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Steve Funk  

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  • Tesla: More Musings On Model S Reliability [View article]
    "you need a statistically valid sample, and statistically valid data on OTHER competing cars to establish what the average is."

    I know Consumer Reports is a sacred cow for most people, but their data is not really valid either. Their data is self reported which skews the data right there. Just having a bigger sample size means nothing.

    In the end it does not matter because many studies have shown that people do not buy cars based on reliability history. They buy based on emotion and Tesla has that in spades and will sell all the cars they can make in 2016. The biggest question then is how fast can they ramp production.
    Oct 10, 2015. 11:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Material Reality Vs. Tesla's Giga-Fantasy [View article]
    While the propulsion motor is induction, the regen motor has magnets as well as a host of smaller "body" motors, HVAC motors, and heat pumps for the battery pack.

    Also, technically "good old Nikola Tesla" did not really invent the induction motor we use today. His patent was for a two phase motor that was not self starting. Several years later Michael Dolivo-Dobrowolsky, a Russian working in Germany, patented the three phase motor more closely resembling that in the Tesla. But hey, how far could you go with a company named "Dolivo-Dobrowolsky"? Check out
    Oct 7, 2015. 02:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Model X Non-Launch Points To Financial Shortfall [View article]
    I agree, Elon is very perceptive regarding selling features. I am thinking since Tesla NEEDS to get some more traction in China that these filters might be a real attraction there.
    Sep 30, 2015. 09:50 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    The NASCAR bodies do come from the factory. Yes, the bodies are highly modified when received. Drivetrain, not many factory parts.
    Sep 29, 2015. 10:49 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    watching from above,
    Yes, NASCAR cars have little to do with dealership cars, although they do come through the production body shop and are pulled before paint.

    It is a marketing issue, not a technical issue. There is a small but profitable group of people who buy based on racing, or at least somewhat influenced by racing. These are the people who buy the top trim models (SS, GTS, AMG
    etc.). I don't see those buyers being swayed by Tesla 0-60 performance until a substantial percentage of the fleet are EV's. At 5% fleet replacement rate the industry will have to produce 100% EV's for 6 years to get >30% EV in the US fleet. Tesla seems to realize this and only touts their 0-60 time, not even quarter mile times because they have much more company there. It is not a race car like some other sedans in the segment are.
    Sep 22, 2015. 05:01 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    Yes, I knew it was an older report. But it did have a relatively positive review of the driving characteristics. BTW, 9 minutes is not that outstanding at Nurburgring.

    In a recent Road & Track (can't find article now) a Tesla was compared with other sedans but could not complete the road course at speed. Rather than show a slow time they just left it blank. I think the course was Laguna Seca.

    My point is every vehicle has good points and bad points. The Tesla is never going to be used for weekend racing the way an M3 often is. Tesla will never run NASCAR. Granted that is a small market, but the saying "race on Sunday, sell on Monday" does hold some water. The 'race boys' will continue with other brands for some time.
    Sep 22, 2015. 04:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla Adequately Reserving For Warranty Expenses? [View article]
    "the money would not make a material difference, even if they get 100,000 deposits for $1000 each"

    I would beg to differ, it would make a material difference. You would be talking about $100 million with expenses occurring several quarters hence. The large up front deposits have been a real boon to Tesla.
    Sep 22, 2015. 04:00 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Tesla Adequately Reserving For Warranty Expenses? [View article]
    "tesla had 5% of the entire Norwegian market."

    Applaud Elon Musk for finding and exploiting the Norwegian market, but I don't believe you can extrapolate any EV market trend from what goes on in Norway. Norway has a population of 5.2 million and is one of the richest nations in the world. Norway's population is very close to metro Detroit. You cannot draw any conclusions by saying Ford has an excellent market penetration in Detroit.
    Sep 22, 2015. 03:22 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    You are right, Musk operates in a similar fashion to other CEO's, except that he does take it to another level.

    I think it is an interesting investment parallel with William Durant, founder of General Motors. He was a wheeler dealer and and by all accounts a bit of a wild man. He was a salesman par excellence, like Elon. He bought subsidiaries on road trips without Board approval. In ten years Durant slammed together dozens of companies to make a huge company. Durant clearly had a vision of where the industry was going but he clearly pushed the envelope on the rules. He was eventually forced out of GM (twice) for manipulating stock to grow the company. Make a long story short, GM became destabilized and that allowed the DuPont family to buy GM. The investors lost (except the DuPont's). GM went on to make a lot of money.

    Durant was right about the direction of the auto industry at the time. If you were an early investor you lost your money. If you are a buy and hold investor it was best to buy after the turmoil and stock devaluation. Oh, and Durant died broke.
    Sep 21, 2015. 03:13 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    Consider model years. That is the usual calendar in the auto industry. We are now in the 2016 MY + 2 = 2018 MY.
    Sep 21, 2015. 02:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    "earlier you-tube video from a user showed a very standard high speed use"

    Everything on the internet has a counter-point. Here is a fairly positive article about a Model S test lap at Nurburgring. The Model S went into reduced power mode after about 3 minutes and achieved a mediocre time overall. Not sure how you could travel the fast lane on the Autobahn for very long.
    Sep 21, 2015. 01:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    "Do you think a lot of folks can create something fabulously better after tearing one down?"

    I am thinking that the Tesla story has just recently brought you to look at the auto industry. In silicon valley the first to market with a great or just new product can often be the head start that keeps a company ahead. The automotive industry is well established and capital intensive. Tesla was helped with motor design.

    Check out one of the better explanations of why General Motor's EV1 did not survive. Basically it was economics, not inability to design. The interesting connection here is that Tesla early on hired Alan Cocconi to help design the Tesla motor. Here is a short history of how Tesla licensed the Al Cocconi design. Sure, the motor has been improve on. The auto industry is one large cross breeding machine.

    Daimler also put one of their Design VP's on the board during the design of the Model S and transferred Daimler patents to Tesla to get them up and running. Since the Model S was a collaboration of outsiders it is entirely reasonable to assume that another company could do the same.

    P.S. - Al Cocconi's company, AC Propulsion, is still licensing the motor technology that Tesla started with and now they seem to have strong ties to China. Stay tuned.
    Sep 21, 2015. 01:19 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    "Plenty of people pay a premium for an Apple computer."

    Actually less than 10% of personal computer buyers buy an Apple. It is a perfect example where you cannot dominate a whole market with a premium product. Most car buyers are forced financially to choose a lesser vehicle than they would like.
    Sep 21, 2015. 12:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • This Could Be Tesla's Worst Nightmare [View article]
    "The moment Porsche gives up the ICE cars business is the moment Porsche is out the car making business."

    So you are insinuating that Audi, and parent Volkswagen will be out of business also? Check on the size of Volkswagen. BTW, VW, Audi, and Porche share platforms. They will keep the three brands and the Deutch government will make sure that VW has the capital needed to transform. Germany is an export economy and vehicles are large part of that strategy. Don't underestimate the power of that government/ industry partnership.
    Sep 21, 2015. 12:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. auto sales forecast to fall 4% in August [View news story]
    And yet GM is basically in a tie for most cars sold in the US every year and second in the world. Gayle, you need to get out of your California neighborhood.
    Sep 18, 2015. 11:07 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment