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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Cut off Elon Musk’s Government Subsidy Gravy Train

Wednesday, Leonardo DiCaprio made a visit to Trump Tower. The reason? Selling the incoming administration on the creation of “millions of green jobs.” He wants the government to put its thumb on the scale to favor his pet industries. This nonsense must stop, and President Trump’s first one hundred day agenda would benefit from a plan for ending the out-of-control crony capitalism that has made this kind of activity commonplace.

DiCaprio is easy to criticize: a movie star who addresses the UN. He hectors the government to spend money on things that voters do not prioritize as highly as he does…because, you know, he knows best. But this does more than just infuriate voters. It is regulatory capture but on a grand, political scale. It warps capital markets, warps entire sectors of our economy and diverts entrepreneurs from market-driven pursuits.

It is not a theoretical point. Take the case of Elon Musk, who has become one of the more successful entrepreneurs chasing government dollars. In a sense, Musk is a tragic story of how one of the world’s most talented entrepreneurs has become sidetracked by crony capitalism.

We are all aware of President Obama’s obsession with electric vehicles (EVs), for example. In 2011, he pledged that the United States would have one million new generation electric cars on the road by 2015 and pledged billions to do it. He and a bipartisan consensus in Congress wasted gobs of money and warped markets to miss that absurd goal by a yawning margin. Likewise, he threw billions at solar energy with direct and indirect subsidies. Solar power is still not cost competitive.

From that, Musk made billions.

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NYT reporter swoons over Elon Musk

Moreover, Mr. Musk caused a net loss of manufacturing jobs. Suppose the $4.9 billion he wrested from the government had instead been distributed to the private business community through lower taxes. The annual average cost of a manufacturing job in the United States, including pay and benefits, approximates $81,300. That means private businesses would have created approximately 60,000 manufacturing jobs if they had received the same financial support government showered on Mr. Musk. His three lavishly subsidized businesses have thus caused a net loss of 25,000 manufacturing jobs. Sorkin’s effusive praise of Musk as “a prime example of everything we want our business leaders to be” is nonsense on stilts.

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Tesla: Where’s The Value?

The cherry on the cake is definitely this convoluted attempt by Musk to consolidate his “dreams” with the SolarCity merger. Neither company is financially sound. SolarCity has a hard time making money. Tesla ALMOST never makes money. So where’s the value? The notion that the two will create a solar house that charges your car for almost nothing is grand, but the timelines seem absurd. We can talk all we want about the merit of solar shingles and zero emissions. It very much is the way of the future. That doesn’t mean that Musk and his cohort are going to be the ones to succeed. As shareholders, you need to see a return on your investment. It has been years. Both companies have run up revenues. Both companies have failed to consolidate those gains. This story has Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) written all over it. In many ways both of these firms have been coddled into growth. Between subsidies and “enthusiastic” share pricing (which has allowed for large capital raising through stock sales), Tesla and SolarCity were given the fuel to get the show rolling. Unfortunately this same “incentive” has driven the two companies into complacency. Musk seems convinced that everyone will support his show to the end no matter how long it takes. The longer it takes to deliver some real results, the less likely this will be the case.

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Elon Musk To Attend Trump Meeting Orchestrated By Musk’s Business Partner

Billionaire Elon Musk is attending President-elect Donald Trump’s tech industry meeting, which is being orchestrated by the tech-entrepreneur’s business partner, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SolarCity, and is a close associate of Peter Thiel, the tech investor who backed Trump during his presidential campaign. Apple CEO Tim Cook  and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will also appear at the Wednesday meeting.

They were both founders of PayPal — and Thiel’s venture-capital firm Founders Fund also contributes millions of dollars to SpaceX.

SpaceX has been awarded contracts valued at more than $6.5 billion over the past eight years, mostly to delivering cargo to NASA’s primary space station. It’s also working on securing contracts from the Air Force valued at more than $100 million.

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Tesla Recalls 7,000 Charging Adapters After Two Overheat

Tesla Motors Inc. said it’s voluntarily recalling about 7,000 adapters for electric-vehicle charging after two reports of overheating that resulted in melted plastic on the plugs. The rarely used item is sold through the company’s online store.

Two customers reported overheating in November, according to an e-mail the company sent to customers Tuesday. No damage besides the melted plastic was reported, and Tesla said it has notified U.S. regulators of its voluntary recall. The accessories were manufactured by an outside supplier and haven’t been sold for at least six months, according to Tesla.

The two cases of overheating equipment involved the NEMA 14-30 adapters, which are sometimes used to charge Tesla vehicles via clothes-dryer appliance outlets in U.S. homes. International customers aren’t affected. Replacements will be shipped beginning in the next few weeks, and customers should avoid using them in the meantime.

The company will also be replacing the NEMA 10-30 and 6-50 adapters, which have a similar design. Those replacements will take about three months, but as there haven’t been any reported instances of overheating in those versions, customers who rely on them may continue to use them, according to the company.

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Tesla jobs in Nevada fewer than projected

CARSON CITY – The number of workers at Tesla’s giant battery factory in northern Nevada has only reached about one-fifth the level the electric car company had projected would be in place by the end of this year.

An analysis presented to state lawmakers before they approved a $1.3 billion tax inventive to lure Tesla to Nevada in September 2014 projected employment would reach 1,700 at the plant by the end of 2016.

But an independent audit conducted by Grant Thornton released on Monday shows only 331 jobs have materialized so far at the industrial park east of Sparks.

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Tesla Recalls Charging Adapters Due to Fears They’ll Overheat

Tesla Motors announced on Tuesday that it was voluntarily recalling 7,000 accessory charging adapters after receiving two reports of the devices overheating.

The affected adapters are the NEMA 14-30, 10-30, and 6-50. None of them come standard with a Tesla, meaning that only a few customers who purchased the devices, which were designed by Tesla and produced by a supplier, are subject to the recall. There have only been documented cases of the first adapter, the NEMA 14-30, overheating, but Tesla wants to pull the entire line to be safe, as they share “common elements.”.

“These are the only two such incidents that we know of anywhere in the world and neither resulted in any injuries or property damage,” Tesla said in an email to customers, explaining that the company learned of the malfunctions in November. “However, out of an abundance of caution, we’re replacing NEMA 14-30, 10-30 and 6-50 adapters that were made years ago by our original supplier.”

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