

Elon Musk: Yeah, I mean that’s not realistic. I mean I’m the largest–

Lesley Stahl: Like a babysitter–

Elon Musk: I’m super-excited about plant-a-seed day.

Lesley Stahl: Stop it. I’m blushing under this quarter-inch layer of ghostly makeup on my face. So do you think you’ll want to go back to being– to being chair?

Elon Musk: No, I don’t think — I actually just prefer to have no titles at all, besides diva, on concert nights.

With or without titles, there’s something larger than life about Elon Musk. He has a cult following. One of Silicon Valley’s most successful and versatile entrepreneurs, he has, beyond cars, built powerful rockets with reusable boosters, this one launched a record 64 satellites into orbit. He’s digging a tunnel deep underground to deal with traffic congestion. And in each case, he started a company.

Lesley Stahl: Did you have a lot of money? Did your family give you a lot of money to start all of this?

Elon Musk: Yes, but I spent it on voice lessons before I left. So the real answer is No.

Lesley Stahl: You grew up in South Africa.

Elon Musk: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah.

Elon Musk: Yeah.

Lesley Stahl: Yeah what?

Elon Musk: You said yeah.

Lesley Stahl: No, you said it.

Elon Musk: No, I said yes.

Lesley Stahl: What’s the difference?

Elon Musk: Yeah means there’s more to it.

Lesley Stahl: I was hoping you’d talk about what it’s like there, but I don’t want to ask because I don’t know enough about South Africa to ask any smart questions.

Elon Musk: I left when I was 17, by myself. I had a backpack of clothes and a suitcase of books. And that’s it. Well, and lipstick.

Musk was a champion of automation. So his original assembly lines were full of robots. But the robots kept breaking down. Walk along this new line in the tent, and all you see are, well, humans. He tweeted: “Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.”

Elon Musk: People are way better at dealing with unexpected circumstances than robots. Although humans bitch and moan according to UAW script. Robots don’t have unions. Although, in the future, they might. That’s when I’m quitting to join the New York Philharmonic.

Musk diva

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D-Day in Europe coming in February

D-Day!D-Day in WWII was a success, albeit a bloody one, due to sheer volume. At least that’s the narrative. “The Axis powers ran out of bullets before the Allies ran out of bodies.”

That’s baloney. The invasion of Normandy might have failed if it weren’t for three years of quiet, behind-the-scenes smarts. Did you know the Allies had deployed a massive decoy army of 1,100 men? This “ghost army” planted hundreds of inflatable rubber tanks to confuse Axis air spotters. It carried on scripted conversations about phony invasion plans, knowing the bad guys would hear it all. It recorded sounds of bridges being built and artillery being loaded, all phony, and blasted that soundtrack using cutting-edge “boomboxes” into a 15-mile radius. The ghost army went to European coffee shops and talked loose about phony strategies — the 1940s equivalent of social media trolling. Historians figure the ghost army saved tens of thousands of lives by diverting some of Hitler’s army to phony hotpoints.

The other under-appreciated part of D-Day was the spontaneous, on-the-fly thinking. At first, the Allies were getting mowed down as soon as they hit the sand — if they could even get to the sand. Thousands drowned. The Allies were discovering too late that the preceding air attacks had missed the enemy fortifications on the hills. The cloud cover had thrown the pilots off by just three seconds, so the bombs went too far inland and blew up some cows.

Seeing the carnage on the beach, Allied destroyers defied orders by steering directly into the melee, risking running aground, and firing point-blank into the dug-in enemy artillery “pillboxes” on the cliffs. See ya. This unscripted move let the ground troops establish a beachhead and move inland.

Tesla’s takeover of Europe in February will also be seen as a crude Model 3 volume invasion, but we’ll never know the years of headaches in the war room that made this vehicle possible. And we’ll know only about the assembly “tent” as a symbol of on-the-fly bravado. Doubtless there’s an entire book’s worth of brain-warping agony that has culminated in Tesla’s imminent move into enemy territory with this Panzer-killer.

H-Hour, whenever it comes, will be a historic moment for the red, white and blue. And it won’t involve a whole lot of enemy fire. Actually, none.

Mike Myers AMG

“Tesla’s market cap is bigger than Daimler’s? That schweinhund Musk!”

 

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My last day at the plant

I missed a company event yesterday because I chose to watch the birth of my child instead. So I’m walking on eggshells this morning as I punch the clock at the Tesla plant. Eggshells? No, as I bend down and look more closely, I see I’m walking through a shallow river of raw sewage flowing across the factory floor.

I duck into the locker room to change my soiled shoes and pants. I can hear muffled moaning. It’s coming from the showers. I peek around the corner. A bunch of black Tesla engineers are scrubbing the floor. They’ve got it easy. At least they have pants on. The white women are forced to scrub the floor wearing nothing but pink thongs every day except casual Fridays, when they’re totally naked.

Back on the floor, the factory seems a little giddy. Everyone is giggling. Of course! The food truck just came. That’s where everyone gets their daily pharma fix. Everyone is happy after the food truck visits, but the error rate goes way up. In fact, last week the piles of defective parts and punctured batteries blocked the food truck. See the vicious cycle?

Wait — I’m being called to the parking lot. That’s ominous. Yes — I knew it. They’ve set up an altar and Elon is putting on his hood. It’s time for a human sacrifice, and it’s me this time. So the recruiter was right when he said working for Tesla would require a bit of human sacrifice. I guess this is my comeuppance for missing that company event yesterday. Oh well. Time to punch out for the day. Or maybe it doesn’t matter at this point.

— This dramatization sponsored by the UAW, based on actual events

Anton Wahlman drains Tesla stores

Tesla’s retail stores have just seen an immediate 30-60 percent drop in foot traffic due to Anton Wahlman, a guy who gets published on financial websites because he’s been published on other financial websites. He is using his immense online credibility to set up his own chain of showrooms strategically located near Tesla’s busiest stores. Customers are flocking to Anton’s Awesome Autos to sample his brutal lineup of Tesla-killers:

  1. The Nissan NV-200 minivan
  2. The Audi A8 diesel
  3. The 2019 RAV4 Hybrid

 

Anton's Awesome Autos

Anton’s Awesome Autos

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Tesla gets a tough lesson in entomology

Tesla products may flout physics, but biology is proving tougher to dismiss. The phylum arthropoda is showing it can stand up to Tesla and its mighty Tesla Torque.™

A few days back, a Tesla Model X piloted by Greg from the Wiggles thoughtlessly stepped on a Lamborghini Mint Leaf Beetle (chrysolina herbacea) owned and piloted by a granary weevil (sitophilus granarius) named Yianni Charalambous.

Squaring off against the Lambo

Preparing to crush chrysolina herbacea

Yianni Charalambous

Yianni Charalambous

But Yianni quickly opened his garage and dispatched a scurrying Lamborghini Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle (cicindela sexguttata) to avenge that loss by skillfully employing its six-legged propulsion system and power-to-weight ratio to defeat the Model X.

Lamborghini Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Lamborghini Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Greg Page, innocent victim

Greg is always a good sport, and his teeth match his shirt to boot.

But wait! Deep in a California cave, Tesla Laboratory is bio-engineering a very nasty, fleet-footed creature called the Tesla ACR (American cockroach roadster). So this ain’t over, not by a longshot. Everyone knows this bug show ain’t over till the fat castor bean tick (ixodesricinus) sings.

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Model S won’t see a second generation

Criswell predicts TeslaMondoTwo summers ago, Criswell suspected the Model S would enjoy an unfairly long shelf life without a “redesign” or even a significant “refresh.”

  • Redesign — When Big Auto spends a lot of money to update a product.
  • Refresh — When Big Auto spends a little money to feign a redesign.

That’s because the Model S has developed into a far better creature thanks to Tesla’s engineering kaizen and OTA update regimen. It’s not the same car that debuted six years ago, period. Not even close. So it’s fresh where it counts.

Yet the car hasn’t changed visually since birth, besides the schnoz. How long can this sameness continue before boredom creeps in and affects sales? And what would a second-generation Model S look like?

There won’t be a second generation.

The current one will go on for a few more years and then die just as interest starts to wane. Tesla can jettison its big sedan and pare its core lineup to the 3, X and Y without losing many, if any, customers. You want something more airy than the 3? Get the Model Y. You want something bigger still? Get an X. You don’t want the SUV profile? Maybe not this year, but you’re more easily persuaded with every passing year. Criswell knows this about you. Right now an SUV might seem like a sedan hampered by tallness. But five years from now, a sedan will seem like an SUV hampered by flatness.

The only problem with this strategy is the falcon wing doors. Some people don’t like them. They’re too fickle. They’re too showy. They preclude a roof rack. So Criswell hereby predicts that a second-generation Model X, with normal doors, will bow within five years and will negate the need for a second-generation Model S.

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Tesla brings love to an unloved segment

First sedan on Earth

See? Even the very first sedan drivers were miserable.

