Tag Archives: Tesla

The Big Tech Backlash of 2018, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

There’s a revolt brewing against the tech titans that have been stock market darlings the last few years. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

Something must be terribly wrong with the world. A few days ago Elizabeth Warren agreed with Trump on China, now Bernie Sanders agrees with him about Amazon. What’s happening?

Bernie Sanders Agrees With Trump: Amazon Has Too Much Power

Independent Vermont senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders echoed President Donald Trump in expressing concern about retail giant Amazon. Sanders said that he felt Amazon had gotten too big on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, and added that Amazon’s place in society should be examined.

“And I think this is, look, this is an issue that has got to be looked at. What we are seeing all over this country is the decline in retail. We’re seeing this incredibly large company getting involved in almost every area of commerce. And I think it is important to take a look at the power and influence that Amazon has,” said Sanders.

A backlash against Facebook, a backlash against Amazon. Are these things connected? Actually, yes, they are connected. But not in a way that either Trump or Sanders has clued in to. Someone who has, a for now lone voice, is David Stockman. Here’s what he wrote last week.

The Donald’s Blind Squirrel Nails An Acorn

It is said that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, and so it goes with the Donald. Banging on his Twitter keyboard in the morning darkness, he drilled Jeff Bezos a new one – or at least that’s what most people would call having their net worth lightened by about $2 billion:

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” You can’t get more accurate than that. Amazon is a monstrous predator enabled by the state, but Amazon’s outrageous postal subsidy – a $1.46 gift card from the USPS stabled on each box – isn’t the half of it.

To continue reading: The Big Tech Backlash of 2018

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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

Not So Happy Motoring, by James Howard Kunstler

Electric cars must be completely green because their energy comes out of a plug on the wall. And where does the power from the plug come from? Don’t ask. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

It hasn’t been a great month for America’s electric car fantasy. Elon Musk’s Tesla company — the symbolic beating heart of the fantasy — is whirling around the drain with its share price plummeting 22 percent, its bonds downgraded by Moody’s to junk status, a failure to produce its “affordable” ($36,000 — Ha!) Model 3 at commercial scale, a massive recall of earlier S Model sedans for a steering defect, and the spectacular fiery crash in Silicon Valley last week of an X model that may have been operating in automatic mode (the authorities can’t determine that based on what’s left), and which killed the driver.

Oh, and an experimental self-driving Uber car (Volvo brand) ran over and killed a lady crossing the street with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona, two weeks ago. Don’t blame Elon for that.

There’s a lot to like about electric cars, of course, if, say, you’re a Google executive floating through life in a techno-narcissism bubble, or a Hollywood actor with wooly grandiose notions of saving the planet while simultaneously signaling your wealth and your “green” virtue cred. Teslas supposedly handle beautifully, ride very quietly, have great low-end power, and decent range of over 200 miles. The engine has something like twenty moving parts, is very long-lasting, and is easy to repair or change out if necessary.

Are they actually “green and clean?” Bwaahaaaaa….! Are you kidding? First, there’s the energy embedded in producing the car: mining and smelting the ores, manufacturing the plastics, running the assembly line, etc. That embedded energy amounts to about 22 percent of the energy consumed by the car over a ten-year lifetime. Then there’s the cost of actually powering the car day-by-day. The electricity around the USA is produced mostly by burning coal, natural gas, or by nuclear fission, all of which produce harmful emissions or byproducts. But the illusion that the power just comes out of a plug in the wall (for just pennies a day!) is a powerful one for the credulous public. The cherry-on-top is the fantasy that before much longer all that electric power will come from “renewables,” solar and wind, and we can leave the whole fossil fuel mess behind us. We say that to ourselves as a sort of prayer, and it has exactly that value.

To continue reading: Not So Happy Motoring

Tesla Gets Slammed by Tesla, by Wolf Richter

Tesla’s running out of financial options to keep its traveling mysterious show afloat. The stock has lots of room on the downside. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

When will investors get tired of feeding their capital into this cash-burn machine?

Tesla shares plunged 8.2% during regular trading hours on Tuesday and another 2% in after-hours trading to $272.50, below where they’d been a year ago ($277.45), and down 28% from September 18, when the market still had hopes for the Model 3.

The unsecured junk bond due in 2025 with a 5.3% coupon – which Tesla sold last August when its stock was still over $357 a share – dropped to a record low of 89 cents on the dollar in after-hours trading.

During a nasty day on the stock market, wunderkind Tesla got hammered by Tesla reality.

At first it was the NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board announced that it was sending investigators to California to investigate the fatal and fiery crash of a Model X on Friday morning that had shut down a carpool ramp and two lanes of Highway 101, the Silicon Valley artery, for almost six hours, twice as long as most accidents of this type, according to the California Highway Patrol. NTSB said it would examine various issues, including the post-crash fire and removing the vehicle from the accident site.

This is the second NTSB field investigation into the crash of a Tesla this year. In January, the NTSB opened an investigation into the crash of a Tesla — apparently in semi-autonomous mode — and a fire truck.

