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The first reviews for the Tesla (TSLA) Model S start to pour in, largely on the positive side....

The first reviews for the Tesla (TSLA) Model S start to pour in, largely on the positive side. The electric vehicle boasts impressive acceleration, a smooth ride, and a massive infotainment system chock full of delights, according to the writers. With demand for the model uncertain, and its success seen as an all-or-nothing watershed moment for the company, early buzz on the car is viewed as critical. (Reviews: Engadget, Motor Trend, Wired, CNET)
Comments (43)
  • this car will obviously be a success. tesla has plans to launch an EV in the 20-25,000 price range.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:24 AM Reply Like
  • Tesla's strategy is extremely intelligent, as is its CEO.


    The strategy was to start with high cost/high margin product and work backwards to low cost low mass market product as technology, volume pricing, and technical expertise improved over time.


    So far it seems to be working.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:27 AM Reply Like
  • It's a lovely compendium of advanced technology and a great "statement toy" for the well-heeled, but the problem with this (even with its more extended range), and all other electric vehicles, is that when that range is reached, the driver needs two things, neither of which is convenient: 1) somewhere to recharge and 2) four to six hours to "refill the tank." Effectively, that renders the car an around-town showpiece.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • The S has a range of 260 miles, well under the average US commute.


    Charging tech is far more advanced than you realize with 15min recharges to 80% capacity already available.


    Charging stations - and mobile phone 'apps' to find them - are popping up everywhere. It doesn't take much planning to perform long range trips on electric power anymore.


    Most of the free recharge stations in my area are always occupied, and the private sector is filling the need for more every day.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • Tack,


    Truthfully I fail to see the value proposition in electric cars. Usually when a product replaces another it is superior in all ways:




    On all of these criteria, these cars are less than the cars they are intended to replace. I will take my 550i any day over any of these vehicles.


    Can't imagine being caught in a snowstorm and turning off my radio, heater, and everything else just to make sure I don't run out of fuel. As far as I know, towtrucks don't supply electricity boosts.


    A toy for the rich so that they can feel good about themselves would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the poorest among us are subsidizing the richest amongst us through the stupid tax credit. Talk about a dumb social policy.


    And yes, KMI, I am against all corporate welfare but especially one that is targeted to the rich only.
    23 Jun 2012, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • You have made 2 assumptions and also an implied 3rd that Tesla drivers are morons-----Pretty soon you'll be complaining that so many charging stations (that will add a 160 mile range in 30 minutes) are blighting scenic America along with the rest of the world-----
    6 Jul 2012, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • 260 miles range is well OVER the average US commute. Average US commute is 32 miles.
    12 Jul 2012, 04:26 PM Reply Like
  • Apologies mulder, i misstated that, i meant what you wrote.
    13 Jul 2012, 08:54 AM Reply Like
  • I myself cant really afford the car but am buying for reasons that do make me feel good, just like the fellow that drives his 550i. I am buying it because Mr. Musk has proven in space and on asphalt that he has the integrity to produce a superior product that works. It is being built 100% in the USA, leaves a footprint 1/4 that of other cars, and I want to support this kind of innovation and technology, period.
    Yes it makes me feel good. Life should feel good.
    8 Sep 2012, 01:14 PM Reply Like
  • This from a Motor Trend review ( that raves about the car's performance, styling, and overall capabilities:


    "So is it the best car in the world? This fourth production example built may not be, but I'd rank it among the top few percentile, and at the rate these automotive greenhorns [Tesla] are improving things, it might well be the best car in the solar system by version 2.0."


    Virtually every early review is positive, and some are raves. The Model S is being favorably compared to BMW 5 series, MBs, and Audis at similar price points.


    Tesla is a worthwhile investment.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:34 AM Reply Like
  • As a stock to trade, Tesla (TSLA) has been very kind to me ... I think it is a monumentally terrible stock to own and invest in UNTIL it produces a solid record robust and durable profitability ... rather than more and more promises of what it will do in the future. It's an absolutely fascinating case study in IPO stock price manipulation.


    The cheapest way to acquire a long-term position continues to be a synthetic position, i.e. to write (sell) Puts and buy Calls. In theory, it would be possible to do a risk-free trade (i.e. the epitome of "Seeking Alpha") with a synthetic long position married with a Short position. The problem is that Tesla is so heavily shorted that it is impossible to find shares to short ... the put-call price disparity with the short situation should tell you something. Basically the "take home lesson" from that situation is the market is providing information to investors who want to heed it. In case, anyone has any doubt the big neon flashing is a "STAY AWAY FROM TSLA" warning.


