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Dec. 21, 2015, 11:57 AM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA +0.9%) will meet the low end of its Q4 delivery guidance, according to tracking from Electrek.
- Results from California and Denmark are expected to be just enough to meet the 17K to 19K delivery range set by Tesla earlier in the year.
- Separately, a source tells EV Obsession that 50% of the cars coming off the Fremont factory line are Model X vehicles. Tesla set a goal earlier this year of producing 2K vehicles a week by 2016, although a run rate below that is far more likely to be in play this month.
- A wildcard in the mix is if Tesla will keep its production fully ramped up through the holidays or give employees a break.
- Tesla could report Q4 delivery numbers as early as January 4.
Dec. 18, 2015, 12:19 PM
- An exclusive video of the Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.4%) plant in Fremont posted by The Car Guide this month gives an inside baseball look at some Model S and Model X production. It's likely that an engineer or automobile industry insider on SA is able to spot something noteworthy.
- The very first Model X deliveries are expected this weekend, according to postings on the Tesla Motors Club forum. Those initial cars will be closely analyzed for any flaws before the Model X run rate is ramped up.
- Musk on the December run rate (Q3 earnings call): "So we feel very confident of being able to get to several hundred vehicles per week by the end of the year."
- Shares of Tesla Motors are up 7.4% for the week to outpace other automobile stocks.
Dec. 17, 2015, 12:25 PM
- "We think it is extremely unlikely that a single person or even a small company that lacks extensive engineering validation capability will be able to produce an autonomous driving system that can be deployed to production vehicles," says Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) in a response to yesterday's Bloomberg article about the efforts of software engineer George Hotz (was reportedly offered a job by Elon Musk) to create a self-driving system.
- Tesla: "[Such a system] may work as a limited demo on a known stretch of road -- Tesla had such a system two years ago -- but then requires enormous resources to debug over millions of miles of widely differing roads. This is the true problem of autonomy: getting a machine learning system to be 99% correct is relatively easy, but getting it to be 99.9999% correct, which is where it ultimately needs to be, is vastly more difficult."
- The company adds its autopilot system was developed in-house, and isn't an example of repackaging a supplier's technology. "Tesla Autopilot includes radar, ultrasonics, GPS/nav, cameras and real-time connectivity to Tesla servers for fleet learning. Going forward, we will continue to use the most advanced component technologies, such as Mobileye’s (MBLY +3.7%) vision chip, in our vehicles. Their part is the best in the world at what it does and that is why we use it."
- Mobileye is rebounding a day after selling off in the wake of the Bloomberg article and a Citron Research tweet calling the company is 2016 short of the year. Aside from Tesla's remarks, a defense by Raymond James' Tavis McCourt (Outperform rating) could be helping out.
- McCourt: "We would note that Mobileye’s development of algorithms for autonomous driving also utilizes artificial intelligence, deep learning, and all the latest and greatest buzzwords ... from what we can tell from the article, Hotz is utilizing very similar development technology as Mobileye, but with 1/100th the number of engineers and giving Mobileye a 16-year head start. The solution also does not appear to be price-disruptive as Hotz mentions a $1,000 price point in the article. All-in costs of Mobileye single-camera solutions (including tier-1 integration) is roughly $100 today, so an eight-camera configuration for autonomous driving would likely be at or even cheaper than what Hotz appears to be proposing."
- He adds that while Tesla is selling its autopilot solution as a $3,000 add-on, he suspects the company's gross margin for the offering is "well over 95%."
Dec. 16, 2015, 4:20 PM
- Proposed rules in California would require drivers in the state to apply for a special driver's license before being allowed to use an autonomous car.
- The self-driving car would also go through an independent test before being set free on the road.
- Self-driving cars will only be available for lease if the proposed regulations are approved.
- Controversial issues with where insurance liability will fall are still being hashed out.
- Most automakers are dabbling with self-driving cars or autonomous features, while Alphabet has the most advanced program. However, by the looks of it the Alphabet concept vehicle could have trouble with the California DMV standards.
- Previously: Ford wins permit for public testing of self-driving cars (Dec. 15 2015)
- Related stocks: GM, F, FCAU, TSLA, HMC, TM, OTCPK:NSANY, OTCPK:BAMXY, OTCPK:DDAIF.
Dec. 16, 2015, 12:19 PM
- "Frankly, I think you should just work at Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). I’m happy to work out a multimillion-dollar bonus with a longer time horizon that pays out as soon as we discontinue Mobileye (MBLY -5%)," wrote Elon Musk to well-known software engineer George Hotz, according to an e-mail picked up by Bloomberg writer/Elon Musk book author Ashlee Vance.
