By on November 20, 2017

New Tesla Roadster

Unless you were living under a rock or on the moon late last week, you know Tesla introduced not one but two concepts on Thursday night — a Class 8 semi truck and a kinda-sorta-maybe Roadster (is it a roadster or a targa? It’ll only cost you a quarter mil to find out).

Since then, many corners of the internet have been yammering about the feasibility of Tesla’s plans, not to mention the wisdom of taking eyes off the very important ball that is the Model 3 in favor of two models that likely won’t appear until the next decade.

Tesla was founded in 2003, popping out an all-electric Roadster five years later. Costing $109,000, it went on to sell about 2,500 units during its production run, which ended when its contract with Lotus, which supplied “gliders” (motorless chassis and bodies), expired in 2011.

Chief Twitterer and CEO Elon Musk promised another model after the Roadster, which showed up in the form of the Model S midway through 2012. Sales have been nothing to sneeze at, nearly cresting 30,000 units during the calendar year of 2016. That’s a sum nearly eightfold compared to the number of XJs Jag managed to shift that same year. Heck, it’s more than 10,000 units greater than the total S-Classes sold by Mercedes-Benz.

2016 Tesla Model S, Image: Tesla

The thing is, of course, that those manufacturers have many other models with which to make coin. Tesla does not. One of the ways a startup company (there is a significant argument to be made that Tesla is no longer a startup) can keep afloat is through rounds of funding, which can take any number of forms.

On June 29, 2010, Tesla launched its IPO on NASDAQ, when 13,300,000 shares of common stock was issued to the public at a price of US$17.00 per share. The IPO raised US$226 million. As I type this, Tesla stock sits at US$315.00 per share. It nearly touched US$400 in September. Launching an IPO, of course, suddenly means one’s company is no longer privately held, but it does provide an infusion of cash.

Tesla has now figured out a way to raise funds without giving up any part of the company: take deposits on cars that don’t exist based on promises that often skate the bounds of reality. When the company opened deposits on the Model 3, they hoovered up cash at the rate MC Hammer used to spend it. According to Musk, based on a press briefing this past July, over half a million people have now thrown down $1,000 each to reserve a Model 3, meaning Tesla has potentially brought in more than $500 million without the help of investors or by giving up any control of the company.

A similar tune was sung on Thursday, when it was revealed customers could reserve a Founders Series Roadster by plunking down the full $250,000 price tag. Tesla’s making 1,000 of them. Basic math teaches us that, if all 1,000 are reserved, a total of $250,000,000 will be deposited into Tesla’s coffers. That sum, it should be noted, exceeds the company’s initial IPO.

New Tesla Roadster

What do you think? Is all of this sustainable? Can Tesla possibly keep all of its promises? Will the house of cards fold like a cheap tent? Or will the company rise like a Phoenix and beat the big guns at their own game?

And – for fun – go look up John Phillip’s book God Wants You to Roll. Penned by one of the greatest automotive scribes to ever turn a phrase, it follows an advance fee fraud in which two out-of-work security guards took deposits on cars that didn’t exist, fleecing people across the nation to the eventual tune of $21 million. They assured their customers that refunds were available any time.

Sound familiar?

[Images: Tesla]

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84 Comments on “Tesla’s Big Gamble With Other People’s Money...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Which products has Tesla promised that were not actually delivered? None.

    Which timelines has Tesla promised that were actually met? None.

    I believe Tesla has crossed into ‘too big to fail’ territory, which means there are endless supplies of money to keep them afloat.

    But with the Model 3 and the semi, Tesla is now dealing with no-BS customers who are *not* first adopters. They won’t tolerate the madness of this past year for any length of time, nor will they tolerate a poor service model.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I believe Tesla has crossed into ‘too big to fail’ territory, which means there are endless supplies of money to keep them afloat.”

      Endless social credit, anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        This is in many ways a first, thanks to the Tony Stark of our times, Elon Musk. There’s a negative way of looking at it: Tesla is terribly dependent on a stock market that is on the up for how long? And a positive side: that’s people investing in what’s basically “energy transition to start with the car”. In that (last) sense one may look at it as a long-term investment that is meant to have a payoff in the future (comparable with education, infrastructure, environment, space travel etc.).

