Tesla Will Suffer A Further Blow In Europe Due To Standardization Of EV Charging Stations

Sales got off to a good start for Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) in Europe once the Model S made it on the market. Norway in particular, where government EV incentives are high and so are wages, became one of Tesla’s main markets in the early years. This should not come as a surprise given that Norway is emerging as an EV sales leader, given very generous government subsidies.

Source: New York Times

It has been reported by EV Obsession that Norway EV sales have now reached 30% of the total car market. Between the roughly $18,000 subsidy the government provides and the fact that Norwegians have an average net monthly salary of about $3,900, which is among the highest in the world, it should come as no surprise that EVs are doing alright in Norway. Unfortunately for Tesla, it seems to be falling behind in terms of market share in Norway. In 2013, Tesla managed to capture 25.2% of the market. This year, it seems that as of July, it only had 5% of the Norwegian EV market share. The early success of Tesla in Norway gave reason to many people to extrapolate a similar rate of success on other markets in Europe. The deterioration of Tesla’s market share in Norway should give people reason for pause. This is especially so, given that some of the stiffer competition in the EV market in Europe and across the world has not yet begun.

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Tesla’s Model 3 Base Price Will Be $15,000 Higher Than Musk Claims

Having seen one too many lazy recent media reports touting the upcoming “$35,000” Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model 3, I decided to update my article from nearly two years ago with some fresh numbers explaining why TSLA will never be willing to sell it in volume at anywhere close to that price. Here’s the math…

Tesla’s Q3 2016 automotive revenue (excluding leased cars) was $1,917,442,000 less $139,000,000 in ZEV credit sales = $1,778,442,000. That revenue came from 16,790 non-leased cars (see. p.28 of the 10-Q), which means the average car sold for $105,923. Cost of automotive sales was $1,355,102,000, which means gross profit (excluding ZEV) was $1,778,442,000 minus $1,355,102,000 = $423,340,000, which means gross profit per car averaged $423,340,000 divided by 16,790 cars sold = $25,213. Thus, Tesla’s cost to build its average car was the $105,923 in average revenue minus $25,213 in average gross profit = $80,710.

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Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and the Cancer of Cronyism (Plus Post-Election Humor)

The vision is appealing, but in the short run it looks challenging. Tesla may have surprised investors by turning a narrow — and rare — profit in the third quarter, but the vast bulk of its current $28 billion market capitalization is predicated on Mr. Musk’s turning the company from a niche supplier into a truly mass manufacturer of electric vehicles. Tesla’s shares have fallen about 16 percent since the company unveiled its SolarCity bid in June, reducing the value of the all-stock deal to around $2 billion.

Hitting a self-imposed target of cranking out 500,000 cars per year by 2018, from a current run rate of around 100,000, already looked daunting. Tesla, after all, has a history of missing production and sales targets; its Model X S.U.V., for example, was delayed by problems with its falcon-wing doors.

Now Mr. Musk and his team also have a major acquisition to worry about. Throw in his continued role as chief executive of the rocket venture SpaceX, and he has a lot up in the air. Moreover, to deliver on its promises, Tesla will probably need to ask investors for fresh capital at some point next year.

For most chief executives, all this would make 2017 a make-or-break year. But Tesla investors’ overwhelming support of the SolarCity deal suggests that Mr. Musk is in a different category. Even if the wheels start to come off, he will probably be able to persuade the faithful to keep him in place and to hand over more cash. That may make Mr. Musk’s all-electric vision a self-fulfilling prophecy, no matter the cost.

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It’s Time to Stop Spending Taxpayer Dollars on Elon Musk and Cronyism

From Enron to Bernie Madoff, at the end of every great American financial scandal, the totality of the perpetrators’ greed seems to be matched only by the public’s incredulity at how such a thing could be allowed to happen.

And thanks to Elon Musk, there’s a good chance we may all be asking this question again soon.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee have launched a probe into tax incentives paid to solar companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The committee probes, led by their respective Republican chairmen, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, have found an appropriate and disturbing target to begin this work.

SolarCity, a solar installation company set to be purchased by Tesla Motors Inc., is one of the seven companies named in the initial investigation.

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Tesla’s stock has had a rough 3 months — and it doesn’t look like things will get better

Tesla shares have declined almost 20% in the last three months, even as the automaker reported a surprisingly profitable third quarter and signaled to Wall Street that it has curtailed its cash burn and could finish 2016 with more money in the bank then expected.

The immediate problem for Tesla is political.

A Trump administration is unlikely to be friendly to electric cars — certainly not as friendly as the Obama administration. Obama was in the White House for almost the entirety of Tesla ascent as both a carmaker and a stock, with Tesla’s IPO taking place in 2010 and the Model S sedan hitting the streets in 2012.

Fortunately, Tesla is far more well established than it was when Obama took office in 2009. CEO Elon Musk’s company will sell a record-number of electric cars in 2016 — probably about 80,000 — and has a market cap of around $30 billion. It can hold on for a while, even if federal policies turn against it. And don’t forget the nearly 400,000 per-orders Tesla has for its forthcoming Model 3 mass-market vehicle.

The worry for the automaker now is that the end of the year and beginning of the next haven’t been happy financial times for the company, historically. Tesla shares have a pattern of sliding through the fourth quarter and continuing their decline into the first, only recovering once it establishes guidance for deliveries for the next year.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX May Lose Inmarsat Launch Order

LONDONElon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. may lose a spacecraft launch order from a major customer, Inmarsat PLC, even as the European satellite operator voiced confidence in the rocket company’s ability to return to flight this year.

SpaceX, as the rocket company is named, lost one of its Falcon 9 rockets in an explosion during a routine refueling exercise in September at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It destroyed an Israeli satellite Facebook Inc. planned to use to provide internet access to people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Investigators believe a refueling procedure led to the failure. Company officials hope to resume flights before year-end. Pentagon and industry officials said launch resumption before mid-January is doubtful.

Inmarsat Chief Executive Rupert Pearce said Thursday the launch of its fourth Global Xpress satellite due this year on a SpaceX rocket would be delayed until next year and that the company may shift a spacecraft due for launch next year to another rocket.

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Tesla’s own numbers show Autopilot has higher crash rate than human drivers

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Tesla’s claim that its Autopilot driver-assistance software is safer than a human driver.

After a fatal Autopilot crash last May, the company said the death was the first in 130 million miles of Autopilot driving—and noted that, “among all vehicles, in the U.S., there is a fatality every 94 million miles.”

The clear implication: Autopiloted Teslas are safer than human-piloted cars, and lives would be saved if every car had Autopilot.

But Tesla’s statistics are questionable at best. The small sample size—one crash—makes any calculation of Autopilot fatality rate almost meaningless.

Furthermore, Tesla compared its Autopilot crash rate to the overall U.S. traffic fatality rate—which includes bicyclists, pedestrians, buses, and 18-wheelers. This is not just apples-to-oranges. This is apples-to-aardvarks.

One statistician called Tesla’s comparison “ludicrous on the face of it.”

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