Tag Archives: Tesla

The Electric Obamaphone, by Eric Peters

The main problem with Elon Musk’s and soon to be everyone else’s electric cars is there will not be enough people who will buy them at anything close to profitable prices. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Elon just admitted something which is getting very little coverage – and no explanation.

He announced that Tesla will no longer be selling the “affordable” $35,000 Model 3 he promised would be Tesla’s first mass-market electric car. Like so many of Elon’s promises, that one’s out the window, too.

The price of the least expensive Tesla just rose to $39,000. Well, technically $38,990 – to make it go down easier.

That’s still a $4k decrease in “affordability” – and a reality check.

Elon is admittingthat electric cars aren’t mass-market cars. That after all the glitzy assurances, after all these years, in the end, they are what they have always been: Specialty cars for people with the disposable income to indulge other-than-economic considerations such as “technology” and – as Elon loves to tout – the driving characteristics of electric cars.

There’s nothing per se objectionable about specialty cars – whether electric or powered by a high-performance boxer six, like a Porsche.

But there is a problem.

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Elon’s “Compelling” New Offer, by Eric Peters

But Wait, There’s More! from master conman and grifter Elon Musk. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Elon Musk has just announced he’s going into the insurance business with Liberty Mutual – a partnership as natural as the getting-together over coffee of the Gambinos and Columbos.

They’re really going into the data-mining and mobility control business; the insurance business is merely the storefront.

The plan, according to Elon, is to offer “compelling” premiums . . . by compelling policyholders to let him (and the sickly-named Liberty) monitor their driving via real-time telemetry – just like the Apollo program.

And surrender it, too – by turning that over to his infamous auto-pilot system.

Which for the record hasn’t exactly got a great record.

Several auto-piloted Teslas have already piloted themselves into fixed barriers and other vehicles as effectively as any reckless human driver.

There have been losses – including of human lives.

At least two lawsuits are currently in process – including one filed by the family of Walter Huang of California, who was killed when his Tesla wandered out its travel lane and then accelerated into a lane divider – without Huang having touched the accelerator pedal or the steering wheel.

Will Elon surcharge himself for this risk?

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When Bubbles Burst – Tesla, The Everything Cycle and the End of Global Warming, by Tom Luongo

The Tesla company, its cars, and global warming are articles of faith among a certain set. That faith is going to be tested. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

As the center of the U.S. freezes this weekend, Elon Musk is trying to figure out how to save Tesla from going the way of Enron.

Religions die hard. It takes an orgy of evidence to change a person’s mind on a subject that is integral to their moral and ethical structure.

In the case of Tesla, the mania surrounding it over the past decade has been inextricably bound up with the hysteria of global warming.

For years investors ignored the obvious warning signs that Tesla would never be able to graduate from a boutique, hand-built car manufacturer and technology skunk works to a mass producer.

I’ve been very hard on Musk in the past, with good reason. But, as a guy with vision I applaud him getting Tesla off the ground and legitimizing the idea of the upscale electric car.

But it was never going to work as a mass production scheme because Musk isn’t that guy. He’s a dreamer and a schemer, not a builder. And, as I’ve said multiple times, he should have stepped down as CEO of Tesla ages ago.

A man has got to know his limitations as The Man once said.

Musk doesn’t.

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Tesla Goes Up in Smoke… Three Times, by Eric Peters

The government has been obsessed with automobile safety for decades, except when it comes to electric cars. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

The owner of another Tesla has died – horribly – in Davie, Florida after his car struck a tree and burst into flames.

It then burst into flames again – post mortem – while the carcass was being hauled away to the wrecking yard.

And then once more, at the wrecking yard. News story here.

Unlike other cars, Teslas remain dangerous even after they wreck.

And not just Teslas.

The danger applies to electric cars in general, because the lithium-ion battery packs which power many of them are susceptible to spontaneous combustion if the structure of the battery – its case – is physically damaged as the result of impact forces in a crash and thermal runaway occurs.

