Tesla’s All-Electrical Spark is About to Grow Much, Much Brighter

Can a single venture born out of one man’s vision for a more sustainable future help to spark the complete transformation of global automobile markets, aid the U.S. and other nations moves toward energy independence, help tamp down the problem of human-caused climate change, spur a rapid influx of renewables in the electrical generation sector, and, all the while, compete toe-to-toe with nationally funded battery, automobile, and renewable energy companies emerging in China?

We’re about to find out.

Tesla, Daimler, China Invest in Gigafactories; Musk and Daimler Spar on Twitter

This week, large German automaker Daimler announced that it would invest 1 billion dollars in an EV battery production plant in Alabama. The move followed very heavy similar investment and policy announcements by China and a multi-billion dollar investment by all-electric automaker Tesla in the first of a number of planned battery gigafactories.

Elon Musk, noting the size of Daimler’s available capital for investment, made the following pithy remark on Twitter:

Daimler, appearing more than a little sensitive to the remark, replied that it would be investing 10 billion in EV development in total, with 1 billion going to batteries. Musk replied — “Good” — with Daimler stating that it had been developing electrical vehicles for more than 100 years.

Of course, Daimler, unlike Tesla, still primarily produces fossil fuel based vehicles. The company’s planned launch of EVs capable of competing with Tesla’s present offerings are slated for around 2020. By that time, Tesla is likely to be producing well north of half a million all-electric vehicles per year. Daimler would have to significantly increase investment to adequately meet such a major challenge by Tesla.

The history of Daimler is one in which it has mostly dabbled in electrical car production while instead dedicating the lion’s share of its efforts to producing unsustainable carbon emitting cars and trucks. In 2016, Daimlier sold 3 million vehicles — the vast majority of which were ICE-based. With Tesla gobbling up larger and larger market share as an electric-only vehicle supplier, that may soon change. A result that would be “Good” for everyone on the planet. Especially in the present situation where harms from human-caused climate change are rapidly ramping higher.

But despite Daimler’s 100 year history of experimenting with electrical vehicle designs, it has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to confronting a serious market competitor in the form of the all-electric Tesla.

Tesla Ahead in the Electric Race

To understand how serious, we need only look at Tesla’s growing suite of top-in-class vehicle offerings combined with an emerging fierce logistics chain of increasingly low-cost EV batteries.

Part of this story begins at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory 1. To look at even the 1/3 complete Gigafactory is to behold the awesome potential of mass production writ large. Back in 2014 when Gigafactory 1 began construction under a partnership with Panasonic, the ultimate aim was to build a facility capable of producing 35 gigawatt-hours of batteries per year by 2018. That number has been raised to 50 gigawatt-hours — with an ultimate goal for this single factory in the range of 100 to 150 gigawatt-hours. By comparison, the entire global total of battery production in 2014 was around 35 gigawatt-hours. And total national production by battery giant China is presently at around 125 gigawatt hours — set to hit around 230 gigawatt-hours by 2023.

(Tesla Gigafactory 1 shows 9 of 21 planned modules complete by late August of 2017. Image source: Commons.)

Producing so many batteries in one facility will enable Tesla to leverage some serious economies of scale. This, in turn, will result in lower prices for the batteries it produces — allowing the automaker to sell electrical vehicles for less or make higher profits on models that are produced. Already, with about 15 percent of the planned gigafactory now producing batteries, Tesla is starting to see the benefits of this scaling. And recent reports indicate that it has pushed battery prices to below 140 dollars per kilowatt hour during 2017. Ultimately, many industry analysts expect the Gigafactory 1 to enable Tesla to produce batteries at near the 100 dollar per kilowatt hour mark before 2020 — substantially reducing base production costs for EVs in total.

Masses of Model 3s

This mass production of batteries is the cornerstone for Tesla’s expected mass release of its Model 3 vehicle.

To be very clear, Tesla’s spearhead Model 3 is the ultimate aim of all of the company’s efforts thus far. Each sale of the more expensive luxury Model X and Model S versions have gone to fund the more mass market Model 3. And recent cancellations of lower cost, shorter range Model S versions appear to have been aimed at creating space for the Model 3 in the 35,000 to 59,000 dollar market segment.

(This week’s Tesla Model 3 news.)

Present production of the Model 3 appears to be ramping up according to Tesla’s plans. More and more of the vehicles have been sighted on California highways. A forward-shifted delivery date spurred a rumor that the Model 3 was being produced faster than expected. Texas has already started to receive some of its Tesla employee-ordered Model 3s. Rising rates of battery production at the Nevada Gigafactory 1 site have been observed. And the appearance of VIN numbers above 700 earlier this week roughly jibe with a planned ramp to 1,500 Model 3s produced by end September.

A clearer picture of this critical production ramp may emerge over the next couple of weeks as Tesla analysts pick up on monthly Model 3 production information and the Tesla Q3 report begins to take shape.

Tesla All Electric Sales Tracking Toward 230,000 to 500,000 in 2018

By end of this year, Tesla expects to be producing 20,000 of these vehicles per month. By end 2018, Tesla is aiming for 40,000 Model 3s per month. Pre-orders in the range of 500,000 vehicles show that demand support for this level of production exists. And even conservative forecasts by investment firms like Morgan Stanley show Tesla vehicle production and sales more than doubling from an expected 90,000 to 100,000 in 2017 to over 230,000 in 2018.

Already Tesla sales appear to be edging higher — with Q3 expected sales in the range of 24,000 to 25,000 including the ramping Model 3 production. Meanwhile, Tesla’s own goals far outstrip expectations by forecasters like Morgan Stanley with the company aiming for 500,000 total sales in 2018.

(Tesla’s Model 3 planned production timeline. Image source: Tesla.)

Regardless of whether Tesla sells 230,000 cars or 500,000 cars in 2018, it will be the first automaker in a long time to see such rapid sales growth. According to Adam Jonas at Morgan Stanley, it has been generations since we’ve seen growth like this. It’s not just 2018 that forecasters like Stanley are looking at. By 2023, the investment firm expects 3 million Tesla cars to be ranging the world’s highways with that number growing to 32 million by 2040.

Tesla’s own goals appear to be significantly more ambitious. The expected 150 gwh ultimate production capacity of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 alone could support an annual production of 2-3 million Model 3 type vehicles. And earlier this year Tesla announced plans to construct 3 more similar facilities with an ultimate goal of 10-20. Locations for the 3 new expected Gigafactories are set to be announced later in 2017.

Given the totality of this amazing undertaking, it’s unlikely that any present individual vehicle manufacturer is pursuing mass EV production at a quality and scale comparable to that of Tesla. Daimler may now be spending billions, but they are in a race to catch up. Meanwhile, it appears that Tesla may even rival China in its ultimate ability to scale battery production.

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103 Comments

  1. Robert in New Orleans

     /  September 26, 2017

    Its electric of course:

    Great News! 🙂

    Reply
    • eleggua

       /  September 27, 2017

      ^^^That’s Marcia Griffiths, solo. The title’s actually ‘Electric Boogie’. She was one of the I-Threes along with Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley, back up vocals for Bob Marley and Wailers; they released some tracks under their own name, too. Great voices, all three.

      Fun track; official video version.

      Reply
  2. Suzanne

     /  September 26, 2017

    Climate & Extreme Weather News #69 (September 17th to 24th 2017) :
    0:14 August Temperature Update
    2:36 Hurricane Maria
    26:16 Guatemala floods
    30:21 Mexico: Union de Tula flood
    31:29 Spain: Teruel hailstorm & Gran Canaria wildfire
    35:20 Poland: Elbag flood
    35:52 DR Congo: Flood
    36:11 Malaysia: Kedah & Perlis floods
    39:04 Indonesia: Bengkulu flood
    40:09 Thailand: Northern floods
    46:06 India: Kerala & Mumbai floods
    47:47 Australia: Heatwave

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Not related to the main post´s theme and not as dramatic as what´s happening elsewhere, but at least in touch with the Climate & Extreme Weather News that Suzanne mentioned: here in Brasil the climate is being abnormal too… in the other side of the scale. The last effects of El Nino have long disappeared in this Enso-neutral to almost La Nina state and drought is visiting the country again. Things are a bit more widespread than it was in 2010 (the worst year of the last crisis spamming drought), actually.

      I´m going to post this in a series of comments, to illustrate with links. Those will be in Portuguese, though, because I´m awful at finding English translations.

      First, like in 2010, there´s no water rationing going right now (except in the Northeast region, which almost always has it, as it´s a semi-desert heavily populated region). The rains in the last season were more than ok, and reservoirs are almost full (like this set of graphs for the Cantareira System show https://www.nivelaguasaopaulo.com/cantareira ).

      Reply
      • Better yet, the last drought and rationing are still well marked in the memoirs of everybody, and water usage per capita today in highly populated areas like São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro is less than it was in 2014, so those reservoirs will probably last more. If the pattern that seems to be developing keeps going (more than normal rains in El Nino periods fueling the reservoirs, less rain than normal and longer dry seasons during El Nada and El Nina periods), I´d bet that we´ll avoid water rationing until 2019. That´s when I´d expect another water crisis in São Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte or Brasília.

        Brasília is my bet about where rationing will begin, their reservoirs are in worst shape and the dry season was worse there. They had almost four months of no rain this year (a full month with no rain at all is abnormal). Nearby agricultural regions in the Midwest region of Brasil also had no rain. This allowed the current agricultural bounty that is being called a super-harvest (it broke records on production, especially of soy and corn. The weather was especially good for it: rain during the growing season, no rain at all and therefore, fewer spoils, during harvest season), but may affect the next growing season. The usual time for starting planting soy was two weeks ago. In the last weekend, there was a little bit of rain in the Midwest, and some farmers started planting, but it may be a bad bet, as dry-blockades are still holding.
        https://www.climatempo.com.br/noticia/2017/09/18/quando-volta-a-chover-em-brasilia–9894

        Reply
      • In São Paulo, we had no rain in September thus far (a few drops of rain in the south of the city last weekend), only two days of rain in August and three in July. Those three days of rain in July could be called normal weather, but the dry August and especially, the dry September isn´t . This was the first 7th of September (our Independence Day) with no rain at all that I remember, and I´m 38 years old. The rains should have started… actually, we should be almost in “flood the city” season (drainage systems in São Paulo are awful. “Flood season” starts in October and is worst between November and March). It hasn´t rained.

        And a lot of idiots (no lightning strikes to blame, this goes ALL in the account of human stupidity) are setting fire to everything in sight. https://agroclima.climatempo.com.br/noticia/2017/09/16/inverno-com-muitas-queimadas-9805

        Reply
        • Some urban fires have happened too, some started by residents or workers of the very buildings that burned (burning trash instead of leaving it for garbage collection is common in Brasil, but things are so dry that common fires turn into building eating monsters easily), some started by faulty wiring (with wasn´t that much of a problem until things were so dry that any spark…). Overwork in the part of firefighters kept death and injury at a minimum thus far (for example http://sao-paulo.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,incendio-atingiu-mercado-municipal-de-santo-amaro,70002014841 ).

        • It seems like the country is on fire. In the end of this article there´s a map with dots for every fire of this winter and early spring until Sunday (only the ones that can be seen by satellite). There are so many dots it looks like they´re colors of the map.
          http://www.oeco.org.br/noticias/o-brasil-esta-pegando-fogo/?utm_source=wysija&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter+Diaria

          Personally, since 22 August, each morning, midday, and afternoon there´s “mist” (brownish, ominous and burnt smelling) covering what usually should be a view of forest and farms from my balcony. I live in the Cantareira range, in a forested area, and usually it´s possible to see the Cantareira Park and the edge of the city of São Paulo… now days there´s so much smoke that yesterday I could barely see the moon and there was too much smoke filling the air to see stars.

        • eleggua

           /  September 27, 2017

          “It seems like the country is on fire….There are so many dots it looks like they´re colors of the map.”

          Whoa. Intense.

          “All color markers indicate fire outbreaks revealed by different satellites that monitor the country on September 22, 2017.” – translation via Google Translate

        • eleggua

           /  September 27, 2017

          Here’s the GT link for the last article posted by umbrios27, with the entire text translation below the link. The images from the original article don’t transfer on GT, cross-referencing with the original article will help.

          https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oeco.org.br%2Fnoticias%2Fo-brasil-esta-pegando-fogo%2F&edit-text=

          “Brazil is burning, literally. According to data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), the country recorded 185,002 fire outbreaks, 52% more than in the same period of last year, and 2,979 outbreaks at more than two days ago.

          The fire reaches all the Brazilian biomes, according to the ten satellites that monitor the fires in the country, but are concentrated in the Amazon, with 43.4% of the outbreaks of fire, followed by the Cerrado, with 39.6%; and by the Atlantic Forest, with 10.6%.

          The fires also do not save the Units of Conservation (UC). The Extractive Reserve Chico Mendes, in Acre, is the CU with the most fire outbreaks in the country. The same happens with Bacurizinho, in Maranhão, the Brazilian Indigenous Land with the most burnt of Brazil.

          Not coincidentally, the municipalities that catch fire are currently from Maranhão: Grajaú and Acre: Brasileia. In absolute numbers, however, the ranking of the national fire is led by Pará, with 40,228 outbreaks of fire; followed by Mato Grosso, with 34,705; and by Maranhão, with 20,348. Pará is also the state that has increased the number of fires in relation to itself: 233% compared to the same period of last year; followed by Maranhão (93%); and São Paulo (76%).

          But what is the real cause of these fires, which destroy biodiversity, cause numerous respiratory diseases, and release a large amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? According to the coordinator of the Inpe Burning and Fire Program, Alberto Setzer, it is totally wrong to attribute the cause of the fire to the dry climate or to natural causes. “Rays and spontaneous phenomena are responsible for a maximum of 1% of recorded fire outbreaks,” he said. “The low humidity of the air only creates favorable conditions for the fires, but it is the human action that causes the fire,” said Setzer.