    Tesla (TSLA) stock price basically reflects the short situation and the movements are driven by squeezes that insiders/traders have attempted to use to separate people from their money. I do enjoy seeing all kinds of hype surrounding Tesla (TSLA) -- it just makes the case study more entertaining. I'm even hopeful the hype leads to short squeezes and price run-ups ... I will use price run-ups to liquidate my call positions and buy puts and wait for the inevitable to happen again ... hopefully, I'll be able to do this like before when the stock price ran up just before "rats jumped ship" and a key insider dumped its 7% stake in Tesla this spring ... but realistically, I am thinking that the whole Tesla house-of-cards story is becoming so obvious that this can't possibly work any more.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • Unless you gave me a notarized copy of your tax return I don't believe you could make money trading Tesla as you have outlined----
    23 Jun 2012, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • How about buying the stock and continuously selling OTM calls, keeping the premium, and lowering your avg cost? I doubt the shares will go up in a long time, but I also doubt the company will go under....too many big players backing it.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:27 PM Reply Like
  • You won't see my tax return [for a variety of real reasons OTHER than TSLA] ... we are not talking about that much money ... this is trade that I've done for the sport of it ... it's very small time trade!


    I do owe you an explanation what I did; it's basically a trade that depends upon the price fluctuating ... I bought Puts and Calls to open the trade ... as TSLA rose, I followed with a spread trade -- selling Calls to close a position and buying [more] Puts as a [larger] open position ... as the TSLA fell, I did the other side -- selling Puts to close a position and buying Calls to re-build my Call position ... I have tended to have more Puts, but there are times when Puts were overvalued and I believed that TSLA was relatively oversold for this point in time. It's not a very fancy trade ... it's just picking up dimes in front of the dozer as it moves back and forth ... it's a trade that is probably more work and risk than what it's worth, but I find Tesla and the ultra-naive Tesla partisans to be highly entertaining.


    As for the risk free arb ... look for yourself at the selling prices for Put Options right NOW ... 33 strike Sep Put with the 33 strike Sep Call ... write the put, buy the call, you pocket about $0.25 and you are required to buy in Sep at $33.00 which is about $0.75 less than mkt price ... IF it were possible to find shares to short -- you could add a SHORT position to the short put/long call synth long ... you'd lock in the $1.00 profit with basically no risk.


    When this kind put-call disparity is out there in the options markets -- and it just flat out shouldn't be there -- the market is telling you to stay away ... something might be rotten in California.
    23 Jun 2012, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • GO baby GO!
    23 Jun 2012, 12:27 PM Reply Like
  • Paid shills will say anything for money.


    40% of our electricity comes from coal and more than 65% from "fossil fuels".


    Coal powered cars - what a joke.
    23 Jun 2012, 01:13 PM Reply Like
  • Coal is burned in central power plants in a Rankine Cycle with 33% thermal efficiency, compared to a gasoline engine Otto Cycle with ~19% efficiency.


    Yes, coal powered cars are cleaner than gasoline powered cars. And if your local generation supplier gets electricity from nuclear, it is truly emission-free energy.


    Calm your rhetoric.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:43 PM Reply Like
  • Great math.
    29 Jun 2012, 12:15 AM Reply Like
  • @GaltMachine: At least the US has domestic sources for coal and natural gas to keep us fueled in the event of oil supply disruption. And over time as we switch to cleaner sources, the car will be cleaner--unlike ICE cars that typically get dirtier over time.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:17 PM Reply Like
  • EVs are going to replace the ICE just as autos replaced the horse----there is nothing anyone can do or certainly say to prevent progress by defending Big Oil----


    Fresh Air is what people want and no one going to deny us the right to live in a smog free world-----
    23 Jun 2012, 02:36 PM Reply Like





    23 Jun 2012, 03:17 PM Reply Like
  • Skkhow


    Thx I read them all---Atonishing
    23 Jun 2012, 06:27 PM Reply Like
  • I guess this is good news for the taxpayer, as the company was given $465 million in U.S. government loans.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • Yes, maybe more as other grants were there at the beginning. Millions were spent offshore too. What I see since I've been driving for 7 decades is that Fiat's CEO seems to get it. He and his giant empire have decided to go directly to working on the Nat Gas cars and skipped the modern day Edsell...


    I've been living in the US ,but, more time has been spent in LA and the locals have been able to convert there gasoline cars to run on the bottled gas.I know live full time in Colombia.Here they can convert the cars for about 150 buck on average. On my new finca in Colombia a few of the vehicles I now own have been converted and my staff claims they've been using them for over a decade... About 5 bucks a month runs them and they burn clean ! They don't need to be recharged off the coal burned electric we buy from the municipality..


