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2022-11-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 768 references
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It's really not very complicated when you get down to it.

First, all items in an economy respond to supply and demand.  If there is zero demand there will be zero supply and thus no price.  But for any amount of demand above zero there is a price, and to the extent demand exceeds supply price rises until equilibrium is established, either by it simply costing more or additional supply showing up as there's incentive to provide it.  The opposite is also true.

The problem with so-called cryptocurrencies is that they have zero inherent value of any sort.  That is, the fact that I can solve a mathematical problem and prove I did through a cryptographic signature doesn't have value; there is no utility, per-se, in doing that.  Leaving aside that all such designs are inherently and intentionally ponzi schemes (that is, the "founders" always get the first of whatever it is at zero cost or nearly zero, then sell them to others at ever-higher prices) if anyone can use leverage without prior disclosure and thus become an emitter of credit into the stream they can move the price in either direction on command.

Of course their benefit and thus, for most, their motivation, is to move it higher.

But what if there the alleged "dollar" exchanged and thus which set the demand level doesn't actually exist?

If I can take a customer's "funds" and blow them on something else then until and unless I am forced to immediately remove that from the so-called "cryptomarket" where it was I have in fact emitted more dollars in the context of the cryptocurrency.  The problem at its core is that I had no legitimate way to do that and thus the alleged "demand" -- and price response to it -- is a fraud.  In the United States banks have an allegedly limited license to do this, that is, it is legitimate, and so does Congress through deficit spending.

Nobody else, however, holds the power to do so in a legal fashion yet the common theme is that it keeps being exposed.

You must therefore assume that all of the alleged "value" of said crypto "assets" is in fact nothing more than smoke.


Because if it was possible to make a reasonable return running an exchange without doing this -- that is, the fees charged for the service covered costs plus a profit -- then those doing it legitimately would be VERY interested in finding and outing every scam immediately.  The reason for that is obvious: The scammer operates with what amounts to a digital printing press and the non-scammer does not; ergo the honest operator cannot compete in such a market as they will always lose to the scammer.

The facts, however, are that the so-called "mainstream" exchanges are not diligently looking for and exposing the frauds and the reason why not is transparent: They profit from it too even if they don't personally engage in it.

But if you profit from a scam even if you don't engage in it then you must expect that there will always be said scam and worse, since during the time it is unexposed there's nobody interested in stopping it there is no pushback to put a stop to it and in fact that takes over as the largest, if not the only mechanism by which price actually moves.

In other words ex the scamming the "value" of said "token" is, for all intents and purposes, zero.


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2022-06-18 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 661 references
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A reasonable postulate for virtually every thing that is wrong in the US -- and much of the rest of the world -- can be stated as "selective prosecution has ruined the world, and cannot be fixed until the people enforce equal application of the law."

"ESG", which in the vernacular is "Environmental, Sustainability and Governance", all are externally-imposed costs on corporations, specifically public corporations.  Unlike laws, which are also externally-imposed costs, these costs are imposed by a cartel, and cartels under penalty of being "disinvested" or even having your leadership ejected by force.

Cartels are illegal in the United States, with few exceptions:

Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

This law (Clayton, which is the second of two, the first being Sherman which criminalized the act while Clayton was rapidly passed to criminalize the attempt irrespective of success) dates to 1890.

It does not just impose a fine (of up to $100 million) but also 10 years in the pokey in the form of a criminal felony conviction for each person involved.

So if you and I get together, agree to impose cost by coercion on other people and in doing so our intent is to do so in a cohesive fashion such that competitors must all comply we have committed a criminal felony.

Cost is cost no matter how it works or what sort of cloaking and greenwashing you do with it.  If myself and three other large Internet providers in a given area all get together over some beers, lament that now we can't get people to work because the government has turned into a free-money fest for them and decide together to all raise prices by a dollar on our customers so we can all offer our employees a nice fat raise we have committed a serious federal offense.  When I ran MCSNet I wouldn't even contemplate having lunch or beers with one of our serious competitors in my market lest the conversation go in that sort of direction and I've now done something that could, quite-reasonably, lead to me doing 10 years in the federal slammer.

Corporations must comply with the law and to the extent that some organization or group lobbies to get laws passed, which all comply with, that's not a felony. 

But absent law such coercion is a felony.


Because without coercion one or more of the competitors in a market will tell said "ESG" people to pound sand.  That firm will have lower operating costs and as a result will tattoo those who do enact said policies.  This is called competition -- and, to be precise, productivity and it is productivity, doing more with less, that is responsible for every bit of our standard of living in the modern world.

In 1890 we, through our representative process, declared such coercion by other than law imposed evenly on all a felonious act.  There is no exemption for "investment companies" like Vanguard, Blackrock and similar to these laws.  None.  Yet here we are, and just like in 2008 when nobody committed any crimes (to directly quote Gary Johnson who was at the time running for President as a Libertarian, and was lying like a bearskin rug) we are facing record-high gas prices and inflation to a large degree precisely because we are not prosecuting acts that, under the law, are declared as crimes.

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2019-04-17 10:46 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 762 references
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I'll make a prediction: There will be more crashes.  The next one, post "retrofit", will end the company.

(Reuters) - A review by a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration panel into Boeing Co’s grounded 737 MAX aircraft found a planned software update and training revisions to be “operationally suitable,” the agency said Tuesday, an important milestone in getting the planes back in the air.

You can't fix the problems the 737Max has with software alone.

First, the limits of authority for the MCAS system are entirely inappropriate.  An aircraft that needs an "anti-stall" feature that can consume half of the stabilizer trim authority with one actuation is horribly unbalanced.  The design is dangerous.

The 0.6 degree original design is reasonable; the revision to 2.5 degrees is not.  Rather than find the reason(s) for the requirement to quadruple that authority and correct them in the design so the 0.6 degree authority is sufficient Boeing intentionally concealed that authority change from the FAA.

This is the root of the issue.

When you're off by 400% in your engineering predictions, as disclosed by testing, you have a dangerous situation.  The correct thing to do in such a circumstance is to go back, figure out why that happened and change whatever you need to so it doesn't happen anymore.  That would have meant a redesign of material components of the 737MAX (likely involving flight surfaces such as the wing geometry itself, where it's attached to the aircraft, etc) which Boeing was unwilling to do for time and cost reasons; today it would likely mean literal scrapping of all the existing hulls and starting over.  That's not going to happen either as today it might well bankrupt the company.

The reason for this set of facts is quite simple -- there is a set of both probabilities and outcomes that either fall into or outside of the window of acceptability for a transport aircraft.  A failure will lead to discomfort but not death (of anyone) is one you can accept occurring, since nobody dies and at worst it causes inconvenience.

One that could kill some number of people (but not crash the airplane) is much more-severe.

One that can crash the airplane is the most-severe.

The problem with all of these as the FAA defines them is that there is also a probability table associated with them.  This is a fundamental fuck-up in the FAA's legal mandate and it must be changed.

Let me give you an example of the complete horseshit that MTBF and "error rate" figures present to people:

Furthermore, Deskstar NAS hard drives incorporate a rotational vibration sensor and achieve reliability of 1M hours MTBF.

One millions hours MTBF (that is, the mean time between failures) is the common specification for computer hard drives.

There are 8,760 hours in a year.  This means that if you have one such disk you should expect it to last, on average, 114 years, far longer than you will.

This abuse of statistics is utter and complete horseshit.  First, a disk drive is a mechanical thing.  Like all mechanical things that have moving parts in it the parts wear when used.  Specifically, the mechanism that positions the heads has moving parts that can wear (get "sloppy") and so does the motor that drives the platters (the "disks" inside.)  Neither will last 114 years while operating under any rational set of conditions, ever, period.

So let's say you have 100 of these drives.  Well now, see, the probability isn't that each will likely last 114 years.  No, and no.  It's that the manufacturer predicts that if you have 100 of them you'll lose about 1.1 of them every year.  And guess what -- most of these fail at somewhere around, or perhaps a bit better, than those numbers. Nobody seriously expects the one disk you buy to last 114 years, and it won't.  You can count on that.

1 in a million is 1 x 10^-6.  This sounds very improbable but in fact as you can see it really isn't at all.

There's a lot of engineering judgement that goes into these analysis and the severity that will follow.  The original MCAS design was permitted because with only 0.6 degree of authority it was judged that if it failed it would not crash the plane.  Quadrupling the authority without re-analyzing the outcome was intentional -- even if by omissions -- because under the rules any modification that may impact severity must be re-analyzed.

Making the system less-likely to make a mistake (e.g. by forcing the use of both AOA sensors, for example) does not solve the problem in the general sense -- because it can't.

This is the comment I have just transmitted to the FAA on their coddling of both Boeing and willful dereliction of duty and disregard of the FARs governing transport aircraft by proposing to "accept" Boeing's changes:


The 737MAX "software revision" is, as has been described in publicly-available documents, insufficient as a fix for the root cause of the two crashes and loss of more than 300 lives that occurred.

During the original design of the MAX it has been disclosed that the MCAS system was implemented into the flight control "law" software to alleviate a materially-larger "pitch up" moment that could arise as a result of the larger, higher-bypass engines fitted to the MAX series of aircraft.  The original specifically called for this software to have 0.6 degrees of stabilizer trim authority and the failure consequences and probabilities were analyzed on that basis.

Flight testing before certification disclosed that 2.5 degrees, or approximately half of the total range from neutral to the stop in either direction for the stabilizer trim jackscrew, was actually required for MCAS to perform the desired function.  In addition the data recorder graphs from the Ethiopian crash appear to show that MCAS is capable of, and does, drive the jackscrew at roughly double the rate of a yoke command from the pilots, making its application of negative ("nose down") trim extremely violent on a comparative basis with that applied by the pilots.

This change was not reflected back into the design documents and failure analysis, including both probability and outcomes from failures, was thus not performed with this 400% increase in automated command authority.

Had that analysis been re-run it would have disclosed, as we now know from the two hull losses, that an unrecoverable aircraft attitude at moderate altitudes (< 10,000 AGL) could occur due to erroneous activation of the system.  Two such failures did occur and in at least one, it has been disclosed that the checklist was run for that failure by the pilot and first officer and failed to restore the aircraft to controllable flight.

Patching the software, assuming the 2.5 degree limit of authority remains as it is required for the MCAS system to function, cannot resolve the root issue.  While improving the reliability of sensor input (e.g. by requiring both sensors to be "always hot" and, if there is a disagreement, not engaging MCAS) at first blush appears to be sufficient to remove the failure mode, it is not and accepting same as a sufficient remedy must not be allowed.

The 737NG, from the published manual pages and block diagrams I have been sent copies of, appears to show that all flight computer access to the stabilizer trim runs through only the right side disconnect switch for stabilizer trim.  The 737MAX emergency procedure that the pilots in the Ethiopian Air crash used, however, specifies that both switches are to be pulled in the event of a runaway and remain off for the remainder of the flight.  This strongly implies that on the MAX aircraft computer trim authority can be exerted if even only the left-side, or "master", stabilizer trim power switch is on.

Since we have had demonstrated twice that loss of ability to operate stabilizer trim can and will result in the loss of the hull and significant or all life onboard it is not acceptable for there to be any operational part of the flight envelope, where the aircraft remains intact and controllable, that leaves the pilots with no means of adjusting stabilizer trim without an outside direction, in this case an insane computer irrespective of the root cause of the machine's insanity, overriding their input.

Ethiopian's crash documented by the CVR that the checklist procedure, which called for the handwheel operation of the trim in the event of a runaway, was inoperative due to aerodynamic forces the pilots could not manually crank against.

This is not acceptable and software fixes cannot resolve a hardware problem.

Assuming MCAS or any other part of the flight computer complex requires sufficient stabilizer trim authority to place the airframe in jeopardy should it malfunction it must be able to be disconnected from said system.  Since functional stabilizer trim adjustment is required for the aircraft to be airworthy under all conditions of the flight envelope there must always be two operational means of changing same.  MCAS is by no means the only possible failure in said flight control system; not only is that software highly-complex and has other stabilizer-trim functionality (e.g. mach variation, autotrim related to flap position, etc) it has both sensor input and physical output (e.g. power FETs to drive the output circuits, contractors, etc) which can fail as well, some of which are single-path failure points.

Therefore, at minimum the following is required:

1. The flight control computer, including but not limited to MCAS, must be able to be disconnected from the stabilizer trim electrical drive circuit without impacting the electrical trim switches on the command yokes.  The NG block diagram appears to show that this is the case, while the MAX emergency procedure strongly implies otherwise.  Either the MAX procedure is wrong and must be corrected or the physical wiring in the MAX must be modified so that the flight control computer can be positively severed from stabilizer electrical trim control by disconnecting the right-side switch, leaving the master enabled and the yoke switches available.

