Tesla

The madness of crowds and NY Mets baseball pitchers

As a former stock analyst, the euphoria around Tesla seems insane. Still Mr Market is always right. I’ve been totally wrong on the direction although I still contend it’s way overvalued, especially as the Q4 was down on Q3. Who needs facts?

Now that a new target price of $7,000 has been put on Tesla by one analyst – which would make it worth around $1.3 trillion – we see that social media clickbait is driving the analysts to outdo each other rather than base it on rational fundamentals.

To make the point, even CNBC thinks getting a NY Mets baseball pitcher to give his 10c worth on Tesla makes more sense than inviting a sell-side analyst.

The twist in Tesla’s tale is that with a $130bn market cap, it could raise capital and buy a competitor auto maker to get access to production, multiple platforms and distribution expertise, three skills it sorely lacks.

What would I know? Elon Musk is a salesman extraordinaire. That has never been in doubt. The question is whether the hype built into it can match the euphoria.

Tesla worth more than major brands with 1,046 years of combined experience

Wonderful to see Wall St bull at its finest. Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research put a 2030 price target of $4,000 on Tesla or around 10x the current price.

Amazing to think that he believes that Tesla would be worth 25% more than Toyota, VW, BMW, Daimler, Ferrari, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, GM & Fiat-Chrysler combined.

Sure, that’s plausible. Who wouldn’t believe that the industrial might of the aforementioned world’s most respected brands – with a combined 1,046 years of production expertise – will be worth less than a company who is led by a dope smoking CEO who cares little for corporate governance?

That isn’t to say innovation and disruption can’t end a millennia of progress. The only problem is the market fails to realize is that Toyota invests 10x what Tesla does in electric vehicle R&D every year and had its research geeks develop solid state lithium ion batteries for fun.

The greatest showman on earth

While he deserves all the credit in the world for his pushing the boundaries, this is where the “snake-oil” salesman in him grates the nerves of CM.

In his Cybertruck release, he had a tug-of-war with the world’s best selling pick-up truck, the F-150. AutoBlog noted that the Tesla truck pulling the F-150 was disingenuous for a number of reasons.

  1. it appears to be the F-150 STX model which is a base model with a 325hp 2.7l eco-boost engine, not the full-fat 450hp version.
  2. the F-150 appears to be the 2WD version as it only spins the rear wheels, not the 4WD where the Cybertruck most certainly was.
  3. We don’t know what version of the Tesla Cybertruck it was. Most likely a twin or tri-motor which would not be a strict apple for apples comparison.
  4. The F-150 would be a lighter vehicle than the Cybertruck.
  5. A higher motor-spec Cybertruck should still have been able to defeat a 450hp version of the F-150 but it wouldn’t have had the visuals of kicking sand in a wimp’s face.

As ever these stunts always call into question the governance of the company. Integrity matters. Or does it nowadays?

However Tesla disciples won’t care. 200,000 orders guarantees that. They’ll frolic in the pond of early adoption and cast scorn on the Neanderthals like CM who still love internal combustion.

CM has long said that governments should not be “forcing” adoption of EVs. We all know the results of, “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help!

The best solution is to hand over complete technological freedom to the engineers at auto firms and allow their creative juices to hit zero emissions by whatever means possible. As Milton Friedman once said, “Einstein didn’t discover his theory by an edict from a government bureau

Elon hits 200k Cybertrucks

200k Cybertruck orders. As CM wrote this morning, the biggest loads these pick-ups will probably ever carry are double shot grande soy lattes. This car is a fashion accessory, not a work horse.

As a bonafide petrol head, CM hates the whole concept of EVs but this maybe the one product that might sway CM to the dark side. Matte black looks good.

Zali wants to turn Warringah into a mini-California

No thanks. Before Zali Steggall OAM MP thinks too hastily about believing the residents of Warringah want to be a mini California, maybe she should consider how Californians view their state.

From ZeroHedge:

In the 1960s and 1970s, the possibility of moving to the west coast was “the California dream” for millions of young Americans, but now “the California dream” has turned into “the California nightmare”.  According to a brand new survey, 53 percent of those living in California are considering leaving the state, and there are certainly lots of reasons to hit the road and never look back.  The cities are massively overcrowded, California has the worst traffic in the western world, drug use and illegal immigration both fuel an astounding amount of crime, tax rates are horrendous and many of the state politicians appear to literally be insane.”

Other California issues

Rodents – According to a recent survey of California pest control companies, rat service requests are up “as much as 60% in the last 12 months”.

Homelessness – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and San Jose are four of the five cities with the highest amount of homelessness.

Public defecation – San Francisco authorities have decided to do something after thousands of feces complaints (during only one week in July, over 16,000 were recorded).

Public pension deficit – CalPERS has over $1 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities at marked to market rates.

Illegal Immigrants – despite its status as a sanctuary city, the great irony is that a growing number of illegal immigrants are choosing to move OUT of sanctuary cities, including California. In 2007, 7.7mn (63.1%) lived in the 20 largest metros to 6.5mn (60.7%) in 2016 according to Pew. During that time 1.5m illegal immigrants were deported (12.2mn ->10.7mn).

While Zali might think that California is a great role model for Warringah to follow, a quick cruise down Military Road will soon convince her that it could take quite a while to coax the residents to switch from their Porsches, Astons, BMWs, Mercedes and Range Rovers to Nissan Leafs to help her head for a zero carbon target. Not forgetting wind farms on Balmoral and Manly Beach.

How ironic that she takes what kids say about climate change as a concern rather than focus on activist teachers filling their heads with this junk.

While Zali might have whacked some solar panels on her roof at home, she hasn’t bought an EV. How funny that she thinks that reducing the number of flights she takes to/from Canberra will have an impact. Doesn’t she realize the flight she would have boarded flew anyway meaning her actions had absolutely NO impact?

Can’t wait for the next election.

Tesla is good at digging holes

Tesla shares have rebounded from the $180s so CEO Elon Musk has come out of the woodwork suggesting mining might be on the agenda to lock in its future battery supply.

Tesla might be adept at digging financial holes for itself but we shouldn’t think that will turn it into an efficient miner.

Just typical Musk banter.

Saving the planet starts after her maiden speech.

Many of the 1,000+ Zali Army apparently want to hear Zali Steggall make her maiden speech in parliament. Instead of streaming it, plans are being made to put them on coaches to make the 300km to Canberra and back. So much for the 60% emissions reductions targets. Perhaps she’ll start the clock after the buses arrive back in Sydney. Do as I say, not as I do!

Open letter to Lisa Wilkinson

Dear Lisa,

Oscar Wilde once said that, “the only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.”

Your open letter to Australian PM Scott Morrison effectively pleads for him to ignore the election result and adopt the policies that cost Bill Shorten his job. Labor’s platform was repudiated by the Australian people.

What is it with the left that is so preoccupied with Jacinda Ardern? Her domestic policy track record is awful. Copying Australia’s gun ban does not absolve her of failures elsewhere. Yes, she is young and progressive but it would have been nice for her to understand the cultural significance of donning the hijab rather than thinking it’s just a garment to augment her virtue signaling. Maybe you should talk to Rita Panahi to get a proper perspective on what it means to wear one.

Do you really think the PM will call his counterpart across the ditch if he needs to reach out? Morrison would seemingly have the answers to win an election within 9 months of taking over the leadership after Turnbull had trashed the Liberal brand. That is what his new party is for. He has their loyalty.

Your request to push for stable government is not lost on Mr Morrison. CM hates to tell you that the Prime Minister almost single-handedly won against all the odds and that has absolutely cemented his leadership. Do not forget the cabal of duplicitous leftists (Turnbull, Pyne, Bishop, Banks etc) within the party are thankfully all gone. The LNP can now be healed under his leadership. Did you honestly miss the significance of his win?

It wouldn’t be a letter from a host of The Project if climate change wasn’t on the menu! CM is pretty sure you voted for Zali Steggall in Warringah. Her sole policy platform is climate change. She emphatically said it in her victory speech.

Sadly, the Australian people rejected foolhardy renewable targets that Steggall wants to pursue. The Labor Party can’t risk running a climate change agenda again. Steggall’s targets are more extreme than Labor. Aussies at the coal face know better than Mosmanites at the Avenue Road Cafe how their financial livelihoods could be irrevocably damaged by Labor/Green climate policies. It is now a dead issue.

Did you know that Australia contributes 0.0000156% of global CO2? That means even if we went 100% renewable our impact is zip. Nada. Zero. Your husband’s Tesla has already travelled 150,000km in CO2 terms before it left Elon Musk’s factory.

CM advises you to watch the Sir David Attenborough documentary, Climate Change: The Facts, and note it is almost completely devoid of hard numbers. Many heart string pulling pictures but it is best you put faith in the PM to hit emission targets without trashing our economy in the process. Mr Shorten couldn’t put a price on climate change and paid a huge penalty because of it.

Please do not be concerned with the hot temperatures. It was hotter in the 1890s and early 1900s. Our Bureau of Meteorology has already been in quite a bit of trouble for fiddling the temperature figures. Feel more sorry for iguanas in Florida that fell out of trees due to the bitter cold and snowfalls.

As far as poverty goes, Australia has some of the lowest rates among 1st world nations. Spare a thought for the 118mn Europeans that live below the poverty line, over twice the rate of Australia. 23.5% of Europeans live below the poverty line and 330,000 German households had their electricity cut off because they couldn’t afford to pay for the record high power prices thanks to renewable energy policies. By the way 42,000 Aussies suffered the same fate last year.

Please quit with the “gender pay gap” nonsense. If companies could hire women at 14.1% less than men for the same job then there would be no point hiring men. Your pay packet is superior to many of your Project co-stars so you’re hardly oppressed by the gender pay gap. Choice of industry has a greater bearing on pay than gender.

Childcare is an issue which is being addressed. Domestic violence is way too high but do not ignore the statistics which show female violence against men. It just goes unreported.

While your sentiments are no doubt well intentioned, Jacinda could learn far more from ScoMo on how to win an election given the NZ PM has never achieved it in her own right.

Yours sincerely,

M. Newman, Contrarian Marketplace

Was Tesla/Maxwell deal smart?

Related image

Tesla (TSLA) has bought Maxwell (MXWL) for an all-stock transaction at US$288m notional value. The question is why any company would accept an all share transaction from a chronic loss-making company to buy its supposedly “amazing” futuristic dry capacitor technology? Are shareholders of MXWL as hooked into the EV cult as those at Tesla? Clearly not all of them. A group of MXWL investors launched a class action to block the deal. Sadly they failed.

If the management of Maxwell truly believed this deal was a winner and the technology was game-changing, why not demand cash? Why didn’t Tesla invite Panasonic’s battery boffins to assess whether the technology had merit? One must question how good is Maxwell’s IP to only find one buyer and for an all share deal? Where were the private equity (PE) vultures circling? How little confidence in one’s product or how much faith in Musk’s cult-like status to fall for such terms?

Maxwell at the 9 month FY2018 stage reported US$91.6mn (-8%YoY) in revenue and a net loss of $30.2mn. Cash halved from $50.122m in 9M 2017 to $23.561mn 9M 2018. The company did sell its high voltage product line to Renaissance Investment Foundation for $55mn with a 2-year $15mn earn out. That involved an upfront payment of $48m making pro-forma cash as at Sep 30, 2018, total $69mn. The company has an accumulated deficit of $277mn.

While the two companies had been in conversation for several years, Musk seemed to get serious in December 2018.

Forget the technological merits of Maxwell. It is easy to work out the quality of the deal based on the structure and the lack of appetite from the mega battery makers or PE firms to validate it. There is no way that MXWL didn’t show its wares to the majors. Given the deal was announced in February 2019, the EV battery and PE world would have at the very least done some back of the envelope calculations to value the business.

All that Musk has done has absorbed another loss-making business into the same cult and give himself another “dream” to add to the smoke and mirrors story.

Maxwell’s management must have channeled Don Adams, “good thinking, 99” but will undoubtedly end up saying, “sorry about that, Chief!”

Illinois wants $1,000 EV rego tax to make up for fuel excise they skip

CM has always argued that governments will eventually realize that moving to full EV policy will mean losing juicy ‘fuel excise’ which makes up c.5% of total taxes. Point 16 on page 19 for those interested.

Cash strapped Illinois has proposed the introduction of a $1,000 annual registration fee (up from $17.50) to account for the fact EVs don’t pay such fuel taxes. Note Illinois has the lowest investment grade among any other American state and has to allocate 40% of its budget just to pay outstanding bills. It is also home to one of the largest state pension unfunded deficits per capita in the country.

Michael McHale, spokesman for electric truck maker Rivian, said, “Imposing fees on EVs that are over 400 percent more than their gasoline-powered counterparts is not only unfair, it discourages promising new technology that will reduce our dependence on petroleum, reduce emissions, and promote the Illinois economy,”

Here is the ultimate irony. Many bought EVs to show their ‘climate change mitigating wokeness. Now that they maybe finally forced to ‘pay’ for that privilege somehow free market economics would seemingly look to sway them to go back to being dinosaurs again.

Don’t think Australia will head straight down this route too if our 50% EV target by 2030 is pushed through as a policy. By that time if you have an EV then you’ll be trapped in your own virtue signaling. CM would prefer to be Mad Max and raid fuel trucks.