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You have traders and you have investors. Traders play on every little movement of a given stock and will do or say almost anything in an effort to drive the stock in the direction they want it to go (typically ‘short’.) Investors tend to look at things long term, some with the hope of eventual success and long-term income while others try for big profits on moderately (and sometimes high-) risky platforms. Certainly Tesla is high risk but the payoff should they ultimately succeed will be beyond anything seen in the auto industry in decades. My own investment in a supposedly high-risk technology company now has me receiving my original investment as an annual dividend while the value is something over 6000% over my original amount.

          Traders, today, have the most to lose with Tesla but they also stand a chance to garner an enormous win should Tesla actually fall. But considering what Tesla is attempting, those who believe in Tesla’s goals will keep it alive as long as they can.

    • 0 avatar
      Rick Astley

      Since fanboi troll is trolling, i’ll jump in the ring.

      Let me personally guarantee you right now, in writing that at some time before or after I die, that I will give you eleventy billion dollars in USD cash.

      Now, lets ask what have I promised that has not been delivered? Speaking vaguely enough with the only upheld promise being the promise not to promise hard deadlines is all the rage for Elon and Tesla. Because they were burned pretty hard the times they actually put a date on something, but thankfully their adoring fans (and the taxpayers who support their adoring fans) don’t need a hard deadline to OD on their kool-aid.

      Because if you think tens of thousands of undelivered 3’s (including the parts which haven’t even been made yet, let alone vehicle assembly & delivery), a semi truck that won’t have a market share and now a $250K Mclaren clone that exists only in Elon’s checking account are considered “fulfilled promises” then you have an incredibly optimistic understanding of the term.

      As for “too big to fail”: Remove CAFE credit sales for electric vehicles. There, I just caused Tesla to fail. That was suuuuuuuper difficult.

      Now, of course, Elon could put some of his OWN money in to save Tesla in this situation, however even the fanniest of fanboi’s knows way deep down in their bones that Elon doesn’t put his own skin in his own games.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @Rick Astley

        By your definition of kept promises, I shouldn’t believe any mfr’s announcement of future products, because they might not happen. All I’m saying is that so far, every promised Tesla product has come to fruition.

        The Model 3 is real, but many are grouchy about the slow rollout (including me). It will be more real when customers can take delivery without an NDA.

        I wouldn’t consider the truck and the Roadster 2 to be ‘fulfilled promises’, but unfortunately you chose to put those words in my mouth, which actually makes *you* the troll.

        As for the Federal subsidy, do you really think delirious Tesla fanboys will walk away from the company when the subsidy expires next year? You can’t have it both ways.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Now, of course, Elon could put some of his OWN money in to save Tesla in this situation, however even the fanniest of fanboi’s knows way deep down in their bones that Elon doesn’t put his own skin in his own games.”
        —- … except when he does.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      Very much so.

      There’s a lot of risk in this method: These are deposits, not investments, and unlike investments, those deposit holders (Like myself, for a model 3) can take their money and go home at any point.

      If I were in the market for a roadster (ha!) I probably wouldn’t care about the delivery timeline: either it’ll come or it won’t, and I can pull my deposit back whenever I decide something better has come along. That holds true of my model 3 deposit as well, should someone come out with a vehicle I like as much (or indeed, perhaps after I test drive one and decide I don’t like it).

      No doubt this is a gamble on the part of Tesla. But here’s the thing: they may deliver late, but they’ve delivered so far, and despite all the mentions of competition being just around the corner, there’s still slim pickings for a vehicle (in either the model S/X or model 3 price ranges) that offers the same features or styling. Not everyone cares, of course, but given the number of deposits still waiting for vehicles (that, again, can be pulled at any time), there seems to be a lot of folks that do.

