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Tesla Gigafactory In Nevada Plagued By Worker Injuries: Report

Topline: While states often compete to attract thousands of new tech jobs, a USA Today investigation uncovered a host of issues—from workplace injuries to housing shortages—at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory in recent years, showing the darker side of big corporate factories.

  • According to the investigation by USA Today, workers at the Tesla Gigafactory outside Reno, Nevada, have been struggling with workplace safety issues for the last few years, with some incidents not even getting reported as required by law.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had to send inspectors onsite more than 90 times in three years, whereas other factories in the area on average only had to see an inspector once during that same period, the report found.
  • Injuries occurred routinely, at least three times a month, with some—including amputations, one of which USA Today describes in grisly detail—never even getting recorded by Tesla.
  • Emergency responders have been hard-pressed to answer regular calls from the factory in recent years: In 2018, for instance, there was an average of more than one 911 call per day coming from the factory, spanning everything from workplace injuries to medical concerns, according to USA Today’s report.
  • The arrival of 7,000 new workers when the plant opened has also exacerbated an already critical housing shortage and homelessness issue in the Reno area: Gigafactory employees found it hard to find an affordable place to live, with several resorting to living in tents or cars, the investigation found.
  • Traffic has also increased exponentially in the surrounding area, with roads leading to the massive factory—which is only 30% complete—getting routinely congested.

Key background: In 2014, Nevada beat out other states competing to be the new home for Tesla’s ambitious battery factory project, which the company promised would become one of the world’s biggest factories. State officials rushed through a $1.3 billion tax abatement package—the largest in Nevada’s history—to incentivize Tesla to move there. But when complications emerged from the influx of new workers, state and local governments were ill-prepared and had little financial resources to address them.

Today In: Money

Further reading: This isn’t the first time safety issues have been reported at a Tesla factory. A Forbes investigation earlier this year found that Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, had racked up more fines and workplace safety violations than any other car factories.

Tangent: Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Tuesday that the company plans to build its fourth Gigafactory in Berlin, Germany.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Tesla Gigafactory In Nevada Plagued By Worker Injuries: Report

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Union organizers say hundreds of construction workers walked off the job at the Tesla Motors manufacturing plant east of Reno to protest the increased hiring of out-of-state workers for less pay.

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Tesla Model Y Will Crush The Crossover Competition, Here’s Why

There’s a lot of EV crossover competition coming down the pike but don’t expect established gas-engine automakers to suddenly wrest the EV market from Tesla.

In short: The Tesla Model Y will dominate the EV crossover category because it’s the most recognized EV brand – certainly in the U.S.

With over 500,000 VIN registrations for the Model 3, it’s not a giant leap of faith to see the Model Y – with a starting price of $39,000 for the 230-mile range version – garnering market share and mind share quickly.

Crossover competition has arrived

Yes, the EV crossover competition has already arrived in the U.S., including the Audi e-Tron, Hyundai Kona EV, Jaguar I-PACE, and the Kia Niro EV – not to mention the 2020 Chevy Bolt (with an upwardly revised range of 259 miles), and the Nissan Leaf S Plus.

Today In: Innovation

But, remember, all the above EVs are from traditional automakers. They’re ICE vehicle makers first, EV makers second. And right now EVs are a distant second in sales. Don’t believe me? Go visit the U.S. dealer lots of any of those car manufacturers. It’s wall-to-wall gas-engine vehicles (with a few exceptions in markets like Los Angeles).

Still don’t believe me? Check out this sales chart from InsideEVs for the month of September. The much-vaunted Audi e-Tron sold a whopping 434 copies, the Hyundai Kona EV 190, The Jaguar I-Pace, 160, Kia Niro EV 90 etc.

Even if you allow for lack of availability because the above are just coming on the market, long-established nameplates like the Nissan Leaf (in its current iteration as the 226-mile-range Leaf S Plus) and the BMW i3 are not going gangbusters, with sales of just over 1,000 for the Leaf and half that for the i3 in September.

The only EV really in the running at all in September was the Chevy Bolt* with 2,125 copies sold, according to InsideEVs.

And the Model 3? Over 19,000 sold in September, about 8 times the closest competition. It’s not ludicrous to expect that the Model Y will post monthly numbers certainly higher than, for example, a Bolt EV. And probably much higher.

Model S and X will bow to the Model Y, launch to happen in summer

Meanwhile Tesla is ramping up production of the Model Y earlier than expected.

Regarding Model Y, we’re also ahead of schedule on Model Y preparations in Fremont, and we’ve moved the launch timeline from full 2020 to summer 2020. There may be some room for improvement there, but we’re confident about summer 2020.

Elon Musk, October 24, 2019, third quarter earnings conference call (via Seeking Alpha).

And Tesla’s priorities are pretty clear as the company gets ready for Model Y production. In responding to a question from an analyst on the October 24 call Musk said:

The Model S and X are really niche — they’re really niche products. I mean, they’re very expensive, made in low volume. To be totally frank, we’re continuing to make them more for sentimental reasons than anything else. They’re really of minor importance to the future.

Musk also mentioned that Tesla will “build out more facilities for Model Y production at Shanghai.”

Production glitches are the X factor

Of course, a surge in Model Y deliveries in, let’s say, early 2021 is dependent on Model Y manufacturing being as ready as Musk claims. And the CEO has a tendency for excessive bullishness and exaggeration when it comes to expectations.

Barring an unforeseen event, however, Tesla is more ready now for large-scale mass production than it was back in July of 2017 when it faced a year of production hell and was in the throes of becoming a high-volume car manufacturer.

NOTES:

The Long Range and Performance variants of the Model Y —which you can order now from Tesla’s website – start at $48,000 and $61,000, respectively.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I drive a 2018 Chevy Bolt.

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I was a founding member of CNET news and hardware editor at CNET, a contributing technology reporter for the New York Times, and a reporter and editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly — the latter in Japan, where I lived for ten years. Currently a contributing reporter for Fox News.

Source: Tesla Model Y Will Crush The Crossover Competition, Here’s Why

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Amazon Is The Second Company To Report Tesla Solar Panel Fire

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Topline: Amazon is joining Walmart in pointing the finger at Tesla solar panels for fires on the roofs of their facilities in what is yet another hiccup for Tesla’s embattled solar business.

  • Amazon said Tesla solar panels caught fire in June 2018 at one of its warehouses in Redlands, California.
  • Amazon’s disclosure comes days after Walmart sued Tesla for breach of contract and gross negligence after seven stores experienced roof fires allegedly caused by faulty Tesla solar panels. Both companies later said they are working together to “addressing all issues.”
  • Amazon said it would not install any more Tesla panels.

In a statement to Forbes, a Tesla spokesperson said in an email that the Amazon fire was an “isolated event” at one of 11 Amazon sites with solar panels.

“Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate. We also performed inspections at the other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems. As with all of our commercial solar installations, we continue to proactively monitor the systems to ensure they operate safely and reliably,” the statement continues.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla did not respond when Forbes asked whether the company has plans for broader inspections of both commercial and residential solar power installations.

According to a Business Insider report, Tesla was aware of problems related to its solar panels. In the summer of 2018, around the same time as the Amazon fire, Tesla launched a secret internal project called Project Titan to replace what the company said were faulty “connectors” manufactured by Connecticut-based Amphenol, according to the report.

“We have no reason to believe that Amphenol’s products are the cause of any issues related to the claims filed by Walmart against Tesla,” an Amphenol spokesperson said in a statement.

Key Background: Tesla’s embattled solar business has been plagued by plunging sales, production delays and layoffs since CEO Elon Musk acquired solar company SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016.

