Returning to Tesla

The Tesla Model 3, taken from Tesla’s website

Back in October, I released a blog post about Tesla that went over both the long and short sides at a critical point in the company’s history; the FBI and SEC investigations into Elon Musk and Tesla. At this point I feel as though enough has happened to justify coming back to Tesla to see where the company has been as well as where its going.

For starters, Tesla was at $334.85 per share at the time of writing the original article; it is now currently at $245.08. That being said, the FBI investigation that was mentioned as a major decision point in the first post never really went anywhere, and so both Tesla and Elon have continued to go their own ways.

As of Q2, Tesla hit yet enough steep production milestone, giving the company yet another boost up in share price. However, the boost is skeptical. The company is going off of a relatively disasterous Q1, and the Q2 victory came at the cost of most margins. Official word from Tesla is that orders exceeded production yet again this quarter, but it appears most on the short-side takes this as skeptical and still assumes a significant demand problem. Notable here is that deliveries-in-transit are no longer being reported, thus cutting off the knowledge of the current flashpoint of demand. Speaking of shorts, short interest appears to have gone up 2x from ~20mil in January to ~40mil in June. One could say that this is just because of the tumble from Q1, but short interest has grown at a pretty steady rate far before any of this.

And yet, there are still of course some positive elements in Tesla’s favor. First is the constant efficiency increases for both LIDAR and EVs. LIDAR innovation has lead to units that cost about $500 rather than the industry standard $75,000 that Tesla had been using, and Tesla EV partner BYD has been ramping up their battery production rapidly over the past few quarters. It’s also worth reminding ourselves of the China Gigafactory, which will begin to generate sales in 2020. Assuming Tesla can keep up their current production and demand levels for another year, they could be officially set for the long-term if the factory works out.

For those of you wondering for my take on this, I once again have to sit myself on the fence. My only major argument is that the next year will be pretty vital for the company’s continuing survival. Will it be able to continue hitting its radical production and demand targets? Only time will truly tell.
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