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Steve Funk

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  • Sell Tesla Now, Its Strategy Is Already Failing [View article]
    Here is a Roadster for sale:

    New in 2010: $157k
    For sale 2013: $79k
    Oct 22, 2013. 04:07 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell Tesla Now, Its Strategy Is Already Failing [View article]
    Tesla is "cash neutral" only on an operating basis. There is no way they are covering capital expenditure. There have been several official acknowledgements that $200M will be invested in Q3 and Q4. The majority of that is for productivity improvements to the Model S line. Tesla has also acknowledged that they will have to start capital spending for the Model X by early to mid-2014. The Model S program all-in cost was $600M. Even if they can leverage plant for the Model X it will still cost $400-$500M BEFORE production starts. Start-up with the falcon wing door will almost certainly be equal or greater than the Model S. By my count we are at $600M cap ex by Q3 2014 and Tesla does not have that much in the bank. Check out the 10-Q in a couple weeks. There are more projects being worked on, like right hand drive that will cost big bucks in the body shop. Tesla shows non-gaap earnings but there is no cash flow to pay for these projects. Perhaps instead of just throwing darts you can show us all where the money is?
    Oct 22, 2013. 03:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell Tesla Now, Its Strategy Is Already Failing [View article]
    " What's stopping Tesla from growing to be the size of Audi, Mercedes, or BMW? If you look at the competition for the Model S, it's not even close.
    Aston Martin sold 3400 cars total in 2012"

    You have some Chinese bookkeeping going on here. Your Aston Martin comparison is silly, the Rapide (similar style to Model S) goes for well over $200k. I don't think that Aston Martin is worried about losing customers to Tesla.

    In the end you can compare car sales all you want but the auto business is capital intensive. The car companies that survive have a stable capital source. Tesla does not. Aston Martin was owned by Ford until 2007 and recently entered into a partnership with Mercedes. Audi could not stand alone as a business, it has VW as a parent to supply engineering, parts, test facilities, etc. BMW is part of the Delton AG holding company controlled by Stefan Quandt's family (, one of the richest family's in the world. Tesla will run out of cash in the middle of 2014 and Tesla will need more cash (billions) for years after that in order to realize Elon's dream. Where is the money going to come from? Can Elon keep the hype up for that long? How much stock can be sold on this dream?
    Oct 22, 2013. 01:58 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sell Tesla Now, Its Strategy Is Already Failing [View article]
    You are guilty of what you accuse. You cannot say that Tesla has patent and cost advantages as a general statement. I have looked at many Tesla patents, including the ones transferred from Mercedes, and I see no real advantage. If there are seminal patents protecting the business please share with us.

    As for cost advantage, Tesla makes one of the most expensive production cars on the planet and they are struggling to make a profit. Where is the cost advantage? Their P&L clearly points out that the Model S is very expensive to build, contrary to your general claims.
    Oct 21, 2013. 01:23 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • EVs, Solar Panels And Free Lunch Sophistries [View article]
    You need to check your math. VW is right.
    Oct 20, 2013. 01:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • EVs, Solar Panels And Free Lunch Sophistries [View article]
    So what you are advocating is a move to 75% nuclear electric generation like France? That is how they get their CO2 numbers so low.
    Oct 17, 2013. 08:11 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    Samuel H,

    The DOE has done analysis that show your 5% is low and that mean driving miles does not accurately predict how many times/ year you are likely to run out of charge.

    Also, you are one of the fortunate ones in America. As many as 40% of cars are parked each night more than 20 feet from an electrical outlet. How do you propose those people charge their Tesla? That is not an insignificant part of the market. It will take decades for charging outlets to be installed everywhere needed and that will slow the growth of EV's.
    Oct 17, 2013. 09:15 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    The industrial motors that you speak of were almost certainly squirrel cage motors. The Tesla motor is also a squirrel cage type motor.
    Oct 17, 2013. 09:10 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    "I've worked around industrial AC electric motors for 20 plus years and have only ever seen two of these motors fail they were both between 50 and 60 years old"

    This is more silly talk. Squirrel cage motors are reliable but they certainly don't have a mean life of 50 years. Especially a motor with variable frequency drive with reversing loads.
    Oct 17, 2013. 12:37 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    I live in a major metro area and am 1,000 miles from the nearest charger. Maybe because our utility does not do net metering on the solar panels.

