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Randy Carlson

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  • Apple: Saving The Best For Last? [View article]
    @Craig418 What you say is quite interesting. Only Apple would FIRE a top executive over something like iMaps. If it happened at Google, it would just have been "expected". If Microsoft did it, hands would be wrung and they would have a big meeting to discuss something possibly related to the product plan, the roll-out, the technology, or something...

    Apple seems to know who they are and what they are about. Now, if they will just deliver something.
    Apr 13 04:24 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Saving The Best For Last? [View article]
    Agreed! The most revolutionary thing Apple can do for the iWatch category is figure out how to make ordinary people actually want to have such a thing. That is what will disrupt this category... and this is exactly the thing Apple does best.

    I do hope they have "patented the heck out of it", too. It would be soooo disappointing to see everyone copying and nobody being sued...
    Apr 13 04:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Saving The Best For Last? [View article]
    If Apple delivers an iWatch that is a knock-out mobile transaction solution (i.e. credit card replacement) there will be plenty of "subsidy" available one way or another...

    If Apple delivers an iWatch that is a killer text messaging system they could have just the device to penetrate and disrupt emerging markets in China and India. There are a whole lot of folks out there that almost never make voice calls (too expensive) and rely almost exclusively on text messaging. If Apple delivers a unique and compelling solution in this area, they would create a "real" new category.

    Oh, and just for laughs, a voice-activated / voice-commanded watch would be useable in say, a car... What jurisdiction is going to prohibit a driver from looking at their wristwatch while driving?

    When Apple does bring "wearable" to the world, I would count on them aiming to deliver a "whole new solution" to some thing or things, not just take a stab at the jewelry business...
    Apr 13 04:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Somewhere In Europe, 100 Model S' Destroy A Myth [View article]
    Perhaps I am missing something and someone can set me right, but I think there is a simple, likely explanation.

    Norway offers HUGE subsidies / tax advantages on Tesla purchases. If a buyer in Norway were able to resell his vehicle to someone in Germany and thereby avoid some / all German taxes, then one would expect a large "secondary" market to develop. And this is what appears (to me anyway) to be happening.
    Mar 22 08:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Morgan Stanley's Tesla Thesis Is As Flawed As They Come [View article]
    A likely obstacle to Panasonic participation could be that the materials processing technology looks like it will be tightly held within the giga-factory (facility / ownership). Panasonic has historically used proprietary anode / cathode materials - probably because this is where the technical / performance advantages come from - and seeing that kind of thing in "other hands" may not be acceptable to Panasonic, their management, business model.
    Mar 9 07:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CarPlay Has The Potential To Bring Long-Term Value To Apple [View article]
    There is a subtle little "gotcha" in iCar that gives Apple a BIG advantage over Android for this application.

    Any car display system/interface system that links to a phone has the pixels / aspect ratio issue. If the pixels / aspect of the in-car display differ from the aspect / pixels of the phone being connected, something in EVERY SINGLE APP has to give. iPhones all have the same pixels / aspect ratio. Different Android phones differ in screen pixels / aspect ratio.

    This will make it VERY hard to build a "clean" car display/interface that works with all Android phones. With iPhone however, Apple has thought this through already.
    Mar 7 08:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Motors: It's All About The Future [View article]
    The people unable to muster the vision to project sales five years out for a new technology project are precisely the people who's industry is due for disruption.

    A disruptive business plan says basically that we are not going to compete with incumbents, but rather disrupt and destroy the very business model used by incumbents while sailing to market dominance driven by an entirely new business / technology model of our own creation. This isn't Detroit, it's Silicon Valley. And things are different here.
    Mar 4 01:48 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Recent Financing May Bite Back [View article]
    Giga-factory investment partners can just as well come from the customer side as from the manufacturer side. A company with an interest and access to a large grid storage market could justify an investment in battery capacity much the same way Tesla is doing as a car maker.

    I'm sure that readers here, without too much prodding, can imagine who such a grid storage company might be...
    Mar 4 12:08 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Recent Financing May Bite Back [View article]
    If Li-ion pack level costs get to $200/kWh or less, utility solar + battery grid storage starts to look awfully good compared with nuclear power. The Solar + Battery solution is faster to implement, cheaper to build, and the storage can be distributed around the grid to alleviate peak grid congestion faster, at lower cost and without the EIR issues associated with upgrading "trunk" power lines.

    this is the kind of economic and business / functional lever that makes disruptions happen.
    Mar 4 12:03 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Morgan Stanley's Tesla Thesis Is As Flawed As They Come [View article]
    I pretty much agree with you.

    If i recall, there is / was (?) a California program that offered specific subsidies for cars / charging infrastructure that achieved very fast / long range recharges, The Tesla battery-swap may be / have been targeted at this specific requirement...
    Mar 3 11:52 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Just How Profitable Can Tesla's Supercharging Be? [View article]
    The "big" distortion I see in Tesla's accounting when compared to that of other car makers is that Tesla uses the "list price" to calculate their GM, whereas a typical car maker that sells through dealers uses the "wholesale price" at which it sells cars to dealers. But we must recognize that the dealer mark-up (that effectively comes out of the traditional carmaker's GM as compared to Tesla) represents, at least in part, costs for "floor planning", local advertising, customer demonstration, etc. Tesla still has these expenses, but accounts for them as "corporate" functions that do not come out of the GM, as Tesla accounts. This means that Tesla's GM will be higher than that of a traditional carmaker because overall selling costs between factory and customer are not charged against GM by the tesla model while at least a part of these costs come out of a traditional carmakers GM.
    Mar 3 01:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Morgan Stanley's Tesla Thesis Is As Flawed As They Come [View article]
    I think both you and Paulo may be right. The guidance problem - that is getting the driverless car to follow a path - is certainly easier / less complex than navigating / maneuvering a spacecraft. However, that said, the driverless car problem is also an AI problem - figuring out what the other traffic / pedestrians are doing, what the road signs encountered really mean, etc. is vastly harder than "space navigation"...

    Years ago I built a driverless vehicle system that used a "guide wire" for lateral sensing and short-range microwave beacons and a precise odometer for longitudinal positioning. Both of these systems were backed up with a GPS "overlay" as a system safety check. The complexity of this system was certainly less than that of say an airliner flight management system or a spacecraft navigation / maneuvering system. But if the driverless vehicle system had incorporated traffic tracking / identification / avoidance / interoperability features, or even if it had used a robust vision based path determination system, it would have been very much more complex / difficult.

    Even the simple, four vehicle, fixed, single path driverless system I built, in order to operate reliably 24/7 utilized 14 rack-mounted PCs, 8 data links, 6 GPS units and ran 30,000 lines of real-time code to control the individual vehicles, manage "traffic" (just keep the vehicles evenly spaced on the test track), and monitor vehicle health )things like oil pressure, blown tires, overheating...) Something like the Google driverless cars are surely orders of magnitude more complex control problems...
    Mar 3 01:04 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Recent Financing May Bite Back [View article]
    Tesla did a convertible bond offering about a year ago on generally similar terms. It didn't seem to do the short sellers an awful lot of good...

    Utilization, and therefor financing of the proposed factory is assured, even if Tesla never builds Model E. California has a very fast approaching generation "crunch" as solar and wind become increasing components of the electricity supply. The California PUC has already required PG&E, SCE and other utilities in the state to begin adding grid storage (battery) systems and the amount of grid-connected storage will grow rapidly between now and 2020. By then California alone could need tens to hundreds of GWh of grid storage to shift daytime solar into the evening hours. If tesla's factory can produce 25 GWh of batteries a year (50 kWh x 500,000 cars), that entire production capacity could be absorbed just to add storage to the California grid. The question here may really be whether Tesla and SolarCity can get by with just one of these factories...
    Mar 3 12:19 PM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Just How Profitable Can Tesla's Supercharging Be? [View article]
    Providing SuperCharging for a flat, up-from fee (whether as an option or embedded in the price as a standard feature) is a business equivalent to selling annuities. There are some peculiarities of utility tariffs and tax incentives that enter materially into the business model, as of course does the expected number of recharges to be provided.

    Hard data is available upon which the relevant analysis can be based and I did exactly this analysis some time ago. For a mature SuperCharger network the number of charging "slots" per station will probably be 12 rather than the 6 slots Tesla is using in their initial "thin" rollout.

    The really big payoff for Tesla lies in being able to sell this SuperCharging forever feature on other manufacturer's cars because that would allow the population of SuperCharger compatible cars (and cars paying for the system as they are sold) to grow much more quickly.

    My detailed analysis of these issues is here:
    Mar 2 07:44 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Morgan Stanley's Tesla Thesis Is As Flawed As They Come [View article]

    It depends on what the applicable tariffs are that apply to your specific property and electric utility.

    You might want to talk with SolarCity as they are offering solar + battery systems.
    Feb 28 09:30 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment