Tesla Elon Musk Threads: Shanghai Gigafactory #3

Shanghai Gigafactory #3

1/ He’s doing it again, in China! First crowd pictures I’ve seen, gives you an idea of how much was invested in the groundbreaking. Pattern: use Tesla’s image to descend on unsophisticated polity, offer local pols trade of PR for PR.

2/ Gigafactory 1: Reno, NV, USA. Gather subsidies and tax concessions, mostly successful because partner Panasonic lets $tsla pretend it’s all Tesla’s achievement. Over $1 billion in subsidies and tax abatements predicted by 2030.

3/ Gigafactory 2: Buffalo, NY, USA. Mostly failed, so only local news covers it – Tesla hype partners silent. Employment goals quietly reduced so they could be met, solar panels produced now sold to non-Tesla/Solar City companies, solar roof tiles in limited production…

4/ ..for Potemkin solar roof tile installations. No volume installs because can’t be done profitably. Even if it were possible, it would take years and $billions to get there, so it’s all being sent to the memory hole where other Elon failed promises go.

5/ Scandal followed, pols convicted in bribery schemes related to the Cuomo’s NY agency: “Alain E. Kaloyeros.. was convicted on Thursday in a bid-rigging scheme that steered $100s of millions… to favored companies in Buffalo” bloomberg.com/news/features/…

6/ Musk has NEVER visited the plant. The $billions spent on it served their purpose: several hype cycles and the Solar City bailout that let him soak Tesla investors to save himself and cousins huge losses when Solar City was near failure.

7/ Gigafactory 3: Shanghai! Shrouded in secrecy on details, groundbreaking timed to assist current pump needs. Local pols may indeed be pushing banks to loan money for building (easily repurposed or de facto expropriated). The capital required to tool up is much larger.

8/ By starting construction of *something* the timeline for reckoning is advanced a year. By the time a shell is up and running, Tesla may have found the capital to equip it, in some unlikely scenario where there’s huge demand in China…

9/ China’s market as we speak is slowing. Expensive products are failing to sell. Small, affordable EVs with 100-km range are what China needs in volume, and Chinese companies will supply them. Foreign status brands are out of style.

10/ $tsla has never shown the ability to mass-produce cars *in lower price tiers* in volume. Musk tried and failed with the Mod3 in the US. His bet on all-automated lines was disastrous and wasted $100s of millions.

11/ The extend-and-pretend, hype-and-raise cycles worked before. Can he do it again and make it through another year? Maybe. The damage done grows each cycle. The runway is ending ahead, as lawsuits and investigations quietly churn away. /end


More on solar and Tesla topics:

PS: Rooftop Solar Mythology

The Story of Solar City’s Takeover.

Rooftop Solar: Trendy Boondoggle or The Future of Power?

Solar: Cost-Effectiveness by Regions, Climate and Latitude

Tesla Elon Musk Threads: The Boring Co Demo

The Boring Co Tunnel, Hawthorne CA

Shortly after the Boring Co demo, the WSJ story leaking the apparent misappropriation of resources from SpaceX for Boring Co use came out. Layoffs at SpaceX and Tesla followed. Much appeared to have happened behind the scenes, and is still being played out.

1/ Boring Co Demo: from a desire to have his own tunnel to avoid the 405 to half-baked concept to lame-ass execution, but as usual he has to keep up the hype. As with $tsla, he bamboozles local pols to give him permission and they get PR while he uses them to draw investment.

2/ If he wanted elevated Hyperloop lines crisscrossing LA, it might make more sense than the overly-costly subway system LA is building. But the cost of subways is not in tunnel drilling, but in cities like LA and NYC, the cost of *lawyers*.

3/ The 10x world cost of big infrastructure in coastal US cities is not due to construction expense. See:
The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth
How excessive staffing, little competition, generous contracts and archaic rules dramatically inflate capital costs for transit in New York.

for a view of one project. The lawyers, the studies, the delays, the contracting rules are what lead to much less new infrastructure than needed.

4/ Because Musk is operating in fantasy mode, he pens agreements with pols for supposed projects without ever getting to the point where environmental studies and lawsuits would be attracted. Fantasy projects have fantasy costs: mostly renderings and tweets. The product is PR.

5/ And PR lets him sell dreams and burn investment money. Until the bottom falls out, he lives a billionaire’s life wasting other people’s money. Like other bubbles he’s inflated, the Boring Co’s product doesn’t solve any problems or save the planet.

6/ One reason lower-density cities should halt investment in mass transit now is the very likely prospect of *non*-autonomous, cooperative networked vehicles: every vehicle knows where every other vehicle is, and can travel in close packs at high speed on highways safely.

7/ Vehicles under swarm software control coordinate passage through intersections at speed, with no need for stoplights. Highway and road capacities double and no new highways are needed for decades. The fleets of robot cars for hire reduce the need for private cars and parking.