          According to the researcher, even that “accidental” carelessness can not be considered a common cause of burning. “It’s not the cigarette butt that sets the forest on fire, the glass shard or the aluminum can exposed to the sun; in general it is someone setting the same fire, “he said.

          Setzer points out that the fires are precursors of grain planting and are part of the expansion cycle of the agricultural frontier. They usually follow the shallow cut of the forest and are part of the process of illegal possession of public lands. “Cleaning up” the earth, as you know, is the first step in forging some bond with the space you want to occupy.

          Experts say that 2017 has a great chance of becoming the year with the most burnt of the last two decades. The outbreaks of fire are also the harbinger of a deforestation rate that should be as high as in 2016, and a rate of gas emissions well above our commitment to the planet. “

      • eleggua

         /  September 27, 2017

        “I´m awful at finding English translations. ‘

        Google translate can help with that, for readers here that wish to peruse these important articles in English.

        Here’s the link to Google Translate: https://translate.google.com/

        Copy-and-paste the link for the article into the box on the left on GT, then hit ‘enter’.
        The link will now show in the right hand box; click the blue ‘Translate’ button above the righthand side box. The entire page will translate and show on the page.

        GT’s running an incredibly smart AI. Its translations have vastly improved over the past year-plus.

        “Google Translate is getting brainier. The online translation tool recently started using a neural network to translate between some of its most popular languages – and the system is now so clever it can do this for language pairs on which it has not been explicitly trained. To do this, it seems to have created its own artificial language.” – 11.2016

        Reply
        • Thanks, Eleggua! It does make it easier to find articles, most of the time what I post are very local news, that seldom have been published in English with the same comprehensiveness that in local news.

        • eleggua

           /  September 28, 2017

          You’re welcome. Thank you for bringing attention to these highly relevent matters near to you that most of us English speakers, North Americans and Europeans don’t hear much or anything about. Super valuable; thanks so much.

      • eleggua

         /  September 27, 2017

        Thanks so much for all of these important articles, umbrios27, and for your very helpful English summaries.

        Reply
      • What’s a bit strange about all this is that we’re not even in La Nina at this time. The Pacific is mimicking La Nina in that the warm West Pacific and cooler East Pacific is generating a La Nina atmospheric signal. But the T deltas aren’t yet in the La Nina range.

        Thanks for these observations, Umbrios. These kinds of eye-witness accounts are very important. Particularly b/c the mainstream media is often too focused on other shiny objects to provide a larger account.

        Reply
        • Thank you, Robert!

          And it´s true… we aren´t in a La Nina… but the weather around here is responding as if we were.
          And these droughts can have a more sinister, global effect too, as this recently published study shows:
          http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa69ce

          The drought is being harsher in the central & southern Brasil this year, but the western side of the Amazon (Acre, Rondônia, Tocantins) was badly affected too. Not as bad as 2010, a little worst than 2005 (and drought there kind of started in 2016).

      • Suzanne

         /  September 27, 2017

        Thank you, Umbrios27….Like always, your posts are informative and comprehensive.

        Reply
    • Bruce Bartlett on the Democratic Ways and Means Committee today calling for a carbon tax to help harden U.S. infrastructure against climate change.

      Reply
  3. Suzanne

     /  September 26, 2017

    “With Irma and a power failure, Miami gets a taste of deadly heat”
    http://news.trust.org/item/20170926003704-g5xa5/

    Around the world, a surge in extreme weather events, including storms, floods and droughts, has focused attention on the risks associated with global warming.

    But one of the biggest threats – and a particularly serious one for already hot countries and cities – is worsening heatwaves, which remain an under-estimated risk, experts say.

    In the United States, Florida is predicted to experience the greatest increase in the deadly combination of heat and humidity over the next decades.

    The number of extreme heat days, when the heat index is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius), is expected to jump to 126 a year by 2030 and 151 by 2050 in Miami, according to a study by Climate Central, a U.S. non-profit science and media organization.
    _______________ ____________________

    As a Floridian, who just went 5 days without electricity thanks to Irma, but who was lucky enough to have a small generator to at least have a/c in the bedroom at night…I can tell you ..the heat is deadly and makes you crazy. And the mosquitoes…OMG…just unbelievable. So, when I read what PR is going through..and how long it may go on for them…my heart is just breaking. I just want to find a way to get as many people off that island until the electricity is back on.

    Reply
    • You don’t realize how dependent you are on climate control until you lose it. One of the cascading impacts of strong storms is that climate controlled environments are lost due to power disruption and then people are thrust into those more dangerous, hotter than normal conditions. If you’re consistently getting wet bulbs above 30 C or approaching or exceeding 35 C, then you’re really at risk of serious heat casualties following major storm events which are also more intense due to climate change.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  September 26, 2017

        Exactly. I have lived in S. Fl for 52 years. When we first moved here, we had whole house a/c but rarely ran it. Just a few hours at night in the hotter July, August, September months. Back then you had plenty of ocean breezes, even if you didn’t live on the beach..and of course, A LOT less people/concrete. With each passing decade the temperature rose, and the nightly temperatures did not go down like they once did..and the a/c became a must have on all the time. I can tell you this..Floridians won’t be able to live and survive any longer without artificial climate control 24/7. Not good.

        Reply
        • In N Florida during the early 90s (I attended Flagler College in St Augustine), I remember it being blazing hot from mid May through early October. Like a switch was turned and you had 90 + degree weather during that whole period. The older dorms didn’t have AC but you could find refuge in the library or the student lounge or some other climate controlled section. Ocean temps were, even then, in the 80s during summer so you didn’t get too much of a cooling effect. It’s probably a bit worse than that now.

          Here in MD, September has been hotter than August. The Jet Stream switched out of its dipole pattern with a big ridge in the west and a big trough in the East. Now we’re inundated with gnats and mosquitoes. The northward moving hurricanes have apparently brought that very warm tropical air mass along with them.

        • Greg

           /  September 27, 2017

          Here is how that Ridge/trough looks Robert:

        • Yep. It’s done one gigantic flip flop.

      • Robert in New Orleans

         /  September 26, 2017

        New Orleans after Katrina was pretty tough too. It was hot and humid during the day, but you could go outside and occasionally feel a slight breeze. Night however was a different situation. Locked up in your house with maybe a a bedroom window open if you dared to sleep with it open. Otherwise it was hot, the air was stagnate, you could not see a thing as it was pitch black dark and an occasional gunshot would be heard in the distance.

        Reply
  4. Jim

     /  September 26, 2017

    The automotive and financial press have constantly dismissed Tesla, saying that as soon as somebody like GM, or Daimler got involved they would kill Tesla. Of course this has not happened, nor is it likely given Tesla’s multi-year head start and vertical integration into battery production.

    Regardless of how market share ultimately develops one thing is clear. Elon Musk and Tesla have dragged the automotive world out of their oil soaked slumber kicking and screaming every step of the way. Now they have to run to catch up. Second, Tesla’s massive investment in the Gigafactory meant that every battery manufacturer who wanted to remain relevant had to make similar investments or face being squeezed out of the market due to unfavorable economies of scale. The cumulative effect of this are precipitous price decreases in battery costs, as more and more capacity comes on line. This will play out well into the 2020’s before tapering off. This is a well known phenomena similar to what happened with LCD screens, cellular phones, DVD players, etc.

    80% of the global automotive market are in countries that have announced or are studying phase out dates for ICE vehicles mainly due to the dual imperatives of climate change and pollution. And when you consider that EV’s are already cheaper to operate than ICE vehicles, and close (2-3 years) to being cheaper to produce, it’s clear that a country has a lot to gain by switching – environmental, climate change, balance of payments for oil importing countries, geo-political considerations and so on.

    Reply
    • I focus on Tesla quite a bit b/c they are a major trend driver. An example of the kind of renewable energy leadership we want to see from industry. And a blatant disproval in fact of all the various renewable energy naysayers that have had so much harmful influence over the years.

      That said, there are a number of excellent EVs emerging — in large part due to the necessity to compete with Tesla or become irrelevant. Will note that I’m very impressed with Nissan’s market strategy, for example.

      But Tesla is really the only large automaker going out there with all guns blazing. The vast majority of these articles we see about so-called Tesla killers are for cars that won’t appear on the market for another year or two or three. And given logistics, these vehicles are unlikely to hit the same kind of scale or quality that Tesla is now able to achieve.

      In addition, those EVs on the market that are presently in a class similar to Tesla vehicles can’t come close to matching Tesla quality. We saw this with the Bolt — which though an excellent vehicle, still looks and acts like an economy car while the Model 3 just screams ‘I’m a Porsche with more space and practical usability!’ And the above hinted at Leaf is basically in the same situation — an economy car like style and feel even though it is also an excellent overall offering. Of course this doesn’t even begin to mention how the S and X are crushing the traditional luxury and higher priced brands. And it’s not just b/c they have a battery pack.

      It’s like the bullies on the playground said ‘all EVs have to be nerd cars.’ Then Elon quietly walked in and said — ‘hey EV nerd cars can be cooler than regular cars’ then did it.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 27, 2017

        I agree that Tesla is the most positively disruptive auto maker in history, and is now the most important car company in the world. Musk is right up there, and the best way to follow the development of Ev’s is to focus on Tesla. Did anyone else see the prediction of a 60% fall in operating costs predicted for the Tesla truck?

        Of course, Cummins (who have an excellent engineering reputation) are also entering that market, but slightly more quietly

        Tesla have a massive advantage in not having a legacy of ICE tech to complicate their timings. The trad companies cannot easily just stop selling ICE’s ovenight, as it would destroy their sales volumes, which their business models depend on.

        I think the idea of a ‘Tesla killer’ is PR hype, really, although I think some of the trad companies know enough, and have done enough with EV’s, to suggest we are not going to end up with just one or two dominant EV producers.

        Reply
        • To be clear, Tesla is an industry leader that is driving serious systemic and transformative change. I think they’re acting as a gadfly to spur the industry to change in a very good way. I don’t, however, believe that they’re some perfect magical angelic entity. Nor do I think they won’t face rational competition.

          Quite the opposite — I hope that Telsa does start to face real competition from groups that learn from and improve on its model of rapid EV deployment. It’s possible that major industry is capable of this. Daimler, Chevy and others certainly have the capital. But they also have that albatross of sunk investments in ICE vehicles weighing them down. Getting rid of that dead weight is going to be very difficult for legacy producers. And the siren song temptation to keep on doing business as usual remains high.

          I think it’s equally likely that rational challenges to Tesla will come from outside of traditional auto manufacturing. BYD is one example who has already made inroads with traditional automakers. But I think we’ll see others try their hand at this. The market is about to open up to a wide variety. We’ll likely see a lot of competition. And all of this is pretty exciting.

          Will note that Tesla, like other major auto manufacturers, has union issues. It’s sad to see this — but not surprising given the tempo that Tesla is now achieving. Such a high tempo would obviously produce stress among employees. And Elon’s own 120 percent effort demanded leadership style, though enabling rapid corporate gains, comes at the cost of driving very, very hard. In this way, Elon’s thrust mimics that of the old industrialists — an almost super-human work ethic that is good for meeting goals but sometimes bad for individuals working in such an intense and demanding environment.

          I hope that Tesla is able to generate the right calculus of treating its employees well while aggressively aiming for rapidly transforming vehicle and energy markets. Having served as a police union assistant rep for the DoD, I know that sometimes union aims can sometimes act irrationally counter to larger organizational goals — even with the best of intentions. So I hope that Tesla — both its employees and management strike the right kind of balance. One that enables Tesla to keep making these gains while also doing right by employees.

      • Jim

         /  September 27, 2017

        I think your focus on Tesla and Elon Musk as the driver of the most significant change in transportation and energy is spot on. Musk has consistently said that his goal was to prove that EV cars could be exciting and desirable, and by doing so induce other automakers to move in the same direction – and his reason was it was an imperative to tackle climate change. Quite a refreshing change from the pure profit driven greed of most CEO’s.

        His investments in the model S, X, and 3 coupled with investments in batteries are already proving to be a tipping point in how the world responds to climate change, pollution, health and safety, economics, and geopolitical forces. As such I’m confident he will be viewed as one of the most effective business change agents on the issue of climate change in this century.

        I worked for many years in business and marketing strategy. When you look at the colossal business failures such as Kodak not moving into digital cameras fast enough, or AT&T (with the help of McKinsey Consulting) concluding in 1984 that cellular phones would be nothing more than a niche market and giving away spectrum to the Baby Bells for free, or Blockbuster not linking up with or purchasing Netflix, they all share one thing in common: misunderstanding the rate of change. This is where Musk excels. He understood that battery prices were a function of scale and invested the money.

        So, on an optimistic note, we already have many of the technologies in place to begin to decarbonize our energy system. Wind and solar are already cheaper than coal and gas – globally. Battery storage of electricity is already cost effective enough in some parts of the world (California, Hawaii, NY, Australia) to replace natural gas combustion turbines, and battery costs are declining 20% per year. Cost effective EV’s are now reaching consumers, and governments around the world are talking about eliminating the internal combustion engine between 2030 – 2040. Bloomberg is reporting today that California has now joined these governments in not only examining a similar move, but also in considering how to accomplish it in the face of expected opposition from the Trump administration.

        Reply
  5. wpNSAlito

     /  September 27, 2017

    Tiny bit of hope: Puerto Rico could leapfrog much of the world in small-grid PV solar + storage penetration.

    Reply
    • Genomik

       /  September 27, 2017

      It would make sense in certain areas to leapfrog in the repairs. For instance solar panels could be installed on some concrete buildings in such a way they are wind resistant like down a couple feet below raised concrete edges of the building.

      Cell phone towers should have lived my term backup. Individuals could get small personal solar to charge cell phones.

      Maybe this would spur some innovation for hurricane resistant solar and wind installs. There would be a lot of customers.

      Maybe Elon can try to solve that problem as well. It will be a growing market as storms get bigger.

