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Investors “hypnotized” by Tesla’s Musk, who is “anti-selling” Model 3

Investors “hypnotized” by Tesla’s Musk, who is “anti-selling” Model 3


Tesla’s Elon Musk said the company would be “anti-selling” the much anticipated Model 3 sedan, offering no test drives or advertising for six to nine months.

The “anti-sell” strategy hasn’t had an effect on the number of reservations though. “Our net reservations continue to climb week after week,” the chairman and chief executive officer of the company said. “No advertising. Anti-selling. Nothing to test drive. Still grows every week.” Musk hasn’t given an updated reservation count since the carmaker said it had taken about 373,000 orders, as of May 2016.

The Model 3, which is “on track for initial production in July”, is the linchpin in Musk’s plan to bring electric cars to the mainstream. Tesla is targeting output of a million cars per year by 2020, a sharp rise from the roughly 84,000 the company produced in 2016. Keeping the sedan’s arrival on course is essential to supporting Tesla’s high-flying share price, which vaulted the company’s valuation past the much larger and profitable General Motors and Ford Motor last month.

“We’re doing our best to clear up that confusion so people do not think that Model 3 is somehow superior to Model S,” Musk said on a conference call after reporting a first quarter loss. “Model S will be better than Model 3, as it should be because it’s a more expensive car.”

Hedge fund manager David Einhorn said markets are too optimistic about Tesla prospects for expanding electric-car sales as stockholders put irrational faith in Musk. “For the time being, investors remain hypnotized by Tesla’s CEO,” Einhorn said. “We are skeptical that the company will be able to mass-market its Model 3 at volumes and margins that justify the current valuation.”

In the wind sector, Vestas said first-quarter profit rose more than fourfold and maintained its guidance for 2017. Net income of the biggest maker of wind turbines climbed to 160 million euros ($176 million) compared with 35 million euros the year before after sales rose 29% to 1.89 billion euros. The company expects full-year revenue of 9.25 billion to 10.25 billion euros.

It is the 14th consecutive profitable quarter for Vestas, extending the rebound from a slump in turbine prices that prompted a restructuring and eliminated 3,000 jobs. The Danish company recently announced a new strategy to diversify beyond turbines. It is seeking stakes in energy storage startups such as companies developing industrial-scale batteries. The turbine maker is also interested in pumped hydropower storage.

Batteries are starting to be used at some renewable energy installations. However, there may also be potential at fossil fuel plants: by adding battery storage to a quick-start natural gas turbine, General Electric has made a hybrid power plant that can provide Edison’s Southern California Edison utility as much as $1.4 million a year in revenue that similar plants without batteries miss out on, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Additional details will be available in the BNEF note Case Study: Boosting Gas Peakers With Batteries. Edison is already considering adding battery storage to its three other gas turbines, said Phil Herrington, vice president of generation at the utility.

Maryland will become the first state to offer a tax credit for energy storage systems under a new law signed May 4. The state will provide income tax credit for up to 30% of the cost of installing an energy storage system. Maryland also approved a study, to be completed by December 1, 2018, of regulatory changes and market incentives needed to increase the use of energy-storage devices. Brazilian development bank BNDES returned to the overseas debt markets after almost three years in a green bond sale. Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social, as the bank is formally known, issued $1 billion of seven-year green bonds, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak about it. The notes pay a 4.8% coupon, lower than the 4.85% guidance.

There were reports of China Three Gorges planning a euro-denominated green bond issue. In India, power minister Piyush Goyal announced that the country would auction another 1,000MW of wind projects soon.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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