    Fiat will win in the end skipping electric cars and they will prove to be the equal to the 8 track tape ! IMHO............ DL
    23 Jun 2012, 08:14 PM Reply Like
  • To everyone above, I will state it plainly, these cars are inferior, more expensive, less safe, less reliable, and without government corporate welfare - $500 million dollar crony capitalist loan - wouldn't exist. This company wouldn't exist without the teat of government.


    Why subsidize the lifestyles of the rich and famous at the expense of the poor in this country?


    This is what you get when you build an industrial policy on the back of the lie of man-made global warming. Wasted resources, wasted money, wasted effort, and a lower standard of living for everyone in the world - burning food (corn) for fuel is just the ultimate manifestation of this stupid delusion which coincidentally has been exposed as the scientific fraud that it is. Perhaps you haven't heard yet.


    What you all fail to realize is that the car is part of an overall lifecycle from beginning to end and when these things end they pollute the environment to a far greater extent than any so-called benefit they provide while under operation - all those toxic batteries and the rare earths that need to be mined to get these toasters on wheels going doesn't do much to "save the world".


    The problem with Liberal ideas is they fall apart under the harsh light of logical examination.


    Now if this were a natural gas powered car then I would be interested.


    In case it isn't obvious, I am a rabid, nut-job, whacko, right-wing Randian who also happens to be an opinionated, knowitall a-hole :)


    Have a nice day!
    23 Jun 2012, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • You did a nice job ignoring the facts I presented above and instead chose to stick to the talking points.


    I typically vote Republican, and I'm also an engineer. I know the science and technology behind these vehicles and the distribution limitations. Any new transportation technology not running a petroleum liquid fuel will require an entirely separate distribution system. Natural gas has good penetration into many homes for heating, as well as many industrial pipelines, but it's not in every home. Compressing or liquefying natural gas is extremely inefficient.


    On the contrary, electricity exists in every home. As such, people who wish to use a personal vehicle for small trips under 300 miles (round trip) from home can buy an electric car like the Tesla Model S. Longer trips will require a new network of recharging stations. This is easier than a new network of natural gas refueling stations.


    There are pros and cons to each technology. Stop spreading your rhetoric like you know what you're talking about. You don't know shit.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • $7,500 tax credits going to rich people to subsidize 'pet' cars.
    Average household income for GM's [Government Motor's] Chevy Volt's is $160,000.


    What a great use of deficit spending.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:55 PM Reply Like
  • The reviews so far seem to be performance and features based. I imagine the comments on overall 'value' will take a while to suss out. In the meantime may the cream rise to the top. I am sticking with my 27 speed Fuji! :)
    23 Jun 2012, 06:16 PM Reply Like
  • Mark, I only meant the tax return as it would pertain to Tesla trades and was to emphasis my innate skepticism of complicated option trading------
    Here is my take on Tesla options---or any naked option position-----


    1ST) never write a naked put on any stock for something may happen that overnight would crater the stock and give the writer a huge loss----


    2ND) a bull put spread is OK since you know your exact loss-----


    3RD) never write a naked call as the potential loss is unlimited----


    4TH) a bull call spread is OK as you know your exact loss----


    5TH) never be long Tesla stock without a married put---for something untoward may happen to any small company that basically depends on one man----


    6TH) Tesla IMO should only be played with long calls (unlimited upside) with money you can afford to lose----


    7TH) long bullish call spreads are a 2nd best choice----


    8TH) one can make a lot of money by not taking my advice but that doesn't mean my admonitions are not correct for Tesla----I wasn't in the investment business for 55 years to lose money recklessly----
    My long position of 50 Dec 30 calls in Tesla may be speculative but within my means----


    9TH) never write married calls since it limits your upside-----ONLY WORKS IN A BEAR MARKET and eventually will you lose out on a big gainer----


    10TH) MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!!!!!never risk more than one can afford to lose----


    Good luck Mark and sorry if all the above sounds a bit pompous-----
    24 Jun 2012, 01:45 AM Reply Like
  • Those are excellent rules for Tesla!


    Tesla is a stock for "sport-traders" -- I don't fish/hunt/snowmobile or ever watch any kind of sport that's on ESPN -- I "sport-trade" for entertainment ... at any time, the maximum trading loss was bracketed below the level of loss that I could "walk away from" with no regrets -- I have friends who spend a lot more hunting / fishing / tailgating / taking the bikes to Sturgis than I could have lost. I like to "sport-trade" IPOs stocks because I like to watch how the stock price manipulation plays out ... the action in these issues tends to be downward, but there are reactions to [temporary] oversold conditions and short-squeeze plays by the manipulators.


