Tesla’s Electric Sales Explode Despite Slow Model 3 Production Ramp

Around the world, electric vehicle makers are starting to make serious inroads into the global auto market. And aspirational industry leader Tesla continues to break new ground and open new markets despite an increasing array of challenges.

Record Tesla Sales

During the third quarter of 2017, Tesla sold 26,150 all-electric vehicles. A new quarterly sales record for the company which included 14,065 super-fast luxury Model S sedans, 11,865 of the also super-fast and highly luxurious Model X SUV, and 220 of the mid-class luxury-sport Model 3. In total, during 2017, Tesla has sold more than 73,000 vehicles. Placing the all-electric vehicle and renewable energy systems manufacturer in a position to challenge the 100,000 cars sold mark by end of December.

(Tesla production and sales by Quarter shows that Q3 2017 beat Tesla’s previous record by more than 1,300 vehicles. Tesla appears on track to hit near 100,000 vehicle sales in 2017. Note that Model X production took 6 Quarters, or approximately 18 months to fully ramp to present sales rates above 10,000 per Quarter. Telsa ultimately expects to produce more than 60,000 Model 3s per Quarter by 2018. Investment analysts are more conservative — with Morgan Stanley targeting 30,000 Model 3s per Quarter. Image source: Commons.)

Surprises in Tesla’s Q3 report include greater than expected overall Model S and X sales. Pessimistic speculation about Tesla struggling to sell its higher-quality line as customers await the anticipated but less expensive and tweaked-out (but still bad-ass) Model 3 abounded throughout August and September. Those contributing to this brouhaha, however, did not appear to anticipate the excitement generated by Tesla’s Model 3 launch which appears to have spilled over to the more expensive line-up even as Tesla both offered incentives on some of its showroom vehicles and cut shorter range, lower cost versions of its Model S line-up.

Tesla Model 3 Production Ramp — A Miss, But Still in the Window

Tesla did, however, fail to meet Model 3 production ramp goals of 1,500 by the end of September. And this was one point where the Tesla pessimists ended up proving at least partly right. Citing production bottlenecks, the luxury EV manufacturer noted that it had produced only 260 Model 3s by end month — a 1,240 vehicle short-fall for the Quarter.

Overall vehicle production had still grown from July through September — hitting 30 in July, about 80 in August, and about 150 in September. This is still an exponential rate of expansion. But the more rapid anticipated ramp was not achieved. Tesla noted that most of their fast production chain was functioning as planned. But that a few bits of the complex and highly automated Model 3 manufacturing subsystems were taking “longer than expected to activate.”

(Tesla’s ground-breaking Model 3 missed company production targets by a fairly wide margin this month — triggering a big controversy among investors. Long term prospects for the Model 3 remain strong as Tesla works through what is, effectively, an employee beta testing period. Image source: Tesla.)

At first blush, this appears to be a fairly wide miss in Tesla’s planned production ramp. But if rapid production scaling is still achieved this fall, it will look like nothing more than a bit of a bump in the road. After the Q3 report, Elon Musk noted:

“I would simply urge people to not get too caught up in what exactly falls within the exact calendar boundaries of a quarter, one quarter or the next, because when you have an exponentially growing production ramp, slight changes of a few weeks here or there can appear to have dramatic changes.”

In other words, we are still in the window for rapid production scaling, even if the earlier, more rapid, ramp was missed by a few weeks.

The company previously struggled with its very complex production of the ultimately popular Model X. To address production challenges, Tesla aimed to simplify production for the Model 3. But integration of new automated equipment into large manufacturing chains as the vehicle is built and product-tested by employee-customers is proving to again pose a few challenges. Challenges that, at this time, do not appear to be anywhere near as serious as those encountered during the Model X production ramp, but are still enough to produce delays.

Tesla Model 3 Production Still About to Explode as EV Maker Enjoys Serious Structural Advantages

Keeping these facts in mind, we can take some of the overly negative reports following Tesla’s failure to hit early Model 3 production targets with a lump of salt. The company still produces amazing cars, is still going to flood the world with high-quality and much more affordable all-electric Model 3s. The company owns a massive manufacturing apparatus in the form if its Freemont plant and Nevada Gigafactory. An apparatus that is rapidly growing. Outside this expanding manufacturing chain, the company is the only major automaker to seriously invest in and rapidly expand crucial EV charging infrastructure. All of these are systemic underlying strengths that the electric automaker will continue to leverage and expand on.

(Tesla battery sales help to reduce EV battery pack costs by producing economies of scale in production. The reverse is also true. With demand for Tesla’s powerwall and powerpacks on the rise, the company possesses a number of systemic advantages that most automobile manufacturers lack. Image source: Tesla.)

Tesla is in the process of transitioning from an automaker that produces a moderate number of vehicles each year to a major automaker that produces more than half a million vehicles each year. And it’s bound to encounter a bump or two in the road from time-to-time. Ultimately, the Model 3 production ramp will hit its stride as Tesla works out the kinks. Around 500,000 reservation-holders will still get their cars.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley recently:

warned investors against “micro-analyzing the monthly ramp of the Model 3.” Most vehicle launches have hiccups, and quality and attractiveness count for far more importance than quantity “at least for now,” they said in a note.

Tesla was quick to stress that it foresaw no serious issues with the Model 3 production. That the company understood what needed to be fixed in the manufacturing chain and was working to address those issues. If this is the case, we should see Model 3 production start to ramp more swiftly over the coming weeks. But even without rapidly ramping Model 3 production — which is on the way sooner or later — Tesla is still smashing previously held all-electric sales records.

And for those of us concerned about climate change, that’s good news.

