First Quarter EV Sales

Well on the first pass it was pretty close. I went to some exburbs in Georgia to buy a portable power station off eBay, starting at 100% and getting home with 15%, and using a bit of algebra my total miles would have been 340, and this was in January (although a warm day, relatively.)

When the little “fuel” light comes on in an ICE car it’s no big deal, there’s a gas station anywhere. When you’re at 15% in an EV you sweat a little.

I’m sure that’s true. Here in Knoxville, for example, there are 56 DC fast chargers, of which 41 are Tesla’s. That leaves 15 slots, spread over (I think) 4 locations to service any other brand. Once Tesla locations open up it will relieve a lot of this, but not all.

Sure, but it’s the edge case that people worry about. I certainly did. I travel to Philadelphia or NJ about once a year, and occasionally other places, and if I can’t “fill up” conveniently I simply won’t buy that car. (No, I’m not going to have a car - and then go rent a car - every time I want to drive somewhere.) I’m sure that’s a major impediment to EV sales. That’s where Musk was brilliant, in quickly overcoming that looming objection.

The EV market is doing OK, not gangbusters. It’s Tesla that crapped out for the quarter. Headline:

Ford Electric Vehicle Sales Surge Amid Mixed Results Among Automakers

Ford EV sales up, significantly. Hyundai EV sales doubled. Yes, those are both from small bases, but just months ago I was being told none of these companies could do anything like because 1) no batteries or 2) no expertise or 3) something else.

I’ve only had it since late December, so I have no “summer experience” to relate. It’s a Hyundai Ionic6, and, as the burger chain says, “I’m lovin’ it.” But it comes with trade-offs, and convenience is certainly one of them.

It’s also awash in chargers, tax incentives, and cheap electricity. Nice. The German Tesla plant, to jump threads for a moment, is at about the same latitude as Manitoba Canada. So the “tent city” thing is kind of out for there.

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I think I read or heard that the Hyundai’s have an electric usage screen (not sure). But the way this screen works in the Tesla’s is once you have programmed in a navigation destination it plots out a graph of expected battery remaining vs miles traveled (and miles to go). It then overlays your actual values and color codes it (green = you are doing better than expected, red=worse) so you can be much more confident that you won’t run out of charge. It also categorizes where the energy is going (miles traveled, elevation change, climate control, wind) and gives you hints on how to save charge, if needed, like slow down, use less heat.
If you do need to charge on the 166 mile trip you probably do not need to actually fill up, but just add 10 or 20 miles, to be safe if you have this more accurate realtime estimate.
If your car has this try it out on a short trip in advance.

Yes, more chargers will be better.
Based on Tesla’s sales in the US (4.5M) and Superchargers installed (20K) they install one for every 225 cars sold.
Chicken, meet the egg. Get 224 of your neighbors to buy an EV! Of course you actually need it to be 50 or 100 miles away.


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Are either company making a profit on their fully electric sales? If not, how competent can they be at making EVs?

To be honest, I think Tesla’s track record at producing profitable EVs in a timely fashion is far better than any of the legacy automakers who still cannot mass produce a profitable BEV. How many times have GM and VW had to push back their various EV timelines?

We seem to have markedly different perspectives on Tesla’s ability to accomplish stated goals. I see a company that is single-handedly bringing EVs to the USA (including creating the only charging network worth talking about), produced a $50K EV that outperforms every ICE in its price class and outsells ICE models that are thousands of dollars less expensive, and introduced manufacturing processes (e.g., gigacasting) that even Toyota is copying. That’s a pretty good track record. You on the other hand have an an Eeyore-like perspective that Tesla’s sky is always falling.

Tesla definitely had a lousy quarter. Their Berlin factory was shutdown by outsiders for about 10% of the quarter and they were hurt by a declining Chinese economy and a Chinese automotive price war that has made western car makers mostly irrelevant. At least Tesla is still very competitive in China and will very likely continue to be a major player in the world’s biggest auto market as it rapidly transitions to EVs. Can’t say the same for any of the western OEMs.

The bull argument for the automotive side of Tesla’s future comes down to the next generation $25K vehicle, the success of unboxed production, and the development of FSD. Either Tesla redefines the future of the automotive market or the Chinese will. I am surprised but I think it really has come down to that dichotomy.


We certainly do have different perspectives. Because while Tesla certainly has accomplished some amazing things, its track record on accomplishing stated goals is decidedly mixed. The Model Y was an astounding success. The Cybertruck, meanwhile, was delivered years late and at a vastly higher price point than expected. Because in that case, when Tesla tried to make significant engineering changes they didn’t make things cheaper or more efficient - they basically “dug their own grave” with their efforts at innovation. The Semi still hasn’t had a production ramp - also years late. The updated Roadster hasn’t even come into production yet. And after years and years of unfulfilled predictions, Tesla still hasn’t delivered a self-driving car or robotaxi or Tesla Network.

I would never assume Tesla’s going to fail at these efforts, because (as you point out) they hit a home run with the Model Y. But you have to put some pretty wide error bars around their pricing and timing predictions for bringing products to market. For a new product that they haven’t even unveiled a concept car for yet, combined with major untried new production processes, that will be ramped up in a factory that hasn’t even broken ground yet? It’s possible, but pretty uncertain, whether they get through their production ramp in 2026.

There is at least one other possibility, which is that the future of the automotive market won’t involve redefining anything. That it might be a mix of ICE’s and hybrids and PHEV’s and EV’s, in a gradual evolution towards greater fuel efficiency over time. There will be some jurisdictions where government policy drives out most of the ICE’s (hi Norway!), but for the most part pure BEV’s might just end up being a modest part of the global auto market.


It wasn’t quick! It took over 10 years, and there are still some coverage “holes” here and there across the country. But I agree that pushing hard on installing superchargers was indeed brilliant.

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That’s the nature of new technology. The innovations in the Cybertruck, from 48V wiring to mega-casting to steer-by-wire are going to be driving the next generation of Tesla vehicles, allowing them to not only be better than the competition but also cheaper to produce and more efficient in their performance.

Why does that matter as long as the product is made and it dominates its market sector? Did it matter that the Model 3 was late? Will it matter whether the next generation Tesla comes out in 2025 or 2027? Not in the long run.

Why is it necessary to publicly unveil a concept car? Tesla has stated that the initial ramp of the next generation Tesla will occur in giga-Texas, which is already built and expanded.

That won’t happen for the simple fact that electric vehicles are a better technology than gas vehicles and certainly better than hybrids. The recent declines in battery prices and advances in battery technology make it a near certainty that it will soon be cheaper to build a BEV than an equivalent ICE. BEVs are inherently far more efficient than ICEs, require much less maintenance and has much lower fuel costs. It is just a matter of building out the charging infrastructure.

And speaking of infrastructure, it is only a matter of time when the cost of maintaining the gasoline infrastructure, with huge refineries feeding a network of gas stations will become increasingly less viable with higher EV adoption. It is only a matter of time before it will be harder to find a gas station than a charging station. The we will have range anxiety for the old technology.


After listening to various arguments on uTube, there could be a substantial number of Teslas in transit that could not be delivered in Q1 but which might be delivered in April. Let’s not lose hope. :musical_note:

The Captain


There is a single EPA number for any model that might be on the road in Hawaii, Florida, Death Valley, Colorado, or Alaska. Are the driving conditions identical? The same in Summer as in Winter?

The Captain

It’s no guarantee that the product will be made and it will dominate its market sector. Just because they talk about a $25K car (and BTW, neither Tesla nor Musk has ever said that the inaugural car on the next-gen platform actually will be the $25K car) doesn’t mean they’ll ever deliver a car at that price. The solar roof never dominated its market sector. The Semi never dominated its market sector. The Cybertruck could have dominated the pickup sector had it come out at the $40K base model price Tesla originally claimed - but at $61K for the base model, that’s pretty unlikely. The Roadster never even got made.

