Category Archives: TSLA

TeslaMondo drops Amazon. It’s scary.

Amazon is drinking the blood of stores that many of us grew up with and kind of like. Granted, we don’t like them enough to continue doing business there despite Amazon, but still, Amazon will eventually face a backlash for erasing so much of our childhoods and making it hard for anyone else to sell us anything.

In a few years, if this company isn’t reined in, you’ll have no reason to leave the house to acquire anything. That sounds fine, you say? Well, America is becoming socially inept, cynical, obese, diabetic and depressed. Kids don’t leave the house because their parents corral them too much, and parents corral themselves too much. We’re becoming Amazombies. Why leave the house when an electronic wafer can manage all interaction with the outside world? Why move when you can make stuff move to you? Inertia for the win! Wait, someone is coming up the front steps.

Ding-dong. That must be the Amazon paint for upstairs. Too bad for the Ben Moore guy down the street.

Ding-dong. That must be the Amazon bark mulch. Too bad for the nursery down the street.

Ding-dong. That must be Rent-A-Rocco, Amazon’s home hair stylist. Too bad for the Rocco down the street.

Maybe Amazon will never face a backlash. Maybe TeslaMondo will miss out on a fortune by sticking with crummy ol’ Tesla and Nvidia instead of Amazon. Decisions, decisions. Where’s a therapist when you need one?

Ding-dong. That must be Amazon’s home shrink service. So quickly? How did Amazon know to send her? Guess that’s a question for Neuralink. They must have hooked up with ShrinkLink, the rascals.

So TeslaMondo prefers the status quo in shopping — mabye even the status quo ante, before the cell phone. Nowadays, if you need sales help at Kohl’s, you need to leave the store and go around to the receiving door, near the dumpster. The employees hang around back there, smoking and texting. Or maybe they’re not texting. Maybe they’re ordering stuff from Amazon.

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Copy and paste. Another Tesla first.

Gas engines aren’t known for their connectivity to each other. Sure, Bugatti managed to hook up two ICEs for the Veyron. But overall, ICEs aren’t easily linked. They’re not modular. They’re not Legos.

But Tesla’s products are indeed Legos. Note the company’s E.Z. copy-and-paste stationary battery installations. This simple modularity will underpin the Tesla Semi (and the pickup). It’s just a multiplication of the existing Tesla powertrain. Take your basic quarter pounder, stack a few of them, and you’ve got an instant heart attack for Big Oil.

It’s funny how sophisticated stuff can be so simple. Isn’t that right, Steve Jobs, wherever you are?

This is no season for cocoon cars

Spyder TeslaMondo

If you read this paraphrased interview with Franz von Holzhausen, you’ll just know that Tesla is plotting a Roadster revival for sure. That’s important, for the one thing missing from the Tesla experience is sensory stimulation — with the exception of g-force.

It’s times like these, warm n’ sunny, when a no-tech throwback like our in-house Mr2 Spyder offers a full-range sensory experience that no Tesla approach.

Sight: With the top down, nothing comes between your head and the world. Tesla can put you in a glass bubble with a nice sky view, but it’s not open air, and the vista is interrupted by pillars n’ stuff. You want 180 degrees of big sky? Not even the Tesla Roadster offered it, thanks to those big ol’ Lotus buttresses.

Sound: Would you rather listen to HD surround sound or a sewing machine behind your head, clacking construction equipment to your right, moaning lawnmowers somewhere left, chuckling crows above, vrapping motorcycles in the background and a raspy delivery truck coming straight-on? Real-life cacophony for the win!

Taste: Even with plenty of A1 sauce on the Tesla and soy sauce on the Mr2, they both taste awful. Call it even.

Touch: You get physical with the Spyder. You dance with three pedals, manipulate a shifter, steer a hyper-reactive wheel and sometimes touch buttons. You also raise and lower the top, and turn the lights on and off. In some Teslas, you don’t even touch the door to get in. Then you flick a little lever and away you go. You might not touch the wheel for quite a while. When you do, there’s almost no feedback from the road. The controls live behind a glass screen. Tesla offers the last-tactile driving experience in automobiledom.

