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

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...


Brian H | March 24, 2013

recalculation=recirculation? ;P

Alex K | March 24, 2013

@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?

TeslaRocks | March 24, 2013

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.

Brian H | March 25, 2013

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.

Tesluthian | March 25, 2013


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.

Tesluthian | March 25, 2013


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 ?

Brian H | March 25, 2013

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).

TeslaRocks | March 26, 2013

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

Brian H | March 26, 2013

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.

TeslaRocks | March 27, 2013

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.

Brian H | March 27, 2013

On that basis, unknown influence on unknown forces, we should never do anything. If that quivering fear-dominated lifestyle appeals to you, fine. Just don't sacrifice millions of others to your paranoia. That's what suppressing emissions does, make no mistake.

TeslaRocks | March 31, 2013


I don't believe that cap and trade is the answer. Hard and fixed limits would be even worse. People should still have the ability and the right to emit, burn, pollute, consume, whatever form it takes. But between going about carelessly (and mindlessly) and crawling into a corner to hide, there is room for great positive progress with a little dose of caution. This caution would translate to reality in two ways:

1- Reflecting progressively more of the true cost of emissions with a carbon tax. At first, the tax would be imperceptibly small, for example 1/10th of a penny on a gallon of gas. This would still add up to a welcomed help for governments to move towards balancing their books or, what I believe to be the better option, to lower taxes proportionally in other areas that should be encouraged, such as income. The tax rate would slowly increase so that people and the economy would have time to adjust (shock is horrible but avoidable), so that in time fossil fuels would not look as appealing compared to, say, electric cars and solar panels. The cost to anyone except maybe oil company shareholders would be immaterial, yet society would move much faster towards a more sustainable path.

2- We also need great discoveries, innovations, entrepreneurs, companies, and products to come along every now and then to make the goal attainable without condemning us to live out your visions of the future. Note that this technology and design revolution would be much more likely if we followed step number one.

Velo1 | March 31, 2013

A bit off topic, but in 2005 I had a business trip to Shanghai. I was told my point of contact for the project ordered a limo service to pick me up. After clearing immigration, i met my driver, and as we're walking to the car I am thinking what is a Chinese limo going to be? It was a black Buick Regal. I was told that car is a status symbol for success.

There are more wealthy Chinese than most Americans think. People are either very well off or dirt poor with little middle class.

TeslaRocks | March 31, 2013

Wasn't it recently stated that China has the most millionaires of any country? I wouldn't be surprised if pretty soon that would be more than all the rest of the world combined.

Brian H | March 31, 2013

There first needs to be justification other than widely disputed and discredited speculation for suppressing CO2 emissions. The economic fact is that to date the only way of doing so is economic slowdown, and conversely reducing emissions results in economic slowdown (locally, flight of industry).

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase [per century] of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”.—Professor Richard Lindzen MIT, emeritus.

TeslaRocks | April 1, 2013

Dear Brian H

If you stand in the middle of a busy boulevard and you see with your eyes that there are vehicles heading your way, and you hear the sound of them approaching, and maybe you even feel the ground shaking because one of them is a tractor trailer, by your logic you should not bother move out of the way, maybe just lie down and make yourself comfortable because after all those are just images and founds and feelings, and besides the idea that they could be any danger grows weaker by the second because you are still alive and well. Sights, sounds, feeling, rising temperature measurements, and computer model predictions of future climate scenarios are all various forms of information which human intelligence can use, and has been successfully using for a long time, to increase the probability of survival and to build great civilizations.

The only "widely disputed and discredited speculation" is what the oil industry, Mitch Romney, and GM want us to believe, that fossil fuels are the only realistic option until some eventual god-send magical technology which is curiously always at least 10 years into the future, that climate change is a hoax, and that in the remote event that it could be true, CO2 (a gas, mind you) can be somehow buried back into depleted oil wells without significant leakage and without too much cost. Even a second grader should be able to figure out that this notion simply makes no sense because you cannot fit a gas like CO2 into its corresponding oil volume without extreme compression, which would require a lot of energy and will eventually leak because the ground is porous, shifts, and the gas will make its way out because of the pressure.

I can understand how you might feel when you see well-intentioned but ignorant people who make sure to turn off the lights when they leave because they wouldn't want to waste 13 W of power, but then they go drive around carelessly at well over 100,000 W. Part of the problem is average person stupidity, part is ignorance, and part is a lack of options, which will are sure to persist if we keep the same assumptions described above, that there is no other way than to burn fossil fuels and to ignore the facts.

As for the oil industry assumption that pollution = economic growth and that there is simply no other way, this might only be true for oil companies and individuals with a severely impaired capacity for imagination and creativity. So I guess it's a fact that Tesla and Solarcity are slowing down the economy. I guess there is really no other way, because you said so, therefore we should stop trying to innovate and go buy some coal to heat our houses.

TeslaRocks | April 1, 2013

sounds, not founds.... Mitt, not Mitch. Mitten. ...which is sure to persist...

Brian H | April 1, 2013

All sorts of false assumptions and equivalences in there. No one, ever, has said that pollution = economic growth. And sequestration of CO2 is utterly pointless. It is only pollution by arbitrary EPA fiat, a nonsense perpetrated by, as Hal Lewis put it, "the greatest and most successful pseudo-scientific fraud" in modern history.

You may be interested to know, btw, that those "computer projections" are (in the fine print) explicitly not based on any real world initial conditions, but are extrapolations of program-chosen "what-if" scenarios, given all the 20+ parameters and assumptions each model sets up.

What do Romney and GM have to do with anything? Are they new favorite stereotypes? Yawn.

FLsportscarenth... | April 1, 2013

Actually the China sales question is interesting enough, domestic energy policies belong in another thread...

TeslaRocks | April 1, 2013

FLsportscarenth... and Brian H

Yeah, why does every thread seem to turn into an argument about climate change?

Brian H

"The economic fact is that to date the only way of doing so is economic slowdown, and conversely reducing emissions results in economic slowdown (locally, flight of industry)."

Your remark implies that emissions and economic vitality are somehow proportionally linked. This argument is another old fear tactic of the oil industry. A sudden shock might hurt the economy at least momentarily, but a shock is totally optional because we could start now, slowly, to steer the world towards a sustainable path. On the other hand, a shock is more likely to be the result of doing nothing to prepare for when fossil fuels are no longer abundant (and don't start arguing that this will never happen). Aren't you feeling tangled in all your contradictions, yet? Feeling checkmated? It's okay, you can still be valid in other ways, and you're guaranteed to be a somebody as long as you drive a Tesla.

Brian H | April 1, 2013

I'm not implying what the data clearly show. Not necessary. And it is shallow scare-mongering to use exhaustion of supply as a "shock" threat. Frac gas and liquids in the US are already "functionally infinite" -- beyond 2 centuries worth, and to project use and technology that far out is simply nonsense. It CERTAINLY does not justify crippling the economy to protect our dear descendants from it.

Here's what an economist thinks:

TeslaRocks | April 2, 2013

Yeah you showed me those links before; they talk in circles like you do when talking about climate. The fact is you don't know what effect humans might have on natural systems, no one really knows. It becomes a question of perspective and values, which becomes an impossible argument and is better off left alone. Let's agree to disagree on that and to agree that Tesla is a very good thing for everyone (except maybe oil companies, old auto makers, gas station attendants, mechanics, and terrorists who derive funding from oil). No need to rain on good news.

TeslaRocks | April 2, 2013

Bad for car dealerships, too.

lph | April 2, 2013


rlarno | April 2, 2013

cfr "Tesla is a very good thing for everyone (except ..."
I'd still see this as an opportunity for some:

'old car makers': They can now with more confidence ditch the whole expensive Hybrid approach and make petrol cars for petrol heads (what they know and do best) and build EV's (much simpler compared to an ICE). Tesla has shown them there is a market and it is possible.

gas station attendants: If they put in equal charging 'bays' (again a lot lower cost compared to fuel installation) they now have (a lot) more customer time, they can use that to sell other services and goods.

TeslaRocks | April 3, 2013

Oh yeah, it's a huge opportunity for those who have the vision or luck to build or already be located very near a supercharger. There will be winners and losers, it is inevitable, but I'm not worried about the oil people because they've been ripping us off for far too long so they deserve this.

As for Detroit, you're right, they could use Tesla as an excuse to drop hybrids and even EVs, which they don't seem to really get. They could focus on pure ICE and go full blast while it lasts, sort of the equivalent of binging on junk food and risky behaviour after having received word from your doctor that you only have a while to live. I'm exaggerating, because they have more than a few months or even a few years to live, but I think it's fair to say that the future doesn't belong to ICE makers, especially those who are not making a real effort to innovate towards something sustainable and tomorrow-worthy.

Now, as for the Chinese, like the Japanese, with little oil reserves of their own, they will love a car that doesn't require imported oil that could be cut off in the event the geopolitical table shifts. Oil supply has got to be a bit of a concern for an oil-poor nation without the strong and wide imperialist reach of a country like the US (who by the way are making more and more oil anyway). Tesla will be a huge hit in China in a few years, after word of mouth becomes considerable.

FLsportscarenth... | April 3, 2013

Actually Tesla is not going to put any of the oil people out of a job anytime soon...

The tyres and plastic bits inside are made from oil...

Even if the Freemont Factory produces at its peak capacity of 6,000 vehicles a week the purveyors of dead dinosaur juice as fuel for your car would not run out of customers for decades.

Dispersion of this innovation will be slower than say the electric light displaced the gas lamp due to the fact that a car is a big ticket item... Still a more than a century after electric light wiped out the gas light, natural gas is still sold and in evern greater quantities for heating and power generation to power those same electric lights!

Oil is never going away, but with Tesla will be used in a less polluting way.

I do not see any great numbers of Teslas sold in Mainland China, but maybe a lot of Leafs or crappy low end EVs as the price of petrol rises...

TeslaIsWayCool | April 21, 2013

OK, so I just got back from China, and I was surprised to see SO MANY high-end cars for sale, but no Tesla???!!! I mean, hello? It is SO much cooler than the line up they had: Porsche, Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls Royce, etc. etc.

I'm studying Mandarin, and I'm female, and I'm ready to go back - sign me up to market this gem of a car there. Seriously!

I love this car, and I'm not into cars. Someone gave me a ride in the Roadster - OMG! And I love the looks of the sedan too. (But don't know any owners to get a ride in one of those!)

So what are we waiting for???

Cattledog | April 21, 2013

TeslaIsWayCool - Where do you live? Probably lots of rides available if yo ask in a regional forum. We need spokespeople like you with spunk!

frmercado | April 21, 2013

Formula E is having a race in Beijing on 2014. Maybe Tesla should be present there, at least as a minor sponsor if they are not going to be taking part in the race.

TeslaIsWayCool | April 22, 2013

Hi Cattledog - I live in Silicon Valley - not far from the birth of the Tesla. So how do I get into a regional forum?

I could walk into the dealership, but since I know I cannot afford one (well not yet, 'cause you never know...), I wouldn't want to mislead the salesperson. But hey, I own stock! :-)

Yes, I agree that good companies need more spunk and enthusiasm, with just a hint of moxie, for better marketing.

If you think about it, people buy "concepts," which is all marketing is. The Tesla is the perfect combination of "sexy" + "practical" + "new" What more could you want?

All the other high-end cars I saw in China are so "yesterday" and "impractical" (Which is how I feel about the Porsche, which I used to own).

kyur | May 22, 2013

I m Chinese, surely I will consider to buy it anyway as long as there is a charge station. btw, what would be the roughly price? anyone ?

Bubba2000 | May 22, 2013

Sure the Chinese will buy if there are charging stations in the cities. Most people live in apartments so public charging is important. Tesla will have to deploy a Supercharger network there too... figure $50M for 200 superchargers.

The important aspect is public policy. Does the Chinese government favor BEVs? Installation of chargers? Electrical power rates? It is easier to get permit for BEVs versus ICE autos?

May be somebody local will make a stretch version for the limo market. They rich there have drivers.

Any Mainland Chinese in the house who care to comment?

carlgo | May 22, 2013

Not sure of the discussion of "Should we try to sell products in a country of 1+ billion people...". Hmmm, let me think...

Just about everywhere but N. Korea as the infrastructure probably won't support simultaneous supercharging and missile launches.

Brian H | May 22, 2013

Didn't you hear? A couple of years ago NK solved the fusion power problem and will shortly have unlimited cheap power. Or already has but hides the lighting at night from satellites. Or not.

carlgo | May 22, 2013

Actually, and I didn't want to release this and spoil the ownership experience or stock price, Dear Leader converted the local remaining tree bark to a superconducting material that sucks up all the energy and conducts it into vast electrical reservoirs underground. While it appears that there is no electrical power the truth is that there is so much of it that the country is now a black hole and no light escapes from it.

In fact, the resulting magnetism is so strong that even the world's most powerful rockets, hundreds of times more powerful than Musk's, have a hard time leaving the ground.

Dear Leader works tirelessly to come up with solutions, helped by the many generals who always stand behind him and help him focus.

Cattledog | May 23, 2013

Teslaiswaycool - Haven't looked in on this in awhile, start here: