Musk At NAIAS: Bolt Is Significant, Volt Is No Threat. Sales In China Weak, Rising In US

JAN 14 2015 BY JAY COLE 111

Elon Musk took to the stage to discuss the electric car business on Tuesday night in Detroit at the NAIAS.  He ended up doing that and a while heck of a lot more.

The talk ran quiet long, so much so that the Tesla CEO started on the “Automotive New World Congress” main stage for about three quarters of an hour before breaking to a sub stage for another 45 mins.

Here are some highlights of interest:

Tesla CEO Apparently Pleased With Chevrolet Bolt Reveal Yesterday

Tesla CEO Apparently Pleased With Chevrolet Bolt Reveal Yesterday

On General Motor’s introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt, a compact utility vehicle with 200 miles of range that should be in production and out to all 50 states in 2018 (full details here):

Known for his distain of limited range/limited use EVs, Mr. Musk had some praise for GM and their CEO for this electric offering, saying he was pleased to see Mary Barra on stage while noting that it “sounds like they are going to do something significant with the Bolt.”

On The 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which arrives this fall – complete with more traditional styling and 50 miles of extended range (full details/specs here) :

As a true believer in an all electric car future, the Tesla CEO’s reaction was fairly predictable, saying that he “doesn’t see it as a competitive threat because I think that all cars will go electric…if you define the set of competitor car’s that are electric, then sure its a competitor but that is not what we see.”  Adding to the thought, Musk stated that over there are over 100 million cars and trucks made every year, so that it really wasn’t about competing against “few hundred thousand cars” that are electric today.

Later, Musk was asked if Tesla had learned anything from the Volt (or other cars) on the road today.  He replied he had not.

The Tesla boss was asked about profitability and sales, and unfortunately for the after-hours stock price, the those topics came up early, and his answers wasn’t what investors wanted to hear…meaning all the beat-writers went to press with a tasty sound-bite to write about during an impromtu 15 minute break between discussion stages – sending Tesla shares down up to 7% in extended trading (live quote here):

Profitability A Must By 2020 During Volume Production For Tesla

Profitability A Must By 2020 During Volume Production For Tesla (via AP)

As for overall profitability, the Tesla CEO was asked when they need to start showing profit.  Musk said that need will arrive “probably when the Model 3 is in production. ” Musk says around 2020 when they have a half-million cars in production.

Musk admitted that “China was unexpectedly weak in the fourth quarter,” but noted that they understand the problems and that they will fix “China issues.”  The problem?  Tesla’s communication with the Chinese population over the charging of the Model S – specifically that it was thought to be difficult to do and to travel long distances.

Musk says that kink has now been worked out and that the company is seeing a “uptick now”.

On Europe environment and sales:

Musk said the Supercharging network almost covers Europe and that he sees a factory there at some point, but we still get the impression that sales where kinda ‘meh’ in the region.

Although he said that Tesla was seeing “growth in all our markets in Europe” and “was excellent”, it was also noted that sales “would probably” go up in 2015.  Given what we know of Europe sales through the first 11 months of the year (especially ex-Norway in Q1 & Q2), it wasn’t a ringing endorsement of confidence in the market that by most accounts (and forecasts) has well underperformed expectations in 2014.

On US and overall sales:

Little bit of confusion over the quote itself and Musk’s thought process, but the Tesla CEO said that the company’s “aspiration was to deliver 33,000 cars in 2014” and that “we sold in terms of orders of cars far more than that.”  Musk also noted that US orders were “rising” but didn’t not elaborate further.  We suppose we will have to wait until the Q4/FY report in February to finally nail down Model S orders for 2014.

Model S P85D Helping Sales "Rise" In North America

Model S P85D Helping Sales “Rise” In North America

Tesla Model S P85D/85D At NAIAS - Still No Production-Intent Model X To Be Found - Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs

Tesla Model S P85D/85D At NAIAS – Still No Production-Intent Model X To Be Found – Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs

On Model X and its delay(s):

“I think I have an issue with punctuality..trying to recalibrate a little bit.”

