• 12

    Nicu 11:46 am on September 11, 2015 - 862 days ago

    It went almost unnoticed that the new iPhone will available to pre-order tomorrow in 12 countries, compared to only 10 last year. Seems like detail, but the addressable population almost triples with that. And Apple got the habit of announcing pre-orders numbers for the first 24 hours. Last year was 4M, I would say 6-7M is not out of the cards this time ;)

    Or maybe … the snooze just wakes me up and that was wishful dreaming related to my Sep 18 $118 calls ;)

  • 23

    Nicu 6:13 pm on August 31, 2015 - 873 days ago

    I’m not sure to what degree I have expressed here my passion for EVs, race driving and my adventures with my shifter kart (that I miss dearly since we moved to Geneva, about 2 months ago).

    I have this plan for several years already to build a crazy powerful electric kart – think 100+hp – to beat my Tesla Roadster test drive experience:

    I have read tons of materials in the different areas (electronics, motors, batteries, manufacturing techniques etc.) and been experiencing with electronics for quite some time now. Even my Robox 3D printer was a step stone towards learning CAD techniques for printing and later CNC. And my shifter kart I have bought, it was also part of the plan (reuse the chassis and store, sell or throw the engine away).

    I have come to realize that I cannot do that by myself for many reasons (space, time, experience, knowledge) so I gathered a team of 5 including me and a professional mechanic, software engineer and electronics / electrical engineer (still waiting for his answer to my detailed 30-page project). We have a garage back in Romania (the other 4 members of the team live nearby that place) and I might try to fund everything from my pocket – unless the taxman takes everything that I have left.

    So I wonder if I should start a Kickstarter campaign while I have no prototype to show yet, or if I should take it on myself and try to build on the cheap a quick kart to beat the world record for 0-62 mph acceleration time (which stands at 3.45s). Then, reaching for external funding may be easier. Unless someone does that in the meantime, I think I can do better than 3.4s with less than $10k. But that is just an intermediary goal, ultimately I am aiming 1.5s but will be happy with 2s as well.

    I am reaching to you to get advice, ideas and hopefully some cheers :)

    • SB

      SB 4:52 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

      I noticed in Horace Dediu’s twitter feed that he has a home EV project – converting a beetle to an EV. Perhaps not much overlap there, but maybe some … and cars and I believe racing are an interest of his – I think he also posted some recent road-rally photos.

      I am skeptical about your Kickstarter prospects – the most successful campaigns have wide general appeal.

      • SB

        SB 5:20 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

        but what do I know about what has wide general appeal .. apparently flamethrowers do:–weird-business-news-182735902.html

      • SB

        SB 5:53 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

        Here are the batteries for his car – a bit much for a kart:

        • Nicu

          Nicu 10:19 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

          for the kart, we mostly need power and low mass, not range; after 10-15 minutes of hard driving, the driver badly needs a break; I think with 2-3 kWh you can race the hell out of it for 15-20 minutes; option 1 : fast charging batteries + patience while you have a KitKat; option 2: 2 or 3 sets of batteries, so you stress them less by charging them slower

      • Nicu

        Nicu 6:34 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

        Thanks for your reply. I have checked some (very) successful funds raising campaigns and they tend to have something in common: most of the cash come in the form of preorders for some finite product. Simply trying to achieve something new does not cut it so much.

        So it is probably better to develop some subsystems ourselves and when we have something clearly superior to what’s out there (like a high power / low weight motor controller, for example), then try to raise money to transform it in a quasi industrial product.

        There was quite a movement of DIY EV builders 5-10 years ago and most are extinct due to the high costs but even more so daunted by the complexity of making subsystems work together (I have seen people on forums complaining they have spend 2-3h / day for 2 months to program such a controller with no success).

        Our plan is high performance, contained costs, great looks (depending on taste, of course) but especially ease of configuration / set-up.

        I’ll keep you informed. I might even create (finally !) a FB account for the project once we start ;)

    • conshmillo

      conshmillo 7:01 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

      Hey Nicu. This is Vilo. A big fan of your project. Reason being that I have a similar idea for the street legal electric trike. Like you I collected a ton of information on electric motors, lithium batteries and controllers. I built small CNC (am building second one), bought welder etc. If you need some direct experience building your DIY CNC I am here. There is actually Romanian guy building killer DIY CNCs but they are quite expensive. You can find a ton of info on For electronics I have been messing with arduino (duemillanove). It has a ton of shields and is quite inexpensive. You can even do your own controller with it with custom PWM. That is if you are going to use DC motor. Like you I am thinking to use kickstarter. I am thinking more along lines like sharing the electronics and motors setup or some battery part than whole project. There may be people like you or me that like to build stuff and want to buy some element of the project. In any case I wish you good luck with that and look forward to see you to proceed with that. I will jot down some stuff when I think of anything useful for you. Cheers.

      • Nicu

        Nicu 7:42 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

        Thanks Vilo. Let me split the reply by topic:

        • I have only reached the conclusion that we will probably need a CNC machine for rapid aluminum prototyping and even small batch production. This may include custom pedals that precisely measure the position and be waterproof, custom connections for cooling conducts to include temp, pressure and volume sensor but especially a small but powerful motor controller. For this thing I want it to have both air and water cooling and be waterproof, as in later stages karting is fun in the rain too, but all components are exposed.
        I am thinking to get one like that for the shop when time is right
        In the meantime, I have found small shops that do aluminum parts in small batches (even 1), plus anodizing shop ;)

        This CNC machine is another intriguing possibility, for my apartment, so I have a very rapid iteration loop.

        • We are going with BLDC / PMSM three phase permanent magnet motor. I am salivating at these specs for several years already:
        134 hp for a few minutes for 12.3 kg of motor
        We will probably start with a much simpler setup, using this guy

        • Doing that, electronics is more involved, we have to use field oriented control to get maximum control, avoid vibrations / noise / unnecessary stress for components and have max efficiency. I have been playing with TI microcontrollers. They have a line C2000 which is powerful enough and has both hardware and software (libraries) features for controlling 3 phase motors. Here my expertise / experience ends, because on top of too much engineering documentation, I have no experience working with 100V or higher. And then, we want to approach a pro level with fully opto-isolated controller.
        We will start for the first prototype just by buying a Sevcon and / or a Kelly controller.

        To build our own controller, there are now very powerful MOSFETs (up to 150V) and IGBT (up to 600V) that can handle 200+ Amps each, all below $10 (and cheaper if you buy in quantity).

        • For the batteries, probably Headway to the first prototype and A123 Systems (26650) for the real one. Headway are a bit cheaper, don’t need a spot welder and cells are larger, up to 200A (burst). For a low voltage, low perf system, they are perfect to experiment with.

        We will probably need a super-capacitor module (that we will build) to help the batteries, for max power, max regen, but also to smooth out the harsh PWM power chopping.

        • The final step of the project (after max performance is met), is to have a Raspberry Pi or equivalent as a central computer that will connect to all systems, including an iPhone (or equiv.) that will be a dashboard on the wheel. This will transform our machine in a software platform and we can improve from there (like telemetry, talking to the team / coach via bluetooth, using GPS to record and analyze all driver actions etc.).

        In short, much too much for one inexperienced man. We have very big technological plans, but will start with a very simple and cheap system made only from commercially available parts. We will improve components one by one from there. If we achieve great quality / performance, there will probably also be some commercial opportunities, at least to pay for our materials and work. I will consider it a success even without this later aspect.

        • Nicu

          Nicu 7:45 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

          Have only reached the conclusion recently.

          Probably many other typos, sorry for that and the long reply.

          Cheers and good luck with your project too !

          • conshmillo

            conshmillo 8:58 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

            • We are going with BLDC / PMSM three phase permanent magnet motor. I am salivating at these specs for several years already:
            134 hp for a few minutes for 12.3 kg of motor

            That’s one sexy beast motor. One look at it and I knew it’s a halbach array based axial flux motor. Great weight to performance ratio. Any idea how much they are selling them for?

            • Nicu

              Nicu 10:02 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

              yes, they are not very expensive starting at around $4000 but you will need to add some sensors, shipping and handling etc. – max $5000 or so

              the problem is that today’s controllers that can give it so much power are at least 8.5 kg and $4000-$5000, and those from Sevcon that are water proof (IP 66), you probably cannot even buy as consumer

              so if we want to go to max plaid before Elon, we have to innovate with the controller ;)

          • conshmillo

            conshmillo 9:03 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

            Check this out. Here is the dude that build one based on similar principle (halbach array) from the scratch:

            • Nicu

              Nicu 10:10 pm on September 1, 2015 872 days ago

              looks good, not the same tech as EMRAX I think; EMRAX is an outrunner, meaning most of the exterior is turning, not only half of it

            • conshmillo

              conshmillo 1:34 am on September 2, 2015 872 days ago

              they are similar in the use of halbach array which flips unused magnetic force of motor’s magnets and pumps it to the side that is used. basically doubling the magnetic force for the same amount of weight.

            • conshmillo

              conshmillo 1:37 am on September 2, 2015 872 days ago

              btw. are you thinking in wheel motors or out. transmission from regular cart or not?

            • Nicu

              Nicu 7:24 am on September 2, 2015 871 days ago

              Actually I plan to fully reuse a shifter karts chassis (including cooling system, with small modifications). They have hugely evolved in competitions over the last 50 years and get to 115 mph “safely” (for race driver standards). This way we will be surely classified in the kart category, but also cuts a lot of work. Not to mention the tires here (I will do it below).

              Therefore there will be an an 50 mm in diameter rear axle on which the wheels are attached. The motor will spin that either with a chain or belt. Yes there are very light but strong belts available today (kevlar and steel wire reinforced).

              The main problem in this setup is that there is no differential. But the chassis is very well thought out, when you turn front wheels, interior wheel is pushed down and exterior (front) wheel is pushed up. Therefore in the corner you will mostly be on 3 wheels (rear interior wheel is 1-2″ in the air). Here’s your differential that allows you to take corners at very high speed (I have already measured 2.8g lateral on mine: not the best tires, not the best driver).

              Chassis is also flexible to allow for the above and other optimizations such as keeping all wheels on the ground in straight line, despite the lack of a suspension system. We will try to replace present components (engine, fuel tank, exhaust system) with electric components of equivalent weight, placed more or less in the same configuration. In such a way we hope to obtain a racing beast, not only a dragster that is good in a straight line.

              Tires: I use training tires that can easily go above 2.5g. They are made to last 3-6 hours of driving. But there are another 2-3 levels of adherence above, culminating with race tires. Those can go to 3.5g but only last 1.5 hours or so. Most of the weight of the kart in on the rear axle and under hard accelerating you can actually approach 100% – will try to avoid flipping over. Ground clearance is at most 2″ and rear tires diameter is 11″.

              If you’re not familiar with what a shifter kart can do, take a look here

    • Nicu

      Nicu 6:45 pm on September 2, 2015 871 days ago

      Good news for my project: we are a complete team of 5 now :D

      I should have some liquidity starting November in my Romanian LLC. Shortly after, I will source the components for a simple working prototype, probably a Motenergy ME1115 motor (air cooled to avoid complexity), Headway battery cells so they are easily mountable. Not sure if I want to go with a Chinese Kelly controller or with Sevcon.

    • Nicu

      Nicu 6:41 am on September 5, 2015 868 days ago

      • conshmillo

        conshmillo 9:13 pm on September 7, 2015 866 days ago

        Didn’t you say cart? btw, are going to set up some Facebook or Pinterst page for updates?

        • Nicu

          Nicu 11:20 am on September 8, 2015 865 days ago

          Yes, I have the intention to do so. I have asked my dad to start preparing the garage / storage place as a neat workshop and take many pictures along the way.

          Early November I should have some cash in the LLC accounts. I may even start ordering parts a bit sooner (and get refund from the LLC). Then I plan to find a week in November to go there and work 14-16h / day on the first prototype and meet all the team at once (+ take lots photos).

          First prototype will be standard, underpowered and “boring”, but we have to start somewhere. Then the real fun part starts: innovation, manufacturing new parts, testing, iterating ;)

        • Nicu

          Nicu 11:22 am on September 8, 2015 865 days ago

          And yes, kart, it was just a joke that a 1 MW car is “competition”. But ultimately (3-5 years), I plan to beat any 4 wheel thing except dragsters at 0-60 times ;) – including the beast above !

        • Nicu

          Nicu 12:12 pm on September 8, 2015 865 days ago

          thanks for the tip, have just created a board here – empty, but will keep adding stuff as it happens; will probably do a specific twitter account and FB

  • Nicu 1:25 pm on August 24, 2015 - 880 days ago


    Quick analysis this morning: excluding book value from market cap, we are below 3.5 enterprise value / TTM cash flow (used estimates for this quarter, very mild assumptions) – this is the bargain of the decade !

    • SB

      SB 4:48 pm on August 24, 2015 880 days ago

      Days like this I bemoan living on the Pacific Coast. It seems like there are often deep discounts in the early market.

    • Zee

      Zee 12:05 pm on August 25, 2015 879 days ago

      AAPL is up today 6.% in the pre market:) When was the last time you remember seeing that hmm.

      • Zee

        Zee 12:27 pm on August 25, 2015 879 days ago

        Our Great Recession in 2008-2009 saw Apple beating expectations QoQ. No? I can’t remember what percentage Apple’s growth was during the G.R. nor who made up the consumer demographic behind the growth. Could the US demographic that fostered Apple’s growth during the G.R. similarly be behind China’s growing consumption of Apple products that Cook spoke of to Cramer, yesterday? Cook’s talking to Cramer did save the day from China’s Black Monday. That said. It makes factoring current 2015Q4 earnings a bit easier.


    Nicu 7:48 pm on August 21, 2015 - 883 days ago


    max pain attempt : in today $107 @ 14c 2 minutes ago

    • Nicu

      Nicu 7:49 pm on August 21, 2015 883 days ago


    • Nicu

      Nicu 8:19 pm on August 21, 2015 883 days ago

      not this time

      • SB

        SB 10:08 pm on August 21, 2015 883 days ago

        overwhelmed by China hand-wringing.

        • Nicu

          Nicu 8:57 am on August 22, 2015 882 days ago



    Nicu 2:35 pm on August 13, 2015 - 891 days ago


    in 5 lots Nov $135 C @ $1.16

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:01 pm on August 14, 2015 890 days ago

      + 5 lots @ $1

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:23 pm on August 17, 2015 887 days ago

      +5 lots @ $1.23 – was hoping to get them lower, and they may go back below $1 in the short term; but I just want to be ready if there is a liftoff :)

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:43 pm on August 21, 2015 883 days ago

      improved 5 lots to Nov $130 C @ 45c

      • Nicu

        Nicu 6:03 pm on September 8, 2015 865 days ago

        improved 5 more lots to $130 C @ 53c

      • Nicu

        Nicu 7:39 pm on September 9, 2015 864 days ago

        improved the remaining 5 lots @ 48c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:32 pm on September 30, 2015 843 days ago

      yesterday: in 5 lots of Nov $125 C @ $1.1

    • Nicu

      Nicu 1:51 pm on October 2, 2015 841 days ago

      improved 5 lots of $130 C to $125 C @ 41c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:34 pm on October 7, 2015 836 days ago

      + 5 lots $125 C @ 75c – I will try to sell $130 C later, so achieving an improvement transaction in 2 steps; $130 C do not worth much right now so it was hard to get a good price for the spread

    • Nicu

      Nicu 7:41 pm on October 13, 2015 830 days ago

      +5 lots $125 C @47c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 1:52 pm on October 14, 2015 829 days ago

      + 2 lots of $120 C @ $1.1 – if I’m wrong about guidance of $75-80B for Q1, this will be another spectacular failure

      • Nicu

        Nicu 5:15 pm on October 14, 2015 829 days ago

        +3 lots of $120 C @ $1 – that is about all I can do until it gets above $115 so I can sell some $130 C to restore a safe cash position

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:20 pm on October 14, 2015 829 days ago

      improved 10 lots of $130 C to $125 C @ 25c


    Nicu 1:39 pm on August 4, 2015 - 900 days ago


    sold short 0.4 lots Jan ’16 $115 P @ $8

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:21 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

      rolled to Jan ’17 $115 P @ $7.50 credit

      • Nicu

        Nicu 4:00 pm on August 24, 2015 880 days ago

        covered those @ $22 for a loss of $6.5 so I get more legroom (margin call) if we plunge again; bid/ask for calls was too wide this morning and proximity to margin call was not the best feeling

    • eatingbeets

      eatingbeets 2:37 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

      What do you make of this drop?

      • Nicu

        Nicu 3:30 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

        I buy ;)

        If you remove cash, we are at a trailing cash flow multiple of less than 6 (better then EPS or earnings as this cannot be manipulated by accounting gimmicks). It is 10 for a flat business, and 6 for one that grew about 40% during the last year ?!

        Does it mean it cannot drop further? Of course not. It can go to $90 of below in the short term. But it cannot stay there forever. So I try to take advantage of the drop while keeping solvable and a bit of reserve cash if it continues.


    Nicu 10:48 am on August 4, 2015 - 900 days ago


    sold short 1.6 lots Sep 18 ’15 $115 P @ $2.52 – covered by cash if need be

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:22 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

      rolled to Jan ’17 $115 P @ $11.3 credit

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:43 pm on August 24, 2015 880 days ago

      in 0.6 lots Oct $105 P @ $7 – this is just to limit the impact of shorted Jan ’17 puts and maybe take advantage if there is huge volatility again


    Nicu 3:12 pm on July 15, 2015 - 920 days ago


    in 10 lots (same lot size as other recent trades) of Sep 18 $140 C @ 88c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 9:44 pm on August 3, 2015 901 days ago

      improved all to $135 C @ 39c
      in 5 $135 C lots @ 44c
      improved all 15 lots today to $130 C @ 40c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 8:44 pm on August 11, 2015 893 days ago

      improved 5 lots to $125 C @ 60c
      improved 5 lots to $125 C @ 50c (later)

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:57 pm on August 12, 2015 892 days ago

      improved the remaining 5 lots to $125 C @ 40c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 4:19 pm on August 25, 2015 879 days ago

      improved 7 lots to $122 C @ 23c

      • Nicu

        Nicu 4:30 pm on August 25, 2015 879 days ago

        improved the remaining 8 lots @ 20c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 6:05 pm on September 3, 2015 870 days ago

      improved all to $120 C @ 16c

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:35 pm on September 10, 2015 863 days ago

      improved all to $118 C @ 16c – maybe not the smartest move here, but $6 move in 7 trading days is not so unthinkable

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:47 pm on September 25, 2015 848 days ago

      obviously all expired worthless – this is a loss of about $19k


    Nicu 7:10 pm on July 14, 2015 - 921 days ago


    in 1 lot of Jan 2017 $140 C @ $10.45

    • Nicu

      Nicu 9:42 pm on August 3, 2015 901 days ago

      + 1 lot @ $8.25

      • Nicu

        Nicu 2:59 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

        improved all $140 C to $135 C @ $1.2

    • Nicu

      Nicu 2:16 pm on August 4, 2015 900 days ago

      in 1 lot Jan ’17 $135 C @ $8.1

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:00 pm on August 12, 2015 892 days ago

      + 2 lots of $130 C @ $8.8

      • Nicu

        Nicu 4:31 pm on August 21, 2015 883 days ago

        + 1 lot of $130 C @ $8

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:45 pm on October 7, 2015 836 days ago

      improved all $135 C to $130 C @ $1.25

    • Nicu

      Nicu 1:33 pm on October 8, 2015 835 days ago

      +1 lot of $125 C @ $9 – maybe just to do an improvement in 2 steps, will see


    Nicu 5:56 pm on July 9, 2015 - 926 days ago


    sold short 1 lot of Jul 31 $120 P @ $3.05 – have cash to back it up and not sorry to buy @ $118 / share

    • Nicu

      Nicu 3:37 pm on July 13, 2015 922 days ago

      just bought all back @ $1.50

      • conshmillo

        conshmillo 4:32 pm on July 15, 2015 920 days ago

        Nice trade

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