Musk hasn’t tweeted about the Walmart or Amazon complaints, but instead announced a revamped pricing plan in an effort to boost the slowing solar panel business. The new pricing model allows residents in six states to rent solar power systems starting at $50 a month ($65 a month in California) instead of buying them up front.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

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Tesla Gets Ready To Report After Upside Surprise On Q2 Vehicle Deliveries

Getty Images
Getty Images

Key Takeaways:

  • Tesla earnings this afternoon follow strong Q2 deliveries
  • Stock on a roll since falling below $200 a share this spring
  • Lower product prices raise questions for some analysts

Considering all the big news Tesla (TSLA) delivered over the last two weeks, its Q2 earnings report this afternoon might seem a bit anticlimactic.

Arguably the biggest (and best) news of the quarter is already digested. The company reported better-than-expected car deliveries for the second quarter. Earlier this month, TSLA said it delivered 95,200 total vehicles in Q2, ahead of Wall Street’s estimate for 91,000. That’s the widest beat in at least three years, according to market forecaster FactSet.

It’s also a huge turn-around from the company’s disappointing 63,000 in Q1, and might reflect some buyers deciding to jump in ahead of the Federal tax credit on TSLA’s cars being halved on July 1, Forbes noted. In Q2, the Model 3 posted deliveries of 77,550, surpassing consensus estimates on Wall Street for 74,100. Combined deliveries for the Model S sedans and Model X SUVs were 17,650, beating estimates of 16,600, according to FactSet data.

The delivery data also might confirm that the March quarter wasn’t quite as bad as people had thought, because thousands of the company’s cars were in transit at the end of March, but those deliveries ended up occurring in Q2. In other words, deliveries over time might be a little smoother than the quarter-to-quarter numbers show.

Shares Took Another Wild Ride in Q2

Smoothness isn’t a word often associated with TSLA, either the company itself or its shares. The Q2 was no different, with TSLA bouncing back quickly from a May sell-off that carried shares of the company down below $200 for the first time since late 2016. Shares recently were back above $250.

Where they go from here depends partly on whether TSLA can meet its delivery goals for the remainder of 2019. As Barron’s noted, TSLA delivered 158,000 cars in the first half—a number it might update when it reports earnings. Its goal for the year is 360,000 to 400,000, meaning it has to do a lot better in the next six months than it did in the first six months of 2019.

It might be interesting to listen to the company’s earnings call to see if executives provide investors a road map of how they plan to get to that point, especially considering the falling government tax incentives for electric car buyers.

Vehicle production was another Q2 highlight, rising to a record 87,048, TSLA said. That included 72,531 of its Model 3 and 14,517 of its Model S/X. Customer vehicles in transit at the end of the quarter were more than 7,400.

Even as it tries to grow production, TSLA has been under pressure to cut costs. The company has made workforce cuts this year, and this month it announced a revamping of its vehicle lineup. The company cut back the total number of vehicles available, making its lower-end Model 3 more affordable while raising prices on its higher-end Models S and X.

It did this, it said in a statement, “To make purchasing our vehicles even easier.” The pricing adjustment, it added, is “in order to continue to improve affordability for customers.”

Tesla said it’s reducing the price of the Model 3 by $1,000 to $38,990. The company will no longer sell the standard range versions of the Model S and Model X, raising the minimum amount people have to pay for those cars. The base version of the Model S is rising to $79,990 from $75,000, while the price of the Model X is increasing to $84,990 from $81,000.

However, lower prices for the Model 3 could mean lower margins for TSLA, which might lead to pressure on profitability. Speaking of which, analysts don’t expect a profitable Q2 despite the big deliveries. This would be the second “red” quarter in a row for the company, a troubling sign after it posted consecutive profitable quarters in the second half of 2018. The decision to lower prices also has some analysts questioning whether demand is there for TSLA’s vehicles.

In a sign that TSLA continues to work on expense control, it said it made “significant progress” in Q2 “streamlining our global logistics and delivery operations at higher volumes, enabling cost efficiencies and improvements to our working capital position.”

Cash Check

The company’s cash position is usually something analysts monitor at earnings time, and this quarter is no different. Tesla’s wallet looked lighter at the end of Q1 due to a bond payment, expansion costs, and a high number of vehicles in transit, analysts said. One question is whether that improved in Q2, and whether management can meet its forecast for positive free cash flow in the quarter. That might help soothe chronic worries about how quickly TSLA goes through cash.