Musk did underline the fact that the Model X would launch “for sure” this summer, despite the production-intent Model X prototypes still being a no show at the NAIAS this year.  Later, he underlined the vehicle is sold out for 2015.  (Also of note: Tesla is offering the X in 60D, 85D, and P85D options currently)

Random other points of interest:

  • On why he is speaking in Detroit today: “I’m here is to talk about electric vehicles and to do what I can to encourage other automakers to accelerate their electric vehicle programs.”
  • Gave props to Daimler again for early investment and support in Tesla
  • By 2025 Musk thinks Tesla will have sold a few million EVs.   “Our goal is fundamentally to transition the world to electric cars”through volume production
  • Gigafactory will drive down costs.  Musk guarantees that will happen, and offers that if it doesn’t, I should be fired
  • Big announcement coming on Tesla service centers in 1 or 2 months
  • One of Elon’s children told him the Model s “the stupidest car” in the world because of no lights to read in the back.  Hence their return.
  • Price of gas means nothing to Model S or X sales. Might have impact on the Model 3, but that is a ways off and prices change – lower cost cars more effected by the pump
  • Musk still not a fan of hydrogen fuel cells.  Words like “terrible” for efficiency, and “extremely silly“, “extremely dumb”, “extremely flammable” were uttered.  Summed it all up by saying “…it will be super obvious as time goes by” that hydrogen fuel cells aren’t the future.
  • Autonomous Drive – cars need to be 10x safer than human driven cars before they are fully autonomous so there can be no debate about them – figures that takes up to 3 years to get approved, up to 8 years before we see them on the roads
  • Model 3 – 20% smaller, some standard options on the S will be options on the 3.  Musk wants the car to be “way different” but “not just a smaller Model S” and not a “weird-mobile“, different in a “really useful” way
  • Model 3 price re-confirmed (again) for $35,000 before incentives

 Updated (Jan 14 1:45AM – added video of event, quotes to article)

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111 Comments on "Musk At NAIAS: Bolt Is Significant, Volt Is No Threat. Sales In China Weak, Rising In US"

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Can’t wait to see the haters jumping on here. I guess the reason they haven’t yet is their to busy executing some of their short sales first!

Growth in all European markets is “meh?”

Probably is Elon speak for Yes. He thinks like a scientist and can’t guarantee future behavior by people in the short term, like sales in 2015.

Over the long term he can make predictions with confidence like buying a FCEV is stupid so that is not the future even if Governments and incentives drive some FCEV sales in the short term.

China probably fell just short of 5k unit goal. Executive seats, a popular option there for the chauffeured , and increased knowledge of the actual Tesla charging protocols will resolve the issue. Or least Elon believes so.

“Sales in Europe surprisingly excellent” said Elon Musk at 28 min.
What is wrong here? Why does InsideEVs bashing Tesla so much in his titles?!?
Why the bias?

Musk also said in introduction that fracking is very dangerous for the world, that it will increase supplies by a factor of ten and we must not count on high gas prices to make the transition to electrics.

No intentional slight. It isn’t always the easiest thing to listen to an hour and a half of press conference and write a story recap on the fly before there is tape made available to review all the comments back. We didn’t convey Elon’s expressions as well as we could have on Europe, we’ll add that in now. Despite the “surprisingly excellent” remark, Europe is still meh in context. The takeaway is that it is/was not anywhere near originally expected, so despite the unexpected result, it is off an adjusted fairly low expectation (such as if next year in Q4 2015 China Tesla does “ok” compared to this year’s expectation, it would be an excellent result in context). The forecast for a will “probably” improve in 2015 means Europe is going to continue to play a fairly marginal roll in Tesla’s success in 2015 (IMO). Norway accounts for more than half of all Tesla Europe sales, and 66% of those came in the first half of 2014 powered exlusively by HUGE incentives…which unless extended will end this year (at 50k EVs sold net) Just as a sidenote: Two weeks ago the site was getting raked for having too high an… Read more »

You might mention also their ORIGINAL aspirations were for 35,000 cars sold this year. They moved the goal past to 33,000 a couple of months ago as they realized they were going to fall short.

They reduced the goal when the line shutdown went longer than expected, perhaps to prep for D production that may have been a relatively late addition to the changes. The lost production equaled the downward revision.

Or the opposite.

Anything is possible, such as the sun not coming up tomorrow. Given all of the complaints about the already significant wait times being pushed out even further because of the delay, the opposite isn’t very likely.

/h8toraid is bad for your health

If I read this correctly, Musk is saying that the M-3 will be even more optioned than the M-S. Given the already spartan nature of a base M-S (e.g. cloth interior, no navi, no keyless entry), what does this mean? Crank windows? Manual door locks?

Are we going back to the AMC days of “base model means bring your own wheels and tires”?

Likely for 2 reasons:

1. To meet the so called $35K starting price.

2. To milk the buyers into a much higher profitable options. Options are where the profits are…

Lastly, they can always “cancel” the lowest base version for lack of order and the next trim will start at $45K…

Not the first time he’s said it, and I have wondered about this.
All I can think of as optional are the retractable door handles. Base wheels would also be smaller (17″?), but I don’t see what else they can remove that makes any sense.

autopilot, sensors, rear camera, higher end sound system, slacker, free connectivity, power seats

Starting in 2018, backup cameras are required on all new vehicles.