      Reply
  6. Dave McGinnis

     /  September 27, 2017

    What I want is a battery backup for my house that will last 3 days.

    Reply
    • 12volt dan

       /  September 27, 2017

      +1

      Reply
    • With that kind of back-up, you might as well just add solar and go off grid.

      For just keeping the lights and refrigerator on, a 14 kwh powerwall or something similar would do the trick for a few days. For integrated systems, you might need a switch to cut off your battery supply from the grid during blackouts so as not to cause electrocution risk to repair workers. Homes with distributed storage using an EV could also tap very large EV battery storage during emergencies. EV batteries can now range from 50 to 100 kwh and are more than enough to manage most home needs over a few days.

      The market for integrating EV storage into home systems has not yet hit its stride. But there’s a big opportunity here.

      Reply
      • 12volt dan

         /  September 27, 2017

        yeah I’m waiting for the power wall. It needs a little time to scale up and price down. I’m currently using lead acid (about 1500 lbs worth) which should last until the power wall is cheaper.

        With the price of solar way down I don’t see why more people are off grid. Cut the cord :^)

        Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  September 27, 2017

      What I want is a decent collection of fridge-freezer appliances that run on DC for solar. They’re more efficient (direct DC-DC, no inverter) and they don’t require huge cranking amps.

      The current small selection is either mini-fridge small or a-ok but absurdly expensive.

      Reply
      • 12volt dan

         /  September 27, 2017

        for what it’s worth I use propane,yes a ff but use is small. about 36l a month for fridge and stove.

        till something better comes along

        Reply
      • 12volt dan

         /  September 27, 2017

        I’ve always found 12 volt to be move efficient since it is a low voltage, way better than inverting. Usually more expensive up front but returns the investment over time. I liked it so much I changed my name ;^)

        Reply
  7. Vic

     /  September 27, 2017

    BHP’s boots walk all over the Minerals Council of Australia as the influential lobby group announces the early retirement of its CEO Brendan Pearson, following threats from BHP to withdraw its membership over the lobbyist’s pro-coal / anti-renewables agenda. Good move BHP. Next step is to take those boots and walk all over the World Coal Association.

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/whats-next-minerals-councils-coal-climate-policy-18763/

    Here’s an example of the MCA’s propaganda being pumped into Australian homes.

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  September 27, 2017

      The trouble for outfits like the MCA and the Australian Federal Government is that Aussies are also beginning to see advertisements like this one on their TV sets…

      And this one from AGL (the nation’s largest coal-fired electricity provider) who incidentally withdrew their membership to the MCA late last year.

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  September 27, 2017

      Ugh.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  September 27, 2017

        I was referring to the coal commercial. Like is anyone buying that PR. It is so 19th century.

        Reply
    • The coal company ad reminded me of the tobacco company advertisements before they were made illegal here in the U.S. Misleading, full of bad information, playing to the least common denominator.

      How about this for an ad campaign:

      Coal — it’s what caused the Permian.

      Nice to see these counter-ads coming from major energy producers who are buying wholesale into the renewable revolution. Good stuff here.

      Reply
    • And someone has already produced an accurate spoof of this one:

      Reply
  8. Mblanc

     /  September 27, 2017

    We used to have a lovely old Mercedes van, the old snub nose 208d, It was a relatively crude design, but made to very high standards. Interestingly it’s predecessor had the engine from the W123 saloon, widely regarded as one of the most reliable car engines ever made. Rumour has it that the Mercedes board was told that it had to stop making it’s cars so reliable, because it’s customers weren’t coming back, as they had no need.

    Interestingly, we had an African guy knock on our door wanting to buy said 20 year old van a few years back, to export it to Africa, that’s how highly prized they are. Here is an article with some background on the W123. A million miles on a car is an amazing thing, and this was built 40 years ago.

    https://www.cheatsheet.com/automobiles/mercedes-w123-the-greatest-car-of-all-time.html/?a=viewall

    If we had made all our ICE cars as well as that, we would be in significantly less trouble than we are now.

    ….

    I love Tesla more than most, but I think the word got round some time ago, and the traditional manufacturers know they are fighting for their lives.

    I guess that all I am saying is don’t expect Tesla to be totally dominant outside the states. Here in Europe the best selling EV right now comes from Nissan-Renault (in the form of the Zoe), and it is a very good offering, very affordable, and built on the experience of building the Leaf. Although Tesla have a big lead, some of the trad companies have done better than Daimler. Nissan-Renault, BMW and Toyota probably stand out the most.

    I guess this is all splitting hairs on my part (and mainly cos I loved that old Van, she was called Gertie!), the important thing is EV’s are coming on very strong, renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper, and the energy transition is finally happening.

    This is a picture of a similar van to Gertie, for reference. How can you not love a van like that?

    Love the site as always (I always read even if I don’t have time to post), best wishes to all. Keep up the good fight, there are some chinks of light amidst the gloom.

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  September 27, 2017

      oops, forgot to give an honourable mention to GM, my bad.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  September 27, 2017

      Thanks for that link Mblanc, led to a very interesting article.

      The Nitty Gritty I am sure the Saudi’s have already twigged to, the other oil major’s more than likely also even if they paint rosy pictures of the future whilst they gradually sell down their shareholdings to the gullible true beleivers

      https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/if-electric-cars-win-heres-how-much-oil-companies-lose.html/

      If Tesla and Other Electric Cars Win, Here’s How Much Oil Companies Lose

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  September 27, 2017

        There is an oft overlooked factor, paying for roads.
        At this time worldwide, roads tend to be funded from fuel excise. EV owners do not pay that and conservative ICE veh owners are starting to make some waves, after all taxes are a raw nerve for them and if they think they are paying taxes for EV owners to free-load on they get aggrieved

        Reply
        • Excise tax may as well be a carbon tax. In this case, a good thing.

        • I don´t known if that isn´t a more localised american problem. Here in Brasil, though there are taxes in gas (and ethanol), they don´t pay for roads… they go to whatever the government wants. And taxes in eletricity are actually higher, so that argument wouldn´t have much wind. What is paid that is especifically for roads are road-tolls, which all cars have to pay for.

    • In a way, the fact that ICEs aren’t so well made as they could be has paved the way for the EV transition that we need. Gertie would be great if she had a battery. But a world full of ICE Gerties is still a world on a faster track to hothouse extinction than any rational person would care for. As for me, I think fossil fuel nostalgia can be a pretty harmful thing in general.

      Reply
    • In any case, outside of BYD, Tesla was at the top of global EV sales last year:

      The picture for 2017 is likely to be more interesting. But Tesla appears likely to pull ahead in 2018 unless the entire EV market expands much faster than expected. Which would be an outrageously good thing. As for who leads on quality, it’s without question Tesla.

      The fact that Tesla offerings have so far been high price, high quality also provides an idea of how much of an outlier they are. If Tesla hits its sales goals for 2018, it will be the top global seller of EVs that year by a pretty fair margin.

      Note that major automaker and competitor BMW is fighting to chase Tesla in this market.

      Reply
    • Toyota, in contrast with Tesla, has been dragged into the electric vehicle sphere kicking and screaming.