    Something like 40% of the cars in the country park more than 20' from an outlet each night. How are they going to recharge? Charging is not a trivial problem.
    Oct 16, 2013. 10:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Mythology Of Tesla's Valuation [View article]
    The author makes a good point that the Model S has some short comings that will become more apparent to buyers the longer it is on the market. Tesla fans seem only to be able to recite the 0-60 times. The fact is there are a number of high end sedans that are similar (if you don't like the authors MB example, check out the Cadillac CTS-V). Also, the Model S has very ordinary company at the 1/4 mile mark, just the nature of electric motors. The Model S is the worst when it comes to braking distance, something I would give up a few tenths for in acceleration. The MB S class has technological content, including safety systems, that will take Tesla years to match.
    Oct 16, 2013. 01:39 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • An opinion piece titled "The Other Government Motors" from the WSJ isn't too subtle about taking apart the Q1 profit Tesla Motors (TSLA +1.4%) reported as it hitched a free ride with U.S. taxpayers. The zero-emission tax credits Tesla can sell to other automakers and the generous $7.5K federal tax credits to motivate buyers are the big two complaints. But what isn't entirely clear is why other car companies selling EVs aren't lumped into the same discourse? [View news story]
    "A patent is not technology"
    Actually it is. You can't patent theory. The USPO used to require models for that very reason. A person skilled in the arts needs to be able to build the "thing" from the patent description (and it must work).
    Oct 7, 2013. 04:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Competition For Tesla [View article]
    "Do you even know what presses were in there prior to the purchase?"
    Yes, I had a week of training in the Toyota Production System at NUMMI in 1992 and did spend time in the press room. I also worked at the GM press plant where the "biggest [Schuler] press line in NA" was located". Personally I don't think the Schuler press will serve Tesla well at their low volumes, but as my mother used to say beggars can't be choosers. You probably already know that before NUMMI was formed the Fremont plant belonged to the GM Assembly Division (GMAD) and was half owned by GM at the time of giving it to Tesla. I have had projects in probably a half dozen GMAD plants. You probably also know that once you have been in one GMAD plant you have seen them all, except for fact the press plant was added by NUMMI.

    " It's much more likley that they decided to use aluminum to reduce the weight of the car"
    This really does not make sense since using a carbon fiber body would result in the lightest car. That is why the Roadster was made of carbon fiber. Problem is carbon cost too much and Tesla can't make money on the Model S the way it is. Cost is the main culprit. Check out an interview with Tesla Design Director : "Explains Tesla Design Director Franz von Holzhausen: "For limited or low-volume production cars like the Roadster, carbon fiber is a great material to reduce weight. It's not a solution for higher-volume production due to cost and manufacturing time."
    Oct 7, 2013. 03:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: The Electric Engine That Could [View article]
    You take the conversation where ever you want, as long as you end with "Tesla is best".

    Peter did not believe that the NHTSA recommended such devices. When I show proof they do you say it does not matter. Then you really can't say that a five star rating from this agency matters, can you? I am simply pointing out the way that Tesla uses simple and common occurrences, like getting a five star rating, to reiterate that they are the best car in the world. The data do not show the Model S is the best in the world in almost any category.
    Oct 6, 2013. 06:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: The Electric Engine That Could [View article]
    The NHTSA is a simple lookup:
    In addition to the crash testing they recommend that all cars have 1) Electronic Stability control (Tesla has) 2) Lane Departure Warning (Tesla does not have), and 3) Forward Collision Warning (Tesla does not have).

    You can find 60-0 brake distance in the back of the latest Road & Track. I believe that the Model S is at about the 20th percentile. It did beat the Ford Focus. I am not trying to be funny but the Model S really is about 5-10' longer braking than all of the luxury cars and all but a few low and moderate priced sedans.

    I would be the first to say that this does not make the Model S an unsafe car, but at the same time it probably should prevent you from saying it is the safest car in the world.
    Oct 5, 2013. 12:05 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment