Tag Archives: Tesla

Martin Bormann Phone Home, by Eric Peters

Tesla has tabbed a Chinese executive to run its plant in Texas, which raises interesting questions about Chinese interest in, and influence over, the American automotive industry. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:


You have probably heard about – and may even know – people who refused to buy VWs and Mercedes-Benzes because of the dealings of those companies with the government of national socialist Germany during the years the national socialists ran Germany. Well, how about cars made under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party?

You know, Teslas.

Word has just leached out that Elon Musk will be importing a Chinese executive to oversee the new Tesla plant in Austin, Texas. His name is Tom Zhu and The Street says the Texas gig may be just a stepping stone to his next gig as the future CEO of Tesla.

Some might say this is comparable to having someone like Martin Bormann – a high official of the national socialist government of Germany – oversee a VW plant in America.

It’s worse, arguably – because there weren’t any VW (or other German) automobile plants in America while the national socialists were in power in Germany. By the time there were, the national socialists hadn’t been in control of Germany for decades. Buying a VW or Benz or Audi years after the national socialists had been removed from power did not empower national socialists.


But what about buying a Tesla built by a company that not only has direct ties to China but has a senior executive who is an emissary-agent of the Chinese Communist Party?

No one becomes a senior executive in China who is not approved by the Chinese Communist Party, which controls everything in China.

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Advertise on a Competitor’s Social Media Platform? Um, that Would Be a Hoot… GM “Paused” Ads on Musk’s Twitter, by Wolf Richter

Musk’s automotive competitors are on the horns of a dilemma. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Automakers are huge advertisers. Social media platforms are huge data collectors. And now Tesla’s Musk owns this data.

Automakers spend lavishly on advertising, and they advertise heavily in the social media. But now, one of the social media platforms, Twitter, is owned as of yesterday by the CEO and largest shareholder of Tesla. And the automakers that compete with Tesla, and are getting their clocks cleaned by Tesla, are now finding themselves advertising on Elon Musk’s platform. And when you think about it, that’s kind of a hoot.

No one likes to advertise on a competitor’s platform, for all sorts of reasons, but particularly because on a social-media platform, the competitor gathers the consumer tracking data and can get important insights into current and potential customers and their reactions to the products and ads – without even passing on those insights to the automaker.

Advertising on a competitor’s social media platform is a particular problem because of the vast amount of user data that those platforms collect – data on your customers and potential customers that you may actually not see yourself, unless the platform decides to share it with you.

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Tesla Shares Get Halved, by Wolf Richter

Easy come, easy go for Elon Musk and fans. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

But It’s Not a Stock Split.

Elon Musk, the CEO who walks on water, has been busy recently with his other interests and pranks, such as wanting to buy Twitter for $44 billion, and then, after having signed the binding merger agreement, it’s like forget it LOL, and then after he realized that the courts could embarrassingly force him to buy Twitter for $44 billion, it’s like, no problem, I’m going to buy it voluntarily and turn it into the next big thing, LOL, similar to the tweet, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” which was weed joke, and no one held his feet to the fire.  Or his tweet last year, “Am thinking of starting new university: Texas Institute of Technology & Sciences”: not MIT but TITS, get it?

And then, in addition to Twitter and tweets, there are SpaceX with its fancy rockets and Starlink satellite service, and his Burned Hair perfume, and what not. So the richest man in the world can afford to be funny with this stuff.

But he’s a lot less rich than he was in November last year. Because the one thing he hasn’t been able to do is keep Tesla’s stock [TSLA] levitated in the ionosphere. TSLA dropped 7.6% today, to close at $204.99.

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Pulling Your Plug, by Eric Peters

Do you really want a car that can be disabled remotely by the car company? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Electric cars don’t just plug in. They can also be unplugged – so to speak – and not necessarily by their owners.

Lost in the Oceania-is-at-war-with Eastasia mass formation psychosis now forming over Keeeeeeeev! was a telling Tweet that appeared – and disappeared – urging Elon Musk to remotely disable every Tesla in Russia, so as to teach the Russians a lesson.

One lost on Americans.

Electric cars will tether Americans not merely to electrical outlets but to a leash – the other end of it held by those who have the ability to yank it, at their pleasure. Like Elon Musk, who is considered by some to be a kind of libertarian techno-hero a la Tony Stark, the fictitious Iron Man. But if so, why would he design electric cars that are connected cars?

Cars that can be disconnected – for any reason – at any time?

Many such reasons can be imagined – among them that Elon is the scion of a family of managerial technocrats who have been working on ways to manage us for the past 100 years.

