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  • Tesla Motors signs lithium deal with Bacanora [View news story]
    Yeah, because U.S. Rare Earth Minerals, Inc. (USMN) is not Rare Earth Minerals, PLC, (REM:LSE).

    Here is the press release on the company's website:
    Aug 31, 2015. 10:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla: Actually, Consumer Reports Just Reiterated The Bear Case [View article]
    Do you really misunderstand? The initial acceleration is 1g and tapers as you reach terminal velocity. Only at terminal velocity is it near zero g.
    Aug 27, 2015. 01:02 PM | 24 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    Not much of a gorilla - LG Chem's existing nameplate capacity isn't built out... and they are building out the MI plant to full capacity now. So likely in 2018, LG Chem's total ex-China capacity is around 7 GWh, depending on the exact mix of cells and their capacity.

    Tesla's total capacity in 2018 is likely around 12-20 GWh, depending on the exact timing of the 2nd phase of the Gigafactory.

    2014 marketshare numbers:

    That means all these automakers that are using LG are not really planning on shipping vehicles in large volume. Witness the Kia Soul EV... total sales in North America since introduction is 888 - a period of 10 months. There's waiting lists for this vehicle and people willing to buy it outside of CARB states, but Kia probably loses money on each and doles them out only as necessary for CARB ZEV credits.
    Aug 19, 2015. 10:05 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    The big difference is that Tesla has shown almost all the technologies necessary to make the Model 3 and is building a massive battery plant in Nevada to be able to hit the right pricing point and provide mass availability.

    Many of the other auto makers have yet to show the path - on motors, on battery cells, on battery production, and so forth. Audi has shown some things, but not an actual path to shipping product yet.

    Tesla's advantages:
    1) AC induction motors with zero permanent magnets and therefore no rare earth plus higher hp and torque with better efficiency across a high output spectrum
    2) highest specific energy battery cells
    3) lowest cost per kWh battery cells and battery packs
    4) Level 3 DC charging > 200 amps - the Model S 70 kWh can handle 370 amps
    5) Building out widespread Level 3 DC charging to support long distance travel across multiple continents
    6) Already shipping the most GWh per year in the automotive space, also building out battery production capacity to double the 2012 total world's lithium ion battery supply.

    Further, many Tesla bulls would actually like for VW/GM/Ford and so forth to really go for BEVs in a big way. It's actually good for Tesla, not bad.
    Aug 19, 2015. 01:45 PM | 15 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    PHEVs are not really competition. They seem like they might be on paper, but the actual products are likely to be duds. They're an important transitional product in particular cases, but the inherent compromises means that they will have a limited lifespan in the market as batteries get cheaper. The Volt 2 will do very well for instance and represents an important training wheels product.

    There's an inherent conflict with PHEV's... emphasis on the battery electric side or the ICE side. The fact that there is an air breathing engine that also produces tremendous heat and poisonous exhaust also restricts packaging.
    Aug 19, 2015. 01:36 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    Customers won't care who supplies the battery. However, not all batteries are the same and there are significant differences in the battery chemistries in play.

    Then, you also have to examine the actual capacities... you can't just bank on the names. Examine the actual production capacities and the announced expansion, and you'll see that Tesla will likely have a very large chunk of the overall automotive battery production in 2018 - 50% plus or minus 10%, ex-China. Most of the Chinese production will go to crappy LiFePO4 into crappy Chinese products for domestic production, so in this time frame, it isn't nearly as big of a factor.

    Yeah, your big brand gas comment indicates that you haven't really thought through the charging situation.
    Aug 19, 2015. 01:22 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    Nope... I'm aware that governments are wasting lots of money on idiotic CHAdeMO and CCS. And BMW and Nissan are also following suit to a small degree. It's still a waste of money.

    If you examine what is necessary to be done in order to support 1,000,000 BEVs on the road in the U.S., crunch the numbers, you'll realize that we need lots and lots of destination charging at very low prices per plug which means AC, and very high speed DC charging to support long distance travel - which is > 100 kW. Existing CHAdeMO and CCS is neither cheap enough for destination charging nor fast enough to support the road trip model for widespread adoption.
    Aug 19, 2015. 01:10 PM | 10 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    Gas stations have a for profit economic model that has caused a widespread proliferation of them.

    DC charging, however, does not at the moment. Especially when the primary competition is very low cost energy purchasing at home. If you try to work out the costs one has to charge in order to make a profit on a combo CHAdeMO/CCS EVSE, you'll see that it doesn't work out except for a very few locations. Further, the DC charging standards will have to be revised, which means a very short time before your EVSE is "the slow one."

    Thus Tesla doesn't even bother to make their Supercharger network a profit center. They trade off time for free energy and absorb the cost in the purchase price of the vehicle.

    AC destination charging, on the other hand, does have legs - but probably as a low cost add-on to attract visitors, much like the spread of Wifi in hotels and various commercial establishments. It wasn't long ago that the idea of a computer infrastructure at a hotel or shopping mall was considered ridiculous.
    Aug 19, 2015. 01:05 PM | 8 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Audi Details Its First Proper Tesla Competitor, The 310-Mile Range SUV [View article]
    The non-Tesla automakers need to push through revised DC charging standards that support Level 3 DC - that's > 200 amps. Tesla's 70 kWh battery pack is already charging at 370 amps at Tesla's Superchargers, which means the wiring from the Superchargers to the plugs is already 150 kW capable (370 amps x 400 volts = 148 kW). They can revise the rectifiers inside the Supercharger cabinets and move to 150 kW. Tesla controls their own standard in the cars and in the EVSEs so they can iterate at any time. For everyone else, they need to push through the revised standard, wait for products to be developed and tested, then put into both vehicles and EVSEs. Then the EVSE's need to be purchased and installed around the world. The lag time to product availability is likely at least 1-2 years before even talking about an aggressive deployment which would take 2-4 years. So for a vehicle available in 2018 to have a reasonably usable L3 DC charging network, the non-Tesla BEV manufacturers will have to establish the standard this year. As of yet, this standard doesn't exist. Even at this juncture, it isn't clear that anyone would take up the mantle to build out the level of L3 DC charging infrastructure that Tesla is building.

    Nissan and GM should have worked out a L3 DC charging standard in 2010/2011 before this whole CHAdeMO/CCS debacle. At this point, every CHAdeMO and CCS DC charging installation is a waste of money. Too slow for the money and overall too expensive resulting in too few plugs for destination charging.
    Aug 19, 2015. 12:56 PM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's My Prediction For Tesla's 2015 Deliveries And More On Model X Foibles [View article]
    Actually, a careful parsing of the GCR article indicates that it might be that Tesla can make up to 1,000 Model X's in Q3, or near that. That they have enough parts on hand to do so already. The question is how many can they make in the first two months of Q4 and then when does the big numbers hit, up to about 1,000 or 1,200 a week at the end of Q4 assuming mass production does hit.

    Likely Tesla would optimize for California deliveries at the end, so most of the production can make it into customer's driveways. So assuming 500 in Q3, then 750 in October, 1,000 in November, then a ramp up in December with two weeks of near full production, we're looking at 3,000 in December. That's about 5,250 for the year.
    Aug 18, 2015. 03:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Here's My Prediction For Tesla's 2015 Deliveries And More On Model X Foibles [View article]
    Deliveries to the eastern United States and to Europe is now traveling over rail, which is adding weeks to the delivery times.

    A far more accurate picture is looking at finished goods inventory divided by the production volume, rather than just the raw finished goods inventory number. Also, a higher volume of vehicles destined for overseas markets at quarter end will also mess with the numbers.

    For example, in Q1, 2014, Tesla was making 700 vehicles a week on average. Finished goods inventory amounted to 3 production weeks. Q2 was 4.1, then Q3, was 2.6 (factory shutdown) and Q4 was 4 (P85D launch difficulties). Remember, 2014 also marked additional overseas markets opening up and therefore more mix of vehicles that have longer delivery times.

    In 2015, two things changed in Q1. First, they started to make changes in transportation to save money. Switching to rail delivery adds 2 weeks or so. Also, the way in which Tesla allocates production between overseas and domestic markets also changed. It used to be that Tesla would allocate far more overseas production at the beginning of a quarter and far more domestic production at the end of a quarter. That way, they could squeeze more deliveries within a quarter as the production destined for overseas markets will arrive 1-2 months later to coincide with delivering domestically. Hence the deliveries in month 3 of a quarter was dramatically higher than the first two months. That would often throw off investors as short sellers saw the first two months of deliveries and assumed Tesla sales were falling off a cliff. Tesla is no longer allocating in the same manner.

    Here is the snippet from the Q1 shareholder letter:

    "As part of our strategy to optimize operational efficiency while scaling for higher deliveries, we are shipping cars using less expensive rail, rather than by truck, to more regions in the United States and Canada. Also, we are now producing cars based on a uniform regional production mix throughout the quarter. This enables a more stable cadence of deliveries and in turn improves customer satisfaction while reducing cost. Both of these actions should lead to an increase of in-transit customer-configured finished goods inventory."

    As a result, a higher finished goods inventory number is expected. In Q1 and Q2, there was about 5.5 to 6 weeks of finished goods inventory that wasn't delivered yet. That's about right for the announced changes in delivery and allocation.

    Another way to look at it is this, in rough numbers: 1/4 of all cars made are delivered in 1 week on the west coast of the U.S. 1/4 of all cars made are delivered in the rest of the U.S. and Canada in 3 weeks. 1/4 are delivered in about 8 weeks (most of Europe), and 1/4 are delivered in about 10 weeks (UK, China, Australia, HK, etc.). That's 5.5 weeks. So Tesla should have a finished goods inventory of about 5.5 weeks assuming a perfect snapshot at the end of a quarter, so + or - 1 week is probably normal. 5.5 weeks of finished goods inventory is about 6,000 vehicles, or about $570 million in finished goods inventory, + or - $100 million.
    Aug 18, 2015. 03:11 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Motors preps autopilot software update [View news story]
    Obviously more than a handful:

    "The swaps are available seven days a week from around 9am to 5pm. He fits you into an available time slot. When I called, the swap station was already quite booked for the next couple of weeks."

    This guy has already done his 9th swap:
    Jul 31, 2015. 10:50 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Motors preps autopilot software update [View news story]
    This isn't about driverless cars, this is about autopilot. The distinction should be clear by now for any astute observer.
    Jul 31, 2015. 10:46 AM | 9 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Tesla Motors preps autopilot software update [View news story]
    Funny... how many times has Audi talked about the R8 e-tron before even showing it or shipping it? It isn't even clear now how many if any are shipping. Or the Q6 BEV? Do you feel this way about GM's Bolt? Companies aren't supposed to talk about their upcoming products and features?
    Jul 31, 2015. 10:45 AM | 14 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • BlackBerry: Sentiment Has Turned Sour [View article]

    Apparently you don't work in IT security.

    There is no way to verify if any vulnerabilities have been exploited unless someone says so or someone stumbles across an already weaponized version. Most of the people that do this have no reason to say so and Blackberry hacks, given the installed base, are not likely widely disseminated. In other words, those that look to exploit these issues are likely to keep it to themselves. The Blackberry consumer user base is small enough that exploits are likely utilized for corporate or international espionage. At this point, Blackberry enjoys the relative obscurity of a small user base like Macs did in the past.

    From an IT security perspective, it doesn't matter if a high vulnerability is weaponized widely or just a few people know how to do it. Further, if someone doesn't patch the vulnerability either by omission by the vendor or by the people in the field, then it's a simple matter of exploit later on when someone is looking to exploit your particular setup.

    Any number of the "hacks" on other platforms are exactly the same situation... vulnerabilities that might be weaponized.

    As far as "No vulnerability has been know to be exploited on BlackBerry" goes, that's definitely false. That's a pretty high barrier:

    Further, the OpenSSL various hacks can easily be exploited on a number of platforms the exact same way. Again, no reason to expect that they weren't utilized.
    Jul 30, 2015. 05:50 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment