• Dec 27th 2009 at 2:54PM
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Tesla Roadster - Click above for high-res image gallery

Tesla's long-rumored initial public offering is still not here (maybe soon?), and there's another voice of warning people away from the stock when it's available. A writer for the Motley Fool investment site says that Tesla's long-term stock prospects are a "bumpy road," even with all of the things that Tesla has going for it: green sheen, U.S. success, and drop-dead sexy cars. Plus, just over half of the AutoblogGreen community thinks the IPO is a good idea.

The problem, according to the Fool, isn't what's happening at Tesla, but around it. Namely, plug-in hybrids like the Volt and the PHEV Prius. Another problem is the lack of a quick-charging infrastructure, which won't make pure electrics easily appealing to the majority. OK, fine. Tesla certainly wouldn't be adverse to selling a million Model S units in 2015, but that's not required for the company to be successful, if the Roadster is any guide and company tales of profits hold up in the long term. Whether or not Tesla stock is a good buy, we're not bold enough to say, but we're not sure that the Fool has their story right this time. They're saying Tesla might be threatened by the sub-four second Chrysler plug-in hybrid that was rumored last year but hasn't been in the news much lately. Really? That's just bizarre.

[Source: Motley Fool]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The auto industry ate my soul
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bstar is absolutely correct. Tesla will be remembered as a milestone in automotive history, but they will not last (except perhaps as a marketing arm for Mercedes). They do not have much in the way of unique technology, they assemble a power train from procured parts. At best a botique car company. Kudos to Musk, but he is just trying to cash in his chips while the getting is good.

      But since 50% of ABG readers think the IPO is a good idea, I encourage them to buy. Fanboys or smart investors....hhmmm?
        • 7 Months Ago
        By your reasoning Fisker won't last either because they are contracting out their manufacturing to Valmet and buying GM engines. And GM won't last because they buy batteries and motors and hundreds of other parts from subcontractors. And Apple should have died years ago because they subcontract all their manufacturing.

        Tesla has design, production, and operation experience with highway-speed BEVs. No other company in the world can say that right now (GM/Aerovironment and Toyota used to have it ten years ago :-( ). Their Power Electronics Module (motor torque control, regenerative braking control, and charging) is their own and demonstrably works. They also have a unique approach to battery design with their Energy Storage System that manages thousands of consumer lithium-ion cells. They have a well-received low-volume sports car with no competition in its niche until 2012, and an additional prototype car design that nobody outside the company really knows. I have no idea if all that amounts to a worthwhile IPO, but people who characterize it as insignificant are mistaken.
        • 7 Months Ago
        OK, We all like Tesla, we all like Fiskar, but no, neither of these companies will survive to become major players, if at all. Thank you for your Apple example, because it was just this attitude that motivated Tesla. "Detroit is stupid, we can do better" Tesla, as we know, learned that the automotive business is not too easy and that it requires a great deal of expertise.

        Stringing together laptop batteries isn't a great idea, it is a compromise. Tesla lacked the economic clout to get battery companies to invest in manufacturing facilities to produce larger automotive cells. GM and others don't have this problem. If Tesla had lots of unique technology we would not be having this discussion. The IPO would be past history and Musk would be taking credit for the work of someone else.

        There is a huge difference between making a few hundred cars and hundreds of thousands of cars. As we have heard Cadillac is going to be making a luxury version of the Volt. They will be able to offer it at a price much lower than Tesla or Fisker. Comparing these companies to the major automobile companies is like comparing the local school carnival to Disneyland. They both entertain, but Disneyland has it down to a science.

        We all like to root for the underdog, but I see nothing that indicates the either of these companies has what it takes to become major players. If they have something of value, they will be bought up by one of the big guys. Mercedes invested in Tesla, but they also invested in Chrysler and sucked that company dry. At best I see these guys as being like Spyker, or Avanti, or Panos. Boutique cars to be acquired by those that want something different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If i get in on this IPO it will be for the prospect of what the stocks will be worth in 50 years, not the next day.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Investment bankers don't care about the long term. This is whey we had this bank bailout last year: everybody only cared about *now*.

