Tesla continues to awe and amaze the aborigines. Elon announced Friday that he was reversing position and backing away from his plan to take Tesla private. I for one am quite relieved. I have publicly stated that Tesla has some enormous blue sky opportunities ahead and have predicted a stock price of $1500 by February of 2023. The concept of privatization really meant to me that I would no longer be able to participate in the party.
Musk’s reasoning for the reversal was entirely logical and I find no disingenuous aspects to it. And it was pretty much what I had predicted. He had promised that existing shareholders would be able to retain their shares into the private zone and found out that this was just not something he could technically accomplish. I had feared he would waffle and revise.
But the second very real issue was the existing large block shareholders. Many of these have their OWN investors and charters and prospectuses which kind of outline what percentage of their holdings can be in private startup ventures that are illiquid. On consulting with them, he found they would not only vote against privatization, but would have to liquidate THEIR holdings in Tesla if he prevailed – no choice in the matter.
I found it VERY interesting that the “committee” received a proposal from Silverlake Investments that included up to $30 billion in funding to go private with the largest investor in the package – VOLKSWAGEN. See my previous blog about Tesla now being “in play” and likely suitors. It was still shocking to see this play out so quickly. I’m unaccustomed to making predictions on Mondays that are old news by Friday. The pace of developments here is just shocking.
So here it is Monday morning, with another stomach churning lurch downward in Tesla’s stock price, and for me, another buying opportunity.
The parallels continue. The alt-left libtards insist I am part of the Trump “base” blinded to his sins and the shorts would have you believe we are likewise Tesla fanboyz who simply cannot see reality. I find both positions interesting, but just not very.
In both cases clearly I see things they don’t. That’s not blinded to my way of thinking. Feels more like being the one-eyed king in the land of the blind.
The underlying forces that affect Tesla appear quite positive and increasingly so. Their production of the Model 3 is persuasive to me. I find the Bloomberg Model 3 Production Tracker quite conservative in that they are working mostly from VIN numbers of REGISTERED Model3s, not production numbers but cars hitting the road. As they have to be paid for and delivered before they can be inspected and registered, that count starts to look irrefutable and rather unfudgeable.
Tesla claims their labor hours in producing the Model 3 have dropped 30% from peak and so the cash flow at 5000 units per week is impressive. More so at 6000 and rumor has it that the actual factory production is getting very close to that. My rather basic Model 3 came in at about $56,000 and that went directly to Tesla – no intervening dealers of course. And so at 6000 units that looks like/sounds like $336 MILLION dollars per week coming in the door via the web site. I’m guessing with all wheel drive and performance models coming online, more like $350 million. Good work if you can get it.
I actually do NOT believe all 455,000 of the original reservation holders are actually going to buy a Model 3. The reservations were for a $35,000 Tesla Model 3. And I was clear in predicting there IS no $35,000 Tesla Model 3 and you would never see a $35,000 Model 3. The only existing $35,000 Model 3 is parked right next to the $55,000 Model S. And there the two cars sit firmly lit in Elon Musks imagination. They were always price targets for his design team. Not sticker prices for you and I.
Further, we have not escaped the “low hanging fruit” paradox that has plagued EV manufacturers from the advent of the first sale. For any EV, at any price, and at any specification, there is a latent demand from a small band of Jack Rickard types that are going to buy it regardless. Indeed they are waiting for you to finish the design and get it made- and somewhat impatiently.
But after you have filled that latent demand or picked the “low hanging fruit”, selling the same car into a wider audience of just general car shoppers is a much more difficult sales/value case to make.
And so Tesla is having no difficulty meeting “demand” for the Model S and Model X as the low hanging fruit for those cars and at that price point has pretty much been picked. New buyers are almost entirely friends and neighbors of the existing apostleship and not only is this “word of mouth” advertising the most effective, but Musk correctly assesses that it is the only kind that will work at all hence his reluctance to purchase an ad on say EVTV, to promote the car. I’ve already sold all we can just by talking about it.
