Reports are emerging from both Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and the Reno Gazette Journal with regard to an alleged trespassing incident at the Tesla “Gigafactory” near Reno that took place just before noon Friday, October 9. One of the members of the party that was alleged to have trespassed, an RGJ photographer, was arrested after they were detained by Tesla security personnel and told to remain where they were because police had been called.
Tesla’s statement includes a description of the party member who was operating a vehicle and “put it in reverse and accelerated into the Tesla employee, knocking him over.”
“He was arrested after an altercation with the security guards when they attempted to detain him for trespassing,” Gerald Antinoro, the Sheriff of Storey County, described the incident to RGJ, saying the party members “either hit or almost hit one or more of the security officers.”
A USA Today video piece features what a concept view of the Gigafactory looked like before its construction was started. The video shows an infographic that states “… by 2020, Enough for 500,000 Tesla cars.” It’s almost the end of 2015 and Tesla appears to be struggling to sell even one-tenth of that number and targets for both production numbers and earnings have been repeatedly reduced.
A YouTube user, Black66, has uploaded a video purporting to depict what the Gigafactory looked like recently.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Gigafactory incident is that RGJ has been a huge Tesla cheerleader, and who could blame them? Tesla and the Gigafactory have been promising to bring many new jobs to the area, and the seemingly altruistic motive behind what Tesla purports it can do, a green renewable power source for cars and home electricity, is appealing and interesting to almost anyone. Tesla has fueled the imagination of both green scientists and investors. The media has adored Elon Musk.
Why, all of a sudden, is a photographer being told not to photograph? Not wanting the very publication who has been covering Tesla with no problems for well over a year, to take photos could be seen as perplexing. What does Tesla have to hide? Is it that the Gigafactory looks more like a highway mall under construction than what the concept image looks like? Why is there no video of the altercation with the photographer and security personnel? Is it believable that the journalists who were reported to be wearing press badges by Tesla would refuse to give their names? What could photographers have taken pictures of that would be so serious police would need to be called in the first place?
For those who aren’t aware, Tesla’s stated goals, which get tied into financial analysts’ estimates for the company, and the stock, are to sell between 50,000 and 55,000 cars this year, as reported by the Inquisitr. After September 30, Tesla had only sold 17,000. Tesla needs to triple its total sales for the first nine months, in the last three months of the year, to reach the low end of its guidance. The launch of the Model X had the potential to change these numbers, but Tesla only delivered six vehicles; and one of them went to Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO.
Shares of TSLA are down 13.4 percent over the past 30 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up 4.34 percent over the same period. Tesla stock traded up $3.67 or 1.7 percent on above average volume today.
In addition to light car sales, with Tesla appearing to be starting a habit of over-promising and under-delivering, and the mere trickle of Model X deliveries, Tesla had promised delivery of Powerwall home stationary batteries between July 30 and August 30, as reported by the Inquisitr.
The Powerwall batteries can be used to store power collected during off-peak times for use at peak times, as well as to store power collected from solar panels. Two versions are available, a 7 kWh and a 10 kWh, both of which are reportedly useful for collecting power from utilities. However, only the 10 kWh is reported to be useful with solar panels.
SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY), headed by Elon Musk’s cousin, has been reported to be accepting orders for the 10 kWh Powerwall, yet only 7 kWh Powerwalls have shipped. Delivery for the 10 kWh units has been reportedly pushed out to 2016 as has the delivery of Model X SUVs to most customers on the Tesla waiting list.
[Feature Screenshot Courtesy Black66 / YouTube]