Tesla doomed

mubs

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#2
Yes, that article is quite credible. But it'll be sad if it does happen. The auto industry is severely jaded, and needs someone like Musk to re-invigorate it. Hope he straightens things out by focusing on the day to day nut-and-bolts of the business. It's great to have vision, but a business also needs good executors.
 

CougTek

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#3
It is pure speculation. While it is plausible, so much can happen between now and 2020 that Bloomberg's prediction isn't any better than the octopus' pick for the world cup of soccer or Phil's forecast for Winter's end on February 2nd.
 

LunarMist

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#4
There will always be some luxury cars, but of course the Chevys and Chinese will make some cheaper EVs.

It's not like that Tesla company has much history that people will care. It's not the demise of Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Mercury, Plymouth, etc.
 
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#5
What a complete pile of crap. There were enough giant assumptions and cherry-picking of facts in the first half that I didn't bother to continue.

Assumption 1: As soon as the big three decide to get into the EV game, they will immediately do it better and cheaper.
Assumption 2: That gas and electric cars are directly comparable in the eyes of consumers, and that the car will need to compete strictly on price/luxury with gas powered counterparts
Assumption 3: That Tesla couldn't remain profitable while selling IP to the other players.

Add to that obvious curveballs like the fact that Tesla would have been quite profitable had they not invested significantly in increasing production (hardly a bad thing, considering how back-ordered they are already), and it is clear that this person starting with a point and then attempted to prove it.
 

jtr1962

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#7
Well, the fact there's a bunch of orders at least proves there's a huge latent demand for mid-priced electric cars, even with gas at $2 per gallon. Can't say if they'll be able to scale up production in time. If they can, then they'll make a killing until the big three decide to get into the EV game. The dark horse in all this is China. China is pushing EVs big time due to their air quality problems. A flood of decent EVs under about $25K could not only kill Tesla but also really hurt the big three. People won't want gas cars in the numbers they presently do if electrics with 200+ mile range can be had at the same price or less. TCO of electrics is already less than gas cars, even with $2 per gallon plus higher initial purchase prices. Wait until gas goes back to $4 or $5 per gallon. Tesla might be in a great spot then if it can ramp up production fast enough.
 
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#8
Your hero is an idiot and this will all end in tears
You're right of course, as evidenced by his other colossal failures (PayPal, SpaceX, SolarCity)

...a surfeit of orders is actually a curse in this industry, where scaling up production takes years.
Right again. I'd have been far more confident of their success had half as many people shown serious interest in their product.

This is not an Apple #2.
Of course not; this is someone entering into a known marketplace with a product that can be compared to others (and does so favorably). This is far less risky than Apple betting on iPods.
 

time

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#9
You're right of course, as evidenced by his other colossal failures (PayPal, SpaceX, SolarCity)
SpaceX is running on government (NASA) money. So is SolarCity, and to some extent Tesla. The first three companies are 'ethically challenged', eg:

http://watchdog.org/212170/surprise-solar-liens/
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/solar-energy/solarcity.html

Let me know when Musk achieves his claim of launching payloads for only $500/pound. Or maybe even landing a used rocket on its fins without destroying it.

Right again. I'd have been far more confident of their success had half as many people shown serious interest in their product.
Let's pretend Toyota announced they were planning a flying car to retail for $50,000. Just put down your name and a token deposit. Despite the improbability, tons of people would sign up for it, on the remote chance it might actually be successful.

Of course, Toyota wouldn't do that because a) it would take years to fulfill the pre-orders - meanwhile, they could easily go broke hurriedly building factories, and b) their reputation would be shot forever and legislators would be lining up to crucify them.

Earliest deliveries for the Tesla Model 3 are scheduled for 18 months after ordering. If it takes 2 years to deliver, will that person still be a customer? How about 3 years? What if governments pull the subsidies that everyone involved is counting on? If the effective price turns out to be $55,000 rather than $25,000, how many people will still want one?
 
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#10
I know two people who placed orders (I'm one). Both of us are anticipating deliveries midway though 2018 even though we were some of the first. While I doubt the subsidies will be pulled, it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me. I also anticipate the cost of the one I'm thinking of to be in the $60k range.
 

time

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#12
Do I have to spell out every detail of the SpaceX manifesto? It calls for sea landings, not a staged media event on land with a small payload and heaps of spare fuel. Only a couple of years ago, it also included controlled landings of stage 2 rocketry (the marketing video is still on YouTube).

Welcome to this year:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5qEJncn8Ms
 

time

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#14
No, I'm saying <redacted for legal reasons> is a bullshit artist. Whether or not it *can* be done is beside the point - whether or not it's a good idea is an entirely different question.

Your boy isn't that much different from Donald Trump - don't let science and engineering stand in the way of a populist brain fart.

Can you even begin to explain to me why it is so important to re-use a rocket? Not that there is any evidence that it either can be done or will be done.

When I was a boy a very long time ago, there was a fictional character called Tom Swift. I owned at least 30 of his books; they warped my appreciation of the real world for some years. Maybe too many people were inspired by this sort of idealistic fantasy?
 

Stereodude

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#15
Can you even begin to explain to me why it is so important to re-use a rocket? Not that there is any evidence that it either can be done or will be done.
Not that I'm in the EM RDF, but rockets are expensive. If you treat them as disposable you have to subsidize their cost into your payload costs. If you could reuse them after refurbishing for a fraction of the cost of replacing them with new every time you could significantly lower your payload costs.
 

jtr1962

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#16
Can you even begin to explain to me why it is so important to re-use a rocket? Not that there is any evidence that it either can be done or will be done.
Because maybe it's 2016 and time to dump the idea of throw-away rockets which has existed since the beginning of space travel over 50 years ago? If computers followed the same model, we would still be using vacuum tubes. Actually, scratch that. We would still be using mechanical relays.

While on the subject, in my opinion I don't think Musk is even all that advanced in his thinking. Why are we still using chemical rockets when nuclear will easily get to the entire solar system? Reusable nuclear-powered rockets seems the ticket to both sending heavy payloads into LEO and finally sending people further than the moon. The idea of having to spend 6 or 9 months of boredom and radiation exposure getting to Mars because we refuse to avail ourselves of nuclear powered space flight is beyond ridiculous. We could do the trip in probably 2 weeks or less instead of many months.

Some links:

http://gizmodo.com/5992441/how-nasas-nuclear-rockets-will-take-us-way-beyond-mars

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_thermal_rocket
 
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#17
No, I'm saying <redacted for legal reasons> is a bullshit artist. Whether or not it *can* be done is beside the point - whether or not it's a good idea is an entirely different question.

Your boy isn't that much different from Donald Trump - don't let science and engineering stand in the way of a populist brain fart.

Can you even begin to explain to me why it is so important to re-use a rocket? Not that there is any evidence that it either can be done or will be done.

When I was a boy a very long time ago, there was a fictional character called Tom Swift. I owned at least 30 of his books; they warped my appreciation of the real world for some years. Maybe too many people were inspired by this sort of idealistic fantasy?
Very troll-y language with very little substance. Do you have an undisclosed horse in this race?

And what is this "your boy" BS? Let's take this back to what it should be about; some companies and the odds of their success.

Tesla: Profitable (in the same way the other US automakers are, with subsidies). Late to ship cars, but that isn't particularly unusual and their customers aren't complaining. Seem to be comparing favorably against their competition.
Proposed definition of success: Out-selling one of the current US "big-three" in the market segments Tesla competes in in the next decade.
I'll give them a 75% chance of pulling that off.

SpaceX: Already doing things more economically than the competition. Already have huge contracts for future work that should secure them for the next decade or so. Doing real R&D that could make them even more competitive.
Proposed definition of success: Continuing to win both private and public contracts for launches, establishing 25% market share?
I'd say this is at least 80% likely.
 

jtr1962

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#19
Tesla: Profitable (in the same way the other US automakers are, with subsidies).
Emphasis mine. Yes, we're giving electric car subsidies but this is mainly to level the playing field between electric cars and gas cars. Gas cars have massive direct and indirect subsidies. Some figures I've heard thrown around are up to $5 per gallon to account for externalities and costs drivers aren't paying for at the pump. And then you have the fact here in the US car use in general is massively subsidized whether those cars are powered by batteries or gasoline. For example, NYC devotes tons of expensive land to free curbside parking, and often requires housing developers to install a mandated minimum amount of parking. This effectively raises housing costs for everyone whether they own a car or not, and makes it much less expensive to own a car in an environment where private autos arguably cause more harm than good. Without these massive subsidies, my educated guess is car use/ownership would be mainly a province of the upper classes. So anyway, let's not kid ourselves that the big three aren't beneficiaries of massive government subsidies. Who bailed out the auto industry after 2008?
 

Stereodude

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#21
Yes, just imagine how much better things would be if we all rode horses, didn't have refrigeration, and had to live off food we raised ourselves. Everyone would be living past 100 in harmony with everyone else.

The industrial revolution ruined everything!

PS: Let me know when JTR joins the Amish.
 

jtr1962

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#22
Not sure what this has to do with I wrote. Cars are tools. In some places, mostly rural areas, they're the right tool for the job. In others like cities they're not. The fact they're used to the extent they are, even in places where they're a horrible fit, like NYC, is precisely because we choose to subsidize them over more sensible things. In the final analysis the problem is limited resources. If everyone thinks it's so wonderful to have a huge McMansion in the middle of nowhere, drive a massive SUV, recycle nothing then no problem so long as we limit Earth's population to about 100 million or so. So let's start culling the population. 69 out of every 70 people have to go. Or we could just choose to live more sensibly, perhaps at least stop subsidizing resource intensive living. People can still have everything on that list if they can afford to pay the true cost of them. Most can't, so they'll live in smaller houses, walk, bike, or take public transit. You're a free market guy so I'd think you would like that concept.

P.S. The Amish way of life is dead pretty soon. Fracking ruined PA. Watch Gasland.
 

jtr1962

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#23
Your boy isn't that much different from Donald Trump - don't let science and engineering stand in the way of a populist brain fart.
As much as I hate say it, in a race between him and Hitlery he's the better choice. I actually can get behind some of his ideas on dealing with terrorists as well. What we've done hasn't been all that effective.
 

Stereodude

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#24
I bet you're not as happy with what The China Syndrome did to nuclear power are you?

I guess using movies to tug at the hearstrings and shape public opinion as propaganda is great when it aligns with your beliefs and not so great when it doesn't.
 

jtr1962

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#25
I'm fine when the movies stick to facts, not hysteria. The China Syndrome was mostly hysteria. Gasland was a somewhat better mix of facts, albeit with some over the top stuff as well. Remember most of the people making these types of movies have an agenda. As such, they'll play fast and loose with the truth if it suits them. As I've repeated many times, I have nothing against cars, and even nothing against subsidies for them in the places where they're appropriate. The farmers in these big midwestern states couldn't pay enough in taxes to build the roads they use without going bankrupt. I'm fine with the rest of us subsidizing those roads because these same farmers grow our food, and there's really no other way to get around in sparsely populated areas. A subway just won't work in Nebraska. On the flip side, I'm vehemently against government subsidized roads to strip malls or suburban housing tracts since they cost a lot but only benefit the people living there. And I'm even more vehemently against any forms of direct or indirect subsidies for private automobiles in my home town. Cars are just a bad fit in NYC.
 

Tannin

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#26
The fantasy of using nuclear powered rockets is just that - fantasy.
The key issue is reaction mass. Heating that mass up to create pressure and thus accelleration is not the problem. You can get plenty of heat with ordinary (non-radioactive) chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen. You can't use much more heat because the materials to confine it are too difficult.
The problem is carring enough reaction mass, and the extra weight of a reactor doesn't help. In fact, it hinders.
 

Tannin

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#27
Never mind Tesla, the companies that are going to sell a lot of electric cars are the ones with the really big R&D budgets. And that's not Tesla. It's BMW. It's Toyota. It's Mercedes-Benz. Tesla will do OK right up until electric cars become the norm. Then companies like BMW will cream them.
 

LunarMist

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#28
Never mind Tesla, the companies that are going to sell a lot of electric cars are the ones with the really big R&D budgets. And that's not Tesla. It's BMW. It's Toyota. It's Mercedes-Benz. Tesla will do OK right up until electric cars become the norm. Then companies like BMW will cream them.
Yeah it will be Volkswagens, Toyotas, and eventually the Chinese homegrown. That megalomaniac wanker company is not going to be selling ~10M vehicles per year if they are electric only. They should not pull a Packard, but who knows.
 

jtr1962

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#29
The fantasy of using nuclear powered rockets is just that - fantasy.
The key issue is reaction mass. Heating that mass up to create pressure and thus accelleration is not the problem. You can get plenty of heat with ordinary (non-radioactive) chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen. You can't use much more heat because the materials to confine it are too difficult.
The problem is carring enough reaction mass, and the extra weight of a reactor doesn't help. In fact, it hinders.
It depends whether you need high or low thrust. If you're getting to LEO, you need high thrust, and nuclear rockets deliver roughly twice the specific impulse of chemical ones. Once you're out of Earth's gravity well, you use much lower thrust but a nuclear rocket can supply that thrust for years. For example, you have the VASIMR which in theory can give you a specific impulse of ten times or more that of chemical rockets. It's worth noting also once you're in space, you have a very rarified mixture of gases, mostly hydrogen, which you can scoop up, heat in a nuclear reactor, and use as propellant.

In my opinion part of the point of using nuclear rockets, even relatively low specific impulse ones, it that you only need to replenish the propellant in between launches. That alone could make space flight much less expensive.

