Seeking Alpha

Samuel H

Samuel H
Send Message
View as an RSS Feed
View Samuel H's Comments BY TICKER:
Latest  |  Highest rated
  • Tesla's Claims Of Being Production-Constrained Don't Add Up [View article]
    The Model S doesn't need to go in for repairs annually, but many owners do take it in to get checked out annually.
    Feb 24, 2015. 03:04 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sorting Out The Tesla Model X Launch: When, How, And Who Are The Buyers? [View article]
    Whoah there. Don't be so quick to bash political parties. Some of us don't confuse the tech with the politics. I fully support the electric revolution because I think it will help with national security and will boost the economy. When people don't have to spend a large chunk of money simply on transportation, they'll spend that elsewhere. Tesla Motors is an all-American company that is providing jobs and showing the world that we can still inovate and be a leader. Reducing the amount of pollution in our air is also a big plus. I'm also a fan of electric cars because I've driven them and found them to be more appealing than a gas-burner. They're smoother, quiter, and quicker. If you can live with the range (and most can), why not?!!
    Feb 22, 2015. 05:50 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Real Competition Ahead? [View article]
    Supercharging and the Gigafactory

    These two things are what will differentiate Tesla Motors from all other manufacturers making EVs. Unless automakers are willing to make a massive jump into EVs, they will not have the economies of scale that Tesla will have.

    To be competitive with comparable ICEs in the general public's mind, Tesla needs add more features that are increasingly common on far less expensive vehicles (center console option, usable cup and bottle holders, door and seat pockets, grap handles, HUD, heated/cooled seats, 4-zone climate control, interior colored mood lighting, door puddle lights, illuminated door sill, etc.

    I have a realistic view of the market, and so do the traditional automakers. They have done their market research and realize that most people are not going to buy EVs no matter how good because of the many misconceptions are still widespread. These myths need to be debunked and the results widely published before the mass market is open to EVs. Right now, most people still don't think they could live with a Model S, even with its 265-mile range and Supercharging. They just don't get it yet.

    The cost premium of hybrids, PHEVs, EVs, and diesels over the equivalent gasser is what drives most customers away. They don't do their math. When a car buyer sees the $14,000 sticker price for a Chevy Sonic then walks over and sees the $37,500 MSRP for a Chevy Bolt, the result will be predictable. Only the nutty would get the Bolt. "Fast charging" at 50kW from a sparse network won't help the case much.

    Tesla is doing a remarkable job without advertising of educating people and getting many to aspire to own their vehicles. Tesla is not really charging a premium for its vehicles when compared to the competition. The market is willing to pay for what it perceives is worth it.

    The question is: How many normal drivers are going to give up their BMW or Mercedes and buy a really cool electric car that does everything well and costs about the same?

    The major automakers are all saying not too many. Tesla is betting that hundreds of thousands of former Acura, Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti buyers will. I say it depends on how well the general public has been educateded about the many advantages EV tech as well as understand that the disadvantages are not insurmountable and the advantages far outweigh them. Tesla will have to educate the public and advertise the Model III to achieve the numbers they want.

    Being stuck for hours in the middle of nowhere while the electric car charges is entrenched in the minds of many. That notion must be dispelled. Battery degredation myths must be dispelled. The fire hazard myth must be dispelled. The coal power myth must be dispelled. These things are very real in the minds of the public. By Q4 2017, will enough people in the small luxury/sport car market be educated about EVs enough to buy one? I sincerely hope so. I really don't think there is a million person market for the Model III right now. By, 2020 there probably will be.
    Feb 14, 2015. 06:45 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: In Need Of A Little Adult Supervision [View article]
    Sonic EV vs BMW 3-series competitor...