Short circuits within the battery release tremendous energy – violently.

And repeatedly.

Think Whack-a-Mole, except with a fire hose.

Electric cars are the only cars – other than Christine, the fictitious ’57 Plymouth with the body by Plymouth and soul by Satan – which can kill multiple times.

With no one behind the wheel.

Or at least, no one still alive.

EVs can kill in other ways, too.

Lithium-ion battery fires are unusually toxic. They release poisonous gasses, including hydrogen fluoride. When this stuff comes into contact with moisture – such as is present on the surface of the human eyeball, for instance – it converts into hydrofluoric acid and that can cause rapid destruction of corneas, resulting in permanent blindness.

Breathing the stuff can cause death from cardiac arrhythmia and fluid build-up in the lungs.

The government seems remarkably indifferent. This is interesting, given the usual (supposed) obsession with our saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety.

Why not now?

This is the same government which sics armed goons on people for not wearing seatbelts.

It is the same government which practically crucified VW over a theoretical risk to “public health” – a vague conception based on assertions about the effect of tenths of a percent differences in exhaust emissions from “cheating” diesel-powered cars – which haven’t been shown to have caused actual harm to any actual person.

As opposed to electric cars that have actually killed people – and will kill again.

EVs double-down on the danger of roasting their owners to death – or blinding/choking them to death.

They are inherently more vulnerable to auto-immolation and not just because of chemistry but because they are literally more vulnerable.

 

Physically vulnerable.

The EV’s battery pack is very big – and very heavy – and for that reason, is spread out over the length of the EV’s floorpan. Otherwise, the EV would have a very small trunk – or a very cramped passenger compartment – and also be tipsy.

So the pack is laid flat and low – and comparatively thin (vs. a gas tank).

But now you’ve got a battery pack that’s susceptible to being damaged – and auto-immolating – from almost any impact, whether from the side or from behind or from crashing into something, as in the Florida incident.

Gas-powered cars are inherently less vulnerable to going up in smoke because the gas tank isn’t spread out all the length of the car’s floorpan. Even pile-driving into a tree – as the Florida Tesla driver apparently did – usually won’t damage the gas tank, because it’s located in the rear part of the car.

And even if the tank is damaged in a crash – and gas leaks – it won’t necessarily cause a fire. Because gasoline doesn’t spontaneously combust.

There’s also the happy fact that once a gas fire is put out, the danger is over.

There is also much less danger over time.

Because of wear and tear.

An old car’s gas tank may develop a leak; it isn’t necessarily dangerous. But an old EV’s aging battery pack could develop a crack – and that isvery dangerous. Hit a bad pothole in your 12-year-old Tesla and… what’s that smell?

Better hope the doors unlock once the power shorts out.

How many will have to die before the government begins to show some . . . concern?

Right now, it is showing the same degree of concern about auto-immolating EVs as it has shown about known defective air bags – several hundred thousand of which remain in circulation because the government hasn’t issued a fatwa ordering them to be sidelined until they can be fixed.

Think about this.

All those pour souls who have to drive to work every day sitting inches away from a known defective air bag that could kill them aren’t even allowed to have the known defective bags temporarily turned off until they can be fixed.

And government goons will Taser you if you refuse to “buckle up” or wear a helmet on your motorcycle.

That’s how much the government cares about our saaaaaaafety.

The truth is that our saaaaaaaaaaaaafety is of much less concern to the government than getting us to accept EVs. Or rather, tricking us into accepting them.

It is analogous to a pet owner hiding an unpleasant-tasting pill in a meatball, to get the animal to eat it. With the difference being that the pet owner actually does have the best interests of Fido at heart.

The government’s true interests are murkier.

Clearly, saaaaaaaaaaafety is just a cover for whatever else it has in mind; whatever serves its interests.

One of those interests may be the fact that EVs will limit our mobility. They can’t go as far – and they take far longer to get going again. They are severely gimped by extreme cold – and high heat.