Among investors, TSLA shares continue to see a lot of love from the Millennial generation. The company’s stock has been a long-time favorite of younger investors, according to the Investor Movement Index, or the IMX, a proprietary, behavior-based index created by TD Ameritrade designed to indicate the sentiment of retail investors.

For TSLA, the “magic” price point in early June seemed to be $200 a share. When the stock fell below that, retail investors appeared to become buyers and come back into the stock in a heavier way.

It’s pretty impressive how TSLA continues to attract younger people to its stock. People are buying what they know, but, like anything, it’s also important to do the research before buying.  Caveat emptor applies to any stock, not just TSLA.

thinkorswim chart

200 CLUB: Shares of TSLA appeared to get a lot of buying interest earlier this year when they fell briefly below $200 a share. Data source: Nasdaq. Chart source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

thinkorswim

Tesla Earnings and Options Activity

For Q2, TSLA is expected to report adjusted earnings of negative-$0.42 per share, up from negative-$3.06 the prior-year quarter, on revenue of $6.42 billion, according to third-party consensus analyst estimates. That revenue would represent a 60.4% rise from a year ago.

Options traders have priced in an 5.5% stock move in either direction around the coming earnings release, according to the Market Maker Move™ indicator on the thinkorswim® platform. Implied volatility was at the 21st percentile as of this morning.

Weekly options activity has been higher in the 240- and 245-strike puts and the 275- and 285- strike calls.

Note: Call options represent the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying security at a predetermined price over a set period of time. Put options represent the right, but not the obligation, to sell the underlying security at a predetermined price over a set period of time.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: Tesla Gets Ready To Report After Upside Surprise On Q2 Vehicle Deliveries

Tesla Says Plant Worker Injuries Stayed Flat In 2018 Amid Production ‘Hell’

Tesla’s push to more than double production of its electric vehicles last year wasn’t pretty; in fact CEO Elon Musk said it would be “hell.” In 2018 the injury rate at its main assembly plant stayed flat as the company expanded safety procedures and contended with news stories that highlighted worker injuries and questioned the thoroughness of its injury reporting practices……….

Source: Tesla Says Plant Worker Injuries Stayed Flat In 2018 Amid Production ‘Hell’

2 Reasons To Sell Tesla: $920M And $26,250

A little more than two months from now, Tesla — in which I have no financial interest — could have a considerably lower cash balance. How so? The terms of a $920 million convertible bond make me think that come March 1, Tesla will have to part with at least a third of its remaining cash. Is Tesla stock overvalued? On January 18, Tesla traded at 22% below its June 2018 all-time high and it lost 13% of its value in the wake of CEO Elon Musk’s decision to cut 7% of its employees……..

Source: 2 Reasons To Sell Tesla: $920M And $26,250

Tesla breaks ground on Shanghai factory which will product Model 3 EVs for China — TechCrunch

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the company’s first overseas factory in Shanghai will focus on producing Model 3 vehicles for the Chinese market only. Musk is currently in China to break ground on the new factory today, which is being developed in partnership with the Shanghai government — an ally that is likely to…

via Tesla breaks ground on Shanghai factory which will product Model 3 EVs for China — TechCrunch

Tesla Just Outsold Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Acura, Infiniti In America, About To Crush BMW, Lexus In Q4 – Jean Baptiste Su

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After Tesla’s “historic” quarter – Q3 2018 – where it posted its first profits in 2 years – the American automaker had just 2 profitable quarters in its history, the last one being in 2016 – and outsold Mercedes-Benz (66,542), Audi (59,478), Acura (41,830) and Infiniti (33,079) in America with close to 70,000 vehicles sold, our current sales estimate indicates that Tesla is on track to surpass Lexus (78,622) and BMW (71,679) in the final quarter of this year……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeanbaptiste/2018/10/27/tesla-just-outsold-mercedes-benz-audi-acura-infinity-in-america-about-to-crush-bmw-lexus-in-q4/#2d17d76117d1

 

 

 

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