All of that said, and assuming Tesla can achieve 10,000 Model 3 units per week late this year or early next, it will be a couple of years before they can work off the backlog and competently deliver a car to a buyer within a month. And anyway you count it, thats a million cars later.
Further, the vaguely blue sky is hardening to a delightful cobalt blue. Talk of the Tesla Pickup Truck has turned ugly and Musk is now chiding his design team to develop it parallel with the Model Y.
The Model Y is of course the crossover Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) version of the Model 3 – basically a rebodied car using the same chassis and drive train but with a different final assembly body work. There is no doubt that SUV’s outsell sedans by a signficant margin in the U.S. today. And Tesla nees one. The overly ambitious Model X just wound up being too expensive for almost anyone.
But the number one selling personal transportation device worldwide has been the pickup truck for nearly a half century and the Ford F150 sales have never been challenged for about 37 years now. GM can produce all the TV commercials their budget will allow showing smiling yucks prefering the Silverado to that “other” truck. What they can’t do is tick a notch in the sales numbers.
I don’t think Tesla can either. But they could certainly sell a lot of Tesla pickup trucks while failing.
More bluesky reality popped up again last Friday with the surprise announcement that the Tesla Semi had driven cross country to Annheuser Busch in St. Louis and JB Hunt in Arkansas entirely autonomously. JB Hunt is one of the largest over the road trucking companies in the world and I was in the Navy with one of the sons. The company claims it didn’t even have a chase car on it which I find very nearly preposterous. They did have teams on site and ready at Supercharger stops to hook up as many as four Superchargers to the trucks simultaneously. But they were driving across country unaided in any event.
There are a couple of interesting aspects to this. First is Tesla’s own little logistics problem shuttling quite heavy battery and drive unit equipment between the Gigafactory in Sparks Nevada and their assembly site at the Freemont California factory.
This is no small expense. But if you charge it on solar, and don’t need a driver, it becomes somewhat less expensive operationally. And they have a good test track for autonomous electric Semi trucks and trailers. They can tweek shapes and hardware ad infinitum and get a pretty good take on efficiency improvements in range and speed and of course check autopilots on various weather variables.
As you know, I’ve been an autonomous driving skeptic – I still can’t get either homelink or summon to work reliably and indeed I would characterize it more like “comically”. It is SO baaaaaad.
And I further predicted legal difficulties over the basic concept. It’s already happening too. A man was arrested for driving under the influence this week after crashing his Model S into a firetruck. Yes, this was the second instance of a Tesla trying to mate with a firetruck on a public road. But this guy’s story of course was that it was in autopilot – he thinks.
But the over the road truck market is just pregnant for this. Talk about low hanging fruit. First lets address all the poor truck drivers about to lose their jobs. Some news. There are now over 60,000 unfilled positions for truck drivers – can’t hire em at any price.
And you can make a VERY good living as a truck driver. If you are not habitually drunk and can see out of one eye, you start at about $50k per year and if you aren’t also brain dead you can do $100k per year within a year or so.
So why isn’t EVERYONE a truck driver? Well it’s a hard life. It’s an easy job to begin with. But living on the road day and night for weeks months or years at a time just isn’t a life.
A friend of mine had two wayward sons who discovered this in short order. They stumbled on truck driving to make money and it went SO well they quit their truck driving job and invested in their own brand new shiny tractor and tried their hand. That went well enough they bought a SECOND and then a THIRD.
They were just raking it in but had a very difficult time hiring a third driver that wasn’t just a horror. And so they scaled back to two trucks and the two of them. Again, they were making it work big time.
Two years later their trucks are for sale and they’ve taken jobs doing a milk run between Cape Girardeau and St. Louis that has them home for dinner every evening.
About two years of hard truck driving drives home the lesson that money isn’t everything. Very few can stick with it. It’s a hard life and rather a mean life as well.