        I hope Tesla will postpone this as long as possible. An IPO is distracting and employees will spend their time looking at their stock vales instead of working on the Model S. Plus, I'm not sure Elon will be diplomatic enough to ft Wall Street's idea of a CEO.
        • 7 Months Ago
        After this IPO Musk will move on. He is a serial entrepreneur and is already looking to his next venture, space. Nothing wrong with that, he is not interested in running a company long term.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The important part to remember is that an IPO is an exit strategy for the backers, not a means to build long term business. That is for some other schmuck to worry about.
        • 7 Months Ago
        When a company goes public, it becomes part of the Wall Street greed system. You know, the system that demands maximum profit and growth at the expense of any other factors. And, as stated, it is an exit strategy for the current investors to recoup and make a profit on their investment. Over the years Wall Street has morphed into a giant national casino with little regulation or oversight.

        Five years from now, I expect TMC to be a division of one of the major auto companies. Especially, if TMC starts competing with a $30k sedan. The current CEOs record speaks to this. He starts companies then sells out. I doubt he will remain with TMC after the IPO.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think they sand a good chance provided they are committed. They've been around for quite a while making EV's, they know what they are doing, so provided they can set up a manufacturing plant soon enough so they can produce them cheaply, then they should be able to compete well with the other big automakers who don't have the experience in making EV's and have all their other baggage to drag them down. They won't face any real competition from Chrysler or Ford and I doubt the Volt will be a serious threat considering its limited range and high price. They are way ahead of Toyota in terms of making EV's. Their only stiff competition will be Nissan.
      Lookup MGTOW
      • 5 Years Ago
      I read TESLA recharge is equivalent to 30 or 40 MPG car when buying grid-juice.

      - They need a standalone solar/wind charger so bad. Or live in a house that's off the grid.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Lookup MGTOW
        Depends on your electricity source.

        Tesla Roadster's sticker efficiency is ~33kWh/100mi.

        Formula is this (substitute the lbsCO2/kWh number into the X):
        1 / (33kWh/100mi * X * 1 gal gas/19.4lbsCO2) = 58.79/X mpg

        100% Coal 2007 (2.189lbs/kWh) = 26.9mpg

        100% Natural Gas 2007 (1.063lbs/kWh) = 55.4mpg

        US Average 2007 (1.335lbs/kWh) = 44.1mpg

        California (PG&E) (0.724lbs/kWh) = 81.3mpg

        Source for 2007 emissions numbers :

        From this tool, just divide the lbs/MWh number by 1000 to get lbs/kWh for your power company:

        If your power source is all/mostly fossil fuels, it should be around 27-55mpg depending on how much natural gas. Any renewable or nuclear obviously will push it higher.

      • 5 Years Ago
      as I've said before I have doubts about the chosen parameters of the tesla model S. I'm not sure there is a mass market for a large expensive pure EV like that, in part made worse by my belief that it will increase in price before coming to sale because Elon the fast and loose might have overstated things a bit. I'm guessing closer to 70k$ and that's for the low range version. and I wouldn't be surprised if the price got even higher. but even at only 50k$ after tax rebate it's still a bit of an oddity because you can only use it as one of several cars you have available because it has no way around the range limit. it's so heavy and therefore the pack so big that there is no realistic outlook for fast charge on the go. there might just be enough customers worldwide to keep them going but I sure wouldn't count on it with the likes of Karma around. it could bleed them. it could kill them. ton+ and BEV worked for the roadster. it wont work for the S.

