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Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) Message Board

  • reallybigsackomeat reallybigsackomeat May 22, 2011 11:59 PM Flag

    Tesla: it's an Eclipse remake (part 1)

    I spent dinner with a colleague from my aero days. He is French, thus very attuned to politics and "the environment" --- we had our usual spirited discussion, this time around EVs. Naturally, he favors the Fluence and Leaf, but awaits more service history before he buys.

    Curiously, we agreed about Tesla, which we both saw as a remake of the Eclipse 500 saga of the last decade. I thought I would share this --- I encourage you to use your investigative resources to verify/argue our view.

    (1) In the role of Elon Musk: an "Information Age" tycoon from outside the industry.
    Vern Raburn, a Microsoft "original", had a lifelong fascination with aviation and a solid business track record, leading him to believe he would craft a world-changing solution ("a whole new era in aviation"): the Very Light Jet (VLJ), dubbed the Eclipse 500. Raburn predicted a selling price under $1M, something the established industry could not achieve.

    (2) In the role of entrenched industry: the world's business aircraft manufacturers and suppliers.
    Raburn had no quarter for Cessna, Lear/Bombardier, Beech/Raytheon, and others who doubted the Eclipse. Unimaginative, unresponsive, inwardly focused... the barbs were frequent and unexpurgated. He, of course, knew how to do what they could not despite their decades of successful global leadership in design and manufacture, and the fiercely competitive general aviation market. Among other things: Raburn planned an unprecedented production rate of 1000/year. The average combined global production of business aircraft worldwide at the peak of Eclipse mania? About 750.

    (3) In the role of the 18650 battery packaging breakthrough: friction stir welding.
    A technically curious Raburn sunk his teeth into the friction stir metal joining method as a way to eliminate rivets in aircraft manufacturing, thus "automating" much of the manual methodology that had been the industry standard for years. That the friction stir joint would require extraordinary setup per piece, or that approved and reliable inspection methods (short of time-consuming Ultrasound) did not exist, or that many parts of the aircraft would not be amenable to the technique did not deter him.

    (4) In the role of other e-era/Silicon Valley enthusiasts and peripheral EV entrepreneurs: Ed Iacobucci of DayJet
    Iacobucci was a founder of Citrix. Like Raburn he was critical of an aviation industry living in the past. His brilliant technical team conceived of a complex algorithm that would allow virtually perfect placement of a fleet of VLJs to respond to the demand of passengers, whose preferences for local, general aviation facilities and premium pricing tolerance would be met by the low-cost but fast and capable Eclipse Jet. The resulting company, DayJet, stood alongside Raburn to promote the "Air Taxi" as a breakthrough that would see many business travelers largely abandoning commercial service. That the Eclipse had no toilet, and still required two pilots for FAR Part 24 service (a huge per-passenger expense with a four passenger "payload"), was a non-issue to the Faithful. Air Taxis would change the world, and Silicon Valley was going to pave the way.

    (5) In the role of Congressional idiots and gubmint lackeys: Congressional idiots and... etc.
    The cretins of the Bush years proved equal to their Obama-era followers. Uninformed enthusiasm from legislators to underwrite loans and promote the Air Taxi were exceeded only by the egregious "leadership" of NASA and Marion Blakey's FAA. NASA frittered away millions (and public trust) promoting the Air Taxi, while Blakey fast-tracked certification of the Eclipse in one of the most questionable acts by America's aviation safety authority in its history.

    Stay tuned for Part 2...

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    • The US pays nearly twice percent GDP for medical care than France or Canada does, yet their life expectancies are years longer. So no one's pulling the plug on Granny. If Ryan's scheme were honest, US medical expenditures would end up greater than 20% US GDP and the expense is unsustainable now.

      Between the financial sector, medical care, and the trade deficit the US is expending around 30% GDP, a huge burden and a result of our Banana Republic, Pay-To-Play political system - not capitalism/markets. Medical insurance and drug companies spent hundreds of millions in Washington lobbying in each of 2009 and 2010 (www.opensecrets.org, www.fec.gov). That's why the medical reform bill was a kludge; it was just the best that Pay-To-Play Congress could do and a starting point. Of course, the insurance and drug companies can just add such expenses to our bills.

      Interestingly, many provisions of that bill were Republican ideas from the 90's medical care wars. They now simply repudiate every one of them advocated by Democrats.

      The notion that Medicare is a black hole isn't totally wrong, it's just that medical care in the US in general is a black hole. Medicare is the most efficient part of it except in a few areas that need to be addressed by law enforcement - fraud in Florida seems to be a way of life under insurance companies too. Vouchers is a simple idea guaranteed to greatly increase US medical expenses even further from sustainability. People in the administered price market place for insurance have no leverage as individuals at all. Ask any individual buying health insurance. The only way to save money with the vouchers is to cut US life expectancy, already #49 which most voters don't know yet.

      You can't bail the USA out of debt by snuffing old people.

      If you gather all US defense expenses together they are pushing a trillion a year and the right wants more. Our medical care system is overall indeed a black hole. The trade deficit is still unsustainable and the first financial stone wall the US runs into. The recycled dollars find their way into our Pay-To-Play system at the core of our government. US multinationals are no longer American companies but Pay-To-Play anyway.

      Especially since WWII we just paid for the inefficiency, the misallocaiton, and the corruption of the Pay-To-Play system. We can't do that any more. That points to the reforms we really need. The real US economy, the innovation, real markets, enterprise - is Main Street, not Wall Street. We know how to do it.

    • 1) You can't see the right side of the dash in the photo.

      2) It is regulation. The last couple of cars I've had had them on the upper surface of the steering column which you can't see in the picture either.

      3) Virtual displays in the '80's were crude. Isn't Lincoln advertising an LCD instrument cluster also? They can be very slick now. But it's still a good trick to make them all readable in bright sunlight.

      4) ?? It's a question, but that sort of equipment detail probably isn't fixed yet and wouldn't be in alpha test cars anyway.

    • Single payer Medicare is like quicksand. Government programs never back up. Even when they should.

      Take the money, the same money, send it out in vouchers to people and let them get their own healthcare plan. Providers of healthcare would compete for those voucher dollars. Simple idea demonized by demos who want to get elected.

      Current crop of seniors would not even be affected. But the dems will make it sound like a death sentence.

    • Washington's Pay-To-Play political system makes any theoretically market driven msdical system impossible. That's why the US system is by far #1 in expense, but gives us #49 in life expectancy.

      Yes, I'm happy to slam Ryan's proposal. It's intended to save insurance companies while obliterating single-payer Medicare. The only way that saves money is to reduce US life expectancy, already #49. There's no reason not to speak plainly about it. After all, he was plain enough and the voters are catching on.

      He never mentioned the medical care cost drivers either - diabetes 2 and cancer. Diabetes 2 is almost entirely preventable, cancer at least a third. Effectively giving us cancer, giving us diabetes 2, and treating them all have powerful lobbies in Washington. I doubt it's some conspiracy at all - it's just how Washington Pay-To-Play works.

      The above don't qualify as a "Socialist line".

      Most developed countries now are using either a single payer scheme or non-profit mutual insurance companies over a mixed delivery system (as we have). The argument is that medical care isn't a good in the usual sense. Normally you can buy a bottle of water for, say, $1. If you were dying of thirst in the desert, though, the market would sell it to you for $10,000. You might have to buy medicine or services on a scheme like airline tickets, priced ever higher as flight time approaches. Voters won't go for that, nor a scheme where essentially people die in net worth order.

      If we want to try some market driven scheme here we need a Constitutional Amendment as a Jefferson's Wall between politicians and money. The Banana Republic has been so entrenched for so long it's hard to pull it up by the roots.

      Be careful of what you wish for.....

    • <<Saudi Arabia is the worl'd largest exporter, and the nation is poor.

      >>

      What are you smoking?

    • wha?

      <<In general rich countries import oil and poor countries export it.

      >>

      Like Saudi, Kuwait, ?

    • Yes, that was Kbodie's point. It's good to see that you guys finally agree on something. I get weary of all the bickering.

    • Oh yeah, EVs really blew up from there. how about steam driven cars? They were much bigger back then.

    • Temagami, nice bit of misinformation!

    • Bud, apparently this misinformation is widespread:

      "Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented a crude electric-powered carriage. In 1835, another small-scale electric car was designed by Professor Stratingh of Groningen, Holland, and built by his assistant Christopher Becker. In 1835, Thomas Davenport, a blacksmith from Brandon, Vermont, built a small-scale electric car. Davenport was also the inventor of the first of the first American-built DC electric motor.

      In the late 1800s, France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles. In 1899, a Belgian built electric racing car called "La Jamais Contente" set a world record for land speed - 68 mph - designed by Camille Jénatzy."

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