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Speculative Tesla Segments

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by ludicrousspeed, May 16, 2016.

  1. ludicrousspeed

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    *Preface: this discussion is purely speculative. I think Tesla should only be valued on the products/services they have officially announced and sold to date*

    Tesla being "only a car company" is its biggest misconception. Their mission statement is to transition the world to sustainable and cleaner energy, an objective that can span across a variety of different business segments. Their technological advantages in batteries and autonomous driving can lead to a plethora of new business ventures. Tesla has historically sold drivetrain components and, about a year ago, announced another revenue segment, known as Tesla Energy. This is certainly one way that they can use their technology advantages – so much in fact that Musk predicts TE revenue will be double that of automotive revenue long-term. There is reason to believe that this is just the beginning. Acquiring the domain name for Tesla.com, rather than just keeping Teslamotors.com, and predicting a $700B market cap (Toyota has the highest auto market cap at ~$150B) in the next ten years are two telling signs that this is much, much more than just a car company.

    I wanted to start a thread with a long-term view that discusses and organizes other potential business segments that Tesla has not yet announced. Here is a summary of some of the ideas I've seen thrown around, and I encourage everybody to give their opinions and possibly add onto the list.

    1) Rides - Company Owned: An Uber-like business model based on autonomous driving. These vehicles will be designed around user experience and may include entertainment features like a TV. If their snake charging prototype ever gets into production, this will allow the cars to essentially charge themselves and operate independently, bringing in years of revenues with only the up-front cost of producing the car.
    Why they want to: It’s an obvious solution to the traffic congestion issue. Rather than having millions of cars not being used at any given time, have less cars on the road that operate more often. As pointed out by Adam Jonas, this also makes so much sense from a business perspective. Charged EVs | Uber CEO: If Tesla’s cars are autonomous by 2020, we’ll buy all 500,000 If Uber wants to buy all the autonomous Teslas, why wouldn't Tesla just cut out the middle man and make higher margins? They already are against another middle man, car dealers, and clearly don't like third-party firms representing their products.
    Why they can: Sustainable and material technology advantages. Their cars will register more autonomous miles in today than all of Google's cars in their entire history. Current features like self-park, self-steering, and summon are ahead of their time and are all strong indicators of where the technology will be in a few years. Cutting out drivers will also allow Tesla to offer substantially lower prices than services with drivers. Uber has a $60B valuation (twice that of Tesla) despite low margins (due to cost of drivers) because of the unbelievable demand for such a service. Imagine what demand will look like when prices can be cut in half. Additionally, it's no secret that riding in a Tesla is simply more enjoyable than virtually any other production vehicle. Other car makers are likely pursuing a similar ride service, but consumers have a higher demand to ride in a Tesla - hence why their owners are compensated more by Uber today.


    2) Rides - Consumer Owned:
    The ride-sharing idea can be further expanded by allowing Tesla owners to lend out their car for a large portion of the benefits. For example, if you're on vacation for a week and have absolutely no use for your car, you can activate ride-sharing and collect a majority of the ride revenues while you do absolutely nothing. Each vehicle sold will be a long-term revenue stream for the car owner and Tesla themselves.
    Why they want to: The car helps pay for itself (on top of gas savings), which dramatically increases the number of potential buyers. Also, this further addresses the congestion problem and helps maximize vehicle usage efficiency.
    Why they can: Similar advantages discussed above - autonomous technology and products that people want to ride in.


    3) Logistics: This was discussed briefly by @DaveT on a recent Google hangout on how Tesla can transform the commercial trucking industry. It’s a sector that has been widely unchanged for a long time, and accounts for ~5% of U.S. GDP. It takes the advantages they have in autonomous driving and applies them with a commercial, rather than consumer, focus.
    Why they want to: Modern day commercial trucks have a huge carbon footprint and replacing them would fall right in-line with the company’s mission statement. Management has been open about their intentions on building trucks and it would make sense to include commercial trucks. Creating their own trucks would also allow Tesla to reduce expenses associated with deliveries because they often carry their own production vehicles on transport trucks.
    Why they can: Electric trucks essentially eliminate almost all of the variable costs, given that they won’t need drivers or gasoline. So, whoever makes these trucks has extreme leverage when selling them to other companies. Again, Tesla would be at an advantage here due to advantages in their autonomous technology (discussed above).


