Elon Musk Companies, are they are just scams?

heister's picture
Rank: Human | 10,074

I have been interested in some of the ideas that Elon Musk has, so I have l been looking into his companies. I have come to the conclusion that many of them are nothing more than scams. SpaceX isn't a real independent company considering it survives almost exclusively on government contracts. Not really that big of a deal but it not a real market company. Tesla, again it doesn't make any money based on the sales of it cars however it makes money by selling carbon credits, again a tie to government bullshit.

Then we come to Solar City, the company that "leases" solar panels to home owners via the power company. The whole business plan is to have people go door to door selling leases and then getting home owners to sign over their government rebates. It just seems like he doesn't have any real businesses that can make money with out some form of subsidy either directly from or mandated by the government.

I don't necessarily object to having government contracts or using government subsidies, hell I do a lot of this as well, just seems like these companies shouldn't be the darlings that they are.

Comments (103)

Apr 18, 2014

This isn't a scam. This is a guy that figured out how to use every loophole and governmental program imaginable to his benefit. People get cars, people go to space, people get solar panels on their house and he gets to exploit loopholes in laws to make money. Everybody wins.

Apr 18, 2014

Except I don't know anyone who drives a Tesla, has been to space, or puts solar panels on their house... at least not yet, and I don't think Elon will be alive to see that day if/when it comes.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014

I don't know anyone that drives a Rolls Royce, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014

I know a few. There's at least 3 or 4 in our parking garage (F500) right now.

Hell, as a lowly Finance Manager I came close to pulling the trigger. I have a LONG commute everyday and the gas savings for me would be tremendous, but ultimately it was still a little more than I was comfortable paying. If rumors on the Model E are true and I like the design I'll be putting down a $5k deposit on Day 1 to get them when they roll off the lot. If it's roomy enough for car seats my wife may get one as well.

Have you driven the Model S? It is seriously an awesome car. Before you knock it I encourage you to drive one.

I think SpaceX by it's nature needs support - it simply can't be completely commercialized at this point. I do know a few people at NASA and I've only heard great things (in passing) about SpaceX and how economical they are vs. NASA.

Solarcity does seem a little dubious to me. It looks like their main revenue stream will be people's tax credits and Tesla charging stations.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Apr 18, 2014

I see plenty of Teslas... Then again, I do live 10 minutes away from their plant.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Jun 3, 2016

Except if you signed the lease

Apr 18, 2014

You have to accept that his companies are a future (careful not to state "the") for energy. Nascent industries often need support, particularly when they're capex intensive. Doesn't make them bad at what they do.

Further, the efficiency and cost of solar has decreased dramatically over the past 5 years. But notwithstanding, his companies are often over valued.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014
Oreos:

You have to accept that his companies are a future (careful not to state "the") for energy. Nascent industries often need support, particularly when they're capex intensive. Doesn't make them bad at what they do.

Further, the efficiency and cost of solar has decreased dramatically over the past 5 years. But notwithstanding, his companies are often over valued.

Yes.

Also, the reality is that modern civilization is currently powered by finite fossil fuels and we had better start preparing for when they run out. I don't for a minute think the average person will be buying electric cars and vacationing to the moon anytime soon, these things are beyond scaling to that level yet. It's also quite possible that some other technology or energy source will spring past Musk's vision.

I think it's telling that the typical tongue clucking from the finance community is that the guy is jumping tax loopholes merely to make a buck, when he's really trying to steer humanity towards a better future. Not everyone is so cynical. The guy is already rich so I don't think that's what motivates him: my perception is that he wants to be the next Tesla/Edison.

So far, he is.

Will he succeed? I don't know. There's a whole lot ot of brainpower, innovation, money, and imagination tied up in his companies. Plenty of companies exist by virture of government contracts (see: defense) and if one leads to a better way of life, I'm all for it.

Apr 18, 2014

What about PayPal?

    • 2
Apr 18, 2014

The government is a part of the free market.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 5
Apr 18, 2014
GoldenCinderblock:

The government is a part of the free market.

