Tag Archives: Elon Musk

“Boring… Next”, by Eric Peters

For a guy who’s been losing money for years, Elon Musk is awfully cocky. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

When financial analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the money-losing electric car company’s capital requirements going forward (Tesla has burned through – cue Dr. Evil – one billion dollars in three of the last four quarters) Musk replied: “Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”

Fo sheer effrontery, this tops even The Chimp’s I am the Decider!

Neither man gives a damn about the damage – human or financial – imposed on others. Nor that others are made to pay for it all. They don’t even give lip service to pretending  anything they do bothers them in the least. All that matters is the Great Dream – whether it’s “regime change” in some resource-rich country which hasn’t attacked us (a war crime, once upon a time) or this equally demented business of manufacturing electric cars that almost no one would freely buy absent the subsidies and mandates.

Raise your hand, ask a reasonable question – and it’s dismissed as “boring” and “boneheaded.”Sacconaghi was also lectured by Musk to not “make a federal case” out of Tesla failing to achieve the ludicrous 25 percent gross profit margin on sales of the Model 3 it claimed it would make. A reasonable question, given most legitimate car manufacturers – those whose cars sell on their economic merits, without needing taxpayer-financed propping-up via subsidies and mandates – earn about 4 percent or so.

“That’s something that we’ll solve like within three months to six months later,” Musk said.

The sun will come out, tomorrow…

The guy is a crony capitalist Rasputin. He bewitches and seduces. Whatever the ersatz Iron Man says is taken as holy writ, not to be questioned.

 

To continue reading: “Boring… Next”

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Elon Musk: Production Hell or Party Balloons? Pick One. By David Wallace

Elon Musk may be the smartest man who ever lived (he probably thinks he is), but even a hypergenius couldn’t juggle all the balls he’s got in the air. From David Wallace at americanthinker.com:

Is Elon Musk – the recipient of over five billion government dollars – really the focused workhorse he proclaims to be, or is he nothing more than a taxpayer-subsidized, scatterbrained mess hopelessly trying to make his science fiction dreams into reality?

Wall Street is now largely betting against Tesla, which has consistently missed Model 3 production deadline after Model 3 production deadline.  Some believe that the company is nearing its make-or-break moment.

To prove private-sector investment houses like Goldman Sachs wrong, Musk claims he is going through “production hell,” working at all hours to quench Tesla’s backlog bug.  According to him, he moves his desk to wherever the most pressing Tesla problems are.  Musk also claims to sleep on the Tesla factory floor at night, which prompted his all-believers to start a GoFundMe page to finance a couch for the billionaire.

Musk wants you to think he is a busy bee laser-focused on the mission at hand.  But if Musk is truly so engrossed in meeting his Tesla deadlines, why is he spending time working on party balloons and bouncy houses?

Yes, you read that right.  Just days ago on Twitter, Musk – conceding that he recognizes that it may sound crazy – wrote that “SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon … And then land on a bouncy house.”

Who knows?  Although sounding outlandish on its face, maybe the idea will actually work in recovering upper-stage rockets one day.  But is now really the time for wild theorizing and experiments?  Tesla just stopped Model 3 production again to “improve automation.”  Its California factory is currently under investigation for safety issues.  As of November, Musk’s car company is burning nearly half a million dollars an hour, and the billionaire still hasn’t resolved the laundry list of SpaceX security concerns that the NASA Aerospace Advisory Council and Department of Defense inspector general brought to his attention in December and January, respectively.  Party balloons and bouncy houses should be pretty far down on his to-do list right now.

To continue reading: Elon Musk: Production Hell or Party Balloons? Pick One.

Feel The Burn, by Eric Peters

Tesla’s debt-drenched saga may be coming to an end. From Eric Peters at ericpetersauto.com:

Even long cons can only run for so long.

Elon Musk’s electric car con may be on the verge – finally – of coming unglued. This week, he’ll be forced to reveal actual production numbers for the first quarter of the year which are expected to fall well short of what he promised investors – and buyers, who ponied up deposits based on those promises.

Last year, Musk breezily assured both groups that an improbable 5,000 Model 3s – Tesla’s first “mass-produced” electric car – would be rolling off the production line in Fremont, CA each week.

He’s come as close to reaching that goal as he has to sending space tourists to Mars, another promise.

Thousands of people who were promised cars last year are still waiting for cars this year.

They may still be waiting next year, given that Musk – so far – has only been able to build a relative handful of Model 3s. The backlog is giga-normous. Which means that even if he somehow manages to ramp up the production to what he promised last year, it’ll take an increase in production over that promised number just to catch up this year.

Meanwhile, the marks – whoops, buyers – wait.

