Marc Faber, a famous Swiss investor based in Thailand, leads a multi-faceted career. He is the standing director of Marc Faber Ltd., an investment advising and fund managing company that enjoys global business. Faber also serves as the director, advisor, and shareholder of a number of other investment funds, most of which focus on emerging and frontier markets. Finally, Faber publishes the popular Gloom Boom & Doom Report newsletter, a must-read for those interested in investments and the directions in which markets are shifting.

faber2Faber’s most recent newsletter attracted a fair amount of attention when it was released just a few hours ago. According to the venture capitalist, Tesla is going down.

“What they produce can be produced by Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Nissan. Anybody in the world can make it eventually, at much lower cost and probably much more efficiently,” Faber told CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

“The market for Toyota and these large automobile companies is simply not big enough, but the moment it becomes bigger, they’ll move into the field and then Tesla will have a lot of competition.”

That increased competition spells trouble for Tesla, according to Faber. When the auto-tech mogul is forced to create its sleek EV’s at prices lower than the must more established brands, it’s likely to wreak havoc on Tesla’s business and stock performance.

“I Think Tesla is a company that is likely to go to zero eventually,” Faber concluded.

Faber is definitely on point in his observation of all the major auto brands finally making strides towards the EV market. According to Bloomberg, Mercedes-Benz recently announced its plans to create an entire line of new electric vehicles, including two electric SUVs and two electric sedans to be released under a new brand. BMW has already started making its own electric cars and recently took a shot at Tesla in an advertisement for making drivers with pre-orders wait for their new vehicles to be manufactured.

tesla2That said, Tesla isn’t backing down. According to Tesla’s business development executive Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s competitors have “delivered little more than appliances” in contrast to Tesla’s willingness to rethink vehicles from the ground up.

Faber also came out as an advocate of shorting Tesla. On Monday, he said “if you are an investor with a lot of nerves and you sleep well at night anyway, then you could hedge the portfolio somewhat by selling short some stocks that are overvalued and are likely to go down.” He then provided Tesla as an example.

Tesla’s press office has yet to comment on Faber’s statements, and will likely neglect to address his criticism. Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, is also the founder of SpaceX, the first private company to build a rocket and successfully send it into space, and Solar City, a solar panel manufacturer and installer. The tech tycoon has fascinated millions with his unprecedented innovations, and his vision has earned the confidence of as many buyers as his companies’ failings have earned the distrust of investors. Only time will tell if Tesla becomes a major facet of the automotive industry or is beaten out by competition.

 

Last week a man lost his life in a failure of his self driving Tesla whose systems did not function properly and resulted in the crashing of the vehicle. This was a very unfortunate circumstance and Tesla should look into whatever they can to right this wrong and make sure that a failure of this kind does not happen again. That said, during the same time frame of a week hundreds of people lost their lives in auto accidents at the hands of drunk drivers, tired drivers, and many of them died simply because they were purely accidents. The leading cause of car accident related cause 94% of U.S. vehicle crashes. But adaptive driver assistance tech which is including self-driving vehicle technology. This should save thousands of lives each year according to car owner Zach Gottesman.

The most recent incidents which involved Tesla’s “auto pilot” feature raises questions about whether these technologies should be fueled before full government regulation is in place. In order to do this the technology much be rested and retested and evaluated and reevaluated based on real world conditions and situations outside the scope of their understanding today. 

When the airbag was introduced over a decade before they were regulated no one really cared or though it was not the right call. Today we need a sense of safety and innovation similar to this period. Even though the early designs weren’t really ready to buck in the same way they do now, they did improve over time through the industries collective annalists and cooperation and commitment to safety. To put these in the same light of how they can be executed or how this end can be achieved is irresponsible and just stupid frankly but there is a nugget of truth in there which shows that the best things can happen in the auto industry when we work together and ensure that we are doing things not for the cash money but for the safety. At the end of the day, people can’t become life long customers if they do not have a life anymore do to the failure of your product. So it is both the ethical and the fiscally responsible thing to when it comes to ensuring that we get self driving into the next phase of acceptance and ensure that the infrastructure can do it. The infrastructure is going to be the biggest thing that allows this new leap to happen where there is a majority of cars that are autonomous. The reason being, is consider trying to make a call at a family cabin or somewhere in the woods, you can’t do it right. Now consider how imperative the need for connectivity is when it comes to your vehicle and its ability to community with the other cars on the road. 

There is going to be a lot that happens before we are there primarily rethinking the way we deliver cell service, but we are making strides in the right direction, no doubt about it.

