Faraday Future is Finally Futureless

The Nevada factory isn’t going to happen. The company itself isn’t going to happen either. Why? Because it never had a clear focus. If you have 1:28:47 to kill, go ahead and watch FF’s big ceremonial launch at the would-be Nevada factory site. Better yet, don’t watch. Turn down the brightness on your screen and just listen. Do you hear anything — even one sentence — that actually means anything?

By the way, Faraday Future didn’t bother trimming away the first 33 minutes of the video, which consist of dead air. To boot, the company shut down the comments section so it can’t hear feedback from viewers. Feedback such as, “Ever heard of editing?”

Toyota still snug in its “ICE” castle

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Count Carlos

Last fall, Count Carlos over at Nissan surveyed his moat and laughed at the notion of an invasion. “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. But frankly, the likelihood that this is going to happen in our industry, in my opinion, is very limited.”

Well, now Toyota’s Jim Lentz is proclaiming much the same thing from the walls of his castle. Here’s what he just told The Street:

“At gas at less than $2 a gallon, no [I’m not worried]. I think [the Model 3] is going to be great but today less than half of one percent of the industry are pure electric vehicles.” Lentz is also fond of Volvo’s move to compete with Tesla and offer an electric version on its portfolio of cars. “I think it’s a good move on their part,” Lentz added. “I think [Volvo] sells about 100,000 [vehicles] here in the U.S, – we sell about 2.5 million here in the U.S. When you have a much smaller portfolio of product, it allows you to concentrate in a much smaller niche of the marketplace.” 

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Jim Lentz

Let’s look more carefully:

Cheap gas, eh Jim? Don’t get TeslaMondo started on this subject. Cheap gas is obviously not a hindrance for Tesla, because it primarily sells excitement. Lentz is grasping.

The “N” word, eh Jim? If Lentz is unaware of the Model III’s niche-busting order bank, he’s aloof. If he’s pretending to be unaware, that’s even worse. And if he’s never heard of the Prius, the biggest automotive niche-buster of all time, then The Street must have interviewed a Jim Lentz clone from another planet.

Let’s contrast Nissan’s and Toyota’s hand-wave with BMW’s recent alarmism. The company showed its employees a horror film of sorts, with Musk as the monster — an attempt to shock them out of complacency.

Musk at window TeslaMondo

The odds are very high that behind their fortified castle doors, Toyota and Nissan are NOT in a state of blissful myopia. They’re every bit as rattled as BMW and hear the same scratching at their windows. Nissan resorted to tapping people on the shoulder — people waiting in line for a Model III — and trying to sell them a Leaf. BMW did the same.

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Toyota should try it too. It’s losing a lot of would-be Prius customers, at least, to the Model III. TeslaMondo talks to car buyers every day, so don’t attempt to argue. The brand new plug-in Prius Prime, billed as the most advanced Prius ever, isn’t moving the needle whatsoever. According to Edmunds.com, it has $3,000 on the hood in some markets, same as the lame duck, soon-to-be-replaced, all-but-forgotten 2017 Camry.

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So, about Los Angeles

While vacationing in LA, TeslaMondo was so unconcerned about the TSLA selloff, and so unintrigued by the anticlimactic* Model III kickoff, that both warrant no more than this single sentence.

So let’s chat about LA. Unfamiliar experiences make life worth living, yes? Here’s what, say, an East Coaster may find unfamiliar in LA:

