Tag Archives: Tesla Motors

Video of the First Tesla Model 3, Serial #1

The first Tesla Model 3 has officially been delivered. Here you can see Doug Field, Sr. VP of Engineering, former VP of Product Design for Apple, carefully positioning the Tesla for photographers. The first car off the factory floor is likely to belong to the founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk.

Already Tesla enthusiasts are analyzing the 3:33 minute video. They pointed out that the roof looks to be glass and the driver side door has a nice weighty sound to it. Even the phone conversations of the people around the car are being analyzed.

The most important thing is that Tesla has finally begun its affordable mass-production electric car campaign, and people are very excited about the prospect of a realistic alternative to fossil fuel in the near future.

Tesla Model 3

A Conservative Foundation, Citizens for the Republic, Still Has a Website Dedicated to Slandering Elon Musk


Have you heard of Citizens for the Republic (CFTR for short)?  They are one of these conservative “political action committees” that are largely funded and established by southern fossil fuel companies and their employees.  There are many organizations, think tanks, and SuperPACs like them, and they generally have the same agenda: To fabricate skewed industry friendly studies to create a perceived argument against peer reviewed climate and health science, then support a candidate that peddles their bias views, and implants useful conservative politicians  and administrators in office.

For example, just follow the money that supported Scott Pruitt, who somehow is the lead administrator in the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency the 17th Attorney General of Oklahoma swore to dismantle.

As you can see in this diagram, courtesy of Desmogblog, there has been a close relationship for quite some time between Scott Pruitt, and fossil fuel interests through these conservative foundations, including foundations backed by the billionaire Koch brothers.  The affiliation was highlighted in more than 7500 emails and other records released by the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. In fact, Scott Pruitt was found to be simply copy and pasting letters made by Devon Energy to object to recently proposed federal regulations on fracking. How embarrassing.

These fossil fuel backed conservative leaning organizations that tend to utilize Republican politicians are pretty easy to identify. With some cursory research into who founded and donates to these operations through the years, we can find out who really fuels their agendas. Most of them have some abstract Americanism in their name of tagline like “freedom, liberty, our rights, our family, our individuality in order to garner de facto patriotism and thus public support for their purposes, which are almost always to diminish anything against fossil fuel industry interests.

Anyway, the primary campaign of Citizens for the Republic is no exception in plastering these stock patriotic foundational beliefs on their website, but the first thing you see in their featured story gallery is a Tesla Model S on top of a pile of money and a url: stopelonfrommfailingagain.com.

I’m not sure what they are implying with the url, stopelonfromfailingagain.com. With Tesla’s market capitalization now greater than those of Ford and General Motors, you would think Elon Musk would be recognized as a pretty successful businessman.

When you follow the link to the site, you find a really transparent attempt to sully, slander, and defame one of the brightest technological innovators of the 21st century. And the thing is, who doesn’t like Elon Musk, except maybe his ex wives? He literally represents everything the American dream should represent, an immigrant who developed a billion dollar website to help people spend their money online in Paypal, a billionaire that uses all of his resources to help the world travel more efficiently, safely, and cleanly, and then trying to colonize Mars on top of all that other stuff. Why would an American established and funded institution be out to prove to the world that he’s not great unless they have an obvious vested interest in his downfall.

As you scroll down you see bold all caps headlines like YES, ELON MUSK IS ACTUALLY REALLY BORING, ELON MUSK THINKS WE’RE ALREADY CYBORGS, ELON MUSK PUSHED FOR A CARBON TAX AT MEETING WITH TRUMP, SPACEX LOST A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS AFTER ONE OF ITS ROCKETS BLEW UP, and of course let’s not forget ELON MUSK’S GRAND AMBITION IS BORING. It makes you wonder who are the people fervently reading these, and praying on this gentleman’s downfall.

You might ask, why would  a national organization “dedicated to revitalizing the conservative movement through education, grassroots organization, advocacy and political activism” be so dead set on posting unflattering pictures, attempting immature potshots, disparaging him for his companies slightest misfortunes, and calling his marketing strategies “shitty”? Well, all you need to do is some cursory research to find someone who found somebody reputable who’s job it is to track where money is coming from.  In this case, Desmogblog sources the Center for Responsive Politics

The Center for Responsive Politics found that two of the major funders of Citizens for the Republic—the Wellspring Committee and the Annual Fund—which together donated nearly $1 million to CFTR between 2010 and 2011, are part of the powerful Koch network. Wellspring in particular was described as a “dark money conduit” by the Koch brothers. [24], [25]

Citizens for the Republic Funding (Source):

Donor & Year Total
Annual Fund $475,000
2011 $475,000
Jerry Perenchio $27,475
1981 $2,500
1982 $5,000
1983 $5,000
1984 $5,000
1985 $4,975
1989 $5,000
Wellspring Committee $360,000
2010 $360,000
Grand Total $862,475

 

Further, DailyBeast reported Wellspring was actually founded in 2008 by Charles and David Koch.

There you have it, plain and simple:  Koch>Wellspring Committee/Annual Fund>Citizens for the Republic>Stop Elon Musk. I don’t like to get into politics, but it seems fairly obvious which side is simply a surrogate organism for established fossil fuels.  I can’t really be mad at the Koch brothers for protecting their industry and profits, but politicians are acting against the interests of their constituents. If anti-innovation, anti-environment, pro trickle down policies where economically sound, peer reviewed, and had an understandably foreseeable benefit to the American public, I might support them. But as I see it, simply forcing outdated policies and bashing innovators that will shape the economic fortunes of this country in the 21st century, because the people that gave you money told you to do so, is low class, malicious, and a little bit treasonous.

Official Tesla Model 3 Announcement Video

Tesla plans to begin making deliveries of the Tesla Model 3 by late 2017. The Model 3 combines real world range, performance, safety and spaciousness into a premium sedan. This will be Tesla’s most affordable car yet. The Model 3 achieves 215 miles of range per charge while starting at only $35,000 before incentives and regional electric vehicle tax deductions. Model 3 is designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category. The Model 3 will also include automated drive technology, standard. By now, over 400,000 people have payed the $1,000 reservation fee. There is obviously strong demand for this stylish plug-in, fully electric vehicle from a brand known for bringing cutting edge technology to drivers demanding more from automakers. This may be Elon Musk’s most ground breaking model, an entry into the middle class consumer car market.  Let’s hope Tesla can supply the demand.

From Tesla Motors:
Model 3 is the next logical step of Tesla’s “secret master plan” and mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Like every Tesla, Model 3 is engineered to combine range, performance, safety and utility. Smart design maximizes interior space, to comfortably fit 5 adults and all of their gear. Tesla makes fast cars, Model 3 is no exception. The high efficiency electric motor provides zero to 60 mph acceleration in less than six seconds. And when equipped with electric all-wheel drive, Model 3 provides safe and dependable traction in all conditions.

Designed with safety as a priority, Model 3 should be the safest car in its class once testing completes. This, combined with over 200 miles of range while starting at $35,000 before incentives, makes Model 3 an extraordinary mid-size sedan.

Model 3 will begin production in late 2017, ramping Tesla vehicle production to 500,000 vehicles per year.

Tesla Adds “Cabin Overheat Protection” in Software Update

Tesla has added another innovative smart feature to it’s on board software.  The new function is called Cabin Overheat Protection” and will protect children, dogs, cats, and other macroscopic organisms you happen to serendipitously leave in your Tesla while you are on your daily frappachino run.

Other updates in the newest software include a new user interface and improved autopilot.  What will they think of next at Tesla?

Tesla’s Fast Charging Stations: Game Changer or Fast Path to Bankruptcy?


Earlier this year, Elon Musk announced his plan to build solar powered, fast charging stations across America, available to Tesla Model S owners to use for free. A lot of my colleagues were very excited about this prospective announcement. To me, it seems downright impossible: high fixed capital costs, and no revenue from the stations.  Additionally, these charging stations aren’t even compatible with Tesla’s other model, the Roadster, and you can forget about cross manufacturer compatibility.  Solar panels are not just plug and play either, they require maintenance and cleaning if you want them to perform up to their specified manufacturer standards of efficiency.

Even if the solar panels operate at optimal efficiency, the fast chargers will draw more power than the solar panels can produce at one time, so unless Tesla has on-site electricity storage, the company will have to buy electricity at a higher rate than they can sell back to the grid.

Another challenge is the fact that utilities will often charge a hefty “demand charge” per month because of the high load these chargers can put on the grid, says Arindam Maitra, a senior project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. Fast charger owners will have to pay that fee even if no one uses the station. At least one DC fast-charging system charges $7 per charge, which is more expensive than buying gasoline for the equivalent range in a conventional car. –Technologyreview.com

Despite the economic pitfalls, Tesla charged on this year.  They built 6 charging stations in SoCal and have already begun their electric corridor in the northeast.  The station pictured at the top is in Milford, Conn.  Whether anyone has actually used it for its purpose remains to be seen.  These stations will charge between 4 to 6 cars and the initial capital investment ranges from $100,000 to $250,000 This could be a substantial financial liability for Tesla, which has already announced that it needs to raise more money to keep operating. When you think about the infinitesimal amount of people that actually own the Model S currently, and then they have to be driving on that specific route, the logic seems ridiculous.  Yet they are still building charging stations, and they need to sell a lot more cars for this plan to be remotely logical or we will get another Solyndra ordeal.  Project Better Place seems to be turning in a bad direction in the final quarter of 2012, asking for emergency funding from investors and laying off hundreds of employees.

Fast charging is a great idea in theory. You can drive a few hours, stop, have lunch or stretch your legs and browse a shop, then get back on the road. Existing rest stops and commercial centers will see the value in drawing electric vehicle owners to their area for 30 minutes. Drivers can plug their car in for free, and businesses can lure in generally higher income patrons that buy electric vehicles. There is a possible business model to building fast charging stations that provide free or cheap electricity. However, that is not Tesla’s business model. They hope to increase the value  a very expensive car by creating a free charging infrastructure for one specific model.

I just don’t think this type of widespread endeavor can possibly work, given that only one luxury model is compatible, and given that Tesla will not receive revenue to sustain the service.  Provide me one example of a capital intensive, widespread, exclusive, free service that has worked in America. But this is what Elon Musk does: he creates things before we appear to need it (PayPal, SpaceX). I would like to be proven wrong. So if Elon or anyone has a brilliant defense of the plan, please feel free to discuss in the comments

Sources:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/429348/teslas-fast-chargers-could-be-a-financial-liability/

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/21/tesla-begins-east-cost-fast-charging-corridor/

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/429283/will-fast-charging-make-electric-vehicles-practical/

http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1081336_teslas-supercharger-fast-chargers-spread-to-east-coast

http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1079383_tesla-supercharger-fast-charging-system-has-landed

Tesla Motors to use Panasonic Batteries

In a recent press release, Panasonic and Tesla Motors announced they will collaborate to develop the next generation of batteries for electric vehicles.  Panasonic is the world’s largest producer of Lithium-ion battery cells and Tesla is the only current manufacturer of a highway capable EV.

PRESS RELEASE

Tesla and Panasonic Collaborate to Develop Next-Generation Battery Cell Technology

SAN CARLOS, Calif. – (Business Wire) Tesla Motors and Panasonic today announced that they will collaborate to develop next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles.

Tesla, the only carmaker producing highway-capable electric vehicles, will use Panasonic’s battery cells in their newest battery packs. The cells are comprised of Nickel-based Lithium ion chemistry, the highest energy density battery cells in production today, preferred by Tesla for EV applications because of their high capacity, light weight, durability, and long life.

“Our collaboration with Panasonic will accelerate the development of next generation EV cells, enabling Tesla to further improve our battery pack performance,” said JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. “Combining Tesla’s rigorous cell testing and understanding of EV requirements with Panasonic’s cutting-edge battery technology will result in custom cells optimized for use in EVs.”

Panasonic is the world’s leading battery cell manufacturer and a diverse supplier to the global automotive industry.

“Being selected by Tesla to provide cells for their current and next- generation EV battery pack is a tremendous validation of Panasonic’s nickel-based chemistry and the extensive investments Panasonic continues to make in lithium ion R&D and production,” said Naoto Noguchi, President of Panasonic Energy Company.

Panasonic is one of the world’s largest producers of Lithium-ion battery cells. Furthermore, Panasonic is the global leader in lithium-ion cell technology, and is midway through a 3-year USD$1 billion investment in lithium-ion battery cell R&D and production facilities. The first of the new facilities in Suminoe, Japan will begin production in April 2010.

Tesla’s current battery strategy incorporates proprietary packaging using cells from multiple battery suppliers. This new cell will also be compatible with other cell form factors to enable the continuation of Tesla’s strategy of using cells from multiple suppliers. Tesla has already delivered more than 900 cars to customers in North America and Europe.

About Tesla

Tesla’s goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla sells cars online and has delivered nearly 900 Roadsters to customers in North America and Europe. In addition to South Florida, Tesla has showrooms in California’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Boulder, London Munich and Monaco.

The Tesla Roadster is faster than an Audi R8 yet is six times as efficient as conventional sports cars. With an EPA-estimated range of 244 miles per charge, it costs less than $5 to charge.