back to article Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

Tesla and SpaceX supremo Elon Musk has been accused of fraud by America's financial watchdog – after he mused on Twitter about taking his automaker private. The Securities and Exchange Commission's allegations were made in a lawsuit filed on Thursday against the ultra-wealthy showman, and center on this tweet he blurted on …

  1. Youngone Silver badge

    Seriously?

    I'm just some shmoe on the Internet, with hardly any multi-billion dollar companies to my name, and even I knew those sorts of statements would be trouble.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Youngone

      Careful with that. Doeesn't take much to piss of Mr Musk and have him call you a paedophile to his Twitter followers.

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Seriously?

      I have a lot of admiration for Musk for his vision and execution to get Tesla and SpaceX to where they are now.... but that tweet was really brain-dead stuuupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously?

      It does not matter to the 'Disciples of the new messiah, Elon Musk'. They brush this off as if it were nothing and promise that we will all be driving identical Teslas within 2 years (or words to that effect)

      If you thought that there were Cult followers of Apple, you ain't see nothing yet.

      These people are slavish in their devotion to Musk and Tesla. Many really do think that he can walk on water etc etc etc.

      All I'd wish is that he just stops using all forms of social media and gets on with running his businesses and make them even more successful and to turn a profit ASAP.

      Then kick the SEC where it hurts by taking the company private.

      The results will speak for themselves and there certainly would no need to smoke a spliff to keep your name in the headlines.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Seriously?

        I think the best virtue of Musk is his energy, audaciousness and vision to get these projects off the ground and running. But once they mature on beyond that first growth stage he should hand them over and move on to the next thing. Lest he is stretched too far trying to look after space rockets, electric cars, trains in pipes and whatever else.

        1. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Seriously?

          I think the best virtue of Musk is his energy, audaciousness and vision to get these projects off the ground and running.

          I think it is his knack of tapping into a rich and seemingly unending vein of taxpayer subsidy that is (corporately speaking) his best virtue.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Seriously?

      Yes, but you're different from Musk -- you probably don't stand on the edge of madness.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Seriously?

        It almost seems like Musk has gotten into Trump's personal stash of crazy water with the stupid tweets, thin skin, and personal attacks. Come to think of it, his cult like followers react in similar ways but then that was also true of Jobs but he didn't twittle at all.

        That said, this may be for the best if it gets Tesla to install a COO or a new CEO to actually handle the day to day grind and leave Musk in as President or something. I don't think they can get rid of Musk entirely since I think that would result in a complete meltdown of the stock price and potentially lead to the doors being closed and maybe putting Musk on suicide watch as it may be a bridge too far for him.

  2. ecarlseen

    Maximum Hubris

    In a way, it's sad. Musk is a bright guy, but with Tesla he bit off far more than he (or anyone) can chew - developing and producing products intended to be revolutionary... while creating new manufacturing techniques, sales channels, supply infrastructure (charging stations), repair services, etc. Any one of these things is dangerous for an established company to mess with. It's seriously aggressive to attempt even one as a startup. To do all of them... no way. If I had to pick two words to put on Tesla's gravestone, they would be "Maximum Hubris."

    The worst (and in my mind unforgivable) part is how he's been bullshitting his customers, employees, suppliers, and investors along the way. Using Tesla's limited and rapidly depleting resources to buy out his imploding Solar City venture was outright corrupt and certainly sealed Tesla's already precarious fate. And you can tell Musk has known for awhile that Tesla is toast. The erratic behavior while dating a music star probably indicates he's been aggressively self-medicating (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Maximum Hubris

      "with Tesla he bit off far more than he (or anyone) can chew "

      Well, for all the huge difficulties they encountered, and considering all the huge challenges you enumerate, they seem to be doing pretty well.

      creating new manufacturing techniques - done on lower-volume models S and X, seem to have finally cracked this on Model 3

      sales channels - Teslas are being sold faster than they can make them, waiting list of months. Sales is one area where they have zero problems

      supply infrastructure (charging stations) - Not owning a Tesla I don't know that much about this but around central Europe where I live their network is pretty good

      repair services - There have been stories of bad service particularly from Norway. Biggest issue is that (apparently?) you can't take it to a general garage to service, has to be Tesla. So they need to build up their capacity especially with a volume market like model 3. Or license some technology so that some types of service can be done by 3rd-party garages.

      The established carmakers spent years looking at electric cars as a dead-end niche. The biggest testament to Tesla's success is that the established carmakers are going all-in on electric after Tesla showed that it could be done.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Maximum Hubris

        "The established carmakers spent years looking at electric cars as a dead-end niche. The biggest testament to Tesla's success is that the established carmakers are going all-in on electric after Tesla showed that it could be done."

        I'd take issue with this statement, not that it isn't based in fact, but that it is somewhat of an exaggeration. Manufacturers thought this because for decades they were a dead-end niche. Technology, particularly battery technology, wasn't there. Musk has popularized electric cars, but the real reason they work is that now battery technology is in a place where it's possible for a car to pull the weight of the batteries needed to move it along at any speed and for any distance.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: Maximum Hubris

          Actually it's the development of rare earth magnets that allow the creation of extremely powerful and efficient lightweight motors that was the primary reason for their success where previous efforts have failed.

          The batteries are irrelevant if you don't have suitable motors.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Maximum Hubris

            "The batteries are irrelevant if you don't have suitable motors."

            Conversely, the motors are irrelevant if you don't have the batteries. Both, along with other technological improvements, all coming together, are what has mad electric cars almost ready for prime time. They aren't there yet other than in certain use cases, eg short daily commutes.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Maximum Hubris

              There are electric cars which are more than good enough for my requirements. I just can't afford one.

              I have a hybrid though, and it's amazing. Driving a normal engine car now feels very primitive.

            2. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Maximum Hubris

              They aren't there yet other than in certain use cases

              Batteries have improved incrementally over many years. But the power to weight ratio of the latest batteries isn't that much greater than for good old lead acid batteries, the ease of handling and the ability to form into useful shapes and speed and relative safety when charging is the main differential.

              Motors made a massive jump in efficiency when Neodymium magnets became available and economically viable - that was the spur to make mass market electric vehicles feasible. Concentrating on the power source as the most important factor in the development of electric cars is an easy mistake but a mistake all the same. Other factors like regenerative breaking are arguably more important than battery development.

