Seeking Alpha

Steve Funk

View as an RSS Feed
View Steve Funk's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    Not sure what business you are in, but do you know of any automotive final assembly lines running 24 hrs/ day?
    Sep 30, 2013. 11:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    You seem to have strong opinions about manufacturing but do not seem to have a lot of manufacturing experience.

    "Mr. Musk also went on record a few months ago saying that Tesla could produce at a 50,000/yr run rate without any additional costs."
    The August 7 shareholder letter states "During Q2, we improved our production rate by 25% from 400 to almost 500 vehicles per week. " I can find no reference that final assembly is running two shifts. In fact if they had added a second shift on final assembly it would be a material event and should be reported. As for the 50,000 units, if Tesla could do this why wouldn't they since they have a huge backlog? I believe you are misquoting because the last 10-Q stated that Tesla will spend $200M purely on throughput improvements (not Model X related). Do you have a link to Mr. Musk's statement?

    "you'll want to redo your math because by my calculations there are 24hrs in a day, so it's possible to do 2-10hr shifts per day."
    In your purely mathematical world that would be true. In the real world of manufacturing plants assembly lines need to be shut down for weld tip replacement, paint gun maintenance, routine equipment maintenance, etc. If there are 1/2 hour unpaid lunches that means the shifts really take up 21 clock hours leaving only 1-1/2 hours between shifts for maintenance and restocking. Also, labor costs go up by 10% using a 2-10 schedule. So while your simple math is appealing there are many business reasons why I don't believe that Tesla will use that schedule.
    Sep 30, 2013. 11:20 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    There were improvements made to the plant during the summer shutdown. I have not seen any press releases stating that final assembly is running tow shifts. I suspect that throughput improvements were made to other parts of the plant (i.e. battery pack fabrication/ assembly, body shop, plastic injection, press plant, and supplier production). It is rarely final assembly that is the bottleneck and Elon Musk has said as much. It is quite possible that the final assembly has been sped up 25% with OT to acheive 600 units/ wk. It would make no financial sense to run a second shift on final assembly at 50% capacity.
    Sep 30, 2013. 10:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    "Model S: 26.3 ft3 behind the 2nd row"
    It would only be fair to add that the Panamera has a spare tire whereas the Model S does not. That is surely a significant part of the difference. Buyers will have to decide how important a spare tire is.
    Sep 24, 2013. 04:11 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Putting Tesla Motor's Gargantuan Battery Supply Problem Into Perspective [View article]
    There are a number of Tesla patents showing the battery pack construction. Here is one:
    There are many more you can read through. Here is one regarding the brick enclosure ( The series of battery pack patents are pretty consistent in their depiction of the pack structure. In addition you can go to a Tesla store and see the chassis and how the battery pack is fastened to the floor. There is no way you could get at the bricks without removing the 1,000 pack. The Tesla Ranger won't be doing that in your driveway. I think Don is spot on regarding pack construction and maintenance.

    If these patents are not close to the current design then the patent protection that many people claim as a Tesla advantage does not exist.
    Sep 24, 2013. 03:37 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    "Two shifts = 40,000+ yearly capacity." If only it were that simple.

    If you read past 10-Q's you can pretty much discern that Model S was planned to be one shift and the second shift would be added when the Model X production started. Tesla has been working well over 10 hours/ day much of 2013 FY. That precludes a second shift. The announced 4Q $200M in upgrades is surely to eliminate production bottlenecks before starting to tool for the Model X and adding the second shift. It would appear that the tooling improvements being done are also aimed at increasing the nameplate production capacity to something over 40,000/year but that full production will not be seen for over a year.
    Sep 24, 2013. 03:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    Read the 10-Q where it states that $200M will be invested into plant for Model S production only, with production upgrades to be completed by 4Q. It has nothing to do with how much cash they have on hand. It does show that Tesla continues to spend big bucks to expand capacity.
    Sep 23, 2013. 08:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    If Tesla is not constrained by their own plant, why are they investing $200M into their plant? Why would they not have sold more Model S's?
    Sep 23, 2013. 08:41 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    I have not seen any Tesla statement other than the official 21,000+ for CY 2013. That pretty much defines a 20k/yr assembly line. Am I missing something.

