Nick Butcher

Nick Butcher
Contributor since: 2012
Company: Tradifex
Thanks for the feedback :-)
It doesn't make sense to compare superchargers to conventional gas stations given the entire concept relies on superchargers providing the minority of total energy delivered to the EV fleet.
It's much more relevant to look at the level of engagement with the superchargers, as this provides an indication of the level to which owners are using them to overcome range limitations for those longer trips *which are the exception to the normal use profile*. Which is the whole point of superchargers in the first place.
How many cars do Tesla have on the road in total by now? 35,000-ish? So instead of interpreting the 3.7million miles as 100% of the energy needs for 3,700 cars for a month (which would be a really anonmalous usage profile for those 3,700 cars), you could instead interpret it as 10% of the total monthly energy consumption for 37,000 cars (i.e. the entire Model S fleet globally)... which would mean:
a) Superchargers being used in exactly the manner they're intended to be used, and
b) Extremely high ModelS owner engagement with Superchargers, suggesting that they're enabling long distance trips for the average owner, as intended.
So, while I agree numbers out of context are just hype, I think you're putting them into context incorrectly and drawing overly negative conclusions. These are good numbers that have positive implications for the success of the supercharger network.
I feel like you're coming at this from the wrong angle Randy. The life cycle economics of fuel cells vs batteries are going to be pretty important. Up front cost matters, yes, but consumers aren't complete idiots and the main reason people haven't been switching to BEV in droves is that they've been more expensive *even considering* the lifecycle costs.
Focussing on the weight, and/or what the automaker wants to build, seems misguided. I don't care very much what my car weighs, and I certainly don't care what Toyota *want* to make. As long as someone like Tesla is making alternatives I'll just choose the better car according to *my* preferences.
Yes. Much, much cheaper. Like cheaper than owning your own car.
The losses in converting coal to electricity are already considered in the gCO2/kWhe for coal (or gas, or whatever). Bearing this in mind, the diagram you linked to shows 2 units of transmission losses from an initial 38 units of electricity... or 2/38= 5.3% losses.
The Bloom Energy model works, sort of, for other reasons (energy economic stability, independence, etc).
Excellent article! Thanks!
I suspect autonomous vehicles are going to totally transform the whole 'mobility as a service' thing. Google are obviously (given their recent investment in Uber) thinking in the same direction. I just hope the market is competitive enough that the massive economic gainst don't accrue to Google alone (by charging the rest of us handsomely for using the service).
Your peer group average calculations and associated premium/discount percentages are way off. Tesla is a clear outlier, so you shouldn't include it when calculating the peer group average. You'll get more meaningful results if you use the median value for comparison. In the case of Price/Sales, this gives Tesla a premium of 2,525% to the median.
I also think it's overvalued by most conventional metrics. I'm not long, but I'm not short because (as mentioned above) the time premium on puts is huge... and it's hard to say how long it will keep flying up. It's not yet valued as anything like a truly disruptive company.
It's true that all the other automotive OEM's have far more resources available and could beat Tesla at their own game. But that was true before Tesla built a great EV as well... and we know who won that race. There's not a single OEM who wouldn't like the Model S in their stable, but none of them have it.
speed/dollar is a lot better walking than driving, but you'll find a lot of people still buy cars.
Similarly, while Xiaomi may be enjoying huge growth, more people are buying iPhones than ever before, and they're buying them at premium prices because they still want them more than anything else. Result: Apple is STILL making money hand over fist. The Appleocalypse is 100% future speculation, 0% present reality.
Many Europeans park on the street, but many Europeans also *don't* park on the street. For those that do park on the street there are numerous curbside slow charging options (many already in use for existing pilot EV fleets).
Supercharging in Europe will have much the same usage case as in the USA - when you want to drive a long distance without a significant wait for recharge. The vast vast majority of energy delivery will be through standard slow chargers.
As an exercise goes it's a pretty cheap one, and no vitriol from me (as I've said, I'm also tempted to buy puts at this price). I definitely wouldn't buy them at a $30 strike though. Is that what you meant above? Why did you choose $30?
China also has one of the most active nuclear programs, both in deployment of GenIII and III.5 technology, and development of GenIV. They know they have a problem and they're working to fix it. Electric cars are part of their solution, and they're not stupid.
That, John, is because I actually understand how markets work... whereas you seem to think there is some metals ombudsman who must be persuaded to allocate resources to one application from another by appeals to the social merit of the application.
Good Nicu, that's a much more scientific approach. And if you look back at the article I wrote a bit over a year ago you'll see that I drew a similar conclusion then: not enough cobalt.
Thank god that there are plenty of alternatives for batteries already in mass production, and others on the way.
We don't actually need to be having this argument because, as Dave pointed out above, market economics inherently prices all this stuff up for us. And battery prices have been falling for a long time and aren't showing signs of a reversal anytime soon. Quite likely we'll change chemistries at some point in the next 10 years. But it won't indicate the decline of the EV; quite the opposite.
MRTTF - I didn't really forget so much as try to limit myself to JP's 'critical substance' list. As you say it's hard to estimate everything. But running through your expanded list...
Al : who cares?
Cu : yeah, but not that much more than a normal car
Electrolyte: Basically lithuim plus non-rare stuff; so who cares?
PVDF: Not much, and not feedstock limited
Rubber: who cares
Cellulose: who cares?
Stainless steel: trivial compared to global consumption
Separator: Who cares? mass is minimal, and the feedstock actually IS an oil derivative.
The fact remains that comparing MASS of the two solutions is almost meaningless.
The active cell components of Tesla's 85kWh pack might require on the order of:
20kg lithium
130kg nickel
23kg cobalt
5kg aluminium
So, call it 180kg.
This 180kg of materials (plus the various overtly abundant stuff that goes into holding them together and cooling etc) acts as an energy carrier enabling approximately 300,000 miles of driving.
Driving that same 300,000 miles, getting 40mpg, and using gasoline as the energy carrier would require 7,500 gallons (or around 26,500kg) of material.
This is before any recycling is done.
So, your reasoning in directly comparing the production of oil vs metals is absolutely absurd. It's not even close. I find it hard to imagine you even believe it yourself. I think you're relying on the emotional impact of two grossly dissimilar numbers to create a sense of fear.
It would also only make sense if EV's worked by pouring in a slurry of battery metals which were subsequently burned to produce energy, with a similar massIn:energyOut ratio as for gasoline. Which is to say, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Good effort fighting the FUD, Dave! I'm not sure you got through, but you're obviously right.
That's one way to look at it. Another is that Kandi closed a finance round that was followed by a 25% drop in share price. Tesla, on the other hand, closed a financing round that was followed by a 70% rise in share price. That tells you a bit about which action the market considered more prudent - and especially about how the process was managed and communicated.
I, as a KNDI shareholder, was EXTREMELY unimpressed by the circumstances surrounding the capital raise. If it was necessary then Kandi grossly mislead shareholders with assurances that no such action was planned. If it was unnecessary then Kandi screwed shareholders by raising capital on terms that significantly depressed the share value.
Kandi are executing, slowly. But their usually terrible communication appears to have slipped, in this case, into active misinformation.
As for the numerous assurances around the *stock* from Kandi advocates - for example "there is no way the stock is returning to the $4 - $5 range with this volume and exposure"... words fail me.
I've got the same approach as Tom. I think there's good short term potential for a positive movement catalysed by the car share deployments underway, but I don't trust management in the least... largely because the only recent definitive statement they've made to shareholders was shown to be false mere days later! Otherwise they just sit silent and we find out nothing.
It's a Nasdaq listed company - it should not be necessary to trawl chinese language news bulletins to try to understand what they're doing.
I stand corrected - I see from the SA guidelines that it's not possible for a user to edit their own comments after a certain elapsed time.
As for your accusation, however... yes, you did report my comment to SA. They contacted me requesting a minor edit as they felt the comment contained 'valuable information', so I made the edit (removing the 'nastiness' where I told you to 'keep on swinging'). You'll note, however, that I didn't report your comment where you said I was a 'goddamn fool'.
In any case, my comment was a reply, and not the top level comment, so the loss of other comments was the result of alleged abuse from some other quarter.
Also, as I said before, you DO comment on my articles. And SA is a public forum where discussion around *content* is actively encouraged. My initial message was directly related to the content of your article (the fact that there is NOT a looming resource issue w.r.t batteries), hence I find it curious that you're so keen not to have it mentioned.
Hmmm, perhaps not. You can delete your own comments (it seems), and if you do so then any comments that are 'children' of that comment also disappear (as they're no longer referencing anything). But it looks like there's a time limit on editing your own comments. In which case the mass disappearance would rather be the result of moderation on the top level comment. In which case the culprit is also clear (though my assumed motivation is speculative).
Froggey, the XL1 is crazy expensive mostly because VW decided they weren't going to sell many (and also because it's basically a tech demonstrator - the full CF monocoque is hardly essential). The drivetrain is actually really cheap, and aerodynamics are essentially free. An essentially very similar car could be sold, profitably, for around $30k with no trouble at all. Motors are cheap. Batteries are cheap (especially when you only need 5kWh). It's expensive by design, not necessity. Contrast with the dirt cheap Renault Twizy, which is a pretty similar car with some cost savings in closures and no ICE unit.
I have a cute rejoinder: 'On Earth'.
I'll leave this here, since JP deleted an entire comment thread to hide earlier evidence:
Merci :-)
Emergency evasive action? Come on. There are two scenarios here.
Scenario 1: The DOE remains steadfast on the terms of the loan, and refuses to give Tesla any leeway even if doing so creates an existential risk for the company (posterchild of the DOE ATVM program, the American vehicle industry's future potential and American ingenuity in general) just at a time where the company transitions from high uncertainty development phase to massively successful launch with voracious market demand and increasing profitability.
Scenario 2: The DOE renegotiates terms with Tesla to ensure continued viability of the company... as they'd done on two prior occasions.
You really think the former is more likely and that Tesla swerved to avoid it at the last instant?
