Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why now is the perfect time to buy TSLA

With the recent downgrade by Morgan Stanley of a target price for TSLA to $44/share from $70/share. Now could be the perfect time to buy more of Tesla stock since the share price has fallen from a high of $34+ to now around $29.

Enthusiasm in the broader electric car market has been stalled by general uncertainty over adoption which recently has been augmented by the debacle with the GM volt batteries. Nissan has a successful product and Ford and Toyota are following closely behind. However what people may be missing when looking at Tesla now is the lag between the end of the current Roadster and the beginning of the Model S. Musk has repeatedly talked that the company won't see a profit until after the model S launch and right now we are in that special period where there isn't much news coming out and its just anticipation and waiting for Tesla to fulfill its expectations. The bar is set fairly low with other mass market EV's currently so if the model S is even halfway decent, and maintains with a 300 mile range, then TSLA stock price has a serious hill to climb.

In fact there should be uncertainty in the broader EV car market because so far there simply isn't an EV car out there that is very compelling to buy.

Tesla looks to be coming out with a very compelling electric car and it's first year production is already sold out. The recent downgraded seems to be mainly because of lack of confidence in the broader EV market (which is a valid point) however I personally would not downgrade tesla, since it has been the catalyst for rekindling the EV market and will continue to be the catalyst for the EV market in the future. It is building itself to be the Best of Breed when it comes to EV's, so I see this dip in the stock as a buying opportunity.

My Prediction: [tesla will continue to drop in share price till the announcement in late december of the model X design/ prototype, then TSLA price will go up maybe even to new highs, then the hype will be lost and TSLA share price will drop until reviews of the model S come out after the first vehicles are delivered approximately next summer]

Any thoughts on that prediction? or Any of your own predictions from TSLA fans out there?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tesla 3Q earnings call... interesting developments

So I listened to the Tesla earnings call today and Elon Musk got right to the point saying that "there was no point wasting time in going over the announcements that were in the investor letter that was just published and that he would go straight to questions". His brazen sarcasm was actually humorous and echo'ed of other CEO's famous for being to-the-point-honest. 
Here are some highlights I thought important and I will discuss them in future posts: 

Total revenues in the third quarter were $58 million, up 85 percent from Q3 of last year.

Tesla announced two significant improvements to the Model S at the event. First, we intend to make a performance version of the Model S available at the start of production. We anticipate that this option will enable the Model S to accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 4.4 seconds, faster than a standard Porsche 911 Carrera! Second, we announced an aerodynamic wheel option that is intended to extend the range of the Model S up to almost 320 miles. This range is almost four times more than any other fully electric vehicle on the market (except, of course, the Tesla Roadster). We also released a more detailed set of Model S features. Also because of the large front trunk space and no engine they are optimistic that the model S may have a chance at being the "safest car on the road". 

-We'll see if this has truth to it but the way Musk describes its safety in the earnings call is compelling. 

Model X Advanced Engineering on Plan
We are excited about how the design and functionality of the Model X is beginning to mature. Our vision for the Model X is a vehicle that combines the functionality of a minivan with a design as cool as an SUV. We remain on plan for an exclusive showing later this year.
"Four wheel drive, and Air-Suspension where you can lower and raise your suspension type depending on the depth of snow or rocks you are driving over" -Elon Musk on earnings call transcript 
Since we are leveraging the Model S architecture and powertrain for Model X, we continue to anticipate that Model X can be brought to production quickly for first customer deliveries in late 2013, with volumes ramping to 10,000 - 15,000 units per year beginning in 2014, and at prices comparable to Model S. Importantly, much of the equipment we are currently installing at the Tesla Factory for the Model S will also be used for the Model X. 

I find that the Model X is very intriguing as a new vehicle concept and the fact that it will be able to change it's distance off the ground sounds like something out of "inspector gadget" but awesome non-the-less. 

Overall,the RAV4 EV development program remains on schedule and should be completed by early 2012, as planned. Thereafter, we plan to begin shipping complete powertrain systems for the RAV4 EV to Toyota, under a multi-year contract of approximately $100 million.

We are also pleased to announce the receipt of a letter of intent from Daimler for a full powertrain program for a vehicle in the Mercedes line. Details of this deal remain confidential, but will be announced in the coming months.

This Mercedes deal with possibly creating the drive train and battery for one of their line of vehicles is also icing on the cake to the Toyota deal coming to fruition. If these partnerships follow through all the way through production Tesla could have a great market in supplying parts and their own cars to most of the auto industry. (well maybe thats getting a little ambitious to say that)

Anyways, great earnings call today and keep posted for more news. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why Tesla's Model X is the perfect sequel to the model S

I have been following the rumors surrounding Tesla for some time. There has been chatter and hints from CEO Musk about the upcoming Tesla Model X. Specifically Musk has dubbed it "the coolest" cross over you've seen. I can't help but wonder what will make this bet at in the popular subset, cross-over vehicles, any different from an Infinity, BMW, or Nissan version?

However one cannot ignore the hype around the continued comparison of Tesla to Apple. With Tesla choosing to come out with the "Model X" following the "Model S" does actually seem to be a brilliant business move, and it is actually a move out of the Apple playbook. This move capitalizes on the new market Tesla is creating. They are creating a market for the car buyers who have families, good jobs, pay a premium for groceries at Whole Foods, and shop for athletic wear at Lululemon Athletica. Just look at the facts that are accumulating: The model S will have one of the fastest accretions of any car, and the largest touch screen in any production car; Tesla already has over 6,500 reservations for the Tesla Model S sedans, almost three times as many as Roadster owners. By the looks of these reservations I'd say that Tesla has found a great market to tap into. Tesla is opening its own stores in locations where its target market shops and makes lifestyle choices-boutique mall venues in upscale neighborhoods like Menlo Park and Santana Row in Northern CA.

Now consider this if all those 6,500 reservations holders buy a Model S, install the electrical hook ups in their garage. Assuming they will be happy car owners, (as seem to be Roadster and Nissan Leaf owners). When these upper middle class folks decide to trade in their old SUV or Crossover, Tesla will be just rolling out with their Model X crossover. Once an owner goes electric and never has to stop at a gas station again they will likely think very thoughtfully over adding another Tesla to their collection. This time it will be a "very cool" crossover with all wheel drive and probably better miles/ charge enabling a trip up to Tahoe with the family and skis.

What I am getting at is that Tesla has chosen the perfect vehicle for the model S lovers to fall in love with next. The Model X will quite possibly be that vehicle because of its great functionality and from the amazing interfaces and touch screens tesla is incorporating into its vehicles. The same crowd will likely add a second tesla to their collection. This model X will be built on the same platform as the model S theoretically increasing its margins on sales.

Now Tesla's third generation mass market car is supposedly going to come out after the model X. By this time I would hope the hype of Tesla owners would reach mass markets by the time Tesla has a mass market vehicle for cheap.
For a rough analogy lets look at how long it took Apple to go from the iPod in 2001 to the iPhone in 2007. That's 6 years of building customer appreciation for their brand of small portable devices. Tesla built the first Roadsters in 2008 and expects to roughly build according to rumors the mass market EV in 2015, which is 7 years after Tesla introducing the world to their brand of EV's.

Any thoughts on the degree to which this line of cars may catch on in the mass markets? People are always skeptical but when something amazing is packaged right and sold with the excellent marketing and distribution chains I wouldn't be surprised to watch these three vehicles to be game changers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

3 days driving a chevy volt

Since I have been blogging almost exclusively about Tesla for the past month I thought i would give GM and the Volt a run for its money. I had the opportunity to test lease a Chevy Volt complementary for 3 days as part of their promotional campaign. I jumped on the opportunity and just finished the trial period last week. If I were to "blink" and make a quick overall judgement I would classify this car as virtually equivalent to a modern toyota prius. Although it is very peppy because of the electric engine, the car has to still use lots of gas to generate electricity past the 30 or so charged miles you put on when plugged in over night. Driving electric for the first 30 miles was amazing, but once the engine kicks in for extra range the car pretty much sounds and feels much like a prius. 
After test driving car it really excites me to get out and test drive a nissan leaf thats all electric, or go balls out and test drive a tesla roadster.

One thing that really bothered me was the touch screen. I guess i have been spoiled with my iPhone 4, but the touch interface and center console just pales in comparison to a modern touch screen. And the driving screen shown below was honestly the most confusing cluttered dash board I have ever seen. It really stressed me out just looking at it and trying to search for any useful information on it. 

All those buttons are touch sensitive but permanent on the volt interface, and cannot be changed with a software update. GM does not seem to be thinking of the future of the Volt very thoroughly with an interface like that. Even Ford has done better with its Sync system.

As cars get more savvy with touch interfaces GM really needs to move itself out of Detroit and into silicone valley. Just look at this amazing interface Tesla is developing for their 17" touch display:

Anyways it was great experience test driving a car with an electric motor for 3 days. However when my friends whom i drove around in it ask me if id buy one I would simply answer. Yes I want an electric car, but probably not a Volt.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Amazon Tablet? -the future of mobile commerce

What if the rumored Amazon Tablet isn't meant to compete with tablets at all. It actually doesn't make sense to try and compete with the virtually perfect tablet APPLE  makes.

But what does make very good sense is making a portable store built for every home and business in the world. A portable touch screen store that has a specifically designed UI, and search with suggestion generators for potentially desired products. What if what Amazon is trying to do is revolutionize how we buy and sell stuff like eBay has, and like Amazon already has through the internet; but now they are making it mobile and portable and possibly with a better customer interface?

Imagine a future where you had Amazon prime free shipping and you just used your Prime Pad (lets just call it that) it to buy any house hold idem or book and have it shipped overnight to your house, or play and stream the movie you bought from them through your Prime Pad to your TV.

Imagine Amazon bringing every store front to your living room through the portal of the Amazon store with its affiliates (assuming Amazon when all out and started charging tax to make shipping in all states much faster and easier).


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Breaking footage of (alpha) Tesla model S

This is some footage of a model S alpha Tesla's on a test drive. Tesla apparently tests the handling ability through roads like this, and from the looks of this the model S has superior handling. The model S really gives this car a run for its money you can heard the BMW accelerating just to catch up and maintain their view of the Tesla. This truly is an amazing display of Tesla's ability to create great acceleration and the ability to handle on the road, especially if it can give BMW such competition.

Check it out:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tesla Model S -the automotive game changer?

There is one electric car maker that can not be forgotten, that is Tesla Motors ticker symbol TSLA. As they are coming off from the success of their first model, the successful Roadster (the first highway legal EV sports car); they are preparing for the launch of their Model S sedan coming in 2012.

This car will push the limits of all electric cars on the road.
The "signature series model S" will boast:
-A 300 mile range
-Industry first 17" touch screen center console
-Seating for a total of 7
-0-60 in 5.6 seconds
-45 min quick charge capabilities
-More cargo room than typical sedans because the battery is built into the floor of the sedan making its center of gravity extremely low, thus increasing driving performance

Watch the video below of the Roadster and Model S side by side and you'll see how compelling the pure electric vehicles that Tesla's creating are, and you can imagine the legacy they will leave.

These are no golf carts, and no longer will Tesla be making only sporty millionaire toys. The model S has the potential to be a middle class transportation game changer. The model S has a very sleek design with, smooth streamlined curves, and thoughtful contours. In other words this sedan has some serious sex appeal. Not only is it a great design, but it will have the best range of all electric vehicles and even out last some gasoline cars on miles/refueling.

Its design comes from the direction of Franz Von Holzhausen who came from Mazda and Volkswagen. This designer reminds me of a similar very successful designer of a billion dollar company. Watch the following short clip and figure out who:

Now watch this video and use some imagination but think about the similarities:

Now that is just a taste of Jony Ive lead designer for Apple's iMac, iPad, iPod, iPhone products. Although Ive is still with Apple, Von Holzhausen bears a striking similarity in the way they both portray their vision of the product design. Tesla has often been compared as the Apple of the auto industry and from a design and innovation perspective it looks as if it might have a chance.

They have also hired George Blankenship former Apple executive in charge of Telsa's retail strategy. Also they have recently hired John Hillegass for design and retail development who also formerly worked for Apple and Pixar (another steve jobs influenced company). Interesting picture forming here around Tesla and the people it chooses to hire.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Solar Roads can generate 3x more electricity than US uses annually?

I just came across an interesting youtube video about the prospect of upgrading our decades old roadways and parking lots with solar panel laced roads. Yes solar panels topped with flexible impenetrable glass! There is a group of scientists who have a grant from the government to build a prototype solar parking lot to demonstrate how this could functionally work!

I naturally am optimistic but even this notion is somewhat far fetched for me since there is so much wear and tear on roadways which need constant maintenance, I know this video proposes that solar roadways would pay for themselves and save us from using fossil fuels for electricity but wouldn't the maintenance on these high tech roadways and parking lots cost more than they are worth maintaining?

Post your thoughts positive or negative:  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Official Trailer for "Revenge of the Electric Car"

In case you haven't watched the trailer for "The Revenge of the Electric Car" check out the trailer for this documentary that goes deep into the heart of companies betting on the market wide adoption of electric vehicles. 

Please feel free to leave comments pos or neg I'd love to hear them and give feedback:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Electric Mini -a whole new driving experience

I recently came across the chance to test drive an electric Mini Cooper made by BMW group. This car is still in the testing phases, but it uses the latest lithium ion battery technology.

I honestly have to say the experience of driving this pure electric vehicle was the farthest thing possible from an electric go cart.

The Mini-e had some serious pep, and easily accelerated as if traveling in a small spaceship with the only noise being a slight high pitched hum, which added to the extraterrestrial experience. In other words I loved it! I actually enjoyed the experience of  driving this electric vehicle MORE than I thought I would. After finishing an extended spin around the block and checking the car to make sure i really wasn't in some sort of top secret space ship, I came to the realization that if every person had the chance to drive one of these cars they would never want a sluggish gasoline engine again!

The most intriguing and exciting new experience of driving this electric vehicle was how the regenerative breaking worked. As soon as the driver takes the foot off the accelerator the regenerative breaking starts to slow the car down by recapturing energy from the spinning wheels. At first this was kind of weird and seemed like it was cutting all the fun out of the car's peppy-ness and quick acceleration. However the converse turned out to be true, I quickly got used to taking my foot off the accelerator as a form of breaking in itself, so when driving around the neighborhood I actually rarely needed to even use the breaks at all. I would simply start to naturally take the foot off the gas and the car would automatically slow down exponentially until i stopped about exactly where i needed to pause for a stop sign and then gas into my next turn (or should I say "bolt into my next turn). This mechanism which I am learning is in most electric cars seems to be a great new way to drive, capturing energy with breaking (using less wear on the breaks) and reusing this energy for the acceleration once the breaking has finished.

Honestly anyone out there that is a skeptic really has to get out and try at least two different electric vehicles before you write another negative pessimistic article about how these things will not have mass appeal. After driving this car my opinion has gone from excited supporter, to full fledged believer that this technology is the car of the future.

Check out a lease holders test drives too at this blog:



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Electric vehicle/Volt meet up -GM office Palo Alto

On a bright summer morning I drove over to optimistic Palo Alto in my aging two door gasoline burning honda civic to learn more about electric vehicles from first hand owners and to test drive a Volt. At the GM technology offices planted here strategically to make inroads with the innovation of the silicone valley, a gang of enthusiastic Volt owners lead by Patrick Wang of mychevroletvolt.com meet up with a brunch catered from Panera Bread.

The morning had a exciting bustle about it with a surprising amount of families and retirees who owned Volts, Nissan Leaf's, and Telsa's, and those whose next car has electric and/or hybrid as the only qualification. It was actually to my surprise that one Volt owner said he had only filled up for gas once in the past three months!

After browsing the offices and looking at the many EV's that had come, I signed up for a test drive in the Volt. Although i did have a driving instructor it was a very fun experience, on that felt exactly like a normal car; far different than the feel of a pure electric vehicle. (Although i did drive only in one of the cars many modes) I found i kept becoming distracted by the plane milky white dash board where the navigation system was. It was clearly a cheap plastic finish with buttons that only had impressions to press which resembled braille symbols used for the visually impaired. I almost wanted to comment to the driving navigator on how ugly the dash board was but i quickly realized he was not from GM but just outsourced help for the event. Also the plastic side panel on the drivers door had an interesting whirl design that resembled the background for twitters homepage. I have to wonder if GM was making up for all the oil the hybrid car was saving by using it for the interior design.

All in all the experience was just like any other car. Next event I am looking for is a Nissan Leaf, Fisker Karma, and eventually a Tesla Model S meet up or driving demo.

Feel free to post comments/concerns below

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Who still wants to buy gasoline cars?

Really. I really mean it.

After driving up the steep and curvy Hwy 17 to Castle Rock state park in my over ten year old honda; I parked excitedly getting out of my car to meet my friend Nick, only to smell the stench of burning oil with a slight stream of white smoke seeping from my engine hood. Suddenly a look of despair that quickly turned to utter annoyance and then almost rage filled the expression on my face that Nick could follow in an instant. I knew something wasn't right with my car, but this was after 2000 grand had been spent the last two years changing the timing belt, and reshaping a near blowout of my head gaskets. I swear this was the last straw, how could intelligent humans who have sent a man to the moon and vanquished Polio still be driving around with virtually the same propulsion system as one hundred years ago!?  This is so sad its actually amusing to me. So to get back to my story, I realized my engine was just low on oil from a constant oil leak dripping on hot pipes as I drove up the curvy Hwy 17.
     During my the awesome hike that ensued, my friend and I engaged in honest discussion on how he was fed up with his gas burning grease boat as well. During this hike we discussed how lack of fuel efficiency was eating up our wallets and how the next car we purchased would be dramatically different than the cars our families had owned since we were born.
     It was here on this hike that I announced the plan for my Honda to be my last internal combustion propelled car. I decided I did not care any more about how new electric car technology was or about the false notion of "range anxiety". I almost never drive more than 100 miles in one day and road trips are only 2-3% of my driving time.

Think about the following imagine and what life would be like if driving was a little different, and very soon could be:

  1. If every morning when you woke up your car was filled with fuel ready to drive 120 to 300 miles in one day.
  2. You had no need to stop by gas stations on a weekly basis to fill up with those toxic fumes?
  3. What if you never needed to change that dirty motor oil again? Or worry about those pesky oil leaks.
  4. Think about eliminating ever having to worry if your car will pass the biennial smog check, and paying those expensive tune up bills?
  5. What if your driving experience was unhindered by a noisy engine.
  6. If when buying your car you went to the local downtown boutique shopping mall and browsed for some new shoes and choose the color and seating material for your new car all in the same afternoon?
  7. Imagine even further if all your energy bills for your house and car were reduced by leasing solar energy companies to put their solar panels on your roof harvesting all those waisted volts on your shingles.
  8. What if ...may i even suggest that you got in your car and read the news paper on your ipad as your car drove you too work through the rush hour traffic
    • And may i take this further and suggest that there might not even be rush hour traffic in the future thanks to self driving cars that coordinate speeds with a smart grid of vehicles automatically driving everyone to work in harmonious synchrony?
  9. Imagine if the air of the cities and freeways was devoid of headache provoking fumes of smog producing vehicles.
This is what I think about almost daily when I get into my car or stop at the gas station. If i wasnt 26, in grad school, with massive loans I would have already had the Nissan Leaf in my garage. But my plan is to buy the Tesla Model X when it comes out around 2013. 

Here are a list of new emerging electric and hybrid car companies, its finally time america voted with its wallet and supported a fundamental change in how we buy cars and the types of vehicles we buy, and WHO we buy them from. 

California is a leader in fostering this new wave of next generation automobiles. Maybe California someday will over take Detroit as being home to the auto industry? 

Tesla Motors    http://www.teslamotors.com/
Coda Automotive  http://www.codaautomotive.com/ 
Fisker Automotive    http://www.fiskerautomotive.com/#!/home

Disclosure: I am long tsla

Friday, July 8, 2011


This will be my first blog of many awesome ideas to come on the future, tech, and investing money in ways that will change the world!