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A Tale of Two Geniuses, by Eric Peters

Henry Ford goes down in history as the man who mass-produced cars. Elon Musk will go down in history as the man who mass-produced government subsidies. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Elon Musk is hailed as a “genius” by some.

And he is – but not in the way they mean it.

Like Henry Ford, Musk took something he didn’t invent that was essentially a curiosity and recast it in a different way. The difference being that when Henry Ford simplified the car by standardizing parts and mass producing them on an assembly line – as opposed to hand-building them, one at a time, as had been prior practice – the result was a much less expensive and far more practical car that almost anyone could afford to buy.

Musk did the opposite.

The early electric cars were simpler as well as more practical than non-electric cars; this was a big part of their initial appeal, 100 years ago, when they were (briefly) competitive with early non-electric cars. You didn’t have to hand-crank the engine and risk breaking your wrist – because of course there was no engine. Instead, an electric motor connected to the drive wheels and an array of lead-acid batteries. The car turned off – and on – and off you went.

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Electrocuting Themselves, by Eric Peters

“Me too” is generally a terrible idea in business, especially when the government thinks it’s a swell idea. From Eric Peters at ericpeters.com:

The key to selling something is to not sell the same thing everyone else is selling. Elon Musk grasps this concept.

His electric emulators do not.   

Perhaps the latest sales figures will help them to grasp it. It appears that Tesla is about to become the best-selling luxury car brand in the United States, toppling BMW – which held the title for many years.

Arguably, because what BMW was selling during those years was something different than what Elon is selling.

Some will recall the old BMW slogan about  Ultimate Driving Machines. It wasn’t just a slogan. BMW invented the luxury-sport sedan with iconic models like the 2002 of the ‘70s. The numbers signified two-door sedan, two liter engine – connected to a manual transmission. It was a car you drove.

Other luxury cars drove you places.

The distinction isn’t about better or worse but rather about the differences. If you wanted the sounds and sensations of a high-performance sports car Matryoshka-doll’d within the body of a luxury car, the compass needle pointed toward a BMW store.

There was nothing else quite like a BMW.

Mercedes, meanwhile, specialized in overbuilt, under-stressed road-bound tanks that would last 300,000 miles. They were plush and even a little stodgy in contrast to the BMW’s taut and youthful.

These was nothing quite like them either.

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“Outages”, by Eric Peters

One of the really cool things about Teslas is that through software, Tesla has absolute control over your movement. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

An interesting item in the news the other day got almost no attention.

The thing that got attention in the news was the news that a “ . . .problem with Tesla servers on Friday once again left hundreds of drivers unable to enter and operate their electric cars.”

No analysis of the italicized implications was offered.

Ergo, it’s well to considering them.

For the past 120 years or so – since the first cars began rolling under their own power – it was taken as a given that the people who owned them controlled them. The keys were a physical symbol of ownership because he who held the keys controlled the car. Parents would threaten to withhold the keys from their teenaged drivers, if their grades slipped, for instance.

But once you were no longer a kid, if you held the keys then the car was yours. You used to see dangling-suggestively keys in car ad copy; the implication being – this could be yours (and by implication, no one else’s).

Not anymore.

Not if it’s one of Elon’s electric cars. Because Elon holds the keys – and you never will, no matter that you’re not a teenager, you paid for the car and Elon isn’t your father. But he is your overlord. He and his fellow managers intend to lord it over all of us – and electric cars are the perfect vehicle for that.

They have two plugs – one physical, the other virtual.

You use the physical plug to charge the thing up.

They use the virtual plug to determine how much and how fast you’re allowed to charge up – and (cue Emperor Palpatine voice) many other things, besides. Including whether they allow the car to move, at all – regardless of its state of charge. A signal is sent over the airwaves and the car bricks – perhaps because you’re not Jabbed. Perhaps because of some wrongthinkful thing you Tweeted. Perhaps just because.

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The Ugly Math: GM, Ford, other Legacy Automakers Throw Hundreds of Billions at EVs, Only Auto Segment that’s Growing. Tesla Made Them Do It, by Wolf Richter

The question remains: if electric utilities right now are having trouble supplying enough juice in places like Europe and China, where does the extra juice come from for millions of EVs? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

It’s a zero-sum game that’s eating up a huge amount of cash. But Electric Utilities are loving it.

In the press release for its investor conference today, GM said that it plans to double its annual revenues by the end of the decade as it transitions to EVs. In terms of the math, 8% in price increases a year for nine years would do that without having to jump through the hoops of selling more vehicles. GM’s average transaction price in Q3 in the US jumped by 20% year-over-year. So…  I don’t see this statement as sign of an increase in volume, but an increase in prices.