Smell: Tesla has a bioweapon defense system to make sure you don’t smell anything. The Mr2 has a bioweapon invitation system. If the Olds Aurora in front of you pukes blue smoke, you smell toasted oil, unfiltered. If the driver smokes, you smell that too. Dead skunk? You smell it. Live skunk? Maybe. Someone is cooking with curry? Probably. You’re passing by a swamp? Definitely. And at night you hear the spring peepers as a bonus. You REALLY hear them.

So the best EVs come up short in sensory stimulation. The gen II Tesla Roadster can’t arrive soon enough, for perhaps it will come close to matching the tangibility of a two-decade-old Toyota. Then again, for real transportation engagement, you’ll need to dial back to when mankind commandeered animals.

This girl totally gets it. Shame about the center of gravity, though. Welsh Corgi next time.

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Portfolio check

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Here’s the thought process:

TSLA: Model III and Tesla Semi will thrust shares well past $450 by the end of the year. Only a missile strike from North Korea or the UAW could prevent this. Even if Tesla has hiccups with Model III, it has built up enough good will that customers and investors will hang in there. TeslaMondo is worried, however, about Tesla’s preparedness for a massive recall in the next couple of years. The ratio of cars to service centers is already a little scary, and Model III isn’t out yet. Mobile rangers to the rescue? Hope so!

NVDA: TeslaMondo first bought into TSLA 48 hours before the short squeeze of 2013. TeslaMondo exited TSLA last summer and bought NVDA just before that erupted. Then, early this year, returned to Tesla in time for the Trump rally. Perfect! So why dip a toe back into NVDA now? Because a strong Q1 revitalized the story, erased its deficit for the year and is lifting it anew. This stock does have two problems — both irrelevant to the core story. First, there isn’t much mainstream news flow because the CEO doesn’t tweet much, and journalists struggle with hardcore tech anyway. So investors must rely on blogs, forums and a handful of analysts (ugh!) for sage input. And second, techie stocks tend to be volatile due to investor ignorance. When people don’t really understand their investments, they scare easily and overreact. To wit: Google’s new learning-capable cloud TPU caused quite a stir for about 48 hours until some key cognoscenti chimed in to assuage. What exactly is a learning-capable cloud TPU anyway? Exactly. If you adhere to the principle of investing only in what you truly understand, Nvidia is a bad choice for many. However, artificial intelligence is here to stay, and Nvidia is all over it. Uh, apparently.

AMZN: Amazon has cloud retail almost entirely to itself, and this secular trend isn’t waning — though, ironically, Amazon is opening its own physical stores. Next step is drugs. If Amazon finds a way to unscramble the scrambled eggs of pharma sales (health plans, physician refills, urgent situations, liability, all the agita that CVS deals with) the stock will leap despite its nearly four-figure share price. Speaking of that, when AMZN closes over $1,000, it will generate headlines. This in turn will attract new investors.

And so TeslaMondo is doing a little diversifying at the moment. This could change before the Model III final reveal. However, that reveal may prove anticlimactic. If Tesla continues its aggressive anti-selling program, the event will happen behind a dumpster in Compton with Vanilla Ice on the mike.

Why Musk is so “in” and Fields so “out”

Tesla’s irrational valuation and Mark Fields’ irrational ouster both stem from the same thing: decades of alienation between legacy automakers and the public. A lot of consumers consider big automakers boorish and auto dealers beyond boorish, but had nowhere to turn until lately. Tesla represents a long overdue agent of change in an industry considered padlocked to newcomers. Investors like the story.

Therefore, Musk sells a few cars and gets hoisted onto investors’ shoulders and marched around the stadium while Fields gets tarred and feathered in the parking lot for simply conducting business as usual. Business as usual is simply finished, especially auto business as usual. How Jim Hackett, a 62-year-old furniture design exec, will steer Ford through a sea change in mobility and leapfrog Musk et al remains to be seen.

TeslaMondo thinks the Fields ouster will lead to more shakeups as Big Auto struggles with the Tesla “drop in the bucket” that’s turning into a tsunami. It’s no accident that this is happening just as Model III debuts. The press may refer to spooky mobility overtures by Google and Apple, but those are still abstract. Tesla is concrete. BMW concurs.