    People talk smack about "sport-trading" stocks ... like these Tesla comments ... it's not different that the bravado and cheering by sports fans ... or accountants/lawyers wearing their "tough man" motocycle leathers when they walk into biker bars ... I enjoy laughing at stuff like that.


    I do not consider Tesla to be a stock for long-term investors ... anyone who disagrees with me should use a synthetic long (write puts+sell calls at same strike price) ... a synthetic long in TSLA is significantly cheaper than than buying the stock. If the big holders of Tesla were holding the stock because they see it as good long term investment, I would expect them to convert their stock positions to synthetic long positions ... the reality is that Tesla is not held by smart long-term investors; it is a "crony capitalist" stock held and manipulated by cronies.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:49 PM Reply Like
  • You obviously did not do your due diligence----get a list of the institutional holders of Tesla Motors and publish it here----
    3 Jul 2012, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • You can talk smack if you like ... Tesla is for sport traders ... and people who can't or won't take the effort to figure out synthetic positions with options.


    The FACT remains is that you can establish a synthetic long position by buying a call and selling a put in TSLA for price that puts you well under the market price for holding the stock ... a DEC synthetic long at a $31 strike could be put on today for net $1.50 credit ... that 29.50, a full $1.73 under the current stock price.


    If you hold the stock now and you are committed to hold indefinitely -- it's ok with me if you want to be a TSLA believer, but if you are allowed to own options in your account, you really should be making your TSLA bet with a synthetic long position ... unless you want to throw money away OR unless you want to trade TSLA for sport.


    Do NOT buy the stock and then write calls ... you're better off to just have no stock and write TSLA Puts and pocket the premium.


    This is WARNING FLAG territory for new investors ... it's also WARNING FLAG territory for anyone that owns a fund that owns a significant Tesla position. You can buy into the high risk "Rule Breaker" theory if you want, but generally, when you see that kind of premium for Put prices vs Call prices ... it's a sign of something flaky ... in TSLA there's an ENORMOUS short position, so if you want to bet against shorts [even though that's never a great idea], write puts ... but it's just plain foolishness if you're hanging on to the stock if you can trade options.
    5 Jul 2012, 07:38 PM Reply Like
  • Think you are on the right track but have left yourself with a huge
    loss if Tesla tanks.


    If you are bullish on Tesla, I just think the right play is to go long
    the calls with no hedge position. Granted if Tesla goes up your
    position will make more money than just buying the calls. But
    your way could be extremely costly.


    It is just an opinion and we know what opinions are worth.
    5 Jul 2012, 11:39 PM Reply Like
  • My main point is that Put premiums have gotten more and more expensive relative to calls ... the Put/Call price disparity is flashing a WARNING SIGN to stay away, to avoid Tesla, to give the company to either prove itself and prove the short-sellers wrong OR ...


    Tesla, very well, could prove the naysayers wrong ... it's an extremely steep uphill climb, but it could do it ... for people who think that, calls would be a better way to "play" that upside, but it's a gamble ... a "sport trade" ... not really an investment.


    There are Tesla zealots 110% committed to Tesla ... including institutions that must hold companies like Tesla for to match their fund objective of investing in "green" companies ... but, under the current option price environment, it wouldn't make sense for these dedicated long-term believers to have a pure long position in Tesla, a synthetic long is a cheaper way to get the same thing.
    6 Jul 2012, 08:29 AM Reply Like
  • As a recent Alpha article pointed out, the farther the range of the Model S, and more costly, the less efficient it is. In other words, the average daily commute is around 40 miles. A Tesla Model S that has a range over 300 miles then has an efficiency of around 13% (40/300). You're paying a lot of extra money for a better range, which most people only need occasionally. Plus, do you really think that public electric charging will be free in the future? How many gas stations give out free gas now? Pretty quickly, electric charging will be a for-profit business. The free ride for electric cars will come to an end very soon.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:58 AM Reply Like
  • The Model S comes with an optional 85 kWh battery pack that provides ~300 miles per charge. At a national average retail cost of electricity of $0.10/kWh, it will cost $8.50 for a complete recharge.


    For comparison to a car that gets 30 MPG, it's the equivalent of paying $0.85 per gallon. ( 300 mi / 30 mi/gal = 10 gal, $8.50 / 10 gal = $0.85/gal ) For a car that gets 50 mpg, it's equivalent to paying $1.41/gal. For a car to get equivalent price efficiency for its fuel, it needs to get 123 MPG if gas costs $3.50/gal.


    The higher initial cost of the electric car offsets the price advantage of the fuel savings. This will hopefully improve in the future, and without subsidies required.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:59 AM Reply Like
  • @bubbrasil: You're one of the few here suggesting the Model S has TOO MUCH range, when most of the other detractors say EVs in general don't have enough. :-) First, Tesla makes three battery sizes at the moment, and most will buy the 40 kWh battery, so your formula is really 40/160 (under the old 2-cycle EPA test). This gives plenty of room to do extra errands, or not charge for a few days, or to drive aggressively uphill with the air conditioner running, and to account for future battery life loss. Sure, 160 may seem like 'too much' now, but you might change jobs or move at some point. Second, you can argue that it is 'too much', but plenty of people have similarly priced BMW 5 series vehicles doing your same 40 mile trip. Third, free gas would be expensive--the fill-up on my current car today (which takes premium) is around $60 where I live. No restaurant is going to give me $60 for my business. However, the electricity I might use during lunch is probably $3-5. That is a low price for customer acquisition, so I wouldn't be too sure that free electricity will go away. Worst case, even if it does, I'd rather pay $5 than $60, and I already have a Blink card for that eventuality.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:43 AM Reply Like
  • Our society moves forward as the result of competing technologies - EV, nat gas, hydrogen, new ICE innovations, nuclear, warp drive, whatever. Maybe one will emerge the clear leader, maybe not, but I believe we will all benefit in the long run from the competition, subsidized by government or not. One area that has received little attention is the weight of the vehicle. To take my 170 pound body to the grocery store, I need to surround myself with 1 1/2 tons of steel, rubber and plastic. Replacing steel in vehicles with graphite composites could improve gas mileage especially in cities, but suggesting we kill our steel and coal industries would probably not gain much support from the government!
    24 Jun 2012, 08:02 AM Reply Like
  • Blame government mandates (air bags, reinforcement steel etc.) for much of the vehicle weight gain in recent years.


    All that adds costs and decreases fuel efficiency.


    There is no free lunch.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:54 AM Reply Like
  • @Paul Price: The words "government mandate" is almost always negative, but this is an area where the government deserves more praise than blame. Car companies (and many consumers!) didn't want to put in seat belts. Car companies certainly didn't want to put in air bags. The government looks at raw numbers and says "we can't save everyone from everything or all cars would cost $100k, but we can mandate certain things we know will save lives, and economies of scale will ultimately make these advances affordable." NHTSA may not be perfect, but they appear to be meeting their mandate: "Traffic Deaths at 61-Year Low":



    @vmyev: The Model S is certainly a heavy car (curb weight: 4,647.3 lbs) but it is extremely safe (5 stars in every category). I'm fine with a bit more weight if it makes me safer.
    24 Jun 2012, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • Safety items have a negligible impact on economy/performance -- the weight is not that great; design have been developed over the last several decades to dissipate energy from a crash and protect the occupant.


    There is significant drag on economy/performance is from boosting customer comfort/convenience. It is NOT the weight of seats or interiors as much as it is matter as much as the drag of having the A/C clutch engaged to [continually and excessively] optimize operator comfort. EPA testing does not test in actual road conditions so EPA mileage does not reflect ACTUAL mileage that corresponds to driver A/C usage.


    If you're seriously interested in evaluating performance of passenger automobiles, you need to take Al Kargilis's course on Design and Development of Automotive HVAC systems ... without this kind of background in a very practical aspect of how automobiles are actually used, you simply cannot understand the performance, power, thermodynamics and efficiencies of passenger automobiles.
    2 Jul 2012, 10:02 AM Reply Like
  • very impressive
    7 Sep 2012, 03:11 PM Reply Like
  • As in investing, it is a good idea to diversify in other areas of your life as well. Anyone see the possibility of long lines at gas stations happening again? How about an increase in gas prices? ICE cars, EV's and Natural Gas cars are just options that are available to all of us. Most middle and upper class families have two cars. What's wrong with having one ICE and one EV? This does not have to be an all or nothing discussion. Just like I have no interest in pulling my trailer with an EV, I have no interest in sitting in a gas line in my ICE. When the purpose is clear, so is the choice of vehicle. I currently drive a Chevy VOLT and love it. I also have an order in for a Tesla Model S which should be delivered around the time the VOLT comes off the lease. I have driven the VOLT over 8000 flawless miles and it costs me nothing to drive after I factor in the mileage deductions since I use it exclusively for business. Yes, the deduction amount at 55.5 cents per mile add up to more than the cost of the lease, the cost of electricity to charge it and the insurance. The first three years of service are covered by GM bumper to bumper. Open minds prevail........
    7 Sep 2012, 06:44 PM Reply Like
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