Led By Tesla, September U.S. Electrical Vehicle Sales Surge

The month of September was another big one for U.S. electrical vehicle sales. And, once again, despite a growing barrage from its increasingly irrational detractors, Tesla just keeps crushing it as a U.S. and global clean energy leader.

Tesla Leads Record September EV Sales

In total, 21,325 plug-in vehicles were sold in the U.S. during September. This sales rate represented a 24 percent growth over September of 2016 and amounted to the second highest number of electrical vehicles sold in the U.S. during any month on record. Total annual sales are now 142,514 and appear ready to approach or exceed the 200,000 mark by year-end.

(Strong electrical vehicle sales growth in the U.S. continued during September — with Tesla remaining ahead of the pack. Image source: Inside EVs.)

Tesla again showed itself as a strong market leader with combined Model S and X sales of 7,980. These models, respectively, held the top two sales spots for the month — followed closely by the long-range Chevy Bolt EV at 2,632 sales after nearly a year on the market. The Toyota Prius Prime and Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids rounded out the top five spots at 1,899 and 1,453 sales, respectively.

The main story of these best-sellers appears to be range — with all of these vehicles boasting long range electric or plug-in-hybrid capability. But Tesla’s high quality luxury offerings still hold an edge due to better technology, better charging infrastructure support, and superior overall capabilities. What’s even more ironic is that Tesla’s vehicles — that often sell for upwards of 100,000 dollars each — are still moving at greater volumes than the 35,000 dollar Chevy Bolt.

Chevy Bolt and Model 3 — Place-Holder vs Industry-Mover

The Bolt has a 238 mile range, which is a bit shorter than the higher-end Teslas which now can travel for between around 250 and 315 miles on a single charge. The Bolt’s quality is also considerably lower than the higher-priced Teslas — with slower acceleration, economy body styling, inferior handling and less features. As noted above, the Bolt also does not enjoy the support of Tesla’s large and expanding charging infrastructure. All that said, the Bolt remains an excellent EV for the price. It’s just that one wonders if GM’s heart is really in it to go all-in to sell the vehicle. Or is GM just placing a necessary high-quality competitor in a strategic attempt to stymie enthusiasm for the upcoming, trend-setting, Tesla Model 3?

(Obama-era CAFE standards are a major driver for auto industry transformation away from polluting fossil fuels and toward zero-emissions electric vehicles. Industry leaders like GM have long fought a policy that incentives electrical vehicle production and ultimately produces the combined benefits of moving the country toward energy independence, renewable energy, healthier air, and a less hostile climate. This year, the Trump Administration has sided with fossil-fuel based automakers and moved to roll back Obama’s helpful CAFE standards. Image source: Alternative Energy Stocks.)

A big hint comes in the form of continued opposition by major automakers like GM to increasing CAFE standards. From Electrek earlier this week:

In a time where a surprising number of major automakers are announcing that they believe electric cars are the future of the auto industry, we are still seeing them complaining about, and in some cases lobbying against, the fuel emission standards.

Now trade groups representing virtually the entire auto industry are again putting pressure on U.S. regulators to weaken rules that would force them to produce more electric cars.

So the rational question arises — would an automaker who really believes that the future is electric, who is really dedicated to the success of vehicles like the Bolt and the Volt also be fighting to remove fuel economy standards? If this appears like hypocrisy to some, then it probably is. A duck, after all, does quack from time to time.

Moving Economic Eggs into the All-Electric Basket = No Harmful Fossil Fuel Conflict of Interest

Tesla, on the other hand, only produces electrical vehicles. So, unlike GM, it doesn’t have a gigantic fossil fuel burning vehicle production infrastructure hanging around its neck and dragging it back down into the vast ocean of structural industry contributors to worsening climate change impacts.

And while critics decry production delays for the Model 3, GM’s own ambitions for the Bolt were comparatively modest — aiming for around 50,000 sales per year vs Tesla’s ultimate goal of 400,000 to 500,000 for the Model 3. One of these cars, therefore, looks like a shot at an industry defender while the other appears to be aimed directly at transformation. And who wins out in this David and Goliath struggle will have far-reaching energy, climate, and vehicle industry repercussions.

(Total U.S. EV sales for the year of 2017. Image source: Inside EVs.)

Sales of the key vehicle in question, the Model 3, remained slow at 115 units in September. This following 30 and 75 sales respectively during July and August. Tesla admitted facing production bottlenecks in its planned massive ramp up for the Model 3 aimed at meeting the demand of an amazing 500,000 pre-orders. Tesla critics have had a field day as the all-electric automaker struggles in its attempts to get its famed ‘alien dreadnought’ production of all-electric vehicles up and running.

The slower ramp in Model 3 production, so far, is admittedly a bit of a bump in the road for Tesla. But critics’ claims of Tesla’s ‘imminent demise’ have become a common and hackneyed cry over recent years. So we can take the present brouhaha with a couple of grains of salt and view any major downward moves in Tesla stock as a panic-induced opportunity for more steady, savvy, and environmentally conscious investors.

Investing in Clean Energy Future Makes Moral and Economic Sense

To this point, Tesla uses its stock market capitalization to help fund its energy transformation efforts. So Tesla investors are helping to fund a global move away from fossil fuels. And for putting their money on the line in this way, we should express to them our thanks and gratitude.

In the larger context, electrical vehicles, and more broadly, a related ramping battery storage production chain forms one of three key pillars to the global energy transition away from fossil fuels. The other two pillars are composed of wind and solar. All of these technologies produce zero carbon emissions in use. And due to their ability to hit economies of scale in production that result in reduced costs, higher efficiency, and higher energy densities over time, they have a demonstrated capability to increasingly out-compete dirty fossil fuels and rapidly reduce carbon emissions.

So when new clean industry leaders like Tesla are forcing laggards like GM to produce electrical vehicles and market them, even as market-defenders, then those of us who support clean energy and are worried about the threat of climate change should all be cheering.


If true, then why continue to fight CAFE standards? —


I presently hold Tesla stock as part of a larger renewable energy and sustainable industry investment portfolio. For me, this is part of a morally driven choice to divest from fossil fuel based energy companies and invest in clean energy companies. Though these choices incur considerable financial risk, I believe that wholesale investment by society in fossil fuels results in severe ultimate harm — which I will not be a party to. I urge others to seriously consider joining the campaign to divest/invest.


Monthly Plug-in Sales Scorecard

Automakers Claiming to be ‘All-in on Electric Cars’ are Still Lobbying Against Stricter Fuel Standards

Aggressive New CAFE Standards

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  1. You do understand that by attacking Tesla (your previous posts which were taken down), you’re aiding and abetting the fossil fuel industry and ultimately advancing the goals of the republican party here in the U.S., correct? That you are attacking a key enabler of the energy transition in the U.S. and leaving open the door for China to dominate this arena (your earlier posts noted worry about China new energy industry dominance)? You do realize that, don’t you? If you’re aware of these facts, then you’re not talking ‘TRUTH’ at all. You’re distorting it.

  2. What is the amount of CO2 and other fossil fuel pollutants emitted into the atmosphere per manufacture of plug-in vehicles from drilling or mining to rollout as well as the amount from periodic recharging via power plants? And how does it compare with hybrid vehicles? Thanks.

    • OK, let’s just use this as an example of the vast differences involved:

      Pretty clear that manufacturing is just a drop in the bucket for total emissions. That primary emission source is lifetime fuel use, which EVs remove to varying degrees depending on where they’re charging. And, on net, EV emissions are less in total.

      A quick answer above with more details below. But you do understand that the sentiment of your question is often echoed by fossil fuel backers like the Koch Brothers, right, Thom?

      So before I more fully answer what is a common ‘concern troll,’ question, I’d like to call attention to this statement by a guy who’s deeply invested in the production of fossil fuel based vehicles:

      Il Patrón Marchionne of Fiat recently intoned, “It was always make-believe that electric cars save anything like the amount of CO2 claimed for them. Before we assume electric vehicles are the ultimate answer, we need to consider cradle-to-grave lifecycle.”

      Sound familiar? Maybe the guys who make these kinds of false statements or ask these kinds of questions share brain or something?

      So you understand that when you lead with this kind of unqualified question, you’re basically perpetuating a misinformed narrative that has been spread by fossil fuel backers, right? The question itself, assumes. And, all too often, under an innocent pretension. It thus doesn’t ask. It presents an argument under the innocent guise of asking a question.

      Also, before we further address this argument, we should also note that the production and refinement of gasoline itself involves serious use of electricity which presently emits carbon. And that, in effect, the volume of carbon produced for the gasoline of an ICE + producing the ICE itself outweighs the carbon for producing an EV body + its battery by a considerable margin even before the gasoline is ultimately burned.

      In other words, 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gasoline refined. Plus the 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gasoline burned. At about one ton every two years just from refining gasoline, the amount of carbon emission from simply providing fuel for an ICE is usually greater than the carbon that comes from building an EV which is in the range of 8-20 tons:

      Average carbon emissions from simply producing an ICE is about 80 percent of that of producing an EV. Add in the production of gasoline needed for the ICE and that total ranges from 150 percent to 400 percent of an EV + battery production.

      Of course, EVs are about three times more efficient than ICE vehicles. So even on grids that are primarily fueled by gas and coal, EVs produce less than half of ICE emissions:

      But as noted by the article linked above, EVs can produce zero lifetime emissions if linked directly to solar and/or wind. In addition, as the electricity and transportation used to produce EVs becomes more renewable, the net carbon source from building them also falls.

      In other words, EVs + renewables synergistically change the energy game and ultimately enable zero or near zero emissions from all industry production, transport, and power generation sources. This means that with EVs + wind + solar the carbon cost of EVs production can fall to less than one ton and ultimately to near zero.

      So, Thom, I have a question for you — what’s the motivation behind the question? To spread information, or to spread doubt?

      • Jim

         /  October 11, 2017

        Marchionne has consistently bad-mouthed EVs, saying “Nobody wants to drive around with 800 lbs of battery”. But, apparently they’re happy driving around with 800 lbs+ of engine/transmission/fuel/pollution control. At a time when 80% of the world’s car selling jurisdictions have established ICE phase out dates (first link), or are in the process of doing so, it’s simply irresponsible for the FCA Board of Directors to not be thinking about new leadership.

        Despite Marchionne’s charade about needing to understand cradle to grave lifecycle costs, that work has been completed by multiple credible sources as you’ve shown above. Plus the data keeps getting better. Tesla batteries are retaining > 90% of their original capacity even at 220,000 miles, and the slope of the degradation curve suggests 500,000 miles of useful life, or even more, might be possible (second link). At 15,000 miles per year, the battery drive train would last 30+ years – easily 3X- 4X the lifetime of an ICE powered car. Talk about an improvement in sustainability!

        Considering the amount of battery capacity being installed (last link), coupled with design activity on EV’s indicates the auto industry is in the midst of a transformational change and it’ll probably happen faster than most expect. Such is the nature of tipping points.

        ~ Jim

        • Thanks for the helpful additions, Jim. Looks like if you buy a Tesla, you won’t have to buy another car for decades. That’s pretty crazy. Something that definitely would help to reduce harmful materials throughput.

      • Greg

         /  October 11, 2017

        Your patience Robert is beyond admirable. Thank you on behalf of those of us too weak to do this weary work.

        • Thanks for the kind thoughts, Greg. Often the information war is a war of attrition. So if you want to illustrate what’s actually going on, you have to be more like the tortoise and less like the hare. 😉

          I delete about ten comments like this every day. I just thought that we might actually have a chance to learn something this time about how a misinformation meme gets perpetuated and the kinds of misconceptions that it produces. Maybe someone can carry the argument forward and/or further refine it. If it was useful in this regard, then my job here is well done 🙂

          This was one of those loaded questions that wraps up about ten+ incorrect or fallacious thoughts/assumptions/reliances all in one.

          1. Assumes that carbon emissions from vehicle production are higher than from fuel. (False)
          2. Assumes that electrical vehicles produce more carbon than fossil fuel based vehicles due to first false assumption. (False)
          3. Ignores the material carbon cost of producing gasoline. (sleight of hand)
          4. Ignores the syngergistic relationship of EVs + wind and solar and its related capability to produce zero lifetime emissions. (Lie by omission)
          5. Relies on the laziness of the responder not to untangle the various fallacies of the statement/question because they are so numerous and require work for research. (Brute force obfuscation)
          6. Because this form of misinformation creates a draw that goads others to go along without question or thought it generates a Bandwagon Fallacy which is self-perpetuating.
          7. Relies on readers of the question to absorb the question and not the answer due to the necessary information density of the response. (nerd baiting/attention deflection)
          8. Plays to baser human nature. (race to the bottom)
          9. Plays to cynicism. (race to the bottom)
          10. Enables apathy. (race to the bottom)
          11. Subtly casts attention away from the primary source of carbon emissions — fossil fuel use. (brazen misdirection)

          I find this one to be particularly annoying due to its smugness and zero useful information content.

        • Abel Adamski

           /  October 11, 2017


        • Jim

           /  October 11, 2017


          The list is a good one, and unfortunately could go on for quite a while.

          Anyway, there’s another piece of information out there that tends to mislead -unintentionally, thus far – and it’s graphs showing global primary energy usage by source – oil, gas, coal, renewables, etc. (Number page 10 of the report below, PDF page 12 as the intro are not numbered pages).

          This particular report is from BP, but they all tend to say the same thing – “The world needs a lot of energy and it’s growing”. Then they show primary energy by source, with renewables, despite strong growth being a depressingly small slice of the pie, before concluding that fossil fuels will be around for a long time.

          What’s not said, especially in the case of oil, is that most of that primary energy is wasted. Take the case of gas automobiles, the wheel to well efficiency is only 16%, with the majority being lost to crude transportation, refining, transportation to stations, and inefficiencies in ICE. Compare that to approximately 85% – 90% efficiency of EV where the losses are primarily inverter and charging losses, and you see that you only need to replace 1/5 of the primary energy from gasoline with renewable energy to travel the same distance.

          For a number of reasons, I believe the transition to EV transportation is likely to be a rapid one, perhaps on the order of 10 years or so. And I think future generations will look back on the age of ICE automobiles with astonishment considering the health, climate, and inefficiency of gasoline as a transportation fuel.

          ~ Jim

  3. What, no reply?? Hmm…

    • eleggua

       /  October 10, 2017

      Check his twats; a couple of schitzy, self-congratulatory screeds directed at you. Perhaps delete all of the above and my response, too. This person isn’t worth any attention here, in my opinion.

  4. Jeremy in Wales

     /  October 10, 2017

    Hope you do not mind me re-posting this but it ties in with Tesla, electric vehicles, and how when companies embrace the economic shifts they will jump on board.

    “It is amazing how fast technology is changing the economics of electricity generation. The latest in the UK is the penetration of battery technology in balancing the UK grid. There are regular auctions for providers of this service (some contracts are for the rapid removal of demand by big energy users) and some conracts have been won by companies building banks of batteries. The contracts are for 50MW of electricity, for upto 15 minutes, dispatched within 2 minutes and covers demand such as TV breaks when all the electric kettles get switched on.

    This sort of supply seems to me to have a number of advantages
    1) It can utilise excess supply, preferably from renewables for use later in the day
    2) It has a faster response than starting diesel generators
    3) It removes more fossil fuel use, diesel in this case, reducing demand for fossil fuels as do electric vehicles
    4) reduces NOX and particulate pollution as well as noise pollution.

    The UK government was expecting the contracts to be won by new gas stations but renewable and battery technologies are now cheaper.

    Hope the FT article is available outside the UK as there is a paywall but they allow limited access without paying.”

  5. Jeremy in Wales

     /  October 10, 2017

    …and to prove this is no flash in the pan the UKs first subsidy free solar & battery facility opened last month. The battery element enables storage of solar for sale in the evening peak when prices peak for supply.

    The Guardian also reported that this summer the UK electricity supply was the greenest ever-

    “Analysis by National Grid of power generation showed that a combination of solar, wind and nuclear – and an absence of coal – pushed carbon emissions to their lowest level yet over the season.

    Between 21 June and 22 September, the carbon intensity of the grid – as measured in grammes of C02 emitted per KWh of power generated – was more than halved from its level over the same period four years ago.

    This summer, nearly 52% of power came from low-carbon sources, compared with 35% in 2013.”

    Carbon intensity has dropped from roughly 500 grammes per KWH in June 2013 to approx 210 grammes per KWH this June 2017.

    Battery storage which in 2016 was some 24MwH installed capacity is expected to be 2.4GwH by 2021. The combination of renewables and batteries is the real deal that changes the economics of grid electricity.

    • Amazing to see this happening!

    • It appears that the UK is managing this despite a relatively tough political situation. I wonder if the fact that the North Sea is also depleting rapidly is playing in to these actions. Would like to think that some folks are finally coming around to the necessity of a rapid energy transition.

      • Mblanc

         /  October 12, 2017

        Well done to Jezza for bringing this up, it is a bit of a relief that we are producing some good news stories here in the UK, given the lack of urgency from the government.

        I think it is cost driven more than politically pushed, as we have also had recent good news on offshore wind, which has dropped in price by around half (relative to the current set of completions), for the next set of contract auctions, which are set for completion by 2021-2023.

        “The epoch of renewables as the most cost competitive technology has arrived,” said energy analysts Cornwall Insight, while the Economist Intelligence Unit said they showed “the trajectory of cheaper renewable technologies is irreversible”.

        I think 2017 is turning into a very special year in the push to tackle climate change. So many things we were told were impossible are starting to happen, despite all the denial and delay.