Tesla is doing to autos what Amazon is doing to retail, for the same reasons. People generally don’t have a great time at retail stores. The layout sucks. The help sucks. The parking lot sucks. The elapsed time sucks. So they’re keen to ditch the whole scene and try “cloud retail.” Do you have a meaningful relationship with your insurance agent? Probably not, hence the advent of “cloud insurance” like GEICO, Progressive etc.  Tesla sells the closest thing you can get to a cloud car, and it’s going to get a lot “cloudier” when autonomous fleetism takes over.

Do you feel good about auto companies, despite their tendency to skirt recalls, sidestep warranty claims, fudge fuel economy, fudge emissions, retard fuel economy mandates and ignore longstanding problems like the Ford Focus transmission?

How about auto dealers? Do you feel good about them? If so, you’re strange.

Gallup TeslaMondo

So the industry’s figureheads deserve comeuppance for conducting business as usual, in terms of product mix and customer experience. It’s been a long time coming. Who should be next to go? How ’bout Sergio Marchionne, who begs everyone to avoid his electric Fiat compliance car, but will tinkle with glee if you buy a Jeep or a Heck Cat? Sounds like a CEO of the automotive past, not future. How about Akio Toyoda, who foolishly put his chips on fuel cells and hybrids and thereby set Toyota back almost a decade in cultivating the next-level EV tech that Tesla, a mere rookie, now defines.

If Fields is out, why are they still in?

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Ford’s past and, um, future?

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Tesla shows how to massage the media

This week Tesla made two very wise and timely maneuvers.

  1. The obligatory “we’re not worthy” comment. Musk feigned humility by saying Tesla has no right to deserve its valuation. (He also says Tesla will be worth as much as Apple, so whatever). But here’s the trick: He used the exact same wording he used years ago, when TSLA sold for $170. Anyone who listened to him missed an 80 percent run. Nobody is listening this time. So Musk comes off sounding all humble-like, without denting TSLA, by tacitly inviting everyone to ignore him like last time.
  2. The preemptive blog post about the UAW’s imminent media push. Sure enough, right on cue, out came the tales of woe from the factory floor. Investors reacted with a hand wave and bought more TSLA.

Regarding number 2:

Social media tend to ferret out the truth, often despite the Ruperts of the world. In fact, Tesla credited social media for correcting “misperceptions” during the Tesla fire scare a few years back. So if Tesla were running its factories like prison camps, it would struggle to attract bodies, especially young ones, yes? The company’s image would suffer, especially among the social media-savvy young, yes? Instead, Tesla job fairs cause crowd control problems. One was shut down by police. And Tesla’s brand stature among the young could not possibly get better, as multiple surveys attest. Tesla is also the number one stock owned by people aged 25 to 49. Would slave drivers achieve this status?

Tesla job fair Fremont 5-3-14 TeslaMondo

Tesla job fair on May 3, 2014 just before getting shut down.  Lambs to the slaughter? Doubt it.

TSLA bears overlooking Tesla’s utility

Billy Mays pitch

But wait — there’s more! Here are some search terms that landed people on TeslaMondo today. So Teslas have even more uses! Send pics!

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Tesla brand about to hit the roof*

If you read the responses to Musk’s solar roof tweet, you’ll see that some people think Tesla is talking car roofs, not house roofs. So Tesla is still just an automaker in much of the public mind. This will finally change starting today. Tesla will become a clean energy company, as investors have been chanting for over a year now.

It seems these Tesla roofs have the curb appeal of Tesla cars. If the roofs are stronger, prettier and better-insulating, and there’s at least some rationale for additional up-front cost, then solar roofs have already hit the tipping point, fresh out of the gate. We might witness a Model III-scale consumer response starting TODAY.

Ford and GM shareholders are growing grumpy about Tesla’s stock performance compared to their own, as recent headlines attest. Well, today that whole comparison may become apples to oranges at last.

UPDATE: Seems this will be the Model S of roofing: pricey, responsible, aspirational, durable and totally novel. As with Model S, initial chatter revolves around ROI, with Tesla’s mathematical rationale under intense scrutiny.

Will there be a Model III to follow?

*No more “roof” puns. That was the one and only.