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Rivals Close In On Tesla After A Near-Miss With The SEC

Tesla

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has investigated Tesla over the way it bills and plans to use deposits for the Model 3—a probe that that the EV maker has not disclosed to its shareholders, according to Probes Reporter, which has published the correspondence between the SEC and Tesla.

The SEC investigation—that started in June 2016—ended at the end of May 2017 with no enforcement action recommended, Probes Reporter says, but notes that “In its response to us of 07-Dec-2017, the SEC also blocked access to other records on Tesla on law enforcement grounds. That gives suggestion there is at least one other unresolved SEC probe.”

In a June 2016 subpoena, the SEC ordered Tesla to produce documents over Model 3 reservations, cancellations, deposits, and how it was using or planning to use the deposits it had received.

“They’re selling reservations that materially would benefit cash flow,” CFRA analyst Efraim Levy told The Mercury News’ Ethan Baron.

“I don’t know of any crime there. It’s pretty straightforward: People are willing to wait on an open-ended time period on the potential to have a car,” the analyst noted.

The SEC’s subpoena for the details of Model 3 looks like a likely way for the SEC to make sure that Tesla is reporting real numbers about reservations, with real people behind those Model 3 reservations, Levy told The Mercury News.

Related: This OPEC Member Aims To Boost Oil Output By 40 percent

Meanwhile, another rival for Tesla is launching a vehicle, undercutting the price of a similar Tesla car. China’s EV start-up NIO launched on Saturday its first vehicle, the ES8 SUV, which is cheaper than Tesla’s Model X. The first vehicle launch for NIO comes just three years after the company was created.

Chinese customers can buy NIO’s ES8 with a range of 500 kilometers (311 miles) on a single charge, for US$67,820 (448,000 yuan), compared to US$126,560 (836,000 yuan) for Tesla’s Model X.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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