CNBC: Warning for GM – Tesla Quality Getting Even Better

October 9, 2018

Ron Baron, Baron Funds CEO and CIO, discusses the popularity and quality of Tesla cars as compared to other automakers as well as the future of electric vehicles.

“In 10 years the automobile industry will be unrecognizable.”


16 Responses to “CNBC: Warning for GM – Tesla Quality Getting Even Better”

  1. Abel Adamski Says:

    I tend to agree and disagree with the GM CEO.
    Uber, car on demand, for reasonably high population and high density areas like cities where parking can be a premium, Yes.
    But more spread out suburbs and rural and semi rural, Uber and Lyft will struggle and the personal auto will still dominate, but even then solar panels/tiles and batteries will make an EV a no brainer especially as batt tech evolves and reduces in price.
    C4V has developed and displayed a solid State Battery with no Cobalt, cheaper lighter faster charging and a 70% increase in capacity, i.e a 250 mile range suddenly becomes 425 miles, or that cheaper model with the 140 mile range suddenly is 198 miles and at a cheaper price.
    400W/Kg or 750W/L
    It will be in commercial production Q2 2019 out of the new Gigafactory (planned 15GW production, but only 3GW in first year) being built by the consortium in which it has a 1/3 interest Imperium 3 in construction now in NY State

  2. Abel Adamski Says:

    As far as the existing ICE manufacturers, they face an unpleasant catch 22 and it will be a matter of who survives, their business model dates back to early 20th Century before the internet and the Dealer was instrumental for their business, but now the car can be ordered on the Internet and customer configured and either delivered to a Tesla Delivery/repair center or even direct to home, leaving the Dealers on a rock.

    The production lines and supply network are not compatible and complete redesign has to be done and to keep costs down increasingly inhouse becomes the pathway.

    For a perspective from a German Engineer if you haven’t read it, the comments are very good value

    Tesla, An Uncomfortable Wake-Up Call For Germany. All Hands On Deck!

    As a German engineer, I am today more than ever concerned about the ability of our auto industry to survive and prosper. I write this as a person who loves his country, the people, and my fast German car, a true masterpiece of technology.

    Your assumption, dear reader, is correct — I talk here about Tesla as an existential thread for the German automotive industry, and why that is real and backed up with facts.

    With 103,020 vehicles sold from Tesla in 2017, about 1% of the 10 million VW delivered, now is exactly the moment when you, dear reader, will call me a person that lost touch with reality. Allow me to explain. Invest a few minutes and make your judgement after that.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      An excellent link—to an article from the biased and bright-sided “techno cornucopia” site Clean Technica. I don’t quarrel much with anything Voigt said there, but DO think his narrow focus on what’s going on in the German auto industry misses the point.

      Yes, good things are happening, and Tesla is a leader, but Voigt and most everyone else are missing the point. Our problem is NOT that we don’t know what to do or how to do it or can’t demonstrate those things in small ways. The problem is INERTIA, the size of the task, and the time lag that is built into any massive conversion of our technology, institutions, and personal behaviors.

      EV sales may be growing rapidly, but they are still a tiny fraction of vehicle sales in the US and worldwide. Here in the US, the best selling vehicle for the last 40+ years is the Ford F-150 pickup truck, and pickups of all makes constitute ~1 million of the 17 million vehicles sold yearly. Does anyone make an EV pickup for America’s “hairy chested men” that drive pickups (most NOT used for work in my area)? Don’t think so, and when they do arrive. unless they say RAM, Chevy or Ford on the grill, the “hairy chested men” won’t buy them.

      Does anyone really believe that people are going to scrap perfectly good ICE vehicles and replace them with electrics overnight? I own two vehicles—2000 and 2003 ICE Mazdas, both of which are running well and relatively economically, and I am not going to replace either with an EV until they fall to pieces. I look around on the roads in No VA, and I see multitudes of SUV’s, very few of which are even hybrids, never mind full EV’s.