More in the realm of science fiction are ways to generate thrust without using propellant. That plays to the strengths of a nuclear power source since you just need the reactor and fuel, not many additional tons of propellant.
 

jtr1962

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#30
Never mind Tesla, the companies that are going to sell a lot of electric cars are the ones with the really big R&D budgets. And that's not Tesla. It's BMW. It's Toyota. It's Mercedes-Benz. Tesla will do OK right up until electric cars become the norm. Then companies like BMW will cream them.
Yes. Once the major automakers take electric cars seriously, meaning that such cars comprise the majority of their production, Tesla will be screwed by simple economies of scale. You can't hand assemble battery packs made from thousands of 18650 size cells and be competitive when EVs hit critical mass. Frankly I don't know why he went this route in the first place. I expect EVs to reach this critical mass in the next few years, perhaps sooner if gas prices tick up again. People were already burned the last time gas prices went up. I suspect many will say they've had it the second time around, and beg/plead for electrics. If it turns out a major automaker (I'm actually betting on one from China) comes out with a decent electric for the same or less than a gas car, it's game over for gas cars, and game over for Tesla outside of the luxury niche. At that point it won't matter if the subsidy exists or not.
 
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#31
Never mind Tesla, the companies that are going to sell a lot of electric cars are the ones with the really big R&D budgets. And that's not Tesla. It's BMW. It's Toyota. It's Mercedes-Benz. Tesla will do OK right up until electric cars become the norm. Then companies like BMW will cream them.
As a shareholder, I'm OK with this too. Toyota has already licensed Tesla IP. Rumor has it that BMW has done the same. So long as the company is profitable.
 

jtr1962

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#32
Licensing Tesla IP might actually be the better route for them. They could continue to do what they're relatively good at, namely produce relatively low volumes catering to niche markets, and let the big boys make EVs for the masses. They won't have much competition in their niche, plus they'll have a second, potentially very lucrative source of income.
 
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#33
Licensing Tesla IP might actually be the better route for them. They could continue to do what they're relatively good at, namely produce relatively low volumes catering to niche markets, and let the big boys make EVs for the masses. They won't have much competition in their niche, plus they'll have a second, potentially very lucrative source of income.
Though Elon has said specifically that their goal is to force the market to react to their actions and accelerate an EV future. Much like Google has done in internet connectivity (Google Fiber) and cellular plans (Google Fi). This requires them to hake something at least as cheap as the 3. I suspect that once everyone else gets on board Tesla will retreat to the $100k+ market where their scale is enough to remain competitive.
 

jtr1962

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#34
Though Elon has said specifically that their goal is to force the market to react to their actions and accelerate an EV future. Much like Google has done in internet connectivity (Google Fiber) and cellular plans (Google Fi). This requires them to hake something at least as cheap as the 3. I suspect that once everyone else gets on board Tesla will retreat to the $100k+ market where their scale is enough to remain competitive.
Makes sense to me. Along the lines of forcing the market, I'm not aware of Tesla actively meeting with legislators with the idea of creating captive markets for EVs. For example, if large cities like New York decided to convert city owned or regulated fleets (i.e. taxis, buses, garbage trucks) to electric in the near term, and require all vehicles operated within their limits to be zero emissions in the medium term (5 to 7 years) that could get us to critical mass in EV production. In my opinion the automakers have been moving at a glacial pace. We had the EV1 back in the early 1990s which was actually not bad. We should have built on this. If we had, it may well be the only place you would be able to see a gas car now would be in a museum or vintage car show.
 
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#35
And in case anyone missed it, SpaceX landed their second 1st stage booster safely today. This time on a barge in the ocean (saving the fuel that would have been needed to return the 1st stage to the launch site).

[video=youtube_share;sYmQQn_ZSys]https://youtu.be/sYmQQn_ZSys[/video]
 

Howell

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#37
Though Elon has said specifically that their goal is to force the market to react to their actions and accelerate an EV future. Much like Google has done in internet connectivity (Google Fiber) and cellular plans (Google Fi). This requires them to hake something at least as cheap as the 3. I suspect that once everyone else gets on board Tesla will retreat to the $100k+ market where their scale is enough to remain competitive.
I buy the argument. Additionally, building a 3 might be the only way to reveal patent worthy solutions unique to the volume segment.
 

jtr1962

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#38
The landing reminds me of those old sci-fi movies from the 1950s where the rocketship lands on its tail on some alien planet. Next, they need to build a flying saucer. :) That would be less of a problem keeping up when landing.
 

LunarMist

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#39
The landing reminds me of those old sci-fi movies from the 1950s where the rocketship lands on its tail on some alien planet. Next, they need to build a flying saucer. :) That would be less of a problem keeping up when landing.
Yes, but they landed on land of course. Landing on a boat is particularly stupid.
 

CougTek

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#40
Yes, but they landed on land of course. Landing on a boat is particularly stupid.
Complicated doesn't mean stupid. Trying to land on a ship might not be ideal, but it's way better than just giving up and trashing a rocket that doesn't have enough fuel to make the trip back to land on solid ground.
 
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