TESLA MOTORS EV STRATEGY
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California Tesla is the producer of the best-selling electric vehicle of 2015 and the biggest disrupter of the auto industry in the last century.The company only produces pure electric vehicles supported by its proprietary fast charging technology and infrastructure network. The company focussed on the biggest challenge to unlock the electric vehicle segment, range. The success of the company caught all its competitors off-guard. The effect Tesla has on the auto sector will be felt many years from now as more IT companies enter the sanctuary of the old guard. The company is just as much a battery manufacturer and IT company as it is an auto manufacturer. The Company does not use a dealer-based distribution model but owns and operates its network of showrooms.
The company targeted an annual battery capacity improvement of 5% and increased production of 500,000 per year by 2020. The Tesla business plan includes autonomous driving, in-car sales based on the in-app purchase model of smartphone sector and disrupting other transport and mobility segments.
TESLA EV MODELS
TESLA EV SALES
THE TESLA ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY IN THE NEWS
2018 Week 14 - Tesla, the good and bad of the week
Tesla remains in the news this week following last weeks fatal autopilot crash which saw its share price traded as low as $245. A new video emerged this week implicating that the Tesla Model X mistook the right-hand marker of the off-ramp as the left-hand lane marker, crashing into the concrete barrier separating the off-ramp from the highway. Trading conditions for Tesla further worsened as the Chinese Government added electric vehicles to the list of tariffs to be increased in the escalating trade war started by Trump, which saw the Nasdaq opening sharply lower at the start of the week. The stock-market, however, shrugged off the bad news and the stock recovered to trade as high as $305 closing at $299. The market took its cue from Model 3 registrations which it now expects to reach 5,000 units per week by the July 2018. Tesla registered nearly 8,000 Model 3 VINs this week, 4,793 on Thursday the 5th of April and 2,915 on the 6th. Elon Musk also answered a tweet saying that the hi-performance dual-motor Model 3 will be launched once production ramps up to 5,000 models which he sees in July 2018. Tesla has already registered 16 Model 3s with dual-motors sofar.
2018 Week 13 - Tesla involved in second self-driving fatality in just over a week.
After the blowback experienced by the autonomous vehicle sector last week following the fatal crash caused by Uber’s self-driving program, the sector experienced another torrid week. This week Tesla confirmed that its autopilot system was active during a fatal crash in Mountain View California, sending the share price lower. (In fairness, the news came after investor jitters caused by the company’s cash position created a sell-off). Though not enough information is available yet to blame technology instead of human error the timing was unfortunate.
The Uber crash is still causing a ripple in the sector as Nvidia temporary halted its self-driving program in Japan, the USA, and Germany. Geely owner, Li Shufu, also cautioned against the speed at which companies try and bring the technology to market. Li Shufu said at a Volvo event in Beijing, “One accident can kill the whole industry… So we must move with caution.”
2017 Week 48 - Tesla hurts Porsche
The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off this week with an onslaught by German brands BMW, Daimler and VW showing off their current and future EVs. German automakers are under huge pressure to catch up to Tesla, with Porsche admitting this week that it is losing clients to the US-based leader in the EV market. BMW brought the BMW iVision, Concept X7 iPerformance, 2019 BMW i8 Roadster (in the cover picture), BMW i3S, and Mini Electric Concept to the LA Show.
2017 Week 48 - Germany removes Tesla from Subsidy list
On the flip side of the coin, Germany has removed tesla from its list of vehicles qualifying for EV subsidies. The reasoning by the German Government that the Tesla Model S and X are too expensive as customers are not able to order the base version with extra features pushing the car above the €60k threshold. In the USA the future of the $7.5k federal tax credit for EVs is still uncertain with amendments to the tax bill still putting the incentive at risk despite earlier changes removing the outright scrapping of it.
2017 Week 48 - UBS auto survey predicts Tesla dominance
A UBS auto survey this week predicts that 16% of vehicles on the road in 2025 to be EVs. The forecast is up 2% from the previous estimated with 16.5 million of all cars sold in the middle of the next decade being electric. The report expects Europe to lead the adoption of EVs, where it is expected that EVs would constitute 30% of the total market. The UBS survey puts Tesla at the front of the race with BMW the biggest loser. In fact, most brands lost ground in the latest survey. The position on BMW confirms wattEV2buy’s analysis earlier the year of the German auto manufacturers EV strategy.
