Tag Archives: Tesla Semi

Tesla’s Master Plan contains dark matter

In a couple months, while everyone fusses about the Model III ramp, the Tesla Semi will rush from the shadows and shock us. Tesla’s vast commercial applications will suddenly tickle the brain more than the bland ol’ Model III ramp.

It’s tempting to say the Semi kicks off the second part of Tesla’s master plan, but the plan never mentions big rigs at all*. It never mentions the Roadster either. Yet we know both are coming. This means the master plan is like Loch Ness. It’s vast and inky. Big things could lurk within. Things as big as a city bus, or a school bus. BYD currently builds the former, and now Blue Bird has a contract for the latter.

What creatures lurk in Tesla’s Loch Ness Master Plan? Paging Mr. Nimoy . . .

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 12.43.11 AM

*Bullshit. Read the comments.

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Tesla semi, while totally novel, brings deja vu

We’ve been here before. The chatter about Tesla’s move into trucking echoes the chatter from Tesla’s early years almost verbatim. People are asking the same old questions: Where’s the market for this? How can Tesla build this, never mind scale this? How will people use this? How will Tesla service this? Where’s the infrastructure for this? How does the math work for this? What about the physics? Why hasn’t anyone else done this?

And, just like years ago, journalists and stock analysts and industry insiders have their arms folded and their heads a’ waggin’ back and forth. But not quite as much, you may have noticed.

That’s because the world is a different place now. Crazy stuff happens nowadays. Rockets make repeat launches. All wheel drive vehicles are more efficient than rear wheel drive. Electric cars are the fastest-accelerating production cars of any stripe. Giant factories are energy-neutral. Davey Inc. is worth more than Goliath Inc. In a kooky world like this, anything is possible, even a hot-selling electric semi.

Regarding a Tesla pickup, apparently warming up in the bullpen, here are two observations:

  • Tesla referred to this as a “different kind of pickup,” but that doesn’t mean anything. After all, Musk said Model III wouldn’t look like other cars, but it looks quite a bit like the Model S. So a “different” pickup might not be radically different. The Roadster, Model S, Model X and Model III are pretty conservative on the outside, despite the totally novel innards, and wisely so.
  • By the time a Tesla pickup hits the streets, Tesla will have much more brand equity or, in a nightmare scenario, the girth to withstand a sales disappointment– just barely. This was TeslaMondo’s biggest misgiving about a Tesla pickup in years past. What if Tesla is shunned by this segment and its locker room mentality? The truck market is irrational, emotional and fickle. It’s steeped in a romantic idea of rugged adventurism. Blue collar guys with stubble and baseball hats, guys that look out of place in Tesla stores, must somehow leave behind Bob Seger and hay bales and move into a new automotive era. This will test Tesla’s marketing talents. Here’s a free assist from TeslaMondo:

like a roc TeslaMondo

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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
Lamborghini–Farm tractors
Honda–Piston rings and aircraft propellors
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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