According to recent news releases, the US Department of Homeland Security recently conducted a massive experiment to determine whether New York City’s subway system could be used for bioterrorism. Just another reason why a well-to-do New Yorker might invest in an electric car instead of riding the subway.

prepee“New York is the largest subway system in the US and one of the largest in the world. They have over 5.5 million people on average on weekdays. It’s an enormous system, very complex, and it’s high on the target list of our adversaries,” explained the research project’s lead scientist Don Bansleben, program manager at the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. According to Bansleben, the trains within the subway tunnels act as pistons move through a gun.

“They push material in front of themselves and pull material outdoors behind them. The material basically goes everywhere. And during rush hours there are 4,000 subway cars in the system.”

The status of New York City’s subway system makes it a clear target for bioterrorism and a public place where the stakes are high in terms of protecting the general public from terrorist acts.

For the test conducted by the DHS, 115 people from the DHS and partner agencies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency and seven American labs from around the country set up camp at 55 train stations spanning from Queens to Brooklyn to New Jersey and within 10 different trains. The teams then used air compressors to shoot one gram of a harmless analogue of anthrax into the air for 20 minutes while the subway continued its normal business. The test constituted the first study to be conducted on a large-scale and focused on particles as potential bioweapons.

The anthrax analogue, called DNATrax, is more commonly used by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to track food poisoning outbreaks. For this particular experiment, the DHS made two sets of particles 2 microns and 5 microns in size. Each particle was attached to short chains of DNA that helped them to be distinguished.

air samplerOn each of the five days of the experiment, the research team released different barcodes into the subway system. This helped researchers to better understand how air moves on different kinds of days.

“It also tells you about resuspension of the material,” explained Bansleban. “A big concern is that the particles might deposit, but something may cause the material to come back up into the air.”

Once the analogue was released, a variety of sampling instruments were used to track their movement through the subway. “We wanted to get a sense of how much people are being exposed,” Bansleben said. He said the team wants to better understand how particles can attach to bodies “where people who may have walked into a cloud of something don’t know it, and then go out of the subway, go home, and potentially expose their family.”

The DHS and its research teams collected 12,000 samples in total after the tests were conducted. Those samples are to be sent to national labs, where analysis of the information is pending. In a few months, we may better understand how bioterrorism would work in the  NYC subway system.

Today Tesla believes they have entered a new level of excellence of electric cars and are now going one step further for the industry and automobiles in general. The way they are doing this is by not trying to make the best electric car that can compete with conventional fuels, rather they are trying to surpass this, and take the industry as a whole one step further. They believe that they are now capable of putting a car to market that would have a range of upwards of 400 miles per charge. But doing this would not make economic sense, that is not now. Nor is it necessary for them considering they are positioned pretty well to make a compelling fleet of over 400,000 cars with the development of their model 3 due out on a year or so.

“We could make a 400 mile range car today, like, that wouldn’t be too big of a deal. Its decreasing the cost per unit of energy of the battery packs so you can make the car affordable. That’s actually the important thing.” Musk told VOX media code.

today Tesla Vehicles have a range of about 250 miles or more, which is more than enough for most peoples day to day uses and needs for their vehicle.

“The Model S range is around 300 miles and that is quite a lot and its pretty rare that people need to go 300 miles at a time without stopping. So I don’t think we really have a range issue.” So again the major problem is how to reduce the cost of these exorbitantly expensive cars, that are priced at about $100,000 which is far too expensive for most consumers.

Thus Tesla is now going to great lengths to ensure they can reduce their price point of their batteries and technology in order to make it a more affordable alternative to the average consumer. They are doing so with the development of their gigafactory that is taking billions to build out.

“there are really two main dimensions along which cost optimization and making something available for the mass market can be achieved. One is design iteration, going through multiple versions of something, and the other is economies of scale. And you kind of need both of those things to make a compelling mass market product.” Says Musk.

Musk has already gone on as saying that Tesla aims to reduce the cost per unit of energy by more than 30% once the Giga factory is fully up and running.

“The cost would be too high and the useful load impact on the vehicle would be too high. We would have to fill up part of the front trunk and the tear trunk with batteries, we’d have to pinch a little bit on passenger room, but for us to do a 400 mile range car would be no problem.”

The long and short of things is that Tesla is being encumbered only by its financial limitations. If it were left to the quality of design alone they could pump out some pretty world changing designs.