And, of course, there’s always the possibility that the new production processes that they’re planning to implement won’t work as well as they hope - if at all. In theory these approaches could reduce costs significantly, but it’s not certain that they will. Sometimes there are unanticipated issues moving from the test concept to large scale production (hi, Tesla’s dry-cathode “battery hell” problems!). It might seem more efficient to let different teams work on different parts of the body and then have them all come together at the end - but until you implement it at production scale, you don’t know whether that’s going to work out the way you hope.

It’s not necessary, but Tesla has unveiled every single one of their cars long before production. So it’s pretty unlikely they won’t do that with their inaugural next-gen car - possible, but very unlikely. And since they haven’t yet done that, it makes it very unlikely that they’re going to start production - even in Austin - until 2025. And Musk has stated that while the initial production run will be done in Austin, so that the entire Tesla engineering team can be on-site for that initial implementation, volume production will come from the new Mexico factory (similar to the Fremont-to-Shanghai strategy for Model Y) - which means that the high volume for the inaugural vehicle won’t come until they get Mexico built, equipped, and ramped. Which is very unlikely for 2026.

Are they? We don’t know that for sure. They absolutely have some advantages - they can be much cleaner, have fewer moving parts, are more physically efficient at converting energy to motion, etc. They have some disadvantages as well - they take longer to refuel, they’re heavier and rougher on tires, they’re currently more expensive, etc. And there are the things that you’re confident of, but we still don’t know are true or not - whether they will ever have a cost advantage against their ICE brethren.

Because that point is a question of economics, not technology. In a world of non-zero interest rates and lots of competing uses for batteries and the raw materials that go into them, it’s no certainty that ICE’s will be displaced by big-battery full BEV’s, rather than some mix of hybrids, PHEV’s and some BEV’s.

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Part of the bad news is “not being able to deliver cars in a timely manner”. But even so, it still sounds like an “excuse” rather than a primary reason. Even if 20k to 30k vehicles were in transit, and would have been delivered in Q1, they still wouldn’t have shown any growth! Furthermore, there is some evidence, at least in some places, that the vehicles did actually make it to the last Tesla location, so either they got there just in the last day or two of the quarter and missed it by a day or two, or they still have to be sold (remember, some cars are being sold “from inventory” nowadays, as opposed to all being sold by preorder previously).

I’m not in any hurry to decide anything long-term about Tesla. I can wait another quarter or even ten quarters to decide. If the price is right, I might accumulate more shares. I did sell some 150 puts a few days ago, I think I mentioned it here somewhere right after I did the trade. If I can snag some shares at $150, I think that’ll be pretty good long-term.

And, of course, over the last few days there’s also been some good news for Tesla. The fact that most automakers are backing off and/or delaying their EV models means less short-term competition for Tesla. That gives Tesla more time to complete the next model, and more time to cost reduce existing models. And that puts them at a further advantage going forwards. If you believe, as stated above, that EVs are a better solution* overall, then the companies that delay their transition are essentially chasing short-term profits over long-term profits. Another piece of good news is that it appears that prices of vehicles have reached the tipping point where customers are now more willing to buy smaller vehicles over larger ones (latest sales figures shows very large growth in sales of smaller models).

* Note: The better solution doesn’t always win in the marketplace, sometimes the second best or third best solution has a “killer app” that causes it to win. For example, Betamax was better than VHS, but VHS won anyway because it had a killer app (p0rn0). In this case, it looks like EV has most of the “killer apps” (many fewer moving parts, simplicity of design, 3 times higer efficiency, ease of fueling up, etc). But, it is also important to remember that sometimes the killer app is “politics”, and politics is the one thing that is stronger than just about anything else out there.

The last two days of the quarter happened to be a weekend, Saturday and Sunday. :smiley:

The Captain

And Friday before was Good Friday. And Sunday was Easter. But so what? The company knew those facts all along. It’s not like they suddenly happened by surprise. Also, as far as I am aware, weekends are the generally good sales days for cars (maybe not for Tesla due to preordering and scheduled pickup?)


Three day sales going to Q2. :slightly_smiling_face:

The Captain

We will see in early July. Meanwhile, “everyone” is lowering their CY 2024 forecast totals.

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Hindsight is more accurate than foresight! :imp:

The Captain

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Presumably the EPA applies whatever averaging they deem appropriate for the vehicle so that comparisons can be made.
Just like we have a single CPI number (well, several for different purposes but the idea is the same), and not a CPI-Texas, CPI-Hawaii etc.
There are seasonal adjustments for CPI though.

Nothing nefarious here.

Of course not, that’s not what I said or implied. I was responding to someone who thinks that every EV should match the EPA number exactly everywhere and at all times on all roads and in all weather conditions.

The Captain

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They don’t do any averaging - these are essential ‘lab tests’. What I just found out is the EPA only does this for some 20% of vehicles and take the manufacturers number for the others. " Fuel economy is measured under controlled conditions in a laboratory using a series of tests specified by federal law. Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 15%–20% of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory." And they actually measure the carbon in the exhaust to determine the amount of fuel used!

That was a fascinating side trip,


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This is a wishful dream, and almost certainly wrong. The gas infrastructure is baked into society, not just in the US but all over the world. Given the adoption rates being seen in most of the free world and even in most directed economies (exceptions: Norway, China), it will likely be decades before this prediction even makes its way to the front of the line much less come true. [Edit to add: I’m not saying gas stations as we know them are forever, just that changes will take place over a very long period of time.1]

Hertz would beg to differ. They found maintenance costs to be as high, insurance costs to be higher, and depreciation costs to be a killer. All of those will surely weigh upon the market. (One invisible “maintenance cost” will be at battery replacement time. And ICE cars spread out the costs better, but pricing in the market for “used” will take care of devaluing EVs as they age; indeed it already is.

Don’t let the sudden uptake in hybrids disturb your theory. It will take a decade, probably more (depending on the vagaries of the upcoming elections) to replacate any sort of comparable charging infrastructure in this country, and on that slender thread hangs the wide adoption of EVs. “Hybrids” are a logical, if not perfect interim step for conscious consumers - and it will take a dramatic spike in oil prices to convince the rest to follow along.

You must mean like CompuServe. Betamax. MSNtv. WebVan. Laserdisc. MySpace. Heck, TiVo invented a whole category and because a verb in its own right and it’s a middling company with dim prospects.

Automakers Lost $6,000 on Every Electric Car They Sell

You keep posting this as though it’s meaningful. Tesla lost money on every car until it became profitable 17 years later. Expect the big guys to lose money as they push into a new segment and find out what sells and what doesn’t, and at what price points and go through a couple economic cycles. Even then that’s no guarantee, but at least they have a profitable main business to sustain them, unlike so many of the new entrants in the game.

  1. Arguably they have changed at least 3 times, maybe more over the past century. From 1: simple dispensers of gas to 2: mechanic stops for oil changes & minor repairs to 3: oil company roll-ups dispensing gas & green stamps to 4: oil company disinvestment and return to owner-operator to 5: convenience store loss leaders (or at least not heavy profit generators). More changes will surely come, but it will take another generation before it’s of significance in business.]

ShaZam! Solid State battery model will appear soon!

NIO is celebrating a potentially impactful milestone today. With the help of partner WeLion, NIO has begun mass production of its 150 kWh semi-solid-state batteries. With production now underway in China, we expect to see the safer and more energy-dense cells powering NIO brand EVs as early as this quarter.

In December 2023, we reported on WeLion’s progress in delivering the 360 Wh/kg solid-state batteries for NIO, which was going smoothly, with expectations of delivering the cells in mass quantities by April 2024.

Five days into April, NIO is celebrating mass production of the semi-solid-state batteries as promised.

Per a recent post by Weibo user @Delu Loves Driving, NIO’s first 150-kWh battery pack (seen above) has rolled off the assembly line in China. According to the post, the semi-solid-state cells from WeLion have already been tested at battery swap stations in Shanghai and Chengdu.

For comparison, NIO’s current stations swap EV batteries that are 75 or 100 kWh in capacity, so the new semi-solid-state cells can deliver significantly more range to drivers in a matter of minutes via swaps.

NIO put a 150kWh solid State battery into their luxury model and drove it 649 miles in a test run. Not bad.

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