    Annualized production rates over even two months are not all that meaningful. There have already been two weeks of shut-downs. Tesla announced $200M (not $25M) in assembly line upgrades (Model S only) that are supposed to be complete sometime in 4Q. That extra production rate was supposedly included in Tesla's 21k total production estimate. I could not follow your link provided but $25-$50M in the automotive world is peanuts.
    Sep 23, 2013. 05:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Analyzing The Logic Of Tesla Bears [View article]
    "Fremont factory with 500k unit capacity is already paid for."
    Patently false. Tesla bought an empty warehouse with a few press lines left behind. The current capacity is 20k give or take a few thousand. Every bit of extra capacity will take huge capital investment (i.e. huge share dilution). Even with huge investment it is very unlikely the Fremont plant will ever produce anywhere near 500k.
    Sep 23, 2013. 04:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla's Competitors Are Beginning To Give Up The Electric Car Race [View article]
    Here are some facts:
    1) Daimler assumed a 10% stake in Tesla and put a design VP on the Tesla board. When the Model S was in production start-up (I believe 4Q, 2012) Daimler recalled their design person and put a business person on the board. You can verify this using Edgar.
    2) Daimler in fact did assign some of their patents to Tesla during the design of the Model S. I have posted links to some of those but you can go directly to Google Patents.
    3) The Model S sources many of it's components from Daimler suppliers. Coincidence? I think not.

    Since you don't trust me I suggest you do a little research on these items and draw your own conclusion. The Daimler investment was cash and sweat equity in exchange for 10% of Tesla (now less than 10%).
    Sep 22, 2013. 02:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: The Electric Engine That Could [View article]
    "The clear implication..."
    No, there is no clear implication. The NHTSA has a test that is statistically valid only in quintile segments. Tesla has no valid statistical or engineering claim to being the safest car.

    Did Tesla subtract safety points for not having two of three NHTSA recommended safety features? NO.
    Did Tesla subtract safety points for having one of the longest braking distances in it's class? NO.

    Tesla continues to make marketing claims that have no engineering basis. My problem is not with the car but the fact that Tesla continues to tout their "best car ever" line when in many categories it simply is not the best, very good maybe, but not the best in category.
    Sep 20, 2013. 01:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: The Electric Engine That Could [View article]
    " I correctly pointed out that Tesla's press release said the test machine broke at an independent testing facility, not during NHTSA's test. "

    Truly all you have done is side with Tesla's PR release. I maintain that their press release is misleading because:
    1) It makes little difference who did the test. Most testing by the NHTSA is by third party. The testing party could have been GM. For crash testing there are not that many organization who do this. Tesla does not have the capabilities for this type of test. The fact that it was a "third" party does not make claims more credible.
    2) There is no roof crush test protocol by NHTSA requiring 4x mass that was claimed by Tesla. This is a static test requiring measurements at 3x mass. If they kept going without measuring at that point (3x) then the test is not comparable to any other published test and making any claims based on that data is pointless. The insinuation that the Model S stronger or safer than other vehicles cannot be deduced from what Tesla announced.
    3) There is an inference by Tesla that the testing was done in conjunction with NHTSA tests. NHTSA requires a test machine capable of AT LEAST 25,000 lb force. Even at the Tesla claimed 4x mass that would indicate a required force of 18,800 lbs, well under the NHTSA minimum required test machine. So the only other possible explanation is that the test machine or fixture were faulty. Breaking a faulty machine proves nothing about the product. So why does Tesla bring it up? The only reason is to mislead.
    Sep 18, 2013. 12:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: The Electric Engine That Could [View article]
    My point is that Tesla issued that press release (that I did read) and referred to a NHTSA test protocol (that I also read). The test protocol and Tesla's claims make no logical sense. Every company polishes their image but Tesla has stretched their claims to the point of being untruthful. By now other companies would have been taken to task by the government, and in fact the NHTSA did issue a small slap on the wrist for this testing claim. Tesla is getting unfair preferential treatment.
    Sep 16, 2013. 12:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Putting Tesla Motor's Gargantuan Battery Supply Problem Into Perspective [View article]
    "Model S does have a few limitations "
    Can't find the link now, but either NREL or EIA published data that only about half of all vehicles in the US park within 20' of a plug each night (I am sure most of those are 120V). Your plan would severely limit an EV owners friendship circle.
    Sep 11, 2013. 06:44 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment