Monday, April 02, 2018

Seeking Alpha - Tesla Model 3 Headline

Anton Wahlman wrote for Seeking Alpha an article with the headline:

Tesla Model 3 Costs More To Charge Than A Gasoline Car

Now, the bane of many authors is that they don't write their own headline.  Assuming the math in the article is genuine, then the headline might better say:

Tesla Model 3 Costs 1/3 As Much To Charge Than A Gasoline Car

My dad asked me to explain, so here's the email that I sent him:
Well, assuming the math in the article is right, the only problem is the headline.  Tesla Model 3 does not cost more than a “gasoline” car.  It costs more than a 50+mpg super efficient HYBRID.  ($.06/mile vs $.05/mile).

And that’s assuming that you charge at a supercharger at $.24/kWh electricity price.  My price at home is $.18/kWh and in most of the US it is less.  So, that’s dropping it to $.04/kwh right there (vs the $.05 for hybrids).

And, with a hybrid, you are exposed to fuel price risk (although, with EVs, you are exposed to electricity price risk).  None of this speaks to the fact that you can cap your electricity price risk with solar panels.

So…yeah, if you want to buy an EV, and only charge it at superchargers, it might cost more than getting a super efficient hybrid.  But, if you charge it from home, that doesn’t apply - although changing electricity or gas prices could flip the answer back and forth either way.

But, seeing as my Acura gets 25mpg (and is pretty efficient typical car), then a “gasoline” car really costs $.12/mi (by their math), and so a Tesla Model 3 charged from home costs $.04/mi, or a THIRD of the cost of a “gasoline” car.  So the headline should be:

Tesla Model 3 Costs 1/3 as Much Per Mile As Gasoline Car

(and we haven’t even factored in zero oil changes, wearable parts, etc).

(and all of this assumes the entire article’s methodology is correct - I just used the right numbers.  His whole analysis could be wrong, but I’m taking it on faith that it’s correct).


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Climate Reality Leadership Corps - Pittsburgh Training

I'm proud to announce that today I was at Day 1 of the training for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.  I first saw Al Gore speak in Australia in 2007 (when I co-invested with him and Kleiner Perkins into Ausra).  I have been wanting to officially take the training for years now, but I finally found the time.  It's been an amazing event so far!

Friday, October 13, 2017


Climate Change is not a Chinese Hoax - but we're going to wish it were.  In the last ten years, share of global deployment for solar energy fell from over 80% to 7.5%.  China, however, has ballooned to now 46% (from, effectively, zero).

The manufacturing crown has been lost to China.  Most of the engineering talent is in China.  This isn't the loss of the textile industry - this is hardcore physics, material science, engineering and manufacturing (click to enlarge).

From Axios

Well, at least we're actively supporting coal.  We're bound to be the leader in that when everyone else dumps that fuel like a bad habit.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The tough road.

When watching the movie Lion, there is a scene, early on, where the little boy, lost in India, finds a caring woman. She gives him food, and a safe bed. He’s been lost and scared for so long, it looks like he’ll finally be safe. However, the next day, it is clear that he’s in danger, so as much as he doesn’t want to head back into the streets – he runs. He knows that the road is hard, but he has to keep walking it.

I stepped down as CEO of Edisun fourteen months ago. I’ve been on a long journey myself. I spent six months in Colombia, learning Spanish and meeting Latin American investors. I have spent significant time trying to forward my mission of venture investing in energy/food/water technology companies. Several times I thought I had reached my goal of returning to the investing side. It’s been a tough road, and recently, with my promotion to Managing Director of a local family office, I had thought I’d finally found my destination.

I’m passionate about venture capital investing. Ten years ago I was a young, junior partner at a firm in Australia. I led the firm’s biggest investment and biggest exit. I then returned to Pasadena to start several companies at Idealab, and co-found many others. I’ve been deeply involved in energy technology companies since 1993, and I know why many of the companies have struggled along the way. As founder/CEO of two energy companies, I know first hand why these companies struggle.

I respect the transparency of Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, and Mark Suster. I’m passionate about the opportunities in Southern California, and my home in Pasadena. I feel that technology, driven by world-class education and R&D, will pay off many times over. So, I’m putting myself out there on my blog to show my vulnerabilities. Along the way, I’ve taught a class at USC, helped a fuel cell company with their investors, and helped bring capital to a solar company that I deeply care about. The road has been rough, but the view has been worth yet.

Yet, I must acknowledge that I have not yet found my destination. As much as it pains me, I must pull on my boots again, and put on my wet, cold jacket and head back out into the rain. I am not yet where I need to be to grow, and to provide value to the world. Like so many fellow entrepreneurs, I know the value of this phase:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you 
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
And I shall.

Kipling, Rudyard. "If"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Comey's Shining Moment

James Comey was amazing to watch today - Joe Friday, through and through. However, I feel, that his best moment, and there were many, was in the short clip below. This isn't about scoring political points. This isn't about Republicans protecting their elected leader. This is about a foreign government undermining the rules of the game and the trust in the system.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

US Leaving Paris - MIT and System Dynamics

So, many people have asked me what the effects will be if the US leaves the Paris Accord (as Trump has said that he will do). Right at the same time I sat in on a fantastic lecture from MIT's Professor John Sterman. It is a *tremendous* watch, and well worth the time.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Investment Thesis

Fred Wilson gave a really great talk at my alma mater, MIT.  I'm going to link the relevant bit below:

As someone who has lived through the "Cleantech" collapse since 2009, this is really enlightening and encouraging.  It's hard to believe, but yes, there was a time when a solid investment thesis in internet investing got laughed at.  I feel, by analogy, this now applies to energy/food/water investing (see, we can't even call it cleantech anymore - note the blog title).

I think the premise is brilliant - "The best time to invest in something is when nobody believes in it but you [snip], but you have to know why".

We're seeing the investment blues of energy investing starting to thaw now.  DBL, 1955, Obvious, Evok, and others are getting funds off the ground.  The fundamentals haven't changed (in fact, they've gotten stronger) and people better understand how not to repeat the excesses of 2004-2008.