              I'm not saying battery technology isn't important, of course it is but its not as important as some people seem to think, currently batteries are pretty good but ther's a limit to how much power can be squeezed into one as there's always the problem than any sufficiently dense power source be it electrical or chemical is effectively a bomb so the main areas of improvement are to wring as much out of every erg and so we're back to the motors.

              1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                Re: Maximum Hubris

                But the power to weight ratio of the latest batteries isn't that much greater than for good old lead acid batteries

                Modern li-ion batteries manage about ten times the energy density (in J/kg) of lead-acid.

                1. the spectacularly refined chap

                  Re: Maximum Hubris

                  Modern li-ion batteries manage about ten times the energy density (in J/kg) of lead-acid.

                  Which isn't what he said. In terms of POWER density, i.e. the ability to deliver energy quickly for a given weight, there is still little to touch lead-acid, especially at a similar price point. There is a reason they get used for conventional car batteries, UPSes etc...

                2. DJO Silver badge

                  Re: Maximum Hubris

                  Modern li-ion batteries manage about ten times the energy density (in J/kg) of lead-acid.

                  Not comparing like-with-like.

                  You are comparing a theoretical ideal Li-ion to a cheap-and-cheerful car battery. A real Li-ion has 3 to 4 times the power of a Lead Acid but that just a normal one, by using lighter materials, a lead film electrode, and acid gel the power to weight ratio can easily be doubled so the actual increase for Li-ion over Pb-Acid is about a factor of 2 to 3, nowhere near 10x and nowhere near as important as the increase in efficiency offered by modern motors.

        2. Wade Burchette

          Re: Maximum Hubris

          "Manufacturers thought this because for decades they were a dead-end niche. Technology, particularly battery technology, wasn't there."

          Battery technology still isn't there. Electric cars will not take off until I can travel 300+ miles in a 5 minute recharge. As it is with internal combustion engines, I pull into a gas station and, assuming it is not busy, 5 minutes later I am leaving, including the time it takes to pay. Until the battery technology allows for a 5 minute recharge, then electric cars are still a dead-end.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Maximum Hubris

            Electric cars will not take off until I can travel 300+ miles in a 5 minute recharge.

            The vast majority of journeys are much less than 300 miles, so the limit is really whatever people consider the acceptable time for refuelling.

            On the plus side, the ubiquity of electricity as the fuel means that you don't necessarily need a network of petrol stations: just a way to charge at both ends of a journey. But, yeah, energy density remains the achilles heel of the technology.

            1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: Maximum Hubris

              The vast majority of journeys are much less than 300 miles, so the limit is really whatever people consider the acceptable time for refuelling.

              The vast majority of journeys are made with one or possibly two people on board, yet hardly anyone (statistically) buys two seater cars.

              1. Anonymous Cow Herder

                Re: Maximum Hubris

                "The vast majority of journeys are made with one or possibly two people on board, yet hardly anyone (statistically) buys two seater cars."

                I, like many people, commute to work alone. I do have a family and therefore need more seats almost every other time I use the car. The economics of buying two cars (even if there were any cheap two seater cars) just aren't there.

                You could argue that I could commute on a relatively cheap motorbike, but I 'd rather be a passive organ doner (as a card carrying member), than actively trying to give my organs away.

          2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: 5 minute recharge time

            A lofty aim indeed but...

            Recent surveys of EV owners seem to indicate that most of them charge their cars overnight at home.

            How long does it take to put a charging cable in? Certainly a lot less than filling your tank as a petrol station.

            Even using a charger that plugs into the UK 230V mains electricity you can charge the 95kW battery of the Jaguar I-Pace in under 12 hours. That give you around 250 miles of range. And to travel that 250 miles has cost you a lot less than if you had used a petrol engined car.(cost to travel not including the vehicle)

            I've looked into buying an EV and even test drove a Tesla Model S and an I-Pace. Lovely to drive but hellishly expensive.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: 5 minute recharge time

              "I've looked into buying an EV and even test drove a Tesla Model S and an I-Pace. Lovely to drive but hellishly expensive."

              I think, at the moment, that's the real issue. Yes, the "fill-up" cost and the "miles per gallon" is cheap compared to petrol/diesel, but that's primarily because electricity pumped into a car battery doesn't have duty added at about 50% and THEN has VAT added at a further 20%. Then there's the expected life-span of the battery pack and the replacement costs. As more and more people switch to electric, expect new or increased taxes on electric cars.

            2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: 5 minute recharge time

              And to travel that 250 miles has cost you a lot less than if you had used a petrol engined car

              Because it's effectively subsidised by not having duty charged. Expect that to change as the number of users increases.

              1. jmch Silver badge

                Re: 5 minute recharge time

                "Because it's effectively subsidised by not having duty charged. Expect that to change as the number of users increases."

                Even if fuel were not taxed, electric cars would still be cheaper to drive. Electricity already has VAT paid on it. It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity. I expect if governments wanted to tax electric cars they would do it through licensing....

                ...BUT I think that targeting electric cars would cause quite an outrage. Currently they have at least the fig leaf that taxing fuel and higher-power cars is good for the environment. What might happen is an across-the-board increase in car licensing to make up for lost fuel duty revenue.

                1. Not also known as SC

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  " It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity."

                  Are you sure about this? Smart meters can analyse your power consumption so should be able to determine that you are using electricity to charge a car by the consumption rate and determine the proportion related to the car. If that isn't plausible at the time the government would probably insist on an annual report of your mileage (or even a detailed breakdown depending upon the monitoring used by the car) from which it could work out the electricity consumption rate and charge accordingly. Electric cars etc are great, but don't expect them to be cheaper to run.

                  1. DougS Silver badge

                    300 miles on a 5 minute recharge

                    Given that the efficiency of the motors or coefficient of drag can't improve much, there is simply no way we're going to have a standardized charging solution that puts out enough power to go 300 miles in only five minutes. So if you really want that, you'll need to have stations swap batteries instead of charging the battery installed in the car.

                    Perhaps that's practical, but what we really need to hope for are denser batteries so you could get at least 600 miles on a charge. Then it would be feasible to allow overnight charging. For the tiny segment of people who want to drive more than 600 miles in a day, they can buy/rent a vehicle with a larger battery.

                    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

                      Re: 300 miles on a 5 minute recharge

                      The bigger problem for mass adoption is that many people have no regular place to park at night to recharge. Given that many cities like LA have a housing shortage it is unlikely that any rental units are going to invest in the needed infrastructure as they aren't hurting for renters. The same is likely true for condos where parking is simply another common area. This leaves one with homeowners who have a carport of some sort where they can have the needed power readily installed as I'm sure there are many who, like me, aren't going to get anything fully charged overnight on the single 120 V 15 A circuit in the garage.

