What Did Elon Musk Promise?

Musk is a crony-capitalist of the worst ilk. He plays both side of the aisle and wraps it all up in fanciful oratory about colonizing Mars. American’s literally eat it up. Musk is so popular you would think he was the real Tony Stark. His latest dazzling promise was to send colonists to Mars by 2024 (for $200K a one-way ticket). No guarantees you will make it alive, and no, Musk won’t be joining you on the trip. Have fun being the first Martians.

The lofty interstellar goal of living on Mars is inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek dreams and comes with an out of this world price tag…about $10 billion. Rockets are expensive and Musk has plans to blow up a few more of them as he pretends to be colonizes the red planet. The last rocket that blew, the Falcon 9, cost several hundred million in lost cargo alone. Musk actually blames that on real Martian sabotage, but that’s another story.

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ELON MUSK HAS DELIVERY ISSUES

But, while his grand gestures inspire awe and curiosity, they often fall short in the execution. Since 2011, Tesla has failed to meet Musk’s product-launch, production, and financial-performance promises more than twenty times, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal. Even a private showing, in early January, of Tesla’s new Gigafactory, in Storey County, Nevada—which Musk claims is on schedule to mass-produce lithium-ion batteries at rock-bottom costs by 2018—didn’t instill confidence in Musk’s ability to achieve his stated goals. As the Pacific Crest Securities research analyst Brad Erickson said in a note, the tour left “much to the imagination.”

And in September an explosion destroyed an unmanned SpaceX rocket on the launch pad during a fuelling exercise—an incident that called into question the viability of Musk’s radical notion to refuel craft en route, with astronauts on board. A little more than a year earlier, a NASA-funded SpaceX rocket carrying cargo destined for the International Space Station exploded two minutes after lift-off, destroying the payload. A NASA report on that incident raised questions about quality standards at Musk’s company.

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SpaceX is super-cooling its rocket fuel— why that could be a problem

For nearly a year, SpaceX has been trying out something new: super-cooling the liquid oxygen (LOX) which is a key ingredient in rocket fuel. It’s called deep-cryo LOX, and the idea has been around since NASA began designing rockets over 60 years ago. But no one has had the guts to actually fly rockets regularly with deep-cryo LOX.

We spoke with associate professor of aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech, Mitchell Walker, to understand why SpaceX chills its LOX cooler than anyone else and whether or not this is a good idea.

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The Elon Musk Myth Looks To Contaminate Texas

One of Musk’s fake companies getting billions in real government money is Tesla Motors.  Tesla produces massively-subsidized electric cars which – even with the federal coin – cost way too much and aren’t purchased by anyone outside of uber-wealthy preening elites:

“(Tesla’s) first model, the Roadster, costing over $100,000 per vehicle, sold only 2,400 actual cars in 31 countries from 2006 until production ended in 2012, despite extensive federal subsidies for electric car purchases.  Its new model, a full-size luxury sedan named the Model S, is doing better, costing about half as much as the Roadster. Tesla sold about 25,000 of these worldwide in 2013….The products are heavily subsidized, by both federal and state tax credits of up to $20,000+ to consumers, and zero emissions credits totaling tens of millions of dollars to the company.”

So much government coin – for so little in sales.  And now the Musk contagion is looking to infest Texas.  Musk wants to insert his Tesla Faux-Motors into the Lone Star State’s retail dealership market.  And is demanding even more cronyism to do it.

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Tesla Whiffed on Production Goal

Tesla said after markets closed Tuesday that it delivered about 22,200 vehicles in the fourth quarter and 76,230 for the year, missing already-trimmed full-year estimates. The automaker delivered 12,700 Model S and 9,500 Model X sedans. It said it also had about 6,450 vehicles in transit to customers at the end of the quarter, which will count as first-quarter 2017 deliveries.

Tesla shares declined nearly 3% to $212.35 in premarket trading Wednesday after rising 1.5% on Tuesday.

“Because of short-term production challenges starting at the end of October and lasting through early December,” production was weighted towards late in the quarter, conceded Tesla. The company said that the delay stemmed from its transition to new Autopilot hardware.