And wait, again.

It’s scandalous.

If GM, say, took cash deposits from thousands of people and promsied them cars by “x” date but hadn’t delivered them by “y” (or even “z”) the abuse chorus from the press would be shrill and endless. There would be howls from the gypped, demanding their money back. But Musk gets away with serially breaking promises because what he promises jibes with the vision which the technocratic elites who control the press as well as the fanbois who practically worship him are desperate to see realized:

The electrified – and automated – future.

But what if it isn’t workable? Damn the facts! Full speed ahead!

It’s very much of a piece with Lysenkoism – the Soviet-era rejection of inconvenient facts in favor of politically correct bromides.

Wishes vs. reality.

To continue reading: Feel The Burn

Elon Musk is a messianic huckster, by Matthew Walther

Once upon a time messianic hucksters had their moment in the sun, but were quickly dispensed with when people, as the invariably do, discovered they were frauds. Now they get billions from government and just keep going and going. From Matthew Walther at theweek.com:

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk is a goofball techbro whose real business is quack philosophizing, not inventions or engineering.

I realize that the founder of Tesla and SpaceX really does make things, like electric cars and spaceships. But Musk’s numerous attempts to realize his gleaming visions of a Jetsons-like future have never come close to living up to the (largely self-manufactured) hype. Lately he has started claiming that he is going to send cargo-laden rocket ships to Mars by the middle of President Trump’s second term, in advance of the establishment of a permanent human colony. I’m not holding my breath.

Why have we allowed this lunatic a prominent place in our public and commercial life? Even his name makes him sound like the villain who convinces the Earth Federation in the year 4836 to trade in its fleet of perfectly serviceable if somewhat old-fashioned solar-powered starships for his sleek but shoddily made models that, allegedly, run on nothing but crystals from the planet Flion.

The line between science and science fiction has always been a blurry one. No sooner would Jules Verne write a story about, say, an electric submarine than some genius inventor would will it into reality. The problem with Musk is that he seems willing to calmly accept the reality of every nebulous Star Trek plot device in existence without bothering with the boring part where the thing actually has to work. Even a supercomputer operating on the principle of the so-called infinite monkey theorem could not devise a credible individual repository for all the wild things Musk believes. From the imminence of total human extinction to the perennial undergraduate assertion that, like, maybe we are all living inside in the Matrix, there is no implausible, discredited, absurd-on-its-face theory or cause that Musk has not endorsed with brio.

It would be difficult to think of anyone else who routinely says things as blinkeringly stupid to large audiences as routinely as Musk. Take his most recent pronouncement on artificial intelligence, a favorite subject of his, proffered to the similarly screen-ravaged consciences that attend the annual South By Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas. “The danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads by a lot,” he said. “Mark my words.” Call me a Luddite, but I’m just not seeing it. The day when we are all putting on camo and fighting endless guerilla war against our cyborg overlords still seems to me pretty remote, alas.

To continue reading: Elon Musk is a messianic huckster

Yet Another Year of Magical Thinking, by James Howard Kunstler

The only difference between Elon Musk and anyone else peddling a fantasy is Musk’s fantasies get funded by the government. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

A peculiar feature of the human condition is that a society in distress will call forth intellectual witch-doctors to put on a colorful show that distracts the supposedly thinking class from the insoluble quandaries that portend serious trouble ahead. This feature is on display these days in the person of freelance space pioneer Elon Musk. He intends to establish a human colony on Mars of one million people by 2040.

Musk, who is also developer of the Tesla line of electric cars and businesses that make solar-electric gear and batteries, has tested a series of space vehicles, most recently last week’s celebrated launch of his Falcon Heavy Rocket, said to be the most powerful in the world. It is just the precursor of the soon-to-come colossus Musk calls the BFR (“Big Fucking Rocket”) that will convey as many as 200 people at a time to their new home on the Red Planet.

NPR reporter Ari Shapiro was rhapsodizing about this “Space-X” project last week on the airwaves, lending it the media stamp-of-approval. And since NPR is a major news source for the US thinking class especially, you can be sure this meme of colonizing Mars is now embedded in the brains of the Pareto distribution (“the law of the vital few”) who affect to be thought leaders in this land.

There’s an old gag about the space race of yore that goes something like this (trigger warning to the ethnically hyper-sensitive):

The UN convenes a General Assembly session on space travel. The ambassadors of various nations are asked to talk about their space projects. The Russians and the Americans tick off their prior accomplishments and announce plans to explore the planets. Finally, the ambassador from Poland takes his turn at the rostrum. “We intend to land a man on the sun,” he declares. There is a great hubbub in the assembly, cries of “say, what…?” and “wait a minute now….” The Secretary-General turns to the Polish ambassador and says, “Your scientists must be out of their minds. It’s six thousand degrees up there! How can you possibly land a spacecraft on it?” A hush falls over the assembly. The Polish ambassador looks completely relaxed and serene. “We are going to do it at night!” he announces triumphantly.