– autopilot features are not enabled unless you purchase the tech package (but sensors and safety warnings are)
– rear camera is required on all cars
– higher end sound system is already optional on the M-S
– I don’t know what “slacker” is
– free connectivity & power seats are possibilities, though

The sensors are needed for basic safety features like auto breaking, so they can’t be optional.

I can see so many more luxury standard features in the S, that a 3 purchaser demographic would not want to be forced to buy (ie, base version will not include): full sized dash screen; many of the standard screen settings; leather seats; key based profiles for automatic settings; power passenger seat; smart phone remote control; cruise control; dual zone climate control; 200 watt hi-fi stereo; NAV; moon roof; adjustable suspension; Xenon headlights. There are many so ways to make the base Model 3 hit the $35,000 target price, then be highly profitable after re-optioning.

Leather seats are already optional on M-S, as is navigation and adjustable suspension.

I’m not saying you can’t make the M-3 hit the target price. But that car is supposed to be a luxury sport sedan that competes with the 3 Series… and you’re talking about making cruise control an option? Cruise control is standard on a base Civic.

You mean manual cranked windows, like the $140K VW XL1?

Efficiency isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. And it certainly can’t be both.

Oh! If you run some numbers on a car 20% smaller than the Model S, you end up with a car the size of a Prius C…or a Bolt. Physics is a b__tch!

The XL1 is a glorified concept car. They are only making 250 of them.

On a side Note, I wonder what GM would charge for a redo of the EV1 – if they made just 1000 units for Enthusiasts, collectors, and the like? $100,000? $200,000?

Only windshield included. All other windows optional. Replaced with cameras for aerodyanmics and cost reduction.

“•One of Elon’s children told him the Model s “the stupidest car” in the world because of no lights to read in the back. Hence their return.”


“20% smaller, some standard options on the S will be options on the 3.”

NOT funny.. So, Model 3 at $35K will be more stripped down than the $70K model S? Or there will be more optioned based “milking” of customers…

Better to reverse your thinking. Rather, please Tesla remove all the unnecessary luxury features, so your EVs are much more affordable and people have much more choice. That’s how they will start selling millions rather than thousands…

While I would agree with you if the Model 3 is a sub $30K or even sub $20K car. But it is NOT. It starts at $35K. So, it would be in the entry level luxury segment…

NOT have the basic options standard would make the car look cheap… Even the Model S doesn’t look impressive at all (beside the large touch screen) in its base trims. I even sat in a S60 base model and I would have to say that is NOT a good one for $70K..

Agreed. You cannot have a car that’s supposed to compete with the 3 Series that comes stock without power windows, cruise control, disc brakes, etc.

The idea that Tesla can just make a car that competes with the 3 Series on performance (and nothing else) is not rational. There are already plenty of cheap pocket rockets; no one is going to pay BMW prices for Mustang features and interior.

I thought this was an interesting comment for another reason. He said with the Model 3 being 20% smaller, it will need a 20% smaller battery pack. Since range is mostly dictated by aerodynamics above 40mph, that would mean that the frontal area would need to be 20% smaller. Given that you can’t really make the car any shorter, that means the width would have to be reduced by 20%. To give you an idea, the Nissan LEAF is only 10% narrower than a Model S. That additional 10% would need to be made up of coefficient of drag improvements (which the Model S is already high at) or weight savings (which has diminishing returns at higher speeds)

If they were in the business of losing money, they would be called “Government”.
But since they are not and they want to make money, then why not offer those options.

Tesla is in the business to make money just as the other car companies who milk the customers through Stealerships.

You can like Musk; you can dislike him, you can agree with him, or disagree. You can complain about his cars or you can admire them, and if you can afford one; buy one. But if you are at this site learning about electric drive automobiles, you own one, or want to own one, whether Tesla prospers or fails or is sold for a loss, equal value or a profit, Tesla will have made its mark and may continue to do so and we will all have benefited from their presence, arguably sparking the serious development of the electric car and driving it’s development so that we now have choices and we can expect improvement in the technology. Good luck, Musk. Good luck Tesla.

You just won the award for the longest sentence on Inside EVs. 🙂

And quite a good one.

“Whether Tesla prospers or fails”? Don’t be mistaken, Tesla must not fail. If Tesla disappears, the auto industry has no interest in killing the very profitable and highly protected oil economy. We’ll just end up right back where we were in 2010. Plugin hybrids probably have the momentum to survive now, but pure EVs would disappear for at least another 20 years. A key point, Tesla is the only auto manufacturer that does not worry about canabalizing it’s own ICE product line by making pure EVs. And this will only begin to happen for everyone else as long as Tesla continues to demonstrate that EVs are supeperior in all ways to ICEs. This is why Musk said when releasing its patents, Tesla is not a corporation, it is a cause.

CARB mandates an increasing percentage of sales be ZEV so electric car sales would not go to zero in the extremely unlikely and undesirable scenario of Tesla disappearing. CARB doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

And also the EU regulations and chinese regulations will make it impossible for EVs to fail.

But Tesla is there to keep the other companies on their toes and making sure that they will not get away with the minimal effort possible.

I used to give CARB a ton of credit. Then they started over-incentivizing fuel cell vehicles to the point that I question their motives.


CARB and it’s FCV wildly large Credits, will exist, but in less than 3 years time, we will see – with the 1st crop of 150 – 200 mile Battery Electric Range BEV’s start making their way to owners hands, just how many FCV’s are traded in for the new BEV’s! OH – Wait – They are just Leases, yes? So they will just return them like I did my 2008 Dodge Dakota at lease end! Also – by that time – CHAdeMO will likely be at somewhere around 1500 – 2500 locations in the USA, and Canada might even hit 100 – 200; Tesla will have covered 98% of US Population to be within 100 miles of a Supercharger, and potentially – the same in Canada by late 2017 to early 2018! With Cars using CCS – they will likely take advantage of the KIA Multi-Standard CHAdeMO + CCS sites, and workplace charging will become more the norm, with more 120V spots added for general parking, and select numbers of 240V EVSE’s added, so range will be covered at work charging, Home charging, and Fast Charging, in so many more places, that FCV’s will have a tougher time of… Read more »

I don’t think it is CARB, so much as a whole lot of Toyota, oil and environmental interests, who were all in sync with hydrogen.

Too many engineers and scientists, not looking at economics. Some thought-bubbles from the proverbial meeting:

Env Guy – “We’ll do electrolysis from renewables, YEAH AWESOME”

Toyota/GM Guy – “The only true long-range ZEV”

Oil Guy – “Hmmm, 2+2=??, ah, they’ll need lots of natural gas”

Citizen – absent

I like the self-deprecating “I think I have an issue with punctuality..trying to recalibrate”, LOL

Can call off the intervention.

Like most engineers, he’s an optimistic. 🙂

The problem isn’t with the first 90% of the work, even though this takes 90% of the allotted time. It’s the remaining pesky 10%: those take the 2nd 90% of the time…

The gasoline infrastructure exists. I just can’t believe one of the major auto companies can’t build a 25 kW generator that is superior to BMW’s first attempt. If EV enthusiasts believe an Escalade is wasteful because of all of the steel and energy used just to manufacture it how can they also not think driving around with an extra 40 kWh of batteries that are rarely used is not wasteful??? I just think buying an EV with over 150 miles of range when one drives over 150 miles once a month is wasteful.

There are many other ways to view having a 150+ mile range battery…

1. It’s like a fuel tank, so the bigger the capacity, the easier a longer road trip will be for those few times a year, when it will be suddenly desirable to do so.

2. The less charging needed, the longer your pack will last. It’s simple: More recharge cycles, less life. Think of it as a form of lifespan insurance for your EV.

3. Larger batteries can be charged significantly faster than smaller packs, i.e., SuperCharger.

4. Larger packs allow vehicles to attain faster 0-60 times, if that’s important for you.

5. Having a bigger battery means more cabin heat and usable range in cold weather. Also, the reverse is also true, when you have to have the AC on in the summer.

So the reality is– (at least with EVs) bigger is better in every possible way, other than your single criteria. Which is probably some misplaced Eco-frugality from our puritanical past. *shrugs*

Gene – it’s not wasteful, it’s insurance. Some people choose a big battery for insurance, other choose a range extender. Both may not get used much, but it’s nice to have them if/when you need them.

Elon Musk is a great American and I have the utmost respect for him, but he is just as arrogant as every other American billionaire (and more obnoxious). I am taking issue with his “all cars will go electric” comment because it is one of his typical comments that borders on ridiculous. I do think all cars will have an EV component but we have the gasoline infrastructure and gasoline range extenders make a lot of sense and are arguably greener.

You mad?

The “Gasoline infrastructure” IS KILLING US ! ! !

Gene must work in marketing at Toyota, so would love to see EVs disappear.

Why do some of you have to be such jerks to new commenters on InsideEVs?

Gene is making a great point, and it’s nowhere near Toyota’s half-assed PHEV strategy.

Thank you. First off I want to buy an EV because the Tesla has proved they are superior by every measure except interstate travel–to me after 150 miles of range you are getting into diminishing returns. So we know the range issue can be solved we just don’t know how it will be solved. In fact Tesla is working on 2 ways! Superchargers and swapping so even Musk doesn’t know which way will be best because he is investing in a swap station. Superchargers are awesome but they work better with a larger pack because from what I understand they only go full speed up to 80% charge. That brings me to the swap station. I think it is great that Musk is developing it but at this stage it is every bit as stupid as fuel cells but I don’t hear other auto CEOs belittling his idea. Once again, I don’t have a problem with Musk’s arrogance because I think it is typical and he is a great American. I take issue with his comments about other technologies and I think some are counterproductive but that is fine because he is the CEO of a company so I keep… Read more »

“..full speed up to 80% charge.”

We can true this up to limiting power output to 180kw, as you fall inside 50 miles of range. That’s still enough power for triple digit “speed”.

Each makes their own decision about their geography, driving needs and supercharger availability. My opinion is Tesla does the best job of efficiently locating chargers.

What you refer to as “arrogance”, I think of as “conviction” (i.e., vision backed by science & relevant data, where possible). 😉

To some people, truth can seem like arrogance.


Don’t get me started. This is the single biggest issue with humanity…

Electric cars are simply better. They are a more comfortable ride, they are more efficient, they don’t emit toxic fumes, they require less maintenance, they are easier to use and they can be refueled from a wall socket in your garage.
That is why all cars will be electric.

Great list Anon. Perhaps one more item…

6. Larger batteries reduce the number of public EV charging stations required, and thus reduces the cost of this infrastructure.

I agree with his list and I agree with you that once EV range is over 150 miles charging infrastructure is much less important outside one’s home charger. So wouldn’t that mean counterintuitively that a gasoline range extender would be more important? I want to own an EV sooner rather than later and I respect Musk’s position about ICEs but I don’t think it is realistic or economical in light of a gasoline infrastructure that exists.

Also counterintuitively a gasoline range extender might be greener and less wasteful than an 100 kWh battery pack. But I also understand Anon’s point that more kWh means better performance which is what sells cars in the US.

That is either biased or ignorant stereotype. There are a myriad of features that “sell” cars in the US. It is a huge market that by far is dominated by non-performance cars. Range extender vs BEV is an argument that cannot be won. Range extender is more effective today for more of the population to reduce gasoline consumption but that is because of cost, not some ill-perceived misallocation of resources. Lithium is common and recyclable. Musk view is too myopic IMO for the whole car market in the near to mid term but perfectly fine for Tesla. He correctly recognizes that battery cost is the only significant obstacle to be overcome for significant mass appeal of BEVs and he is astutely trying to address this issue with the Gigafactory.

Yes, he is a media hog but that has been a huge boost for Tesla and EVs as a whole.

Successful high volume EVs sales (ie millions) have so many spinoff benefits too. Batteries will get cheaper, smart phones, tablets & laptops will last longer, medical implants will be more safe and reliable, sustainable electricity generation will become economically superior. Essentially it will open up applications for energy “mobility” we have not yet even dreamed of (think “smart contacts” :D).

Gene, Per “once EV range is over 150 miles charging infrastructure is much less important outside one’s home charger.” If the Argument is the figure [150 miles] – or the idea [Longer ranges of a fixed battery pack on an EV] is the question! Some people – like myself drive a short distance to and from work (I should actually walk, and some could take a pedal bike or electric assist bike); whereas – I have co-workers who commute WAYYYY more than a 40 miles a day trip, some would need to get the 85 kWh Tesla – just for the unlimited Miles Warranty – even though the 60 kWh car would do the commute for them in just about all cases from just a home charge, and definitely if they had 120V workplace charging! (90 minutes driving – each way to work: They don’t want to move closer to the city, they love living in the country!) The basic Reality – is it’s great to have choices: the only challenge with the base 40 kWh Tesla and it’s 145 – 160 mile range, was they stepped away from that car, some of us think, too soon. I personally think… Read more »


Without dissecting what is wasteful about making and lugging extra battery around, much of your position is taken by Volt owners. More electric miles are driven in cars people reach for, that suit ALL their needs. The person who didn’t buy a Leaf, i3, Kia Soul, 500e, etc, who bought an ICE instead, is the target of EREV.

This is debated here, often.

” So wouldn’t that mean counterintuitively that a gasoline range extender would be more important?”

A gasoline range extender is just another way to address the range problem. Both ways have pros and cons. When my Volt is in EV mode (which is most of the time), it’s carrying around an unused tank of gasoline, an ICE with its supporting systems, and a complex transmission. Is that better or worse than just carrying a bigger battery? Better in some ways, worse in others.