And they are very expensive – which serves the interests of the banking cartel, which wants us all in perpetual debt as much as the government wants us under control – both amounting to the same things, really.

Neither of them having anything to do with our saaaaaaaaafety.

The Double-Batteried Electric Polecat, by Eric Peters

If the only electric car models that can make money are high end speedsters, why are we subsidizing them? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The Electric Dementia continues to wax, the latest evidence of which is Volvo’s announcement about its Polestar performance car arm becoming its electrified performance  arm.

Hold up there, chief.

Weren’t electric cars supposed to be a better way to get around – that is, less expensive to own and drive, more convenient – rather than a faster way to get around?

And if speed is now the main EV draw, why is the government still subsidizing them? Isn’t it like subsidizing ribe-eye steaks and sushi for all? Which is a nice idea – if you’re the one getting the subsidized rib-eyes and sushi rather than the one getting the bill.

There is also an environmental affront here. High-performance cars, whether electric or IC, use more energy than cars designed to get from A to B as economically as possible. So why is the government subsidizing cars that are specifically not designed to get from A to B as economically as possible? Which use more energy, gratuitously – just for the fun of it –  and so, more resources and also (here it comes) emit more byproducts – C02, in the case of high-performance electric cars – than they neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to?

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Waiting For Elon, by Eric Peters

Tesla has kept some buyers waiting three years for their cars, and they still haven’t delivered. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Three years is a long time to wait for a new car. It makes you want to buy another car – which is exactly what a large number of frustrated Teslians are doing as they lose hope of ever getting behind the wheel of the Model 3 they put thousand dollar deposits on as far back as 2016.

That is to say, of ever seeing the affordable Model 3 Elon promised to build for them. The one Elon promised he could sell them for $35,000. The one which – by dint of its affordability – Elon swore on a stack of battery packs would game-change the EV business, which has been financially flummoxed to date when it comes to figuring out how to build an electric car that can be sold at a price people can afford andat a profit.

It looks like Elon can’t do it, either.

H will sell you a $94,000 Model S – or a $44,400 Model 3 (the Model 3 he isbuilding and which you can buy). But he can’t afford to sell you affordable models like the $79,000 version of the Model S, which has been pulled from the Tesla lineup.

And he apparently can’t build the promised $35,000 model 3 because he can’t afford to lose the additional almost $10k difference between it and the $44,000 (to start; more like $60,000 out the door) version, which is the only version he is building.

Meanwhile, his customers grow restless.

If you want to call them that.

It is customary for a customer – properly speaking – to get something in returnfor his money. Thousands of Elon’s “customers” have only received empty promises, so far.

For example, Nevine Melikian of Phoenix, AZ- who put down cash almost two summers ago and has yet to get anything in return – except for Elon’s “pedo” Tweets. Automotive Newsreports that the Melikian family has purchased to Toyota Prius hybrids in the meanwhile – probably because they wore out too many pairs of shoes.

“They need to get their act together, ” says Melikian.

Actually, Uncle does – for consistency’s sake, at least.

How is that Tesla is permitted to get away with what any other automaker (or business generally) would be Hut! Hut! Hutted! – or at least, SEC’d – over? It is generally considered fraud to promise people things, take their money – and give them nothing.

Tesla has taken $905.8 million from Model 3 prospects, which buys a lot of cannolis.

Some customers have done the “Tesla Stretch” – the term used by Teslians themselves to describe giving up on the $35,000 Model 3 bait and accepting the $60,000 switch. Automotive News quotes Janelle Tarman, who bought the $60k (well, $58k) Model 3 which Elon is building  . . .because she fears the $35,000 version will “never materialize.”

Meanwhile, VW was literally hounded into Ned Beatty-esque squealing like a pig over pedantic “cheating” on recondite government emissions tests, which “cheating” amounted to a hill of nothing in terms of any fraud perpetrated on customers or harm to anyone or anything, including the Earth.