  6. eleggua

     /  October 10, 2017

    Gaining from bad to worse. Friends driving into the maelstrom on rescue missions earlier today; waiting to hear how things went for them and refugees.

    ‘Deadly fires ravage California’s wine country, leaving at least 15 dead, more than 180 missing’
    October 10, 2017 at 5:58 PM

    “….Officials expect the death toll to rise and high winds in coming days could complicate efforts to contain fires that have already torched 115,000 acres of land, mostly in Northern California’s wine country. Seventeen wildfires, some fanned by up to 50 mph wind gusts whipping across parched terrain loaded with tinder, have forced about 25,000 residents to evacuate and destroyed at least 2,000 homes and commercial buildings…..

    Sonoma County appears to have been hit the hardest, with nine casualties confirmed and about 240 people reported missing, the sheriff’s office said. As of Tuesday afternoon, 57 of those missing have been found….

    …improving conditions allowed fire crews to slowly — and cautiously — contain the fires, but winds are expected to pick up again. The National Weather Service is predicting winds of up 30 mph with 45 mph gusts in the North Bay area from Wednesday to Thursday….

    More than 8 million acres have burned in at least four states, raising questions from across the political spectrum about the connection to climate change and forest management practices….

    For Sonoma County residents Daniel and Cindy Pomplun, the fire had no warning; just the sight of the flames.

    The couple jumped into their pool as smoke and flames filled their home in Santa Rosa, the county’s largest city. They draped washcloths over their heads as they came up periodically for breath, their backs were to the fire that was engulfing their home and the acreage around it. Daniel Pomplun recalled the experience Tuesday as he and his wife sat in a nearby evacuation center, their face covered in blisters.

    When the fire passed, they lay shivering on the hot stones of their patio, taking off items of clothing to let the heat from the stones dry them. A Sonoma County deputy sheriff later spotted them as they were walking and drove them to the evacuation center……”

    • National Interagency Fire Center presently shows the 2017 fire season as the 3rd worst on record when it comes to acres burned at 8.5 million and climbing. If the present rash of fires is not contained soon, we could easily jump to # 2.

      The U.S. fire situation has been growing considerably worse in recent years. The primary cause is climate change.

    • I just saw VP Pence at an area of fire devastation, saying they were going to do E V E R Y thing possible to help..except try to slow Global Warming

      • eleggua

         /  October 11, 2017

        The cat is out of the bag, regardless of whether or not Pence and co. give a sh!t about the truth.

        ‘On fire from Disneyland to Wine Country, California must rethink disaster risk’
        By the Editorial Board
        October 10, 2017 3:30 PM

        “Puerto Rico is in ruins. Thousands are displaced in Houston. The Gulf Coast is bracing for a fresh round of hurricanes.

        Now, epic wildfires are incinerating California. At least 17 people were reported dead Tuesday, with tens of thousands evacuated and more than 150 missing, as 17 fires swept the state from San Diego to the Oregon border. “Apocalyptic” is the word that kept coming to mind, and not just because of the post-fire hellscape that is now parts of the Wine Country or the eerie orange skies over Disneyland.

        Climate change is doing what scientists predicted – amplifying storms and lengthening wildfire seasons. As it is, the U.S. Forest Service has spent more than $2 billion this year on fire suppression, the costliest fire season since 2015, when the last record was set at $1.7 billion. If it wasn’t clear last year – or the year before, or the year before that – it is obvious now that a new normal is at hand.

        Given that, it’s ironic, if not delusional, that the Trump administration would pick this, of all weeks, to move to repeal Obama-era limits on greenhouse gases, which drive global warming. Campaign promises to end the supposed “war on coal” notwithstanding, rolling back the Clean Power Plan is, in a word, nuts.

        So is Trump’s proposed 21 percent budget cut to the Department of Agriculture, which includes the forest service. And his proposed 12 percent cut to the Department of the Interior, which helps pay for firefighting. And his 23 percent cut, also proposed, to the federal budget for volunteer fire departments, which in rural areas are the first line of defense.

        Preparation for natural disaster, however, cannot just be a question of federal spending. Californians have long known how much damage can be done even in an ordinary fire season. Every year, Santa Ana winds set some part of Southern California ablaze – Irvine, La Canada, Malibu. This week’s fires are hardly the first to threaten Anaheim Hills.

        And yet, every year, rising housing demand forces development ever further into wildfire country. Northern California communities aren’t immune. The horrific 1991 fires in the Oakland hills were among the worst in state history, burning 2,500 homes and killing 25 people, and a 2012 state study focusing on the impact of climate change warned of firestorms like the one that this week consumed Santa Rosa.

        “Our Changing Climate,” from the California Climate Change Center, warned that earlier snowmelt, higher temperatures and longer dry periods during a longer fire season would increase wildfire risk, as would changes in vegetation. But the biggest factor would be human, the report added, “especially in San Francisco Bay and Southern California counties,” as suburban development continued to exacerbate hazards from climate change.

        So just as Hurricane Harvey must prompt a rethinking of zoning policies in cities such as Houston, this fire season has implications for development in California. The housing crisis won’t make that easy, by any stretch.

        But even in places that once seemed secure against fire, floods and other disasters, insurers, local governments and state lawmakers now need to factor extreme weather into policies from firefighting to flood protection. If the past couple of months are any indication, this state’s future isn’t going to disaster-proof itself.”

      • Global warming is a disaster multiplier. Enabling it is to enable mass destruction of property, harm, and loss of human and animal life. Pence enables it as does any politician who shares his ideology of climate change denial, renewable energy denial, anti-environmental stewardship, and pro-bad industry actors. There literally is hell to pay from this kind of corruption of the heart and mind.

        • Jim

           /  October 11, 2017

          IMHO, Noam Chomsky, now 88, has been one of the clearest intellectual thinkers in my generation – always well reasoned and backs his arguments with facts, not simple assertions. Here’s his take on climate denial. The link is to a portion of the interview, there’s a link to the full interview to the right of the video screen which is well worth the time to view.

        • I’m with Chomsky on this and so many other things. Thanks for posting, Jim.

        • eleggua

           /  October 12, 2017

          The entire interview is worth watching. Robert, I think you’ll particularly appreciate his analysis of Sanders and the 2016 presidential election.

          “May 10, 2017
          Evan Davis talked to him about Donald Trump, populism in Europe and Julian Assange (and Wikileaks email leaks during the election). ”

          The interviewer, Evan Davis, has an obvious slant, which Noam doesn’t allow to distract from what he knows and cogently, gently presents. He’s very impressive there.

          Some backround on Evan Davis is telling as to his slant.
          He’s an economist; got his start working on the UK Poll Tax in the late 80s. (Folks from/in the UK will know what that scheme was about and remember the massive protests and rioting against it.) Davis more than once crossed union picket lines at the BBC and was a proud strike-breaker there. He favours privatization of public services. His current part-time gig is hosting Dragon’s Den, a reality-type tv show featuring wanna-be biz bigwigs pitching their get-rich schemes to venture-capitalists, hunting for golden tickets.

          Good on Noam, speaking plain, complex truth in the midst of a lion’s den.

  7. Vic

     /  October 11, 2017

    Check out the acceleration on this thing – it’s believed by many to be Tesla’s new truck in deep disguise.

    • It’s a truck that accelerates like a car…

    • A start up so quiet!

    • eleggua

       /  October 12, 2017

      Though that video was just posted a few daze ago, on the 3rd, and the Elektrek piece was published on Tuesday, the video uploader posted this extended close-up view of the truck and it’s take off over a year ago. The Elektrek article notes, “A few days ago, we got a tip…”.
      Intriguing timing, that “tip” coming at least a year after the video was actually shot.

      “Uploaded on Sep 2, 2016”

      • eleggua

         /  October 12, 2017

        The video uploader is related to a partner at Latham & Watkins law firm, JIm Beaubien (his son, from what I’ve gathered.)

        ” Yun Huh, Tesla’s chief counsel, worked at both Latham & Watkins and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft prior to joining the automaker and presumably has connections at those firms.”

        Smooth move, Tesla.

  8. Abel Adamski

     /  October 11, 2017

    I remember reading a couple of posts in an earlier thread about record ICE veh sales in the US, followed by a comment on record car finance defaults.
    Considering the deviousness and suspect ethics of those in the fossil fuel and auto industries, I wonder if those crook car finance loans (Shades of the home loans that gave us the GFC) aren’t for the purp[ose of ensuring a growing stock of recent ICE vehicles for the next decade to guarantee petrol/oil volumes/sales

    • Interesting question.

      Pumping out bad loans is typical malinvestment/boom and bust behavior that tends to increase risk of financial shocks/market shocks. 1.2 trillion in bad car loans as of February.

      If we allow ourselves a little speculation, this may be a strategic move on the part of automakers/fossil fuel based market folks to inflate the ICE pool prior to large EV advances. It might also be to just dump stock in a final rush before competition from EVs really starts to eat into market share — i.e. an early sign of desperation. Might also just be people trying to pump up short term profits at the expense of the long term (no rational action involved).
      But the defensive argument is interesting in that if a lot of people own cars now, they’ll tend to buy less later.

      Of course, all of this is pretty speculative without much in the way of evidence to work with. But it makes for an interesting theory discussion.

      • Ed

         /  October 11, 2017

        Having a decade’s experience in the Auto Finance industry ending 3 years ago, my initial take is no, not a chance. First, most lending is indirect, and there are literally hundreds of firms in the industry — having a market share of even 3% makes you a major player in this space. The key decision point for originating business (buy/lease/loan, which lenders compete) is in the office of the “Finance Manager” at literally tens of thousands of new and used car dealers — and that is just the structure of the US industry, which is approx. 15% of the global auto market. The idea of a few firms outside this chain having material impact on this market does not make sense to me.

        • So I’m not an auto loans guy. But the last financial crisis was driven by a few bad players who mass produced bad loans to the extent that it seriously wagged the market. Multiple actors in loan origination for autos doesn’t seem to be a major mitigating factor if there’s a few big firms originating ‘easy money’ for car buyers.

          That said, larger policy and lack of appropriate regulation may just be making it easier to originate loans in general.

        • Mblanc

           /  October 12, 2017

          We have a growing problem with car loans/leasing here in the UK too, funnily enough. The Bank of England have been warning about the risks for some time now.

          Dunno if there might be pro-ICE element to this, on balance I would tend to think not (or at least not yet), because afaik those deals are available for all types of drivetrains. But I do think we should be alert and interested on this kind of market change, and it is a valid thing to ask about.

          We already know about the extensive repertoire of dirty tricks that have been used in the past to maintain the stranglehold of the FF, and there are surely a few more to come.

        • eleggua

           /  October 12, 2017

  9. eleggua

     /  October 11, 2017

    Lenghty article; lots of good info within.

    ‘German carmakers relying on volume to confront Tesla’
    October 4, 2017

    • And here we go… (see speculation RE defensive action by automakers above).

      This to me strikes of market defense. German automakers can’t compete with Tesla on quality, so they go for volume hoping to crowd the all-electric automaker out. Easy loans would help to enable volume.

      My personal opinion is that these German automakers are in even more trouble than U.S. automakers from the Model 3. The vehicle is of higher quality than most cars in the lower cost luxury i series (BMW). Once it starts hitting high volume and eats through its pre-orders, automakers like Audi and BMW are going to be in for some trouble as the all electric chops away at traditional ICE lower cost luxury stock. These cars are typically high profit margin. So a failure to adequately confront Tesla on the electric side will mean major loss of revenue.

      Of course these automakers are hoping for a Model 3 fail, or at least a delay so that they can have time to prepare or to blunt the wave.

      • eleggua

         /  October 11, 2017

        Thanks for your analysis. Obviously (to some of us), automakers are going to have to get with the program asap or go out of business. A few other all-EV auto companies in the mix asap is vital. Tesla can’t go it alone.

        “By August 2017, there were 455,000 net reservations, and an average of 1,800 additional being added per day….
        Tesla, sometime after late 2017, plans to enter the following countries’ markets for the first time with the Model 3: India, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore, and Ireland.”

        Have you seen this article?

        ‘By Design: Tesla Model 3
        A satisfying design for a four-door fastback’
        By: Robert Cumberford | September 5, 2016

        “…The Model S has character and refined simplicity, which is surprising for a fastback four-door; they’re nearly impossible to do well in terms of design, as opposed to styling…..
        The Tesla Model 3 is an excellent design…..”

        • So my focus on Tesla recently is due to a business model based solely on renewable integration and infrastructure build. Tesla:

          1. Only produces electrical vehicles.
          2. Is the only major western automaker that does this.
          3. Is building a massive battery producing infrastructure.
          4. Is building a massive EV charging infrastructure.
          5. Owns large solar panel producing factories.
          6. Strategically works to enable large scale renewable energy penetration.

          Tesla alone in the west possesses these features. Tesla can’t go it alone. But what it can and is doing is leading by example.

        • Have seen a couple of these. Thanks for the ones I was not aware of.

          So the model 3 appears to be a superbly designed vehicle. It’s clear that Tesla has again produced a best-in-class car on so many levels. But the model 3 is unique in many ways. It’s going to be a very tough car to compete with once it hits the market at higher volumes.

          The high level of quality is just one of many reasons why the detractors for Tesla right now are sounding so shrill. Tesla was no inevitably the only game in town when it came to top in class EVs. It made itself that way by producing continued advances in quality and design. By claiming that EVs were better and by proving it. Tesla will remain a story so long as it remains aspiration and does not compromise its values, in other words.

  10. Suzanne

     /  October 11, 2017

    Extreme Weather and Climate Events for October 8th-10th..
    0:12 The USA: Northern California wildfires
    35:41 Portugal: Wildfires
    38:39 Argentina: Corrientes hailstorm
    41:33 South Africa: Johannesburg storm/tornado & Enormous Durban storm

    • Suzanne

       /  October 11, 2017

      The images from the CA fire is truly frightening. Also, at around 8 minutes..some horrendous popping like ammunition maybe? And the wind howling…truly apocalyptic..

      • eleggua

         /  October 11, 2017

        The fireman on site said it’s 5-gallon propane tanks exploding. I’ve heard larger ones go in a forest fire and that’s a big BOOM.
        Trees can explode when the wind shifts intense fire into them; those explosions BOOM, too.

  11. Brian

     /  October 11, 2017

    Hi Robert,

    I hate to be negative in this time, but like analysts on MSNBC, can you please disclose whether or not you have any financial interest in Tesla? I’m just too jaded by everything else I see and hear, and I think that its best to protect yourself this way if (when) the haters start to come after you.

    • Brian —

      The disclaimer is at the bottom.

      It reads:

      “I presently hold Tesla stock as part of a larger renewable energy and sustainable industry investment portfolio. For me, this is part of a morally driven choice to divest from fossil fuel based energy companies and invest in clean energy companies. Though these choices incur considerable financial risk, I believe that wholesale investment by society in fossil fuels results in severe ultimate harm — which I will not be a party to. I urge others to seriously consider joining the campaign to divest/invest.”

      In other words… of course I hold stock in Tesla. But I don’t do it for the money. Nothing I do here is for the money. The blog is not monetized. I pay to have ads taken down. I’ve refused offers to write for major pubs due to concerns over conflicts of interest. And due to the fact that I don’t make a huge sum of money, the number of shares I hold in Tesla is small (though the total investment in renewable and sustainability based industries is a significant portion of my savings). I consider it an investment in the future of humankind and I’m willing to put my savings on the line for a better future.

      Of course cynical and jaded jerks are going to try to say that I’m just as bad as the fossil fuel profiteers. Well, I hate to break it to them, but there is such a thing as socially and environmentally conscious investing. And if you vote with your wallet and retirement funds, you’re leveraging your power to promote change as an individual to a greater extent. I consider investing in renewables to be a pubic service in this regard.

      The notion that this is a conflict of interest is utter and complete BS. We are working for the interest of life on Earth and as people who conduct business using money, who invest in our futures if we are wise, we have an obligation to do the right thing in that regard. So, no, there’s nothing wrong with MSNBC holding Tesla shares. Nothing wrong at all. In fact, that makes me sleep better at night.

      • Suzanne

         /  October 11, 2017

        +1 Sounds like an ethical stock portfolio to me. Thanks for all you do Robert..

      • Genomik

         /  October 11, 2017

        It’s precisely the right AND smart thing to do to invest in renewables. If the world did that more and did less fossil fuels we might not be in this climate mess!

        • Investing in fossil fuels = buying into future disasters. Investing in renewables = buying into reducing the harm. One of these things represents a moral conflict of interest. Another of these things represents a moral use of one’s money. Night and day difference. My present value approx 1,000 dollar investment in Tesla won’t make me rich even if Tesla shares go to 1,000+. But if ten million people like me each invest 1,000 dollars, that’s more money for a renewable energy transition that so desperately needs to happen.

      • Brian

         /  October 12, 2017

        Thanks Robert, I sometimes miss things like that. I value the service you provide to the larger community, and I don’t want to see the haters bring you down.

  12. wj long

     /  October 11, 2017


    Worrying new research finds that the ocean is cutting through a key Antarctic ice shelf

    “A new scientific study published Tuesday has found that warm ocean water is carving an enormous channel into the underside of one of the key floating ice shelves of West Antarctica, the most vulnerable sector of the enormous ice continent.

    The Dotson ice shelf, which holds back two separate large glaciers, is about 1,350 square miles in area and between 1,000 and 1,600 feet thick. But on its western side, it is now only about half that thickness, said Noel Gourmelen, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the lead author of the research, which was just published in Geophysical Research Letters.

    The reason is the same one that is believed to be shrinking glaciers and pouring ice into the ocean across West Antarctica — warm ocean water located offshore is now reaching the ice from below.”

    amazing, we sit and watch the planets great ice sheets disintegrate before our eyes.

    • Suzanne

       /  October 11, 2017

      +1..Great minds.
      Was just getting ready to post this article today at Cryostat on this very thing…Nice video accompanies the article..

      We are all aware that Antarctica’s ice shelves are thinning, but recently scientists have also discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of these shelves, potentially making them even more fragile. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.

    • What’s amazing to me is that all this is happening and we still have people out there fighting with all they can to prevent the technologies and behaviors that will help to stop making this problem worse.

  13. Genomik

     /  October 11, 2017

    I gotta think more and more folks will realize this. Living in the trees was nice when the climate was stable. Now that it’s not stable, the trees are sort of scary! Ooops!

    “Op-Ed Santa Rosa’s charred now, but we’re all facing fire (or flood or heat wave) soon”

    • Suzanne

       /  October 11, 2017

      Spot on.. op-ed. Thanks for sharing.
      Looking at the charred remains from these catastrophic fires it is hard to take it all in…

  14. Suzanne

     /  October 11, 2017

    Can I just say that Katharine Hayhoe’s climate change tutorials make me smile…Yes, they are simple and basic…but she is just so great at conveying the message in a way..that makes you want to listen. In by book…she is a treasure when it comes to getting out the Climate Change message.
    Now, if we could just get her videos to become as popular as the Kardashians we might actually make real changes…

    Here is the latest segment from today…
    “Plants and Animals can adapt to Climate Change, right?”

  15. Genomik

     /  October 11, 2017

    There are now 500 people missing with 17 dead but the rapid way the fire advanced like a liquid river of fire I’m sure many more died than 17. When you read the stories it’s nightmarish. 1000’s of people were asleep on a average Sunday night and late at night police etc came through telling folks to evacuate and the stories are often “I grabbed a few belonging and opened my door and the fire was already very close, we jumped in the car and made a harrowing escape”.

    But in such rapid conflagrations I’m sure many were trapped. It’s the thing nightmares are made of. This fire is a canary in the coal mine kind of thing.

    I saw on the news Monday morning at 10am interviews with people back at the embers of their homes that were sound asleep at 2am! That’s only a 6 hour window to be awoken, drive to safety, and the fires burns itself out so quickly people can come back in just hours to entire neighboorhoods decimated. Think about that time frame!

    In a similar way to Houston do you rebuild in the same place? The fires destroyed everything! Maybe you rebuild in concrete? With a fire bunker? Many less trees? Defensible perimeters? Water tanks attached to your home to sprinkle water on it?

    Over the coming days I’m sure the stories will be nightmare fuel for all the others that live in such areas. Maybe more folks will start cutting trees down around their homes. But that historically would lower property values but increasingly going forward a main selling point might be fire safety.

    In an ironic twist another friend who lives deep in the woods says you often need permits to cut trees around your homes. Maybe that needs revisiting.

    • eleggua

       /  October 11, 2017

      Heartbreaking, two of the dead were a couple, him 100 years old, her 98. Caregiver couldn’t get them out in time, barely made it out alive themself. To live that long and love each other deeply throughout 75 years together, see and experience so much in long lives and their long time – 75 years this past March – together, then perish that way, is truly gutwrenching.

  16. Genomik

     /  October 11, 2017

    To make matters worse many cell Phone towers were destroyed or lost power. Similar things happened in the hurricanes. Our gov and our cell phone companies need to harden their infrastructure for situations like this.

    Back when there was landlines the gov made the companies harden their systems so it would work in emergencies and wars. Telcos were often buried in vaults with extra power.

    Cell phone towers should have Battery backups and have a lot of components in fire retardant or waterproof depending.

    As we all come to rely on cell phones if they don’t work during disasters that itself is a disaster!

  17. eleggua

     /  October 11, 2017

    Trailer for ‘Only the Brave’, opening Oct.20th. 19 firefighters died, combating the Yarnell Hill blaze in 2013, near Yarnell, Arizona. Saw the trailer on big screen; images communicate the intensity of the fires and the work these folks do. Honk and wave when you see firefighters, especially when they’re on their way to a job or on the way the back. They do it for you, and they do appreciate the recognition and appreciation. CalFire and local volunteers have come to my aid more than once, and saved homes and business of many friends.

    “All men are created equal… then, a few become firefighters. Only the Brave, based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, is the heroic story of one unit of local firefighters that through hope, determination, sacrifice, and the drive to protect families, communities, and our country become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. As most of us run from danger, they run toward it – they watch over our lives, our homes, everything we hold dear, as they forge a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire.”

    One of the taglines for this film is fitting for this time relative to climate change and our community.
    “It’s not what stands in front of you, it’s who stands beside you.”

    Thanks, Robert, for what you do. Your intention stands tall and unconflicted; that’s always been obvious from this perspective.

    • So I was thinking about the recent sexual harrassment news when I read your last paragraph. In so many ways, due to today’s monopolies and abuses of power, people are put in a position where they must choose either livelihoods or values. To protect their wealth and power or to protect what really matters — less powerful and innocent people and other living things.

      If we choose livelihoods over values, we enable harm. I’ve just never been capable of making that kind of choice. Cutting against the grain was always easier b/c I could wake up and look at myself in the mirror and not feel that terrible sense of self inflicted spiritual torture. I often wonder if some people even know themselves anymore.

      Titles and properties and the corruption that goes along with it are for kings. Want to be a hero. Easy. Do the right thing. You don’t have to be attached to outcomes. You just have to feel in your heart and your gut that you stood for something worthwhile. That you looked at the glittering serpent directly in the eye and told it to go to hell. That you left the world a better place than it would have been if you hadn’t entered it.

      We do the right thing for its own sake. Not for reward or recognition. We help ourselves, we help each other. We take responsibility and expect others to do the same. And we don’t believe that we’re entitled to the gifts provided by some stupid magical Santa Claus.

      These guys who went up on the hill to fight the fire didn’t do it for themselves. They did it to save lives. Fin. That’s why they’re heroes. And when it boils down, it’s pretty simple. The choices we make need to be aimed at life-saving. Financial, political, personal, and otherwise. How can we live our lives in a less harmful way, in a more safe way, in a way that helps others and enhances the vitality of the natural world? How can we do that in a modern society in our present situation? We need to ask ourselves that question each and every day. To invite it into the heart of our being as our true intention.

      • eleggua

         /  October 11, 2017

        “…when it boils down, it’s pretty simple.”

        Yes; you said that all so well. That way is always simple and obvious, and when one inhabits it, becomes it and lives it, one recognizes it in others.

        “I often wonder if some people even know themselves anymore.”

        I encounter many that don’t know themselves; mostly, they are afraid to face themselves.
        Society and culture promote a lot of that, that fear of self-governance, fear of independent thought and action, fear of being able to pay their mortgage and car payments and credit card bills if they radically alter their lives by making better choices, choices that they know to be better than the ones they make every day simply by maintaining their personal status quo. Authority and celebrity are reinforcers of that nonsense, and the machineries that create and promote celebrity and authority bank on that passive acceptance of living a lie.

        Tired of tiptoeing around that truth with others. Best to tell it like it is, no bs; treat them as adults, if they are of adult age. The only things to lose by telling those truths are things you don’t want anyway: complicity in living a lie.

  18. eleggua

     /  October 11, 2017

    Abel Adamski, here’s an article that Titania Baildon posted here in mid-September, perhaps the one you referred to in the previous article’s comments.

    ‘Of All Things, Seaweed Could Drastically Reduce Cow Farts and Burps’
    By Dan Nosowitz on October 18, 2016

    “….This particular discovery is both very new and very old; studies note that livestock kept near the sea has always shown a proclivity for eating seaweed. But with the vast majority of cattle kept in the interior of the continent, the effects of the diet haven’t been well studied.

    The researchers experimented with 20 different kinds of seaweed, to varying effects, but found that two varieties found off the coast of Queensland in Australia have completely bonkers results. One, Asparagopsis taxiformis, is actually one of the most popular varieties for human consumption, figuring heavily in the cuisine of Hawaii. (If you have a really good poke, there’s a decent chance there’s some of this seaweed in there.)

    A. taxiformis, the researchers found, reduced methane emissions in cows by more than 99 percent, at fairly low doses—making up only 2 percent of the cow’s diet. Apparently the seaweed contains a compound called bromoform that prevents the cows from producing methane as a byproduct. (The second species, Dictyota, reduced methane emissions by 92 percent.) This is, frankly, huge: Methane emissions from cows are a very big problem, contributing to climate change as well as forcing ranchers to give the cows higher volumes of feed to make up for what’s lost in the methane-producing process.

    A. taxiformis is already produced commercially for human consumption, but of course to scale up enough to feed even a small percentage of the world’s cattle would require massive expansion. Still, it doesn’t seem impossible, and could be part of a whole new wave of seaweed agriculture.”

    • Abel Adamski

       /  October 12, 2017

      Thanks eleggua, that’s the article, it appeared in Australian publication as well

      • eleggua

         /  October 12, 2017

        You’re welcome. Again, Titania Baildon was its original poster here at this blog.

        Sea veggies including seaweeds are healthy and good eating for humans, too.

  19. eleggua

     /  October 11, 2017

    Ophelia is probably a hurricane, though as-yet officially declared. It could be one of the very few tropical storms to hit the British Isles, as it’s currently tracking toward Ireland.

    “If I only had conventional satellite imagery, I would definitely
    estimate that Ophelia was a hurricane. The cyclone has a ragged eye
    surrounded by deep convection and cyclonically curved bands.
    Furthermore, Dvorak intensity estimates, both subjective and
    objective, from all agencies are T4.0 plus. However, several ASCAT
    passes during the past day or so indicate that the winds have been
    lower than the winds one could assign the cyclone by using Dvorak.
    Once again this morning, a pair of ASCAT passes showed winds of
    less than 45 kt, but I am assuming that the ASCAT can not resolve
    the sharp wind gradient typically associated with an eyewall, and
    earlier SSMIS data indicated that one is present. Since we do not
    have a hurricane hunter plane to give us exact measurements, we
    need to compromise between the very valuable satellite-based
    estimates, and the initial intensity is set at 60 kt in this

    Ophelia is moving slowly toward the east at 3 kt, embedded within
    light steering currents, and little motion is expected today. A
    mid-level trough is forecast to amplify west of Ophelia, and this
    pattern will provide a stronger southwesterly steering flow
    which eventually force the cyclone to move toward the northeast with
    increasing forward speed. Most of the track models agree with this
    solution increasing the confidence in the track forecast.”

    • eleggua

       /  October 11, 2017

      ‘ How Often Does Britain Get Hit by Hurricanes?’
      September 12, 2011

      “…many….develop over the warm Atlantic waters off the west coast of Africa. Storms that form in this area swirl toward the Caribbean and the United States where they either make landfall or curve back out to sea. A small number….have boomeranged all the way back across the Atlantic, though they are typically significantly weakened by that point…..

      From 1851 to 2010, only 10 extratropical storms, typically the tail ends of tropical cyclones, have hit within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of Ireland….

      Winds from former hurricanes hit Britain and Ireland in 2009, three times in 2006, twice in 2000 and once each in 1996 and 1998, according to the Met Office, Britain’s official weather agency…..”

    • eleggua

       /  October 11, 2017

  20. Frontline on PBS showed a.pretty good expose’ re Scott Pruitt/EPA/Fossil fuel industry.

    • eleggua

       /  October 12, 2017

      3 minute bit from that Frontline doc, ‘War on the EPA’.

      “Outside interests are having outsize influence over EPA chief Scott Pruitt, says Betsy Southerland, a former 30-year veteran at the agency, in an interview for the FRONTLINE documentary “War on the EPA.” What agency experts are “trying desperately to do,” she says, is “hope against hope that their facts will change Scott Pruitt’s mind.” “


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