    4) Charging: Turning the SuperCharger network into a revenue stream by licensing the technology and charging for the right to use them.
    Why they want to: For the mass adoption of EVs to take place, there must be a standardized charging infrastructure – almost like today’s gas station. If every EV on the road can charge as fast as a Tesla can, ICEs would die out much quicker. This move could also be the best advertising they’ve ever gotten. Imagine other car owners frequenting Supercharger station, where they’re exposed to the symbolic logo, other Teslas, and their owners. While waiting for their car to charge, they’re almost certainly going to hear about how great Teslas are and even see the cars up close. It will almost be as if everybody on the road had to stop at a Tesla showroom. They might literally never have to spend any money advertising.
    Why they can: There are no patents prohibiting other car manufacturers from making EVs adaptable to the Superchargers, so this makes sense. They’re at such an advantage because they’re the only company that has dedicated significant capital and efforts into building such a network. They have over 600 locations and give up to 170 miles of range in the first half hour of charging, compared to about 10-20 miles of range in the same time frame with public charging and high voltage outlet options. Since Tesla is a first mover in the space, they are able to focus significantly more time and effort into expanding such advantages. Unless other car companies want to lag years behind, they will find a way to get their cars running on Tesla’s charging network.


    5) Insurance: (Definitely the most speculative segment) The largest question surrounding driverless cars is: Who’s at fault? As autonomous vehicles begin to take over, there will have to some reforms to the age-old insurance industry. If Tesla wishes to pursue any ride-sharing service, they are likely going to have to figure out liability logistics anyways. As Tesla feels confident in the progression of the safety behind the technology, they can offer lower priced insurance for owners.
    Why they want to: First, this would answer the liability question, and in such a way that conveys the utmost confidence in the safety of their vehicles and driverless technology. Offering lower prices than traditional insurance companies will encourage people to buy a Tesla and then to go under their insurance plan. This will not only get people to switch to EVs, but also to rid the perception that they are more dangerous (fires, not adaptable to cold climate, etc.) Owning up to the liability of producing driverless cars might also help pass autonomous legislation.
    Why they can: Teslas are the safest production cars ever tested, but still yield high car insurance costs. If Tesla steps in with their own policy, they can drastically lower the cost of insurance to consumers, while maintaining similar margins from reducing insurance spending. Autonomous technology will eventually allow for far fewer accidents, and the vehicle’s build will result in less damage to both the car and its passengers. Additionally, Tesla plays a bigger role than do other auto makers when it comes to servicing and repairing their vehicles which results in significant cost benefits.
     
  2. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    Great idea for a thread!

    Here's my minor contribution. I always noted how other EV drivers complain how poor their charging options are, how often their public chargers are out of service etc...

    I do not know of the reliability of the HPWCs. However if there are people making adapters for their other EVs to use the HPWCs would imply to me that they are fairly robust. Now that Tesla has a daisy chained HPWC this may become a good reliable product that businesses, apartments can use to provide charging for their customers with less infrastructure requirement.

    Hopefully this would increase HPWC sales and exposure of Tesla products. Maybe even helping to standardize charging options for the future.
     
  3. badbot

    badbot Member

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    If any of the rideshare or insurance lines go live Tesla will need to capture enough data to provide 'Black box" aircraft accident type data to any accident victims. The data needs to be available for some time for unreported accidents as well.
     
  4. GoTslaGo

    GoTslaGo Learning Member

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    ^^^^
    Also I suspect more robust camera feed and recordings.
     
  5. ludicrousspeed

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    #5 ludicrousspeed, Jul 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
    Happy to see 1 and (unexpectedly) 2 and 3 get announced with today's post. Excited for the future of this company.
     
  6. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Tesla can't offer insurance, and I'll tell you why: they don't have the money.

    The biggest thing you need to offer insurance is gobs and gobs and gobs and gobs and gobs of cash and "safe liquid" investments, in order to pay out in very unlikely synchronized catastrophe scenarios.

    While Tesla is doing all their other stuff, Tesla will never be able to be in this situation. They will have to partner with some actual insurance company to provide insurance. It would be great if they found a partner who was willing to cover their autonomous cars and their ride-sharing schemes.... but insurance companies are ultra-conservative, so it may be quite hard to do.
     

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