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A Series of New Setbacks for Tesla

Debut of Electric Truck Delayed; top Musk lieutenant resigns.

by on Sep.14, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his EV company have had a tough week, but investors are hanging in there.

It’s turning into a tough week for Tesla, the battery-carmaker hit with a series of potentially serious setbacks, delays and challenges.

That includes the departure of one of CEO Elon Musk’s most trusted lieutenants and an unexpected delay in the planned roll-out of Tesla’s heavy-duty electric truck. Meanwhile, the automaker is going to be facing a much more direct challenge from a broad range of established automakers now moving into the battery-car space.

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Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board this week issued its conclusion that Tesla’s Autopilot system played a “major role” in a May 2016 crash that killed a former Navy SEAL driving a Tesla Model S sedan. (more…)

Tesla’s EV Semi Likely to Fall Short of Long-Haul Norms

Truck is limited to 300 miles per charge compared with 1,000-mile range.

by on Aug.25, 2017

Set to be revealed next month, Tesla's new semi-truck is expected to get between 200 and 300 miles on a single charge.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed recently the company planned to unveil a semi-truck in September, adding it would be capable of handling long-haul loads.

Apparently, he forgot to add “just barely.”

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The new truck, which Musk has implied in the past would be on par with current trucks or better. However, a new Reuters report reveals that the new truck will be capable of 200 to 300 miles on a charge. Most long-haul trucks can go 1,000 miles before refueling. (more…)

Pressed for Cash, Tesla Issues Junk Bond in Bid to Boost Model 3 Production

Automaker lowers price of Model X SUV to reflect “efficiencies.”

by on Aug.07, 2017

The first "saleable" Model 3 shown after rolling off the line at the Fremont plant last month.

Aiming for a massive increase in production to meet strong demand for its new Model 3 battery-electric vehicle, Tesla is issuing $1.5 billion in high-yield junk bonds.

The announced comes less than a week after Tesla said it had narrowed its losses for the second quarter. During a conference call to discuss the earnings report, CEO Elon Musk indicated the automaker might need a new cash infusion but would try to avoid issuing new stock.

Breaking News!

The new debt offering is meant “to further strengthen its balance sheet during this period of rapid scaling with the launch of Model 3, and for general corporate purposes.”

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Tesla Narrows Second-Quarter Loss as Revenues Nearly Double

Investors rally after a week-long stock slide.

by on Aug.02, 2017

Early versions of the Model 3 are shown waiting for delivery to the first buyers last week.

After taking a sharp tumble, Tesla stock rallied on Wednesday, investors responding positively to a nearly doubling of revenues during the second quarter, with the battery-carmaker’s loss for the April-June period narrowing more than analysts had expected.

Tesla clearly needed a boost after suffering a nearly $70 a share dip from the record $383.45 closing it had hit on June 23rd. And the second-quarter earnings appeared to be just the tonic needed as the company moves into the critical rollout of its Model 3 sedan.

By the Numbers!

For the quarter, Tesla reported an adjusted loss of $1.33 a share, well below the $1.82 deficit analysts had anticipated, according to consensus numbers gathered by Thomson Reuters. Meanwhile, revenue jumped to $2.79 billion, while analysts had expected a figure of $2.51 billion. (more…)

Fear of “Manufacturing Hell” Has Investors Unplugging From Tesla

Model 3 ramp-up could prove seriously challenging, CEO Musk warns.

by on Aug.01, 2017

An SRO crowd gathers for the event marking the delivery of the first Tesla Model 3 on 7-28-17.

After spending months driving up the shares of Tesla, Inc., investors seemed ready to run on Monday after outspoken CEO Elon Musk warned that his company could face a half-year of “manufacturing hell” trying to ramp up production of the new Model 3 battery-electric sedan.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s long-awaited entry into the mainstream market, with prices ranging from around $35,000 to $60,000. The California carmaker is believed to have as many as 400,000 advance reservations. But it will face a serious challenge, Musk acknowledged, boosting production at the Tesla plant in Fremont, California to the point where it can roll out the promised 500,000 vehicles next year.

Breaking News!

Investors aren’t the only ones worried. A group of Tesla workers on Monday asked the company’s board to provide a plan that will, among other things, address worker safety during an aggressive ramp-up aiming to boost production almost five-fold from 2017 to 2018. Tesla has come under fire in recent months over allegations of unusually high injury rates at the suburban San Francisco plant.

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Under 30 Minutes – Underground – From NY to DC? Musk Claims He’s Gotten the Go

Tesla CEO claims “verbal” approval for buried Hyperloop system.

by on Jul.20, 2017

A rendering of the HyperLoop shows a vehicle blasting through its near complete vacuum.

You take a quick elevator ride down into a cavern dug well below the busy streets of New York City. A half-hour later you ride back up to the surface, but now you’re in the nation’s capital.

At least that’s the scheme envisioned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, who said in a tweet that he has gotten “verbal govt approval” for his new tunneling venture, the Boring Company to build an underground version of his Hyperloop concept to connect New York and Washington, D.C. Total travel time, he estimated, would be just 29 minutes, or a fraction of what it today takes even by air, never mind the fastest conventional trains operated by Amtrak.

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Keeping You Looped In!

The project would create a revolution in transportation, especially by linking up two major cities on the East Coast. But Musk is also trying to pull together another underground project that would allow motorists to avoid the traffic jams of Los Angeles by traveling through a network of underground tunnels.

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Musk Wants to Open More Car, Battery Plans

Looking at “two or three” Gigafactories in U.S. alone.

by on Jul.17, 2017

A new Model 3 in front of Tesla's Fremont, CA plant.

The coming months will be the real test for Tesla. With the launch of the new Model 3 we’ll soon discover whether this money-losing niche player can transform itself into an immensely profitable, mainstream automaker.

No surprise, CEO Elon Musk is already looking at what will have to happen as Tesla grows, and grows fast, 2018 volume forecast to hit 500,000 battery-electric vehicles, or six times the company’s 2016 volume. To keep up with anticipated demand, especially with even more products in the pipeline, Tesla is laying plans for a network of new car and battery plants.

Breaking News!

If Tesla hits its target with the Model 3, the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant will be “bursting at the seams,” Musk recently told shareholders. He has been dropping plenty of hints on what will follow, and that is likely to include at least one more assembly plant in the U.S., as well as one in China, while we could see as many as 20 new Gigafactory battery plants.

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Tesla Factory a “Predator Zone,” Claims Female Former Employee”

A.J. Vandermeyden opens up on allegations, lawsuit.

by on Jul.10, 2017

Former Tesla employee AJ Vandermeyden has sued over alleged sexual harassment at the Fremont plant. Photo courtesy The Guardian.

Adding to the list of problems facing Tesla Motors, the automaker is battling a lawsuit filed by former employee A.J. Vandermeyden, who accuses the automaker of tolerating a culture of “pervasive harassment” at its assembly plant in Fremont, California.

That’s the same factory that, just last Friday, produced the first of the automaker’s eagerly awaited Model 3 battery-sedans – and the same factory where a recent report noted Tesla had been experiencing significantly higher injury rates than at assembly plants producing far more vehicles.

The Full Story!

In a report by the Guardian newspaper, the 33-year-old Vandermeyden opened up about why she was suing Tesla for sexual harassment after being fired from her job in Fremont. The paper outlined conditions that many employees described during a Tesla town hall meeting earlier this year as a “predator zone,” where, they charged, female workers were open targets for male bosses.

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It’s Official: 1st Tesla Model 3 Rolls Off the Line

Pricing still TBD.

by on Jul.10, 2017

The first saleable Tesla Model 3 poses in front of the company's Fremont, CA plant.

Twitter-savvy Tesla CEO Elon Musk has posted a picture of what appears to be the first “saleable” Model 3 sedan to roll off the battery-carmaker’s Fremont, California assembly line, a critical step in Tesla’s push to become a truly mainstream manufacturer.

But the company appears to have pushed back on its promise to start taking official orders for the new Tesla Model 3 on Friday and still has not given a clear sense of pricing for the compact battery-electric vehicle. A visit to the Tesla website only reveals the same information that had been up there for some time, among other things noting a “starting price” of $35,000.

Breaking News!

Tesla has a lot riding on the Model 3 launch. Though there are plenty of skeptics, Musk has outlined a plan that would take the company’s production to 500,000 vehicles in 2018 – a sixfold increase from 2016 – and Model 3 would account for about 80% of that total.

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A Good Week Gone Bad for Tesla

Update: GM overtakes Tesla as EV maker's stock collapses.

by on Jul.06, 2017

Tesla hoped for a big boost by announcing the production launch of the new Model 3.

(This story has been updated to reflect the continuing plunge in Tesla stock on Wednesday.)

What started out as a week full of fireworks for Tesla may be turning into a dud.

The automaker’s high-flying stock suddenly has taken a nosedive since traders returned from the long Fourth of July holiday, falling 7% on Wednesday and, by midday Thursday dipping nearly another 5 percent. At around $310 per share by mid-afternoon, TSLA was not only off sharply from the record $383.45 set on June 23rd, but with a market capitalization of just under $51 billion. the value of Tesla had slipped behind that of General Motors for the first time in nearly three months.

Insight!

That’s clearly not what CEO Elon Musk had in mind when he tweeted on Sunday that Tesla was planning to start production of the eagerly awaited Model 3 on Friday. That’s the same day, he added, that Tesla would formally begin taking orders for the vehicle that is expected to transform the carmaker from a niche to mainstream player.

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