Why did this get shit on? Are you guys disagreeing with me?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

    • 2
Apr 18, 2014

HEISSSSTERRRR

    • 1
    • 1
Apr 18, 2014
Flake:

HEISSSSTERRRR

It only took a front page post for you to realize I was back. Our homoerotic bromance can resume.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

    • 2
Apr 21, 2014

Awwww

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Best Response
Apr 18, 2014

heister, go crash your private jet into the ocean

    • 5
Apr 19, 2014

Too soon

Apr 18, 2014

I'm a Republican through and through, but I just might suck on someone's balls for a Tesla. For me it's not about environmental issues--I've seen a bunch of people driving them around in my area; they're just flippin' sweet. Gorgeous, fast, great handling, and, yes, pretty exclusive.

    • 3
Apr 18, 2014

I don't mean a scam in the sense that they are actually scamming people out of money but more in the sense that they are actually business models that can exist on their own with out a form of government mandated revenue stream. Not arguing that this business model is good or bad.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Apr 18, 2014

I figured that was what you were getting at, but wanted to bust your balls for the presentation. I think these companies can exist eventually without governmental revenue streams, but in the near term the government has needed SpaceX to make deliveries to the ISS. In that way SpaceX functions much like any other contractor that does work for the government. (Think: UPS/FedEx helping with mail delivery).

Solar Panels I admit are a bit of a stretch. I see a lot of them on RVs during football tailgating in the Fall where they are not asked to do much more than keep a TV and Satellite Dish running or a battery charged up. From what I can tell solar panels are not capable of massive loads that A/C units pull and that is a major limiter for most of the US market. Until that day comes solar is more of a niche area with some novelty attached to it. (Bragging to the neighbors: Yeah, we run all of our lights with our solar panels saving us around $500/year. Pretty neat huh?)

Tesla on the other hand has the ability to change not only how cars get us from A to B (electric vs. gas) but how cars are sold to us as a whole. Lots of laws on the books might be rewritten to the good of consumers wanting to buy cars. And since the Federal Government has a lot of $$ already sunk into Tesla that might actually turn out to be a benefit to getting some traction with direct to consumer sales.

Seems pretty exciting to me.

Apr 18, 2014

There's a difference between depending or benefiting from government support and being a scam.

You could make an argument that Buffett benefits from his relationship with Obama, because not building the Keystone XL pipeline directly benefits Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Yes it's a stretch, but that's my point.

Apr 18, 2014

I didn't know that his businesses rely so much on subsidies. Kudos to him, smart enough to get money from the government.

Apr 18, 2014
Matrick:

I didn't know that his businesses rely so much on subsidies. Kudos to him, smart enough to get money from the government.

It's a LOAN with interest from the government. As for Space-x, he can survive without government launches.

Apr 18, 2014

Interesting topic, but you haven't really made a case for your thesis here. There are plenty of other companies & industries that are far more dependent on government grants, subsidies etc. than Musk's companies.

warning: lengthy semi-digression

A better argument against this model of funding would be the for-profit education sector (i.e. University of Phoenix) or some health care facilities (i.e. free standing MRI facilities, some dental offices) that serve only low-income/Medicaid patients, providing poor quality or even unnecessary dental operations. This goes beyond the Walmart model of underpaying employees to the extent that they qualify for government benefits, thereby having taxpayers subsidize medical & other costs.

In the case of for-profit edu, there is a government-provided income stream associated with each prospective student (grants for low income individuals, veterans, etc.). The aggressive marketing & enrollment tactics of the for-profit edus are pretty well documented. But they're just trying to sell their own product, so that's not too crazy. What isn't well documented (even by the journalists critical of the sector) is the sleazy lead generation industry that has adapted to serve this sector. There are entire digital marketing/advertising agencies whose primary (or even exclusive) clientele is for-profit edu... so there are companies whose income is entirely dependent on the government continuing to provide funding for programs that are not accredited, have dismal graduation rates, prey on ignorant low income people or veterans, and result in notoriously high debt (with much higher rates of default than student loans for real colleges). And of course the U.S. legal system does not allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy. Important note: these marketing companies are getting paid per lead (or click depending on campaign type), not per actual enrollment. This is where the education bubble really is... not at Harvard/Yale/Princeton. It bears a frightening resemblance to the mortgage crisis (patchy, ineffective regulation + deep pockets lobbying against the interest of the public).

Still doesn't quite rise to the level of scam (aside from the useless, overpriced degree), but it's sure as hell parasitic. Elon Musk doesn't seem to actually be taking advantage of anyone at the government's expense. So as far as utilizing government funding goes, it's being put to better use (and creating more employment opportunities) than your average earmark probably IMO. But it'd be interesting to the see actual financial data.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014

I wouldn't call them scams, but rent seeking. I tried doing a back of the envelope on the true cost of the tesla cars sold to date. The easy part is backing out all the BS electric car credits invented by CA with money taken from the citizens and the federal tax credit for buyers. The harder part is the hundreds of millions in low interest rate obama loans (who knows what the mkt cost of that money might have been, but it is sizable). The other observation is he is on the wrong end of rent seeking because of the dealerships. Just observations though, because the state took over the sandbox in which we play.

Apr 18, 2014

SpaceX is quite a proper private enterprise in the sense that it is able to provide a service (space transportation) for money. The main reason the government is its main contractor is that they are able to (easily) underbid most of the competition including NASA for that service. And one of the main reasons why is because he set it up like a lean start up and not a huge agency with ridiculous overhead. During the development phase of new projects often money flows in from governments & other future clients who basically get a discount if it is successful, spreading the risk and making it more of a joint venture. All companies in that sector have that kind of ties, and the fact that such a small company can outbid all major players in the market is quite impressive.

I think what you are referring to as a so called "scam" is the hype which is surrounded by tesla making it from a financial standpoint overvalued. (I'm a huge tesla fan btw, but still i'd rather short the stock at this point in time).
As usual the attention of it moves a lot faster than the growth and establishment of the actual production. It will take quite a few years before tesla's real value is on par with its reputation. That being said if you draw the comparison to apple for example, the value might be more intrinsic since it is more than the product itself but rather the statement you make with it.

Just my 2 cents. Interesting discussion guys.

    • 3
Apr 18, 2014

Something to add to your comments about SpaceX. It was my understanding, the bulk of the contracts was for resupplying the international space station. I think the next logic step is to go beyond spacex being the low cost provider, and ask why we have a international space station in the first place that requires billions in contracts to maintain? The station might not be something in space that would exist today without government. In other words, it isn't like government nationalized or is taking the place of an industry that we would otherwise have created by private enterprise today.

Apr 18, 2014

Hi LBT, as a capitalist i do understand your view on the space station as a potential grave for quite a lot of tax money. At the same time i have to say that quite a large number of mankinds achievements (i.e. the moon landing) have brought our civilization a significant amount of steps forward in evolution without immediately generating return in the commercial sense. The ISS is an example as such, having provided a significant amount of new developments, although they are not immediately visible but do function as a front runner in such developments. There are already some individuals who have travelled there privately (i.e. dennis tito) and there will be more to follow. Although I'm not a great fan of govermnent spending, some developments have to be finance without an immediate promise of return ;)

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014

Just and idea of what kind of credits Tesla is dealing with here, on the ModelS the carbon credits carry a value of around 35,000 per ModelS. Yes you read that right. 35K per vehicle. Tesla is in the business of making cars not to make money on the cars but to get the carbon credits. I have long thought that the ModelS is being sold at a huge loss and after uncovering that little tid bit on the carbon credit value I am pretty sure they aren't making a dime on the car. The company earnings would be orders of magnitude higher than they are if the carbon credits were just extra profits.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Apr 18, 2014

I'll admit to not knowing all of the details of Musk's companies, but he's not doing anything that numerous other companies large and small do. Take SpaceX for example: they're basically a government contractor, probably most comparable to a defense contractor. Raytheon and General Dynamics exists almost solely because they sell goods and services to the US government. The last time I bought a Sidewinder missile or a Navy Destroyer was, well, never. I probably won't buy a rocket or pay a company to launch stuff to my personal space station (although that would be awesome...). And if he does receive subsidies/tax breaks in the R&D phase of things, that's no different than when the government bids out a new plane or ship. They pay for some of the R&D and guarantee a certain volume of sales to the defense contractors. This market just doesn't exist without government support and a government buyer. Personally, I really like that he's able to come in and perform the same service as NASA at a fraction of the cost. Hopefully he's started a long term trend and space, both tourism and exploration, can be part of the private market.

SolarCity: there are tons of companies out there that take advantage of SREC's to own, lease, build and/or finance solar panels on everything from single family houses to commercial properties. The government is encouraging Clean Energy, rightly or wrongly but that's a larger political discussion, because solar is still a few multiples as costly to build as a coal or NG fired plant but the rates charged for electricity are the same. If/when the cost to install solar (or wind or other green energy) as fossil fueled plants, those subsidies would disappear, at least in theory. The government gives breaks and subsidies to large energy companies from the oil majors to utilities to develop green energy. Good for him to take advantage of that.

Tesla: I don't know what sort of subsidies or tax breaks they receive that the large car manufacturers don't receive for electric or hybrid cars, but the Tesla is pretty sick. A good friend of mine just got one and it's pretty freaking cool.

    • 1
Apr 18, 2014
heister:

I have been interested in some of the ideas that Elon Musk has, so I have l been looking into his companies. I have come to the conclusion that many of them are nothing more than scams. SpaceX isn't a real independent company considering it survives almost exclusively on government contracts.

This is so funny. Completely opposite to what Jared posted here: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/iron-man

I will give you one thing. Elon relies somewhat on the likelihood that others (such as Jared, in that link) perceive him as a genius so that he can sell whatever he's selling.

If you look at his first big deal, it was a company called Zip2. "The company developed and marketed an Internet "city guide" for the newspaper publishing industry.[9] Musk obtained contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune[20] and persuaded the board of directors to abandon plans for a merger with a company called CitySearch." Look at what happened here. Did they finely engineer the best technology such that the public adopted their services, like Google did? No, they obtained contracts - maybe not with the govt in that case, but with two huge, historic, established newspapers. You can't downplay the importance of a) a convincing salesman and of b) his networking abilities in accomplishing that. I've seen this guy talk and he's not some pimple-faced outcast.

I used to think that persuasive abilities were not a big deal in the socially-awkward-engineer driven tech industry, but I now know that a salesman who can blow people away can move mountains.

Apr 18, 2014

It's always been that way. There is a study that came out not to long ago, I'll look for it again, that basically said that the more educated people are the more gullible they are. When I first saw that I thought it was total bs but the more I thought about it the more plausible it seemed. I have some very highly educated friends who will believe anything as long as it has some form of seemingly credible backing.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Apr 21, 2014

Would be interested in this study.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Apr 18, 2014

This doesn't look like a scam to me:

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musks-f9r-firs...

Elon is pushing the technological frontier. Get with the progam.

Apr 18, 2014
GS_McK:

This doesn't look like a scam to me:

http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musks-f9r-firs...

Elon is pushing the technological frontier. Get with the progam.

Yes.

Big energy? They're glorified fossil fuel companies. Big auto? They can't even get an ignition switch right, let alone create the future. Musk is using the gov't as a platform to finance development of the human race? So what. It's finally getting done.

I suppose it's a good idea to play devil's advocate with any 'big idea' and I must admit that I didn't "get" Musk at first. But then he's the leading genius of applied innovation at this point in history, it figures it would take a while to understand what's happening. Other thing is this:

No one's opinion here matters. Not me, not you, none of us. At all. He's inventing the future, we're bullshitting on the business equivalent of reddit.

Apr 18, 2014

Thing with exclusive car makers is that potential consumers have to have the impression that the company cares more about the product than their balance sheet. They must have passion about what they do, and that's what brands like Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin, RR, Lamborghini, Porsche etc did and for decades they were under a lot of financial stress and near bankruptcy status, only to find financial stability and success from the late 90s onwards.

Colourful TV, colourless Life.

Apr 18, 2014

I don't think so.

Although, Paypal has become that troubled child that got disowned. Awful, piece of shit site.

Apr 19, 2014

I am sure Thomas Edison was called a fraud at some point.

Apr 19, 2014
Bloyd:

I am sure Thomas Edison was called a fraud at some point.

Thomas Edison IS a fraud. He's the snake oil salesman who piggybacked off of Tesla.

Apr 19, 2014
bearcats:
Bloyd:

I am sure Thomas Edison was called a fraud at some point.

Thomas Edison IS a fraud. He's the snake oil salesman who piggybacked off of Tesla.

u MADE my point

Apr 19, 2014
Bloyd:

I am sure Thomas Edison was called a fraud at some point.

So was Bill Gates.

Matrick:

[in reply to Tony Snark"]

Why aren't you blogging for WSO and become the date doctor for WSO? There seems to be demand.

BatMasterson:

[in reply to Tony Snark's dating tip]

Sensible advice.

Apr 19, 2014
Tony Snark:
Bloyd:

I am sure Thomas Edison was called a fraud at some point.