      I still maintain that the only way forward is the low weight great aerodynamics approach. a monocoque sleek fiber glass composite body that will then need much less battery which will all work together to be a far more viable product, both initial cost, battery replacement over the life and quick recharge on the go. also easier to range extend with a small ICE. lean is of course rational and the S is not lean. still make it stylish and fast but the conventional obese car weight is not compatible with EV or the future. I maintain that the model S is wrong and as such would not want to invest in Tesla even though I hope they do well for EV's sake.

      mark my words, the car model(s) that will steal the future will weigh less than half of the model S. it can be done today, they are all just doing it wrong even though the Aptera is hinting.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If successful it will be swallowed, if not, you won't be giving it any thought in 50 years. Is the whole thing pretty iify? It's a gamble.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sorry, does...does...it really say Tesla might be threatened by.....Chrysler? Because,.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Motley Fool is about as useful as throwing your money uphill into a heavy wind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      that's just not true. tesla's drivetrain is quite intelligent and unique in the world of production cars so that's blatantly wrong. hopefully fanboys will have better insight than you. not that I would invest but for other reasons. see below.

      that it's relatively easy for big companies to replicate it is another matter but the dumb suits seem to be intimidated by more or less trivial technology so they invest in Tesla
      • 5 Years Ago
      How does Tesla remain so high and mighty in all of your minds? Let us not forget that as a company, they've been shady (2 legal cases, neither of them in the right), as well as production numbers (and sales) MUCH lower than promised when the roadster launched. What Tesla cannot do, which Ford, Nissan, and Chevy can, is fully design, engineer, and manufacture a car. All for much cheaper than Tesla (How's that California plant coming along?!). And what really takes the cake from good ol' Ellon is that Fisker has a much more compelling premium green super car that you can drive across the country with 3 others. And if you the the Model S is going to be made as it has shown in concept form, than you're fooling yourselves. And what family could afford to buy a $50k car that has a 160 mile range. Lithium ion battery technology isn't going to get much better, and the materials are only going to become more expensive because of demand (lithium, colbalt, etc.). Investing in tesla is just like buying Chrysler stock, money down the drain.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Common misconception: "...the CARB ZEV program shut down."

        Truth: "The ARB has been the leader in the development of programs designed to reduce emissions from mobile sources. Mobile sources account for well over half of the emissions which contribute to ozone and particulate matter in California. Zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) and near-zero emission vehicles are a key element of California's plan for attaining health based air quality standards and meeting our greenhouse gas emission reduction goals."


        The CARB ZEV program is alive and kicking.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Fine, there still is a ZEV program. Truth: it's been so adjusted/lawyered up/watered down that it has yet to compel manufacturers to sell zero tailpipe emission vehicles in California! The Wikipedia GM EV-1 article says "An alliance of the major automakers litigated the CARB regulation in court, resulting in a slackening of the ZEV stipulation, permitting the companies to produce super-low-emissions vehicles, natural gas vehicles, and hybrid cars in place of pure electrics" and CARB's own web site says "The ZEV mandate was adjusted ... again in 1998 to allow partial ZEV (PZEV) credits for extremely clean vehicles that were not pure ZEVs."

        Sure, CARB continue *threatening* future requirements, but they also keep backing off as the future becomes the present. I tried to make sense of section C of CARB's amended 2003 regulations PDF and couldn't. Meanwhile Google search reveals articles like "California's influential Air Resources Board on Thursday cut by 70 percent the number of electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles automakers will be required to sell in coming years ... the board voted to reduce the number of pure ZEVs, or cars powered entirely by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, to 7,500 for the three years from 2012 to 2014", http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2716706420080328

        I'm sure someone here can explain CARB's actual requirements for actual zero-tailpipe emission vehicles for 2009 and future years instead of copying and pasting their feel-good self-serving messaging.
        • 7 Months Ago
        "How does Tesla remain so high and mighty in all of your minds?"

        By actually producing the only highway-legal BEV in the USA in significant numbers (for an expensive sports car). Sure you can be reductive and say it's easy and nothing special (compared to what?), but NO ONE ELSE DID IT since the CARB ZEV program shut down.

        Neither the Karma nor Model S is on the road. It as if they'll compete but are different technologies. There are hundreds of other car models that manage to get a slice of the huge car market, why not both those models as well?
        • 7 Months Ago
        Ah yes, the Tesla front office follies. A good enough reason in and of itself for an investor to stay far away from any IPO.

        The comment that noted that IPOs are an exit strategy for the early investors got it right. They'll take Tesla public at the time when they feel that they can get a reasonable return on their investment. After that they won't care what happens to Tesla.
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