Wed, May 27, 3:58 PM
- Southern Co. (SO +1.2%) Chairman/CEO/President Thomas Fanning says the company has reached an agreement with Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) to test commercial-scale battery storage.
- Under the TSLA agreement, SO will "examine potential applications for the energy storage technology in helping meet customers' energy needs," Fanning says at the annual shareholder's meeting.
Wed, May 27, 10:40 AM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.4%) unleashed a few pop-up stores last weekend in the U.S. in an initiative that could be part of the company's plan to disrupt the traditional dealership model.
- Early reviews on the pop-up stores that can be transported around the country on flat-bed trucks have been mostly positive.
- Silicon Valley Business Journal even speculates pop-up stores could be the secret weapon referenced by Elon Musk earlier this year.
- "I do have a secret weapon on the demand side that will probably start to deploy later this year for demand generation," teased Musk on a conference call.
- Theories on the secret weapon have drifted from rentals to trade-in programs, but many Tesla watchers see the pop-up concept as the most logical on the potential to help push the company into new high-traffic areas of Europe and China.
- Tesla Q4 earnings call transcript
- Tesla pop-up store image from The Car Connection.
Mon, May 18, 9:22 AM
- A road test by Consumer Reports of a Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S P85D has been delayed after a broken door handle rendered the car undriveable.
- The publication reports that doors, locks, and latches are problem areas for Model S owners.
- Earlier this year, the Model S was selected as the best overall model by CR, although it scored only average on reliability.
- TSLA -1.15% premarket to $245.97.
Wed, May 13, 12:55 PM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.2%) plans to introduce an autonomous car-passing feature on newer Model S vehicles.
- The driver activates the option through the use of a turning signal stalk in a legal twist that could alleviate some concerns over insurance liability.
- Sources tell the WSJ the timing of the software roll-out isn't certain yet.
- Safety remains a major topic amid the push in the automobile industry to roll out self-driving features.
- Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) top self-driving car exec, Chris Urmson, addressed the issue in a blog post in which he disclosed the program has been involved in 11 minor accidents in six years of testing of the company's autonomous cars.
- Urmson on Google's algorithm vs. human error: "With 360 degree visibility and 100% attention out in all directions at all times; our newest sensors can keep track of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians out to a distance of nearly two football fields."
Tue, May 12, 2:49 PM
- A new bill signed by Governor Larry Hogan gives Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) the right to sell directly to the public in Maryland.
- Alternative energy vehicle manufacturers in the state now have the right to operate up to four locations.
- Tesla has been waging a state-by-state battle to broaden its sales network.
Tue, May 12, 3:33 AM
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is modifying its vehicles to fit China's national charging standards, the latest move by the automaker to boost sales in the world's largest auto market.
- Sales have been hampered by "range anxiety," or the fear of running out of electricity while on the road, a challenge exacerbated by the incompatibility of Tesla's vehicles to the charging facilities built by China's State Grid.
Sat, May 9, 10:55 AM
- Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Mazda (OTCPK:MZDAY) are discussing expanding their existing partnership into fuel cell development, according to Reuters.
- Mazda was toying with building its own fuel cell vehicle before deciding to team up with Toyota.
- Toyota is a leader in the burgeoning hydrogen FCV industry and is sharing some of its patents for free in an effort to see infrastructure build-out expand in key nations.
- Battle lines are still being drawn over the direction of next-gen vehicles with Japanese automakers (OTCPK:NSANY, TM, HMC, OTCPK:MZDAY, OTCPK:SZKMY, OTCPK:FUJHY, OTCPK:MMTOF) and Hyundai (OTC:HYMLF) more heavily exploring hydrogen fuel cells - while the Detroit Big Three (GM, F, FCAU) and Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) have a sharper focus on battery-powered electric vehicles.
- German automakers (OTCQX:VLKAY, OTCPK:DDAIF, OTCPK:BAMXY) are seen hedging their bets a bit with the group supporting efforts to build out a hydrogen charging network in Germany and selling electric vehicle (PHEV, BEV, hybrids) models at the same time.
- Some analysts think politicians may have the final say. The 2016 U.S. presidential election and the success of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are key factors.
- Previously: Millennials have the steering wheel now (Jan. 31)
- Previously: Academic study sees future for clean and cheap hydrogen fuel (April 6)
- Previously: Toyota Mirai coming to U.S. in October (May 6)
- Previously: 500K the talk in electric vehicle industry (May 8)
Sat, May 9, 8:15 AM
- Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) new batteries have generated $800M in potential revenue for the company in just the first few days of reservations since their April 30 introduction, according to Bloomberg's calculations.
- If the battery reservations actually turn into revenue, it would be almost as much as the company took in from car sales in the entire Q1; demand is "crazy off-the-hook," CEO Elon Musk said during the Wednesday earnings call.
- But the $800M figure may be way optimistic: TSLA’s Powerwall home batteries can be reserved online, years in advance, with no money down and no commitment to buy, and at least some of the early demand will ease once the excitement fades and the reality of a $3K-$3.5K purchase settles in.
- The uncertainty creates a difficult valuation problem for Wall Street; analysts at Baird and Morgan Stanley do not yet include the battery business in their TSLA valuation, and J.P. Morgan places a $1.9B valuation but admits that “it is still quite early to estimate with a good degree of accuracy,” Bloomberg says.
Fri, May 8, 10:07 AM
- General Motors (GM +0.8%) says it expects to miss a sales target of having 500K electric vehicles on the road by 2017.
- Lower gas prices and an increase in EV competition are cited as factors by the Detroit heavyweight.
- The automaker disclosed in its 2014 sustainability report that there was 180,834 GM EVs on the road in the U.S. last year.
- The 500K mark is a little bit of a talking point in the auto industry with Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.7%) CEO Elon Musk also throwing out the number as an annual sales target by 2020.
- All indications from GM have been that development on the new electric Chevy Bolt is on schedule.
- Some see the Tesla Model 3 vs. the Chevy Bolt battle as a winner-take-all, while others liken it to the Honda Civic/Accord vs. Toyota Camry/Corolla slicing up of a large mass-market pie.
Wed, May 6, 5:43 PM
- Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) produced 11,160 vehicles in Q1, down slightly from Q4's 11,627 but beating guidance of 10K. 10,045 vehicles were delivered, close to the 10,030 previously announced and up from Q4's 9,834.
- The company expects to deliver 10K-11K vehicles in Q2, below estimates of ~12K. But it still forecasts 55K 2015 Model S and X deliveries. Q2 production is expected to total 12.5K. The Model X is on track to see deliveries start in late Q3.
- Model S average transaction price is expected to drop Q/Q in Q2 thanks to a weak euro (a 100+ bps gross margin impact is expected). Tesla has responded by hiking European prices by ~5%. Operating expenses are expected to rise 10% Q/Q in Q2, and 45%-50% Y/Y in 2015. The 2015 capex budget is still at $1.5B.
- Financials: Q1 gross margin (non-GAAP) was 28.2%, up from Q4's 26.7% and Q1 2014's 25.2% in spite of a strong dollar, and contributing to the EPS beat. Auto gross margin (exc. ZEV credits) was 26%, and services/other gross margin -3.2%; Tesla expects the latter to be slightly above breakeven in Q2. R&D spend +117% Y/Y to $147.4M; SG&A spend +82% to $147.4M. The company ended Q1 with $1.51B in cash, down $396M Q/Q thanks to $426M in capex.
- Other details: 1) Order rates are said to have "accelerated even further" in Q2 thanks to greater availability of the Model S 85D and 70D. 2) Volume production for Tesla's home/commercial batteries is expected to start in Fremont, CA in Q3, and expand to the Gigafactory in Q1 2016. 3) To lower costs, Tesla is now shipping cars via rail rather than trucks in more regions, and "producing cars based on a uniform regional production mix."
- TSLA +1.7% AH to $234.26.
- Q1 results, shareholder letter (.pdf)
Wed, May 6, 4:35 PM
Wed, May 6, 11:16 AM
- Tesla Motors (TSLA -0.7%) reports earnings after the bell with analysts expecting a $0.49 quarterly loss and revenue of just over $1B.
- One of the biggest items to watch out of the report will be guidance delivery. The EV automaker has already tipped that it delivered 10,030 Model S units in Q1 and has guided for 55K for the year. Analysts see Q2 deliveries of 12,025.
- The launch date of the Model X as well as the company's progress in China will both factor into the annual delivery guidance and be major talking points.
- Tesla isn't expected to announce anything new on the product front after Elon Musk introduced Tesla Energy last week during a media event, although updates on the Model 3 and the Gigafactory will capture the attention of investors.
- Previously: Tesla Energy launches with a charge (May. 01 2015)
Tue, May 5, 9:40 AM
- Jefferies jumps into the coverage universe on Tesla Motors (TSLA +2.6%) with a Buy rating and $350 price target.
- The investment firm is taking a long view on the company's potential in China, despite a stuttering start in the region by Tesla.
- A consumer survey leaned on by Jefferies indicates that it's "feasible" for Tesla to sell 500K cars a year by 2020 and dismisses the impact of a possible entry by Google or Apple into the EV segment.
- The 500K cars a year by 2020 forecast was also pushed out by Panasonic CEO Joe Taylor at CES this year and has been alluded to by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
- Jefferies talks batteries: "The company's relentless drive to improve battery energy storage capacity (car range is 3x the typical BEV), longevity, power delivery and performance while lowering cost per kilowatt-hour (the Gigafactory should reduce battery pack cost/kWh by ~30%) results in a key competitive advantage that helps TSLA."
Mon, May 4, 11:28 AM
- There's no rest for debate on Tesla Motors (TSLA +2.2%) with the creation of Tesla Energy still being analyzed and the company due to report Q1 earnings on Wednesday.
- Credit Suisse calls the battery business of the company more evolved than it anticipated in a new note to investors. Tesla Energy helps offset some risk from the automotive side and sets shares up for a "strong run" over the next 12 months, reasons CS.
- The premise that Tesla has the home battery field to itself is taken on in a Reuters article which notes upstarts and tech heavyweights are dabbling with similar systems without the same degree of fanfare.
- Tesla watchers also have a new set of data points to analyze after the company launched a pre-owned program for Model S owners to accompany a similar initiative for used Roadsters.
- Shares of Tesla still trade near 2015 highs.
- Tesla earnings preview
- Previously: Tesla Energy launches with a charge (May. 01 2015)
Fri, May 1, 1:38 PM
- To much fanfare, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has unveiled a line of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities that store energy produced by solar panels. The wall-mounted home system, known as the Powerwall, is about the size of a suitcase. A 7kWh version goes for $3,000, and a 10kWh version for $3,500.
- SolarEdge (NASDAQ:SEDG) is acting as Powerwall's inverter supplier. Tesla asserts its solution (developed with SolarEdge) will "will require only a single SolarEdge inverter to manage both PV and storage functions."
- Also: Top SolarEdge client SolarCity is launching solar storage services for homes, businesses, and microgrids that rely on Tesla's batteries.
- SolarEdge is now up 34% from its $20 March IPO price. The company's FQ3 report (its first earnings report as a public company) arrives on May 7.
Fri, May 1, 9:36 AM
- As many expected, SolarCity (SCTY +0.7%) hasn't been left out as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveils a home/business/utility battery line: The company has launched a battery backup service for residential solar clients, a revamped energy storage system for business/government clients, and a new microgrid service for remote communities that feature Tesla's batteries.
- The residential backup service covers permitting, installation, and monitoring, and revolves around Tesla's Powerwall home battery. Stored solar energy is used to provide backup power during grid outages.
- The business/government solution pairs Tesla batteries with SolarCity's DemandLogic energy storage/software system to lower peak demand and provide backup during outages. The microgrid service adds the battery to SolarCity's GridLogic microgrid platform. It can work either with the grid or independently of it.
- SolarCity will begin taking orders for the services today; installation isn't expected to start until October. DemandLogic has been using Tesla battery packs since its late-2013 launch.
- A month ago: SolarCity moves higher as Musk promises new non-auto product
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