      Yes, someone may come out with a model 3 killer before the model 3 comes out. do I doubt that it *will* be made in volume. No. Will the customers still be there? Time will tell. I still am as of this moment, for a sample size of one. YMMV.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    “not to mention the wisdom of taking eyes off the very important ball that is the Model 3 in favor of two models that likely won’t appear.” There. Fixed that second paragraph for ‘ya.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…two out-of-work security guards took deposits on cars that didn’t exist, fleecing people across the nation to the eventual tune of $21 million”

    Unlike Tesla, I’ll guess the $21 million was the only money these guys had. Tesla has billions more on hand than just the down payments on the Model 3 and the Roadster.

    Nice try.

    Also, I’m amused that people see the semi and the Roadster as a distraction – they are not, (not exactly, anyway). These products were a distraction long *before* now. They didn’t appear out of thin air last week; they’ve obviously been in the works for quite a while. And since they are a long way from production, the mfg teams won’t be facing the same problems with them as they are today with the Model 3.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I don’t think he was saying the situations are *exactly* the same, but its cool if you feel that you need to pick apart each and every word to try to prove how sustainable Tesla is and how those who are pointing out obvious issues are wrong for doing so.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m not saying Tesla is sustainable, since they are in fact burning gazillions more than they intake.

        I’m only saying that the author’s suggestion to go read a story about a couple flunkies’ get-rich-quick scheme is a terrible misrepresentation of what Tesla is doing.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      How do you know that Tesla won’t be facing the same, similar or even completely different problems in the future? Where did you get your crystal ball?

      Tesla can easily fold up and go away with all of the deposited in hand. It has been done before by companies, and it will happen again.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      How do you know that Tesla won’t be facing the same, similar or even completely different problems in the future? Where did you get your crystal ball?

      Tesla can easily fold up and go away with all of the deposited in hand. It has been done before by companies, and it will happen again.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    IMO the company is a house of cards about to collapse, but people think when that is pointed out , it’s a proxy attack on electric vehicles and/or making some statement about climate change.

    So Musk and Tesla escape any real scrutiny by the mainstream media, at least for the time being.

    The company can no longer be called a startup or valued as such. It can’t bleed money forever (unless it’s the US government)

    Eventually math always wins.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Tesla shouldn’t be judged any differently than any other car maker, but they are. The type of fuel used for propulsion is irrelevant and people won’t accept this kind of hubris from other car markers (as other electric-focused startups are finding out). Tesla survives on its salesmanship which borderlines on hucksterism merely because they’ve created immense social credit through the value of virtue signalling. If the curtain lifts and a significant amount people pull their deposits and/or the short sellers pull out of the stock, it’s game over.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I said in a Tesla thread last week that I’m starting to believe that Musk really has no intention of ultimately turning Tesla Automotive into a genuinely profitable company. I think that he’s using it as a means to convince the world that transitioning from fossil fuels to electric for all energy needs is possible. He’s trying to leverage the delivery of each vehicle into a launch of another vehicle, and leverage all of that into an acceptance of battery electric in daily life. With that end goal, if he’s producing the batteries that will be used for non-Tesla EVs and renewable energy storage in businesses and homes, he can let Tesla Auto fade away. One of the other things that he’s developing is the tech to manage the batteries, something else that he can sell or license separately from Tesla Auto.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        So he’s knowingly bilking a lot of investors and customers (plus governments all around the world) on an unsustainable business model he knows will fail, all in order to make an environmental point? And that point being electric cars are good?

        Gee, what could we have ever done without him?

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          He’s not bilking people by trying to develop a new kind of vehicle that’s very different, people should know that it is risky. It’s not a given that the business model is certain to fail, but the success of Tesla Auto is not necessary for his vision as long as EVs are a success. If other manufacturers shift to electric and help get the world off of the fossil fuel path (presumably moving to his batteries and tech) he would consider it a win even if Tesla Auto doesn’t make it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            True statement, Clutch. But until those other OEMs abandon ICE almost entirely, Tesla hasn’t yet achieved its goal.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    A small electric pickup just might have an instant sizable market in America.
    How does this obvious FACT keep being ignored?
    Coda Electric Car had a rugged reliable design and would have had instant success had they launched
    a small pickup instead of that nondescript sedan. Coda would have
    had the small pickup market to themselves instead
    of arriving to the market with a drab nondescript “me too”
    sedan which was met with yawns and no enthusiasm
    whatsoever. A great well thought out and fully tested American electric powertrain in a Chinese knockoff
    of an old Mitsubishi based nondescript sedan. Boy that was well thought out.

    And now Tesla wants to sell another sports car. Sports cars are a stupid joke compared with what the public will actually react to.
    Ask Bob Lutz about his dumbass two seater sportscar
    project he headed when last with GM. . Nice car? Sure… but no buyers. The same will happen after Tesla flushes out the few geeks that will buy their new stupid head shaking embarrassing sports car… when all the market really wants is the godam Model 3 to finally show up. Average people want the 3 and they also want a simple practical pickup, for crying out loud. It will easily sell in equal numbers as the 3.
    This is so obvious it gives me a headache
    every time I think about it.
    Can anyone give a coherent answer to this question?:
    What the Sam Hill is wrong with Tesla’s marketing people?

    PS. I live way up in the mountains in California. The closest High Sierra peaks to Silicon Valley. Yesterday I saw a Tesla stranded on the side of the road. “Need any help”? … “No I’ve got a tow truck coming”… “Break down?” …”No just out of juice”… hahahaha hahahaha … so much for published range numbers.
    “When you hit the mountains it reduces range a little”… “yeah I guess”.
    A little(?)… hahshahahaha… “yeah… a lot”…
    Ya think……?

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Somewhat ironically, just today an article came out in which Lutz predicts Tesla will be dead by 2019.

      http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2017/11/former-gm-exec-bob-lutz-says-tesla-going-business.html

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I think your anecdote about the reduced Model-S range in the mountains just shot down your own argument about building an electric pickup truck. When you actually use it to haul or tow, the range suffers as if you were driving uphill all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Add Lightness

        If an electric car can make it to Whistler, it can get back to Vancouver due to the energy recovery from loosing altitude. Uphill can’t be in both directions.
        As for pickups, they are supposedly work trucks and under many work conditions are effectively tool boxes and don’t go very far during a day’s work with a lot of very short trips. Through in the potential for them to be a electric power source for tools and they sound like the perfect thing for a tradesperson.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          Certainly lots of Teslas between Vancouver and Whistler. Starting to see them on the Coquihalla also.

          I used a gps to determine the elevation gain and loss in a round trip from somewhere in Vancouver, to Whistler. 11,000′ vertical. Hard for the fkatlanders to grasp. Even with a hybrid I can regenerate power down many of the descents without losing speed. A Tesla should get 90% as much range on that trip as on a flat road. The reduction is only due to conversion losses as the battery charges and discharges over the grades.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Overpowered sports cars may be “stupid,” but that’s the whole point. Stupid is easy, as long as stupids have money. Which plenty of them now do to abundance, in our late stage of overfinancialization.

      Tesla has been dipping into that pool since the beginning (Real beginning. I know. Someone I know well was on the list for the original roadster back then. Mainly due to being an old OMD fan and dating one of Musk’s Tesla Girls. Hardly the most critical and intelligent reason to buy an overpriced beta project…..). And so far, stupid with stupid money has been the only real reliable source of funds for the company. So if it ain’t broke…..

      You have to remember that many/most of the $250K roadsters Tesla will sell this go-around, will go to people who spend multiples of their car budget annually on stocks and bonds. And have been known to provide funding for, and to be socially involved with, the odd politician as well. And these are not people who cherish being proven “wrong” about anything. Hence will go to some lengths to avoid just that. So getting them to “commit” to the company socially, and identify with it emotionally, can bring in much more than just the sale price of the car….

      While, OTOH, successfully competing with Toyota at the boring old non stupid end of the market, is pretty much the definition of not easy at all…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’d have absolutely no problem with Tesla if they were risking their own capital. They’re not.

    I think the sports car looks fantastic. I just don’t want public money risked to build and sell it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      What public money?

