Sunday 11th December 2016

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Posts tagged ‘General Motors (GM)’

Who benefits as Elon Musk faces down GM’s “Tesla killer”?

January 14th, 2015

by Greg Klein | January 14, 2015

If anything came close to upstaging celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk at this year’s North American International Auto Show it was that staid old Detroit establishment standby, General Motors. GM says its Bolt—already dubbed the “Tesla killer”—would feature a 320-kilometre range and cost as little as US$30,000 when it debuts in 2017. That’s the same year slated for Tesla Motors’ own economy car, the Model 3.

Tesla has faced a number of setbacks lately, although with no discernible effect on CEO Musk’s self-assurance. Last year’s sales for Tesla’s current product, the Model S, are expected to total 33,000 or less. That’s down from a previously forecast 35,000. Yet the cars sell as fast as they’re built. Customers who order now have to wait for delivery.

Who benefits as Elon Musk faces down GM’s “Tesla killer”?

GM calls the Chevrolet Bolt “a game-changing electric vehicle
designed for attainability, not exclusivity.” Photo: © General Motors

Musk claims his company will finally reach profitability by 2020 with annual sales of half a million cars, after its Gigafactory begins battery production and the mid-range Model X and economy Model 3 hit the road. Morgan Stanley, however, last month downgraded that sales estimate to about 297,000.

Oil and gas prices don’t help. But Musk maintains “huge societal pressure” will drive consumers to fossil-free fuel, according to the Washington Post.

Underneath his flamboyant exterior, what does Musk really think about the Bolt? “Bring it on,” the WP paraphrases him. The journal portrays competition as a “new victory for his mission to accelerate the advent of electric cars and, as he said, ‘make a difference in the world.’”

The WP adds that Musk “reiterated the real environmental benefits will only happen ‘if the big car companies make risky decisions to make electric vehicles. I hope they do.’”

But Business Insider looks at risk from GM’s point of view, saying the giant “could put Tesla out of business tomorrow if it wanted.” So why doesn’t GM do just that?

“GM—and the rest of the auto industry—is delighted that Tesla is out there on the edge of the envelope, taking the monumental risk of creating an electric car company,” writes transportation editor Matthew DeBord.

“It costs Tesla everything to develop and build the car of the future. It costs GM nothing. On top of all that, Tesla is building the charging infrastructure that’s necessary to make widespread electric car travel in the U.S., a large country, viable. That doesn’t cost GM anything either.”

So despite the oil and gas price plunge, both sides believe electric vehicles have a future. But if DeBord is right, GM wants Tesla to pave the way.

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a “cruel hoax”

December 17th, 2013

by Cecilia Jamasmie | December 16, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

The Australian government has vowed to help BHP Billiton NYE:BHP, the world’s largest mining company, go ahead with an estimated $33-billion expansion of its Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine, shelved last year as metal prices sank and costs rose.

“I want to ensure that as far as is humanly possible everything that government does is directed towards making it easier, not harder, for this iconic project to go ahead,” Bloomberg quotes Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australia’s promise to assist BHP with its Olympic Dam expansion a cruel hoax

The mine expansion was cancelled in 2012
with sinking metal prices and rising costs.
(Photo: BHP Billiton)

But South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill is calling Abbott’s comments “a cruel hoax” as Weatherill claims to have spoken with BHP management last week and there was no indication of any plans to resume expansion of the mine.

His state is facing massive job losses as General Motors’ NYE:GM Holden unit will stop production in 2017 after 69 years, laying off about 2,900 workers in the state and in neighbouring Victoria.

“The impracticality and the illusion of that is a bit of an unfair thing to hold in front of those workers right at this moment,” Weatherill told the Herald Sun Monday.

“We need to work with those businesses which do have the capacity to expand their operations to ensure that they do that more quickly,” he added.

In September, chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said BHP would provide an update on the shelved $30-billion project in 2014, but any expanded mine site at Roxby Downs in South Australia’s far north was unlikely without a technological breakthrough.

Doubts about the lauded project first emerged in early 2012 when BHP told markets of its intention to cut back an $80-billion capex programme. A JP Morgan research note a few weeks later also suggested the Olympic Dam would not go ahead “for at least three or four years, if at all.”

The ambitious project in South Australia’s outback is expected to become the world’s largest uranium mine. It included the construction of 270 kilometres of powerlines, a 400-kilometre pipeline, a new desalination plant and a 105-kilometre railway.

The Olympic Dam, Australia’s largest underground mine, currently employs over 3,500 people.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com