GM confirmed that logic by pointing out that it expects its margins to increase as it transitions to EVs. It said that half its manufacturing capacity in North America and China will be capable of producing EVs by 2030.

Sales growth in this industry is obtained by selling higher-priced vehicles. But volume growth, in terms of the number of vehicles sold, is hard to come by in the auto industry. There are some developing economies where sales are still growing. But there has been no growth in developed economies in two decades.

In the US, sales peaked in 2000 at 17.4 million vehicles, then fell off, then plunged to 10.4 million vehicles in 2009, and then recovered to hit 17.5 million vehicles in 2016, and that was it. Sales have been falling ever since. Last year, the industry sold 14.6 million vehicles. This year, may be around 15 million vehicles.

But the one segment that is growing in leaps and bounds is EVs. And that’s what GM’s investor conference was about – creating investor excitement about this “transition to EVs,” from a Chevrolet crossover “priced around $30,000,” to the high-end Hummer EV pickup truck with 1,000 hp.

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Are Tesla’s Sudden China Woes A Harbinger Of Things To Come? by Fan Yu

The thing about doing business in a command economy is you’ve got to stay in good with the commanders, who are sometimes known to be capricious. From Fan Yu at The Epoch Times via zerohedge.com:

o see the impact China’s fickle market can do to a company’s value, look no further than Tesla.

On April 20, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s media and regulators began a series of public rebukes against the California-based electric carmaker. The criticisms were broad, ranging from Tesla’s car safety, to data gathering practices, as well as customer service.

In early June, technology website The Information reported that Tesla’s May China orders fell by nearly half compared to April, according to internal data. Orders fell from 18,000 in April to 9,800 in May, a reflection that Chinese consumers were negatively impacted by the uproar.

And all of this has erased $137 billion in market value as Tesla’s stock price declined 19.5 percent since April 21.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Tesla has encountered issues all year in China. In February and March, the CCP banned Tesla from its military compounds and housing units on concerns that the company could collect information via the cameras attached to Tesla cars to facilitate spying on behalf of the United States.

In early April, Tesla’s communications and governmental affairs director in China announced that any data collected within China would be stored in China and will not be sent to the United States, in an effort to quell CCP security concerns. This came about after founder and CEO Elon Musk publicly declared that Tesla would not engage in spying.

On April 20, CCP mouthpiece Xinhua published an article from the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show slamming the electric vehicle maker on the quality of its vehicles, citing consumer complaints.

On the same day, an official post on WeChat from the account of the powerful Commission for Political and Legal Affairs also drew attention to the Auto Show, when a woman climbed onto the roof of a Tesla vehicle to complain about her car’s faulty brakes. The video of the woman went viral on Chinese social media. While it’s unclear why the CCP organ which oversees the country’s police and court system would weigh in on electric cars, it was nonetheless a powerful rebuke of Tesla.

While Tesla China originally pushed back against this narrative, stating that the woman in question has been protesting against Tesla for some time, later during the same week the company issued a public apology and promised to better listen to customer complaints.

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The Cryptoverse – Bastard Son of the Fiat, by David Stockman

Many people who have made a lot of money in cryptocurrencies would vigorously resist the notion that their gains are fueled by the same monetary inflation that’s fueling gains in many other speculative markets. From David Stockman at davidstockmanscontracorner via lewrockwell.com:

Goodness gracious, me! Is this the ultimate case of the pot-calling-the-kettle-black or what?

If there were ever a pure play in the great fraud of fiat, Elon Musk is it. Yet here he is electing to go with crypto instead.

The true battle is between fiat & crypto. On balance, I support the latter.

Actually, there is a seminal picture in these few words and it amounts to this: Crypto currencies are not money, they are the latest boiling hot speculative asset class that, ironically, is just another bastard spawn of the central bank money-printers. They are not an alternative to bad central bank money; they’re are an issue from its own loins.

It’s blatantly evident that neither Bitcoin nor any of the other swarming herd of cryptos are a store of value or a medium of exchange. During the last 48 months, for example, the value of Bitcoin has changed on a monthly basis as follows.

Monthly Value Change:

  • Gain of 40% or more: 7 months;
  • Gain of 20% or more: 17 months;
  • Gain of 10% or more: 21 months;
  • Loss of 20% or more: 5 months;
  • loss of 5% or more: 19 months;
  • Loss of 2% or more: 22 months;

As to a means of exchange for anything less than a $125,000 Tesla (for a time), a good old fiat wire transfer, check or chunk of cash has a lower transaction cost as a percent of purchase price.

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