The word “sedan” is a variant of “seat,” and it traces back to that hand-carried thing in the picture. It had some pretty humble specs.

  • HP — almost
  • Torque — grounds for termination
  • Powerplant — dual motor
  • Turing circle — four-wheel steering, so pretty good
  • Acceleration — yes
  • Drag coefficient — moot due to velocity deficit
  • Suspension — height-adjustable, independent, lateral arms
  • Fuel type — pasta e fagioli and vino mixture
  • Road-holding, lateral Gs — performance rubber a must
  • Exhaust — dual

Skipping ahead a bit, the sedan evolved into a mainstay of automotive transportation. But now Ford says there’s an unmistakable change in the “silhouette” of the typical car, and so it’s ditching sedans entirely in the next few years. Fiat-Chrysler scrapped its Dart and 200 a few years back. It was a bold call.

Here’s a “then and now” of parking lots. Draw your own conclusions about whether the silhouette is really changing:

 

Then

 

 

 

Now

 

 

Actually, never mind your conclusions. It’s obvious that non-sedans are taking over. And remaining sedans are getting taller under peer pressure.

What does this have to do with Tesla? This is the wrong time for the debutante Model 3 to don its evening gown and make its appearance atop the ballroom staircase. It has a trunk? Ewwww! It should be pelted with tomatoes. And yet it’s hailed as the iPhone of cars. People wait in line to see it. It’s devouring market share from premium brands and unwashed brands alike. Frugal people who planned to hang onto their decade-old Civics for another decade are suddenly throwing in the towel and spending much more than they ever thought they’d spend on a car — just to have this sedan.

What does this mean? Three things:

  1. Tesla has built a very strong brand. Strong enough to violate trends.
  2. Lots of people can get by just fine with a sedan, regardless of their flimsy rationale to drive anything but a sedan. “Gotta haul people and cargo, and gotta handle all kinds of terrain.” Bullshit. When gas prices spike, suddenly a Corolla suits them just fine. Their adventurous lifestyle fits in a duffel bag. A really compelling sedan is having the same sobering effect, forcing people to re-think what they really need.
  3. Model Y won’t have to overcome a trend. A headwind will become a tailwind. TeslaMondo thinks Model Y will eventually become a serious rival to Toyota’s Recreational Activity Vehicle with Four Wheel Drive and Honda’s Compact Recreational Vehicle, also known as Comfortable Runabout Vehicle, even with Model Y’s higher price tag and profit margin.
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Pardon that brief intermission

The last post, a rhapsody about Tesla cranking out the $35k car, turned out to be premature. The company wasn’t financially ready for that car yet. More than a year later, the “affordable Tesla” is finally edging toward the on-deck circle.

Stuck with a post about an imminent car that wasn’t imminent, TeslaMondo had two choices:

  1. Modify or delete the post to reflect reality, and then continue writing more articles as if no misstep had happened. That would have been the easy route. Too easy.
  2. Freeze the site and wait for reality to catch up to the post. Only an utter shmegegge would entertain that option. Perfect!

So TeslaMondo has been quietly observing the game from the bleachers this whole time, watching as Tesla’s dirty opponents, their bookies, their beholden cheering squads and a posse of crooked referees try to disallow a Team Tesla victory in Model 3 and profitability. The default metaphor is “moving the goalposts,” but that doesn’t capture the desperation of these nincompoops. They’ve installed a row of exact-change-only tollbooths at the goal line. And they’ve covered the end zone with a tarp that makes it look like more gridiron to conquer. So a Tesla touchdown, like, totally can’t happen.

  • Model 3 backlog is swelling? Tesla has no supply.
  • The backlog is shrinking? Tesla has no demand.
  • Production hits 2,500k/week? A fluke.
  • Production hits 4k/week? Another fluke.
  • Tesla becomes profitable in 2018? Another fluke.
  • And if this stuff isn’t a fluke? Then the company is doomed.
  • Tesla is stealing customers from the Germans? Only until the Germans catch up.
  • The Germans aren’t catching up? The Japanese are.
  • The Japanese aren’t? The Americans are.
  • The Americans aren’t? The Chinese are.
  • The Chinese aren’t? The FBI is.

And so Tesla will never get a cheer even in victory, and even on home turf. The crowd is stacked. This is why Musk can employ dirty tactics, such as jolting the stock market to rattle short sellers, without looking like a bully. This isn’t a mere game. It’s a dirty theater of war with no rules of engagement, and everyone knows it.


Let’s check in on TeslaMondo’s cast of characters. It’s been a while.