I think Tesla raised the $1Bil round for two reasons.
1 - They could, the massive recent appreciation in share price made it attractive, and it's handy having pots of cash in a growth phase company.
2 - It was less hassle than NOT raising the round... in part because of the renegotiations you refer to, but I think more so because the DOE loan itself (on any terms) was a PR issue for them. Because apparently loans should only go to old plodding companies that lost all their money, not new creative ones that are doing something worth investing in.
In other news, Driver who expertly avoids ditch is condemned for being on same road as ditch.
@wiesje - Microsoft are pretty cashed up, it's true... but they seem to be losing on every front except the (comparatively tiny) gaming market. I guess that's to be expected for the kingpin (browser, OS), but they don't seem able to arrest the decline. I don't know anyone who uses IE. Most people laugh when you mention it. The people I know who use Windows are using it either a) because they didn't want to pay for a mac, or b) because they work for a big corporate who's hitched their cart to the MS horse (and the winds of change are starting to blow there).
Most critically, in Tablet and Phone Microsoft is barely worth a mention. How are they going to maintain their profits as usage patterns shift?
Good luck in any case - wouldn't surprise me if you make a decent return. I just can't bear to invest while they have such a terrible CEO.
I think you're missing what a 'premium' product is. You say you can understand high margins on Apple's Laptop/Desktop line as it's a 'premium' product. I agree. But it's not because of incredible hardware spec/$. Quite the opposite. If I wanted a fast processor and lots of ram at a low price I wouldn't buy a Mac. But I did buy a mac, and so does almost every software developer I know (over 90%).
Same goes for phones - the iPhone doesn't have the highest screen res or the fastest processor or the most ram... yet somehow it's *still* materially better than any alternatives I've tried. That (and the build quality) are what make it a premium product, and looking at other recent offerings I can't see that fading any time soon so long as Apple at least keep pace with other companies. Last report I saw Apple only had a 10% market share in 'smartphones'. Obviously a lot more than that in the high end, but I think while there's some justification in fears of price erosion I don't think the margins will drop much.
Next time I buy a phone it'll almost certainly be another apple product, and I don't really care whether it costs $600 or $800 or $1000, because I use it multiple times every day and it'll be two years before I replace it. I spend WAY more than that on coffee. Hell, I spent almost that much on underwear.
If Apple can refresh their image in the role of 'smartphone crown jewel' (which they still are) with the IOS7 release it could definitely act as catalyst for an upward stock movement. As you say, it's not going to drop much lower.
I'm definitely surprised you're long MSFT if you're unconvinced by AAPL. That's an empire in decline - I hate every single one of their products, even when I'm forced to use them. And they have Balmer at the helm. God help them.
I only need to have it one of those ways. The first one: "If they are so insignificant that their pollution doesn't matter, then there will still be a long ramp-up to relevance after the grid starts seeing significant spare green capacity (2030-2040)."
There will be a long ramp up, and if we wait 20 years to start the ramp then we get 20 years additional emissions at the other end. There's a chart and everything.
Because in many cases they're no dirtier than that status quo option; and in many more cases they're dramatically cleaner. In the case that they're dirtier the difference is trivial at the adoption rates likely over the next decade.
I support them because I think in the long term the grid will (must!) become clean, and if we wait until that time to begin the commercialization of EV's then it'll be ANOTHER 30 years before we're rid of ICE's (and another 30 years of cumulative emissions). If we start now then we finish much earlier, and to huge net benefit.
Ignoring - for the sake of argument - our disagreement on marginal emissions profile and renewable integration :-)
How much was the first computer, Tom?
The first cellphone?
The first solar panel?
Hell, the first ICE car?
It is a green solution. The merits of EV's do not rest on the performance of a particular car in a particular grid mix in the present day; but rather on their implications for the future. If we don't shift to clean electricity generation, EV's remain fairly dirty. They might be cleaner than ICE - I can't be bothered having that argument - but they're still pretty dirty. Whereas if we shift to clean electricity they're clean. And if we don't shift to clean electricity the whole discussion is moot because the electricity sector under the business-as-usual scenario is more than bad enough to cripple the climate. ICE vehicles, on the other hand, remain pretty bad under all scenarios. So Tesla, as by far the most effective driver of mass adoption of EV's, deserves the success, praise, and subsidies. Same with clean energy - the sooner and faster we can make the shift, the better.
"So, as we can see, in this hypothetical scenario the $50 billion buyback spurs a - you guessed it - roughly $50 billion rally. So what happens here is that the company buys back roughly 120 million shares, inflating the EPS by 15%. This allows the stock to rally roughly 15% while keeping the same market cap and the same P/E as before."
No. The rally is because the stock should never have been so stupidly cheap in the first place. A stock buyback, in itself, doesn't meaningfully impact the balance sheet and hence shouldn't meaningfully impact the share price. If you take $50Bil of shares out of circulation but it costs you $50Bil cash to do so you're back where you started.
The only thing that changes is the P/E for people who don't understand they should be subtracting net cash from P before calculating P/E.