      Toyota typically posts forecasts of slow EV sales growth and its sole EV offerings are presently plug in hybrids. Not to say that the Prius Prime is a bad vehicle. Quite the opposite. But it is not a pure EV and not the kind of thing that you’d find among today’s top sustainability leaders. Even GM now offers a PHEV Volt and pure EV Bolt.

      Toyota also wastes gobs of money on fuel cell vehicles that have either never seen the light of day or been so expensive as to price themselves completely out of the market.

      Nissan and Renault have done a great job with the Zoe. But it’s not really a Tesla competitor on quality — just an offering that is priced right for the mass market in Europe. I would definitely say that it’s a great car and those who buy and sell them are doing a great thing. But the approx 18,000 sales through first half of the year for Zoe isn’t a global competitor on volume with Tesla’s 47,000 in 2017. And that’s before the Model 3 hit the streets.

      Would note that Tesla is very popular in places like Norway and that Tesla’s Europe sales aren’t something to shake a stick at (approx 14,000 through July of 2017). Watch this space in late 2018 when the Model 3 starts to become available in Europe.

      http://insideevs.com/european-plug-in-ev-sales-july-2017/

      Reply
  9. Abel Adamski

     /  September 27, 2017

    The consequences of pollution – one for DT

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/sifter/flint-s-lead-crisis-may-have-caused-hundreds-fetal-deaths

    When the city of Flint, Michigan, decided to begin drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014, residents were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead. Now, a new study—to be presented at a public policy conference in November—has calculated that without the switch, between 198 and 276 more children would have been born over the 17-month period from November 2013 to March 2015. The researchers arrived at that range by comparing the birth rate and fetal death rate in Flint to nearby areas that were not exposed to the poisonous water, The Washington Post reports. Lead exposure, which can damage nerve cells, is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women because they absorb a higher percentage of the metal into their bodies.

    Reply
    • So sad. All preventable if officials had acted responsibly. Flies directly in the face of republican ‘all government is bad’ philosophy. If we’d enabled responsible government, this wouldn’t have happened.

      Reply
  10. Vic

     /  September 27, 2017

    Four days ago New South Wales smashed its September heat record by 0.9C.
    Today that record got smashed again by a further 0.8C. Yikes!

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-27/record-september-temperatures-broken-again-in-west-nsw/8993450

    Queensland records its hottest ever September temperature with the town of Birdsville reaching 42.5C (108F), breaking the previous record by 0.1C.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/sep/27/birdsville-breaks-queensland-weather-record-as-mercury-hits-425c

    Reply
  11. Abel Adamski

     /  September 27, 2017

    Gotta have secrecy and privacy when he collects his brown paper bags and receives his orders

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  September 27, 2017

      And he has something like 18 security persons protecting him, too. Nothing like emptying the swamp is there? The swamp has become a cesspool.

      Reply
      • labmonkery2

         /  September 27, 2017

        Well, I suppose it has NOTHING to do with this… (smh)
        http://www.newsweek.com/trump-pruitt-price-devos-669853

        And the HHS guy and his private jet-setting…and the Finance guy and his living-Barbie wife bragging about her shopping….and on and on.
        I’ve done run out of puke…..

        But to add to the Tesla discussion – Due to a financial windfall recently processed by my wife and I (her father’s estate after he passed last year rather unexpectedly), we signed papers yesterday for a 4.8kW system and two power walls (I always overbuild). We will also be adding a Chevy Bolt when the 2018’s roll out.
        The process was very simple and the next step is the site inspection, then permits, then build. I was surprised at the tax rebate – nearly 1/3 of total – once the numbers were tallied.

        Reply
        • Nice! Kudos for taking the leap! Sounds to me like a great combination.

          The Volt, in my view, just keeps getting better and better. It’s got all the convenience of being able to access the present vehicle infrastructure for long trips. And for those trips, you can go 85 percent non fossil fuels on E85. For the rest of the time, it’s an EV you can charge from home with a 53 mile range.

          And I do think that it’s the kind of vehicle that should be selling even better than presently high numbers.

          Prius Prime, I think is aggressively pursuing this same market. So it will be interesting overall to see which wins out. I’m presently pulling for GM due to its greater EV focus than Toyota (by a smidge). But they’re both great cars and we’d all benefit if they were used more widely. I also see these kinds of vehicles as gateways for larger pure EV adoption.

          The Volt itself is likely to continue to see slow growth in the size of its battery pack. Eventually to the point that the gas option will be little more than a seldom-used range extender for a rainy day.

          From the article you posted:

          “Too many of Trump’s cabinet members have taken to behaving like middle managers let loose in the supply closet for the first time, stuffing their pockets with notepads and pens, hoping the stern secretary doesn’t notice. Oh, but she has. Inspectors general for federal agencies seem to be especially busy these days. Ethics lawyers, too…

          Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, is a zealous foe of the environment, but at least he isn’t all that committed to his job. Observers see Pruitt making moves for a gubernatorial run in his native Oklahoma. It’s hard to otherwise justify his apparent longing for the Sooner State. As of August, he had spent more than 40 days in Oklahoma, which cost you and me $12,000.

          People do not like Pruitt, at least judging by the number of threats he has received. That’s wrong, no matter how much people may hate his policies. But it’s also wrong to turn high-ranking EPA investigators who are supposed to be delving into environmental crimes into your own security detail. Pruitt has done just that, managing to weaken the agency he runs while abusing its resources.

          “This never happened with prior administrators,” a former official of the agency’s Criminal Investigations Division told The Washington Post, which first reported the news. “These guys signed on to work on complex environmental cases, not to be an executive protection detail.” The Post report suggested that the EPA would spend $800,000 for “the security detail’s travel expenses” this fiscal year.”

    • Because he, after all, has nothing to hide (/sarc). Just like Trump staff private email servers aren’t hypocrisy after Trump campaigned on jailing Hillary for having one. Not to mention the elephant in the room — Russia — has grown by about x10 since this time last year.

      Reply
  12. Abel Adamski

     /  September 27, 2017

    What comment does justice ?

    https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/betting-chaos-financial-firms-seek-cash-climate-change

    Betting on Chaos: Financial Firms Seek to Cash In on Climate Change

    There’s a perverse new way to profit off of future climate misery.

    Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that a new climate change prediction market [subscription required] is being created in the United Kingdom. The market, similar to a sports betting book, is the “brainchild” of the financial firm Winton Capital. Initially, the market will allow bets on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and on temperature rises, but Winton Capital hopes to expand it in the future so that sea level rise, extreme weather, and other pollution levels become the topic of bets.

    So, the hope here is that one day this sports book of climate disaster can morph into a full blown climate change futures market. The hope, let’s be clear, is to create a new market in which people can make money betting on other people’s misery.

    And yet, this desire to reduce the science of climate change to financial bets ought not to have surprised us. It is the advance of the ideology that seeks to replace real regulation of pollution with pollution markets and to reduce the value of nature to a form of capital. And, it is as misguided as those attempts. Like them it is not about truly trying to prevent climate change or save our environment – it is an attempt to allow business as usual and to find new streams of profit for financiers.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  September 27, 2017

      Deplorable.

      Reply
    • This is nothing more than brazen greed seeking to profit from the suffering of others. And people wonder why we have the problems we do today.

      Reply
    • Genomik

       /  September 27, 2017

      This seems a bit of a double edged sword. It’s bad for the reasons you mentioned.
      Other uses might include if you live in a place like Miami and you can’t/won’t move you could hedge by shorting your own city. That would be a form of insurance.

      Another might be that as this grows and the bets get more accurate it may be an alternative to what scientists say. So for the trumpanzees who don’t believe scientists they may believe bettors much like the Las Vegas betting line can be pretty accurate perhaps better than individual sportscaster predictions.

      Especially as more folks bet it may become very accurate and then individuals could use it to guide home purchases etc. Right now Miami and Houston developers and real estate folks barely mention climate change nor do the politicians. So when doing due diligence climate change is probably barely even mentioned. If this becomes commonly used by home purchasers it might really spur some honest discussions that lead to honest answers about climate.

      Reply
      • Genomik

         /  September 27, 2017

        I often act as a prediction market for my friends if they are moving or buying a home I’ll tell them what climate risk they may face.
        For instance if somebody is going to move to the Pacific Northwest to escape climate change I mention that it’s possible there will be immense forest fires in the near future and the woodsy village you love might be an inferno after a heat wave driven fire.
        So now I often cruise around trying to find an article or reference by Robert or michael Mann or similar that backs that point up. Still I think folks roll their eyes a bit or have a hard time assessing actual risk. Is that a 2% or 82% risk over 5 years? I don’t know it’s hard to answer.

        At the same time if a prediction market said there was a 52.6% that a fire would happen within 5 years then that’s a actual number that makes sense in a risk formula.

        Then maybe the next village only has 5% risk as it’s has larger defensible spaces or something that could really help determine where you live.

        Also the town that gets 56% might want to pass a bond to cut some trees to increase defendable space.

        Reply
        • It’s pure speculation. Not in any way an accurate risk assessment. You need a rational public agency to track this kind of thing. Plug it into the market and you get all kinds of bad information and nonsense.

          Sure, market folks might actually wake up to climate change which I guess would be a silver lining. But a betting market can’t accurately track climate risk. And profiting from it in this way is pretty vastly amoral.

        • Call it gambling. In this case, climate gambling. Sure it’s probably legal just as speculating and placing bets on hurricanes is probably legal. I wouldn’t call it a positive innovation, though.

  13. Shawn Redmond

     /  September 27, 2017

    OT for sure but with the changing seasons the south is about to start its move:
    Sea ice around Antarctica has shrunk about 2 million square kilometres in just three years, swinging from a record large maximum area covered to a record low, in a shift that could have implications for the global climate.

    While a late burst in ice cover this spring cannot be ruled out, it appears the sea ice around Antarctica has peaked for the sea at about 18.013 million square kilometres, the smallest maximum extent in the 30-plus years of satellite readings, Jan Lieser, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, said.
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/attacked-from-two-sides-antarctic-sea-ice-hits-another-record-low-20170926-gyouuc.html

    “Attacked from two sides”, possibly three:
    A team of researchers has collected new data that shows a significant decrease in snow precipitation close to the ground in Antarctica, which has an impact on the ice sheet surface mass balance.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170925151434.htm

    Reply
  14. eleggua

     /  September 27, 2017

    Wide-spread switch to solar and other clean renewables would alleviate this problem in the future, there and everywhere, and eliminate the inherent problems with deadly “lifeblood diesel”.

    ‘Tiny Fleet Converges on Puerto Rico to Deliver Lifeblood Diesel’
    September 27, 2017

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-27/tiny-fleet-converges-on-puerto-rico-to-deliver-lifeblood-diesel

    “…12 tankers are bound for the island, bringing fuel crucial to the emergency generators that provide power to hospitals and water-purification plants.

    But between the ships and the thirsty generators are battered ports, ravaged infrastructure and a 1920 law called the Jones Act, which restricts which ships can deliver goods and drives up costs. Merely assessing damage to the electric grid will take days, and then the island still must formally request repair crews, said the chief executive of the New York Power Authority, which is a mainstay of that relief effort. ……”

    Reply
    • “Lifeblood Diesel.” Kind of the tone you’d expect from a pusher of an addiction. Puerto Rico right now is choking on the dark fruits that came from burning diesel — not the least of which involves sitting in the direct path of more powerful storms driven by climate change.

      Now is as good a time as any for Puerto Rico to speed its transition to renewables. Once the power got knocked out — wind and solar and water were the only thing left providing energy there.

      Reply
  15. Something else in Tesla’s favor and, right now, it is very important:

    Tesla is the *only* brand of EV that you can realistically take on a long trip because of their enormous and continuing investment in their Supercharger system.

    My wife and I soon need to buy or lease a new car. I really wanted to make it full electric, and am intrigued by the Bolt. And then I entered the shadowy world of charging station maps, and charger nozzles, and adaptors. And charging rates. And charging station availability.

    Go find an EV charging app, and look at a map of New York City. There is not a single charger in Manhattan that a Bolt can use to gain significant miles in an hour. Or two hours. Not a single charger.

    You would have to leave it overnight in a parking garage and pay NYC 24-hour parking rates (!) if and only if the garage had a) an charger with the correct nozzle pattern b) availability of said charger c) the charger was in operable condition d) the charger had enough juice to actually charge your Bolt overnight e) you were lucky enough that after you walked away, the charger actually kept working. A lot times, they just stop after a while.

    Outside the city there are chargers that will semi-quick charge a Bolt. Not a lot. Not all working. And almost NONE of them have enough power to charge a Bolt at the rate at which they advertise: 90 miles added for every 30 minutes of charging.

    The non-Tesla charging stations that exist today, supposedly, are there because of a Federal program that paid for them. A program Trump will never renew. Any new charging stations for non-Tesla cars will have to come from State or municipal government of from car manufacturers. I have heard virtually zero about car manufacturers having plans to build charging networks.

    New York State announced a while back that they are going to put charging stations in upstate Thruway rest stops. Good thing, because it’s 150+ miles from where I live to Albany, and there were zero high-speed chargers. About all they have said is this building process is going to take years. Years! BTW, it’s worse than that in many parts of the country. It is impossible to use your non-Tesla EV for anything but local driving in a lot of places.

    Meanwhile, only Teslas get to use Tesla superchargers. And there are quite a few of them all over the world. In safe places. They work. Fast. Much faster than the claims of, say, Chevy. And they are building them all the time. THIS is why Tesla is going to eat the other manufacturers for lunch. Because without the ability to recharge your EV away from your home, reliably and quickly, your EV is only a partial solution to your transportation needs.

    When we finally hear of a car company besides Tesla start talking about charging networks, instead of just talking about their future electrification goals or some shiny concept car they wheel out for a show, then and only then will we know they are truly serious about competing with Tesla.

    Reply
    • We have three Tesla superchargers within 15 miles of where I live here in the DC area. And they’re planning to build more. Once Tesla gets this infrastructure in place, it owns it. If Tesla ever drew an excess, it could rent supercharger use to non-Tesla EVs for a decent profit. At present, Tesla is working hard to keep up with its planned sales rates.

      Reply
      • Jim

         /  September 27, 2017

        Tesla has offered it’s fast DC Supercharger network to other automakers. Nobody has taken them up on it.

        Aside from the plug standards, the automotive battery and associated electronics need to be designed to accept fast DC charging. Not having this capability severely restricts the ability of the driver to take long trips. Hence the Chevy Bolt is handicapped from the beginning.

        German automakers (Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi) are all designing cars to accept fast DC charging, at levels faster than the current SuperCharger network. Tesla is of course, working on an upgrade.

        In fact if you want to tell which automakers are serious about EVs, you need look no further than their maximum charge speed.

        Reply
    • Brian

       /  September 27, 2017

      Yeah, it totally sucks that people have to plan in advance. /s

      Honestly though, someone’s gonna make a lot of money suing Tesla for monopoly practices when Tesla’s tried everything to AVOID this very outcome from happening, but people just won’t pay attention.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  September 28, 2017

        I’m not sure that Tesla’s supercharger network is as comparatively well developed in other markets outside the US (although it is pretty good here in Europe, I looked and the nearest one to me is about 30 miles away), so it is worth bearing in mind that your local situation may not reflect the situation elsewhere (ie outside the US).

        The thing is, other manufacturers certainly are involved in developing charging networks, although they are not manufacturer specific like Tesla’s.

        I hear that many Tesla owners in the UK carry round adapters to plug into the CHAdeMO network, since they are far more common here.

        https://www.zap-map.com/charge-points/connectors-speeds/

        Reply
  16. bostonblorp

     /  September 27, 2017

    Dyson also getting into the mix. Possibly with a solid-state lithium battery. Which would be huge. I know it will take a mix of technologies to get us through the coming Troubles but in my humble view none are more important than a robust, cheap battery with some multiple of energy storage vs current lead / lithium chemistries. Solar generation charges, at scale, are going to be a basically negligible cost in the eventual Kwh price.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2017/09/26/sir-james-dyson-and-dr-ann-marie-sastry-powerful-combination-in-battery-technology-development/#6d89a6b166f5

    Reply
    • It’s a funny thing that.

      Solar, for example, was often criticized for using a less effective medium in the form of silicon. But mass produced silicon still dominates. Within a year or so, mass produced lithium batteries will be 1/14th the price of what they were ten years ago.

      Reply
      • Jim

         /  September 28, 2017

        While innovation is always appreciated and welcome, it’s important to disrupt the narrative that “a significant breakthrough on some key technology” is essential before we can move away from fossil fuels.

        In reality the technology already exists to quickly move away from fossil fuels for large sectors of the world’s economy, and it’s economical. Renewables make up 66% of new global electricity generating capacity because it is cheaper than the alternatives — new gas or coal generating facilities.

        LiIon batteries are dropping in price by 20% per year, a pace that’s likely to accelerate as a massive amount of global production capacity comes on line in the next few years. Many EV cars already have cheaper lifetime purchase + operating costs. And as we approach $100 / kWh, they’ll be cheaper to manufacturer and purchase as well.

        As the head of China’s electric grid said last year (paraphrasing) “It’s no longer technology that’s needed, it is the will to make a change”.

        Reply
  17. Robert in New Orleans

     /  September 27, 2017

    What is needed is a standardized physical interface for automotive recharging units. But this logical answer will not come from the current administration. Progressive state governments will need to band together to implement a solution.

    Reply
    • There’s a big push among renewable energy advocates for standardized DC fast chargers and outlets. Would be very, very helpful. Would also create a new market for entrepreneurs, hotel owners, convenience store owners, and parking lots.

      Reply
  18. Greg

     /  September 27, 2017

    Thank you for this Robert. Nice sleuthing. Elon can be wily but you dug up some numbers. So while the Model 3 ramps up we see:
    -huge increases in the charging infrastructure (and capacity/speed) build out by Tesla to meet its present and future demand, including smaller urban parking garage chargers. Competitors also are doing the same, as are charging companies– including some large oil companies beginning to add chargers at their fuel stations/convenience stores.
    -Tesla backup battery systems for homes beginning to be delivered to customers.
    -Tesla solar roof production deliveries before the end of the year
    -Tesla truck/commercial vehicle debut this coming month
    -Defensive European automakers making a flurry of announcements about EV’s.
    -Some sharing from Board members around the Boring company being used for bullding shorter urban tunnels only for EV’s. These will be built at lower cost by not having all the pollution removal scrubbers for the tunnels.
    -China just crushing it in this space with their EV buses being exported.
    Stay tuned…

    Reply
    • The game has been afoot for some time now. But at this point, it’s starting to get interesting.

      What I find most interesting is that earlier EV offerings by major automakers vs Tesla appear to have been defensive. Now a new class of EVs is emerging — those aimed at both capturing more of the new market and expanding it.

      Of course, with planning and infrastructure development, Tesla is well ahead of the pack. Although the money, interest and policy coming out of China RE EVs is such that the country appears to be placing EV dominance at the level of critical national interest. We’ve seen China explode before. If China EV production follows similar track — watch out.

      I think Tesla is strongly positioned with its best in class products and amazing synergistic logistics chain. Its development path looks amazing as well. We’re about to see a number of things happen that have never happened before.

      Reply
  19. Tigertown

     /  September 27, 2017

    Flooding continues all over the word, but today Oklahoma has had torrential rain today. A certain news channel that erstwhile completely denied climate change showed a clip of a swiftwater rescue there. Their comments otherwise lately have involved some stuttering and explaining in regard to their views that I would never thought to hear from them. I guess they took such a strong stand otherwise, making the flip even more difficult, but are seeing no choice now in the face of reality.

    Reply
  20. Mblanc

     /  September 27, 2017

    Other EV’s in the news…

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/sep/27/easyjet-electric-planes-wright-electric-flights

    This is only for short-haul initially, but even that would be an extraordinary achievement in the 10 year time frame quoted.

    Reply
    • Hello!

      With Li Battery prices approaching 100 dollars per kwh and energy density increasing, this option is becoming more and more realistic.

      Reply
  21. Robert in New Orleans

     /  September 27, 2017

    Way off topic here, but Mr. Fanney I need your indulgence right now. As you and everyone else knows by now the situation on the Korean peninsula is very serious. In your honest opinion and to the best of your knowledge , what would the climatical ramifications if any to a limited(?) nuclear exchange in North East Asia?

    http://www.38north.org/2017/09/jdethomas092517/

    And what are your thoughts about the article noted above?
    The reason I ask you is because of your past experience as a threat analyst for Janes Information Group.

    Reply
  22. 12volt dan

     /  September 27, 2017

    OT but it looks like our prime minister has gotten around to unmuzzling our federal scientists

    http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/trudeau-names-mona-nemer-as-chief-scientist-with-aim-of-unmuzzling-federal-researchers

    about time

    Reply

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