In the accident on Friday, the Model X hit a freeway divider, then was hit by a Mazda, and crashed into an Audi. The lithium-ion cells caught fire. The driver of the Tesla perished. The fire department ended up calling Tesla to determine how to extinguish the fire, as the exposed batteries were also an electrocution hazard.

To continue reading: Tesla Gets Slammed by Tesla

“Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.” By Simon Black

Tesla’s stock market valuation disagrees with Simon Black, but SLL wouldn’t bet against him. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Just a few days ago, shareholders of Tesla approved an almost comical pay package for their cult leader CEO Elon Musk that could potentially put $50 BILLION in his pocket over the next decade.

Let’s put this figure in perspective: at $5 billion per year, Musk would make more than every single CEO in the S&P 500. COMBINED.

In other words, if you add up the salaries of all the CEOs of the 500 largest companies in America, it would still be less than the $5 billion per year that Mr. Musk stands to earn.

That’s pretty astounding given that Tesla’s own 2017 4th quarter financial report (page 24) states that Elon “does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla”.

Or more importantly, that under Musk’s leadership, Tesla’s chronic financial incontinence has racked up more than $4.97 billion in operating losses for its shareholders.

Or that the company has been under SEC investigation (without bothering to disclose this fact to shareholders).

Yet they saw fit to reward him with the largest CEO pay package in the history of the world.

This is precisely the type of behavior that is only seen during periods of extreme irrationality when financial markets are at their peak… and poised for a serious correction.

I’ll close this brief letter today quoting John Thompson, Chicago-based value investor and Chief Investment Officer of Vilas Capital Management.

Thompson is one of the few hedge fund managers who has consistently outperformed the market, and his fund is betting big against Tesla. What follows are some passages about Tesla from Thompson’s recent investor updates:

I think Tesla is going to crash in the next 3-6 months. . .

. . . partially due to their incompetence in making and delivering the Model 3, partially due to falling demand for the Model S and X, partially due to the extreme valuation, partially due to their horrendous financesthat will imminently require a huge capital raise, partially due to a likely downgrade of their credit rating by Moody’s from B- to CCC (default likely) which should scare their parts suppliers into requiring cash on delivery (a death knell), partially due to the market’s recent falling appetite for risk, and partially due to our suspicions of fraudulent accounting activities, evidenced by 85 SEC letters/investigations and two top finance people leaving in the last month. . .

To continue reading: “Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.”

What the Headlines about Tesla, Snap, and Twitter “Earnings” Should Have Said, by Wolf Richter

Truth is the first casualty of war and earnings reports. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

How can the media be so gullible – and pliable? I don’t know either.

When Snap reported “earnings” this week – in quotes because it was its biggest loss ever – media headlines were euphoric, from TechCrunch(“Snap shares skyrocket on first earnings beat with revived user growth”) to The Wall Street Journal (“Snap Climbs Back Above IPO Price After ‘Shocker’ Earnings”).

The theory was that Snap had reported “better-than-expected earnings.” Thanks to these headlines, over February 7 and 8, Snap shares skyrocketed 48% to $20.75, though they have fallen off somewhat since then.

So here are some modest suggestions as to what the headlines should have been, based on Snap’s “earnings” report:

Snap losses surge 106% to $350 million in Q4, and 570% to $3.4 billion for the year, the most ever.

Snap lost more money than it generates in revenues; what is it doing with all this money?

Snap burned $820 million in cash in 2017, but still sits on $2 billion from investors and can keep going at this cash-burn rate through 2019, so no problem.

Snap Q4 loss soars to $350 million, on $286 million in revenues. Stop and think about that for a moment.

Losses are ballooning faster than revenues, and from a larger base, which is the road to financial perdition, but no problem for analysts.

Twitter also reported earnings this week, and the media headlines showered it with love, from The New York Times (“Twitter Has Good News for Once: Its First Quarterly Profit”) to CNBC (“Twitter rockets more than 20 percent after the company reports first-ever net profit”).

Twitter’s shares jumped 27% on the announcement, after they’d already soared 60% over the past year on takeover hype that never materializes but keeps getting trotted out time and again to pump up shares. Since the spike following the earnings announcement, shares have declined 10%.

So here are some suggestions for headlines to describe Twitter’s situation:

Twitter 2017 revenues shrink 3.4%, Q4 revenues inch up 2%, as company embarks on Cost-Cutting as strategy

Twitter makes $91 million in Q4 profit after gutting R&D and sales and marketing expenses, which might explain revenue stagnation. But still loses $457 million for the year.

Twitter cuts $68 million from R&D and $71 million from sales and marketing expenses in Q4, trying to shrink itself to growth. Good luck.

Even the ceaseless promos from President Trump and the media circus around his Twitter actions fail to boost Twitter’s revenues.

No other company has ever gotten this much constant and free promo from any White House, but Twitter still can’t make it work.

To continue reading: What the Headlines about Tesla, Snap, and Twitter “Earnings” Should Have Said

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