Tesla (TSLA) has a great many things, including a hot car and visionary leader whom I admire. In my article entitled GM Just Curbed Tesla, I argued it also had an overvalued stock. But overvalued or not, might Tesla maintain its momentum and stay that way? If anyone can manage momentum, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk can, and so he may just prove me wrong. The stock has already successfully fought off high profile criticism brought on by a Barron's article. That's unheard of! It's because Musk simply won't rest, literally, as proven by his tweet at 3:42 AM Tuesday:
Live pack swap demo on Thurs night at 8pm California time at our design studio in Hawthorne. Seeing is believing.
Being disruptive is one thing; being relentless is another. This guy has got me excited, just like it seems all you people who are buying the shares of his companies and driving up their price multiples. He's making a believer out of me, because sometimes exorbitant multiples actually reflect value. It is a rare event that follows the firms of a certain type of person, the visionary with relentless work ethic, another rare combination. You know it; it's the kind of characteristic we saw in Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs.
So this tweet I quoted above is Musk's answer to a common criticism of this Tesla masterpiece every auto magazine loves. One of the toughest hurdles Tesla must overcome is the lack of infrastructure for non-gasoline powered vehicles. The Model S can go for 200+ miles, which is definitely far enough to travel before needing a 20 to 30 minute break to recharge the batteries, including the car's battery. Still, Musk is aiming higher, specifically, at critics who complain that the 20 minute delay is a hassle. So this "live pack swap" demo will show the changing of a battery in as much time as it takes to fill a gas tank.
Musk made the announcement just a day before Tesla announced its first recall. Even in recalling a vehicle, Tesla seems a world apart from its counterparts in the established auto industry. Unlike with the recalls of Toyota Motors (TM) and Honda Motors (HMC) in recent years, nobody got hurt and no regulatory authority brought this issue to the company's attention. Unlike at the giants of the industry where layers of management structure detach leadership from customer, Musk himself authored a blog post detailing the issue. At GM (GM) or Ford (F) you would have a legal looking document authored by the public relations department and run through all sorts of other checkpoints. Tesla is going to pick up the 1,228 or so cars in question and return them to customers "a few hours later," according to Musk. Loaner cars will be supplied to customers if needed, no questions asked.
Do you see what you have here? That's called customer service. TSLA was up 1.25% on the day it announced a recall! That's called maintaining momentum, or heading off an issue at the bud. Thursday, when Tesla shows off the mechanism and method with which it hopes pack swaps will be accomplished quickly and efficiently, it will once again show its investors why they are holding the stock. Musk is relentless and will give them everything he has got. I kind of want to work for this guy, and I do not want to work for anyone.
SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)
If this stock can hold up against the Fed, when the market and its rivals did so poorly, then perhaps we have a multiple that can be maintained. I rescind my recent concern about TSLA's valuation, as in a market full of stocks that will be impacted by a Fed that cannot see what its asset purchase tapering is going to do to long rates (higher) and to stocks (lower), the shares of disrupter Tesla may be one of the only things that makes sense for capital.