Former GM CEO Akerson made some comments over a year ago that the 200 mile EV would have a “generator” that could use multiple fuels. Furthermore GM is developing an inverter that starts at 30 kW. To me that means they are working on a Wankel rotary engine that is purely a generator for the Bolt. I bet the whole system could be less than 100 pounds (the i3 generator is 300 pounds). Akerson was right about the Bolt so this might be true as well.

Furthermore I would argue that the true “green” benefits of EVs come from charging at night and the superchargers plus huge battery packs are probably not as green as gasoline range extenders. Wind power is already competitive with natural gas power plants and EVs hooked up for 10 hours at night with 6.6 kW internet connected chargers would make wind that much more competitive.

Honestly, that point had not occurred to me. But it seems a reasoned justification for larger packs. Unfortunately, the downside would be that slower chargers will be in use much longer, adding to “L2 Charger Rage”.

For example: As much as GM would love access to a SC, they won’t bite; simply because every SC Station is Tesla Branded, owned and operated.

The solution would be the creation of a universal version of the Super Charger network, that is brand neutral. That would allow for all automakers to utilize said fast charge standard, on a level playing field.

Musk offered again tuesday to other oems to participate in the SC network. What is it to add the GM and/or Nissan logo on the super-charger’s stalls.
Tesla shared all of their patents, opened the most efficient charging network for a fair share of the maintenance costs… Welcome and encourage competition because Elon Musk has the vision of an apocalyptic futur if big oil goes on with his business as usual destructive behavior..

It is a vision shared by a lot of people.

From GM’s POV, Tesla is a threat to be conquered and destroyed; not a partner to share a Global Fast Charging Network for EVs with. Read how the Detroit Free Press treats Tesla / Elon, and you’ll get a sense of the mistrust, doubt and misunderstanding of what TMC’s automotive mission is all about.

As long as the Tesla brand name is on a recharging stall– GM will likely never touch it.

In their 100+ year history of existence, they have never relied on other competitors for anything they needed. So I just don’t believe their corporate culture is that flexible, to willingly join with “enemy” Tesla in sharing anything regarding the Super Charger Network.

What does GM have that is a threat to Tesla? The Volt? Nope! The Bolt? Nope! the Combo Charging System Design? Nope! So – Tesla is not worried – but GM is!

If GM could get their act together and either in house, or outside – by buying up/forming a partnerships with some EV Charging Station installer and push their CCS Quick chargers – they might make a bit of a dent – once they hit 20% of the number of CHAdeMO units (currently over 800!) or more!

But – what if – an outsider figured out, in some garage, how to use the TESLA HPWC and Supercharger, so they could charge a LEAF on the CHAdeMO port from the Supercharger network, took it to Tesla – and worked out a deal to have Tesla Support it? Where would that leave GM, BMW, Ford, Etc.? It would make the CCS even less viable, or more expensive to push out, since they would be now as loners!

You are correct: from GM’s point, Tesla is an enemy to be vanquished.

And so is Toyota.
And Nissan.
And Ford.
And BMW.

Why should any of these automakers hold hands and sing Kumbaya? It would be one thing if GM had not invested billions in their EV program, but they have. So from their perspective, every Prius sale is a lost Volt sale, every Leaf sale is a lost Bolt sale, every Tesla sale is a lost (next-gen Caddy EV) sale, etc.

“In their 100+ year history of existence, they have never relied on other competitors for anything they needed. ”

Are you not aware of GM’s 25 year partnership with Toyota?

That would be ironic, since their jointly-owned factory is now Tesla’s factory.

Corporations don’t save the world, they make profits. Only healthy competition motivates them to respond. Thankfully Tesla is that motivation.

Is there a video link for the complete talk?

Yes. Not enough Musk.

We, the fanatical members of the Cult of Elon (according to the Detroit Free Press), DEMAND the FULL presentation by his holiness!


Update (Jan 14th 1:00am) extended video now available – added


Curious the greatest showman on earth travels 3000 miles to speak to reporters and Tesla stock goes down . What was Elon Musk really doing in Detroit?

He’s busy being rational, while everyone else freaks out. *shrugs*

Sorry, I should have said I do not think he went to Detroit to Talk about Tesla to a bunch of reporters. He could do that in California. I think he was there to meet some other auto executives. Maybe do some horse trading.


Perfectly stated Anon!! 😀

I think that investors have very weak understanding how companies are functioning. Tesla as a company has zero interests to return profits, because they want to re-invest all possible profits into expansion. Therefore as long as Tesla sales expand at two digit rates annually, it is not in Tesla’s interests to return profits for their owners. This may hurt short term stock price, but of course it has zero influence on long term stock price.

Tesla is a threat, if it is stable, just as IEV has opined in the past. Risk points are coming up, and I don’t doubt Detroit press wants failure, just like Autoweek, and oddly both Bloomberg and WSJ. Everyone loves a sensation, and the short sell pile-on, of all political stripes, has shown it can be ugly.

Last night, Musk was talking about GAAP profits, I’m pretty sure. The non-GAAP reporting, I bet, will show profits well before 2020. The non-GAAP reporting is the street’s “go-by”. If there were moneyness in the optional buy-back guarantee, GAAP would make more sense, but there’s not because the used cars are worth way too much. If those numbers aren’t low and in the money, the standard is for no one but geeks, and critics.

Tesla is a stable company, whose portfolio of big sellers is about to double. The value they return to shareholders is currently best measured by margins. Not fair to deduct capex. And we aren’t even talking about the DNA of a Tesla investor.

Here’s a question I’d love to pose to Elon Musk.

“Assuming a person wants to drive an EV but they can’t afford a Tesla, which EV or PHEV would you recommend?”

I’ve honestly never heard him say anything positive about any of the other EV products on the market.

Elon Musk is not going to endorse a product that he doesn’t believe is great and so far Model S is the only great EV out there.

I’m sure he would recommend to wait for Model 3. Of course it’s up to him to make sure that car is great too and the wait isn’t endless. Those “punctuality issues”…

Didn’t Musk just praise GM’s new Bolt here? But I agree, it’s a first. So hats off to GM, so long as they carry through on its promise.

I bet he would say a Rav4 EV 😉

Or Merc B Class EV

This dealership nonsense makes no sense to me at all. “We are allowed to have 5 stores in New York”.

Why does the government have any say in that at all? Isn’t the USA supposed to be a capitalist country, in fact THE capitalist country? The government deciding how many stores you are allowed to have is nothing else than socialist planned economy!

It’s called crony capitalism.

It is sad isn’t it?

It seems like communist China welcomes new corporations with a level playing field more than the USA. Our politicians should be ashamed.


What have you been smoking? China has a 30% import duty on foreign-made cars, and all foreign car companies including Tesla must form a 50-50 joint venture with a local Chinese company if they want to build a factory to make cars in China and avoid the 30% import tariff. Some level playing field!

The US, like any other civilized country, has not espoused pure capitalism. We have a mixed economy, where government plays a vital role, often (but evidently not always) in the best interest of the public. In this case, I agree that it’s a bad state of affairs, and the way cars are sold in the US should be revised. Problem is going against vested interests, which is always a monumental task. Whether we are of righty or lefty persuasion, this is something we should always fight against.

I have lot of respect for Mr.Musk, he is a unique thinker and doer. What bugs me about Tesla is not the company itself but the snobbery of Tesla fans, pretty much nay-saying efforts outside Tesla.

The talk was enlightening.


Per: “the snobbery of Tesla fans, pretty much nay-saying efforts outside Tesla.” – so my friend with a LEAF – AND a Tesla – is a Snob? (when he went for a drive in another friend’s smart ED after EV Fest at my first Cruise Night Event, and let her drive his Model S)?

Nah – don’t think He is! Maybe the local Doctor is his P85? Could be more likly to fit that image!

I am not calling out every Tesla owner a snob, but especially the kind that do not own an EV but when something good comes out of GM, Nissan or Volvo, they run on to this board and inundate those vehicle posts with Tesla posts. A Nissan Leaf and Volt are 30-ish vehicles, what purpose is one serving when they are being compared to Tesla P85D ? Really ? or Model X for that matter which are over 80K and way outside the car budgets of even upper middle class.

Is there any video of the Q&A on the substage that followed this interview?

Thank you!

In their 100+ year history of existence, they have never relied on other competitors for anything they needed. So I just don’t believe their corporate culture is that flexible, to willingly join with “enemy” Tesla in sharing anything regarding the Super Charger Network. Anon, While GM certainly is a heavy weight competitor, I think you overlooked a fair number of occasions where GM has collaborated with other marques. The most recent instance I can think of is with Ford in developing new trannys for ICE trucks and I think cars as well. Would sharing it’s small truck platform with Isuzu, or was it Suzuki, not a collaboration. Or, more significantly, GM’s use of the Japanese and Korean brands that underpinned so many of their econo boxes over the last 30 years. I expect there have been other instances that may never have even been made public. But that doesn’t weaken GM. Collaborations such as these, if done right, strengthen GM and I’m sure their partners too, or they wouldn’t have done/do it. While GM may decide not to, they could collaborate on the SC network. If their cooperation can set a public standard, they help build up the network, and… Read more »

The media vibe from GM, when Marry talks about meeting the challenges in the marketplace and dealing with out of state, disruptive automakers– is not positive. In a male dominated industry, she has to act like she has the biggest pair in the boardroom, and part of her tough talk, contains not a single hint of joining their competition; but rather of crushing it.

The logical, rational choice of joining the Super Charger Network– will be overruled by an aggressive corporate culture and gender compensation, imho.

I think GM, at NAIAS, is laying down the line that they will compete on PHEV product, and be a seller rather than a buyer of compliance credits. Obviously, this statement doesn’t mean anything beyond compliance states, but strategy among the major OEMs changes when they aren’t as unified against regulations and are, instead, attempting to use them against one another. The game is changing, as the 2017-18 roll-outs near.

I think Tesla sabotaged the possibility of other companies using the SC network when they decided to use a proprietary connector for the Model S. (Whether this sabotage was intentional is up to the reader.)

I mean, Tesla was essentially the only company making BEVs when this standard was finalized in 2006. So if they had a better standard in mind (and I’m not denying that the Tesla connector is better), why didn’t they push to have its features integrated into the SAE standard?

Tesla certainly isn’t going to refit its SC stations with CCS or CHAdeMO connectors, so what does the offer of “sharing SC access” really mean? It’s ultimately pretty hollow.

Sorry… when talking about “this standard” that was finalized in 2006, I was referring to J1772.

And another oops on my part: the current J1772 that’s on everything now was actually finalized in 2009, well after the Model S was in development.

So why didn’t Tesla push for a standard they could live with?

SD – Just as Nissan added Both the J1772 Plug for North America, AND the CHAdeMO Plug – to their first EV – the LEAF, GM (in the case of the Bolt) could just as easily – make the car better for the Buyer by Adding the CHAdeMO Port to the car as well as the CCS – IF – the wanted to build a car for the Buyer, instead of a car that suits themselves! In the same sense – they could have a CCS Beside a Tesla Socket, and Tesla’s CHAdeMO Adapter could be used to give access to ALL EV Charging Options! That is one way they could make the Bolt even MORE Viable than if they stay proud and private, and ignore Tesla’s Offer for the Supercharger! Also – it seems to me – the Tesla Model S HPWC is now selling at just $750 – way less than an equivalent Clipper Creek CS100, and they both deliver 80 Amps Max to the car! So – also – Tesla has reduced the target price of their CHAdeMO Adapter from $1,000 to $450, to my understanding, and this also makes the Tesla Socket a more affordable option!… Read more »

Nissan added J1772 and CHAdeMO to the Leaf because they do different things: J1772 is for L1/L2, while CHAdeMO is for DC. It would make no sense for GM to add CCS and CHAdeMO, as it is redundant (both are DC). In the same sense, it would make no sense for Nissan to add CCS to the Leaf. I know of no EV that has two different onboard options for DC charging, but that’s me.

The bottom line is that the Tesla connector is proprietary, designed by Tesla and used only by Tesla, while CCS and CHAdeMO are international standards used by many different manufacturers.

At a certain level, it doesn’t matter if MemoryStick is technically superior to an SDCard… SDCard is an agreed-upon standard, and MemoryStick isn’t.

When Elon speaks of 20% smaller does that mean the lenght? If the Model is 4,96 m long this would mean a Model 3 of only 3,97 m, which would be way smaller then the 4,62 m of a BMW 3 series.
We are also a bit afraid when we hear it would be “way different”, not just a smaller Model S, when most people are actually waiting just that.
It is going to be a anxious one year plus wait.

Elon actually mentioned 20% less weight for the Model 3 not 20% smaller, so the size won’t be 3,97 m after all.

Sometime Elon comes off as being too awk shucks and robotic at the same time. I think in some ways he is exasperated by the lesser lights that continually question him, but what is he too do? The same questions are asked over and over. Now with oil falling more questions crop up about profitability.
I think I would go off the reservation and just lambast some of the constant criticisms and say hey. We built a car company from scratch when almost everyone said we couldn’t. Those cars have received many awards and The Telegraph calls the Model S the car of the decade. We built a sc network from scratch that now numbers around 2k locations, where you can charge your car for free. Etc… but it would not matter. There always another question or series of them.
I suppose that Musk feels he must suffer the slings and arrows to get his message across.
Interesting interview though not much of consequence. Telsa makes a great product and is continually trying to improve upon it.

Back to this interview. The host was a prick and willfully ignorant. This reminded me of some political interview, where the host is an opposing party hack.

I thought the interview was a little hostile as well. Elon was asked several questions he didn’t want to answer and maybe some that he shouldn’t have (tsla dropped 7%)