Public records from Texas indicate that Tesla is planning to build a new showroom and service center in the South Austin area. The electric car maker is reportedly spending about $2.5 million for the 30,000-square foot facility, which is located at 500 E. St. Elmo Road.
As noted in a report from the Austin Business Journal, documents about the upcoming Tesla facility were filed on January 12 to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The filings indicate that Tesla intends to enlarge the location’s storefront windows and upgrade the building’s power. The EV maker also intends to install new lights, revamp the site’s interior, and install new charging equipment.
The upcoming site would become Tesla’s first service center in Austin that’s south of downtown, which is quite interesting considering that the electric car maker is still barred from selling its cars directly to customers due to Texas state law. Despite this ban, Tesla has already established its presence in the area, with the company currently operating showrooms at The Domain and on Pond Springs Road.
The renovation at the 500 E. St. Elmo Road site is expected to start on June 15 and be completed by September 15, 2021.
Tesla’s presence in Texas is bound to become more prominent this year, especially considering that the electric car maker is currently building a massive factory in Southeast Austin. Dubbed Gigafactory Texas, the expansive site is expected to produce vehicles like the Model Y crossover and the Cybertruck, Elon Musk’s futuristic, cyberpunk-themed, and competitively-priced electric pickup.
Musk confirmed last month that he has moved to Texas, despite Tesla and SpaceX maintaining a good part of their operations in California. Since then, other Musk-related companies have initiated plans to establish a foothold in the state. The Boring Company grabbed an industrial space in Pflugerville, and Neuralink recently posted a job listing for a “Head of Construction” in the Austin area.
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Watch the latest flyover of Tesla Gigafactory Texas below.
Tesla slump gives shorts $3.5B profit, but they’re still losing big
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has had a rare down streak of days during trading sessions in the final full week of February. As a result, short-sellers of the automaker’s stock have pocketed a $3.5 billion profit, but they’re still losing big in the grand scheme of things.
For the week, Tesla is down around $79, or 10.37% at the time of writing. It is uncommon to see Tesla in the red, especially after the automaker turned the uncertainty of 2020 into its biggest and most successful year in company history.
However, volatility struck, and the company has suffered a streak of days that have turned the week into one Tesla investors will want to forget. Inversely, short-sellers of Elon Musk’s company are finally getting something to celebrate as new data from Ortex, an analytics firm, shows that they have made $3.5 billion this week.
Ortex data says (via Reuters):
“Short-sellers are sitting on estimated profits of $3.5 billion from their bearish positions on Tesla shares in the past seven days, as of Feb 23, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Thursday.”
A rare victory for the skeptics of Elon Musk’s car company, Tesla’s short-sellers are still down around $35 billion since the beginning of 2020. Last year, data showed that those who bet against Tesla in the stock market lost close to $40 billion after a 700% surge in the automaker’s stock sent the company into the stratosphere. Short-sellers couldn’t say the same, as some admitted that Tesla’s performance on Wall Street was one of the major contributors to their portfolio’s value fluctuation.
One of these was David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Re, who has held verbal spats with Musk in the past. During Greenlight’s Q4 2020 report, Einhorn admitted he was happy with his firm’s performance during the tough year. However, Tesla ruined Einhorn’s 2020 from being one of the best in his career as an investor, as “Tesla mania,” as he called it, also spoiled his Q3 Earnings report.
“Tesla cars are not a fad; if they were, Tesla would sell many more than it does,” the Greenlight Capital Q4 2020 Earnings Letter said. “The fad is in owning TSLA stock. We have equipped before that twice a silly stock price is not twice as silly; it’s still just silly. But what about 20 times a silly price? In the 2000 internet bubble, Cisco Systems peaked out at 29x revenue, which would be a discount to where TSLA now trades.”
Tesla shares are trading at $682.22 currently. The drop has been attributed to surging commodities, Tesla’s investment in Bitcoin experiencing a slight pullback, and perhaps the news of Model 3 lines being shut down temporarily at the Fremont factory.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.
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SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster spotted at Texas rocket testing HQ
Three weeks after the building-sized rocket was spotted on its way to Texas, SpaceX’s next new Falcon Heavy ‘center core’ has gone vertical at the company’s rocket testing headquarters.
Spotted by a local resident on February 25th after hearing an exceptionally loud (“house shak[ing]”) static fire the night prior, the Falcon Heavy booster may have been responsible for that commotion. All three Falcon Heavy cores and “single-stick” Falcon 9 boosters use the same setup of nine Merlin 1D engines and offer more or less identical performance on their own, so Wednesday’s unusually loud tests were probably just a fluke of atmospheric attenuation.
Still, SpaceX’s Falcon booster static fires are likely the loudest tests it performs at McGregor, making Falcon Heavy center core B1065 (or B1066) the most obvious culprit. If that’s the case and the last of the latest batch of three new Falcon Heavy boosters has been successfully qualified with a full-duration static fire, SpaceX is firmly on track for the rocket’s next launch.
As previously discussed on Teslarati, a US Space Force spokesperson recently spoke with Spaceflight Now, revealing a slight delay from late-May or June to July 2021 for Falcon Heavy’s fourth launch. Known as USSF-44, the mystery mission could be followed by another Falcon Heavy launch – USSF-52 – as early as October 2021, a turnaround that seems improbable without USSF-44 side booster reuse or a major uptick in booster production and testing.
The center core now vertical at SpaceX’s McGregor campus was previously spotted making its way through East Texas on February 3rd, representing a fairly quick turnaround if the booster did perform a static fire just three weeks later.
SpaceX could be ready to send the booster onwards to Florida in early March if that brisk pace continues, leaving a comfortable amount of time to complete, test, and deliver Falcon Heavy Flight 4’s payload fairing and expendable upper stage. The mission will debut Falcon Heavy’s expendable-center-core configuration, meaning that at least one more new center core will be headed through McGregor within the next few months if the rocket’s Flight 5 (USSF-52) schedule is to hold.
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Tesla Model 3 has strong showing in China, but slides to 2nd place in sales
Tesla has hit a home run with its Model 3 in many markets, including China, where the company’s first international Gigafactory is located. However, China is thirsty for EVs, especially as it is the largest car market in the world, and the country’s government is trying to convince drivers to switch to more sustainable transportation. Tesla may have met its match in the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV, a vehicle from General Motors that captured the silver medal in the 2020 Chinese EV sales figures. Despite a strong showing from the Model 3 in 2020 as it captured the gold medal and beat out the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV by nearly 21,000 units for the year, Tesla’s mass-market sedan will have its work cut out for it, as the GM-built electric vehicle put on a strong performance in January 2021.
New figures from the EV Sales Blog indicate that the Wuling HongGuang Mini EV sold a whopping 36,762 cars in the country in the first month of the new year, beating out the second-place Model 3 by nearly 23,000 units. Tesla sold the Model 3 13,843 times in China. Still, that number wouldn’t necessarily line up with Tesla’s Giga Shanghai production figures, which estimate nearly 250,000 all-electric sedans are manufactured at the facility every year. This would equate to around 5,000 per week or roughly 20,800 cars per month.
Based on Tesla usually not holding much inventory of its vehicles, this would indicate that close to 7,000 vehicles are unaccounted for, and they are being exported to other markets. This is a move Tesla has been making for several months to deal with growing demand in Europe as the Giga Berlin project, a new factory in Brandenberg, Germany, rallies on. Tesla expects the German facility to be operational later this year, with estimates most commonly referring to Summer 2021 as the most accurate timeline.
While the Model 3 dominated several months last year and ultimately was the highest-selling EV in China in 2020, the Wuling Honguang Mini EV was undoubtedly its best competition. The GM-made car stole December from the Model 3 by selling around 9,600 more units. The slow months from the Model 3 aren’t expected to continue, the EV Sales Blog says. The website expects the Model 3 to “continue cruising at around 15k-20k units per month,” based on past months where manufacturing wasn’t interrupted or slowed.
The widely-robust car market in China is highly competitive. As Tesla continues to develop its products in the country, there is plenty of room for growth, especially as Giga Berlin will begin operation in the coming months. China’s sales figures have been strong for Tesla. The competitive nature of the ever-growing EV market in the country bodes well for Tesla and others in the sector.
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Portable Starlink ‘Mini’ gets a nod of acknowledgement from Elon Musk
SpaceX’s satellite internet service, Starlink, may be released in a more portable form in the future, as per recent Twitter comments from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. During a recent conversation on the social media platform, Musk acknowledged that the idea of a Starlink “Mini” that’s designed around portability would be a good idea.
The idea of a Starlink “Mini” was suggested by spaceflight photographer John Kraus, who suggested that a small sub-1-foot dish, self-contained router, and rechargeable battery would be a viable product. The photographer’s suggestions are valid, as portable satellite internet access would most likely be a game-changer for those who are frequently mobile, such as travelers and photographers.
Sounds like a good idea
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 25, 2021
SpaceX’s current Starlink kit is not that portable at all, thanks to its dish’s large size and the system’s geographical limitations. However, some Starlink users have noted that they were able to successfully use the satellite internet system in areas outside their service address. A Model 3 owner, for example, successfully used Starlink after driving into a national park. This experience, however, is not shared by all of the satellite internet’s users today.
Interestingly enough, SpaceX seems to be preparing its customers for a portable Starlink system. Earlier this month, a Teslarati reader sent us several photos of a carrying case that SpaceX includes with a Starlink pipe adapter purchase. The bag allows users to carry Dishy McFlatface safely, and it even has a strap, making it easier to transport. Such an accessory, which SpaceX already includes with pipe adapter purchases today, seems a bit strange if there are no plans to make Starlink mobile.
Starlink’s carrying case, which comes with a purchase of the system’s pipe adapter.
Starlink may only be in the initial stages of its beta, but the satellite internet system is already proving to be a game-changer, especially among users who are located in rural areas. SpaceX’s plans for Starlink seem to be far more ambitious than satellite internet access, however, as hinted at by filings that mention a Starlink phone service and dedicated battery backup systems.
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