      Or do you mean consumers’ money? Because that’s all there is; no taxpayer money is involved.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Didn’t the (MCM) mainstream car makers risk a bit of government money a few years back? So why is it a problem now?

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      The folks who can plunk down $250K in all cash for a Founders series reservation and even the folks doing $50K for the non founders edition are also more than capable of assessing the risk of Tesla going bust, and likely more than capable of absorbing these losses.

      It’s not like it’s some naive middle class schlub losing their deposit if Tesla goes bust, lol.

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    Tesla is operating in a way that really has all the earmarks of a Ponzi scheme. The truck and roadster deposit funds are needed to get the Model 3 going. No doubt another “new” product, requiring a large deposit, will be introduced when they are expected to launch the truck and roadster. House of cards waiting to fall……

    • 0 avatar
      addm

      I have never seen people so worried about others people money. Especially someone who is willing to put a deposit of quarter million dollar.
      It reminds me of my colleague who wanted bomb detonated by Islamic terrorists in US so as to prove his support for Trump travel ban

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Where does any company get its capital to fund new projects?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Where does any company get its capital to fund new projects?”

        Normally through revenue generated by sales. Deposits aren’t sales and shouldn’t be counted the same as revenue.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Not really a gamble when the first hundred or so will be able to sell it for 50% more.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    For 1000 buyers there should be enough speculators for that. The bigger concern would be whether they pay any interest rate at all on that deposit. No interest for $1000 is easy to swallow, no interest for $250k is gonna hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      The bigger problem for speculators is that if Tesla goes bust before delivering your car you’re not guaranteed to get your deposit back. You’ll just be another creditor with a claim, in line with suppliers who will likely have much bigger claims, possibly even contractual terms that put them ahead of you in recovery rights.

  • avatar
    James2

    The problem with Tesla is that Wall Street is judging other car companies using them as the standard. Tesla stock is made of helium, while Ford, which has made tens of billions a year since the Mulally era, is weighted down with lead ankle bracelets.

  • avatar
    DJM

    Ford and Tesla share prices should be reversed if you removed emotion from the equation.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Hey, it’s a clever way to raise capital. If you’re willing to take the risk, more power to you – it ain’t my money.

    My issue with all of this echoes what SCE to AUX said at the beginning: the buyers of the Model 3 and the truck are mainstream buyers who won’t put up with shenanigans.

    Tesla is operating like Apple in the mid-80s – late 90s, especially with regard to new technologies – until they couldn’t really deliver and it nearly bankrupted them (Apple was hours away from declaring BK in ’96). Their rebirth and a laser-like focus on their product and efficient production brought them where they are today. Can Tesla do the same?

    My guess is that it will take a close brush with death before they tighten up, focus and actually deliver on their promises in a way that makes them money.

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    Bob Lutz made a point the other day when he noted that Tesla has no technological advantages over any other automaker. The same point was made earlier that Tesla has no “moat” – no patents nor anything else that can protect it from competition. The recently announced Tesla “roadster” (it’s not really a roadster) which Tesla claimed is the fastest production car on the planet (it’s not actually in production and when it does become available, there is no reason to assume another automaker hasn’t built a faster vehicle – all that’s required is to stuff more batteries and stronger electric motors into a chasis). With $250,000 to pay with, building a better, faster “roadster” should not prove very difficult – Porche’s Missison e electric is close in straightahead acceleration and can recharge twice as fast and looks and handles better , and costs a WHOLE lot less.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      What you said is all fundamentally true. What they do have that others don’t is their brand.

      • 0 avatar
        srh

        It’s been true for many years now, but for some reason other automakers still haven’t capitalized on this obvious opportunity. Are there /any/ EVs available that even try to compete fit-and-finish wise with the Model S or X? Why hasn’t BMW come out with an electric 5/7-series priced like a Model S that has similar specs? I imagine that a 300-mile electric 5-series with a BMW interior would sell well at the same price-point as a Model S. The automakers that Lutz argues will take over keep releasing frumpy EVs.

        Maybe the problem is the dealer model — both the manufacturer and the distributor have to make a profit. Cut out the useless middleman and you’ve got a more efficient supply chain. Maybe automakers are beholden to supplier contracts, and they aren’t able to build a car with a spartan interior like the Model 3 (which I have to believe saves Tesla a /significant/ amount of money). Or maybe Tesla is still selling its cars way below cost, hoping to make that up on volume?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          All other automakers certainly are not oblivious to Tesla. The problem is that electric cars aren’t profitable, and all other automakers are constrained by profitability. They don’t have the Tesla tech startup image that Musk has cultivated. That being said, expect to see more automakers release electric versions of high end models as halo “Model S fighters”. While those models won’t have the margins of their conventionally powered counterparts, they will have the economies of scale to absorb some of the cost.

    • 0 avatar
      addm

      Porsche don’t have a battery Gigafactory

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I believe that Tesla has an advantage in the tech that manages the batteries, but that’s mostly software. Competitors can catch up on software easier than on hardware.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Lutz is pretty smart, but Musk is far smarter. Didn’t Tesla open source their technology? Would Lutz do such a thing? No, Musk operates at a level that Lutz and the auto chatteratti cannot comprehend. The best Lutz can do is point out Tesla has no hoard of patent value. In terms of what Musk is doing, so what?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Don’t forget that Bob Lutz is also one of those GM CEOs that led GM towards bankruptcy rather than trying to actually fix what was wrong with the company. I wouldn’t consider him all that smart when you think about GM’s cost-cutting efforts in the ’90s rather than trying to offer truly reliable and original cars. GM’s quality fell through the floor and I used to be an adamant GM buyer. Even today GM doesn’t make a single model that I really want, though they offer two that at least look good. (Only one of those is a truck.)

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Lutz is pretty smart, but Musk is far smarter. Didn’t Tesla open source their technology? Would Lutz do such a thing? No, Musk operates at a level that Lutz and the auto chatteratti cannot comprehend.”

        “Open sourcing” their tech had no value to anyone. It was a PR stunt for people who don’t understand that Tesla has no tech advantage. It’s akin to GM releasing all the CATIA files for the LS1 engine.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          “Lutz is pretty smart, but Musk is far smarter.”

          Did Musk ever roll a car on purpose to prove a point? I think NOT!

          https://tinyurl.com/y9272cx7

          ;-)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @PrincipalDan: “Did Musk ever roll a car on purpose to prove a point? I think NOT!”

            Nor has he needed to, since it’s next to impossible to roll a Tesla and there have been effectively no fatalities of properly secured passengers in a Tesla car due to a collision, with the exception of one very unusual circumstance where a jacked-up Expedition rode up the back of one stuck in traffic. Almost every other fatality was either health related (heart attacks), unsecured passengers (two stolen Models S) and an equally-unlikely event where a stopped, loaded, dump truck rolled over onto a similarly stopped Model S. At least for now, the Model S has proven itself stronger than any competitor vehicle and one of, if not the, safest cars on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Tesla most certainly had–and I believe still has–a tech advantage, danio; their drivetrain tech is still more advanced and seemingly stronger than any of their current and upcoming competitors, allowing them to be faster and more efficient while offering a recharging network 2x to 5x faster than third-party networks so far. Remember, Tesla released that data about five years ago and as yet the only “real” competition is a Chevy “city car” with decent range but only FWD and no long distance recharging infrastructure.

          Look again at Tesla’s “skateboard” vs GM’s or anyone else’s. There’s enough difference there to be VERY noticeable.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    I must be really really dumb.
    I can’t understand the outrage of this and previous articles.
    If Tesla is not viable, smart people will not invest in it.
    If Musk is intentionally deceiving S&E will go after him.
    This being a free country people will invest in enterprises and smart among them will do risk analysis.

    As for Federal subsidies, the $7500 tax credit was lobbied by GM (look up battery capacity of first gen Volt and the cut off capacity in the rules) and if Tesla benefited from it more then the rest of the competition it is hardly their fault.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “If Tesla is not viable, smart people will not invest in it.”