2017 Week 46 - Toyota Chairman says Tesla is not its competitor
Toyota’s Chairman interviewed by German publication, Der Spiegel, this week. Mr. Takeshi Uchiyamada was quoted saying “Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive, and it takes a long time to charge them, such cars do not fit in our program.” He went further saying “Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model, I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”
2017 Week 46 - Tesla Semi launch surprises
The much-anticipated launch of the Tesla Semi did not fail to impress and exceeded most expectations, it even helped Tesla’s share price jump $10, which looked more than a selling opportunity in hindsight. Elon Musk unveiled the truck with the acronym of BAMF (Bad Ass *&)%$#*) due to its insane performance when compared to conventional trucks. The market view prior to the launch was that the Tesla Semi would be able to reach a range of 300 miles on a charge, which is far short of the 500 miles announced by Elon Musk on the 16th of November. See the full specs and pictures here. Pre-orders was set at $5,000 with Walmart already announcing that it booked 15 Tesla Semi trucks.
Spicing up the launch was the new Tesla Roadster delivered from the trailer of the Tesla Semi on stage. The new Roadster is the fastest production car yet on paper with an acceleration to 60mph in just 1.9 seconds. The Roadster has a range of 620 miles from its 200kWh battery. See the full specs and pictures here.
Both the Tesla Semi and Roadster will be available from 2019.
2017 Week 44 - Tesla Shareholder Woes
Tesla’s (TSLA) share price has been following a steady downward trend since the launch of the Model 3, but a double whammy of bad news accelerated selling this week. Tesla stock is down 16% since the 16th of October as news of the company’s failure to meet delivery targets for the Tesla Model 3 became a daily news feature with only 220 vehicles delivered at the end of September of 1,500 targeted. The company’s Q3 results released this week showed that despite record revenues on a sales growth of nearly 5% the company posted a wider than expected loss of $619.4 million, burning over $1.4Bln in cash. News that Trump’s tax plan included an immediate scrapping of the $7,500 Federal Tax subsidy triggered a sudden sell-off resulting in a drop of $20 to trade below the $300 level support we identified earlier the year. The $280 to $300 range is a key support area for the breakout we saw in April, should it not hold we can easily see TSLA to trade below $250, potentially even $200. A key long-term resistance now is $350 with $320 expected to be the top for the next couple of weeks. Tesla also changed the guidance on Model 3 deliveries and its target of 5,000 units per week have been pushed back by a quarter to Q1 2018.
Tesla sales for October in the USA also failed to impress with the company not reaching a Top 3 spot in part due to increasingChevrolet Bolt sales. The accelerated sales of the Bolt can see GM dethroning the Tesla Model S as the top-selling EV for 2017. To date 20K Tesla Model S vehicles have been sold and 17k Chevrolet Bolt’s of GM’s 30,000 annual production capacity.
On a more positive note the company this week seemed to stick to the third unveil date the company set for the unveiling of the Tesla Semi truck after pushing back the event twice in the last two months to focus on the Model 3 bottlenecks. Tesla this week sent out an invitation to the official event to be held in Hawthorne California on the 16th of November at 7 pm.
2017 Week 42 - Norway proposes "Tesla" tax
With nearly 60% of all vehicle sales in September being EVs Norway represents the first market where electric vehicles are the norm. The result of EVs being the norm brings other factors than just zero emissions in play such as the impact of vehicles on congestion and damage to road infrastructure. The Financial Times this week reported on a proposal by the governing party in Norway to tax EVs over 2 tonnes for their impact on the road infrastructure. With EVs being a big proportion of vehicles on the road benefits such as allowing EVs on bus lanes are becoming counterproductive.
Generous Norwegian EV subsidies which can save you close to $60K (NKr 450K) on a Tesla Model X P100D will be rolled back between $4.5K and $10.5K (NKr 36K – NKr82.8K) should the proposal pass. The tax would have the biggest impact on Tesla which makes up most of the sales of vehicles above the proposed 2-tonne threshold. Fierce opposition by other political parties might make it difficult for the proposal to pass through the legislator.