Links:

Tesla Shares Shake off Bad News of Model 3 Deliveries

Tesla

Tesla Q3 Report

 

 

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99 Comments

  1. Allan Barr

     /  October 3, 2017

    We are in the early stages of a massive transformation into renewables and battery storage. A paradigm shift equal to the transformation from Horse and Buggy into ICE. That Change took a couple of decades. For those who care about the biosphere and can afford to invest in companies like Tesla its going to be good for their soul and pocketbook. Thanks for throwing out some positive news every now and then Robert, am personally struggling to remain optimistic when the deluge of ongoing catastrophic climate events appears overwhelming.

    Reply
    • It’s important not to get too focused on the dark side of what’s happening. We should remain alert to real and viable threats. But we should also remain open to the options that are now becoming available to us. In other words — there is both light and darkness here.

      Worth noting that Rick Perry is now pushing to subsidize the ailing nuclear and coal industries. Small surprise, that. The largest threats to renewables remain on the policy level. We should do all we can to support renewables by voting for politicians (democrats primarily) that support alternative options and voting out those (republicans primarily) who oppose them.

      Reply
    • Test version of Tesla’s all-electric semi also found recently:

      Reply
    • Jim

       /  October 4, 2017

      +1 Allan, you are spot on when saying we’re in the midst of a massive energy transformation.

      With the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf among others, the tipping point of EVs having a lower lifetime operating cost compared to ICE has already been soundly crossed, and the tipping point to build, and purchase, an EV is probably only 2 – 3 years away.

      Plus this doesn’t consider the regulatory activities that are now happening globally. The combination of PV solar panels and EV’s and soon, storage batteries, can dramatically influence the demand for oil and coal. Equally as important, people need to know it’s also economical.

      Do your own calculation using the NREL PV Watts website for you specific street address to calculate PV generation, and calculate your cost to drive with electric vs gasoline. Most folks are being ripped off to the tune of thousands of dollars each and every year. There is no such thing as “Clean, Affordable Coal”. It’s expensive. And gasoline even at $2.50/gallon is still about 4 times the cost of driving on electricity.

      Reply
      • Tesla is now charging 20 cents per kWh in CA
        A Model S 100D is rated at about 330 miles of range
        = 3.3 miles per kWh
        At 20 cents per kWh = 6 cents per mile

        Compare with a BMW 7 series blended city/highway of about 25 miles per gallon
        At $3/gallon = 12 cents per mile

        So, for those drive long distances the savings are about 50% just from gasoline
        Unfortunately Tesla has an annual mandatory service charge of about $500 ( I have NOT paid a penny for service on my Ford EV, because I refuse to pay the dealer for doing nothing.)

        The real savings come from charging at home using a home solar system….. which is the Tesla business model.

        Tesla is setting a GREAT example.

        But, once again, do NOT confuse living in an environmentally responsible way with investing in Tesla’s stock.

        They are 2 quite different things…. and investors will learn this lesson over the long term.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the sharp comments.

          Worth noting that investing in companies like Tesla is environmentally responsible. By doing so you send a signal to the market that cleaner industries are supported by speculative interest. This makes it easier to transition away from fossil fuels which is, overall, very helpful.

        • Withdrawing my earlier compliment.

          As ever, self-moderation is a virtue. And most notions, taken too far, inevitably become distorted.

  2. I have been driving a leased Ford Focus EV for the last 28 months, and am a huge supporter of EV revolution. I will be leasing or buying another EV when my lease ends.

    BUT, I think that its a huge mistake to confuse the inevitable success of EVs with that of Tesla as a company, especially from an investment point of view.

    Please read: Tesla Stock = An Over Hyped Money Pit for Momentum Crazed Morons

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tesla-overvalued-overbought-sell-kenneth-m-luskin/

    I am a huge supporter of what Elon Musk has accomplished to benefit the environment.
    But, that does NOT mean I confuse investing in a stock with TRUE SUPPORT, which means driving an EV.

    I am also a vegan, because its good for my health and good the environment. But, That does NOT mean I should own stock in Amazon, because they now own Whole Foods markets.

    I am a big supporter of what Elon Musk/Tesla are trying to accomplish, but I do NOT confuse that with investing in companies, and the brutal economics of the auto business.

    Reply
  3. “Consumers that seek out products that have a positive impact on the environment and climate are starting to get “critical mass” in some markets”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-02/tesla-is-dropped-by-climate-fund-that-s-beaten-97-of-its-peers

    I am a huge supporter of living one’s life in an environmentally sustainable fashion.

    40 years ago I learned about how humans were destroying our world.
    Since then, I have felt the biggest problem was the number of humans on this planet. Because eventually everyone will want to consume and live like most Americans.

    Billions of people may be able to survive for couple hundred years (blink of an eye for the planet), but eventually they will completely destroy our environment.

    I am proud that I have NOT added to the worldwide population explosion.
    I am also proud that that I am a vegan, and drive an EV.

    But, as someone who has spent decades studying investments, I KNOW what will happen to Tesla’s investors over the long term…. and I am NOT alone in my views.

    Which is why I plead with those people who are environmentally aware to NOT throw their money away by owning Tesla stock at this time.

    Just because the stock is UP dramatically since it went public does NOT mean one should project that performance into the future.

    In most areas of life, most people understand that something that has become expensive should NOT be bought now. Just wait for the avocado shortage to end…. buy other foods in the meantime…. BUT when it comes to investing, people LOSE their MINDS!

    WHY?

    GREED! It overwhelms them. They do NOT want to see reality…. they only want to see what fits into their dreams of making more money.

    IF you truly care about the environment, then buy land and plant trees!
    IF you truly care about the environment donate to organizations that try to reduce the population explosion.

    BUT do NOT post lies about an overvalued stock, because you are greedy….. that does NOTHING for the environment.

    Reply
  4. wili

     /  October 4, 2017

    Ford’s announcement today:

    Ford CEO outlines plan to aggressively cut costs, funneling savings to electric, self-driving cars

    The Blue Oval is getting a makeover.

    Ford CEO Jim Hackett and his leadership team are steering the automaker to drive greater profits on its most valuable products, trucks and SUVs, while turning away from less valuable areas like cars. At the same time, Ford plans to aggressively cut costs while investing more resources on electric and autonomous-drive vehicles.

    “When you’re a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades, the decision to change is not easy — culturally or operationally,” Hackett said. “Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success.”

    Hackett devised his plan for transforming Ford after using most of his first 100 days at the helm to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. The result is a substantial push to shift gears at a company that has a history of being slow to change.

    More trucks and SUVs, fewer Cars

    Ford plans to reallocate about $7 billion to increased development and production of trucks and SUVs, while demphasizing less profitable cars and sedans.

    Ford is not getting out of the car business all-together, but it will no longer be an automaker that pushes cars as heavily as it has in the past.

    Instead, Ford will emphasize trucks and SUVs, an area of strength and big profits, especially when compared its competitors. This year, 76 percent of Ford’s sales in the U.S. are trucks and SUVs.

    Charging up EVs

    Like other automakers, Ford is going electric.

    Over the next five years, it will redeploy money into its program for developing and building electric vehicles while cutting capital expenditures for internal combustion engines by one third.

    Ford sees the writing on the wall, especially in many foreign markets where governments are de-emphasizing or moving to ban gasoline-powered vehicles. This move is critical since Ford has lagged competitors when it comes to developing EVs. …

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/03/ford-to-cut-costs-funneling-savings-to-electric-self-driving-cars.html

    Generally, we need to move mostly away from car culture as rapidly as we can. But while cars still rule, it is important to have alternatives it ICE, imho.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  October 4, 2017

      Other developments:

      “I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

      California is now also considering a ban on gas and diesel-powered cars
      https://electrek.co/2017/09/26/california-ban-gas-diesel-powered-cars/

      Reply
      • wili

         /  October 4, 2017

        And:

        Twenty new electric vehicles are on the way, GM says
        There will be a mix of long-range battery EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

        DETROIT—General Motors is the latest car company to unveil plans for an emissions-free future. On Monday morning, the US’ largest automaker announced that the next 18 months will see two new electric vehicles join the Bolt EV in showrooms, and 18 more are due by 2023. “GM believes in an all-electric future and a world free of automotive emissions,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive VP for product development, purchasing, and supply chain. “When the Bolt EV was announced at CES it was described as a platform, and this is the next step.” …

        https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/10/general-motors-plans-for-an-all-electric-future-20-new-evs-coming-by-2023/

        Reply
        • wili

           /  October 4, 2017

          Sorry for the back-to-back, but I’ve been following these developments over at the cars thread at ASIF. Thanks to Sig there for these links and text. One more note, then I’m off to bed:

          Most of the fastest selling used cars in the US are now electric
          https://qz.com/1090343/most-of-the-fastest-selling-used-vehicles-in-the-us-are-now-ev/

          6 of the 10 fastest-selling used cars in the US are electric plug-ins
          https://electrek.co/2017/09/28/6-of-the-10-fastest-selling-used-cars-in-the-us-are-electric-plug-ins/

          Tipping points, of a happier sort than we usually use that term around here, seem to be coming on all sorts of fronts wrt EVs!

        • Abel Adamski

           /  October 5, 2017

          https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/04/porsche-mission-e-spotted-testing/

          Porsche Mission E caught testing against Teslas
          It looks as though Porsche is pretty far in development.

          Porsche has previously said that the Mission E would reach production by 2020, and according to our friends at Engadget, it should go on sale in 2019. Based on how complete the cars in these photos appear to be, we think the company has a good chance of hitting that target. When the concept was shown, Porsche promised 590 horsepower and, on the European test cycle, a range of over 310 miles. Also interesting was the concept’s claimed 800-volt electrical system that could be charged to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes. Time will tell whether that system comes to fruition, but Porsche has at least tested some portion of the system on its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid race cars. Porsche also expects to sell the car for $80,000 to $90,000. All these features taken together would definitely make for a compelling Tesla alternative.

          California and charging stations

    • Abel Adamski

       /  October 4, 2017

      The issue for the big auto makers is simply charging stations as Jack Richards points out in the video Greg posted above, as Jack points out to much of the buying public, can they drive to California in it ( even if they never will ) , Tesla has built 380 or so supercharger stations in the US, so for Tesla cars it is a yes, for the other manufacturers, unless their vehicles can plug into a Tesla Supercharger, the answer is no, so off the list of prospective veh purchases.

      As he also points out Tesla offered a share in that network to the Car Manufacturers on a share all costs basis, they knocked it back, as such dependant on private operators and those stations if they are working are of highly variable standard.

      Another interesting point I picked up that is behind the panic of the worlds ICE veh manufacturers is that US car makers sell 60% of their new cars in China, China going EV as well as many other countries, destroys their business model if they don’t have suitable products regardless of what happens in the US

      Reply
  5. Vic

     /  October 4, 2017

    I personally find it pretty bizarre that I’m actually looking forward to the unveiling of a new semi truck, but these are pretty strange times so I guess that explains my enthusiasm.

    I feel a certain measure of trepidation however about Elon’s plans for his massive new rocket ship the BFR, which could allow us not only to become a multi-planet species but also to travel anywhere on Earth in under an hour for around the same cost as traditional air travel. Sounds great, except that it would likely increase the popularity of long distance travel and considering the rocket’s CO2 emissions high into our atmosphere this is somewhat concerning.

    But there might just be a silver lining. In order for Elon to achieve his Martian goals he’ll need to be able to produce methane and oxygen on Mars in order for the rockets and people to get back to Earth. For this he proposes using electrolysis to extract O2 and H2 from water sources on Mars and combining the H2 using the Sabatier process with CO2 extracted from Mars’ atmosphere to produce the methane. All solar powered of course.
    He mentions it briefly around the 33:50 mark in the video below, and goes on to mention that the same process could be employed on Earth, but is also careful to describe that possibility as “in the long term”. It’s hard to know what someone like Elon Musk thinks of as long term. He plans to begin sending his rockets to Mars by 2022. Let’s hope he has a fleet of Earth bound climate-friendly methane factories putting the frackers out of business by then. A price on carbon would certainly help.

    Reply
  6. Vic

     /  October 4, 2017

    German startup Lilium Aviation have secured $90 million in funding to help bring their new electric VTOL aircraft to market. The funding was led by Tencent – adding to their now many electric vehicle-related investments, including a 5% stake in Tesla. 

    https://electrek.co/2017/10/02/electric-vtol-aircraft-lilium-jet/

    Reply
  7. Mblanc

     /  October 4, 2017

    Ten years ago we could see the future was looking pretty dark, and we had relatively little positive evidence that the massive energy transition we need was truly imminent.

    Now we know that transition will happen, as all the key tech is now very affordable, so it’s now a question of how fast .That is a huge positive thing.

    I appreciate RS letting us know about some of the genuinely good news stories, because it is hard to handle the knowledge of all the bad stuff unwinding in front of our eyes, and what the future will bring.

    We might be up the creek, but at least we starting to paddle.

    Reply
  8. Suzanne

     /  October 4, 2017

    At NYTimes this morning..”In a warming world, keeping the planes running”

    Climate change is making airport planners think again.

    Low-lying airports may become increasingly vulnerable to storm surges. Hotter temperatures may cause tarmac to melt, restrict takeoff weights or require heavier aircraft to take off later in the day.

    Now governments, companies and experts around the world are grappling with what could be a very expensive problem. Keeping the industry aloft requires colossal investment — $1.1 trillion in airport infrastructure projects are planned or underway, the CAPA Center for Aviation, a consulting firm based in Australia, said in July.

    “Airports understand well that climate change could have some far-reaching effects and that they are not immune to them,” said Angela Gittens, the director general at Airports Council International’s headquarters in Montreal.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  October 4, 2017

      Correction…This was first published on September 30th…I just saw it this morning.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  October 5, 2017

      Most of the ‘industry’ should just be shut down. Relatively few flights are absolutely necessary. What’s left of the carbon budget and the airlines budget should be saved for those, rather than the enormous numbers of frivolous flights now being taken.

      I just celebrated my 13 year of not flying, by the way. Never regretted it for a day (especially as I hear the increasingly horrific stories of what airlines put you through and how passengers are sometimes molested and dragged of the plane by force…)

      Reply
      • Yes. For us to survive, consumer culture must end.

        Reply
        • We definitely need a shift away from consumer-focused economies and more toward sustainability oriented economies. This is not to say that we can’t leverage some aspects of present culture to enable a more rapid transition.

      • Mblanc

         /  October 6, 2017

        If the recent talk of electric planes comes to pass, we might have an option we can afford to use. Obviously it will be short haul first, as this story about Easyjet’s project notes.

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

        ‘EasyJet could be flying planes powered by batteries rather than petroleum to destinations including Paris and Amsterdam within a decade.

        The UK carrier has formed a partnership with US firm Wright Electric, which is developing a battery-propelled aircraft for flights under two hours.’

        Also Boeing are talking about hybrids by 2022.

        https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/06/electric-commuter-plane-backed-by-boeing-to-take-off-in-2022

        ‘A Seattle-area startup backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing and JetBlue Airways has announced plans to begin selling a hybrid-electric commuter aircraft by 2022.

        The small plane is the first of several planned by Zunum Aero, which said it would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors, dramatically reducing the travel time and cost of trips under 1,000 miles (1,600km).’

        Obviously it would be far better to not fly until it is sustainable, and also to tax flying at a rate commensurate with the harm it causes.

        Personally, I remember when they said that electric trucks and planes were practically impossible, I think it was energy density that was mentioned at the time.

        Reply
  9. bostonblorp

     /  October 4, 2017
    Reply
  10. Moroccan city introduces Chinese electrical buses
    The Moroccan city of Marrakech launched on Thursday electrical busses from China in a bid to improve transportation service and reduce pollution…http://www.china.org.cn/business/2017-09/29/content_41665484.htm#.Wc3twSe2rFU.twitter

    Reply
  11. Dave McGinnis

     /  October 5, 2017

    Industry got us into this mess, only they can get us out of it. This is one way they’re doing it — satisfying consumer demand for green transportation. And look at solar sales.

    P.S. Mr Scribbler, I really appreciated your OPAL story.

    Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  October 6, 2017

      Dave, the private sector is the only way we are going to buy time for our children. Government is broke, in many ways.

      Reply
      • Brian

         /  October 6, 2017

        The government is only broke morally. As for cash, it can create out of thin air (aka the Federal Reserve) or generate revenue from taxes.

        Yes, this is very simplistic, but unless the US defaults on its debt, which is illegal under the constitution i believe, there’s really nothing stopping the spending that’s on-going.

        Reply
  12. Andy_in_SD

     /  October 5, 2017

    As permafrost melts, cliff faces fall. In this instance in Greenland a Tsunami was the result.