    And they call that competition?!!
    Feb 13, 2015. 01:29 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: In Need Of A Little Adult Supervision [View article]
    The Bolt is based off the Sonic which is a small 4 seater like the Mitsubishi Mirage. Seating for 5 in a car that small is obviously a ridiculous proposition, like the Scion iQ seating 4. In exterior dimensions, the Bolt is taller than the Volt, but a lot shorter in length. When people see the sticker price of $37,500 for a Sonic EV, they're going to laugh and walk away. A high mpg Sonic costs just $14,000. For those who car a little about their pocketbook, the Bolt makes no sense at all.
    Feb 13, 2015. 01:24 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How The Tesla Investment Case Had To Suddenly Change [View article]
    The masses won't be buying the equivalent of a $14,000 Chevy Sonic for $37,500. That's why EVs have yet to take off. They are not financially feasible for the mass market. However, in a segment where high price is the norm, Tesla has been flourishing. EV enthusiasts who don't care about saving money will buy the Chevy Bolt or Next-gen Leaf since comparable vehicles can be had for $10-20,000 less or wait for the Model III. Who in their right mind would spend Mercedes money on a Mitsubishi Mirage?!! Apparently BMW i3 drivers would. I've seen several of these tiny little eyesores in the wild now and wow... I'd be so embarrased to drive one.

    However, the Model III will be in the 3-series segment at a similar price point. That is the major difference. Supercharging will enable leisurely long range travel with breaks every 2-3 hrs. Both the Bolt and Leaf will be limited to abysmally slow 50kW "fast" chargers. Being able to make it there and back to grandma's in a reasonable amount of time is important. Those who won't tolerate taking a 30-40 min. break during a 4 hr trip definitely won't tolerate a 1-1.5 hr. "fast charge" and are a better fit for PHEVs, hybrids, or diesels.

    Tesla is reaching for the larger audience in the small-midsize luxury/sport car segment and will be priced similarly. Premium subcompacts like the i3, B-class, Bolt, and next-gen Leaf occupy a very small market segment. In short, Tesla will make a better case for why you should spend that much money. Selling subcompacts at luxury car prices just doesn't go over too well.

    The argument that it's irrelevant what the inferior competition does is quite valid.
    Feb 10, 2015. 10:49 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM To Deliver Inexpensive 200-Mile EV 2 Years Ahead Of Tesla [View article]
    People say that Tesla will have to raise the price of the Model III to compete with the 3-series and make a profit. The raise in price will be for the longer-ranged and therefore more popular model. The base Model III will be like the base Model S 60 of right now except smaller, lighter, more efficient, and with a more advanced battery.

    The majority of Model S orders right now are for the P85D. Tesla will technically offer a Model III 50kWh for $35,000, but I predict that there will be few takers for the base version. Tack on a larger battery ($8K), AWD ($4K), and $10K+ worth of options, and that's what most potential owners will be buy. The reviewers will be waxing eloquent about the P75D version of the Model III and Tesla will be selling them like hotcakes.

    Does anybody even know how much the extremely popular 3-series and C-class cost? The 328i (most popular model) starts at $37,500 and goes up to $69,000 fully loaded. A loaded M3 crests $90K. The C-class starts at $38,400 and goes up past $66,000 fully loaded with the C63 AMG also cresting $90K fully loaded.

    Like these two class leaders, the Model III will start low and end up high because people want and expect lots of options for their luxury car. Hopefully, Tesla will offer heated/cooled seats, steering wheel, zoned climate control, a HUD, active safety features, self-driving tech, and other cool stuff as options on the Model III (which will of course drive the price up).

    Tesla will sell as many Model IIIs as they can build, and if they need to drum up extra demand, all they have to do is start advertising. How much demand for the Volt or Bolt do you think there'd be if GM didn't advertise them? That is where Tesla is different. People desire and aspire to own Teslas. The Chevy Volt is a great car with top customer satisfaction ratings. However, who really aspires to one day own a Volt? Okay, maybe a few, but I haven't met any. However, everyone I know who wants a Model S but can't afford it plans to get the Model III including me.

    The difference between the Model III and the Bolt is that one is pretending to be "inexpensive" which it is NOT, and the other is trying to be "affordable" which it will be (to many). Selling a Chevy Sonic EV for $37,500 (BMW 328i MSRP) is not going to fly when a customer has only to walk over and see the $14,000 sticker on the gas Chevy Sonic right next to it. It's a no brainer.

    However, if someone is going to spend $35-60K on a car, the Model III will probably be in the running since it offers some things none of the rest have - savagely instant torque, negligible "fuel" costs, stealth operation, Tesla badge, front and back trunk, massive, intuitive touch screen interface, and unique factor.

    There will be a very small overlap of demand simply because both are electric, but the Model III makes a far more compelling case against gas power than does the Bolt.

    Having said all of that, I really do hope that GM does sell 30,000 of these a year. The more EVs on the road, the better! I just don't think the two are competitors.
    Feb 8, 2015. 07:35 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM To Deliver Inexpensive 200-Mile EV 2 Years Ahead Of Tesla [View article]
    Only a small number of people would cross shop the Bolt and the Model III. They are in two completely different vehicle classes. Someone shopping for a BMW 3-series will not settle for a Kia Soul. The same goes for this Bolt. They are striving to achieve a 200-mile range at a $37,500 price point, this is not cheap, but the car exudes the funky, econobox nature of the Nissan Cube.

    Without a means to road trip, most car buyers won't look twice at the Bolt, if the sticker price didn't scare them away initially. You can buy a Chevy Sonic for $17,000 and run it for 120,000 miles on $11,000 for a total of $28,000. The Chevy Bolt starts at $37,500 would cost just $4,500 to "fuel" during that same period. How can the consumer trying to save money justify spending that extra $14,000? Most cannot, and that is why EVs are still slow in coming.

    The Model III will be a small luxury/sport car. As such, customers are used to paying a premium for an awesome car. The 3-series which defines the segment starts at $32,950 and goes up past $80,000. The mass market will not bear such a high price for a longer ranged electric econobox, but will spend the same money for a prestigious, high performance, technologically advanced vehicle.
    Feb 7, 2015. 07:09 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM's 200-Mile Electric Car For $30,000: RIP Tesla [View article]
    Do the people looking to buy a BMW 3-series settle for a Chevy Sonic? Anton is arguing that they would. Obviously, those who are looking for a small luxury/sport car will not buy an economical subcompact crossover.

    They want brand image, and Tesla has it in spades. They want great acceleration and handling, and 7-8 sec. to 60 with econocar handling won't cut it. They want technology, and Tesla's got lots of that. They want a good looking car, and this jelly bean with a Chevy badge won't cut it in this price bracket (although the i3 has surprised). The Chevy Bolt will start at $37,500. That's more than the Volt which is arguably the more capable vehicle with the ability to travel coast to coast unhindered.

    "However, with an onslaught of competitors offering most of the same in far less expensive packages, as well as in form factors that are not 3 inches wider than a GM pickup truck, the Tesla might not seem quite that special anymore."

    This statement is just wrong because, there is no onslaught of competitors and nothing that might be termed as a competitor can offer what Tesla brings to the table which is a genuinely new product that does things differently but better. It's still special, and it's still outselling almost all of the other vehciles in its price bracket.

    The Model III is expected to be a 3-series competitor. What does that mean? It means that it's going to cost the same as a 3-series, offer similar or better performance than a 3-series, have similar or better technology to a 3-series, be safer than a 3-series, look better than a 3-series, have similar or better cargo space than a 3-series, and have similar brand appeal to the BMW 3-series. It'll also be able to road trip due to the Supercharging network, unlike the Chevy Bolt which does not come close to that description.
    Feb 2, 2015. 12:56 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BMW And Volkswagen Join Forces To Take On Tesla's Supercharger Network [View article]
    I'm surprised that no one here has mentioned that Tesla's 120kW Superchargers are already a whole lot more powerful than this future CCS network being discussed, and they are going to be upgraded yet again to 135kW sometime in the future. If there are some complaining about the speed of the Superchargers, there will definitely be those complaining about the slow speed of CCS charging.

    Nobody wants to sit and wait an hour to charge. With a Tesla, you can pick up 170 miles (2.27 hrs at 75 mph) in 30 min. The CCS chargers will be 50kW chargers capable of giving a non-REx i3 an 80% charge (65 miles if charged up from empty) in 20 min, similar to CHAdeMO fast charging.

    If one buys a hypothetical 200-mile low cost EV and wants to take long trips using CCS and/or CHAdeMO chargers, he would have to sit for more than twice as long as the Tesla driver would, simply charging, making road trips not feasible.

    Tesla wins hands down. However, more chargers are better since the relative lack of EV infrastructure is one of the main preventatives of mass market adoption of EVs.
    Jan 22, 2015. 06:38 PM | 23 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GM's 200-Mile Electric Car For $30,000: RIP Tesla [View article]
    For clarification purposes, the Chevy Bolt (if that's the production name), will start at $37,500 which is way too expensive for it to sell in large numbers. Look at the Volt's price and it's sales. EV enthusiasts and GM hope that the 2016 Volt will really take off, but as for this ugly duckling, I can't see it selling too well. It's essentially selling a spruced-up Chevy Sonic EV for more than twice the price.

    Tesla on the other hand will introduce a car into a market that's already priced at such levels, namely the luxury/sport car market. Elon Musk also said that it would start at $35,000 before tax credits making it cheaper (initially) than the Chevy Bolt. Also, since it's designed to compete with the likes of the 3-series and has a Tesla badge on it, it's going to have beautiful styling, great performance, handling, technology, cargo space, comfort, safety, and the all-important Supercharging capability.

    The BMW 3-series starts at $32,950 for the 200ish horsepower 320i and soars up to over $60,000 for a fully loaded 335i x-drive, and stops just shy of $90,000 for a fully loaded BMW M3.
    Mercedes' C-class (not counting CLA) now starts above $40,000. Tesla can and probably will have $20-30,000 worth of options available with AWD and Performance models having a hefty premium.

    Tesla's approach: smart
    Chevy's approach: < smart
    Jan 14, 2015. 11:20 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Audi's Hybrid Q7 Cause Tesla's Model X Backlog To Evaporate? [View article]
    Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid is pretty much the same thing as this Audi, except it seats 5 and has far better performance and handling. Another thing, you can buy one today at most any Porsche dealership. So why is it that Tesla Model X reservations remain high?
    Jan 14, 2015. 10:48 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Audi's Hybrid Q7 Cause Tesla's Model X Backlog To Evaporate? [View article]
    Will the Ford Fusion PHEV, Prius PHEV, and Honda PHEV make Chevy Volt sales evaporate?

    Of course not. EV buyers always want more range and Tesla delivers. Hopefully, Tesla can hurry up with the torque sleep update to bring the range of the AWD versions up. By the time the Model X comes out, optimization should minimize the drop in range due to extra weight and higher drag.

    All these PHEVs from other companies are serving to expand the market, catering to those who's mindset and/or driving patterns aren't suited to pure EVs, or those who suffer from phantom range anxiety.

    The more EVs, the better.
    Jan 6, 2015. 04:06 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Update: Tesla Earnings Highlight Spending Ramp-Up And A Time To Sell [View article]
    That's because of simply cost per unit. The fact that the Tesla Model S is outselling every single $100,000 vehicle in its price range is very telling. PHEVs will play a huge role and that's a good thing, but Tesla will become the pinnacle of people's aspirations as the best EV money can buy. Let other automakers make PHEVs. Tesla will dominate the growing EV industry and continue to define the sector.
    Nov 7, 2014. 12:07 PM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Tesla Is Poised To Leave Its Competition In The Dust [View article]
    80% is a ballpark figure. I expect the Model 3 to be small like the Mercedes CLA, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS, or Audi A3, but with more passenger and cargo room. Tesla could surprise us and build a car that's similar in size to the BMW 3 series with which it's supposed to compete.

    A 200-mile EV that costs less than $50,000 and have most of the features of cars in its class would take the segment by storm. I'm certainly going to get one. In the mean time, I'll have to settle for a Volt. The Leaf can't take a road trip.
    Aug 17, 2014. 10:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment