Tesla News Roundup

I keep pouring news items into the next Texas vs. California Roundup bucket, but there’s so much in there it’s ceased to be a bucket, zoomed past bathtub, eclipsed swimming pool, and is now looking more like a flood retention pond. Maybe next week, if everything breaks right.

But one of the topics sloshing around there is the travails of Elon Musk’s media-darling electric car company Tesla. And there’s just enough news there to do a Tesla-only roundup:

  • Tesla posted it’s biggest quarterly loss ever, losing $1.4 billion dollars.
  • One reason for the loss? An inability to reliably weld parts. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is a solved problem for most automobile manufacturers…
  • More on the same issue:

    Tesla has no one who can run the new robotic welders – they are finding it impossible to regulate and apply the right amount of heat to do high-speed welding. He said that while Tesla may have the right robots, making them production ready is a highly specialized skill set and they don’t have it. His company was told to reduce production for the foreseeable future, until further notice, and produce to order, not in high volume.

    Seeking Alpha has a lot more information on why many of Tesla plans and projections are mostly pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

  • And one of their writers goes so far as to say that, structurally, Tesla is doomed to failure. Including this pretty damning sentence: “The more cars it sells the more cash it burns.”
  • Telsa is facing a lawsuit by over 100 black employees alleging racial discrimination, including a “hostile work environment” and “use of the N-word.” Rent-seeking lawyers looking for an easy score? Probably. But Musk was the one who decided to build his plant in California…
  • California considers giving Tesla a $3 billion bailout, just as Tesla’s federal rebates are phased out. Because there’s no better use of taxpayer money than subsidies for status symbol cars for rich people.
  • Tesla also let hundreds of workers go. But they insist it’s not a “layoff.”
  • Tesla employees want to unionize. Well, there goes profitability and flexible manufacturing…
  • Tesla is also planning to unveil a semi-truck on Thursday. Seeking Alpha thinks this is more a distraction from the Model 3 problems than a real product.
  • Remember Tesla’s ill-advised purchase of Solar City, another Elon Musk company? Well, guess who’s also having layoffs? Between Tesla and Solar City, apparently over 1,200 employees have been let go.
  • And their solar cell “gigaplant” in Buffalo, New York still hasn’t opened yet.
  • It seems fairly clear at this juncture that Tesla was founded on more green energy hype than a solid business model, and that Musk probably should have focused on making one ambitious, capital-intensive startup profitable, not the (four? five? six? seven?) he’s founded since cashing out of PayPal. (In addition to Tesla and Solar City, there’s also Space X, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and the (non-profit) OpenAI. Of course, right now, all Musk’s current ventures are “non-profit”…)

    Musk is one of those classic boy-makes-good American stories you want to root for, but in splitting his focus, and not realizing how very much harder and more capital-intensive hardware development is than software development, Musk’s story looks a lot more like an even older story: hubris clobbered by nemesis.

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    5 Responses to “Tesla News Roundup”

    1. […] possibly can go away a response, or trackback from your individual web […]

    2. BigGator5 says:

      Don’t worry, Elon Musk is a President Trump adviser. Maybe he’ll ask- Oh right, Musk resigned. That’s unfortunate. Oh well.

    3. JPTravis says:

      Meanwhile, Lamborghini has a new concept electric car with no batteries. Instead it has carbon nanotube capacitors built into the bodywork where they essentially take up no space, carry more charge, and recharge almost instantaneously. And oh by the way they last longer than batteries too. Anyone with half a brain could see battery-driven cars would never work out except in leftwing fantasies. They can’t even make a profit on them with enormous government subsidies. But a capacitor-driven electric car? That could work. Which doesn’t bode well for Musk’s giant investment in battery factories around the world. Frankly, I think the guy is almost as dumb as Bill Gates.

    4. […] Tesla News Roundup: BattleSwarmClimate Change Is Turbocharging Tree Growth In Cities Or Something: William Teach […]

    5. BGWells says:

      JPTravis is absolutely right! If only Elon Musk knew anything about capacitors like Travis does!

      Elon was only “offered a place at Stanford University to do postgraduate research into high-energy-density capacitors”

      I bet Travis would have blown that research out of the park.

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