Fun Fact: Tesla Motors began the new year 2020 as the most valuable car company — ever — in the United States. Its market capitalization of $80+ billion is more than Ford Motor Company’s 1999 peak; almost as much as Ford and GM combined. Tesla’s stock price has been on a wild up-and-down ride along with loose-cannon founder and CEO Elon Musk’s much-publicized missteps. The latest stock surge follows vehicle deliveries in the fourth quarter 2019 greater than even Musk had predicted
There are enough Teslas on the road now that some are inevitably finding their way into collision-repair shops and scrapyards. Tesla batteries, motors and even drive trains are being rebirthed in vintage Volkswagens, Porsches, Mustangs and other favorites of car buffs. Their fathers and grandfathers increased horsepower of internal-combustion engines and tuned exhaust for just the right sound; today auto enthusiasts are building more powerful, but silent custom cars.
For entrepreneurs, mostly in California, electric vehicle (EV) conversions are a growing business. One shop offers training classes teaching do-it-yourselfers to do conversions. A rusted ’49 Mercury, dubbed the “Derelict,” fitted with electric motor, Tesla batteries, power steering, air conditioning and Bluetooth, has won awards at car shows.
When an unlikely-looking car blows by you — silently — it could be powered by Tesla.
Automakers have been chewing nails ever since introduction of the Tesla that’s been beating all comers in acceleration. Finally, after two years of work by a team of twenty-five engineers, Dodge has unleashed its 840-horsepower Demon. Dodge claims it is the fasted production car period. The Demon reached 60 miles-per-hour in 2.3 seconds. That’s two tenths of a second quicker than the Tesla Model S P100D. “Big deal,” you say. It is a big deal. Bragging rights are important in marketing a car to that certain segment of auto buyers who cannot abide losing to a battery-powered sissy car. Dodge brought Vin Diesel to the 2017 New York International Auto Show to emphasize how serious they are about being the leader in the macho car market. The Demon comes with barely-legal drag-racing tires and an $85,000 price tag. The high-performance Tesla sells for about $130,000, but that includes passenger and rear seats. No mention of the Demon’s fuel consumption. The Tesla P100D gets the equivalent of 98 miles per gallon. One pundit commented that the Demon is evidence that the internal-combustion-powered vehicle has jumped the shark.
The South Waterfront in Portland is a neighborhood in transition. Formerly a heavy industrial area – the attendant pollution has supposedly been cleaned – it now features high-rise condominiums and newly-constructed apartment buildings. Although a couple restaurants have come and gone, in the last few weeks three, count ‘em, three new pizza shops have opened. There is also a gourmet ice cream shop and a place selling four-dollar donuts.
Zidell is building its last barge. They have concluded developing their waterfront property is more lucrative than building vessels. Food carts are now adjacent to their barge construction.
Remember Solyndra, favorite whipping boy of conservative haters of everything Obama? Solyndra manufactured solar panels. They claimed to have had a proprietary design that resulted in more efficient electricity generation when installed on rooftops. The company received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This and $198 million from private investors financed construction of their state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Fremont California.