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Scottonthespot

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  • The Tesla Gigathreat [View article]
    It may get even worse.
    The radically new Quant from Nanoflowcell runs on salt water, gets 600km per charge, goes 0-100Kph in 2.8 seconds, and tops out at 380Kph.
    Oh, and it looks like the genetically enhanced love-child of a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce.
    Is Tesla in trouble? http://bit.ly/1qbpvYL (site has English translation)
    Dec 11, 2014. 11:59 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Where's Tesla's Model S Competition? [View article]
    See this article, admittedly from the distant past, 2011:
    http://engt.co/1f9aR5n
    "At a time when most EV manufacturers are converging toward charging station conformity, Tesla is still marching to the beat of its own drum. Late last month, the company unveiled a new plug and charger that looks notably different from the J1772 connector -- the SAE International standard you'll find on most electric cars, including the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf...."
    Apr 24, 2014. 03:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Where's Tesla's Model S Competition? [View article]
    See this article, admittedly from the distant past, 2011:
    http://engt.co/1f9aR5n
    "At a time when most EV manufacturers are converging toward charging station conformity, Tesla is still marching to the beat of its own drum. Late last month, the company unveiled a new plug and charger that looks notably different from the J1772 connector -- the SAE International standard you'll find on most electric cars, including the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf...."
    Apr 24, 2014. 03:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Where's Tesla's Model S Competition? [View article]
    Ah, that's more like it. See this article:
    http://bit.ly/1djTklT
    But this will be a hybrid battery system, it looks like, with long-range, slow performance Metal Air batteries vs. "traditional" lithium-ion batteries. It's not clear that Panasonic would be willing to step up funding for the latter now, given that their product will be needed less in the future, but let's give Musk some credit as a negotiator. OK, I am willing to wait for 2015 to find out.
    Apr 24, 2014. 03:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Where's Tesla's Model S Competition? [View article]
    From the article (which has a video too):
    "But now, a radically new battery design advanced by StoreDot could bring charge times down to the order of a few seconds. The company produces so-called nanodots, chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules that, thanks to their small size, improve electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance. The end result is batteries that can be fully charged in seconds rather than hours.

    'In essence, we have developed a new generation of electrodes with new materials – we call it MFE – Multi Function Electrode," StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf told Gizmag. "On one side it acts like a supercapacitor (with very fast charging), and on the other is like a lithium electrode (with slow discharge). The electrolyte is modified with our nanodots in order to make the multifunction electrode more effective."

    The company says that unlike other nanodot and quantum-dot technologies that are heavy metal based, making them toxic, its nanodots are made from a vast range of bio-organic raw materials that are environmentally-friendly. These materials are also naturally abundant, and the nanodots employ a basic biological mechanism of self-assembly, making them cheap to manufacture.

    Self-discharge characteristics are similar to those of lithium-ion cells and, for its first prototype, the company targeted the approximate capacity of a smartphone battery (around 2,000 mAh).

    But Myersdorf told us that the technology could also be adapted to electric cars, by modifying the electrode so it could sustain higher currents (and, of course, configuring a large number of cells in parallel)."
    So, this tells me:
    1. This is a radically new battery design. Since it's obviously very different than Tesla's, the questions then become:
    A. Is it better, and if Yes, then
    B. Will Tesla be able to adopt such a fast-charge system, or something similar (without violating the upcoming patents), and
    C. Not make their manufacturing process instantly obsolete.