Norway is not the first to propose taxes on EVs for their impact on the transport system. In April this year California, another pro EV territory, proposed a $100 registration charge and an annual tax based on the value of the EV from 2020 to compensate for the impact on the transport system.
2017 Week 41 - Tesla Semi unveil delayed again
The much-anticipated reveal of Tesla‘s Semi truck this month has been pushed back to November 16 as the company refocusses on clearing bottlenecks in the Model 3 production. This is the second delay of the Semi which was supposed to be unveiled in September. According to a tweet by Elon, there are no issues with the Semi itself causing the delay. Although Elon is known for missing ambitious deadlines, he is forgiven as the result never disappoints.
As we wait for Tesla to finally unveil its electric truck other automakers this week also announced their intentions to bring alternative fuelled trucks to the market by 2020. In a press release, Toyota announced that it is starting testing its hydrogen fuel cell truck in Tesla’s backyard. The FCEV truck, known as “Project Portal” will be undergoing testing between the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach terminals and the surrounding rail yards and warehouses. The class 8 load truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 lb.ft of torque from a relatively small 12kWh battery and two Mirai fuel cell stacks. The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is 80,000 lbs., and its estimated driving range is more than 200 miles per fill, which would be the daily test distance at the LA Port.
Volkswagen also announced this week that it would invest €1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) in its truck and bus unit. The funding will go towards electric drive-trains, self-driving tech, and cloud-based systems. VW and its subsidiary, truck maker Navistar, aims to launch a medium-duty electric truck in the USA as early as 2019.
2017 Week 34 - Tesla to unveil Semi Truck in September
As we enter September in the coming week we look forward to the release/unveiling of the following Evs:
- September 6, the worldwide launch of the new version of the worlds top selling EV, the Nissan Leaf, which is already dubbed in chat rooms as the ‘300-mile Leaf‘ based on rumors about its range.
- September 14, Frankfurt Auto Show, will see the unveiling of the 2018 BMW i3S Performance and 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.
- September will also see the unveiling of the ~200-mile Tesla Semi truck.
2017 Week 27 - Tesla Model 3 SN1 of the production line
Tesla‘s Elon Musk announced last Sunday that production of the Tesla Model 3 would commence on Friday the 7th of July, two weeks ahead of schedule. Late Saturday evening Elon posted a tweet showing two pictures of the historic vehicle with serial number one that came off the production line. According to Elon Musk, the rule at Tesla is that the first person to pay the full price will get the first Tesla Model 3 SN1. He responded to a tweet that he has the first Roadster and Model X but not the first Model S. The average sales price for a Tesla Model 3 is estimated to be around $50,000 before incentives.
2017 Week 25 - Tesla expands footprint in Asia
Tesla is aggressively targeting Asia for expansion. Last week we reported on Elon Musk’s tweet about the US company’s efforts to enter the Indian market. Musk in his TED interview in May eluded to Tesla pursuing the signing of up to five Giga factories by year-end. Rumors that Tesla will establish a factory with the Shanghai Municipality was quashed byAutomation Instrumentation company, Shanghai Lingang Holdings Ltd. The company denied any contact with Tesla related to a China-based factory as the news created a spike in the Chinese company’s share price. Tesla in the meantime responded with the following press statement:
“in order to better serve the China market, Tesla is exploring the possibility of establishing a Chinese manufacturing plant with the Shanghai municipal government. Based on the previous communication, by the end of this year, the localization plan will be more clear. Tesla has been committed to cultivating China market. At the same time, in order to better serve the market all over the world, we are constantly assessing the potential factory location in the global area. Although we expect that most of the production will be completed in the United States, we need to set up factories overseas to ensure more local consumers can afford our products.”
Tesla is looking to establish local production in world’s largest market for electric vehicles to escape the 25% import duty on its models. Tesla also this week began delivering the Model S 90D in South Korea announced the launch of the Model X in Indonesia.
Other Tesla headlines this week saw the announcement of the start of the production of the Model 3 battery cells and the resignation of its Autopilot Head, Chris Lattner. Chris Lattner joined the company barely six months ago. Both Chris and the Tesla cited that he did not fit the company’s culture.
2017 Week 25 - Chinese automakers guns for Tesla
SAIC, the state-owned top four Chinese auto manufacturer and CATL, top lithium battery manufacturer, this week established two joint venture companies in a bid to challenge Tesla’s dominance in the EV and Battery sectors. CATL and SAIC will play to their strengths in the separate JVs with CATL focusing on battery technology and SAIC on drivetrain development.
In a similar vein, BYD, the top-selling EV manufacturer in China for two years running has spun its battery division into a separate entity allowing it sell batteries to other Chinese and international auto manufacturers.
2017 Week 24 - Tesla talks to enter India progressing
Tesla, now the 4th largest automaker in the world by market cap, has been in talks with the Indian Government to establish production facilities in the Asian country. Tesla CEO Elon Musk provided further incites in the company’s plans for entering the potential growth market by tweeting “In discussions with the government of India requesting temporary relief from import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built.”
Tesla shares this week reached our target of $380 as per my forecast in Week 20, I hope you took advantage of the opportunity.
2017 Week 22 - Russian Oil denounces EVs and Tesla
As the electric vehicle sales in neighboring Norway climbed 30% year-on-year for the month of May the CEO of Russias largest oil company, Rosneft PJSC, Igor Sechin denounced EVs as overrated. Mr. Sechin was quoted by Bloomberg during a speech at the St.Petersburg International Economic Forum saying Tesla is overvalued and EVs are “not as popular as had been expected” in Europe’s biggest economies. Mr. Sechin went further saying “The market’s assessment of the prospects of electric car producers, in our view, is significantly overestimated,” and that “Until the electric transport industry becomes as user-friendly and attractive for consumers as the cars with internal combustion engines, the prospects for electric vehicles remain largely uncertain.” Rosneft that had 2015 revenues of nearly $100 billion market value was clipped by that of Tesla at the end of May 2017. Tesla shares were up nearly 60% for the year while Rosneft was down 20%.
2017 Week 22 - Toyota confirms it sold its historical Tesla stake
Toyota confirmed this weekend that it divested from Tesla as it exited the co-operating agreement the companies had on electric vehicle technology. Toyota acquired 3.15% in Tesla in 2010 for $40.5 million, a stake which would have been worth $1.75 billion at Friday’s close. According to the Japan Times Toyota announced that the sale of the stake, which happened in trances between October 2014 and the end of 2016, is “a part of a regular review of business alliances.” The partnership resulted in the development of an electric Toyota RAV 4, which was abandoned as the company changed course away from EVs to hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
2017 Week 20 - Where to next for Tesla’s share price after Morgan Stanley downgrade? Best Forecast
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also referred to the high share price in a telephonic interview this week with the Guardian where he was quoted saying “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve”. Before hitting the sell button it is important however to read Elon’s statement in the correct context, that investors price the share based on expectations not on past performance. The statement was made in a similar vein as a tweet by him in April on the topic where he responded “Tesla is absurdly overvalued if based on the past, but that’s irrelevant. A stock price represents risk-adjusted future cash flows.”
Technically I still hold out that there is more in the share price and that the count in the breakout formation at $290 in April can see the price go as high as $400, but at least $380 with a stop loss at $285. Should the stock fall through $285 look for buying opportunities again in the lower $200’s. Fundamentally, however, it all boils down to Tesla’s ability to surprise the market on Model 3 deliveries, which everyone and its dog seems to doubt. Watching the recent Ted interview of Elon Musk and listening to the Skype interview of Tom Mueller, Chief Propulsion Technology Officer at SpaceX, with a group of astronomists at the New York University Astronomy Society my money is on Tesla surprising the market on the upside, barring no technical issues arise in the new plant. Read extracts from Tom Mueller interview below and decide for yourself.
And now we have the lowest-cost, most reliable engines in the world. And it was basically because of that decision, to go to do that. So that’s one of the examples of Elon just really pushing— he always says we need to push to the limits of physics. Like, an example I’ll give is, on the car factory; you know, a car moves through a typical factory, like a Toyota or a Chevy factory; a car is moving at you know, inches per second. It’s like, much less than walking speed. And his thoughts are that the machinery, the robots that are building the car should move as fast as they can. They shouldn’t be moving so fast you can’t see them. That’s why you can’t have people in there, because they’d get crushed; people move too slow. That’s the way he thinks. “So, what are the physical limits of how fast you can make a car?” He looks at videos of like, coke cans being made, and things like that, where you can’t even see them; it’s just a blur. And, you know, the puck of aluminum, cut it up, deep-draw, fill it with coke, you put the lid on, you put the lid on it; it’s just like going down the assembly line so fast you can’t even see it. And Elon wants to do that with cars.
That’s just the way he thinks. Nobody else thinks that way. And that’s why he’s going to kill the industry; cars also. Because it’s just going to make these cars— basically, you can make, you know, ten times as many cars in the same size factory if you do it that way. And that’s, you know, the major cost of the car is not the material in the car; it’s the factory that builds the car. So that’s the way he thinks. He looks at it from first principles, like “Why does a car cost so much to make?” Well, you’ve got this gigantic piece of real estate, and all these employees in this gigantic building; and you can only make so many cars in this building. You need to make more cars in the same building with the same number of people. And that’s what they’re working on at Tesla.
2017 Week 18 - Tesla’s shares retreats after hitting our target
We picked up in the fine print of the release that Tesla will add a 100 retail, delivery and service locations during 2017 globally, representing a 30% increase. The company will also add 100 Tesla Ranger mobile repair trucks during the second quarter. The production of 5,000 Model 3s per week is still on track to commence in July.
2017 Week 17 - Tesla shareholder to unveil its own electric vehicle
2017 Week 16 - Tesla recall a buying opportunity
Tesla’s announcement that it would unveil its Semi-truck in September had analyst very excited, speculating that it would add billions to the companies bottom line and disrupt the sector. The company is expected to lease the batteries at $0.25 per mile saving trucking companies the $0.50 fuel charge.
2017 Week 14 - NAVIGANT RESEARCH DISCOUNTS WAYMO AND TESLA AUTONOMOUS EFFORTS
Navigant’s criteria are based on the following ten factors; vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, production strategy, technology, sales, marketing, and distribution, product capability, product quality and reliability, product portfolio and staying power. The Top Ten on Navigant’s list are Ford, GM, Renault–Nissan Alliance, Daimler, Volkswagen Group, BMW, Waymo, Volvo/Autoliv/Zenuity, Delphi and Hyundai Motor Group.
Despite Tesla aiming to have a market ready Level 5 autonomous product by the end of the year, it is only listed as a contender. Tesla is criticized by some, for being too aggressive, using its customers as guinea pigs for its AutoPilot software. Not surprising though is that Uber features on the bottom end of the list, the controversial ride-hailing company has been in the news lately for losing its right to test in San Francisco, being sued by Waymo and a crash in Tempe, Arizona, temporarily halting its pilot program.
2017 Week 13 - Tesla confirms Tencent acquired 5% in the company.
Tencent mentioned is owned by the world’s 46th richest person, Ma Huateng of China, also known as Pony Ma. Tencent, which applications include the popular WeChat app, similar to WhatsApp, aims to leverage its tech experience in a world where connectivity and the Internet of Vehicles will drive the auto industry. The development of electric vehicle technology provides a perfect platform for tech and vehicles to meet. To this end, Tencent created a company Future Mobility and targeted an autonomous vehicle by 2020. Tencent is also a shareholder in NextEV. NextEV’s NIO brand unveiled its autonomous vision a couple of weeks back at an event in Austin Texas.
Interestingly enough, the result is that a South African company, Naspers, is now an indirect shareholder in Tesla, a company founded by native South African, Elon Musk. Naspers currently holds around a 34% shareholding in Tencent; the company made its investment in Tencent when it was a little-known start-up in 2001. At the time Naspers invested $34m for 46.5% in Tencent.
2017 Week 11 - Tesla raises capital while retiring the P60
Tesla retires its Model S P60 while the company raises $1.4billion to fund the manufacturing of the Model 3. Tesla announced this week that it would retire the 60kWh battery and upgrade all existing orders to the 75kWh model. Filings with the SEC showed the capital raising for the Tesla Model 3 was done through a stock sale for $350 million at a price of $262 per share. The balance of $850 million was raised through the issue of convertible notes.
2017 Week 11 - Tesla's old partner Mobileye sold for a stagering $15.3 Bln
Intel acquired the Israeli autopilot company, Mobileye for an incredible $15.3 billion. Mobileye partnered with Tesla on its first generation Autopilot but had a very public fallout round about the time of the first fatal crash in a Tesla Model S using Autopilot. At the time the CEO of Mobileye criticized Elon Musk for being too aggressive with the implementation of autonomous systems.
2017 Week 9 - Tesla gets approval to sell in Wyoming
Some policy gains were made this week in support for electric vehicles in the ongoing tussle targeting regulations for and against the technology. New York will from the 1st of April 2017 provide a $2,000 incentive to buyers of electric vehicles. In Wyoming, despite efforts by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers backed by Ford and GM to block Tesla from opening its direct sales business, the State Legislature this week approved a bill allowing Tesla to open its showrooms and sell vehicle’s without the use a middleman.
2017 Week 9 - USA February EV sales, Tesla in 2nd position
February Electric Vehicle sales data released for the USA this week reveals some interesting talking points. Overall, February sales gained a further 13.4% in January 2017 and over 55% on year on year basis. Contributors to the increase came from a nearly doubling in sales of the Tesla Model S and continued demand for the new Toyota Prius Plus. Unfortunately, the Prius in our books hardly counts as an electric vehicle due to its underwhelming continued reliance on its combustion engine. Disappointingly, sales for the Chevrolet Bolt declined over 18% from January, bringing total sales for the four months to 3,272 units, far short if one takes that at a claimed 30,000 units per annum the Bolt should have sold 10,000 units during the four months. In the carmaker standings, GM retained its lead with 2,776 units over Tesla’s 2,550 units with Ford taking third place with 1,704 units.
2017 Week 7 - Tesla Sees Commercial Level 4 Automation by end of the year
2017 Week 5 - Public opinion misguided by Trumps inclusion of Elon Musk on his advisory council
2017 Week 5 - Scotland Yard to build a green fleet of police cars.
To support the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s efforts to combat air pollution in the city the London Metropolitan Police Service, also know as Scotland Yard launched a new green fleet of over 250 new energy vehicles by the end of the year. Tesla and other automakers have been approached to trail their new energy vehicles for front-line operations as part of the first phase, which would eventually see the overhaul of Scotland Yards fleet of 4000 vehicles.
2017 Week 3 - Tesla's battery pack behind the first electric car to complete Dakar endurance rally
An electric vehicle finished the grueling Dakar Rally in South America for the first time this week. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car finished the 5,600 miles after the third attempt at the title. The team sponsored by Acciona, a Spanish Renewable Developer, has spent five years fine-tuning the vehicle which includes a 100-watt solar panel and Tesla battery pack. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered has a 200 km (125 miles) range in race conditions powering a 250kW electric motor providing 800nm of torque. The vehicle achieves a top speed of 150km/h (94mph).
2017 Week 3 - Tesla's efforts lauded for accelrating EV technology
A report just released by the Californian Air Resouces Board indicated that advancement in electric vehicle technology is happening at a much faster pace than anticipated five years back. The report highlights the efforts by Tesla and Chevrolet to bring affordable and long-range vehicles to the market. The report found expanding charging networks, advancements in battery performance, decreasing cell costs, and the number of models available to the consumer as factors for the improved results. On the other hand, the Board states that not all automakers attack the challenges with the same vigor, with Honda and Fiat Chrysler named as company’s that just do the bare minimum to comply with regulations. We predict this will reflect in the various companies share prices five years from now when the next report takes the pulse of the sector.
2017 Week 3 - Panasonic and Tesla expand co-operation
Panasonic announced it’s intention to extend it’s already significant partnership with Tesla beyond just batteries, and in particular to autonomous technology such as sensors. The Japanese technology company’s strategy had changed markedly towards the auto sector after it’s initial partnership with the Tesla in the early 2000’s when the automaker was just a start-up.
2017 Week 2 - Tesla bags two executives from Apple
Tesla bags two senior executives from Apple. The world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer this month acquired Chris Lattner, responsible for Apple’s Swift application software head, and Matt Casebolt, senior director of Design for Apple’s Mac range and listed on over 50 Apple patents. Matt is filling the position of Senior Director Engineering, Closures and Mechanisms at Tesla, while Chris’s experience in leading an over 200 strong engineering team would stand him in good stead as Vice President of Autopilot Software.
2017 Week 2 - Tesla excluded from governments Automation Committee overseeing self-driving cars
The USA Department of Transportation this week announced the formation of an Automation Committee to oversee its self-driving policy, with Tesla, a clear leader in the sector not on it. Self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles are not necessarily mutually inclusive as the technology could be applied to all drivetrains. However, the appointment of GM CEO Mary Barra as Co-Chair of the committee could be a clear indication of which tail is wagging the dog. GM recently opposed the new EPA emission requirements of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Follow the link for the complete list.
2016 Week 52 - Missouri cancels Tesla's dealership license
In another attack on Tesla by the old guard, as the State of Missouri rejected its dealership license renewal. The reason being a ruling by Circuit Judge Green in a case brought against the Missouri revenue department by the Missouri Auto Dealers Association for allowing the license in 2015. Tesla prefers to use a direct sales model due to the notorious inability of traditional dealers to sell electric vehicles. Tesla will be forced to close shop in the State come January the 1st 2017.
2016 Week 51 - Tesla tops Consumer report survey
Tesla voted the consumers darling in the Consumer Reports Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey with 91% Tesla owners responded with a “Definitely yes” when asked if they will buy the brand again. Second with only 84% was Porsche. The bottom quartile included brands such as Jeep, Nissan, Fiat, and Volkswagen, which dropped eight places. The survey included over 300,000 vehicles. Can the States who is refusing Tesla’s direct selling model, naysayers, and auto dealers refusing to get behind electric vehicles please respond to this? For the complete list follow the link.
2016 Week 51 - China Considers opening electric vehicle manufacturing to foreigners
In a bid to fast-track its electric vehicle strategy in an effort to curb pollution, the Chinese Government has called for comments on a proposal to invite foreign automakers to manufacture in the country. Current laws are designed to protect local manufacturers by forcing foreign companies to partner with the local automakers. The Chinese Government now propose to relax these conditions for new energy vehicles, providing the likes of Tesla an opportunity to produce locally and protecting their technology by not having to share it with a local partner.
2016 Week 44 - Easter Egg surprise to unlock full P100D performance
2016 Week 42 - CNBC news report on Model 3 sends Tesla shares tumbling
The Tesla Model 3 made the news this week, first through a badly reported CNBC newsflash sending Tesla’s stock down over 2% in a matter of seconds. CNBC misreported an announcement on Tesla’s website, which indicated that if you decide to place an order for Model 3 now that you would only receive a vehicle late 2018, as the company fulfills its pre-orders starting late 2017. The CNBC report stated that Tesla moved the Model 3 launch date to late 2018. In other news, Elon Musk shined more light on the Model 3 during a special briefing on the 19th. Mr. Musk unveiled the companies new Autopilot 2.0 for the Model 3, Model S and Model X. The new suite provides Level 5 Autonomy which includes 360 degrees coverage.
2016 Week 39 - Paris Auto Show
For the first time at an international auto show, electric vehicles took center stage at the Paris Auto Show this week, overshadowing new reports of Tesla autopilot crashes, refuted by the company. The prominence of electric vehicles at the show confirms the shift towards the segment. Most of the front runners in the segment were presented there and used the opportunity to unveil new models, such as the Opel Ampera-e, which is the Chevrolet Bolt badged for the European market. VW unveiled its ID concept vehicle and Renault the Trezor.
2016 Week 38 - Tesla Model S Hacked
A Chinese company, Keen Security Labs, this week announced that they were able to remotely hack a Tesla Model S. The ability to hack and control a connected car creates the concern that vehicles could be controlled into oncoming traffic or other malicious acts. Keen Security is owned by Tencent, the Chinese social media, and tech giant who is also invested in electric vehicle ventures such as NextEV and Future Mobility. The “hackers” informed Tesla of the weakness and a patch has already been updated to all models. Other Tesla news this week follows up on our prior reports of the company’s ongoing spat with Michigan state to acquire a dealership license. Tesla this week filed papers to sue the State, including the Governor to allow it a license for direct selling off its vehicles.
2016 Week 37 - Autopilot v8.0 and Mobileye
In his first Tesla news conference and Q&A in many months, Elon Musk announced a whole host of upgrades to its Autopilot software. The new upgrade, Tesla v8.0, benefits from improvements in its supplier Bosch’s radar technology which would aid the front camera in identifying obstacles, such as the truck that caused the fatal crash in May this year. The debate about how the market leader rolls out its autonomous driving technology is not going away, with the war of words between the company and it’s now ex-supplier of its collision avoidance software, hotting up. Mobileye’s Chairman this week criticized Tesla for pushing the envelope regarding safety. Mr. Musk on the other hand in his Q&A declared that the new software is a 3x improvement and reiterated tests that the Tesla Autopilot is 50% safer than manual driving. On the subject of safety EM is quoted:
“I want to emphasize: this does not mean perfect safety. Perfect safety is really an impossible goal. It’s really about improving the probability of safety – that’s the only thing possible.”
On the 14th of September Tesla announced that the split between Mobileye and the company is based on its desire to build its driver assistance capability in-house.
2016 Week 34 - Model S P100D
The biggest news of the week is the much-anticipated launch of the Tesla 100kWh battery. The battery upgrade allows for increased range and speed, making the Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode the fastest production car on the road, reaching 0 – 62mph in just 2.5 seconds. Be prepared with a whole lot of Youtube videos showing the Tesla Models S, seating five adults, two children, and luggage and costing around $91,000 beating anything from a Ferrari to a Porsche Spyder costing close to $1M. The Model S upgrade has a range of 315mi and the Model X SUV 289mi.
2016 Week 32 - Dutch Government and P100D
The Dutch Government approved a 100kWh version of both the Tesla Model’s S and X this week, providing the models with ranges of over 380 miles for the Model S and 300 miles for the Model X. The company has made no announcement on when we can expect the first production versions or what the cost would be, but it’s safe to say that with the speed at which the company brings new technologies we can expect not to wait too long. The increased range will be another nail in the coffin of gasoline powered vehicles. Tesla also opened its largest and flagship store on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco; the 65,000sq foot store is currently the companies second largest after Oslo.
2016 Week 31 - EV Sales
In other sales related news, EV Obsession reported that the electric vehicle sales in the USA increased 48% year-on-year for the month of July with a total of 13,102 units sold. Citing Zero Emission mandates starting to take effect and sales efforts by Tesla, who sold 3,800 units in the month. Plug-in Electric Vehicle sales represented nearly 1% of all vehicles sold in the USA for the month.
2016 Week 30 - Microbus
Tesla confirmed that it would develop a VW Microbus like electric vehicle, based on the Model X drivetrain. The announcement was buried in the recently released Master Plan Part Deux by founder Elon Musk. Better know as the VW Combi, the microbus achieved cult status within the California surfing community.
2016 Week 29 - Masterplan V2
2016 Week 28 - India
2016 Week 27 - Missed Sales targets / Panasonic
1. The company missed its Q2 target of 17,000 units and delivered only 14,370 units, slightly down from Q1’s 14,820, bringing the year-to-date total to 29,190. The company sighted an “extreme production” ramp where half of the quarter’s vehicles were produced in the final 4 weeks of the quarter. The California-based company adjusted its guidance slightly down to just below 80,000 units.
2. Lithium-Ion battery manufacturer Panasonic is set to double sales of its electric car batteries over the next three years. Panasonic is the exclusive battery supplier for the Model 3. The value of the sales should be in the region of nearly $4Bln.
2016 Week 26 - Autopilot Crash
The Model S autopilot had its first fatal crash in Florida. The accident happened when neither the vehicle nor the driver failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and failing to automatically activate the brakes.
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Gone are the days of range anxiety. Chinese buyers now have a choice of mass-market EVs with a range in excess of 400km/250 miles.
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