    A Landslide Was the Culprit Behind a Massive Tsunami in Greenland
    This could be just the beginning.

    Western Greenland doesn’t experience all that much seismic activity, so scientists were surprised when a 4.0 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the Karrat Fjord area on June 17, followed by one of the largest tsunamis in recorded history, which swept away 11 houses in the small village of Nuugaatsiaq. A closer examination of seismic data and the mountains surrounding the fjord reveals that it wasn’t an earthquake that caused the tsunami after all. Instead, it was a massive landslide that tripped seismic sensors and generated the unprecedented wave.

    http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/greenland-tsunami-landslide-karrat-fjord

    Reply
  13. wili

     /  October 5, 2017

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/solar-power-renewables-international-energy-agency
    “Renewables accounted for two-thirds of new power added to world’s grids last year, says International Energy Agency (IEA)”

    “The authority, which is funded by 28 member governments, admitted it had previously underestimated the speed at which green energy was growing.”

    Reply
    • Allan Barr

       /  October 5, 2017

      The IEA is notorious for being wrong, they use straight line thinking appear to be unaware of the exponential function.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  October 5, 2017

        Certainly they have often been wrong about future projections. But then, “predictions are hard, especially about the future” ‘-)

        But I’m not aware that they have consistently failed to accurately state what has already happened. If you have such evidence, please do share.

        Reply
  14. Abel Adamski

     /  October 5, 2017

    Slightly OT, but the gems you pick up along the way in the droppings
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/05/republican-donors-trump-mcconnell-anger-243449

    Marc Short, Trump’s director of legislative affairs who previously served as an operative for the Koch financial network,

    Reply
  15. Vic

     /  October 5, 2017

    A nice project going ahead in Norway – the world’s first battery powered container ship. Due to launch in 2018.

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  October 6, 2017

      Great movement forward in marine transport. And this for aircraft which isn’t new news but is solidifying:
      Consumer passenger flight could be the next industry that’s transformed by electric powertrains, and Seattle’s Zunum Aero wants to be at the forefront of that change.

      The Seattle-based company, which is backed by Boeing’s HorizonX fund and Jet Blue’s Technology Ventures, has a plan to change the fundamental economics of regional flight, and shift the economics of air travel on a path towards eventual fully electric flight.
      https://finance.yahoo.com/news/zunum-aero-apos-hybrid-electric-110046406.html

      Reply
  16. Vic

     /  October 5, 2017

    In other news from Norway, parts of the country’s south have witnessed their highest ever rainfall totals and flood levels in records dating back to 1890.

    https://watchers.news/2017/10/04/norway-flood/

    Reply
  17. Abel Adamski

     /  October 5, 2017
    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  October 6, 2017

    Miami this week with King Tide:

    Reply
  19. Greg

     /  October 6, 2017

    Huge opportunity:
    Billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk says that he believes he can rebuild Puerto Rico’s power grid with batteries and solar power.

    “The Tesla team has [built solar grids] for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit, so it can be done for Puerto Rico too,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.
    http://thehill.com/policy/technology/354154-musk-tesla-can-rebuild-puerto-rico-power-grid

    Reply
  20. Vic

     /  October 6, 2017

    Floods and landslides associated with tropical storm Nate have killed at least 15 people in Nicaragua. A further 7 people were killed in Costa Rica were the death toll is expected to rise as 15 people are still unaccounted for.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-06/tropical-storm-nate-pounds-central-america/9021462

    Reply
  21. Vic

     /  October 6, 2017

    “The cost of solar PV has hit a stunning new low – with a bid for a 300MW solar project in Saudi Arabia pitched at just $US1.79c/kWh – or $US17.9/MWh – with no subsidies.”

    http://reneweconomy.com.au/stunning-new-low-for-solar-pv-as-even-iea-hails-age-of-solar-43509/

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  October 6, 2017

      The vid in the comments, automatic machine installation of solar panels (Industrial or utility Scale) , labour costs minimised
      Magic

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  October 7, 2017

        This kind of innovation is increasingly crushing any fossil fuel competition. Let the sunshine in! (and after capturing some, back out of the atmosphere as long waves of course:)

        Reply
  22. Paul

     /  October 6, 2017

    OT, but here’s another “oh, crap!” article in The Guardian about a new study about increasing CO2 emissions from warming soils:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/carbon-emissions-warming-soils-higher-than-estimated-signalling-tipping-points

    Reply
    • Oh, crap!

      That doesn’t sound good. It’s hard to verify or repeat an experiment that takes 20 years to complete, though. I hope other soils behave differently. We need to find out how soils around the world are going to react, ASAP.

      Once again this emphasizes the problem of speed of CO2 increase due to fossil fuel burning. Nothing has time to react naturally. Over thousands of years, this sort of temperature increase and soil microbe reorganization would be business as usual for the climate system, I think. The temperature dependent rock weathering cycle would simply start to store more carbon as carbonate, maybe. Temperatures would rise, the rock weathering cycle would store more carbonate, temperatures would fall again. I think that’s the way it would work. But it takes the rock weathering cycle thousands of years to do this – 140,000 years to return the system to normal after a hyperthermal event.

      Reply
  23. Robert, you should team up with potholer54 on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCljE1ODdSF7LS9xx9eWq0GQ to take on the climate change misinformation campaign. You two would make an excellent team!

    Reply
  24. Genomik

     /  October 6, 2017

    Wow I just saw on Facebook a good friends eco resort was annhilated by Hurricane Nate. They were on the west side of the country but it washed all the buildings away as well as bridges and almost everything else not attached to concrete. This is not even a particularly massive hurricane but it’s still causing terrible damage.

    I’m not hearing much on the news but Costa Rica etc are beautiful places with large tourism industries so I’m sure this will affect not just the locals but many expats and tourists.

    http://qcostarica.com/tropical-storm-nate-hits-costa-rica-hard-seven-dead-thousands-in-shelters/

    Reply
  25. Syd Bridges

     /  October 6, 2017

    Thank you for another good news story, Robert.

    Reply
  26. Penny Laskey

     /  October 7, 2017

    http://www.science.su.se/english/about-us/calendar/the-gordon-goodman-memorial-lecture-2017-kevin-anderson-1.341476
    This link is to a 30 minute presentation last month by Kevin Anderson followed by panel discussions with 5 others particularly focusing on negative emissions technology, especially BECCS, from social,moral, political, engineering and legal aspects.

    Thank you Mr Scribbler and all the other wonderful posters, plus missing Colorado Bob-hope the liver is hanging in there.

    Reply
    • Hi Penny-

      Your link is a wonderful video of intelligent concerned academics grappling with this terrible climate problem, being very honest for the most part, I think. Kevin Anderson is particularly perceptive and acute, in my opinion, and I agree with most of what he said, with some exceptions. His point that we should develop BECCS at full speed, while not relying on its success for planning purposes sounds like a necessary strategy to me.

      CCS has been looked at for years – with most of the studies being done by industries that don’t really want to do CCS – they just want to keep dumping CO2 into the atmosphere. So, we need to take a close, inventive, creative look at BECCS, by people who are actually motivated to solve the problem. Elon Musk and Tesla have shown what such an approach can do with electric vehicles and solar roofs. We need a similar program for BECCS, I think.

      The lady from the Swedish steel industry who spoke about zero carbon processes for steel was an example of the creative, cooperative approach that industries will have to take in the future. Simpler options for the steel industry could just be to replace fossil fuel coke with biomass coke. She spoke about a hydrogen chemical reduction process, and there are also purely electrical processes for steel production. So steel production can actually be carbon neutral.

      I disagree that transformation of existing coal fired power plants to BECCS plants has to cost net energy. Old steam cycle power plants are so inefficient that updating them to combined cycle operation could pay back the energy cost of the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), for example.

      Old steam cycle power plants could have a gas turbine topping cycle added to them, boosting their electrical production by maybe 30 percent. If oxy-fuel combustion is done to allow a pure stream of CO2 at the end of the process, the increased temperatures of oxy-fuel could allow triple cycle operation, with a top MHD (MagnetoHydroDynamic) cycle with the exhaust from that driving a gas turbine cycle, and the exhaust of the gas turbine cycle driving the conventional steam cycle. MHD has been experimented on for years, combined cycle is widely used and becoming more common, but old steam cycle power plants are still the most common, I think.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetohydrodynamic_generator

      So the extra efficiency of modernizing the old coal fired power plants into more modern BECCS power plants could pay for the energy cost of oxygen production and CCS, I think.

      So BECCS energy does not have to be more costly than fossil fuel energy. Biomass tends to be roughly as cheap as coal, and if biomass was harvested from higher elevations and transported mostly by gravity to lower elevation power plants using electric vehicles or railways with regenerative braking or navigable rivers, the cost of biomass (or charcoal from that biomass) could be very low, indeed. Imported charcoal could be transported around the world as a slurry in converted oil tankers, perhaps, and supplied to power plants near sea level.

      We have the technology, and technological changes can occur very rapidly indeed if there is a cost incentive, as is the case now with solar energy. Elon Musk and Tesla have shown us a modified economic model in which the advantages of capitalism can be used for a purpose promoting the public good.

      What we need to do is apply the Musk/Tesla model and methods to BECCS, I think Get the price down, bring cheap BECCS power to the market, charge the fossil fuel industries for the full cost of their environmental meddling, and the necessary transformation that we need can occur, i think.

      Reply
    • Another conceptual frame I disagree with that was common in that conference was that biomass energy cannot co-exist on the same land as food production or forests. The ORNL (Oak Ridge National Labs) study that was done that claimed we could get in excess of a billion tons of biomass per year from existing forest wastes and crop residues indicates that this is the case.

      https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/12/f34/2016_billion_ton_report_12.2.16_0.pdf

      So, we don’t need an entire new continent of Africa in land area for a massive BECCS program, as was claimed at that conference. In the U.S, we need crop residues, forest waste, trash, and biomass plantations on existing public lands, for a very robust BECCS program. For transport, we need electric vehicles with regenerative braking, electrical railways with regenerative braking, and modest modifications to navigable river transport systems.

      The Icelandic CarbFix process was another thing not considered at this conference. We don’t have to wait hundreds of years for supercritical CO2 to transform into carbonate. Using carbonated water, we can transform CO2 into carbonate in basalt formations in a few years – 98% conversion in two years, was what the last CarbFix report I saw claimed, if I recall right.

      Reply
    • Don’t want to mess with peoples’ conceptual frames and associations too much…but it just occurred to me that steel making could become a carbon negative activity.

      If biomass carbon was used (biomass coke) and CCS was used to capture the resulting CO2, steel making could actually become carbon negative. A system of carbon credits could actually turn this into an opportunity for the steel industry, maybe. Might be worth researching and thinking about this, I think

      Reply
  27. Technical article, but might wind up influencing climate and weather models. Models a Kelvin wave.

    What Earth’s climate system and topological insulators have in common. Oct 5, 2017
    Brown University. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171005141808.htm
    Summary:
    New research shows that equatorial waves — pulses of warm ocean water that play a role in regulating Earth’s climate — are driven by the same dynamics as the exotic materials known as topological insulators.

    The research helps to explain the existence of several types of equatorial waves. One of them, known as the equatorial Kelvin wave, delivers periodic pulses of warm water to the coast of South America, which is the El Niño oscillation. The findings also explain how these waves persist despite being battered by storms and shifting wind, and how they pass straight by islands that might be expected to cause the waves to scatter.

    “In topological insulators, the current is able to move right through impurities in the material as if they weren’t there,” Marston said. “That’s because of their topological nature, and it helps us understand why equatorial waves and the El Niño oscillation persist despite being jostled around by weather and other obstacles.”

    In addition to helping explain the persistence of El Niño cycles, Marston says these same dynamics are likely happening elsewhere in the climate system — in the upper atmosphere, for example. Recognizing the topological nature of these phenomena could help deepen scientists’ understanding of how they work, Marston says.

    “As a practical matter, this will give us new ways to identify these kinds of climate dynamics by looking at the topology,” he said. “We might be able to find and understand topological structures that may have been missed before.”

    Reply
  28. Vic

     /  October 7, 2017

    Around sixteen thousand Australians turned out today at 45 locations across the country to protest Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.

    The Stop Adani Alliance, which organised the national rallies, is made up of 31 organisations.
    Its membership has doubled since it launched in March, while more than 160 groups have formed in that time.

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/10/07/its-going-ruin-everything-thousands-flock-nationwide-protests-fight-adani-coal

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  October 7, 2017

      A damning exposé of Adani’s bribery, corruption, tax evasion and money laundering aired on Australian ABC TV earlier this week.

      Reply
  29. Go All Green From the tireless activist/writer Harvey Wasserman ..Truthdig article..

    The terrible global-warmed tragedy that has ripped through Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands now offers us a unique opportunity—and a vital imperative. As Elon Musk and others in the business of clean, green power have made clear, the islands’ centralized fossil-fueled electric grids should not be rebuilt.

    Instead, they advocate entirely replacing them with decentralized, community-owned micro-grids, powered by solar panels, wind turbines and locally grown biofuels. That conversion would guarantee the islands a cheap, secure energy supply while fighting the global warming that made these hurricanes such fearsome destroyers of life and property…https://www.truthdig.com/articles/time-puerto-rico-virgin-islands-go-green/

    Reply
  30. Greg

     /  October 7, 2017

    Australian power storage plant more than 50% complete. Elon visited.

    “Let’s not forget — SpaceX launched their first rocket nine years ago, on a tiny budget, and next year they’ll own 50% of space launches worldwide. They did this in spite of competing against some of the richest, well-established, entrenched companies and wealthiest national governments in the world. If Musk could rock the rocket biz this much, I wonder what he has in store for the auto industry?”
    https://insideevs.com/tesla-fast-track-oz/

    Reply
  31. There is a circular jet stream in the North Pacific today @ 192 km/hr. Don’t recall ever seeing such a thing, and don’t even know if it is important, bit it’s striking.

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2017/10/07/1500Z/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-139.49,28.11,626/loc=-150.839,34.925?

    Reply
  32. Kassy

     /  October 7, 2017

    Nate makes nine Atlantic hurricanes in a row—unprecedented in modern era

    On August 9th, deep in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Franklin reached 85mph winds before moving into Mexico. Although the storm dropped some heavy rains over the Mexican state of Veracruz, Franklin’s effects were relatively moderate, and it was soon forgotten.

    But following Franklin’s formation two months ago, eight additional tropical systems have developed and been assigned names by the National Hurricane Center. And during this frenetic season, all of those systems have become hurricanes as well. That’s nine in a row, which is unprecedented in the modern hurricane era.

    According to Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane scientist at Colorado State University, nine consecutive named storms have not reached hurricane status since 1893. The record is 10 such storms, which happened in 1878, 1886, and 1893. However, it is unlikely that those years really recorded 10 hurricanes in a row, given that most observations were made on land or by ships.

    continues on:
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/10/with-nate-the-last-nine-atlantic-storms-have-reached-hurricane-status/

    Reply
  33. John McCormick

     /  October 8, 2017

    Off topic, but A must read:

    Well below 2 °C: Mitigation strategies for avoiding dangerous to catastrophic climate changes
    1. Yangyang Xua,1 and
    2. Veerabhadran Ramanathanb,1

    http://www.pnas.org/content/114/39/10315.full

    An excerpt:

    Mitigation Criteria for Warming.

    The meaning of the phrase “well below 2 °C” was not adequately defined in the Paris Agreement. A hint was given through the aspirational goal of limiting the warming to “below 1.5 °C.” Using the probability approach, we propose that mitigation measures attempting to limit the warming to WB2C must consider adopting the following criteria: (i) The warming should be limited to below dangerous levels with at least a 50% probability; (ii) in addition, the LPHI warming should be limited to below catastrophic levels; and (iii) instead of stabilizing at 1.5 °C or 2 °C, the warming must begin to decrease with time before the end of the 21st century. In other words, we must bend the warming curve by the end of the century. Why is this criterion for bending the warming curve important? The Eemian period of 130,000 years ago was an interglacial period similar to the present and was warmer by ∼1 °C. It was associated with a 6- to 9-m rise in sea level (26), which suggests that a warming of 1.5 °C or more sustained over centuries can cause a catastrophic sea level rise.