    I read all sorts of articles on Tesla's marketing prowess and production-enhancement strategies. This is all good, but the real question for a leading-edge company is can they keep their leading edge? If not, the valuation is way too high, and even their long-term viability is in question. Tesla is running extraordinary levels of debt, which can only be offset if production volume continues to grow as it has. And THAT can't be maintained with gigafactories and new markets alone, as important as they are.
    Range anxiety is still with us and has 4 forms:
    A. Absolute fear of running out of electricity with no refueling stations available. Tesla is working hard on this, but...
    B. Dread over long-recharge times. Someone in this comment thread wrote about the benefits of taking your time to reflect and "power nap" while recharging your Tesla. But this is not the nature of Tesla owners, IMO. Those who "live life in the slow lane" cannot afford a Tesla. It's a psychological contradiction.
    C. Frustration over range-bounds. That is, the fear of taking a 200 mile plus road trip without knowing ahead of time there will be recharge stations. Again, people who "live life in the slow lane" will not be able to afford a Tesla AND either a second car OR rent a regular car for long trips (and really, what's the point of that then?).
    D. Frustration over not being able to equip one's home parking space with a recharge station. Those of us living in NYC will have to search pretty far to find a garage that has a recharge station (let alone one that is compatible with a Tesla). I did see one yesterday, but I don't know if it's compatible, and in any case, it wasn't conveniently located in my building like my current garage with my old gas car.
    And no, battery-swapping doesn't solve these issues totally, it just introduces new ones.
    If Tesla can come up with recharge solutions that equal gas-powered cars, then they can totally change the game, but this means recharging the car in 5 minutes for a 300+ mile range, and doing so as accessibly as a gas station now. I used StoreDot's technology as one possible example, but I don't hear Tesla doing anything comparable, even on the drawing board, though I DO hear of plans out to 2020!
    I am getting nervous about my remaining 10 shares (admittedly a very tiny portion of my portfolio).
    Apr 24, 2014. 03:36 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Where's Tesla's Model S Competition? [View article]
    Does Tesla know about this:
    http://bit.ly/1rhilmV
    As a shareholder, I hope their Gigafactory is not going to lock them into technological obsolescence.
    Other manufacturers have a different, and alarmingly, commonly agreed upon, charging system that Teslas cannot use. Imagine if you had a car that could only take gas at Texaco stations, or worse, at Sinclair stations (how many of THOSE are there?).
    Tesla is also going to face true competition from hydrogen powered vehicles well before its Model E debuts in 2017 from Toyota, Honda and maybe others, who look like they will finally get it right.
    I'm still a shareholder, having sold half my shares for a tidy profit, but the sales trendline has plateaued and it's naive to think they will have the alternative power segment to themselves for much longer, or even the best solution to it. The major automakers may be late, slow and not terribly innovative, but they have deep pockets and can outlast Tesla, and Musk seems to have locked himself in. When was the last time he really made a technological leap - not just a production one?
    Apr 22, 2014. 04:05 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Prana collapses after trial fails [View news story]
    They'll probably try and sell Prana to the highest bidder before cash runs out. What is it worth now?
    Mar 31, 2014. 10:36 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Tesla's 'Not A Recall' Victory Will Crush Q1 Earnings [View article]
    Hmm, wouldn't a titanium shield trap heat from the batteries too, making heat-induced fires even more likely? I hope the cure isn't worse than the disease here.
    Mar 30, 2014. 04:48 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Future Of Mobile Payments: Part II [View article]
    I think the checkout line model is toast.
    A customer could see a shirt she likes, buy it on the spot (why wait until she leaves the store?), than see a dress she likes in another department and buy that too.
    Then, because the items in her bag (which she might have picked up on the way into the store) are all purchased and cleared, she can exit the store without triggering an alarm (do we even need a guard at the door?) and skip the lines at checkout.
    The only real question is whether the customer is more, or less, likely to buy as much stuff if she sees a running total of her purchases, instead of keeping track of them in her head.
    Feb 19, 2014. 10:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Prana touts Phase II results of Huntington drug, shares surge [View news story]
    This stock is about 1% of my portfolio, yet it whips my total returns by half on days like this, which are too friggin frequent!!!
    I'm holding my original purchase (up 120% as of today), but I wish the Alzheimer's results would come out already. The Huntington findings do seem like a dead-end. Will Alzheimer's save the company or is this the chance to bail?
    Feb 18, 2014. 10:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Buffet And Pickens Are Buying Suncor Energy [View article]
    Even if their takeaway capacity problems are solved, I'd be worried about oil staying above $100/barrel with the overall economy so anemic. The stock will track the oil market, more or less, just like any other oil stock. As the chart shows, the best time to have bought the stock was during the speculative oil price crash early 2009 (conversely, the worst time to have bought it was the summer before, when oil was selling for $147/barrel. I think there are supply and regulatory reasons why we won't be going up there again, though who am I to argue with Buffet and Pickens?).
    Aug 17, 2013. 02:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 3D Printing Needs Apple And Apple Needs 3D Printing [View article]
    OK then, you tell us, what is the next "insanely great" thing to come out of Apple? You don't have to channel Steve Jobs, because we're only imagining here, not having to actually get Apple's engineers to create it. So, we can be a bit unfettered.
    Forget evolutions of the ipad, iphone or the rapidly marketshare-shedding ipod. The first two will see new apps, but there are diminishing returns, and at some point developers will start screaming for an increasing piece of the multi-eater pie anyway. It's getting to be like the publishing industry in that space - where 99% of the books never sell more than 1000 copies, and a handful of blockbusters carry the whole industry.
    And, of course, Google and other competitors are hardly standing still.
    Apple TV? That's hardware as well as software, and hardware in an established industry has razor-thin margins, and the cable companies are pretty innovative too.
    The iWatch? Are you kidding? Who's going to interact with a wristtop platform with one hand when an iphone is flatter, bigger and has more apps?
    So then, what? What is the catalyst that will allow Apple 40%+ margins again and a multi-billion industry it can dominate, for long enough for the risk premium to go away for a while?
    3D printing is one, but the window is shrinking fast.
    Robots are still wide open and in need of the universal OS, as well as innovative designs (like more realistic fluid-expanding muscles and other non-hard surface activators (i.e. gears and pulleys), nerve simulators etc.). If Apple doesn't do it, Google will; driverless cars are just the beginning to truly autonomous robot mobility, even on legs.
    Jun 14, 2013. 11:09 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • 3D Printing Needs Apple And Apple Needs 3D Printing [View article]
    It's almost malfeasance that Apple is sitting on its cash hoard, hoping that they will continue to earn outstanding ROI on the market, like some sort of hedge fund.
    Not only should they buy a 3D printing company (when the prices comes down, which they will), but also the consumer side of iRobot, in preparation for the coming robot revolution. Not just glorified vacuum cleaners, but mechanical servants, pets, and even androids (there are some sex surrogates that are getting quite, uh, realistic). Steve Jobs would have been doing this or something similar. If Tim Cook or others don't do this soon, we'll know it was truly a Steve Jobs company.
    Jun 13, 2013. 01:15 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Serious overcapacity in China's steel industry is unlikely to ease in 2013, which could continue to hamper steel prices (SLX), analysts say at Platts Steel Market Europe conference. China is set to produce ~750M metric tons of crude steel in 2013 while capacity will rise to 950M, putting heavy pressure on steel prices in Europe and in the world steel industry as a whole. [View news story]
    Does this account for China's Sky City?
    Its 220 stories will provide a total of 1 million square meters of usable space, linked by 104 elevators.
    http://bit.ly/10nYlpg
    and
    http://bit.ly/18lXk2V
    This is supposed to be just the beginning of a multi-decade plan to rehouse half a billion Chinese. That would use a bit of steel, no?
    Supposedly, it's been approved.
    May 23, 2013. 06:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Disney Showcases Apple's iWatch Potential [View article]
    Will a watch rescue Apple? If it's only a glorified exercise meter/timekeeper with bluetooth payment options, it might start a trend - though I'd feel better if uber-negotiator Steve Jobs was still around to cut a tough deal. Tim Cook looks too nice to "cook" up the right approach for the "jobs." (Sorry, that was too easy).
    Maybe an iWatch with holographic display projection to make up for the VERY tiny screen otherwise (these old eyes can't possibly type on a watch, and SIRI is a little dense sometimes). How about iTelepathy? Don't laugh. Labs have figured out how to read when someone is thinking of an apple vs. a hammer, for example. The computer doesn't have to KNOW what a hammer or apple IS, just detect the difference in thought patterns. Do that often enough, and reliably, and pretty soon you're typing commands.
    Ah, one can dream....
    Mar 6, 2013. 04:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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