VW has been almost bankrupted by the government – and forced by the government to stop selling cars that people loved and which VW delivered. The company has had to finance embarrassing ads touting the products of its rivals – electric cars, of course.

Keep in mind that not one VW customer ever bitched about not getting a car – or expressed any dissatisfaction with the function of the “cheating” cars. Overwhelming, VW’s customers loved their cars – and regardless, actually got them when they paid for them.

Meanwhile, Elon…

It is interesting to speculate as to why he is given such a free hand, treated almost like a beloved child by its indulgent parent.

I think I know why.

Tesla was a kind of electric cat’s paw. Its purpose was to get EVs into the spotlight – to get the public used to the idea of electric cars, at least conversationally. To normalize them, to make them seem “cool” and “hip” – while non-electric cars were systematically portrayed by a complicit (because wholly owned by the same interests)  as “old” and – of course –   “dirty.” Which is a fraud far worse than pocketing $905.8 million from a bunch of starry-eyed rubes.

To force the issue, in other words.

EVs were going nowhere – not merely not very far – before Tesla suddenly (interestingly) became das wunderkind, with almost constant – and almost universally favorable – media coverage. The idea seems to have been to make EVs seem inevitable – The Future, as we have been hectored to accept as Truth and Fact for years now – and also to make them seem oh-so-sexy.

Note that Elon touts the speed and styling of his cars, which they do deliver. This is important; any ad man or marketing Jedi who knows his marks will tell you so.

Elon’s job, then, was to sex up the EV – which previously had been homely and boring as well as overpriced and functionally gimped. This would generate buzz. Which would create perceived pressure. And it would keep people’s minds off the overpriced and functionally gimped part, just long enough…

It would help force the entire industry to go EV. Make it seem like a grand idea. The public would never accept overpriced electric Trabants – but it might be gulled by speedy, good-looking ones.

Tesla’s job was to float the illusion– just long enough to assure the inevitability. To roll along – on government indulgence and taxpayer dollars – just long enough to get the rest of the industry to commit. To embrace the EV tar baby with both arms and hug it so tight – in terms of pouring billions into R&D and “electrification” of their lineups – that it would be nigh impossible for them to ever extricate.

This has just about been achieved.

Which renders Tesla increasingly no-longer-necessary. Expect the boom to be lowered sometime this year. Elon will be lionized as a seer, a kind of latter-day Preston Tucker.

Meanwhile, his customers will wait.

And the rest of us will get the bill.

 

The Profitless Prosperity Sector Will Collapse… by Adventures in Capitalism

There are a lot of hope-and-dream companies sucking up tons of money but generating no profits, with no prospect of doing so in the foreseeable future. The profitless prosperity sector is headed for trouble. From Adventures in Capitalism at adventuresincapitalism.com:

Near the culmination of all great stock market bubbles, at least one of that cycle’s supposed luminaries suffers an epic collapse because of fraud. As a result, fresh capital is restricted from that sector when it is needed most, leading to further crisis and a winnowing out of the sector as competitors cannot raise additional capital. Remember; suckers are always willing to finance bad businesses, but fraud means you immediately sell. It is this fear of endemic fraud tarnishing a whole sector, not economics, that finally ends a bubble.

Following Enron; capital was restricted from pipelines and energy trading. The collapses of WorldCom and Qwest led to a slow-down in fiber-optic buildouts. After the collapses of Ivar Kreuger and Samuel Insull, there was a multi-decade decline in conglomerates and holding companies. Following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, there was a multi-year dearth in underwriting archaic structured products and I’m sure the collapse of Madoff led to a decline in Ponzi investing. There are always second order effects in the sectors where these companies were previously shining lights—along with a lot of carnage. As a rule; if the biggest players were cheating a lot, even the honest guys were cheating a little. With Tesla (TSLAQ – USA) beginning its death rattle it’s worth considering what will happen to the rest of the Profitless Prosperity Sector.

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