Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tesla Had A Tough Week

The overall stock market did well this week but Tesla went into reverse.  Their results were bad and they would have been worse if not for the government hand out of some $80 million on them being a pretend zero emissions vehicle.  I like the car and think it is an electric Aston Martin, but It simply is a company not worth the price of its stock.

Elongate Musk their CEO made some crazy statement that Tesla like Apple will have a $700 billion valuation in ten years time.    Then the press went into a frenzy and said that Apple was working on its own EV that is like a minivan and called Titan.

I have no clue if Apple will enter the auto market with their own car but it makes little sense for them to be worried about Tesla eclipsing them as the most valuable stock on Wall Street.  My belief is that Tesla will have massive competition from other auto makers and Tesla’s war chest is too small and they had better have a capital raise or else they will get squashed like a Bug as the guy on Shark Tank says.

I found an article that a team of engineers in Sri Lanka are building a very high performance EV called the Vega.

I remember the Chevy Vega that competed against the Ford Pinto and to me Tesla is Pinto Bean when it comes to the global auto market.

This basically tells us that building an EV is not that difficult and many companies will have offerings that match Tesla.  The heart and soul of the EV is the battery pack and Elon is right to want to be a leader in battery technology and manufacturing.  The problem is that LG Chem and Samsung are the leaders and who knows how many Chinese companies will compete in batteries for EVs.  

I listened to a talk by Dr. Chu here in Marin and he said he and a prof at Stanford are doing research on Lithium Sulfur batteries and while they may fail, he thought this was better chemistry and cheaper chemistry than the batteries Tesla is using.  

If I was President for a day and could set energy policy I would ask the question on how many cycles the present batteries can endure in a car like the Leaf.  If the cycles are over 2,000 then I would instruct the VA to set up a program of leasing Leaf type EVs to Veterans at a price of $150 per month for a ten year lease.  This would put the car in the hands of a million people who actually need subsidized transportation.   I would end the $7,500 gift to the better off folks and concentrate via a VA leasing program to make the EV affordable to a mass market. 

I doubt Elongate will bring us the people’s EV.  I doubt Apple will bring us the people’s EV.  I doubt the Sri Lankans will do anything in global EV market but play cricket.    Maybe Vega is the Tamil word for Edsel?   What I do know is the Teslacle is falling and Elon’s voice will crack when all the competition hits.  I doubt the leery guy on the Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, would invest in the E Vega in Colombo or the Giggle battery factory that Harry Reid but never right helped steer to the Silver State.  I wonder if Colombo the capital of Sri Lanka was named after Charles Coulomb who is probably getting a charge in heaven out of all this EV talk.