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Tesla Unsecured Debt 30 Cents On The Dollar If You Are Lucky

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Tesla is asking employees to volunteer and help deliver 30,000 cars before the end of the quarter; Tesla unsecured debt: recovery tops out at ~30c.

Tesla unsecured debt
Blomst / Pixabay

1) In response to this article, Tesla Is #1 Selling Brand In Europe’s Electric Car Race, a friend notes:

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Q4 hedge fund letters, conference, scoops etc

Well obviously it's the initial sell-in months for the Model 3, after 3 years’ worth of accumulated backlog.

I'm surprised that they haven't sold more cars there, given that they're selling a dollar for 80 cents.

In the last few days (not even a full week as of this hour) the Audi eTron, which is almost twice the price, has essentially matched the Model 3 in sales in Norway, which is the only country for which we have daily reports and premium BEVs are not relatively penalized compared to less expensive ones (Netherlands).

339 eTrons this month (really less than a week) in Norway: https://elbilstatistikk.no/

In comparison, the Model 3 has sold a similar number over the last handful of days.

The Model 3 of course leads for the whole month, as well as for February -- its debut month.

Glenn adds:

I would also add that inside ev and electrik are on an all out blitz to try and project good news. At one point yesterday 4 of the top listed electrik articles were glowing about products that don’t yet exist.

2) Another friend wrote:

This 5-yr cost of ownership comparison was what caught my attention. The writer used Edmunds total cost of ownership calculator.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/03/17/tesla-model-3-costs-vs-10-best-selling-cars-in-the-usa

The assumptions used are detailed in this other article (FYI - I haven't gone through any of the data): https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/28/toyota-camry-honda-accord-buyers-dont-assume-tesla-model-3-is-beyond-your-budget

EV reviews - The Kia and Hyundai look like the real deal: https://cleantechnica.com/category/cleantechnica-2/cleantechnica-exclusive/cleantechnica-reviews

General EV sales news: https://cleantechnica.com/tag/ev-sales

Tesla specific news: https://cleantechnica.com/tag/tesla

In response, a friend wrote:

Cleantechnica?  As in... Pravda?

Anyway, do the math on a regular Honda, Kia, Hyundai or Toyota hybrid (Camry, Accord, Corolla, Prius, Insight, Niro, Ioniq etc), all of whom get around 50 MPG blended (some higher, but who cares).

1000 miles per month / 50 MPG = 20 gallon.

Today's nationwide average is $2.55 per AAA.  20 gallon x $2.55 = $51.

That's $51 per month.  How much are you willing to invest up front, plus depreciation and the eventual battery swap (10 years from now or whatever) to save some part of $51 per month?

Unless you're getting your electricity for free (nothing is really free) you are not going to save much, if anything, driving an EV.  $51 per month is $612 per year.

I like driving EVs.  The electric powertrain has some very positive properties -- torque, linearity etc.  However, it doesn't save money at today's U.S. gasoline price and electricity prices.

One other cost that nobody else talks about:  Let's say that in 10 years you have to swap out that battery.

That's a $20,000 part that you will have written off over 10 years, or $2,000 per year.

In the meantime, gasoline was $612 per year.  So, your battery DEPRECIATION cost (forget the cost of the actual electricity) was over 3x the cost of gasoline.

I mean, this is insane.  Whatever merits EVs have -- and there are certainly a few -- saving money is not one of them.  To the contrary -- the all-in cost of owning them is MUCH higher than a gasoline car -- over the lifetime of the vehicle.

3) It’s hard to see how this end-of-quarter insanity is consist with strong demand: Tesla is asking employees to volunteer and help deliver 30,000 cars before the end of the quarter

4) An interesting article: Tesla unsecured debt: recovery tops out at ~30c (if you’re lucky)