- Hotz's reply: “I appreciate the offer, but like I’ve said, I’m not looking for a job. I’ll ping you when I crush Mobileye.” Vance's article covers Hotz's efforts to create a self-driving system (with his Acura ILX serving as a test bed) using laser-based radar (LIDAR), cameras, and A.I./machine learning software.
- Hotz is dismissive of Mobileye, whose offerings help power the Tesla Model S' autopilot features and various 3rd-party driver-assistance systems: "They’re a company that’s behind the times, and they have not caught up." A Mobileye spokesman's response: "Our code is based on the latest and modern A.I. techniques using end-to-end deep network algorithms for sensing and control.”
- Mobileye remains down strongly following a Citron Research tweet declaring the company its 2016 short of the year, while referencing the Bloomberg article.
Dec. 16, 2015, 10:33 AM
- Automobile stocks are racing higher across the board.
- There's self-driving car news out of Ford and Google, amid the larger story of the continual slide in oil prices.
- Notable movers today include Honda (HMC +3.1%), Nissan(OTCPK:NSANY +3%), Ford (F +1.8%), Tata Motors (TTM +1.9%), and Tesla Motors (TSLA +3.6%).
- Across the broader vehicle industry, there's also some buying activity with Kandi Technologies (KNDI +6%), Navistar (NAV +1.6%), Gentherm (THRM +2.5%), and Delphi Automotive (DLPH +2.1%).
Dec. 10, 2015, 10:23 AM
- "We believe an acquisition of GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) would make sense for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL); action cameras are uniquely positioned at the intersection of Apple’s smartphone, wearables, and multimedia offerings," writes FBR's Daniel Ives in a note about potential Apple buyout targets.
- Ives: "Additionally, GoPro’s new product cycles could open the door to areas where Apple’s competitors are investing heavily (e.g., drones, VR), and Cupertino has been playing catch-up. We also see strategic value in GoPro being integrated with Apple’s strong multimedia ecosystem (e.g., iTunes, Apple TV, etc.)."
- Media/ad software giant Adobe (ADBE - $44.4B market cap), enterprise cloud storage/file-sharing leader Box (BOX - $1.6B market cap), and EV/battery maker Tesla (TSLA - $30B market cap) are also named as potential Apple targets. "Box would give Apple an avenue into enterprise storage and enable it to expand its product tentacles (hardware/storage) into the enterprise cloud frontier ... Adobe would provide a nice pipeline into the enterprise ... Adobe’s Document Cloud/Marketing Cloud applications are helping enterprises grapple with the growth of digital marketing, proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise, and IOT."
- The GoPro remarks come with the action camera leader down 82% from its Oct. 2014 high of $98.47, and sporting a $2.4B market cap. In other news, GoPro announced today it has added Apple Watch support for its iOS app.
- Recent GoPro coverage
- Update (11:48AM ET): GoPro is now up 8.9%. Also announced today: GoPro states its drone (due in 1H16) will be known as Karma. A teaser video has been released.
- Update 2 (2:30PM ET): GoPro is now up 14%. Given a short interest of 31.2M shares (47% of the float) as of Nov. 30, short-covering is likely playing an important role.
Dec. 10, 2015, 9:44 AM
- Faraday Future is looking to set up shop in Las Vegas with a giant electric car manufacturing plant. Negotiations with Nevada politicians are on tap.
- The company has been positioning itself to enter the EV market in 2017 and will unveil a prototype next month at the CES in Vegas.
- Faraday, which is backed by Chinese investor Yueting Jia, has offices in the U.S., China, and Germany. Curiously, the company hasn't named a CEO yet.
- Though Faraday operates in stealth mode, most industry watchers think it aims to compete with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and BMW (OTCPK:BAMXY). The question on if Faraday will ever produce at a mass market level or be a niche player could take years to answer.
Dec. 9, 2015, 4:19 PM
- Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) opened a pop-up store in Mexico this week, according to Electrek. Local customers can schedule test drives of the Model S.
- Elon Musk disclosed the plan to open the store in Mexico about seven weeks ago. He also tipped a gradual roll-out to Central and South America.
- Electrek reports that Tesla hired Google exec Ricardo Blanco to help run its Latin American business.
Dec. 9, 2015, 9:53 AM
- The NHTSA proposes adding new safety categories to its ratings systems with an aim to accelerate technology innovation and integration.
- Safety features such as forward collision warnings, blind-spot alerts, lane departure information, and rear cameras would be part of the ratings system under the changes.
- The push from the regulator could help some auto suppliers such as Delphi Automotive (DLPH +1.4%) and Mobileye (MBLY +2.5%), notes the WSJ.
- Autoliv (ALV +2.1%), WABCO Holdings (WBC +1.5%), Borg Warner (BWA +1.3%), and Meritor (MTOR +1.3%) are all ahead of market averages in early action today, perhaps due to the NHTSA strategy reveal.
- Related auto stocks GM, F, TM, HMC, OTCPK:NSANY, OTCQX:VLKAY, OTCPK:DDAIF, OTCPK:BAMXY, TSLA, TTM, OTC:HYMLF.
- NHTSA press release
Dec. 7, 2015, 2:34 PM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA +0.6%) has a total of 1,656 jobs listed as open on its website, a mark that indicates it will grow its headcount significantly past the 14K employees currently at the company.
- The job postings include openings at 14 different Tesla locations in China. Tesla Energy is also hiring at global locations.
- The level of hiring isn't surprising to analysts considering the ambitious goals in motion. "Workforce expansion across all divisions is necessary," notes Baird's Ben Kallo. The trick for Tesla management is to show the market it can deliver the profits, he adds. That point is the crux of the bull vs. bear debate.
Dec. 4, 2015, 11:06 AM
- Porsche (OTCQX:VLKAY) is moving ahead with a €1B investment in developing an all-electric sports car under its ambitious Mission E project.
- The German automaker says it sees the EV accelerating faster than a 911 and recharging to 80% battery capacity in 15 minutes. As expected with Porsche DNA in the mix, the design of the concept car looks impressive.
- Of note, the Volkswagen property made this statement: "With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand.
- That last part makes it clear that Tesla Motors (TSLA -1.3%) will have to navigate around Porsche along with other EV rivals in the future.
- Porsche press release and concept pics
Dec. 3, 2015, 4:59 PM
- Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has met with government authorities in Chile to discuss a possible lithium venture with state copper miner Codelco, Reuters reports, citing local financial newspaper Pulso.
- Codelco is the world top producer of copper but has no interests in lithium, although it has said it would consider entering the lithium industry if a business opportunity arose.
- Lithium is a key ingredient of the electric car batteries used in TSLA autos; the world's largest known deposits of lithium straddle huge salt flats in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina.
Dec. 3, 2015, 10:53 AM
- Green Mountain Power announces it will be the first utility company in the nation to offer home battery products through a partnership with Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA).
- The Tesla Powerwall battery will be available for purchase or lease. Customers can store store solar energy from installed panels or use the Powerwall as a backup to the grid.
- Green Mountain is starting the initiative on a small scale, with 500 shipments expected in the next few months.
- The utility company covers about 75% of the state of Vermont.
Nov. 25, 2015, 11:47 AM
- Credit Suisse thinks 2016 is the year that sales leverage kicks in for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA). The bullish note from the firm includes a prediction of lower-than-consensus SG&A spending and R&D investments to help free up cash flow. In the near term, CS says 17K units in Q4 is "achievable" after factoring in some extra sales in Denmark and the U.K.
- Tesla more than doubled the number of superchargers in the U.S. to 224 over the last year, but saw an even higher pace for new destination chargers. The number of destination chargers at hotels, restaurants, and other retail outlets now totals over 1.2K, according to Cleantechnica.com
- Earlier this week, several research firms issued positive forecasts for U.S. auto sales in November. It's unclear if that burst of buying during a typically dull month will extend out to Tesla. YTD electric vehicle sales in the U.S. have trailed the pace of overall auto sales. $2 gas prices at the pump aren't helping that trend.
- Shares of Tesla are up 3.89% to $226.75
Nov. 24, 2015, 8:36 AM
- Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) disclosed it will sell a base version of the Model X for as low as $80K when sales ramp up in 2016.
- The lower-price option is for the 70D battery pack with a 220 mile range and top speed of 140 mph vs. the pricier 90D with the 90-kWh battery and top speed of 155 mph.
- Federal tax credits and state rebates could lower the net cost for buyers, while customized add-ons work the other way.
- The pricing of the Model X is being closely watched by German automakers (OTCPK:DDAIF, OTCQX:VLKAY, OTCPK:BAMXY).
- Model X pricing and spec
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