2. Due to the fact that stabilizer trim must always be able to be modified at all times in the flight envelope under pilot command for the aircraft to remain controllable a condition where the manual trim wheels are inoperative due to aerodynamic loads is unacceptable.  Therefore a second minimum change is for the gearing ratio to be modified such that under any set of flight conditions where catastrophic hull damage has not yet occurred the hand cranks must be able to be actually operated by any person of sufficient physical capacity to have either a pilot or first officer flight certificate.

To return the 737MAX to certified status before both of these changes are implemented is, in my opinion as a person who has been writing software for approximately 30 years, including embedded software that controls potentially dangerous machinery, unwise and appears to be in violation of the FARs governing transport aircraft.  Such a decision is, in my opinion, likely to result in additional lost hulls and loss of life.

I have no faith that the FAA will in fact insist on the above two changes, as both cost money and involve physical, not software modifications.  However, absent both the 737MAX will remain 100% reliant on its flight control computer never suffering insanity irrespective of cause, failure of which has a high probability of killing everyone on board.

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2019-03-23 11:15 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 191 references
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Oh do fuck off you old coot.

At the wreckage near Bishoftu in a small pastoral farm field and in the Java Sea off Indonesia lie the remains of the early victims of arrogant, algorithm-driven corner cutting, by reckless corporate executives and their captive government regulators.

You know, that something is 50+ years old in basic design doesn't make it bad, especially when it hasn't failed a bunch of times in those 50 years that could be pinned on some inherent vice.

To the contrary.

Nader had a use at one time.  Then again my family owned a Corvair in my youth and we didn't die.  In fact it was my mother's daily driver, so you can bet I rode in it as a kid more times than I could count, more than a few of them without any seat belt on too.  And she wasn't all that good of a driver either -- certainly not up to racing standards.  Can I tell you about the time she hit a bridge?  No, really, she did.....

Don't get me wrong -- as my other articles point out there's plenty of finger-pointing to do with the 737MAX, with most of it aimed at the MCAS system and its poorly documented characteristics.

I'll even go so far (and have) as to call five-alarm bullcrap on allowing a 0.6 degree control authority to turn into a 2.5 degree one without the entire fault and risk analysis being re-run up and down the line, including the impact on CG and cargo carrying capacity.  After all it's not the authority the pilot may require at cruise altitude and speed (he probably has enough to rip the tail off the plane if he could use the whole thing rapidly there) -- it's down low and slow when that's going to matter.

I can also raise a big stink about the fact I'm quite sure (although I don't have a flight or system manual for the plane) that there are multiple other sources of imputed attitude (angle-of-attack) data available, and as a result it shouldn't be all that hard for the flight management system to know that a sensor is full of crap in short order -- including on the ground at power-up when the angle of attack is (obviously) not some wildly-divergent figure.  Not doing that right up front -- and charging extra to compare data in the air is IMHO flat-out culpably wrong.  Digging back into why the system didn't cross-check as a matter of routine (that is, why someone or a bunch of someones thought it was not necessary or didn't consider it, and whether that was a pure revenue play with excuses paving the road) is something we deserve answers to, because it's something I would have thought of -- and I don't do flight control computers.

And I can make a stink about the fact the the previous generation 737 aircraft (from what I've been told by a couple of people who drive 'em) apparently disconnected auto-trim on a converse manual control input and this one does not (which makes sense; if you go the opposite way the computer has clearly gotten it wrong) so if the pilots (and carriers) were told this plane flies exactly like the old one and relied on that, well, no it doesn't.

I can take an even bigger beef with statistical models used to "predict" failure rates.  I love those lines of BS that are commonly run in the computer world; 1x10^-14 or -15 bit-error rates, for example, or "2 million hours MTBF" that sound like "oh you mean that never happens" -- and since you believe that you never need to make known-good backups too.  Let me know who you are if you buy that bullcrap so I can prepare to bill you at $1,000+/hour to try recover your general ledger and all the data that went into it (never mind the rest of your business data) when you lose it, because you eventually will.  Oh, and may I remind you up front my odds of complete success in that circumstance -- that is, you lose little or nothing and at the end you're mostly ok business-wise -- are about one in five?

Or the reality of computers generally, which is that they run on electrons being stored, moved around and compared, and guess what -- there are these things called cosmic rays that can flip bits without warning in same.  Happen often?  No.  Does it happen?  Uh, yeah, it does.  Can this be guarded against?  In some cases (e.g. ECC memory) but not all (e.g. same hit on a logic gate in a peripheral, etc.)  Do aircraft systems shield against this?  I'm sure they do; military systems do, but is that shielding perfect and are defenses like ECC perfect?  I hope nobody's counting on that to keep them from making smoking holes in the ground.....

None of this, however, changes that a human pilot had quite some time to figure out what was going on or simply decide all the computers are full of crap, I'm turning them off and flying the plane.  At what point was that the right call?  Obviously before the ground was hit, but also obviously neither crew did it.  Is this human-factors engineering, people too damned reliant on technology, shitty training or.... something else?  Hellifiknow but don't you think we better figure it out before we make more smoking holes?  For all we know the second auger job might have ended the same way but not started the same way and there's some evidence of that (e.g. reports of an abnormally high take-off speed; unsubstantiated at this point since the data is not yet available from the FDR.)

And then there's what drove this entire thing, which was carriers demanding "same type" so they didn't have to spend much if any money on retraining and such -- and not just for pilots either, but also for ground crews and related things.  There's a hell of a lot more than just a plane involved in flying a plane, in short, as anyone who has ever been to an airport knows.

Finally whatever you think of the professionalism of the crews involved (that is, are the carriers outside the US hiring competent people, in the main) there's one glaring fact -- Lion Air, the first 737MAX to go down, had a similar fault to what appears to have crashed it the day prior and for inexplicable reasons the aircraft was not immediately put on the ground, the problem reported, including up the line to Boeing and the aircraft tagged out (grounded) until the cause was found.

Might that have led to a resolution path before anyone got killed?

Maybe, maybe not.

But it didn't happen, and that one's not on Boeing since that flight did land safely.

Or is it on Boeing?

This much we do know -- modern aircraft engines, at least, send a lot of data in real time to manufacturers and so do modern aircraft avionics and flight management systems.  Malaysia's lost hull in which we have had reported said system was intentionally disabled, anyone?  So..... was the data sent, to whom was it sent, who if anyone got it on the previous day's flight with Lion Air when they had the computer go crazy but they lived and if someone did get it why didn't they instantly go apeshit when they got it and ground the damned aircraft?

I want an answer to that question too because again -- but for that, if the data was sent and someone got it 300 people would be alive.

Finally don't be so sure US crews are that "vastly" superior.  We now know that a United Express plane missed the runway entirely in Maine.  The original report was that it "slid off" the runway in icy conditions; that turns out to have been wrong.  On the first attempt they went around on a missed approach but on the second they landed between the runway and taxiway on what was probably (if there hadn't been snow!) grass, ripping the gear off the aircraft.  Oops.

So let's do get to the bottom of this and let's not just change the software and call it a day.  Specifically, let's make damn sure that if the MCAS system retains it's 2.5 degree trim change authority that all of the calculations and fault analysis related to that are run with that figure and the 0.6 degree figures are voided, meaning that until that's complete the plane doesn't fly again.

What falls out of that does; it might be nothing, it might be something.  It might even be a bad something, force MCAS to basically go away and with that all the retraining and certification issues come back with the cert as an entirely different type.  Or maybe something less is required -- but let's have the formal verification re-run and know its right.

What I've said before and will say again is that the sort of rot that leads to these incidents doesn't happen in a day or a week.  It takes years, even decades.  Likewise it can't be fixed in a day or a week either.

Thiokol, if you remember, ignored multiple engineers who had told them that the seals on the shuttle booster rocket were unsafe at low temperatures.  But their warnings were ignored, and despite a director for Thiokol refusing to sign the launch recommendation -- he believed the concerns were valid -- NASA launched anyway.  Challenger was destroyed along with everyone aboard.

I suspect there's a decent pile of crap sandwiches to be served here, as I've said before, and I can't come up with any good reason for that control authority deviation to not be run back through the full set of analysis.  That not being done, along with the reset behavior not being part of the analysis, and it appears it wasn't, is inexcusable.

But then again so is not grounding a plane when everyone on board damn near dies and only because there was a competent pilot in the jump seat did they figure it out and successfully complete the flight -- then the same apparent fault kills everyone on board the next day.

Figure it out and nail the responsible parties to the cross -- Nader-style scaremongering garbage serves nobody.

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2017-11-25 15:39 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 1008 references
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There's no reason Elon Musk shouldn't be under indictment right now.

Let's look at the latest monstrosity claim from him: His "truck".

The truck can drive 500 miles on a single charge, which was higher than some analysts had expected. That may mean that, in terms of range, the vehicle could meet the needs of long haul truck drivers.


Tesla will also build a network of Tesla "Megachargers" that will charge the trucks' batteries to a 400 mile range in 30 minutes.

Ok, let's talk about this.

There apparently were eight charging ports, and with a 100kw battery behind each that would be 800Kw.  To deliver 90% of capacity in 30 minutes you'd have to deliver approximately 1.5 Megawatts plus losses; batteries are 80-85% charge efficient during the bulk phase until they reach about 80% of capacity (at which point their efficiency goes down materially) and the electronics to control the charge have loss too -- probably in the neighborhood of 10%.  So we have a 76%, more or less, efficiency on the charge rate which means we must deliver almost exactly 2 Megawatts to the truck for that 30 minutes.

I note that 500 kilowatts has to be dissipated somewhere for that entire period in the truck or the batteries, controller equipment or both catch on fire.  This is a serious problem all on its own that I am not convinced Musk can solve.

Then there is the economic issue.  Musk claims he's going to "guarantee" a 7c/kwh price for all that power.  How he thinks he can do this in a commercial environment where demand meters are used by law is beyond me; the first time a trucker needs to be charged at 4:00 PM on a 95 degree day there will be a very large surprise delivered in the form of the bill.  Never mind that the trucker (or company) will be paying for the 25% losses too; you get to pay for the entire megawatt-hour even though you only keep 75% of it; the rest heats the air.  Apparently Musk thinks that he can simply build "battery packs" to store energy and thus charge them when the power is cheaper.  Ok, that's fine and well, except (1) now you have another 25% loss, stacked (you take one when you charge the pack when "cheaper" and then when the truck is charged) and for each truck's worth of capacity in said battery bank he gets to buy another battery that would otherwise go in the truck, plus another 25% to cover the losses when the truck is charged, plus the electronics to charge, discharge and control that "banked" pack.  Somehow this all is going to "work out" to 7 cents/kwh.

Let me make this clear: No it won't.  If Tesla guarantees that rate to the buyer then Tesla will absorb billions in losses and the more trucks are on the road and the more miles they drive the more money the company loses.

But it pales beside what Musk claims to be able to do when it comes to charging these trucks in the first place.  The average house in the United States consumes about 12 megawatt/hours of energy over the entire year, or about a megawatt-hour per month.  Musk intends to suck twice as much energy from the electrical grid as your house consumes in a month in 30 minutes.

To put some perspective on this that means that one such truck charging will place approximately the same load on the grid as 1,400 houses.  One truck.

What happens when 20 of them show up at the truck stop?  You know they do that today -- they fill their diesel tanks and they're on their way, although they typically only fill said tanks half as often as these batteries will require charging.

So it won't be 20 of them it will be 40 since their range-before-refueling is about half of common OTR trucks now.  Now we're talking about the load of roughly 57,000 additional houses that will be instantly presented to the grid and which the grid must be able to support -- per truck stop or terminal!

Who's going to pay to build all that out and with what will they do so?

It won't be Elon Musk.

I don't believe Musk can deliver this thing at all, nor do I believe he can deliver the Roadster either as the double-size battery pack required to do so (against today's Model S and X) won't fit in the chassis.  So that problem exists too, and it's not an easy one to solve.

Finally, when it comes to the truck there are some other interesting issues related to efficiency.  See, this thing is supposed to be able to couple to any existing trailer.  Ok, fine, but existing trailers are flat-backed and thus have fairly nasty aerodynamics.  You've seen the "trailer tail" things on some of them, I'm sure -- a flip-out contraption that cuts -- somewhat -- the aerodynamic drag generated by the turbulence at the rear of the vehicle. I'm not at all confident the sort of highway range Musk is talking about can be achieved without material improvement in the aerodynamics at the rear and bottom of the vehicle, which means "no standard trailers for you sir!"

That leads to a very large problem; you see flat-back trailers are that way so they can be backed into a loading dock and both loaded and unloaded.  It also makes intermodal (container) shipping possible since a container can be dropped onto a skeleton trailer that locks into the corners of the rectangular container box.  How do you do that if you apply real and effective aerodynamics to the rear and bottom/sides of the trailer?  You don't.  While there are answers to this problem they likely involve a complete renovation of how loading docks are designed and work today, never mind container ships, and that design is literally everywhere from the corner grocery store to the large manufacturing center.  Good luck with shoving that change down every receiving and shipping dock in the nation's budget, never mind the expected gross increase in size such changes would require (e.g. for "side loading" or similar.)  Oh, and since there are length limits on combination vehicles (tractor/trailers, etc) as well you either get to forfeit quite a bit of usable cargo volume or the laws have to be changed to accommodate the materially-longer aerodynamic section of said trailer!

All of the foregoing assumes you believe 800kw of battery is enough.  I'm not so sure.  The math doesn't pencil today on that and I don't see how Tesla can overcome the deficit under any plausible scenario.  Today's diesel truck gets ~8.5mpg, roughly, fully loaded @ 80,000lbs gross (maximum 50-state legal limit.)  Diesel contains ~136,000 btu/gal, so if we take 500 miles (maximum range of said EV truck) we would need ~60 gallons of fuel containing ~8.2 million BTUs if that was a conventional diesel-powered tractor. A modern diesel (with all of its computer controls and transmission) can achieve very close to 40% thermal efficiency in steady-state on-road operation (assuming ~5% gearbox and parasitic loss), which means 3.264 million BTUs have come out the business (driveshaft) end of the engine and transmission when it finishes burning that 60 gallons of fuel.

Musk's 800kw battery only has 2.7 million BTUs of energy in it.  That's 18% short, roughly, but in fact it's worse than that because neither his motors or the PWM controllers for them are lossless, and remember, we've accounted for the diesel's engine and transmission/accessory inefficiency.  If we assume Tesla's electric motors are 90% efficient (possible but unlikely; 85% is more-likely but I'll give him the other 5) and the controller is also 90% efficient (possible) the stacked loss there is 19% so now he only delivers 648kw over that same period of time to the driveshaft(s).

In other words he's not short 18% on energy content he's short a whopping 32%!

I call smiley immediately on him being able to improve the total loss budget by 32% ex engine and transmission -- which basically means through aerodynamics since his truck still needs to roll on tires and the trailers are identical -- so he can't get much if anything on rolling resistance.  That leaves aero and to obtain that sort of gain even on the freeway, say much less in combined-cycle use, would be enormous.

Oh, and the batteries?  They come off the useful load of the truck as well, so on a dollars per pound-mile moved for cargo the electric truck has a further deficiency to overcome.  In short his claimed range and parity level for power is a big stretch right up front!

In the end what we have here is Musk promising to deliver what he can't today, and he's counting on two things to bail him out:

  • Wall Street will continue to give him money on the come in the hope that the technology in batteries advances fast enough for him to be able to actually build the packs and fit them in the vehicles, along with solving the heat dissipation problem during charging that would otherwise cause the vehicle to catch on fire and be destroyed.  Given the relatively short timeline he has set for himself I rate the odds of this happening as perhaps one in a thousand since none of this can be done today.

    AND (not or)

  • The Government will force you to pay for his charging systems by having a gun shoved up your nose and the money extracted from you both for the additional generating capacity necessary and infrastructure upgrades to get that generating and power-delivery capacity to the truck stops and terminals effectively none of which currently have anywhere near that sort of capacity available to them.   Oh by the way many of these terminals are a long way away from existing generating capacity and high-voltage transmission equipment so the build-out cost will be even worse -- by a lot -- than it first appears.  As a conservative guess this is likely to put a 15-30% increase on your home electric bill should any material percentage of the OTR fleet convert.  There are roughly 1.9 million heavy and tractor-trailer drivers employed today; consider what would happen if 500,000 trucks were to attempt to convert to electric drive each of which would require a 2 Megawatt charge for 30 minutes every six operating hours.  There is no possible way to support any material percentage of the current OTR trucks converting to electric power on the existing grid and this build-out will not be paid for by Tesla or the trucking companies if it is attempted -- it will be paid for by you.

Theft as a business model is a crime.  Promising that which you can only deliver via speculative advances in technology and by stealing a large part of your operating cost from others who do not use it ought to land your ass in prison and reduce your company to a smoldering pile of ash.

Then again Hastings did exactly that to America with Netflix and Net Neutrality and Amazon's Bezos does it daily with cross-subsidizing product sales with AWS, including to the Federal Government (which means he steals from every taxpayer to do so), so why shouldn't Musk rob everyone of tens of thousands of dollars in his plan to "build" these trucks right up front, since you didn't lynch Hastings or Bezos when they did it and in fact rewarded both with billions.

This shit has to stop, the firms doing it must be destroyed and their executives imprisoned.

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