Tesla Semi, Roadster Reveals Not Enough to Push D20 Stock Index to Gain

A four-percent stock price jump by Tesla Motors led the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index’s (D20) this week.

Tesla’s (TLSA) reveal of the new Tesla Semi electric big-rig dominated industry headlines this week, helping the company’s stock jump from $302.99 to $315.05 per share. In a big surprise, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also revealed a new Roadster during the same event, which no one was expecting.

Tesla’s real financial fate still hangs on whether or not they can untangle the production problems they have on the Model 3, their reasonably-priced, mass-market electric vehicle.  Their target production rate for the Model 3 is 20,000 cars a month by the end of December. Tesla only produced 260 Model 3s in the last quarter.

Unfortunately, the rest of the D20 didn’t fare so well this week. Eleven price losers dominated the Index and caused it to lose 0.7 percent, closing the week at 259.27.

The Dow and S&P 500 both outperformed the D20 this week. The Dow only dropped 0.3 percent, while the S&P 500 dipped just 0.1 percent to close at 2578.85.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Optimus Ride, a Boston-based startup, announced that it raised $18 million in series A funding. Reps from the MIT spin-off company said they will utilize the additional capital to increase their vehicle fleet and make strategic hires. Optimus Ride has received approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to test highly automated vehicles in the commonwealth.

Tesla Unveils Electric Semi-Truck and ‘Surprise’ Roadster

Jennifer van der Kleut

Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk made two huge unveilings this week, revealing a new electric semi-truck that can reportedly travel up to 500 miles on a single charge, and an electric sports car.

The big-rig, named the Tesla Semi, can reportedly go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about five seconds. According to the Washington Post, it puts the driver at the center of the cab, much like a race car, and features touchscreens like the company’s Model 3.

Musk told the crowd at Thursday night’s event that the truck’s design makes for a simple, smooth ride, even if one is not trained to drive a large commercial truck.

“What does it feel like to drive this truck? It’s amazing! It’s smooth, just like driving a Tesla,” he said. “I can drive this thing, and I have no idea how to drive a semi.”

Musk touted the benefits of the Tesla Semi and how it will not only be kinder to the environment, but will also be at least 20 cents a mile cheaper to operate than diesel trucks, which he compared to “economic suicide.”

Musk promised the Tesla Semi will be available for purchase beginning in 2019.

While news outlets were prepared for the unveiling of the semi-truck Thursday night, Musk shocked many when he said during the event that he also had “one more thing” to show them, and brought out the new electric Tesla Roadster.

Fortune Magazine said even a majority of Tesla Motors’ roughly 30,000 employees weren’t aware of the surprise reveal.

Chief designer Franz von Holzhausen and a team of employees reportedly worked on the roadster in secret in a facility in Hawthorne, California, near where Musk’s other company, SpaceX, is headquartered.

Von Holzhausen drove the roadster prototype out of the back of one of the Tesla Semi trucks at the end of the big reveal event Thursday.

According to Fortune reporters who were at the event, the new iteration of the roadster “is roomier at four seats, comes with a removable top, and is faster. A lot faster. The car will travel a whopping 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds [with] a top speed of 250 mph (or even more, Musk said).”

The roadster will reportedly be able to go up to 620 miles on a single charge, which is double the distance all of Tesla’s other vehicles can currently travel.

The roadster will be available in 2020, but the company is already taking reservations. The sports car will have a base price of $200,000, and those interested will have to put down $50,000 as a deposit to reserve one.

Meanwhile, as Tesla continues to unveil these “surprise” new inventions, one can’t help but wonder why the company continues to add new products to its already-overwhelmed line when it is so behind in delivering vehicles people have already reserved and are still waiting for.

Barely a week or two ago, Musk was lamenting the company’s “production hell” on the Model 3, which was released in July. In the first quarter following the Model 3’s release, the company had expected to deliver 1,500 of the vehicles, and only managed to produce 260.

Musk blamed the production lag on challenges with “robot callibration” and battery packs at the company’s Gigafactory production facility in Nevada, according to the Washington Post.

Musk describes the process of building a Model 3 car as “intensely automated,” pointing out that each car is assembled from scratch and includes more than 10,000 separate parts.

Images by Tesla Motors

China’s BYD Company Powers D20’s 2nd Consecutive Weekly Gain

Six price gainers, led by China’s BYD Company and Renesas Electronics, overcame 14 price losers to boost the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) 0.4 percent to 261.21.