 

Google is working on developing a strange new car hood that has turned a lot of industry heads. It was recently awarded a patent that proposes placing a strong adhesive on the hood of its autonomous cars. This is meant to be a precaution just in case an autonomous car strikes a pedestrian or cyclist; the people would become stuck to the hood of the car, thus protected from the “secondary impact” of being thrown off of the car and onto the ground or another car. Secondary impacts are generally the cause of more serious injuries than the actual impact of that car itself.

stickGoogle filed for the patent a few years back and seems to be trying to cover its bases in terms of temporary solutions that will lower the risks of people getting hurt around self-driving cars as the technology develops from nascent to public. Google had this to say:

“While such systems are being developed, it must be acknowledged that, on occasion, collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian still occur. Such safety mechanisms may become unnecessary as accident-avoidance technology is being further developed, but at present it is desirable to provide vehicles with pedestrian safety mechanisms.”

The glue being used on the hood of Google cars is described to have something like a “eggshell” of a coating over its main adhesive layer. This is meant to keep small things from sticking to the car like insects and other small animals, but to stick strongly given an impact that occurs with substantial force and waste, like that of a human body colliding with the car.

Does this have any chance of actually working? Rebecca Thompson, head of public outreach for the American Physical Society, had this to say:

“Getting hit by a car once is much preferable to getting hit by a car and then the ground and then another car… Cyclists wear helmets not as much to prevent their head’s impact with the car as much as their head’s impact with the ground when they fall.”

Some think that this might be a crazy enough idea to work, and if it does, that many large objects that move in public might be outfitted with a similar sticky substance.

fly paper car“This is essentially a variation on an external airbag, which on its face seems like a good idea for a low-speed vehicle as a backup safety measure,” stated Gabe Klein, former head of DC’s and Chicago’s departments of transportation. Klein now advises mobility-related investment funds and startups. “Why not consider it for non-autonomous vehicles?” Klein wonders.

Perhaps because it would create extremely awkward situations for drivers hoping to pull off a hit-and-run without being late for work. In New York City, a bicyclist may well find him- or herself on the other side of town before he or she has a change to de-stick.

Thompson says the sticky hoods might cut down on hit-and-runs, but they also might cause cars to have trouble moving to safety or even drag a human’s limbs under the wheels.

This isn’t as clear cut of a choice as you may think. Sure Tesla is the big electric car maker and the pioneers at that, but Chevy has been taking notes and has made a pretty compelling car. When it comes to electric cars the reach of your product is what is going to separate you from the competition. While there is a general ebb and flow to these things when it comes to electric vehicles, it came to advertise with around 100 miles, to the extent that it could be possible that they needed for that normal day of driving. Drivers are still very much inclined to feel doubt when it comes to the range claims of most auto makers. mp

as we can see today about 200 miles per charge is the sweet spot electric cars need to be getting in order to be considered serious contenders in the supremacy of the electric car. This means we are expecting that the car is able to handle running the errands doing your daily commute, getting dinner and having enough left in the tank, or should I say, battery to handle the possibility of an emergency.

In this regard there is really only 2 cars that can answer the call, there is the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. The Model 3 is experiencing record pre-sale figures.Chevy is claiming a range of around 200 miles, and Tesla not to be outdone is claiming 215 miles per charge for their model 3. Those are pretty good preparatory numbers, and will still need to face the challenge of the EPA testing gauntlet, which is still very much in its infancy, but is likely to produce a workable number I’m sure most people will be satisfied with their methodology. This is important to note considering when Tesla first started promoting their Model S they claimed that it would get 300 without any hick ups. However, the number is more like 265 according to the EPA.

carsNow the Bolt as of late has been indicated as a master of their suspensions and that has been a big key to their success and managing energy transfer loss. Lets not forget what this means for their ride quality either. The current Volt also has these same benefits in its tool belt. The front wheel drive quality of the car should serve its central goal as a rural runabout.

Compare this to Tesla which offer an air suspension for its Model S, which is a stark alternative to their model 3. At any rate, the standard model will probably be a settled suspension. Tesla has designers who cal look to a huge amount of experience adding to the ride quality of both their Model S and Model X with the thinking of creating a superior driving experience.

