Tesla Announces Third Quarter Financial Results shareholder letter and webcast for November 5th

PALO ALTO, Calif., October 20, 2014 – Tesla announces that it will post its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2014, after market close on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. At that time, Tesla will issue a brief advisory release containing a link to the Q3 2014 Shareholder Letter, available on the company website. Tesla management will hold a live question & answer webcast at 2:30pm Pacific Time (5:30pm Eastern Time) to discuss the Company’s financial and business results and outlook.

What: Tesla Motors, Inc. Q3 2014 Financial Results Q&A Webcast

When: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Time: 2:30pm Pacific Time / 5:30pm Eastern Time

Shareholder Letter: http://ir.teslamotors.com

Webcast: http://ir.teslamotors.com (live and replay)

Approximately two hours after the Q&A session, an archived version of the webcast will be available on the Company’s website for a period of one year.

Tesla to sell Model S via Alibaba’s T-Mall in China


Tesla Motors Inc. began taking online orders for its Model S electric car in China today, joining General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG in selling vehicles through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s online shopping mall.

Buyers can place a 50,000-yuan ($8,200) deposit for the electric car through Alibaba’s Tmall.com, according to Tesla China spokeswoman Peggy Yang. “Tmall offers us an opportunity to reach out to general customers,” she said by telephone.

So much for kicking the tires.

Paradox: How Norway turns its fossil fuel riches into EV incentives

Nice Freakonomics show this week. (Transcript)

Tesla gets the boot from Michigan, solidifying its state governemnt reputation as the most corrupt

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You can measure your state government corruption level by how they deal with Tesla. Michigan citizens, your government (yet again) has failed you.

On October 1, the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association succeeded in passing a bill that is harmful to consumers. The bill, HB5606, was originally a single amendment to existing law designed to ensure that the car dealers can tack additional fees on to the purchase price for all vehicles (from any manufacturer) sold in Michigan. Such fees have a controversial history, are generally regarded with skepticism and have been the subject of consumer concern in other states.

Not content with enshrining their ability to charge consumers dubious fees, on the last day of the legislative session, the dealers managed to make a last-minute change to the bill in an attempt to cement their broader retail monopoly. Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the State. Unsurprisingly, Senator Hune counts the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association as one of his top financial contributors, and his wife’s firm lobbies for the dealers.

Just about everyone is pressuring the governor to veto the bill. Read this piece in the Detroit Free Press.

Perhaps Tesla should set up a state ranking list where it concisely lists the states that bar “American engineered and manufactured, clean electric cars”. Something like a Wall of Fame/Shame.

As a precedent, the Economist has the Big Mac Index where economies/currencies are ranked by the cost of a Big Mac.

THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2014 was $4.80; in China it was only $2.73 at market exchange rates. So the “raw” Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 43% at that time.

Tesla should also skip the North American Auto Show in Detroit in January in protest. By any measure, they’ve proved they can draw a crowd and internet interest with their recent D event in LA.

From the Tesla Blog:

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Jay Leno on Tesla

Tesla’s battery swap stations to open up by end of the year but is it just a stopgap?


Tesla will open its first battery-swap station within the next few months, the electric car company has confirmed to SlashGear, offering drivers of the Model S a ninety second way to “refuel” their cars. First demonstrated in June 2013, the battery exchange system eschews even the rapid charging of Tesla’s Supercharger network in favor of a wholesale exchange of the batteries themselves. The process would be fully automatic, too, meaning the driver won’t even need to step out of the car in order to replenish their charge levels.

Engadget believes that the renewed interest in the swap point, which will first be somewhere in between San Francisco and LA and doesn’t require the drivers to leave the car during the 90 second transaction, is due to revised California ZEV Credits. I’m not so sure that this just isn’t an ordinary ramp up time period.

Tesla may have decided to redouble its battery station efforts for economic reasons, too. As pointed out by Bloomberg, California stripped Tesla of some of its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) credits earlier this year after revising its rapid refueling rules. The new standard requires that cars be fueled to a 285 mile range in 15 minutes, meaning the Model S — which can receive a 160-mile supercharge in about 30 minutes — no longer qualifies. Meanwhile, hydrogen-fueled cars continue to receive the maximum ZEV credits, since they can easily be refueled in that time. Prior to the decision, Tesla had been selling the excess ZEV credits to other automakers, which is one of the reasons it turned a profit for the first time last year.

Another reason for the slow ramp of the swap stations? Tesla might be trying to get its superchargers up to that standard. In an interview last year with the MIT Technology Review, CTO JB Straubel said that Supercharger technology would continue to improve to the point where Tesla could meet California’s new standards.

“It’s not going to happen in a year from now. It’s going to be hard. But I think we can get down to five to 10 minutes,” Straubel said in an interview with MIT Technology Review. He noted that the current superchargers, which deliver 120 kilowatts of electricity, “seemed pretty crazy even 10 years ago.” Conventional public charging stations deliver well under 10 kilowatts.

Tesla has already reduced its Supercharger times in half going from 40 minutes to 20 minutes for a half charge. A few more ‘half times over the next few years and we’ll be there. One of the barriers of this type of charging is heat so this might involve external or internal cooling for battery charging.

One challenge of fast charging is that delivering power to a battery very rapidly can cause it to overheat. To avoid damaging the battery, the outside charger needs to communicate with the electronics that monitor the state of the batteries, including their voltage and temperature, and quickly adjust charging rates accordingly. “To do that kind of charging, everything has to be designed and working in perfect synchrony,” Straubel says.

Achieving five-minute charges will require not only further improving the charging system, but also improving the interface with the electrical grid. As it is, only some places on the grid can handle 120-kilowatt charging. Drawing large amounts of power from the grid also incurs demand charges from the utility, increasing the cost of the system.

But Straubel says that Tesla plans to get around these problems by equipping supercharging stations with solar panels and batteries.

And perhaps Tesla could automate that charging so you don’t need to get out of the car to supercharge. Musk mentioned his intensions there at the D event but already solutions are being devised (this from Geneva motor show via Reddit):


Tesla Model S gets IHS Teardown treatment: “Unlike any car ever made, more like an iPad”

Tesla’s Model S (or a wrecked one) got the IHS Supply teardown treatment and if you are wondering what makes the car tick, it is a worthy watch/read (PDF). Notably Tesla “really wanted to do things differently and employed virtual controls—rather than physical knobs and buttons—to take over the user experience. This approach required a major investment in big displays and touch panels, similar to the approach Apple took when designing the iPhone and iPad.”

It is no secret the NVidia processor runs the display and the center stack. Other notables:

INNOLUX CORP (Chi Mei) Display – Premium Media Control
NVIDIA CORPORATION Visual Computing Modules – Media Control and Instrument Cluster
JAPAN DISPLAY INC Display – Instrument Cluster
TPK Holdings Touchscreen – Premium Media Control
S1NN GMBH Audio Amplifier PCBA and separate amp module for sound system
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC Assorted Analog, Logic, and Specialized IC Content in multiple modules
SIERRA WIRELESS / QUALCOMM Wireless module / chipset
ST MICROELECTRONICS Audio Amplifiers and assorted integrated circuits in multiple modules
ALTERA CORP FPGA – in Premium Media Control Unit
PARROT Combo Module (BT and WLAN)
SK HYNIX INC DRAM and NAND Flash in NVidia Visual Computing Modules
LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORP Power management Ices in multiple modules
CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTOR CORP Touch Controller ICs for large format capacitive touchscreen

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