Whitney Tilson on the continuing Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) bulls vs shorts debate
A comment from a TSLA bull:
Study up on BATTERIES… all of the analysts are missing it, the competition isn’t even close!
"I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and a better businessman because I am no investor" - Warren Buffett In the past, the value investor Mohnish Pabrai has spoken about why investors need to have some first-hand business experience. Pabrai started his own IT consulting and systems integration company, TransTech, Inc, in Read More
3) Re batteries, a reader sent me this:
Contains interesting infographics detailing variations in lithium battery tech: How we get to the next big battery breakthrough, Quartz
4) My analyst Kevin’s comments on my last email with Arne Alsin’s letter:
I think he is right on Tesla‘s data advantage compared to Waymo, but I’ve been trying my best to dig deep on this difficult topic and learn as much as possible about both approaches.
Here is Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Waymo, discussing how he is 100% certain that Tesla autopilot makes him a safer driver. He has an interesting perspective and doesn’t pick a side, but I sense he believes the machine learning/data approach is very promising: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYl4uFUBaRQ
Of course Waymo uses machine learning as well, but as Lex Fridman recently said, “it is the icing on the cake” for Waymo, whereas for Tesla “it is the cake.”
Here is an article by a value investor on seeking alpha that breaks down Tesla’s strategy in the most understandable way that I’ve seen with useful video clips included throughout. Fascinating stuff:
Tesla Inc shorts and Chinese theft
Another reader comments:
One thing I have not seen mentioned anywhere is, what is Elon thinking with respect to having his intellectual property reside in China? I wouldn’t feel very comfortable building cars in China, knowing that China has a history of stealing anything that isn’t bolted to the floor in foreign countries. Inside of China it’s probably even riskier. China can afford to give a great deal on the Gigafactory, know it will eventually obtain all the IP it wants, so it will be able to build cars using Elon’s “secret sauce,” eventually driving Tesla out, picking up the Gigafactory for a bargain price in the process (assuming they don’t already own it). Come to think of it, the faster they built the factory, the faster they could get to finding out Tesla’s secrets!
Now, Elon, for all his other faults, is no fool, so he must have taken this into account. But I can’t imagine that protecting his IP will come cheaply.
And regarding the comment that Tesla can attract the world’s best talent: they have such an advantage, that they keep recruiting a new chief counsel every three months!
Another reader writes:
My mother experienced this “unintended acceleration”. While parking, with her food firmly on the brake, the Tesla X accelerated full speed backwards crashing into a pol 20 meters behind. It then accelerated forward crashing into a car 20m ahead. She was unharmed, but anyone in the way could have been killed. It took 2 months to repair the car.
(Tesla said she had her foot on the accelerator.)
7) VIC message board posts on sudden acceleration:
52 Harden9 hrs ago Re: Tesla Inc shorts are getting desperate 51
come on; the data proved the vehicle functioned properly.
The real world is suggesting otherwise: https://insideevs.com/news/365669/video-tesla-model-x-crashes/
Anyway, I didn’t expect much from this NHTSA thing. Market seems to ignore pretty much any risk factor new or old. But I’m surprised they are defending so aggressively. The blogpost sounds pretty but hurt. Maybe this is a big deal after all.
53 Holland19453 hrs ago Re: Re: Tesla Inc shorts are getting desperate 52
Sudden unintended acceleration is the automotive equivalent of anti-vaxxers. It’s been going on for decades, every analysis concludes “pedal misapplication” as the cause. Moving on…
54 jcoviedo18 hrs ago Re: Re: Re: Tesla Inc shorts are getting desperate 53
Why do Teslas crash into buildings so often while the driver is trying to park?
How many more people need to die to justify a NHTSA investigation into this obvious defect?
The latest one today, where a Tesla drove into the entrance of a hardware store while trying to park killing a 76 year old person: https://www.ln-online.de/Nachrichten/Norddeutschland/Unfall-in-Nortorf-Tesla-faehrt-in-Glasfassade-Baumarkt-Kundin-stirbt
Or this one from Sunday in Taiwan where a Tesla (with brake lights clearly on) is not slowing down when it hits and killed a 12 year old girl in Taiwan: https://news.ltn.com.tw/news/society/breakingnews/3044921
Or this one from Saturday where a Tesla was turned on after getting detailed and instantly was out of control crashing into 3 years cars in the parking lot before driving out of the lot and hitting a 15 year old girl before crashing into a gas station: https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/tesla-driver-loses-control-hits-and-critically-injures-teen-girl-in-long-beach/2294392
Then there was the Tesla driver that burned to death in Pleasanton on Saturday: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Tesla-driver-dies-after-car-bursts-into-flames-in-14987847.php
I could go on and on. These were just from this weekend.
The unintended acceleration defect is obvious as there’s literally hundreds of examples of Teslas going out of control against the wishes of the driver. What the cause of this ultimately is anyone’s guess at this point. The defect petition is damning. Tesla never refuted a single fact presented in the defect petition. Any NHTSA investigation will take years so this isn’t really important short term for the stock, but it is ridiculous for the government not to investigate what is an obvious issue with these cars.
Whatever the cause of these crashes, it’s clearly a vehicle defect that needs to be fixed. With almost 1mm Teslas on the road globally.
56 jcoviedo17 hrs ago Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Tesla Inc shorts are getting desperate 55
We don’t know what the exact defect is at present. The fact that you have over 120 extraordinarily similar examples (in the U.S. alone) of the same thing happening is pretty good evidence there is a defect.
In Toyota’s case the perceived SUA defect was the floormats. There should be an investigation by an independent third party (like NHTSA) to determine what the actual cause is here so there can be a remedy. To do otherwise is to needlessly endanger the general public.
But you didn’t answer the question. Why do Tesla’s keep crashing into buildings while their drivers are trying to park? If you don’t know, that is reason enough for a third party to investigate.
57 Biffins13 hrs ago Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Tesla Inc shorts are getting desperate 56
Total cars in US. 2019 = 272.48m
Total car fatalities in US 2019 = 37,000
Fatality rate per car on road = 135 per 1m cars.
Total Teslas in US. 2019 : Cumulative sales to date in US.
Tesla Model 3 – 300,471
And Tesla Model S – 157,992
Tesla Model X – 85,077
Total – 543,540
Total Tesla fatalities in US. 2019 = 37 from https://www.tesladeaths.com/
Fatality rate per car on road: 68.1 per 1m cars.
I am short Tesla Inc. But more Tesla accidents or fatalities doesn’t mean that the car is unsafe. It just means there are more Teslas on the road.