For the second consecutive week, The D20 outperformed the Dow, which lost 0.5 percent, and the S&P 500, which dipped 0.2 percent.

BYD was the D20’s leading price percentage gainer, adding 7 percent to its value and closing at $18.36. This is a slight turnaround from previous losses this fall, due to fierce competition in the global market over electric and hybrid vehicles, and the Chinese government’s indecision over whether to mandate all new vehicles in the country be electric.

NVIDIA rolled to a six consecutive week of gains by climbing 3.6 percent and ending the week at $216.14 a share.  Renesas has also been on a roll with a six week positive streak by adding 2.7 percent and finishing at ¥1488 per share on the Tokyo Exchange.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Chinese Electric vehicle start-up, Nio, has raised $1 billion in its latest round of fund-raising. The round was led by Tencent Holdings Ltd., the investment arm of Chinese computing giant Tencent.  Tencent and Baidu seem to be locked in a battle for supremacy of the driverless market leadership in China, with escalating investments and announcements.

Denso, Renesas Help Rocket D20 Stock Index to New Height

Fifteen price gainers, led largely by Renesas and Denso, powered the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) to a new all-time high this week.

The D20 gained 1.8 percent to close at 260.10. It easily outperformed the Dow, which gained 0.4 percent, and the S&P 500, which added 0.3 percent to close at 2587.84.

The D20 is now up over 50 percent since the beginning of 2017.

Three stocks drove most of the D20’s rise this week–Renesas Electronics (TYO:6723), Denso (DNZOY) and Volkswagen (VLKPY).

News broke this week that Renesas will provide chips to Denso and Toyota (TM) for Toyota’s driverless car program. Toyota has set a goal of 2020 for market availability of its self-driving vehicles.

Renesas Electronic’s stock price jumped 7.6 percent to close at ¥1449 per share while Denso’s ADR gained 7.4 percent to end the week at $28.

For the third consecutive week, Volkswagen’s ADR made positive progress. It rose 7.4 percent this week to close at $37.83. It announced October’s U.S. sales were up 11.9 percent compared to October of 2016.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

It has been a good year for investing in Driverless Technology startups, according to a new report put out by TechCrunch. In a report posted on Nov. 4 (see below), TechCrunch states that 2017 investments, already totaling at $1.4 billion, are already more than double the total for all of 2016. According to TechCrunch, Silicon Valley is the most popular place for these investments, followed by Israel.

 

Volkswagen Comeback Leads D20 to Small Gain

A strong comeback has made Volkswagen (VLKPY) the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index’s percentage price gainer of the week.

It appears that market analysts are beginning to think that Volkswagen is a “buy” again.  After a little over a year of stock market punishment that saw Volkswagen lose 42 percent of its market value in less than a month due to “Diesel-gate,” Volkswagen is making a comeback.

Volkswagen stock has almost made it back to where it was in early September of 2015–around $36 per share–which is when the bad news broke. Volkswagen’s stock jumped 5.45 percent this past week, closing at $35.22.

Thirteen price gainers just barely overcame seven large losers, to nudge the D20 up 0.17 points to close the week at 255.44. The D20’s 0.1 percent gain was not enough to beat the Dow which added 0.5 percent to its value or the S&P 500 which inched up 0.2 percent.

Chinese electric vehicle maker, BYD (BYDDY) was the D20’s stock price percentage loser this week. Its price dropped from $19.52 to $17.71, a 9.3-percent drop. Global competition in the electric and hybrid vehicle market continues to heat up and hurt BYD’s stock price.

Another D20 lowlight was Tesla (TSLA), whose stock price dropped 7 percent in advance of its earnings release this coming Wednesday, as the number of Model 3s produced in this quarter was 80 percent less than targeted.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Nutonomy, the Boston-based driverless car software company, has announced that it was purchased by D20 constituent Delphi (DLPH) for $450 million. The purchase doubles the number of engineers working for Delphi on driverless technology to 200.  Nutonomy’s previous partnerships with Lyft and Peugeot will continue.

Blickfeld, a German start-up focused on developing LiDAR systems for driverless vehicles, announced that it has received $4.25 million in venture seed funding. Blickfeld’s approach is to use off-the-shelf components and silicon, which should lower the cost per unit when they are put into production in vehicles. One of the investors is Fluxunit, part of Osram/Sylvania, one of the world’s leading lighting technology companies.

Volvo is the D20’s Bright Spot This Week, As Orders For New Trucks Surge

Though Volvo AB announced promising quarterly earnings and both the Dow and S&P 500 hit new highs, the D20 Stock Index lost ground this week.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index reached all-time highs this week.  The Dow did so in spectacular fashion, broaching the 23,000 mark for the first time and adding 2 percent to its value while closing the week at 23,328.63.  The S&P 500 Index gained 0.9 percent and finished at 2,575.21, a new record as well.

With only six price gainers and 14 price losers, the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) lost 0.4 percent of its value, closing down 1.1 points at 255.26.  The last week the D20 lost ground while both the Dow and S&P 500 stayed even or rose was the week ending July 28, 2017.

One bright spot for the D20 was Volvo AB (STO: VOLV-B), whose announced quarterly earnings beat market profit expectations as orders for its trucks surged. Shares prices for Volvo AB, which are traded on the Stockholm exchange in SEK, jumped from 155.5 to 165.9, a 6.7-percent increase.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Lyft continues to make positive headlines, as Alphabet–the parent company of Google and Waymo–announced it is leading a $1-billion investment round in Lyft. Lyft continues to trail Uber in both market share and valuation, but not in positive press. Uber and Waymo are currently litigating over trade secrets allegedly stolen by a former Waymo employee who later joined Uber.

Will Driverless Cars Usher in a Real Estate Building Boom?

Jennifer van der Kleut

The Center for Real Estate Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) released a report this week that has industry analysts and media outlets buzzing. Will a shift toward autonomous vehicles over the next decade or two spur a real estate boom, as garages are leveled to make way for more housing and office buildings, and sidewalks are widened to encourage more walking?

The report, entitled “Real Estate Trends: The Future of Real Estate in the United States,” which was sponsored by Capital One Bank, features research on a number of trends relevant to the advent of the technology and its potential impact on real estate across the nation, including housing affordability and inventory, fluctuations in home values, demographics and more, as well as the current boom taking place in the Internet of Things (IoT) industry.

As industry analysts predict that the advent of autonomous cars will bring about a decline in personal car ownership and a subsequent rise in fleet companies that offer ride-hailing services in driverless cars (which a number of companies are currently working on, including General Motors, Uber and others), they predict it will dramatically change the shape of both urban and suburban landscapes.

With less of a need for parking garages–as, presumably, autonomous fleets will pretty much run rides 24/7–the report predicts many inner-city parking garages will become obsolete, and perhaps actually be demolished to make way for much-needed additional housing.

They also predict sidewalks will be widened; with less of a need for on-street parking, designated “drop-off zones” for autonomous fleet cars will be created instead. Widened sidewalks will encourage more walking by pedestrians who can now live in the increased downtown housing and walk to work or to shopping and restaurants.

“Developers are already starting to target parking structures, gas stations and auto dealerships, betting that they’ll be able to redevelop the sites as car ownership becomes obsolete, said Rick Palacios, director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting,” reporters at Bloomberg News quoted this week, in response to the report.

Suburbs won’t go away, though–if they don’t have to fight traffic driving into the city themselves anymore, the MIT report predicts that people will still enjoy living in quieter residential neighborhoods and enjoying a relaxing commute to work every day in an autonomous car, when they can nap, get a jump-start on work or watch TV while their robot taxi keeps an eye on the road.

Rick Palacios authored an article in September that expanded on some of the predictions about how autonomous cars will reshape cities and affect real estate.

He pointed out that increased availability of autonomous ride-hailing would also allow senior citizens and the disabled to age at home longer, which would slow home sales to a certain point, but would then be off-set by the building boom of new housing he mentioned to Bloomberg. In addition, he predicts industries like general contracting and home remodeling may get a boost as people retrofit homes to accommodate seniors and disabled persons living at home longer.

Palacios even suggests that home contracting prices may go down, as transportation costs for shipping materials are reduced. He predicts humans will also enjoy lower personal transportation costs, as hailing robot taxis will cost much less than the regular maintenance and up-keep of owning a car, paying for the insurance on it and filling it with gas (especially if a shift toward autonomous cars also means a shift toward electric cars).

Read the entire report from MIT’s Center for Real Estate Research here.

Image: Pixabay

NVIDIA Unveils New Pegasus AI Computer, Boosting Stock and Taking D20 With It

This week marked a new all-time high for NVIDIA (NVDA), whose stock price soared 7.3 percent to close at $194.59 a share after the company unveiled its new Pegasus AI computer, which is designed for driverless vehicles.

The license plate-sized computer is 10 times more powerful than its predecessor, the NVIDIA Drive PX 2, and is driven by four high-performance, GPU-embedded AI processors.

Thanks to the incredible performance by NVIDIA, the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) jumped 1.7 percent to 256.36, its fifth consecutive weekly gain.

As a percentage of value, the D20 has now beaten or tied the Dow and S&P 500 for eight straight weeks. The Dow increased 0.4 percent and closed at 2871.72 this week, while the S&P 500 inched up to 2553.17, a 0.2-percent gain.

In other D20 news, after gaining 75 percent in the last five weeks, BYD Company’s (BYDDY) stock reversed itself and was the D20’s leading price-percentage loser last week. It lost 4.1 percent and closed at $20.11 as rumors subsided about China mandating all vehicles be electric–like those made by BYD–in some of its cities.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Velodyne, the most established LiDAR manufacturer, has announced that they have quadrupled production capacity of their high-performance LiDAR sensors to meet growing demand. This production increase was made possible by Velodyne’s investment in a 200,000-square-foot mega-factory in San Jose, California.

In other LiDAR news, General Motor’s (GM) driverless division, Cruise, has acquired Strobe, a LiDAR sensor maker which, while trying to reduce cost and complexity, has reduced its LiDAR sensor array to one chip.

General Motors Makes Waves, Pushes D20 Above 250 For First Time

An 11.3-percent stock price jump by General Motors (GM) this week helped push the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) to a fourth consecutive weekly gain and a new record high.

General Motors has been making waves in the automotive market recently, and it’s paying off in regards to its stock price. General Motors is committing to “zero emissions” and “zero crashes” in the company’s drive toward a totally electric vehicle line-up and its investment in driverless technology. GM’s driverless division, Cruise Automation, has increased the number of driverless cars it is testing in California to 100 in the past three months.

The D20 outpaced the Dow and S&P 500 again this week. It rose 2.3 percent to close over 250 for the first time ever, at 251. 97. The Dow managed a 1.6-percent increase while the S&P 500 moved up 1.2 percent.

Nissan (NSANY) continues to reel from its recall news.  It was the D20’s largest price-percentage loser this week. Its stock price fell 1.8 percent on news that it will recall all new cars sold in Japan in the past 3 years.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up-and-Comers:

Voyage, an off-shoot of the on-demand learning company Udacity, has announced an agreement to test its driverless cars at Villages Golf and Country Club in California.  The San Jose retirement community has 4000 residents and about 15 miles of private roads. Voyage believes that retirement communities are good targets for its technology to help seniors remain independent in terms of transportation.

Blackberry’s Stock Price Explodes, Taking the D20 Stock Index With It

BlackBerry (BBRY) exploded for a 22.5-percent gain in stock price this week, helping the Driverless Transportation Weekly Stock Index (D20) achieve its third consecutive weekly gain.

The BlackBerry share price rose from $9.13 to $11.18 this week, helping eight other gainers overcome 11 price losers and push the D20 up 0.7 percent to close the week at 246.20.

BlackBerry made an announcement  this week that it expects the company will beat a $19-million quarterly profit expectation, pushing Blackberry’s stock price to levels not seen since November of 2014.

The D20 outpaced the Dow’s 0.2-percent gain and matched the S&P 500’s 0.7-percent gain. Since April of 2017, the Dow has risen 8.5 percent while the D20 has skyrocketed 32.5 percent.

Nissan (NSANY) was the D20’s largest price-percentage loser last week. It lost 5.6 percent of its value on news that 11.21 million Nissan cars in Japan will have to be recalled.

Delphi (DLPH) has announced that is going to spin off its automated driving and electrification business in March, and that it will call the new business Aptiv. The D20 will be modified to reflect Delphi’s changes and convert Delphi’s position to Aptiv’s when the spinoff is formalized.

Visit the Driverless Transportation D20 Stock Index page to learn more about it and its component stocks.

Up and Comers:

Luminar, has emerged from stealth mode and announced that one of its current major partners is the Toyota Research Institute (TRI). TRI has just updated its driverless test car to its latest version, 2.1, which now includes Luminar’s LiDAR technology. Luminar’s approach to Lidar has been to design everything from scratch to enable their product to “see” further, to detect black matte surfaces better and yet still be safe for the human eye.