This article is a "long idea". For the sake of brevity, I would kindly refer readers to a previous article: On Elon Musk And Tesla Motors: The Art Of Modern Warfare In A Noble Cause, for a comprehensive reference to assumptions made here regarding the business of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA).
Since the above article was written, the June 20th Battery Swapping announcement has strongly confirmed that article's thesis concerning the separation of car and battery economies, and the CBL Malls announcement strongly confirms the thesis concerning the accelerated roll out of Superchargers beyond the Tesla cost base. Additional commentary from Tesla CEO is strongly supportive of the thesis that the Tesla business is configured for the generation of internal cash flows sufficient to fund the expected late 2016 launch of the company's mainstream product known as Gen III.
With Tesla's May 8th confirmation of Q1 GAAP and non-GAAP profits immediately followed by a focus on gross margin improvements and a fundraiser resulting in $760M cash at bank (as headlined at the June 4th Shareholder's Meeting), the latter ending concerns for liquidity, the road ahead for Tesla has become decidedly less uncertain of late.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently commented that with the Tesla Gen III, he can see the company selling 200,000 units per year in three to four years time. In fact Tesla begins to look like a one horse race galloping towards Musk's contracted target of $43.2bn market cap and 300,000 cumulative vehicle sales.
With production figures as Musk envisages, he will likely seal the deal on a circa 400% uplift for today's shareholders by 2017. The stock performance pretty much agrees with Musk's world view, a picture that not even a disgruntled Barron's article could shake more than momentarily despite Musk hanging up the telephone on their reporter.
So while waiting for a rather inevitable-looking 3+bagger buy and hold win to unfold (from $12.40Bn Mkt. Cap. at $107.36 to $43.2Bn Mkt. Cap.), what is a Tesla long to do for entertainment?
Well there is always this:
We the people petition the Obama administration to:
Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states.
Following Mr. Musk's emotional portrayal of the injustice done to consumers by NADA in trying and occasionally succeeding (Texas and Virginia) in convincing the State legislature to hinder or block the Tesla direct sales model, a number of events have occurred that look as though the tide may be turning in Tesla's favor in the fight to secure an end to obstruction.
Firstly, a well timed test drive of a Model S arranged in North Carolina appears to have halted the passing of a law banning the Tesla online reservation system in that State despite the fact that the legislation had originally passed the State's Senate and had looked like an inevitable loss for Tesla. In the event, North Carolina Senator Bill Rabon that requested the House Transportation Committee push through a revised version of the Dealer Association backed bill without the provisions designed to hamper Tesla.
At around the same time, bills crafted to prevent registration of Tesla vehicles in the State of New York were shelved apparently following the petitioning of Senators in a "public outcry" from concerned Tesla supporters. Earlier New York Justice Raymond J. Elliott III denied a bid by franchised dealers in New York to shut down Tesla's three stores and two service centers in the state.
The White House petition in support of Tesla's bid to end Dealer Association obstruction is currently gaining approximately 1000 signatures per hour during daylight hours across the USA. It is almost, but possibly not quite enough to hit the threshold of 100,000 signatures to be passed for an official response. Hence the opportunity for Tesla Shareholders to effectively decide the outcome.
Now under any circumstances rallying 100,000 electronic signatures on the White House Petition before July 5th could be expected to induce at least a modest pop in the TSLA share price on positive news flow (as a strong indicator that the public and political will is behind Tesla in its battle with Dealer Associations), even if the petition were to result in nothing more than a kindly worded message of support from the DOE.
There are, however, two very good reasons why the result could be a far more dramatic blow to Dealer Association hopes of hindering Tesla:
Firstly, Tesla's high-profile early repayment of $451.8M in full and final settlement of its DOE loan with interest served to validate the ATVM program objectives of American technology leadership and job creation in alternative energy vehicles. In so doing it alleviated a great deal of political embarrassment for the Obama administration following a string of loan-recipient failures (A123, Solyndra, Fiskar).
Secondly, the June 25th 2013 Presidential announcement of sweeping measures to reduce carbon pollution and to consolidate American leadership in initiatives precisely like Tesla, puts the special interests of NADA to block the sales of American green technology vehicles from Tesla firmly in harm's way as an obstruction to a key piece of Administration policy.
I would expect that 100,000 electronic signatures from a concerned US public by July 5th starting at the present count of around 40,000 at the time of writing (up from 23,000 only yesterday) would be all the invitation the Obama administration would require to take NADA to the mat on Tesla's behalf. President Obama is already stating a willingness to bypass Congress in the broader cause and it looks like he means business.
I expect for Tesla longs that a little bit of activism in the form of signing the petition and raising some signatures from friends, family Church and co-workers could be a very constructive use of a June weekend with the prospect of gain on positive news flow at the very least and could quite feasibly be rewarded with a stunning display of the firepower of the office of President of the United States of America to clear one of the last remaining hurdles for the Tesla business.