      So, if ICE vehicles are going to take a long time to bleed out of the vehicle fleet, we will need to keep making gasoline to fuel them. If we continue to make slow progress at cleaning up dirty fuels for ships AND never find a solution for airplane emissions AND don’t electrify railroads AND keep cutting the burning of coal only slowly AND watch worldwide CO2 emissions rise as the world’s poor try to catch up AND….need I go on?

      The IPCC report says it’s rapidly getting worse, every legitimate climate scientist on the planet says the same—-look out your window and you can see evidence—I can. So, IMO, anyone who wants to make a big deal about Tesla is in a state of denial and bargaining—-wake up and smell the skunk cabbage, folks.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      “Your assumption, dear reader, is correct — I talk here about Tesla as an existential thread for the German automotive industry, and why that is real and backed up with facts.” It’s all Tesla Tesla Tesla. I drive a 2015 Nissan Leaf with ~90-100 mile range (A/C in summer cuts my range) and it took me less than a month to start thinking of combustion engines as barbaric, but I realize that my convenience is at the cost of the makers of mufflers, catalytic converters, oil filters, and other buggy whips.

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given top billing to Tesla’s “mass market” electric vehicle, the Model 3, saying it has the lowest and second lowest probability of injury rating of all the cars the safety testing agency has put to the test.

    The popular EV, now the biggest selling car in its category in the US, has its architecture based on its more expensive sister models the Model X and Model S. The agency assessment delivers it a perfect Five Star rating as well as the lowest probability of injury to occupants.

    => Tesla Model 3 safest car ever tested, according to US agency

  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    This video is about as elegant an argument as I have ever seen for why paying a little more for a Tesla is worth it. This is crash footage from the NHTSA showing passenger compartment intrusion – the Model 3 vs a Volvo. They also have video of the Model 3 vs Audi, Lexus and others:

    Why “Polar Moment of Inertia” is important:

    • dumboldguy Says:

      It’s actually a not quite “elegant” piece of propaganda that misuses (or at least abuses) the physics it touts. Where, pray tell, would anyone put a heavy and dangerous lithium-ion battery but low and in the center of the car? And also make it thin so that you didn’t need a ladder to climb up in. And surround it with some strong protection so it didn’t get damaged on impact (which almost always leads to a fire). Misusing the fact that these mostly NON-safety design considerations DID help safety is dishonest.

      So, that leads to a video clip where the Tesla resists side impact so much better than the Volvo. Big whoop—-part of the “crushability” built into cars is to spread the forces over time and reduce the “whiplash” effects (to simplify the physics for the physics impared like GB). The fact that the Tesla caroms off like a hockey puck does not speak well for the neck tendons of the occupants (and the side air bags head better be beefed up to better protect the head). Using video of a test showing impact with a very narrow object that “evaded” the side bar protection and crushed the driver’s area is also dishonest—-in effect, the battery and enclosing structure in the Tesla are a front-to-rear side impact bar (with the attendant whiplash problem), and that was NOT intentional but serendipity.

      Looking at the links, the Tesla is not THAT much safer than other cars anyway. Just taking any car out of the driveway and going out on the streets is what’s unsafe.

      (And looking at GB’s use of “polar moment of inertia”, I am reminded of something I learned about not in my physics courses but in psychology—-the “Polar Moment of FreezeBrain” that attacks members of the Cult of Musk any time they talk about Musk. Hard to treat but not incurable—-get help, GB)

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        “The fact that the Tesla caroms off like a hockey puck does not speak well for the neck tendons of the occupants”

        The key metric here is that the necks of the Tesla occupants, as opposed to those in the Volvo, would still be attached to their heads.Btw, the Volvo also caroms off the pylon. The key is that the Tesla suffered about 1 -2 inches of passenger compartment penetration. The Volvo looks to be about a foot. Same for the Lexus. The Audi engine appears to be shoved back about 10 inches. Nothing does that in the Tesla.

        Let the viewers decide.

        “Looking at the links, the Tesla is not THAT much safer than other cars anyway. “

        LOL. Opine all you want about whiplash. That Volvo driver would be dead.

        But here is some actual data from those links.

        That sure looks like Tesla makes the safest cars to me. YMMV. Tesla is now releasing quarterly accident reports, where they report not just accidents, but also “near misses”. We’ll see where that leads.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Uh, GB? You obviously didn’t notice that the “lowest probability of injury” graph is another dishonest and misleading presentation of the data. The data on the Y-axis begins at 5, NOT zero—-if the graph went down to zero, the base line would be ~1/4 inch below the “reply” after your message, and the variability at the top would be visually compressed (and much more “honest”).

          So, Teslas ARE undoubtedly safe, at 5.8 to 6.6, but the 7 other cars that are at 7.1 or below are not statistically far above that, and “Looking at the links, the Tesla is not THAT much safer than other cars anyway” IS A VALID STATEMENT (unless of course, you are so deep into The Musk Cult that you will swallow any kool-aid).

          As far the rest of your comment, you need to take a refresher course in physics—-specifically in classical mechanics in the area of dynamics (kinetics to those of us who got our physics degrees in 1963). If you have ever played a contact sport, that would help you understand forces as well, and if you have ever knocked anyone out with your hands that would give you some perspective on force and impacts on the body. (I’ve done both) Then you might not say things as ill-informed as “…the necks of the Tesla occupants, as opposed to those in the Volvo, would still be attached to their heads. Btw, the Volvo also caroms off the pylon. The key is that the Tesla suffered about 1 -2 inches of passenger compartment penetration. The Volvo looks to be about a foot.”

          You may not understand this until you take that physics course, but the Volvo took up a lot of energy in crushing (after which it moved away but DIDN’T “carom”)—-yes, the driver might have been badly hurt, but the other 3 passengers would likely have fared better on average than the 4 in the Tesla because the Tesla did NOT absorb much energy via crushing. Crushing is good, and I can speak from experience there—-I have owned four Volvos, and totaled one in a multicar pileup—it crumpled nicely—-no one in my car was hurt, and the doors opened easily, which could not be said for some of the other cars.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Hey! GB! Have you signed up for an on-line Physics course yet? Or checked Physics for Dummies out of the library? There will be a another quiz coming soon enough on Crock—get ready!

          (hint—look at F =ma)

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Please notice that that graph title is “Probability of Injury”. I would imagine that whiplash would be included under the header of “injury”?

            The point is that that the Volvo and Lexus and Audi also received 5 star ratings. That means that not all 5-star ratings are alike, and the videos show that the difference is significant. The NHTSA needs to revamp their scoring system.

            It is too early to say that Tesla cars have reduced fatality compared to the fleet, or to comparable cars, because numbers are so low. There are plenty of individual testimonies from Tesla owners who feel their cars saved their lives, but that doesn’t mean much. Yet.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            None of it means much yet. especially when you see the word “probability”, which means someone has been playing “statistics”. Some “statistics” quotes and a link to more.

            Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to anything. ~Gregg Easterbrook

            The average human has one breast and one testicle. ~Des McHale

            Then there is the man who drowned crossing a stream with an average depth of six inches. ~W.I.E. Gates


  5. Sir Charles Says:

    Some of General Motors’ largest gasoline-burning vehicles – pickups and full-size SUVs – will soon be built, ironically, at plants powered by wind. GM says it wants to power all its global facilities with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, and that it hopes to reach 20 percent of that goal this year.

    => General Motors will soon use wind power to build pickups and SUVs

    • dumboldguy Says:

      That goes far beyond “irony”—-actually into Alice in Wonderland territory.

      And by 2050, only 32 years from now? LOL!

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        Not really. We’ve always known that the last bastion of fossil fuel energy would be transportation. If renewable fuels take hold, planes could be using combustion engines for many decades to come.

  6. Sir Charles Says:

    Sen. John Barrasso, a coal-state Republican who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has introduced a proposal to end the $7,500 tax break for electric vehicles. His plan would also impose a federal highway user fee on alternative fuel vehicles.

    => Tax Break for Electric Vehicles in the Crosshairs

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