                    2. jmch Silver badge

                      Re: 300 miles on a 5 minute recharge

                      "what we really need to hope for are denser batteries so you could get at least 600 miles on a charge"

                      Tesla's model S batteries have been estimated at 207Wh/kg, and Tesla has claimed a 30% improvement for the latest Model 3 cells, which would be approx 270Wh/kg. The theoretical upper limit for Li-ion cells is around 800Wh/kg. So 600 miles on a charge should be achievable, but still a long way to go to get there - still requires almost doubling the current best.

                      The bigger constraint is fast charging

                  2. DJO Silver badge

                    Re: 5 minute recharge time

                    " It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity."

                    ROTFLMAO

                    As soon as there's enough electric vehicles to significantly impact fuel duty revenues there will be the introduction of a mileage tax. All electric cars have GPS and are connected to the internet, they know exactly where you've been and when and WILL rat you out to the tax people when asked.

                    1. JohnFen Silver badge

                      Re: 5 minute recharge time

                      "All electric cars have GPS and are connected to the internet"

                      This is the thing that will keep me from buying an electric car, unless it's possible to disconnect its communications systems.

                    2. eldakka Silver badge
                      Happy

                      Re: 5 minute recharge time

                      All electric cars have GPS and are connected to the internet,

                      *snip*

                      not all.

                2. JohnG Silver badge

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  "Electricity already has VAT paid on it."

                  Yes, although at different rates for commercial or domestic use.

                  "It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. Electricity is electricity."

                  That is about to change... Part 2 of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 is all about the charging network for electric vehicles. In addition to mandating the provision of EV charging points in new property developments, on streets, etc., the act also states that future EV charging points must be "smart":

                  Smart charge points

                  (1)Regulations may provide that a person must not sell or install a charge point unless it complies with prescribed requirements.

                  (2)The requirements that may be imposed under subsection (1) include requirements relating to the technical specifications for a charge point, including for example the ability of a charge point—

                  (a)to receive and process information provided by a prescribed person,

                  (b)to react to information of a kind mentioned in paragraph (a) (for example, by adjusting the rate of charging or discharging),

                  (c)to transmit information (including geographical information) to a prescribed person,

                  (d)to monitor and record energy consumption,

                  (e)to comply with requirements relating to security,

                  (f)to achieve energy efficiency, and

                  (g)to be accessed remotely.

                  i.e. They want to know (via remote access) how much energy is being used to charge an electric vehicle (because they will be losing all that fuel duty). They also want to be able to turn EV chargers off and on, presumably to protect the grid.

                  As the feed-in tariffs for solar panels are diappearing, I foresee a market for illicit solar panel and/or home battery storage setups, where EV owners will charge their vehicles without paying the relevant tax. Unlike red diesel, the government can't put a dye in the electricity.

                3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity.

                  'Course it's possible. Duty is charged on diesel-is-diesel for cars but not for tractors. Duty is charged on LPG-is-LPG for cars but not for cooking. All electric cars know how much energy has been put into them.

                4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  I think that targeting electric cars would cause quite an outrage

                  Differential charging for oil and gas is already widespread. It's the basis of the biofuel wheeze: synthetic fertilisers are used to grow maize which is used to make biofuel… The main side-effect has been to drive up the price of farmland and more small farmers out of business.

                  But I digress. Cars and fuel are easy to tax because people depend on them and governments will tax whatever they can if they need money. They're already looking around for replacements for tobacco duty as too many people have given up smoking.

                5. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  > Electricity already has VAT paid on it.

                  At the special low rate of 5%, rather than 20%.

                  > It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity.

                  What, you mean we can't have red electricity and normal electricity?? I'm sure with a suitable port on your Smart Meter it will be possible.

                  But yes, most likely we'll get millions spent on camera systems and satellite trackers and pay-per-mile driving. Because (a) taxing transport is a source of big source of revenue, whether it's clean or not; and (b) it does double-duty for citizen tracking.

                6. MonkeyCee Silver badge

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  "Electricity already has VAT paid on it."

                  You what? When did the UK start charging VAT on power?

                  Don't get me wrong, I bitch about having to pay it on my Dutch bill. But I thought the UK didn't.

                7. Kernel

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  "It's also impossible to charge duty on electricity used to drive a car without charging duty on other electricity. "

                  May I introduce you to New Zealand's Road User Charges scheme?

                  Here fuels such as diesel and LPG are not taxed at the pump like petrol is, instead you have to buy "mileage" at a rate which varies according to the weight of the vehicle, number of axles, etc., trucks, private cars, a diesel motorbike should you happen to own one.

                  At the moment electric vehicles are exempt, but that was only ever going to be the case for a limited time.

                  You don't want to get caught without a current road user charges certificate either - it's a tax revenue rather than traffic offense, so apart from the fact that it can attract some pretty severe penalties there is the undesirable side-effect of bringing your name to Inland Revenue's attention. It's also virtually impossible to sell a vehicle if the road user charges aren't paid up to date as well - the current registered owner is responsible regardless of who actually failed to pay, so nobody in their right mind will go near anything that hasn't been paid up to date.

                8. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: 5 minute recharge time

                  Even if fuel were not taxed, electric cars would still be cheaper to drive.

                  Hmm, might not scale out too well as more people start driving them. More users -> more overnight charging -> shift of peak from daytime to nighttime -> electricity generators start charging more because they can + increased costs due to need to beef up the transmission network. Also no solar.

                  Don't ever think that what is cheaper now will remain so once a greater dependency is reached.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Electricity not having duty

                Care to explain how HMRC will charge me duty on the Leccy that I use charging my car at home or using the Leccy produced by the Solar Panels on my roof?

                I'm sure that there is a PHD in it for you if you can work that out.

                Remember to include your working and don't foget to consider chargers that simply plug into a 13A socket.

                1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: Electricity not having duty

                  Care to explain how HMRC will charge me duty on the Leccy that I use charging my car at home or using the Leccy produced by the Solar Panels on my roof?

                  They can just introduce a toll based on how far you travel. This is essentially what fuel duty is anyway and increasingly favoured by economists due to all the stupid fiddling and exemptions for SUVs, etc.

                  But they could also make it impossible to charge vehicles with domestic supplies: this is bound to be the case for fast-charging anyway because the networks aren't built for it.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Electricity not having duty

                    Governments have been muttering about road charging for years now. But by also setting deadlines on banning oil vehicles, they've also given themselves pressure to come up with ways to replace what they're currently making on fuel duty (+VAT).

                    Solution's fairly simple (at high level). Cars are smarter. Cars are being fitted with 'black boxes' so they can phone for help. More cars are 'online' and fitted with satnav. So you could collect a daily/weekly/monthly odometer reading and bill the registered keeper 4.7p per mile. As a bonus, the Treasury could also copy Uber's 'surge' pricing and vary the rate per mile. Or to make it a lot more complex, zone/band based on area, type of road etc etc. It's pretty much a given that civil servants or politicians would want to try that.

                    It's all 'techically feasible', at least if you're a Capita sales person lobbying government for the right to run the collection & billing system. Which would of course be an additional cost. It also means tax would be levied retrospectivally rather than at point of sale. No problem though, drivers.. I mean vehicle owners have a decade or so to get conditioned to the idea.

                    Problem is currently EV drivers are all a bunch of tax dodgers. Or worse, freeloaders due to subsidies. As ownership changes, like due to EVs getting more affordable, that will be increasingly unaffordable to governments. Their income must increase, not decrease.

                    The more expensive problem is also policy related. The UK has to decarbonise transport, thanks to Ed Milliband's Climate Change Act. If it fails to meet it's legally binding committments to decarbonise cars, lorries, buses etc, it'll have to fine itself. Politics is great like that. So the UK will have to replace litres of petrol and diesel with kWh of electricity. Which means producing and distributing that at a price that won't cripple the economy due to exorbitant energy costs.. Because energy is an input cost to pretty much every economic activity. And the CCA's wedded us to very expensive and unreliable energy production.

                    There are also other practical problems. Winter is coming, so high demand for heating. That also needs to be decarbonised. So cars may not be able to charge & be on the roads. Which could be a good thing given the UK doesn't do snow very well, so often ends up with cars stuck on snowy roads. Which means they'll need heat for cabin, and now batteries. And clearing vehicles off roads will become a lot harder than a jerry can and jump start.

                    Again Tesla's business highlights the problems, ie EV/battery/solar.. which isn't a sustainable solution, and the markets are slowly realising.

                2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Electricity not having duty

                  "Care to explain how HMRC will charge me duty on the Leccy that I use charging my car at home or using the Leccy produced by the Solar Panels on my roof?"

                  Odds are that every electric car will have a UUID and will be able to report it's usage and charging data back to home base. Alternatively, no duty on the "fuel", but a road usage charge based on miles driven, time of day and road type/location all taken into account. IIRC, there's some legislation keeps popping back up (already enacted?) regarding all cars effectively having trackers built in, in the name of safety of course, so in the event of an accident the car can phone for help on it's own.

            3. Not also known as SC
              Unhappy

              Re: 5 minute recharge time

              " And to travel that 250 miles has cost you a lot less than if you had used a petrol engined car.(cost to travel not including the vehicle)"

              This works on the dangerous assumption that governments will not boost tax on electricity used for electric vehicles / introduce road pricing etc to replace the drop in tax from fossil fuels. Justify electric vehicles any way you like but don't rely on running costs and 'fuel' being cheaper once they become mainstream.

            4. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: 5 minute recharge time

              And to travel that 250 miles has cost you a lot less than if you had used a petrol engined car.

              In refuelling charges, maybe. But when you take fixed costs into account, the electric car is vastly more expensive. A couple of years ago the one Tesla driver I know - he's a complete arsehole - had a go at me for wasting money filling up my old Golf with diesel. Why on earth didn't people save money by going electric, he asked, leaning against his £100k roadster ...

          3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

            Re: Maximum Hubris

            Battery technology still isn't there. Electric cars will not take off until I can travel 300+ miles in a 5 minute recharge. As it is with internal combustion engines, I pull into a gas station and, assuming it is not busy, 5 minutes later I am leaving, including the time it takes to pay.

            But then you need to factor in the hundreds of thousands of years it took to create that oil that became petrol. Getting energy *out* is always much faster than getting energy *in*.

          4. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Maximum Hubris

            "Electric cars will not take off until I can travel 300+ miles in a 5 minute recharge."

            But your needs are not most people's needs. Most people don't travel anywhere near far enough, often enough for those to be important thresholds.

            1. I&I

              Re: Maximum Hubris

              It is unsafe to drive such distances hence periods without breaks (sic).

          5. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

            Re: Maximum Hubris

            I can get almost 700 miles out of my Honda 1.6 diesel. Takes less than 5 minutes to fill up if I use the card in the pump.

            I drive a lot for work.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Maximum Hubris

        seem to have finally cracked this on Model 3

        From Musk's statements you might think this but the numbers still don't add up yet. This is why institutional investors have been getting anxious as they can see refunding and equity dilution coming.

        Also, competition, especially at the lower end of the market (Model 3) is starting to heat up so margins can be expected to come under pressure. The trade spat with China isn't going to help here, either.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Maximum Hubris

        "The biggest testament to Tesla's success is that the established carmakers are going all-in on electric after Tesla showed that it could be done."

        Yes, this! Most of the big manufactures were looking at electric, as you say, and may even have begun to introduce some mainstream models sometime in the next decade or so, but Musk/Tesla forced their hands.

        1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Maximum Hubris

          "Yes, this! Most of the big manufactures were looking at electric, as you say, and may even have begun to introduce some mainstream models sometime in the next decade or so, but Musk/Tesla forced their hands."

          Well no. The big manufacturers had the tech and ability to make Tesla like cars a decade or so before Tesla was born.

          They didn't want them to succeed, but if Ford had kept up with their program then Tesla would have been dead in the water.

          People can talk about what was holding them back, but not only were consumer version working on lead-acid and heavy motors, but they were beloved by their renters. And no, they wouldn't well them to you.

          Industrial electric vehicles have beena round for decades too. I learnt on an electric forklift, and my milk was delivered by electric van for a decade or so.

          The politics, and the subsidies, are what are driving the new e-rush.

    2. tapemonkey

      Re: Maximum Hubris

      I wonder how long it will be before he is arrested on drug trafficking charges

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Maximum Hubris

      "Musk is a bright guy"

      But he's not as bright as he thinks he is, and we are not as dumb as he thinks we are.

      1. I&I

        Re: Maximum Hubris

        We can thank our lucky stars...

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          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: Conclusions?

