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New Post on Forbes' Site, "Will the Chinese Buy a Tesla?"

Asks a few questions, doesn't take much of a stand. Let me help...


The Stone Age ended when people found better materials to make tools with, right? The Oil Age will end when a better energy source and economy goes mainstream and renders oil mostly obsolete, and this could happen anytime, but is not as likely to happen while oil is cheap, plentiful, subsidized, required to power cars and everything else. Actually, I think that the catch-22 is part of the reason oil remains dominant and fossil fuels are rather hard to displace: need oil to power cars because that is what they use, new cars are made to run on oil because it is readily available. But luckily Tesla is changing that.

Saving fossil fuels for later isn't arrogant or foolish. Like paper and wood, a lot of other things can be made out of oil and coal than just fire. Even saving fossil fuels for its energy content isn't automatically foolish. And I can't see what arrogance has to do with prudence.

You can't say that the argument of running out of fossil fuels gets weaker by the day and not say why that is. Otherwise, you are implying that each new day where we don't run out of oil makes it more certain that we never will. I won't bother explaining to you how is makes no sense, but it shows that you are ignoring fundamentals and have a very weak understanding of statistics. The same logic probably convinces you to invest in most financial bubbles, especially towards the end when the asset has been gaining value for so long that it can't possibly come down now. If you live in a region with a history of violent earthquakes, you are also likely to conclude that another earthquake is less and less likely each day that goes by without such an incident (in fact, I'm pretty sure the probability of another earthquake in the next month goes up rather than down because the "elastic" of the Earth's crust stretches with time (at an unknown rate) and gets closer to its (unknown) breaking point). Well it can't it isn't clear yet, I'll spell it out: it's similar with oil, we know that oil reserves are finite although the exact quantity left might be impossible to know, and we know that oil is extracted and burned every day. Forecasting the future might be tricky as always, but how can anyone conclude that we will never run out of oil? Yeah, maybe if civilization starts extracting only the same quantity that is created simultaneously through natural processes.

I think Elon said it well: think from fundamental principles, not by analogy. Because we've never run out of oil yet doesn't mean it can never happen. Just because we've never witnessed extreme man-made climate change doesn't mean it can never happen.

The only problem I have with renewables is they should create wealth, not destroy it. If we converted to renewables and nuclear, then we could export our hydrocarbons creating over a trillion dollars more wealth per year for this country.

We could also export technology to green our hydrocarbons where they can be implemented easier by other countries, especially of they have lower labor costs.

For exa, export our coal to China, there they can easily set up a huge algae farms to capture most of the carbon produced by the coal and generate greener fuels from it.

In politically stable arid countries, a safe nuclear plant, that also produced desalinized water from the oceans would foster farming in arid lands, increasing the greenery of the land. In fact southern Texas could use a few of these, it's pretty dry in southern Texas and it would look like Sacremento Valley California with enough water.


I do not think we are talking about ethnic chinese living in North America as I assume you are. We are talking about sales in Mainland China, with it's specific economic, regulatory and demographic conditions. I am skeptical about the promise of large numbers of sales there because of a lot of factors but most of all the bubble economy and low incomes currently. My guess is the Free China (Republic of China on Taiwan) holds more promise for Tesla sales than Red China as Taiwan's 22 million people have a average income ten times that of Red China and Taiwanese people seem to have a good appreciation of quality american goods (I remember seeing a lot of american cars there). A Tesla store in Taipei and Kaohsiung with a service centre in Hsinchu would be a much better use of Tesla investment.


Actually, those *sales* all occurred in China ... not north America.

Most people I talked to (yes, they’re all in H.K., China or Taiwan) all thrilled about the idea of Tesla and cannot wait to get their hands on the car. In my humble opinion, I do agree have a Tesla store in Taiwan is more practical just because major cities in Taiwan are in much smaller scale and extreme condense v.s. Beijing/Shanghai, that is what EV really good at – one full charge can last you from Taipei to Kaohsiung. I do hope to see Tesla can open a store in Taipei someday. However, even there is only 0.5% (or 1%, to be optimistic) of people in China can afford a Tesla – that is still a lot. Clearly, Tesla didn’t underestimated the power of consumer.

Wealth is all a matter of perspective, because renewables could be disruptive, yet owning them could one day provide a good steady stream of income, especially if the really useful devices is available only to those who have the technology, the capital to build it, and the peace and stability to allow these investments to succeed instead of being destroyed or stollen. This suggests most of the developing world will still demand fossil fuels for some time, which does, as you say, provide an opportunity for exporting what's left here, so to speak. However, I don't see how exporting thermal coal to China will ever be viable and carbon capture through anything else than natural processes will never work on a large scale, it's probably just another fake solution thrown into the debate by an increasingly nervous fossil fuel industry.