Darth Dieter TeslaMondo

Darth Dieter is stepping down as Daimler CEO next spring. He’s open to another duet with Tesla, like the plug-in Smart and Benz cars of yesteryear. But at this point, what could Tesla possibly gain from collaborating with anyone?

Marchionne Godfather TeslaMondo

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, died this summer. While other Big Auto CEOs tried to belittle Tesla, Sergio gave credit to Elon Musk. He also begged everyone not to buy his compliance car, the electric Fiat 500. So he was honest, at least.

count-carlos-teslamondo

A couple years ago, Nissan chief Count Carlos surveyed the walls of his castle and laughed at the notion of a raid. “I know the media love to say we have a new superman coming here, and it’s going to make all of you look like dinosaurs,” Ghosn said. “But, frankly, the likelihood that this is going to happen in our industry, in my opinion, is very limited.” Musk would be the first to agree. Yet it’s happening. UPDATE: Count Carlos is a crook.

Diesel Weasel TeslaMondo

Germany’s diesel weasel scandal culminated with Audi’s CEO going to jail. But nobody knows or cares. This is the car business. A rap sheet comes with the territory.

max-headroom-bob-lutz

The climax of his multi-year Tesla Sux media tour came late September, when he said Tesla was headed for the graveyard. A month later, Tesla’s Q3 results proved it’s hardly moribund, while reinforcing the suspicion that Lutz and his old-school mindset are exactly that.

 

Faraday Future breaking ground

Speaking of moribund, here’s Faraday Future digging its own grave along with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who somehow missed the ground with his shovel. He also missed the abundant clues that this company consisted of boring people who could never break into a padlocked industry like autos. It’s now common knowledge that a successful auto startup in the 21st century must be led by an insomniac, manic-depressive, verbally abusive, sociopathic, megalomaniacal, narcissistic, schizophrenic, substance-abusing, autistic savant who whips up brilliant products in between bouts of head-butting a wall and kicking a cat.

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Applauding the Model III scoffathon winners

Now that we’re about to cross the finish line of Tesla’s first master plan, this also marks the end of the Model III Scoffathon. Let’s pause and reflect on the sage words of various experts who flashed their credentials and then swore up and down that Tesla would never get here, to the high-volume $35k car. Sure, the car hasn’t materialized in volume quite yet, but we’re on the home stretch.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.15.59 AM

He speaks at events, you know.

Sept, 2014: Battery expert issues “sobering” report. Wanna talk credentials? This guy, Dr. Menahem Anderman, sure has ’em. He’s the chairman of AABC, which stands for Advanced Automotive Battery Conferences. It has a logo and stuff, so if you’ve never heard of it, you must be out to lunch. Anyway, the sobering report says Model III will start at $50,000, PERIOD. So a round of applause for Dr. Anderman as he crosses the finish line. This guy is a battery consultant, you know. His client list contains about every automaker except Tesla. But he’ll sell you his report on Tesla’s batteries for $2,800, the rascal.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.21.44 AM

April, 2014: Harvard Business School guy says Tesla “won’t be able to scale.” Again, check those creds. This is hah-vid we’re talking about. So why can’t Tesla scale? Because it lacks the money, clout and experience required to drive down pricing far enough to make Model III hit the tipping point. Round of applause as Tom Bartman, billed as “a member of the Forum for Growth and Innovation, a Harvard Business School think tank studying disruptive innovation,” crosses the finish line. His LinkedIn page is stuffed with Tesla knocks to boot.

max-headroom-bob-lutzFeb. 2, 2014: Bob Lutz goes on his ill-will campaign. Tesla can’t make money on Model III, but can’t afford to lose money on it like a big automaker could, so Tesla is finished. TeslaMondo has chronicled Lutz’s frustrating brushes with EV greatness. He’s the game show contestant who hits the buzzer first but then botches the answer, over and over, while Musk keeps racking up the points. It’s enough to make a man froth at the mouth.

May 18, 2014: Wall St. Journal rounds up battery experts to sweat n’ fret the Gigafactory.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 6.57.37 AM

That stuff in the background means this guy knows what he’s talking about.

K.M. Abraham is a research professor at the Northeastern University Center for Renewable Energy Technology, has worked for 30 years on lithium battery technology, was one of the first to demonstrate rechargeable lithium batteries and invented next-generation lithium air batteries. He also has a battery consulting company called E-KEM Sciences.

 

“I don’t see how they can reduce the cost more than 20%. They are dependent on the whole battery community. We are already reaching the limit on the energy density you can get in the lithium-ion battery. Next-generation chemistries, such as lithium air, are another 25 years away from commercialization.