  1. Sometimes back east, if you want fresh air, you open the windows. Sometimes in LA, you close them.
  2. Back east, when you go to Pizza Hut to pick up your order, you simply walk through the door, state your name, take your food and pay the clerk. At the Pizza Hut on West Temple St. in Silver Lake, it’s a little different. You wait behind a wall of bulletproof glass, yell your name, wait for the guy to slide your food under the bulletproof wall via a bulletproof tray, then you slide your credit card back to him. Sounds like a rough city, right?
  3. Yet a short drive away, on Rodeo Drive, you’ll become so sick of seeing Bentleys, Lambos and Aston Martins that you’ll start taking pics of the interesting fire hydrants instead.IMG_7428
  4. Back to Silver Lake for a second. Can anyone explain why McDonald’s would have daily market pricing for oatmeal? McDonald’s is several steps removed from the oat harvest.IMG_7405
  5. Back to Rodeo Drive. You’ll spend more than a few seconds per day looking directly at women’s** nipples. That’s for two reasons. First, because bras aren’t quite the staple they are back east. And second, because female tallness isn’t awkward like it is back east. In fact, tallish women in LA use strategic footwear to make themselves even taller. So, in fact, you’re staring right at ’em. Sorry, no pics.
  6. Why? How? Here’s some typical Doug fare.IMG_7245
  7. Back east, in Times Square especially, hawkers try to hand out pamphlets about restaurants or comedy clubs. On Hollywood Boulevard, hawkers try to hand out CDs of their own performances. Other examples of self-promotion abound.IMG_7285
  8. In LA you’ll see very old car models that the East Coast has totally forgotten. Some are quaint. Others just ain’t.IMG_7339
  9. But the most unfamiliar experience is seeing this phrase painted on every single exotic car you encounter:

If you ask around, you’ll find it’s a reference to the fact that the quiet new guy in town makes all of ’em seem slightly, but notably, bygone.

 

*We’ve learned much more from man-in-the-street pics than from Tesla’s official images.

**Gender in LA falls on a spectrum, so TeslaMondo is really just referring to unspecified humanoid nipples.

A visit to car cuckooland

TeslaMondo is heading to LA, the very seat of hedonism, for a week of auto-erotic exploration. With minimal soreness, one hopes.

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This retro-tastic pic has nothing to do with LA — or does it?

Let’s see Porsche put a spin on this

Isn’t it splendid when a video ends with a twist?

Sprockets! BMW

“Gott sei Dank war es nicht uns.”

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?

Supercharger-sharing talks sound tasty

If Tesla is talking to other automakers about letting them piggyback on Uncle Elon and his Supercharger network — a romantic subplot for many years now — this strikes TeslaMondo as a chance to flesh-out EV adoption with minimal risk to Tesla’s pole position. The more automakers collaborate on EV infrastructure, the lighter the burden for Tesla. But will auto CEOs find a way to save face while riding on Uncle Elon? TeslaMondo thinks the Dieters and Akios of the world will NOT want their cars using Tesla-branded Superchargers. But change the familiar shape, and get rid of the Tesla logo, and now we’re talkin.’

One automaker shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of EV infrastructure buildout, depicted by Breyers ice cream below. See what’s happening to the little pie? That’s Tesla’s cash oozing out.

Tesla pie chart 2 TeslaMondo

BEFORE

Tesla pie chart 3

AFTER

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Tesla drops “pre-owned” just as customers were starting to own the term

Tesla’s abandonment of the term “pre-owned” comes just as you, the consumer, were starting to adopt it. It’s true. TeslaMondo talks to car customers every day. Why would you adopt such a silly euphemism? Because you don’t like the term “used” any more than car dealers do. “Used” sounds worn out at best. At worst? Contaminated.

You fear contamination. Observe yourself when you go food shopping. You park your car, walk past several available shopping carts in the parking lot, and then grab a cart that’s just inside the door. Why would you walk right past perfectly good shopping carts in the parking lot? Because they’re potentially contaminated. They might have food smeared on them. Or bodily fluids. Or some super-contagious skin disease.

But the carts inside the door have been moved by a store employee who conducts some sort of decontamination process before clearing carts for re-use. That’s what your subconscious sells you, and you actually buy it because you’re a total flake.

If you have a few hours to kill, here’s an exhaustive study on “consumer contamination.” It covers many scenarios where you subconsciously avoid “used” merchandise, or even perfectly unused merchandise that’s simply displayed too close to something like kitty litter.

Cooties!

So congrats, Tesla, for challenging the car-biz lexicon. But euphemisms like “pre-owned” exist for good reason. The word “used” is icky. If you’re going to sully your products with that term, at least make sure your used Teslas have no radio stations pre-set, no NAV destinations saved, no Bluetooth devices linked and no parking decals stuck to the windows. All are sickening signs of being previously-enjoyed. Uh, pre-owned. Uh, used.

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