Last night, I was watching the Elon Musk interview on TED (finally posted the day before, it seems), which reminded me of his bet with a friend that within about 18 years from now, so by about 2031, solar power will become the plurality of energy sources. That's a very confident statement, and although it should be investigated further before influencing any investment decision on my part, it does suggest that perhaps the situation with renewables is beginning to change significantly. Here is the link:

Then I was also watching this guy talk about de-extinction and this other guy talk about desertification.

Thought I'd share in case it might interest you.

@FLsportscarenth... and cindys_tesla
I think Beijing was an obvious first choice partly due to symbolic reasons, but I think you're right that the next Tesla store and service centre in Asia, when it will be time for it, should be based more on socio-economical analysis and could end up in a more surprising location. I'm not sure, but I think that opening a store in Taiwan before Beijing or another more central location in China could have been seen as offensive or at least shocking.

I understand the symbolism of the Beijing store and more likely than not the socioeconomic pinnacle in Beijing will make it at least break even long term... I hope... I always wish TM commercial success...

But I would hold off on the Shanghai store till sales start reflecting... Having been to Taiwan several times, I think the 22 million in Taiwan will be a much richer field for TM (interestingly small Taiwan has about the same population and income levels as Australia and I think 3 facilities would work there too...) Beijing and HK stores is enough for the Mainland till sales say differently...

Of course if I was Elon I would open the Taipei store first, just to spite the bloody commies! (but justify it on income for PR purposes). I had a lot of bad dealings with people from Red China, the opposite with people from ROC. Remember how loyal Taiwan was to the US, even after Jimmy Carter abandoned them... Similar business culture and no swindling like what has been happening with US companies on the Mainland (think Caterpiller and all the intellectual property theft)...

In Asia, Singapore and KL holds promise (especially if the SG government gives a break on COEs for EVs - they may well as EMA is very interested in them. Hehe, give Lee Kuan Yew and his son (current PM) a test drive and see what happens!

Yo have to be in China if you want to show the world you mean business, plus according to OECD "China Will Soon Have World's Largest Economy."

This one location in China alone could sell 20,000 MS's.

I would guess a million visitors a week are possiblel. A potential million millionaire visitors a year.


The de-extinction video was interesting, the scary part, they said genetics is advancing at fours times the rate of Moore's Law. Perhaps use genetics to create algae that produces clean burning fuel. I was thinking lately these four industries would synergize nicely in China: genetics, a rice farm, a sewage plant, a coal plant, & an algae farm.

The coal plant dissolves its carbon emissions into water and floods the rice fields with it. The rice and algae are genetically engineered to breath and thrive off water desolved carbon & thrive together. The sewage plant is used to fertilize both.

Because of the very large water surface area, the rice field will expose a lot of algae to the sun for photosynthesis. When drained, I believe the algae will produce 5,000 gallons of cleaner bio-fuel per hector, plus you get the rice, use up waste, and decarbonize the coal plant. Any algae left in the field will help fertilize the next rice crop.

Let's say a coal plant or two can sequester all their carbon emissions in a thousand acre flooded rice field. That rice field would produce 5 million barrels of cleaner burning fuel per rice crop. Not bad, and you don't displace any farming.

Next, he desertification video finally vindicates meatlovers vital role in decarbonizing the atmosphere. Texans will love it. Build 300 safe, hurricane proof nuke plants on the Texas coastline, engineered to also de-salinize water from the Gulf and pump it inland.

Then farmers/cattlemen can grow grasslands and use "Intense Rotational Grazing" to raise cattle. This will stabilize the price of beef; save the Texas cattle farmers going broke from dessertifcation; use genetics to create cattle with healthy fats & create a multibillion new meat export business; help green southeastern Texas which is dessertified; and finally take vast amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere with the new grasslands.


Whoops , forgot the link for "Intense Rotational Grazing" here it is :


Hope this helps with my comment on de-dessertification. I also hope my previous comments show what i nean that renewables should create wealth, as well as solve various green and/or climate problems.

Intense Rotational Grazing link above.

Correct spelling: one s, desertification, sorry bout that.

@Tesluthian and 50 years later... 90% of the Chinese population develops Cancer from eating so much GMO rice! :)

GMO rice ('golden rice') is one of the great developments in agriculture. It has enough Vitamin A to prevent blindness in children.

Yes - you have to be in China to do business there, especially if you are selling a product. Also, Chinese internet 'screening' is significant, so a store in Beijing may open online channels to Tesla that would not exist if they weren't there and were simply hoping for 'click and buy' orders from China.

Up to now, Tesla's proven to be pretty savvy in just about all endeavors. Can't wait to buy Tesla paraphernalia branded in Chinese characters!


Can't say bout the genetically modified rice, don't know much about it. But it looks like genetics is here to stay.

But 90% of Beijingies? also could also get COPD, they could learn from Pennsyvania. The southside of Pittsburgh, Pa use to be covered in a layer of red dust from a Steel Mill that use to operate there in the 50's and 60's. The legacy of that is the COPD ward in Southsiside Hospital full of bed ridden people with COPD.

A small town in Pa had people literally die from a smog inversion over the city.
People who work in WV coal mines get black lung.
People worked with asbestos got mesothelioma, etc, etc.
Tiny particulates of stuff is bad for the lungs. And toxic vapors as in cigarette smoke & smog, destroys lung tissue.

People forget there are health benefits to switching to pollution free renewables.

Power plants are filtered. Mines, not so much.


Ok I guess for polluted Asian cities like Beijing , Teska needs an optional pollution upgrade package to include things like the following pollution upgrades on the MS:
1) Gas mask quality air filtration system.
2) Pollution sensors with digital dash displays listing various air pollutant levels.
3). Pollution warning lights & buzzers.
4). Price meter to charge people chocking on smog to sit inside your air filtered MS.

Tesla will make a fortune.

Cattledog can do the same for Beijing architecture designs.

Why would people chock up on smog inside a Tesla? They'd end up choking even more. :( >;p

@Tesluthian | MARCH 24, 2013: Teska[sic] needs an optional pollution upgrade package

Many luxury (and non luxury) cars have automatic recalculation enabled when they sense some kind of pollutants, such as CO2 or NOx. They also include activated charcoal filters in the air stream. My Lexus Rx450h has that. It comes in handy when you are behind a smelly diesel. Mercedes, for example, also has a humidity sensor in some of their cars to improve air quality. I'm sure Tesla will add these features in a future model as they transition from start-up mode.

recalculation=recirculation? ;P

@Brian H | MARCH 24, 2013: recalculation=recirculation? ;P

Yeah, I meant to say that ;) The climate control system constantly recalculates the state of the inside/outside air quality and then turns on recirculation if the outside air quality is below the inside air quality. See how my mistyping actually saved all those words?

Not sure the synergetic sequestration plan you describe excites me. From my experience and perspective, the coal plant will quickly saturate the ponds with CO2 and pretty quickly it will no longer know what to do with its emissions, something other than CO2 (nutrient deficiency, disease, predation, who knows...) will restrain the growth of the algae (remember, life is pretty complex), what does grow will pollute and kill the rice, and the algae will be too costly to harvest because stuck everywhere. Let's say I'm not optimistic, but don't let me stop you. I also don't think that coal plants are a very important part of an awesome future. Also keep in mind that much of the CO2 we've emitted has been accumulating in the oceans (naturally falls down with rain), so the real challenge or opportunity has to do with finding a way for oceans to be more productive to eat (and swallow) all this extra CO2. Ocean pumps, perhaps part of a solar thermal OTEC system, seem to me like a good candidate. Someone brilliant with a fortune to invest might be able to make this work.

I think Tesluthian meant that, when you see people chocking on smog outside as you drive in a polluted city, you could let them sit inside your Tesla and charge them by the minute while they breath freely. Sure illustrates how things like clean air are valuable, yet taken for granted.

The ocean doesn't need any CO2 absorption help. It is a massive chemical buffer, with CaCO2 and bicarbonates in control. By comparison, atmospheric CO2 is a trivial side effect, in no way "in control" of ocean chemistry, through precipitation or otherwise. Talk to the phytoplankton if you wanna speak to the boss.


I think most people are against the genetic modifications it would take to get the algae & rice to do various things like absorb CO2 directly out of the acidified water, or whatever else needed. And yes harvesting would be a nightmare. And lots of people prefer that new coal plants not even be built. Even still , China is building one new coal plant a week. I also read they are planing over 200 nuclear plants.


I believe your bloodstream also works on a carbonate buffering system, to buffet out CO2 for exhalation. But it only works up to a point, you can have too much carbon to buffer out and die.

And if the oceans are buffering correctly, why is ocean acidification killing the corral reefs ?

The ocean is not acidifying, and coral reefs are not dying. At any given time, the temp gets too warm or cool for a particular algae symbiote, and they die or bail. Shortly, a different variety, adapted to the conditions, moves in, and the reef magically "recovers".

The mass of the oceans is hundreds of times the atmosphere. It is a side effect, not significant except to surface-dwellers (a fraction of living things).

The huge mass of the ocean may delay the effects of carbon absorption, but inertia can be pretty dangerous if it swings at you.

There is no CO2 "inertia", and all of the projections suffer from 100 or 1,000-yr. straight-line extrapolations of imaginary trends. The world and the environment do not operate that way, and the projections are nonsense. Worthy of NK info videos.

No, I meant inertia regarding the ocean: CO2 levels, acidity, temperature, things we might not even have thought to measure... There are two problems here:
1- Anything on a geological or astronomical scale usually doesn't appear to be moving from our ephemeral perspectives, when it fact it could be moving (which includes acceleration) at phenomenal speed.
2- Inertia of that magnitude also means that when it becomes clear that the freight train is going to hit you, there is no stopping it in time.

Just saying we don't know what forces we could be unleashing, so a little caution is not so foolish after all.

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