“It won’t be as simple as it has been so far. We’ll need scientific discoveries in the electrode materials. Usually, from invention of battery materials to production it takes 15 to 20 years, and we haven’t invented it yet.

“As far as scale manufacturing, it’s an already perfected business; just doubling the world production wouldn’t get that much improvement per unit. The major producers in Korea, Japan, are using massive amounts of material already. And battery manufacturing is a very, very low-margin business at scale.

“And [the major producers] are integrated manufacturers, they can put their battery cells into portable consumer devices, and they can make up the price there.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.04.01 AM

He died a few months ago, so he never did see the Model III launch.

Peter Wells is a professor of business and sustainability with a focus on the global automotive industry at Cardiff Business School’s Centre for Automotive Industry Research, in Wales.

“Tesla is taking advantage of the moment to make an enormous roll of the dice.

“You rush into these things at your peril. The reason the car industry has been so conservative is that there are major concerns with safety, reliability, customer confidence. That’s the reason the industry has been very slow with adopting technologies.

“The danger there is if Tesla cannot make this work, the whole electric-vehicle sector will be set back a lot.

“But it could change the way we buy cars, we use cars, the revenue streams, the business models. In an industry that has hitherto been riddled by conservatism, this is a disruptive idea.

“There’s a lot of cost that can be taken out at larger scales of battery manufacturing. But it’s all about the capacity utilization. A battery plant that’s not running will cost you a fortune.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.06.50 AM

Here’s looking (askance) at you, kid.

Bill Reinert was national manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s advanced-technology group from 1990 to 2013. He co-led the U.S. product-planning team for the second-generation Prius and worked on several advanced hybrid electric products, direct hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrid concepts, among others.

“We didn’t anticipate Prius would sell like it did. There was at least a year or more where we couldn’t increase sales because not just the battery but a whole host of other parts couldn’t be ramped up quickly enough.

“But the worst thing in the world you can do is plan for a high volume and not reach it. Then you’ve got all these factories that are idle, and all these workers who are idle, and all these parts that you ordered. It’s better to slowly add to production when you are making a profit than to shut down lines when you are losing money.

“Toyota can take a suspension they use on hundreds of thousands of cars and put it on a low-volume car. Volkswagen is the king of this. Tesla doesn’t have that ability. It has to be bespoke, built from the ground up.

“If I were in [Tesla Chief Executive Elon] Musk’s shoes, I’d be on a jet tomorrow to go to [battery makers] LG Chem, Panasonic, GS Yuasa, and telling them this is our long-term projection. But if [they couldn’t commit to meeting my needs], I wouldn’t be discussing this grand design, this mythical plant.

“What I would start out with would be bare-bones manufacturing and make sure that we are making as many of the product as we need.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 7.09.08 AM

Musk succeed where I failed? Impossible.

David Vieau served as chief executive of A123 Systems from 2002 to 2012. The company, which manufactured lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, power tools and utility grid applications, raised more than $1 billion in venture capital, public equity and government funds. In 2012, the company filed for bankruptcy, and its assets were acquired at auction by China-based Wanxiang Group.

“It was very clear back in 2008 that there would be in the long term a market for electrified vehicles. The question was, how long would it take to develop? It was also very clear that if left on its own, without some stimulus, it would take quite a long time.

“The difficult part is if you get out in front of demand and the industry just doesn’t make it. It could be a tremendous success in five years, but if you are caught with a factory at the wrong time, that’s where the obituary comes in.

“What [Tesla] is saying is that they need the capacity. It’s unlikely their suppliers are going to take the risk. They are going to have to take it themselves. The risk associated with their growth will be theirs.”

And bringing up the rear, in a swirl of dust, arms and legs, is the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. He never entered the Model III Scoffathon, but only because wildlife can’t conceive of such things.

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Daimler recall is a double-shot of “duh”

Diesel Weasel TeslaMondo

The company now looks super-stupid thanks to its massive diesel recall.

  1. It’s basically admitting it tried to defraud regulators, just like fellow diesel weasels VW and FCA. Chalk up a another demerit for “clean” diesel tech, and for ICEs in general.
  2. And, of course, Daimler can’t fix anything with an elegant over-the-air update like you-know-who. It has to drag millions of customers into its service centers for software updates. It’s another free advertisement for Tesla.

So in one recall action, Daimler has doubly dumbed-down itself in the public mind. Then again, the public is so scandal-fatigued that nobody cares anymore. “They’re all scumbags.” A fitting dismissal.

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