            How are any of those stories remotely relevant to this one, Anon?

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            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Conclusions?

              At least it looks like Musk's learnt something from this - post as Anon. Deleting the more unwise posts/tweets is just his standard MO, though.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Conclusions?

                The other problem for many countries is the lack of electricity, often due to not replacing an ageing nuclear infrastructure.

                I saw a news article in the country I'm currently staying in saying a brown out is likely in November. I've seen such warnings in previous years in the UK.

                If electric cars are to really take off we need to increase our ability to produce and distribute electricity. That's quite a big budget item and I can't see any sign of any government doing that. At the moment most governments seem to be barely keeping up with demand and hoping with fingers crossed that "technology" will provide some magic fix before the lights go out.

                1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Conclusions?

                  If electric cars are to really take off we need to increase our ability to produce and distribute electricity. That's quite a big budget item and I can't see any sign of any government doing that.

                  Problem is governments have been doing that, and ignoring this-

                  https://www.xkcd.com/1162/

                  Which for me has been the problem with EVs, and energy policy. For various reasons, there's been regulatory capture by Greens and the 'renewables' lobby. EVs have fed on that by being clean & green.. So various governments have subsidised EV purchases and/or set dates when oil burners will be banned. But that means a massive change to transportation and replacing petrol stations with charging points.. So a massive cost, and increase demand in energy. So to provide electricity, lobbying's created a situation where expensive, unreliable renewables are preferred over cheaper, more dependable generation like coal, gas or nuclear.

                  Tesla's been a brilliant demonstration of the challenges. So they've been doing EVs and solar. Theory being you buy the car, and solar panels to charge it. So they have a 100kWh battery in a car, a 13kWh battery in a Powerwall 2, and tiles generating maybe 6W per square foot. So you need a very large roof just to charge 1x Powerwall, and use <14kWh of energy a day driving. That makes for a very expensive and impractical self-sufficient solution.. Especially in places like the UK where we get less sun. And covering files <somewhere> with panels doesn't help either.

                  1. DougS Silver badge

                    Charging based on mileage makes more sense

                    Then you can get charged by the state/country you are driving in for miles driven on their roads, to pay for the maintenance/upkeep of said roads. Seems fair to me.

                    Taxing electricity doesn't make much sense, because what if you charge your car using your own (i.e. solar electricity) What you using your car when plugged in as a "backup battery" for your house?

                    I think the way things are going the wide use of electric cars will coincide with the wide use of autonomous cars, so the per mile tax will be implemented as part of the laws that regulate autonomous vehicles. Non-autonomous electric vehicles may continue to be able to freeload if they aren't present in sufficient numbers to get legislators motivated to act to fix it.

  4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Margin Calling..

    So Musk is charged, but still entitled to produce term sheets backing up his claims in his tweets. Otherwise, if the SEC wins, Tesla loses it's CEO. And a lot of people other than the shorts stand to lose an awful lot of money. I'm kinda curious how much shorts could make given this outcome was predicted very shortly after the tweets.

    But hey, this is high finance, so coming on top of questions over production numbers, cash burn and how many roof tops have Tesla solar tiles must have been really complicated. Hence why most of the big finance houses still seemed to believe in Musk/Tesla and kept the valuation at ludicrous mode. But as well as Tesla's problems, this is also likely to have problems for Space-X and other ventures. Most of those aren't public, but if lenders call in Musk's loans, there may be problems for those.

    Which in some ways is perhaps a bit of a shame, ie if Musk had focused on Space-X instead of eating automotive elephants, he may not have found himself in this mess.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Margin Calling..

      You misunderstand the US markets ... threaten action, shares fall, shorts buy up, Musky gets a relatively small slap on the wrist, shares pick up and shorts sell for big buck profits ...

      Threatening action, in itself, is blatant manipulation of the market. In the event of such action shares should be suspended *before* the announcement and trading recommence only after completion of the investigations/case/whatever.

      Not saying the system is blatantly corrupt but ...

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Margin Calling..

        So if I've got this right,

        Elon does the share 'pump' & shares rise, doesn't 'dump' as that would be very bad.

        SEC initiates action & shares drop back, share watchers buy short.

        SEC issues small slap on wrist & the share rise (back to near $420?) short sellers make $$$

        Seems perfectly legit /sarc. Question arises did anyone close(ish) to EM manage to time buys & sells to make $$$ on both movements.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Margin Calling..

          SEC issues small slap on wrist & the share rise (back to near $420?) short sellers make $$$

          How can shorters make money on a share rise?

          Don't Shorters by definition basically bet on a stock price falling to make money.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Margin Calling..

          Seems perfectly legit /sarc. Question arises did anyone close(ish) to EM manage to time buys & sells to make $$$ on both movements.

          It's (allegedly) about trust in the market. So theoretically we can all have access to the same information and all play on the financial casinos. We can pore over annoucements and play the higher/lower game on whether shares will rise or fall. Insider trading rigs the odds in your favor, ie you have information the market doesn't have, so it rigs the odds. Regulators and law enforcement take a dim view of this cheating, so punish people, if they catch them.

          So Musk's tweet was that on a large scale. Go private at $420. Share price was less, so there's an incentive to buy for <$420 and make the difference. Or as the news pushes the share prices in the opposite direction to shorts, they lose money.

          Then there can be other challenges. So Musk is Tony Stark, the tech 'billionaire'. Except mostly on paper due to the value of the shares he owns in Tesla. It's never paid dividends, so living the billionaire lifestyle takes money. So borrow $800m against the value of your Tesla shares and go spend. But with shares as security, lenders stick conditions on the loan that if share price falls to X, the loans become due. If not, shares won't cover the loans and the banks lose money. Banks don't like that.

          This is where CEOs have got burned in the past. Share price falling, personal bankruptcy looming due to the margin calls, and there's perhaps an incentive to create good news to keep the share price high.. Which gets harder to do if negative price pressure keeps building. And making that more painful are any fines or law suits for price manipulation. There's also the additional penalty of being barred from corporate office that would make keeping the banks happy harder.

          So likely to prove the most expensive tweet in history. Not just for Musk, but for other investors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Margin Calling..

      "And a lot of people other than the shorts stand to lose an awful lot of money."

      In the medium to long term, maybe not. Perhaps Tesla's share price would improve with someone less excitable at the helm and with Musk as Chief Technical Officer or similar. By all accounts, Musk's strengths are in his technical imagination and in how to bring his ideas to fruition. He doesn't like interactions with the financial side of his businesses and may not be the the world's best people manager.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Margin Calling..

        In the medium to long term, maybe not. Perhaps Tesla's share price would improve with someone less excitable at the helm and with Musk as Chief Technical Officer or similar. By all accounts, Musk's strengths are in his technical imagination and in how to bring his ideas to fruition.

        If the SEC wins and Musk is barred as an officer, he couldn't be CTO. Even being any form of visionary could be tricky as that's a price affecting role.

        The rest is part of the large financial mess. So if there is a margin call and Musk has to sell his stock, that deflates the share price. If Tesla needs more cash to fund operations, that gets harder. Competitors are lauching their own EVs across the range which means Tesla may not be able to sell (or make) enough vehicles to be profitable.

        Best case may be a buy-in/out and an experienced automotive board appointed to rescue Tesla.. But without the brand value Musk brought, and any legacy challenges it might inherit. Which potentially leaves a very large hole for Tesla's investors.

        1. Spazturtle Silver badge

          Re: Margin Calling..

          "So if there is a margin call and Musk has to sell his stock, that deflates the share price."

          Stock forfeiture is a possible consequence of the SEC case against him, so Musk currently can't sell any Tesla shares, even if he is margin called. He will have to find some other way to get the cash his broker is demanding.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Margin Calling..

          Best case may be a buy-in/out and an experienced automotive board appointed to rescue Tesla..

          Oh yes, "experienced" auto execs like the ones that, in a market that has been rigged heavily in their favor for 40-50 years, *STILL* had to be bailed out by the US Government. Yeah, *they're* going to do a real bang-up job of it. /sarc

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Margin Calling..

            Yeah, *they're* going to do a real bang-up job of it. /sarc

            Musk was a software guy with no experience in manufacturing. By all accounts, he's a very hands-on guy with strong ideas about how car manufacturing should be done. Ok, so it's been a long time since mass vehicle production and Henry Ford, so maybe there's still room for innovation. Or, all the other automakers have spent the last 100+ years looking at how to optimise production to minimise costs and churn out millions of vehicles.

            Tesla by volume is still a very niche manufacturer with very low production volumes. For a future Tesla, investors would probably want to take a long, hard look at why that has been, and what could be done to cut costs, increase production and potentially compete with all the other manufacturers launching cars that will compete with Tesla. But that may mean huge capital investment to basically continue the Tesla brand, and compete with BMW, Audi, Honda, GM, Ford etc etc.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Musk is entitled to produce proof

      But the SEC claims he only talked to the Saudis once, and got no commitment and didn't even discuss price. Shortly after he made his "funding confirmed" tweet naming the $420 price. Unless he can produce proof showing otherwise, this is an open and shut case.

      As for Musk being CTO, the meaning of "officer" in a corporate sense and a title saying you are an "officer" are two different things. They can give him a position where he's basically the 'inventor' or 'problem solver', but he won't be able to make decisions for or speak on behalf of the company.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Musk is entitled to produce proof

        Unless he can produce proof showing otherwise, this is an open and shut case.

        It would seem that way. On the plus side, Musk didn't appear to trade post-tweet, so may not have directly gained. And it's still possible the SEC might settle. Which could also be a plus. Old joke about financial court case.. The jury got 3 years.

        As for Musk being CTO, the meaning of "officer" in a corporate sense and a title saying you are an "officer" are two different things.

        Yup, which may have implications for other companies, ie Space-X or his Boring Company based on this comment from Motley Fool-

        Banning him from serving as an officer or director of a public company, or of a private company that is required to register its securities because it has a large number of non-accredited shareholders (as a gone-private Tesla might have been ).

    4. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Margin Calling..

      I'm kinda curious how much shorts could make given this outcome was predicted very shortly after the tweets.

      Well if a short could borrow all of Tesla's stock, sell it, and then Tesla shuts down it would mean the short could make whatever the market cap was for Tesla when they sold the stock. The reason is that after the shut down the stock becomes worthless and the short wouldn't have to buy it back to return to the original lender.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Margin Calling..

        What gets the shorts in the shorts (sorry...couldn't resist) is that the borrowing of shares typical comes with conditions. It is no different than buying stock on margin in that regard - if you buy stock on margin and the stock declines in value, the "loan to value" goes up and you get a margin call - you have to add additional cash to bring your margin up to requirements, selling stock in order to raise cash if necessary.

        Works the same way with shorts, if the value of the stock goes up you may be required to put forth some cash to bring things into compliance - in the worst case you might be forced to buy Tesla stock at the current price at return it to the lender. Even though Tesla's price bump was short lived, it most likely hurt some of those shorting Tesla stock. Which was the sole reason why Musk tweeted that, and which is what makes it illegal for him to do as a company director even if he didn't personally profit from it. Deliberately manipulating stock prices, even if you don't personally profit, is a big no no.

  5. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Lord Save Us From Lucky Geeks

    All of this proves yet again that hitting the jackpot with an Internet idea does not in any way prove that you have either business chops or even basic managerial skills. And that a couple of billion dollars can carry just about any idea long enough for it to seem credible.

    I actually like Musk's products, but it really is time for someone to move him gently and quietly into a less prominent role. I'd rather lose Musk and save Tesla and SpaceX.

    Of course, on the other hand, this at least keeps him busy enough that he won't run for elected office.

    1. Spazturtle Silver badge

      Re: Lord Save Us From Lucky Geeks

      "All of this proves yet again that hitting the jackpot with an Internet idea does not in any way prove that you have either business chops or even basic managerial skills."

      He didn't do that though, he started X.com, then 1 year later Peter Thiel decided he wanted the entire online payment industry to himself so he made generous merger offers to the other online payment companies including X.com. Musk was made CEO of this new newly merged but he was fired after 6 months for withholding financial records from the board and doing things without the approval of the board. After he was fired, PayPal took off and started to grow rapidly. Musk held his shares until eBay purchased PayPal and that is where he made his money.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Lord Save Us From Lucky Geeks

        So he got lucky, then.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More problems than the SEC

    Musk is also under a DOJ investigation for criminal fraud from the same posts on taking Tesla private at $420/share. Then to keep life interesting the UK rescue worker who Musk called a "pedo" in his tweets has filed two libel lawsuits against Musk - one in the U.S. and one in the UK for defamation. Chances are high that Musk's tweets are going to prove expensive missteps.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: More problems than the SEC

      SEC & DoJ investigations are just business costs unless something meriting jail time is found.

      Libel - not sure about the US system, but EM is about to find that libel lawsuits in the UK require the accused to prove the allegations they printed. (in the same way that a criminal prosecution case has to prove allegations)

      Damages (usually punitive) are partly based on how many people saw the allegations and the prominence, twitter nicely shows the number and all posting are effectively front page headlines. Deleting tweets doesn't help much, A full retraction and apology might a bit.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: More problems than the SEC

        As I stander it, the libel amounts for damages are relatively small (under 100k).

        So either Musk conceded and pays them off (and apologises).

        Or spends 5x the requested amount and fights it. Probably losing in UK, no idea how US will play.

        Either way Musk looks a numpty.

  7. BlackBooks

    One rule for one...

    Doesnt seem fair that 'investors' can make public (false) statements to undermine a company value for their personal benefit, but if the company hit back with public (false) statements, it is fraud.

    Both of them manipulate the market unjustly.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: One rule for one...

      "Doesn't seem fair that 'investors' can make public (false) statements to undermine a company value for their personal benefit, but if the company hit back with public (false) statements, it is fraud."

      I am highly doubtful that someone can make defamatory and false statements in public to manipulate stock prices without it being a crime. Can you give any such examples?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One rule for one...

        "I am highly doubtful that someone can make defamatory and false statements in public to manipulate stock prices without it being a crime. Can you give any such examples?"

        Sites like teslabears.club appear to run rather close to the wind and there are other sites, discussion groups, youtube videos, etc. It does seem weird that so many people seem to be obsessed with the idea of making money by talking down and shorting one particular company.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: One rule for one...

      At issue is the knowledge. The company has access to privileged information and, therefore, it statements are considered differently and usually come with disclaimers. This is why listed companies are regulated by the SEC.

      Any Joe can say that they expect the shares of company XYZ to rise or fall and there is no chance for redress unless they are actively providing investment advice. Otherwise it is just hearsay.

    3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: One rule for one...

      Doesnt seem fair that 'investors' can make public (false) statements to undermine a company value for their personal benefit, but if the company hit back with public (false) statements, it is fraud.

      Not so. A company is an individual(ish) as far as a lot of law goes, so defamation can apply. So if I said Tesla operates a sweat shop in it's Nevada battery mines, where oompa loompas work 23.5hr days without a break, while Musk swigs craft beer out of a unicorn horn.. I could be sued by Tesla. And possibly Musk as well. Companies have sued for libel in the past, but they have to weigh up whether any damage from the libel is worth the potential PR downside of taking legal action.

      (Which now has me wondering if companies have a duty to sue, if false claims are harming the company and/or shareholders. Also guessing venue and disclosure may play a part in decisions.)

    4. DougS Silver badge

      Oh please

      Don't compare the effect that someone like you or me tweeting something about a company has versus the company's FOUNDER AND CEO tweeting something about it. Even if I had a million twitter followers unless I was some sort of stock guru they aren't following me for stock tips, they would be following me because I was a star athlete or actor or whatever. Likewise they don't follow Musk for fashion tips or to know what fantasy football trades to make, but because of Tesla. The reason it bothers Musk is because he knows at least some of what they say is true. They WERE having severe production problems earlier this year, despite his denials, so the shorts were right!

      All companies have shorts, his claims that Tesla is the "most shorted stock in history" are provably false. Either by percentage of short interest (exceeded by many companies even today) or the value of stock shorted (which last I checked was Apple, but you don't see Tim Cook tweeting lies to drive up the stock price and screw the shorts)

      All shorts are doing is borrowing the stock and selling it, believing that by the time they have to replace the borrowed shares they will be able to acquire it at a lower price. If he wants to ban shorts, I wonder if he'd also like to ban buying Tesla stock on margin - I wonder how much the stock price would sink if there was a market-wide margin call on Tesla stock?

  8. SVV Silver badge

    Could be in line for a very big fine

    The judge might say "now it's time to pay, pal."

  9. msknight Silver badge

    He will never live down that picture.

    The post is required, and must contain letters.

  10. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    This might be the best thing that has happened to Tesla. Amid stories of him sleeping in the factory and poor treatment of workers (not exactly uncommon, especially in the US but no lest inexcusable) it seems clear that he has problems delegating in this particular company.

    Tesla are already under a lot of pressure and have achieved a great deal. A note of personal interest, I am a very content owner of one bought in a fit of ethusiam wihen I found myself with more cash than sense - but I have not regretted it and have used it as my main vehicle for longish distance travelling in the UK and Europe. Screwing the company is the last thing I want on the altar of Musk's narcissism.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Have an Upvote

      For admitting that you have an EV. Anyone doing that in the past has been downvoted almost into oblivion by the PetrolHeads here.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "This unjustified action by the SEC..."

    Given what I have read here, the action is hardly unjustified. You have not yet bought the SEC, Elon, so stop listening to your yes-men and face reality : you may be a billionaire with a lot of support, but you still have to behave under the rule of law.

    And post-justifying your tweet by having meetings with Goldman Sachs practically proves that the SEC is right.

  12. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    Just another imature tech billionaire

    Just another stupid tech billionaire who needs to learn to grow up, just like Zuckerberg. Sure, they're smart in a creative way, they know how to find something and get others to help them make millions exploiting it but they're so wrapped up in their own self importance that no one has ever had the guts to tell them to grow up and stop showing off.

    I had a grudging respect for Musk until he started mouthing off at that diver bloke who saved those kids, then I realised how much of a bellend Musk really is. No doubt his fanbois and the Tesla fanclub will downvote me but you can't deny Musk is one IC short of a functioning logic circuit.

    1. Geoff Campbell
      Stop

      Re: Just another imature tech billionaire

      You do realise "that diver bloke" wasn't actually involved in the cave rescue, beyond providing some information on the cave layout and a couple of phone numbers of other divers who then went in?

      I mean, that doesn't justify any spat Musk then subsequently had with him, but I dislike the way his part in the process has been inflated by certain media outlets.

      GJC

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Just another imature tech billionaire

        "wasn't actually involved in the cave rescue, beyond providing some information on the cave layout and a couple of phone numbers of other divers who then went in"

        I'm not sure what your issue is.

        The guy *is* a cave diver. Who dived the caves where the kids got trapped. Whose knowledge of the caves meant that the more highly skilled divers were able to rescue the kids. If you think getting the right personel and the right information in an emergency situation is easy, then please quit your current job and go help run things.

        The people who did the actual rescue diving are people he had been diving with before. He arranged them to get over to Thailand. He got the local rescue operation to work together with them.

        And he succeeded. At no point has he claimed to be a hero, he always gave props to the actual divers who did the work. No wanking on twitter. No desperately trying to steal the headlines for his own sake.

        But when Musk pulls an attention getting stunt, god forbid anyone who knows the situation criticise him. And since Musk can't actually claim that the sub worked (because it, uh, didn't) he claims the guys is a peodo on the basis the guy lives in Thailand.....

        One is a bloke who was a part of the rescue. The other is a billionaire who had NOTHING to do with the rescue, but has garnered much attention about it.

        Don't know why the media need to up the diver's credentials. Surely that a billionaire CEO is publicly losing his shit and making baseless and dangerous accusations against anyone who disagrees with him is more worrying.

        Unless you're happy with pointing out the Emperor has no pants, then being slandered by imperial edict. Followed by all the imperial lackies piling in.

        Space X is a great company. Tesla is average. We'll see on Boring.

        You might notice that Musk goes seeking attention when there would otherwise be bad Tesla news.

        So instead of "missed production targets again, running out of cash" as the headline, it's now a note on the bottom of the article about Musk losing his shit.

  13. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

    I have a lot of time for Mr Musk, despite recent unsavoury events where he features at the centre of the stage. He is one of those people that forces others to look UP instead of continuing along their established paths - a well-deserved kick in the backside for most of us.

    My only problem is the realisation that it all he has done to date could so easily be completely wiped out.

    All it would take is a single step-change development in the technology required to store and/or transmit electricity.

    And when (not 'if') it happens, his battery mega-factory, all his cars (and all other electric/hybrid cars), all his solar panels, everything... becomes useless junk overnight.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Admiration doesn't require butt-kissing. I, too, admire Musk's ideas but I'm increasingly sceptical of his business practices.

      All it would take is a single step-change development in the technology required to store and/or transmit electricity.

      It could take a lot less than that: the financing for Tesla to come unravelled. He should never have bought SolarCity. Or installed his brothers on the board.

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    Conspiracy theories

    What is interesting is how True Believers are already framing this as some kind of conspiracy when the truth is so much more mundane.

    Musk got himself into this mess with a really dumb tweet. There was no concrete plan to take Tesla private, and the only reason he tweeted at all was to screw over some short sellers.

    It backfired terrible, and probably made the short selling even worse. The stock price hasn't recovered since and I suspect today's news will see it tumble again when the markets open.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy theories

      And yes indeed, the stock price tanked. 10% down.

      Imagine if the company had a CEO who knew when to keep his damned mouth shut.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I make all my best decisions on drugs"

    Elon Musk

    Sit back and watch the best meltdown since Britney Spears.

    On A singers theme - Elton John Rocket Man:

    She packed my bags last night pre-flight

    Zero hour nine AM

    And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then

    I miss the earth so much I miss my wife

    It's lonely out in space

    On such a timeless flight

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Musk could be removed from Tesla / SpaceX leadership

    Today's news says that Musk in addition to being fined may be barred from any CEO role at any publicly traded company for his false claims of having secured funding of $420 per share to go private which was completely untrue. The civil class action lawsuit that has already been filed claims Musk's intent was to burn short sellers. Both Musk and Tesla are likely to fork over billions in compensation to those "burned'. All of this at a time when Tesla has likely six months to start producing a profit or pay dearly for loans and lost stock value that has already dropped 11 percent today.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: TSLA stock price drop

      The one good (sic) side of this is that those who have shorted TSLA can't trade as the SEC rules forbid shorting when the stock drops by more than 10%.

  17. David Roberts Silver badge
    Trollface

    The future is electric!!!

    Nobody bumping up an all electric future for cars, complete with a country wide charging network, seems to have realised that the UK can't even manage to electrify the current rail network and has had to change purchases of new rolling stock from electric to diesel.

    I haven't seen anything in this thread about electrifying road goods transport either. What happened to the promised all electric tractor unit for lorries? Hmmm...long distance coach services?

    Unless and until there are standardised battery packs which can be swapped at fuel stations the future is at most hybrid, apart from the affluent (London probably excepted) who can afford a house with at least an off road parking space where a charging point can be installed. This still doesn't address the situation of multiple vehicle ownership. Traditional family with 2.4 kids where all are working and all need a car, for instance.

    I can see a lot of sensible markets for all electric, such as the white van delivery drivers who do the last hop for Amazon and the like. This does, however, assume that these zero hour wage slaves park their vans overnight somewhere they can be charged, instead of outside their multiple occupancy rented flat.

    This would require the courier service to fund the infrastructure instead of offloading all the risk onto the allegedly self employed.

    There is probably a bit too much "magical thinking" about the practicalities of the whole public and private transport system (at least in the UK) going fully electric.

  18. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Who was continually shorting Tesla stock?

    Tesla and SpaceX supremo Elon Musk has been accused of fraud by America's financial watchdog – after he mused on Twitter about taking his automaker private.”

    This in retaliation for those investors who were continually shorting the stock. Why isn't the SEC going after them?

    1. Big Al 23

      Re: Who was continually shorting Tesla stock?

      In case you don't understand... there is nothing illegal or improper in shorting stock. Short sellers actually purchase stock which benefits the company. The stockholders who short sell believe that the stock price is likely to drop and if it does then they financially benefit. Retaliation by Musk is precisely why the SEC is fining Musk and Tesla because retaliations IS illegal when the company CEO makes false public statements specifically to burn short sellers.

      As such Tesla stock is down 14% and falling like a rock with Musk likely to be removed as CEO of Tesla and possibly SpaceX along with major fines.

      1. Walter Bishop Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Who was continually shorting Tesla stock?

        > In case you don't understand... there is nothing illegal or improper in shorting stock.

        There's shorting and then there's shorting. What about if you executed a short trade and then secretly got all you financier friends to sell thereby tanking the stock and massively increase the return on your short position and doing the same over a period of time causing damage to investor confidence. A bonus would be if someone bankrupted Tesla and then bought it back at auction-off prices. They could dump any current Tesla debt at the same time. Do you know of any major financial institution that engages in such a strategy?

        1. Anonymous Cow Herder

          Re: Who was continually shorting Tesla stock?

          "What about if you executed a short trade and then secretly got all you financier friends to sell thereby tanking the stock". I think getting your "friends" to finance your gain, doesn't make them very good friends and makes them sound pretty gullible.

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