Now when we push all the tangibles to the side and start to get to the nitty gritty of the ordeal we want to know how much its going to cost.  They say that the Bolt will retail for about $30,ooo although the MSRP may be closer to $37,ooo. Whereas the Tesla will cost $35,000

In just 3 days the Tesla Model 3 had reached 276 thousand pre-order sales. When you consider that they are requiring a $1,000 retainer fee they are going to get a $270,000,000 boost to their company for no production of anything. The motivation behind this many people are assuming that this will be the car to save us from global warming and be the image of the future, but very few people have ever seen one of the things they spend $1,000 for something they have never seen. The messiah complex that is placed upon Elon Musk and Tesla motors is something that the world has never really seen and many are taking a step back and asking if the accolades and promise of this car is warranted. lnnn

Lets begin by looking at the tangibles of this car. we know that the Model 3 will cost a cool $35,000 and that is before any tax incentive which depending on the state you live can reach upwards of $8,000. This will not yet be sold until late 2017, and as we also know given the huge back order some car owners will not be able to receive theirs until late 2018 depending on your proximity to their plants and the gigafactory. Next we can consider the rear driver estimate of the range of this car which is being put conservatively at 215 miles per charge, and boasts a 0-60 time of less than 6 seconds. If you elect to go for the bigger battery and all wheel drive you are likely to get a range of about 300 miles which is right on par with any new car today, with a fuel cost of $0.00. The interior will also have a 15inch display for the vehicles data and controls, which is similar to the Model S.nl;

When we consider the appearence of this puppy it resencbles the stance of the model 3 from Mazda but lacks a lot of the race car feel of this puppy.  From the side and back the sedan Model 3 resembles the Model 3 in a lot of ways. it is a tall roof and a boobed nose and tail. Head on it is a blunt upturned snout that evokes what some may think of when they remember the Tesla gen 1 roadster. The idea here is deliberate and is trying to make the consumer feel that they are part of the continuation of the Tesla movement and that this is the evolution of sorts of where they have been aiming this whole time. “for all of you who bought a model S or an X, thank you for helping for for the Model 3, Tesla cheif Elon Musk told a crowd, when reffering to the Model 3. This may not sit well with the right people but oh well, they already payed for it, he goes on to say that “with any new technology, it makes multiple iterations and economies of scale before you can make it affordable,” and that this car was “only possible to do, after going through these prior stages.” The Tesla formula works and excited to pull out in the Model 3.

 

Tesla recently sent out media invites regarding its expected March 31st event at its Hawthorne, California facility. The tech giant promises to unveil its long awaited Model 3, the previously esoteric electric car company’s first vehicle to be accessible to standard car buyers.

Tesla has been known for its incredibly innovative, but incredibly expensive luxury electric cars. It’s a pioneer of plug-in cars and has even created entirely new business models never before utilized by vehicle manufacturers.

model xFor example, earlier this year Tesla released a software update that offered the first ever autopilot feature to be made accessible to drivers on the road. The software came out before legislation had even been produced to dictate the way it should be utilized, enabling a famous ride from Los Angeles to Manhattan in just over 60 hours. Apparently the software was used while the car was operating at around 90 miles per hour.

CEO Elon Musk has stated that he wasn’t sure to what extent he wished to reveal the car at the event, especially since it wasn’t due to hit the market until next year at the very earliest. However, the invitation seems to imply that the media will be shown the new model in its entirety.

As much as a leader as Tesla has become, it’s not actually the first car company to put out an affordable, completely electric car. General Motors surprised everyone when it came out with its Chevy Bolt, which only cost around $30,000.

Many have seen the Model 3 as a potentially make-or-break model for Tesla, which has enjoyed heavy and generally positive press but on the whole does not utilize a financially sustainable business model with its high-end, expensively produced luxury cars. The main decider of whether the company will be able to make a long-lasting place for itself in the automotive industry will be if it can make a vehicle that’s accessible to the mainstream.

For example, its more expensive models have been sold only in the tens of thousands; that means Tesla only has earned access to a tiny fraction of the pie accessed by more major automakers on an annual basis.

The 3 will depend heavily on the so-called Gigafactory for its battery development. The Gigafactory is a massive battery manufacturing facility under construction in the Nevada desert. Tesla states that the facility will reach its peak manufacturing capacity sometime in 2020.

spacexThe Model 3 is expected to cost somewhere in the arena of $35,000 before tax breaks, making it competitive with the Bolt but still slightly more expensive (the Bolt costs somewhere around $30,000). Considering the Model S and Model X cost upwards of $100,000, the model will constitute a major change in the sense of accessibility of the Tesla brand. Both models will offer a 200-plus mile of range on a single charge, making it considerably more practical than the more typical sub-100-mile cars that have dominated the market.

Tesla’s Hawthorn facility is located directly next to its famous SpaceX headquarters, so how many people it will actually be able to pack into its media frenzy will be interesting.

If you’re wondering when and why to buy a green vehicle, some global warming statistics may help you to understand the real good you can do the world by reducing your carbon footprint.

The process of global warming already endangers the health of every living human on the planet, jeopardizes national security, and threatens other basic human needs like access to clean drinking water. Despite allegations that it was simply a hoax, the predicted impacts of the process including high temperatures, rising seas, severe flooding and droughts are already increasingly common.

green car2If we want to avoid and mitigate these consequences, we’ll have to identify the causes and put a stop to them.

That’s where cars come in. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, transportation produces almost 30% of all U.S. global warming emissions.

Just cars and trucks account for about one fifth of all U.S. emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases per gallon of gas used. 5 pounds of that comes form the extraction, production and delivery of fuel, but a majority of the heat-trapping emissions come straight out of the car’s tailpipe.

Add the rest of the U.S. transportation center, meaning all the planes, trains, ships and freight- and you’re back up to thirty percent of all U.S. global warming emissions.

The more oil we extract, the more difficult it will be to extract it and the dirtier the gasoline burning process will become. That’s why using less oil is the only real solution.

Enter fuel-efficient vehicles, which use less gas to travel the same distance as the standard vehicle. If we burn less fuel, we end up with less emissions. If we can curb the rate at which we create carbon emissions, we can slow down the pace of global warming.

Electric cars and trucks are even better, though all-electric vehicles only produce zero emissions to drive if their electricity comes from renewable sources.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, improving the fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles is the biggest single step we can take towards the initiative to cut America’s oil consumption in half by 2025.

This initiative has been in the works for years now. American automakers are required to meet fleet-wide fuel economy and pollution standards set in 2012 by the U.S. department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

green3If these standards are truly put into action and auto manufacturers follow through on their agreements, American oil use stands to decrease  by over 3 million barrels a day.

To put that number in perspective, that’s about the amount of oil the U.S. ships from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela combined.

That wouldn’t just pay off in terms of keeping our air clean and our atmosphere temperate; it would save over $8,000 over the life of the 2025 vehicle (which will probably drive itself), even after spending the additional cost that generally comes with a fuel efficient vehicle.

California has also passed some important legislation regarding heavy-duty vehicles such as semis and school buses, which would become significantly cleaner with more progressive standards.

Ever bought a 2011 Rav4 and regretted opting out of the tow package? It happens to the best of us, and the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to drop $400 on getting a hitch welded on and the electrical installed so that you can legally tow a trailer with functioning brake lights and turn signals. Save yourself around $250 by just paying for the parts yourself (you can find hitches on amazon for about $100 and Curt-T Connectors for an average of $50) and installing the guys on your own.

wrnechFor this article, we’re going to skip the hitch installation and instead move forward to setting up your Curt-T Connectors to assure that your trailer’s lights are hooked up to your car’s.

To be specific, you need a T-One Vehicle Wiring Harness with a 4-Pole Flat Trailer Connector from Tow Ready.

Start out by opening the back hatch and removing the cover of the rear cargo area and removing some plastic bits on either side as well as the inner doors on entire ride.

Then get a screw driver to pry off the plastic trim right at the outside. remove some screws and bolts along the outside of the doors and make sure to keep all parts on hand so that you can put them back later.

Gently pull out the section of trim so that you can get your hand into the side area. You’ll need to do the same thing to the driver’s side after you’ve done it to the passenger’s side.

Unplug the back connection to the lights by squeezing in on the small white locking pad and pulling out. Pull your wires through the unlocked plastic and plug it into the tail light backside and outside.

Do the same on the passenger side and disconnect the white box.

wire crimperConnect in part of the T connector you bought instead and run it behind the plastic panels. Do this on both sides. Screw some stuff around and attach some wires by clenching stuff on other stuff for a while. Then you have to run a wire underneath the car and spool it around some stuff. Eventually you want to make an incision in a little plug because you need to run a wire through then stuff it back up into the car. Now you can pull that wire up, cut it, put a little cap thing on it, put another wire on the other end, put it all together, tape the thing to the inside of the car’s lining.

Use an electrical tester and make sure that all your stuff is working and then you’re all set! You didn’t think you could do it but you can, good for you. I don’t understand what just happened at all. Let’s try it again.

The installation generally takes 30 minutes to an hour. You need a ratchet, an extension, a 12mm socket, a 10 mm socket, a wire crimper/stripper, a phillips screwdriver, and a trim fastener removal tool.

More on this later, we’ll figure it out team.