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Michael Coren

Michael Coren

reporter at Quartz
  • The electric carmaker everyone thought would go bust is on a run. It's got $6 billion in the bank, and plenty of new models (the Model 3, Model Y, Cybertruck) to fuel growth despite being lower-margin vehicles. But the long-term economics for automakers is brutal. In a globalized, low-margin industry

    The electric carmaker everyone thought would go bust is on a run. It's got $6 billion in the bank, and plenty of new models (the Model 3, Model Y, Cybertruck) to fuel growth despite being lower-margin vehicles. But the long-term economics for automakers is brutal. In a globalized, low-margin industry, size is survival. Tesla is not yet that big (< 500,000 cars per year). And when a recession hits, it won't be pretty. But Tesla now has plenty of runway, three (almost four) factories around the world, and a global customer base that loves its cars.

  • If self-driving cars just replace personal vehicles, we'll be doubling down on a traffic dystopia with cities and freeways choked by empty vehicles piloted by software. The system itself needs to change. Shared, electric and autonomous is one answer to urban transportation, say researchers I've interviewed

    If self-driving cars just replace personal vehicles, we'll be doubling down on a traffic dystopia with cities and freeways choked by empty vehicles piloted by software. The system itself needs to change. Shared, electric and autonomous is one answer to urban transportation, say researchers I've interviewed. To Cruise's credit, the Origin is all three. Whether Cruise (backed by GM) can build it at scale and put a viable business model behind it is the next challenge.

  • Climate is business risk now -- perhaps the business risk for some companies. Just as investors assess companies' legal, operational and competitive risks, climate will now be among them.

  • If the Inevitable Policy Response predicted to hit capital market happens, this will be seen as the tip of a fast-melting iceberg. The IPR prediction (https://www.unpri.org/inevitable-policy-response/what-is-the-inevitable-policy-response/4787.article) posits "financial markets today have not adequately

    If the Inevitable Policy Response predicted to hit capital market happens, this will be seen as the tip of a fast-melting iceberg. The IPR prediction (https://www.unpri.org/inevitable-policy-response/what-is-the-inevitable-policy-response/4787.article) posits "financial markets today have not adequately priced-in the likely near-term policy response to climate change." When governments start implementing their stated plans to cut emissions in line with the Paris accords, billions of dollars of market value will be wiped out. Companies and investors will wake up to realize that their main assets (power plants, mines, gas and coal reserves) are liabilities in a world facing massive, debilitating warming and instability. Of course, we'll see what BlackRock does, but the writing is on the wall.

  • Satellites are getting so good at monitoring the planet, if you're emitting greenhouse gases you can run but you can't hide. Once regulatory regimes start turning the screws on high emitting firms, capital markets will pounce those that can turn off the faucet. Given the state of the climate talks, that

    Satellites are getting so good at monitoring the planet, if you're emitting greenhouse gases you can run but you can't hide. Once regulatory regimes start turning the screws on high emitting firms, capital markets will pounce those that can turn off the faucet. Given the state of the climate talks, that will be a while. But it's more likely a "when," not an "if."

  • Projections of rapid EV adoption neglect how the technology fits into people's lives -- and homes. Plugs in our garages are a mundane, multi-billion issue with profound consequences for companies like Tesla, Ford, VW and others pushing to make EVs normal as they retool their factories. The building codes

    Projections of rapid EV adoption neglect how the technology fits into people's lives -- and homes. Plugs in our garages are a mundane, multi-billion issue with profound consequences for companies like Tesla, Ford, VW and others pushing to make EVs normal as they retool their factories. The building codes are a reminder it will take years to make EV charging standard in new homes (without rewiring a house or comandeering a washer/dryer outlet), and many, many decades before it becomes ubiquitous.

  • Money can buy happiness -- but it's diminishing returns, approaches zero marginal benefit per dollar, and is "often fleeting at others' expense," according to the research on income and happiness (A Ferrer‐i‐Carbonell 2005). Money may lead to real gains in happiness for those lowest on the income ladder

    Money can buy happiness -- but it's diminishing returns, approaches zero marginal benefit per dollar, and is "often fleeting at others' expense," according to the research on income and happiness (A Ferrer‐i‐Carbonell 2005). Money may lead to real gains in happiness for those lowest on the income ladder when it boosts security, stability, and opportunity. For most of Maezawa's Twitter followers, I suspect, more dollars means most people will just revert back to their baseline level of happiness.

  • When my dad was interviewing the first people that joined his medical practice in the 1980s, they all negotiated salary. Today? They all negotiate time and flexibility. This is an inevitable and worldwide generational shift. We'll see companies (and countries) begin to accept this as normal. More normal

    When my dad was interviewing the first people that joined his medical practice in the 1980s, they all negotiated salary. Today? They all negotiate time and flexibility. This is an inevitable and worldwide generational shift. We'll see companies (and countries) begin to accept this as normal. More normal than the 5-day work week. And it's only the beginning. For many, work will start to resemble movie productions -- people coming together for specific projects over a finite time before disbanding for others -- rather than the "careers" we once pursued.

  • EV batteries are likely to last far longer than people expect. But how fast they charge, and well they perform, is emerging as a bigger factor than capacity. One yellow flag in the data: hot weather + fast charging hammers battery life.

  • Tesla flexed its muscle in the market even as overall EV sales softened. Global automakers have committed $225 billion toward electrification -- well past the point of no return despite 2019's worrying dip in EV sales (at least for cars not built by Tesla). Overall, it was the year things got serious

    Tesla flexed its muscle in the market even as overall EV sales softened. Global automakers have committed $225 billion toward electrification -- well past the point of no return despite 2019's worrying dip in EV sales (at least for cars not built by Tesla). Overall, it was the year things got serious for EVs.Tesla has done the yeoman's work of proving you can sell a million or so electric cars to the masses. Its Model 3 accounted for 1 out of every 6 EVs sold worldwide. Now VW, GM, Ford, and others have painted a giant target on Tesla's back. Let the race begin.