8/ This happens around 2040-60, and the transition period is the hardest. $tsla is nowhere near the leaders in thinking about this. Boring Co tunnels are quickly outdated and even more obviously a folly. Others have pointed out how minimal their capacity would be vs. cost.

9/ The battery swap fraud, the solar roof tiles fraud, the vapor ware vehicles, neural net chips, Autopilot: Potemkin products for a ZIRP era when money-losing concept companies can keep growing on hype and lax securities regulators. Boring Co is just the most ridiculous.

10/ He’s dug his holes so deep he can’t stop. Digging is his life. Just one more funding round, just one more press release, just one more rendering the gullible will accept: the narcissist near the end will do anything to avoid facing failure. /end


More on solar and Tesla topics:

PS: Rooftop Solar Mythology

The Story of Solar City’s Takeover.

Rooftop Solar: Trendy Boondoggle or The Future of Power?

Solar: Cost-Effectiveness by Regions, Climate and Latitude

Tesla Elon Musk Threads: The Cult of Elon

Elon Musk - Solar Roof Tiles Demo

The original goal of this blog was to explore all aspects of making a larger house “green” or sustainable. I have spent more time lately debunking the mountain of lies promoted by Elon Musk in both solar and EV aspects of Tesla’s operations. Rather than convert those researches into posts, I’ll just copy those threads here for future readers.

1/ The cult of Elon is a subdivision of the ecowarrior movement that is pushing to eliminate all fossil fuels (and nukes) by 2030. That would mean keeping poor people poor while the connected grow fat on subsidies for their $tsla EVs and Powerwalls.


2/ Where the Progressive-Greens are influential (California, Germany) the cost of energy has doubled (or more) from what a free market mix would have provided, reliable paid-for nuclear is being shut down, and the costliest forms installed earlier are decaying.


3/ Wind turbines are especially costly, mechanical collectors of a low-density source which can never compete on cost with other forms. Already windmill farms installed early in the movement are largely abandoned. Photovoltaic is already maxed out in California at 10%.


4/ Patrick Moore (@ecosensenow) as founder of Greenpeace has come around to regret the cultural Leviathan he helped create. Political energy planning, like industrial policies everywhere they’re tried, is captured by special interests and corruptly siphons off wealth.

5/ After Solyndra and the litany of multibillion $ losses on grants, loans, and subsidies to political supporters of government, it’s clear this is a losing strategy. But pols want to double down, because hoodwinking the voters keeps the gravy train going.


6/ I’m all for a sustainable future. What’s not sustainable is borrowing $trillions to make bad investments that have small or negative return to society. And expensive EVs as status objects for the wealthy should no longer be subsidized.


7/ People who believe oil companies and ICE cars are highly subsidized are responding to decades of propaganda by true believers as well as proponents of political control of *every decision in life.* This is the “Bootleggers and Baptists” coalition.


8/ Direct political control of investment automatically creates corruption. For every example of a bankrupt private company that made a mistake and had to be liquidated, there is a government agency that lives on forever despite its failure.


9/ Without an honest accounting of good produced vs social and financial cost of regulation and control, voters can never see the but-for world where a better policy was followed. In this case, the cost of additional CO2 to future humanity is only vaguely known.


10/ Relentless global warming (now “climate change”) propaganda was justified as necessary to alarm voters enough to create support for costly actions. We now know the rate of change is something like a third of the crude alarmist model predictions.


11/ Slower change can’t justify keeping millions in poverty to save the planet – it points toward cheaper mitigation of effects. Economists correctly argued for small but increasing carbon taxes as the least costly means of repressing CO2 production.


12/ But (a la @instapundit) an efficient, neutral tax returned to the people offered insufficient opportunity for graft. Instead we have two generations of children out of public schools who have been indoctrinated in quasi-religious claptrap about recycling and alt-energy.


13/ An offshoot of the “populist” rejection of globalist control of governments in the EU and Anglosphere should be a rejection of controlled energy markets. Middle-class voters see who has the shiny solar panels and EVs, and who pays through the nose in rates for basic needs.


14/ Solar will often make sense as costs drop. New battery tech will change the economics of solar and allow it to take a larger share without distorting grid economics. But $tsla is a parasite which would not exist without $billions in subsidies and set-asides.


15/ $tsla occupied the US ZEV niche created by gov’t, but is unlikely to survive Musk’s mistakes of the past (which left it with heavy debt and legal liabilities.) Better managers can take it forward but only after restructuring.


Exemplar boondoggle: California’s high speed rail project. Floated on lies and maintained by the one-party state.



More on solar and Tesla topics:

PS: Rooftop Solar Mythology

The Story of Solar City’s Takeover.

Rooftop Solar: Trendy Boondoggle or The Future of Power?

Solar: Cost-Effectiveness by Regions, Climate and Latitude