To continue reading: Yet Another Year of Magical Thinking

There Is Just One Thing Preventing Elon Musk’s Vision From Coming True: The Laws Of Physics, by Tyler Durden

Elon Musk will never keep all the promises he’s made, but that doesn’t stop him from making more promises, each more outrageous than the last.  From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

When Elon Musk stepped on stage at Tesla’s product-launch event earlier this month, he knew the market’s confidence in Tesla’s brand had sunk to an all-time low since he took over the company a decade ago. So, he resorted to a tactic that should be familiar to anybody who has been following the company: Shock and awe.

While the event was ostensibly scheduled to introduce Tesla’s new semi-truck – a model that won’t make it’s market debut for another two years, assuming Tesla sticks to its product-rollout deadline – Musk had a surprise in store: A new model of the Tesla Roadster that, he bragged, would be the fastest production car ever sold.

Musk made similarly lofty claims about the battery life and performance of both vehicles. The Tesla semi-trucks, he said, would be able to travel for 500 miles on a single charge. The roadster could clock a staggering 620 – more than double the closest challenger.

There was just one problem, as Tesla fans would later find out, courtesy of Bloomberg: None of it was true.

In fact, many of the promises defy the capabilities of modern battery technology.

Elon Musk knows how to make promises. Even by his own standards, the promises made last week while introducing two new Tesla vehicles—the heavy-duty Semi Truck and the speedy Roadster—are monuments of envelope pushing.

To deliver, according to close observers of battery technology, Tesla would have to far exceed what is currently thought possible.

Take the Tesla Semi: Musk vowed it would haul an unprecedented 80,000 pounds for 500 miles on a single charge, then recharge 400 miles of range in 30 minutes.That would require, based on Bloomberg estimates, a charging system that’s 10 times more powerful than one of the fastest battery-charging networks on the road today—Tesla’s own Superchargers.

The diminutive Tesla Roadster is promised to be the quickest production car ever built. But that achievement would mean squeezing into its tiny frame a battery twice as powerful as the largest battery currently available in an electric car.

To continue reading: There Is Just One Thing Preventing Elon Musk’s Vision From Coming True: The Laws Of Physics

 

Why is NASA Covering Up Elon Musk’s Mistakes? by Drew Armstrong

Would it be to much to suggest that some of the government’s subsidies for Elon Musk’s companies somehow end up in his pocket, which he then uses to purchase more influence with the government? From Drew Armstrong at mises.org:

On June 28th, 2015, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched a Dragon resupply ship not into space, but rather into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a catastrophic failure that cost taxpayers $112 million.The payload that was meant to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) went up in a huge plume of smoke and flames. However, even though SpaceX did not complete their mission, they still received all but 20 percent of the full payment. Standard NASA protocol is to release a report on every launch accident, but to this day — two years later — there is still no formal statement as to what went wrong on the SpaceX accident.

Per NASA, there won’t be one released anytime soon. The Agency recently announced that it will in fact not publicly release a report on their investigation into the disastrous explosion of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. They had originally committed to reporting their results by the summer of 2017, but have instead passed the buck to the FAA.

“Since it was an FAA licensed flight, NASA is not required to complete a formal final report or public summary, and has deferred any additional products related to the matter at this time,” the agency’s Public Affairs Office (PAO) stated. “The data is important for historical purposes, but the mishap involved a version of the Falcon 9 rocket, the version 1.1, that is now no longer in use.” Apparently, the fact that SpaceX is no longer using that version of the Falcon 9 after this $112 million “mishap” of taxpayer funds means the American taxpayers have no right to know what happened. Strangely, that storyline did not work for a competing firm’s similar failure that occurred eight months prior.

On Oct. 28th, 2014, an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket was loaded with NASA Supplies aboard a Cygnus cargo ship worth $51 million bound for the ISS. Upon lift-off, the booster exploded, and the payload was lost, severely damaging the launch pad. Just like the SpaceX flight, the Orbital rocket was an official FAA-Licensed commercial launch. Both the Antares and the Falcon 9 launches were conducted under the same NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. And just like the Falcon 9, the Antares was part of an expiring line of rockets. Yet, NASA completed and published an executive summary within one year of the Antares incident.

The smell of hypocrisy has never been so potent.

To continue reading: Why is NASA Covering Up Elon Musk’s Mistakes?