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Well, it's started . . .

hmp10

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Mar 7, 2020
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390
Well, Lucid, I tried to tell you.

On August 9, 2020 I posted, " I hope Lucid does not try to go public any time soon. They need to get a robust product and a strong brand built before having to deal with the pressures the stock market puts on management."

On February 25, 2021 I added, "I have worked both for a huge publicly-held company and for a large privately-held hedge fund that has been periodically tempted to go public. I always argued against it, having experienced the mental gymnastics and decision gyrations that publicly-held companies are tempted into by having to keep an eye on share price."

CCIV, Lucid, Atieva, Michael Klein, and Peter Rawlinson have just had a federal class-action securities lawsuit filed against them arising from communications about production schedules around the time of the merger announcement. Another law firm is also running ads soliciting complaints for another similar class action against the same players. The reports of these actions are popping up all over the business news and internet and, as you might expect, these actions are being touted as evidence that people such as Warren Redlich were correct in claiming that Lucid has been an investor fraud all along.

I seriously doubt if these lawsuits will have legal traction. One of them even accidentally wrote "Canoo" instead of "CCIV" in the formal filing, suggesting that the law firm is a class-action factory that is also ginning up a lawsuit against Canoo and had a paralegal that was too sloppy to edit the document thoroughly for use in the Lucid lawsuit.

The real point, though, is that Lucid, at a time when it should be focused on getting a quality car out the door and launching its brand to press fanfare, is instead going to be distracted at home and pummeled in the press by fraud claims. It was completely predictable. For a company that had the financial backing of the Saudi PIF to get it through launch to get so greedy that it pounced on a stock launch at the earliest opportunity is a real shame and ramps up my worry about the business acumen of Lucid as an enterprise.

I expect Lucid will get through this, as Tesla has gotten through the over 1,000 lawsuits in which it's been enmeshed in the past decade. But it's going to be trying to launch a very high-priced car into a discerning luxury market while sporting a huge black eye from a back alley brawl it could well have avoided by playing a long game instead of a short one.

It's a damn shame.
 
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Draw007

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Apr 13, 2021
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8
One has to wonder who’s really culpable, Phillips or Lucid’s leadership in the context of “to get so greedy that it pounced on a stock launch at the earliest opportunity”. Seems to me Phillips was eager to cash in on a new company producing their first vehicle that just obtained financial backing. Regardless of the backing, $#it can change overnight.

For me, Lucid’s more transparent the Musk and crew.
 

hmp10

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Mar 7, 2020
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390
I think Elon Musk's shady ethics and lack of character are the Achilles heel that poses the single greatest risk to Tesla long term. However, Lucid made a big blunder in its rosy communications about production schedules in the run-up to the confirmation of the merger and the subsequent announcement about production delays immediately after the merger announcement.

As I said, I don't think this is a fatal blow for Lucid, but it's a public relations quagmire at exactly the time they need a pristine image of integrity to get customers to sign on to a very expensive product from an unproven company.
 

hmp10

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Mar 7, 2020
Messages
390
The number of class actions underway against Lucid has now risen to five. I agree it's not going to be a fatal blow, but what an annoyance and publicity hit at this critical juncture.

The more interesting thing is that on May 3 Elon Musk tweeted for a second time that Rawlinson was never the chief engineer at Tesla and that his role in the Model S was inconsequential. However, Tom Moloughney of "InsideEVS" dug up the original press release Tesla issued on April 20, 2010 announcing the arrival of Peter Rawlinson at Tesla. Here is the opening sentence from that Tesla press release:

"Peter Rawlinson, Vice President and Chief Vehicle Engineer, is responsible for the technical execution and delivery of the Model S, and for leading a world-class vehicle engineering team."

I also checked news stories from the 2011-2012 time frame, and major auto magazines such as "Car & Driver" and "Motor Trend" recognized Rawlinson as the lead engineer on the Model S project. In fact, it was Rawlinson on the podium at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2011 when the Model S prototype was first unveiled to the public.

It's clear Musk is so frustrated with Rawlinson that he's willing to lie publicly with a claim that can easily be disproven. This probably derives from the fact that Musk was trying to get Saudi money in 2018 to take Tesla private. Musk shot off his mouth about the deal being done when it wasn't, and the Saudis backed away. They instead gave their investment to Lucid, thereby giving Rawlinson the funds to build the factory that is now preparing to launch the Lucid Air. Musk must be losing so much sleep over this that his memory about Rawlinson's real role at Tesla is getting conveniently clouded.

For now, Rawlinson is taking the high road and not commenting directly about Musk's brazen lying. But I have a feeling that Musk's rising ire (and panic?) over how the auto press might greet the Air when it (finally) arrives is going to keep this story going. While there's all kind of speculation about the reason for the delays in the Model S Plaid and Plaid+, my suspicion is that Tesla engineers are having trouble delivering on the speed and range promises Musk threw out on Battery Day last year.
 
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hmp10

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Mar 7, 2020
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390
Regarding my suspicion that Elon Musk has over-promised what his engineers can deliver in terms of Model S Plaid and Plaid+ performance, there was an interesting discussion on today's "InsideEVS" podcast. The panelists said that Tesla is not going to be able to produce the acceleration figures Musk promised, at least without doing a sleight of hand. An engineering researcher has brought to light a discrepancy between models in the way Tesla reports acceleration claims. The acceleration times of the Long-Range Model S that are given on Tesla's website are acceleration times from 0-60. However, the acceleration times for the Performance models are based on a roll-out. The cars typically hit ~6 mph by the end of the roll-out, meaning that the acceleration figures Tesla publishes for its Performance models are really the 6-60 mph acceleration times, not 0-60 mph times.

The panelists pointed out that some automakers cite acceleration times based on a roll-out, and some don't. (For instance, the reason that the auto press almost always gets faster acceleration out of Porsches than the factory claims is that Porsche makes a conservative claim without using a roll-out, whereas the press typically publishes results using a roll-out, which produces a faster time.)

The panelists made the point that there is generally nothing wrong with an automaker's making acceleration claims using either method, as long as they are consistent across all their product lines. However, Tesla is unique in using the two differing methods within its product line. This has the effect of making a person think they are getting acceleration times a second or more faster for the $10K premium of a Performance model over a standard model when, in fact, the difference is considerably less. This looks even shadier when one notes that Tesla only notes the difference in test method in obscure underlying documents and not on the main ordering page where these differences in acceleration are presented most prominently.

On a similar note, I have Passport Escort radar detectors in all my cars. The detectors' GPS-tracked speeds in two of the cars aligns exactly with what's shown on the car's speedometer. My Tesla speedometer, on the other hand, consistently reads higher than the Escort GPS-tracked speed, with the gap rising to around 4 mph at 70 mph. This means that the Tesla indicates it is covering more ground than it actually is, thus bumping up the battery range metric by an equivalent amount. An inadvertent error?

This is not to say that Tesla does not make well-engineered vehicles. It is to say that one has to be very careful of Musk and his propensity for . . . er . . . shall we say hyperbole.
 

Lucken

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Jan 31, 2021
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34
Since I'm well over 18, these fractional acceleration differences strike me as boring...not that I have any interest in Tesla any longer. Been there done that. ;)
 

hmp10

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Mar 7, 2020
Messages
390
Since I'm well over 18, these fractional acceleration differences strike me as boring...not that I have any interest in Tesla any longer. Been there done that. ;)
I agree that the differences between 3.0 and 2.5 or 2.0 seconds 0-60 are more the province of pubescent musings than real-world driving on pubic roads. The point that "InsideEVS" was making, though, was more about the ethics of Musk's marketing practices than the actual acceleration times.

Lucid announces a Cd of .21, and Tesla follows with a claim of .208. Lucid announces 517 miles of range, and Tesla follows with a claim of 520. Lucid announces 1,080 hp, and Tesla follows with 1,100. All of these differences are inconsequential, but they reflect an obsession on Musk's part that, given a propensity to lie to maintain a perceived edge, might lead him eventually to undercut the reputation for Tesla's technical dominance he has worked so hard to build.
 
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