So was Bill Gates.

many ppl still thik zuck jacked fb, haters gonna hate, zero fuck was given in the history of make it rain

Apr 19, 2014

End corporate and social subsidies...problem solved. The fittest survive.

    • 1
Apr 19, 2014

The Tesla is basically an Aston Martin for nerds.

Aston Martin AM 310 Vanquish - Front Angle, 2013, 800x600, 1 of 253

Matrick:

[in reply to Tony Snark"]

Why aren't you blogging for WSO and become the date doctor for WSO? There seems to be demand.

BatMasterson:

[in reply to Tony Snark's dating tip]

Sensible advice.

Apr 20, 2014

If you think relying heavily on government subsidization/revenue/contracts constitutes a scam, in the context of a normally operating company, I've got some really nice Lockheed puts I'd be willing to sell you.

In the context of Musk, I am a fan of his businesses. They are darlings for a reason. The approval market has priced his businesses too. As far as TSLA stock, no comment.

    • 1
Apr 20, 2014

I do think TSLA is overvalued, but they make a great product that people absolutely love. They can probably generate value over time (though possibly not for current shareholders).

It is interesting that govt credits in this case end up being a subsidy for the rich, since they are the only ones that can afford a roadster...

Apr 20, 2014

So reading this thread, you can boil the point down to:
- OP admitted he doesn't even know wtf a scam is because he basically invented a new meaning for the word
- Edison, Gates are supposedly frauds or stole idea
- People are still idiots and think Jobs is some messiah, even though he's as much of a thief as anyone else mentioned. They were all business man. Guess what? So is musk.... and like those others, he's making money bringing a great product to this world.

Apr 18, 2014

According to dictionary.com the definition of scam is.

scam [skam]
noun
1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.

By this definition, the majority of Elon Musk's current companies are scams. They are all essentially confidence games. As in they only still exist because the market has confidence in them. So before you make a further fool of yourself why don't you check a dictionary before you call people out on things that are easy to look up. As I said above I don't think he is trying to swindle anyone out of money. As you can see from the definition a scam is not exclusively linked to making a fraudulent profit.

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Apr 20, 2014
heister:

According to dictionary.com the definition of scam is.

scam [skam]

noun

1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.

By this definition, the majority of Elon Musk's current companies are scams. They are all essentially confidence games. As in they only still exist because the market has confidence in them. So before you make a further fool of yourself why don't you check a dictionary before you call people out on things that are easy to look up. As I said above I don't think he is trying to swindle anyone out of money. As you can see from the definition a scam is not exclusively linked to making a fraudulent profit.

Don't you dare try to split hairs word by word on some definition you found. You know damn well your analysis of "confidence game" is full of shit. That's not what it means as you applied it to Tesla. In that case NFLX is a scam because it trades off of the confidence that they will continue to add big subscribers. NFLX is not a scam. Both companies need to be given a value for growth prospects that do not concretely show up in cash flow yet.

Since you have your dictionary out, look up the definition of the following words: "Tesla could be considered overvalued based on the fundamental, traditional methods of valuation." Get out with that nonsense you're spewing.

Apr 20, 2014

On the point of Tesla I think it really depends on where you live. In the Pacific Northwest at least, I see many, many Teslas. They're actually not even cool anymore because there's so many.

Apr 21, 2014

His companies may or may not have negative value on the economy given the Government support they get (time will tell) but this doesn't mean it's a scam, Musk isn't running a ponzi scheme or anything even remotely close.

I personally don't believe that companies should get Government support but I'm not on a moral pedestal to blame the enterpreneurs that choose to get help from the Govt for their companies.

Apr 21, 2014

i dont think its a scam, but i'm highly reluctant to invest in companies where they need the government or government subsidies to survive. which is why i dont like renewables

Apr 21, 2014

and Warren Buffet didn't get Obama elected for rail subsidies and the Koch family doesn't use government subsidies and the financial industry doesn't take giant techtonic bailouts during the crises and continue to rely on governmen stopgaps and assurances for its success. Almost every industry has some form of government subsidy whether you like to admit it or not.

Apr 22, 2014

I'm neither for or against EV's I just happen to know that most of them when you consider mine to end of life carbon foot prints, they have terrible ratings.

And your source would be

Apr 18, 2014
Solidarity:

I'm neither for or against EV's I just happen to know that most of them when you consider mine to end of life carbon foot prints, they have terrible ratings.

And your source would be

Look up pollution outputs for nickel cadmium or nickle metal hydride batteries on a per ton of output of raw materials basis. Then go compare that to the amount of pollution output for an aluminum in tons and add the lifetime outputs of the engine in fuel usage, and the pollution to the pump. We can even assume that all EV's use 100% renewables. (Aluminum is much more labor and machine intensive to mine than steel)

Also no, battery pack life-spans are actually measured in a 0+N basis where N is measured in days and have a mean life to 50% of original capacity average that is measured in days. (Actual life spans are in years but the measurement is done in days)

Wear a diaper because you are likely to shit yourself.

If that's not enough here are a couple of articles on the subject.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/ite...

http://www.ibtimes.com/electric-vehicles-pollute-m...

You can read studies put out by those for and against EV's touting different stats. In everyone of those however things are left out. Pollution caused in manufacturing of the vehicle, incorrect usage graphs and algorithms, failing to take into account grid load, end of life energy expense and recycling. The point is that there is little to no difference in total life environmental costs. However there is a huge economic (social, health and environmental in foreign countries) costs associated with with EV's. The picture isn't as rosy as those smug environmentalists make it out to me

Follow the shit your fellow monkeys say @shitWSOsays

Life is hard, it's even harder when you're stupid - John Wayne

Apr 22, 2014
heister:

http://www.ibtimes.com/electric-vehicles-pollute-m...

Your first article is about EV's in China. It says right in the article.

"Eighty-five percent of electricity production in China comes from the burning of fossil fuels, and approximately 90 percent of that production is from coal, according to the study"

http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

The US is one-third coal.

...and there's no link to the actual study.

    • 1
Apr 22, 2014
heister:

Look up pollution outputs for nickel cadmium or nickle metal hydride batteries on a per ton of output of raw materials basis. Then go compare that to the amount of pollution output for an aluminum in tons and add the lifetime outputs of the engine in fuel usage, and the pollution to the pump. We can even assume that all EV's use 100% renewables. (Aluminum is much more labor and machine intensive to mine than steel)

I've seen a paper that factors in the excess energy associated w batteries and an aluminum body

heister:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/ite...

Again, won't retread the critiques from either side.

heister:

In everyone of those however things are left out. Pollution caused in manufacturing of the vehicle, incorrect usage graphs and algorithms, failing to take into account grid load, end of life energy expense and recycling. The point is that there is little to no difference in total life environmental costs. However there is a huge economic (social, health and environmental in foreign countries) costs associated with with EV's. The picture isn't as rosy as those smug environmentalists make it out to me

And you can say the same for the costs associated with extracting, transporting, and refining petroleum.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  May 5, 2016

Now you're talking my language. This is why I don't like Musk. His sleight of hand distracts people from thinking about where all the electricity comes from. I'm not well read on the concepts of these cars but since they need to be plugged in regularly I'm guessing most of their juice comes from the grid which is powered by good old fashioned coal or oil? So oil consumed by vehicles drops but oil consumed by power stations increases so the carbon footprint is the same, it's just been moved to a different point in the supply chain.... correct?
The scale economy is questionable too as these old power stations possibly aren't as efficient as brand new cars either.

    • 1
Apr 22, 2014

I'll take a look at the links

Battery life = charge cycles = miles driven... days is laughable

The current gen EV's should be getting at least 10 years under normal usage.

Apr 23, 2014

They're only a scam if you believe we'll always live in 2014.

Apr 23, 2014

This thread has some excellent trolling and/or ignorance. Got a lot of the top posters to bite too. 10/10, would read again.

To sum up...

1) Elon's companies are overvalued but not scammy.

2) People drive Teslas because they're effing amazing cars. And most of the people who drive them are west coast / europe / soon-to-be China.

3) There doesn't have to be a single winner to future car fueling, there can be multiple (but as shown in this thread natas will require extensive costs to mass adopt, which the government has historically been reluctant to subsidize). So all the people complaining about EV subsidies need to know natgas needs them too.

4) People in this thread are thinking like the current state of the world in 2014 when Elon is thinking 2024 and building towards that.

5) The word "scam" rustled quite a few jimminies. It might have rustled mine awhile back, but after being a Tesla shareholder for a year I just laugh and look at my stock price.

Apr 24, 2014

i wonder how much nasa spends, compared to the space X contracts

happy to give advice; no asking for referrals please

Apr 25, 2014

Lots of misinformation in this thread. Quick fact-check here, with my personal thoughts. Feel free to throw the opinions out and cover me in monkey shit, but people read too much Business Insider so it's worth pointing some things out. Everyone should believe whatever they want to about the company though, it's a religion at this point.

1) TSLA not an economically viable business model as it currently is, but if it can meet the material goals its CEO (and to a lesser extent, the public) have laid out for it, then it could be as profitable as any other luxury automotive.

2) The promises and goals mentioned above have no basis for ever being capable of accomplishing, but that doesn't mean they won't be.

3) No major automotive currently makes an all-electric car with the intention of making a profit. This doesn't mean anything to a lot of people, but I find it odd that this could be such a great business opportunity but nobody else wants to participate in it for anything other than producing loss-leaders. And it's not like other much more well-capitalized OEMs couldn't make a car as good if they really wanted to. TSLA wasn't built on a massive IP advantage.

4) TSLA sales volumes shouldn't be straight-lined based on the past 12 months. Keep in mind demand had been building for 3+ years for the Model S before it actually started getting delivered. And virtually all of this demand has so far come from heavily-subsidized states (namely California) so it's still extremely difficult to ballpark real demand for the hypothetical EV for the masses that's still a minimum of 3 years away. The Model S is plateauing in the US to boot, so it raises some questions. And for everyone who hasn't seen a Model S before and thinks that means demand is fake... maybe it's because you're not in one of the only 8-9 states where Model S is actually available for lease.

5) A very helpful exercise is to Google "electric vehicles in Norway" as a great microcosm of the entire TSLA business model thus far. But this doesn't mean it won't catch on later in a more "legitimate" (as OP inferred it) way.

6) Elon Musk did not found, co-found, or meaningfully contribute to the success of PayPal. He has nothing to do with eBay, and is not an actual founder of Tesla Motors. Nor is he the designer or "Chief Product Architect" (though he has given himself this title) of the Tesla Roadster or the Model S. The Roadster's design was outsourced to Lotus, and the Model S was designed by a former Mazda exec who unsurprisingly designed the Solstice as well. Elon Musk is a great marketer and businessman, but he is not an engineering genius, though some of his people are. I've always found it interesting that he lets the media mis-attribute so much to him.

    • 2
May 6, 2016

Is anyone here short TSLA? Seems pretty overpriced to me.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  May 30, 2016

Political donor kickback recipients are a Barry Buttstalker thingy. Elon is yer basic Talmudic con artist operating his con job on american working class taxpayers playing the " green card " game, specializing in his coal powered letrick car, which unfortunately is a ticking fire bomb, spacex uses Russian rockets and actual American aerospace scientist capable of setting up launch and docking programs that copy NASA fired scientist Obama white scientist execution chamber, MUSK Without an real understanding in engineering design-manufacturing experience, he eats money like popcorn, flying over the world provides him an excellent opportunity for professional trafficking. Which he is a real pro playing the Internet businessman philanthropy game. Supported by a troll army in his? endless videos on; YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, MySpace, SELF AGRANDESMENT (con-game) HE STAYS ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE GALE SELLING OFF TESLA SHARES IN THE PHONY IPO THAT NYSE experts assist in their short sell BUY knowing his eminent failure will bring them big bucks.

Trained in Canadian bankruptcy art by real Canadian pro's he came to the USA looking and finding Christian developers in our Talmudic economy that provided him? With PayPal, then tesla, on a run he added spacex, and solarcity, munching cash he was able to eat popcorn out of Wall Street dumpsters without getting butter on his? Lower lip.

Given reality and TIME CHANGES ALL THINGS <<>> the run is nearing an end, without tax credits, Goldman Sachs (feral reserve) funding, his fodder pile will soon be over, then the inevitable BANKRUPTCY ACT will be his? New digs. Without his political donor kickback element the ride at ELON MUSK CARNIVAL GAMES on the green will terminate, along with Barry Buttstalker et al.

Then the United States of america can once again try to recover from a really bad run.

Jun 3, 2016

Elon Musk's companies aren't "scams" per se.

It's just that people have incorrectly identified his core skills. He isn't a genius at starting and running companies, he's a genius at using government money to his own advantage.

Jun 3, 2016
Comment
    • 1
Jun 3, 2016
Jun 10, 2016
Comment
May 3, 2018