Print 31 comment(s) - last by Cypherdude1.. on Jul 9 at 5:50 PM

Tesla Roadster, version 2.5  (Source: Tesla Motors)

Tesla Model S Prototype  (Source: Tesla Motors)
Losses are significant, even considering the downward-trending market

It's been a wild ride for Tesla Motor company enthusiasts.  After months of eager anticipation, the company became the first automotive public offering since Ford in 1956, and dumped 15.3 million shares onto the market aggressively priced at $17 (2 million of these shares were sold late, via an over-allotment option).  

That high price turned out to be an early victory for investors, who saw share prices spike up to a peak of 30.42 last Wednesday -- a gain of 78.8 percent.  However, those gains have since been erased as TSLA has taken a sharp plunge on the stock market.  The stock now sits at 15.50 (at press time), well below its IPO price.

The stock market as a whole has been struggling over the last week, with the DOW Jones Industrial Average dropping last week into the 9000s after poor job reports.  For an unproven company like Tesla that particularly spelled trouble.  

Josef Schuster, the Chicago-based founder of IPOX Capital Management LLC and manager of the Direxion Long/Short Global IPO Fund comments, "The company is a great concept with relatively weak fundamentals.  Markets are weak and in a weak market right now this is hurting the company even more."

Despite having one of the first true electric vehicles on the U.S. market -- the Tesla Roadster, recently update to "Version 2.5" -- and several upcoming vehicles, investors are finally falling out of love with the company and taking a hard look at its financials.  Tesla lost $29.5M USD in Q1 2010 -- almost double what it lost in that quarter last year, and over half of what it lost 
overall last year ($55.7M USD).

Electric vehicles have received a firm monetary and public commitment from U.S. President Barack Obama.  Tesla faces tough competition in the near future, from entry-level competitors like GM's 2011 Chevy Volt and Nissan's 2011 Leaf EV.

However, it'd be premature to write off Tesla entirely.  Its Model S entry-level luxury EV looks promising, if it can keep costs contained.  It also has a key new contract with Toyota to help the Japanese automaker develop electric vehicles.

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By guacamojo on 7/7/2010 12:38:21 PM , Rating: 2

So the general thrust of your blog is that hydrogen cars are the way forward, and that battery-based cars are unlikely due to lower energy density?

Some would argue that building the hydrogen infrastructure poses more hurdles than scaling up the electrical one.

Indeed, if electrolysis becomes the main production method for hydrogen, then scaling up electrical power generation becomes necessary anyways, right?

It seems to me at least, that both routes have significant technical hurdles to clear before either is a viable alternative to conventional gas-powered cars. Do you disagree? (I assume you do, since you're the CEO of a company promoting aluminum-lined plastic pipelines for H2 transport.)

By UNHchabo on 7/7/2010 2:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
While electric cars are far easier to support, hydrogen cars do have the benefit of taking no longer to fill up than gas-powered cars. Fully-electric cars, even with a special fast recharge, still generally need at least 1/2 hour to an hour to even be usable again if you run the battery low.

I only live a few miles from work, so an electric car would be a perfect commuter car for me. Hydrogen is much more feasible for road trips, though.

By Keeir on 7/7/2010 4:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
Hello UNHchabo.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier. Until Hydrogen can show better efficiency at carrying energy, its not really a viable alternative unless we choose to significantly increase our product of energy.

Range Extended Electric Cars could provide the limited use long range while avoiding during the majority use short range the loss of efficieny that comes with Hydrogen intermediate energy carrier.

BTW, the efficiency difference is signficant. If starting from electricity, a electric car is 2x-3x more efficient than a hydrogen car.

By UNHchabo on 7/7/2010 7:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not debating the efficiency of hydrogen, I'm merely stating that currently, hydrogen has the edge on usability on long-distance road trips. I'm thinking of days when I might be driving for 10 hours at a time, like when I did this for 6 days straight while moving across the country.

By lelias2k on 7/7/2010 10:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
Good lord man, were you going at 30 mph??? lol

I came from Savannah to San Diego (~2500 miles) in 3.5 days, and only in the last day and a half I drove more than 8 hours...

By UNHchabo on 7/8/2010 2:51:14 PM , Rating: 2
I may have been exaggerating a little bit with my drive-time per day, but it did take me 6 days of driving, at least 8 hours per day, to cover ~3000 miles. I had a trailer attached to my car, and I discovered that if I went more than 55 my gas mileage plummeted in a big way.

It was especially hellish because Google Maps put us at around 48 hours of driving, which divides up nicely into 6 days of 8 hours each. Not only that, but those 8 hours fall nicely around decently well-known cities. The problem is that the speed limit is 70 for a large portion of I-80, so if you're going 55, 8 hours of driving becomes 10.

Afterwards, I vowed that I would never again drive more than an hour with a trailer attached to my car. When I move back across the country, I'm shipping my stuff, not transporting it myself. That way I can travel at the speed limit without dropping to single-digit gas mileage.

By guacamojo on 7/7/2010 5:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
Fully-electric cars, even with a special fast recharge, still generally need at least 1/2 hour to an hour to even be usable again if you run the battery low.

There's potential for some of the nanotech batteries to have significantly-improved charge times versus the current crop. They have a hugely increased electrode surface area, dropping the internal resistance of the battery; fast discharge/charge cycles become much more practical.

I, for one, am very interested to see what happens with these over the long term.

By Spuke on 7/7/2010 5:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
I only live a few miles from work, so an electric car would be a perfect commuter car for me. Hydrogen is much more feasible for road trips, though.
Are you ok with having an "extra" car for just commuting? My "value for the dollar" meter is registering zero right now.

By UNHchabo on 7/7/2010 7:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
I don't do it myself, but I know several people who already do this. One drives a late-90s Civic to work because it's light and fuel-efficient, then drives an F350 when he's going camping with a trailer, or something else that requires more torque. I know another person who drives his Mustang Cobra on the weekends, but rides a rather modest motorcycle on his commute so he can get more than 50 MPG, and so he can avoid putting his car through the wear-and-tear that comes with stop-and-go traffic.

If I weren't terrified of California drivers swerving into me, I'd commute on a cheap motorcycle. Instead, I own one car, and drive it everywhere.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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