Tesla is taking dogecoin for some products, the Cybertruck is delayed again, and Ford. All that and more in The Morning Shift for January 14, 2022.
1st Gear: Cybertruck Now In 2023
There were some rumblings about this yesterday because Tesla dropped the “in 2022″ part on its Cybertruck webpage. Now Reuters has a source that says that Cybertruck production absolutely won’t start until 2023, and even then it’ll be in small quantities before ramping up.
Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) aims to start initial production of its much-anticipated Cybertruck by the end of the first quarter of 2023, pushing back its plan to begin production late this year, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
The person said the delay comes as Tesla is changing features and functions of the electric pickup to make a compelling product as competition heats up in the segment.
Tesla is expected to make limited production of the Cybertruck in the first quarter of 2023 before increasing output, the source said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that he’ll say more about Tesla’s product timeline when Tesla’s earnings are announced on January 26, which is only so useful of course, because back when the Cybertruck was unveiled in 2019, Musk said it would be in production by now. This will be disappointing for those that have laid down $100 deposits, but anyone surprised by product delays from Tesla, at this point, has been lying under a rock for the past decade.
The last thing I’ll say about this is that it seems new that Tesla is reacting to what Ford, Chevy, Rivian, and everyone else in the electric truck space is doing, as opposed to forging ahead on its own trailblazing path, like it pretended to do with the Model 3, Y, X, S, and, initially, with the Cybertruck, too. Sad.
2nd Gear: Tesla Is Also Now Taking Crypto Again
Tesla said last year that it would be taking bitcoin in exchange for its products, then quickly said it wouldn’t. Now, Musk says that it will take dogecoin, The Wall Street Journal reports:
Elon Musk said Tesla Inc. is accepting payment for some merchandise with dogecoin, a return for the electric-vehicle maker to acceptance of digital currencies for some payments.
The Tesla chief executive said in an early Friday tweet, “Tesla merch buyable with Dogecoin.” The company’s website showed some items, including one labeled a “Giga Texas Belt Buckle,” priced in the cryptocurrency.
Dogecoin surged more than 10% after Mr. Musk’s tweet.
Dogecoin made a cameo appearance last year in Mr. Musk’s “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut. In a satirical segment, Mr. Musk appeared as “The Dogefather.” After he expounded on the merits of the cryptocurrency using jargon, other cast members asked him to explain, “What is dogecoin?” Pressed, Mr. Musk eventually said, “Yeah, it’s a hustle.”
It is a hustle indeed.
3rd Gear: Meanwhile, Canada Is Opening An Investigation Into Tesla
At issue are heat pumps in Teslas, which could not work when it gets very cold and also might inhibit defogging.
Transport Canada said it is concerned that a malfunctioning heating and air-conditioning system “may affect windshield defogging/defrosting and therefore driver visibility.”
“A company is required to notify Transport Canada and all current owners when they become aware of a defect that could affect the safety of a person. … These notices are commonly referred to as ‘safety recalls,’” it said.
The regulator said it has informed Tesla of the investigation.
Tesla did not respond to a Reuters request for comment. In 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Model Y heat pump is some of the best engineering I’ve seen in a while.”
A number of Tesla owners complained that the heat pumps are failing in extreme cold temperatures, according to Drive Tesla Canada, a Tesla news provider. The report said the heating problems happened even after Tesla early last year replaced faulty sensors in heat pumps in some 2020-2021 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to address the issue.
4th Gear: In Non-Tesla News, Ford Was Worth $100 Billion For The First Time
The valuation is based on Ford’s stock price, which has been going up for months. The stock price increased to a recent high of nearly $26 on Thursday before falling a little. Ford CEO Jim Farley has been on the job for a little over a year and is very pleased.
Ford shares rose as much as 5% to $25.69, extending a 20-year high, on Thursday in New York. The automaker’s new market cap exceeds rival General Motors Co. and electric truck startup Rivian Automotive Inc. It’s still a far cry from Tesla Inc., which investors have valued at more than $1 trillion.
The automaker hit the milestone as it’s doubling planned production of the electric F-150 Lightning pickup that’s going on sale this spring. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company also is ratcheting up production of the battery-powered Mustang Mach-E at a factory in Mexico.
“I’m proud the company is getting recognized for our commitment to electrification,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said in an interview. “The market is saying we like this Ford move into battery-electric and we have more confidence in the delivery of the base business. We like that they’re moving now to scale while others are years away.”
That last bit seems to be a reference to the Cybertruck, or possibly to companies like Nikola or Lordstown Motors. It is true, in any case, that legacy automakers are more trustworthy when it comes to actually delivering.
5th Gear: Vaccinations Will Soon Be Required For Truckers Crossing Between Canada And The U.S.
And there is also the usual consternation about vaccine requirements, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The Canadian rules kick in on Saturday, when Canada will ban U.S. and other foreign truckers from entering the country unless they are fully vaccinated. Canada will require unvaccinated Canadian drivers to show a negative, molecular Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to reaching the border before they are allowed entry. Those drivers will also have to quarantine for a 14-day period, which industry groups say will hurt fleets that are already short-staffed.
The U.S. has said Canadian truck drivers without two shots of an authorized Covid-19 vaccine would be denied entry starting Jan. 22. Absent a bilateral solution, trucking and manufacturing trade groups warn of supply-chain upheaval that could lead to further price increases and a possible shortage of critical goods such as food.
People in the industry, meanwhile, offered ominous warnings about how the vaccine requirements would affect the supply chain, which is already strained because of a trucker shortage in both countries.
Lance Dixon, senior vice president of Omaha, Neb.-based Werner Enterprises Inc.’s Mexico, Canada and temperature-controlled divisions, said the truckload carrier anticipates “increased delays at the border resulting from freight bottlenecks as agents verify vaccine status of drivers, officials educate those who are unprepared, and drivers become accustomed to this new procedure.”
Over 80% of the company’s cross-border fleet is vaccinated and partner carriers are fully vaccinated, Mr. Dixon said.
Stephen Laskowsi, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, said a survey of Canadian truckers suggested that “at least” 10% of 120,000 truckers in the country weren’t vaccinated. “We are already short truck drivers in Canada,” he said, citing data from Statistics Canada indicating there were 23,000 job vacancies in the sector.
I would say that I am surprised that there are so many dead-end anti-vaxxers, but that is older-and-wiser-me talking. Younger-and-dumber-me was very mad about indoor smoking bans once upon a time, another public health initiative that many people scoffed at initially and which took some years to take hold. Of course, it still hasn’t in some states, which is how Covid vaccines are going too.
After supplying parts to Ford for a decade, the Dodge brothers decided to start their own company. Dodge Brothers Motor Company was founded in 1913 and debuted its first automobile, a four-cylinder touring car, in 1914. The company sold almost 250 of these vehicles during its first year and 45,000 the next year, according to Chrysler.com. Three years later, Dodge added trucks to its repertoire. During World War I, the company supplied vehicles and parts to the U.S. military.
In January 1920, while in New York City to attend an auto expo, the brothers both became sick with the flu and pneumonia. John Dodge died that month, while Horace passed away later that same year, on December 10. In 1925, the brothers’ widows sold the Dodge Brothers Company to an investment bank for $146 million. In 1928, Walter Chrysler, founder of the Chrysler Corporation, purchased the Dodge company for $170 million. The purchase made Chrysler the world’s third-largest automaker overnight.
Neutral: How Are You?
It’s Friday and cold in New York, but manageable. I street parked the Fit yesterday for the first time in over a month and began, again, to fantasize about renting a garage space. It’ll happen one year.