So I’m guessing not many tears even from truck drivers themselves. The trucking industry just wouldn’t be able to contain themselves if someone can come up with a driverless over the road rig. Indeed, if he could just pull off the over the road train he described – a driver in the head truck and four following behind him autonomously, there IS no price they would NOT pay for this. And frankly, they wouldn’t care if it was powered by Kingsford bag charcoal. Virtue signaling is not what trucking companies are about.
But the deep cranial damage caused by dealing with truck drivers is. They suffer deep and ongoing pain over this and anyone with an aspirin will do.
So going forward, I find Tesla at this mornings $308 share a license to steal money and it cannot be legal for long. I keep looking over my shoulder fearful Mueller is going to show up wanting to squeeze me for any information I have on Trump maybe overfilling a bicycle tire in direct violation of federal safety standards, and willing to send me to jail for the rest of my life over Tesla CALL trading to get it.
The parallels between the press coverage of Trump and the press coverage of Musk continue to build. I think purported “journalists” are actually starting to ape each others behavior in this area. I guess once prostitution becomes socially acceptable it is just ok. But it brings just a little taste of vomit to the back of the throat to watch the whoring going on in a career field rather close to my wheelhouse as a publisher. Yet another head of Tesla’s Public Relations/Corporate Communications has moved on. Now THERE’s a job you want to apply for.
More brightly, our testing of the PowerSafe 100 continues with ongoing mysteries and anomalies sufficient to keep me entranced for days and weeks ongoing. I just have never had it so good. So many strange results and surprises. We put 2500 amp hours IN to the battery this week and promptly took 1588 out and found the limit both times. ?????? This makes no sense. The device magically kicked off the Solar Edge grid tied inverters without interrupting power production at all and promptly five minutes later they all came back up and no one can explain why or more importantly how. Potentially very useful information.
I think it is notable that our investigations into AC coupled charging of solar energy storage batteries has not gone unnoticed
U.S. manufacturer ENPHASE (stock symbol ENPH at $4.73) really invented the microinverter in 2011. It has quickly gained a 27% share of all residential rooftop solar and they have JUST completed their acquisition of SunPower’s inverter business. They will now be sole supplier to SunPower. Recall they make the 22% efficient cells with no electrodes on the front, all back cell connections. I love em buy you can’t actually buy the panels. I get them from China on our flexible panels.
Enphase is quietly rolling out to investors their IQ8 ENSEMBLE concept which will not be available until sometime next year. But it more or less duplicates our on grid/off grid concept specifically with AC coupling to a device that then charges the batteries in a solar energy storage capacity.
One of the reasons ENPH is rather suppressed as a stock play is the Chinese manufacturer HOYMILES. Still very preliminary but they are talking about the same concept – AC coupling their microinverters to batteries.
Of course in both cases they are talking about smallish batteries at eggregious prices. We just don’t think that dog will hunt. But repurposing inexpensive salvaged EV batteries will.
And so we seek to enable YOU to add a largish battery inexpensively (relatively speaking) to an existing AC coupled grid-tied system using any or all of that basically by plugging it in to the loads panel.
And our PowerSafe100 is a Tesla PowerPack2 sized version of that.
In this episode I discuss our new display efforts and ongoing developments with the Raspberry Pi display and ESP32 based Tesla Model S battery module controller.
Collin and I have been collaborating very productively and I might say enjoyably on the software for both the ESP32 controller and the Raspberry Pi display and are enjoying very pleasant and daily progress.
But I do describe in this video the reason for my reluctance to deal with 48v systems in a discussion of I Squared R losses and how devilish they are to deal with. Fans and liquid cooling schemes are just not very effective when your heat problem is in a conductor itself.
Ultimately this is headed for a crying need for a new Inverter design where we can use large strings of 16 individual modules for our 345 volts, but do 20kw and have control of the software and frequency and so forth of the output. I don’t really see anyway around it. We need to do our own inverter. Tesla already has a bidirectional 50kW inverter for their Powerpaks and I guess I need one too.