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Elon Musk’s Grand Ambition Is Boring

Master Plans, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, solar roofs, hyperloops, and space rockets that land on ships…is there anything Elon Musk won’t attempt? Apparently not: it’s time to add tunnel boring to the list.

No, I’m not joking. Saturday morning Musk sent out a series of tweets describing his intent to create a tunnel boring company because “Traffic is driving me nuts.” He then added the following to his Twitter bio: “Tunnels (yes, tunnels).”

There are only two explanations: either A) Musk is joking, or B) Musk is serious. Both scenarios should unsettle Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) investors and Musk supporters.

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Business ‘Savant’ Andrew Ross Sorkin Gets Elon Musk Very, Very Wrong

Actually, Elon Musk isn’t the Tony Stark of anything.  And the only person behind Tesla and Solar City is a government bureaucrat – writing Musk yet another government check.

So far, Musk has received FIVE BILLION DOLLARS in government money – mostly for his “green energy” business fallacies.  He is arguably the world’s largest welfare recipient.

And Musk’s ridiculous solar panel and electric car companies only serve as just two more totally unnecessary reminders that “green energy” is actually neither green nor energy.

Solar panels cost a ton of (government) money – and produce almost no energy for that money.  You’ll never get back the up-front coin in lifetime energy savings.  And the panels, once spent, have to be disposed of as if they are nuclear waste.

Electric cars also cost a ton of (government) money – and also cost way more up front than you’ll ever make up in energy savings over the life of the car.  Unless you drive the car roughly two thousand years.  And the energy it burns – is electricity.  Which is produced mostly by…coal – an energy source from which the Green Machine is supposedly trying to escape.

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Tesla Hunting For Spare Change In The Supercharger Sofa Cushions

It came out in the news that not only will Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) be charging people in the future to use their superchargers, but now you could be incurring fees for leaving your car parked on a supercharger for five minutes longer than it is supposed to. How did we get here from “free supercharger field trips across the nation”?

Like so many things with the Tesla story, one more too good to be true aspect seems to be coming to an end. We have long been skeptics of Tesla and we have long argued that when reality sets in, the stock and Tesla shareholders will be in for a bit of a reality check of their own. We happen to think that Tesla’s share price in and of itself is a little bit of a too good to be true story, and perhaps the supercharger fallacy coming to an end does well to signify what the future may hold for Tesla shareholders.

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Tesla’s Subsidy Shuffle: Big Public Costs With No Public Benefit

In mid-November, the stockholders of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SolarCity approved a plan to merge SolarCity into Tesla, thereby creating “the world’s first vertically integrated, end-to-end sustainable energy company.” It was almost enough to warm the cockles of this skeptic’s heart. Then I started compiling a list of the Federal and State subsidies and interventions the merged companies will enjoy as they pursue a sustainable future. It was a fascinating exercise.

Before digging into the surprisingly large subsidy numbers, I’ll start by describing the model integrated sustainable energy system I’ve use for this article, a system that combines rooftop solar, energy storage and an EV. To keep the analysis simple, my model system only has enough power generation and storage to support an EV. The numbers will be significantly higher if a consumer wants to serve part of his non-transport energy needs with a Tesla solution.

For a recent article, I calculated that the 170,000 Teslas on the road worldwide have averaged 33.4 miles per vehicle day. While the battery-to-wheels power consumption of a Model S is 3.5 miles per kWh, there’s about a 10% round-trip efficiency loss between total charge energy and total discharge energy. So if a consumer plans to collect energy from a solar panel, store it in a Powerwall and subsequently use it to charge an EV, the total round-trip efficiency loss will be about 19%. To get 33.4 miles of range out of an EV, he will need to start by storing about 12 kWh in a Powerwall.

While I’ve rounded some numbers to keep the analysis simple, 2 kW of rooftop solar panels should be able to provide an average of 12 kWh per day under optimal conditions. Likewise, a 14 kWh Powerwall should provide adequate storage capacity for the first couple years. That being said, a second Powerwall will probably be needed as the storage capacity of the first one degrades. I can’t accurately predict the capacity degradation of a “Powerwall 2,” but Tesla’s January 22, 2016, Powerwall Manufacturer s Warranty Certificate (Germany) used the following graph to summarize the expected capacity degradation for a “Powerwall 1” used in a daily cycling regime.

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