      People invest in non-viable companies all the time if the stock speculation is high. TLSA is one of the most shorted stocks around.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “People invest in non-viable companies all the time if the stock speculation is high. TLSA is one of the most shorted stocks around.”

        —- Most shorted, yes. But those shorts have also been subject to the “squeeze” many times, to their detriment. Yet… they continue to short in their belief in Tesla’s fall is just around the corner.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          It’s a rollercoaster, the skilled short sellers have already made bank on it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Those ‘most-skilled’ shorters appear to be few and far between. Most of them are having to buy out their shorts before they get caught by the squeeze. Meanwhile, those who are in Tesla for the long term are showing notable gains. The better “skilled” investors are the ones that buy on the dips and sell on the peaks. If you ask me, we’re in a ‘buy’ time right now, based on events but it’s up to the individual to make their own decisions.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Nissan benefited from the Federal subsidy more than anyone else, but around here you’d think it was only Tesla, Tesla, Tesla stealing hard-earned taxpayers’ money and putting it into the hands of rich people.

      No matter, because the subsidy is about to sunset for Nissan, GM, and Tesla anyway, since they’re all close to the 200k volume limit for EVs.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I was driving behind a heavily loaded semi-truck in a long no-passing zone today, which was agonizing because it was so slow accelerating from stops and coming off curves. I thought about whether the Tesla electric semi would have reduced my agony with its much faster acceleration, but I suspect not because a fully loaded Tesla and fast acceleration will mean the projected range will be cut in half or worse. Throw in some cold or very hot weather and range gets cuts further, and pretty soon we will be seeing lots of dead Tesla semis along the highway with melting cargo – assuming the company survives long enough to make unit one.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A few seconds of fast acceleration doesn’t soak the range that much.

      How many dead EVs have you ever seen on the shoulder? Driving an EV requires constant planning (at least it did when I had a Leaf), which is one of the drawbacks. You *never* leave home without considering your vehicle’s range.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “You *never* leave home without considering your vehicle’s range.”

        This is an interesting paradox for me. I’ve attempted to drive plug-in hybrids in all electric mode to simulate this dilemma, and at least in most of North America, it is a dilemma. Yet if you gauged public interest in alternative powertrain vehicles, all-electrics would certainly rank higher than hybrids. I’ve met multiple people that shrugged off more utilitarian hybrid models like the Volt in favor of the Bolt simply because it’s all electric. And these people lived in areas where they’d have to rely almost solely on home charging. Somewhere, for those customers, image must transect with the realities of life.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I’ve seen dozens of dead EVs along the road in Norway where EVs are very popular (and subsidized). I’ve got a friend that lives near the Oslo Tesla dealer and he says there is a line of flatbed trucks with Model S and X’s on back every time there is a real cold streak. Also hear lots of stories of people being surprised that their 250 mile range Tesla can’t go nearly that far when they attempt to drive to their mountain cabins for a family ski trip, which can mean resorting to turning the heat off to save the range. Full loads, cold weather, and lots of uphill really kill range, and I can imagine it would be far worse for an electric semi-truck pulling a 20 ton trailer up a mountain highway at 65mph. Me – I start getting nervous when my low fuel light comes on indicating 50-75 miles of gasoline left, which is nearly a full “tank” on a Leaf, i3, or e-Golf.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          Makes sense that cold temps hurt range, but doesn’t the system of sensors and software take that into account on the “miles remaining” calculation, or do folks not believe what it tells them?

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @indi500fan: You’d think so. “Gas gauging” is hard to do for lithium ion batteries because of the voltage ‘cliff’ in their energy curve.

            The Leaf 1.0’s gas gauge was absolutely awful, being way optimistic when full, and slightly pessimistic when empty. It never seemed to compensate for temperature, and it was my biggest gripe with an otherwise excellent car.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Your route might travel a long distance fairly flat and then climb up into the colder mountains. So the distance to depleted can be fooled.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            I find it more than remarkable no one has pointed out that very cold weather also hurts the mileage and range of gas cars. Yes, it’s less of a problem as things stand, but that’s not the point.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @stingray65: I don’t dispute your observation, but that hasn’t been mine. I also don’t live in an EV-popular area, and I don’t live in the bitter cold of Norway.

          I blame all EV makers from shying away from the truth about EVs, which is that cold weather, speed, and towing can destroy range. They never discuss how their batteries age. They all like to advertise the EPA findings for range, but *never* discuss the range under those other conditions. You have to search blogs for that information.

          Ultimately, the EV mfrs do themselves a disservice by withholding that data. It doesn’t look great to post charts showing range vs speed/temperature/load/age to prospective new customers.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Yeah, you have to take cold weather range differences into account, which partly explains why 250+ stated range is so important even when people almost never drive that far in a day.

            My C-Max Energi easily beats the advertised 19 miles on battery if you drive it with a gentle foot (speed limit on the freeway) in the summer. I’ve come to expect 20-22. Use that same gentle foot in the winter, with cabin temp set to 70, and you’ll get 13-14. Drive like you stole it in the winter and you might get 10.

            Of course, there’s a difference in gas mileage too, between cold engine starts and electricity usage from the heater. In hybrid mode on short city trips, that same C-Max will do 55+ mpg in the summer, but more like 40 in the winter with the heat on full blast.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          The sort of people who own places in Whistler BC are also the sort who buy Teslas. I have yet to see a stranded Tesla along that road. I’ve seen maybe one or two stranded Teslas around Vancouver in the years since they came out. Of course Norway is colder.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        @SCEtoAUX: “Driving an EV requires constant planning” I’ve noticed lately that I’ve started ignoring my range or charge level. Most of my trips in the car only drop 1 or 2 bars on the range gauge. The longer trips I’ve done so many times as long as I follow my ritual, I’m fine.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m not putting down a $50K deposit, but if the Roadster comes out on time, meets (or comes close to) its targets, and isn’t otherwise hideous in some way (for reference, I consider the Model X to be hideous in many ways), I’ll be a buyer at $200K.

    Of course the reality is probably that the production will be sold out for 2-3 years, so it’ll be 2023 or later before I could buy one, and a lot can happen between now and then.

    I think we have about a decade of driving glory days before we enter a self-driving dystopia; may as well enjoy it while I can! Not to mention, 200KWh of batteries might make this an acceptable track-day car.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Re: track day.
      It will be chubby, but have an impressively low cg.
      I remember that was the impression I got when driving the GM EV1, that thing handled like a go kart, even though the tires were small and rock hard.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “Tesla’s Big Gamble With Other People’s Money”

    All public companies do that — ask any shareholder.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Makes sense that cold temps hurt range, but doesn’t the system of sensors and software take that into account on the “miles remaining” calculation, or do folks not believe what it tells them?

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “…exceeds the company’s initial IPO.”

    PIN number, VIN number, SAT test, and now initial IPO.

    psssst…you do know what IPO stands for, right?

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    As someone mentioned a few days ago, if ttac really believed Tesla was doomed, a “Tesla Death Watch” would be in print. The stock value reinforces the perceived risk of betting against Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “As someone mentioned a few days ago, if ttac really believed Tesla was doomed, a “Tesla Death Watch” would be in print.”

      It is. All you have to do is read all the bear articles against Tesla in Seeking Alpha and other stock investment boards. The “death watch” commentary has been active for over ten years, with nearly every fiscal quarter receiving at least one notice that Tesla would be bankrupt before the end of the year.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Speaking of Tesla, why has ttac not even mentioned something as relevant to motorists as Musk’s Boring Company?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Because it will only be relevant to the very richest motorists. Nothing he’s planning has more than a tiny fraction of the capacity of either a major surface highway or an urban rail line built in the same tunnel. So he’ll sell the very limited slots to the highest bidders. Expect to pay $30 per trip, or more.

      Think that’s ridiculous? We have HOT lanes in suburban Seattle that fill up beyond capacity at the statutory maximum of $10/trip whenever mainline delays are worse than usual.


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