    Reply
  34. Vic

     /  October 8, 2017

    Say hello to “Rapid Roll” – a portable 11kW solar + battery system that can be deployed in two minutes.

    https://techxplore.com/news/2017-10-power-portable-approach-roll-up-solar.html

    Reply
    • Vic

       /  October 8, 2017

      The company is also developing a 300kW system that deploys from a shipping container – multiples of which can provide a multi-megawatt power plant that can be deployed (or removed) in a matter of hours.

      http://www.renovagen.com/

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  October 8, 2017

        That is even quicker deployment than the robot arm featured up the thread. 🙂

        Fortunately Land Rover will have a nice electric version to tow it, by 2020. And if the Land Rover ever runs out of leccy you can just unroll a few feet for a fast charge!

        http://www.theweek.co.uk/88252/all-jaguar-land-rover-models-to-be-electrified-from-2020

        Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  October 9, 2017

        Once again, that link at the bottom of the original techxplore article provides another one, just to keep to theme for once, we have a Tesla as the showcase, on orange one

        Link to article to follow

        Reply
        • Abel Adamski

           /  October 9, 2017

          https://phys.org/news/2013-04-lotus-mobile-unfolds-solar-charging-petals.html

          (Phys.org) —A Scottsdale, Arizona, company is making the news with its fold-able solar charging system of 18 panels that resemble a flower, and can sit atop a vehicle, which gives the device the appearance of a supersized canopy or floppy hat. At least that is the way in which the Lotus Mobile solar charger made its showcased appearance, perched on top of an orange Tesla car, no less, just in case all eyes were not totally riveted. The Lotus Mobile solar power system is the brainchild of the orange car’s owner, Joseph Hui, CEO of the Scottsdale, Arizona, company Monarch Power, and also a professor at Arizona State University.

          Hui, inventor and entrepreneur, took to his orange Tesla late last month in Phoenix to demonstrate the Lotus Mobile on top of the car, as a mobile solar power system light enough to transport by means of a small vehicle. Hui said he chose the lotus flower design because it inspired him to transform solar energy from heavy, strapped down panels to become light, personal and portable.

          The Lotus Mobile is designed for any disaster that takes down power sources or for any power-less global village in need of power. The solar charger could also be used for camping.

          This device can fold and unfold like a flower. Hui wanted to achieve a solar array specially built for portability as well as energy capture. The circular array design succeeds in capturing sunlight to recharge an EV, fridge, or other appliances.
          Monarch’s web site offered this comment: “Lotus Mobile follows the sun on two axes, giving 30 percent more power than rooftop solar panels. It’s also less expensive because of significantly less structural support, since 70 percent of the traditional panel system cost is related to architectural placement.”

    • Greg

       /  October 9, 2017

      +1

      Reply
  35. Greg

     /  October 9, 2017

    In 1910 there were few paved roads, and gasoline was hard to find – today’s vast infrastructure of refineries and gas stations didn’t exist. The price of a Model T was the equivalent of about $137,000 – almost double the price tag of a Tesla Model S.

    A decade later, the picture looked quite different: the price of a Model T had dropped to the equivalent of $35,000, and governments and the oil industry were investing huge sums in roads and other infrastructure. In 1921, the Model T was selling a million units a year. By 1925 annual sales were approaching two million.The authors of a new paper point out that making the switch to an electric car is much simpler than swapping the bag of oats for the fuel pump was a century ago.
    https://insideevs.com/electric-car-transition-parallel-model-t/

    Reply
  36. Abel Adamski

     /  October 9, 2017

    https://nextcity.org/features/view/rotterdam-climate-change-carbon-emissions

    Too long to post.
    Precis
    They built 2 massive coal fired plants on the promise of CCS – too expensive and complex, gave up on the CCS so massive CO2 injectors into the atmosphere

    Reply
    • Kassy

       /  October 10, 2017

      Sadly we built a couple of new powerplants not too long ago of which at least 1 or more needs to be shut down.

      Oh and that liberal-conservative party (the VVD) also changed the max speed on the road from 120 km/h to 130 km/hr. This is mainly a sybolic gesture because the Netherlands is so small that that difference does not give any advantage on travel times. Off course it does increase the number of accidents, severity of their outcomes and it increases pollution from the cars especially on their direct environment (people living next to highways, usually not the well to do ofcourse).

      Reply
  37. Abel Adamski

     /  October 9, 2017

    https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-10-08/us-defense-department-takes-climate-change-seriously
    The US Defense Department takes climate change seriously
    While President Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax, the Department of Defense is focused on understanding and preparing for continued climate disruption and the security threats it poses in a warming world.
    “So much depends on local governance, on the inherent strength and resilience of the communities affected,” Titley says. “This is why you see people like Defense Secretary Mattis talk so strongly about the need for not only the military to be funded, but for adequate funding for US Agency for International Development, or USAID; for our State Department to be adequately funded and adequately manned, because the military can come in initially and try to help stabilize the situation, but the US military is not going to be the one that rebuilds these societies.”
    James Mattis was “pretty clear on this early on in his tenure as Secretary of Defense.” His answers to written questions from congressional leaders indicated he understands that the climate is changing and that “those changes, if unmanaged, compose a risk to US security operations and US Department of Defense.”
    Titley has a saying he uses to describe how things work at Defense: “If the boss is interested, everybody else is fascinated.” Mattis’s acceptance of climate change as a security risk allows others in the department, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to begin to plan for its effects, he says.

    “For a lot of the readiness of the Department of Defense, it doesn’t even really matter why [the climate] is changing,” he adds. The department’s internal message, he says, is “‘we know it’s changing; we know it’s changing pretty quickly, and we’d better be ready for that, because if we just plan for the past we’re going to be surprised,’— and that’s not where the Department of Defense wants to be.”

    Reply
  38. Abel Adamski

     /  October 9, 2017

    Digressing back to the Carribean
    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57835
    UN chief lauds Dominica’s vision to become first climate-resilient nation after recent devastation

    “I have never seen anywhere else in the world a forest completely decimated without one single leaf on any tree,” said Mr. Guterres, who flew by helicopter over some of the most affected areas. “In every community, most of the buildings are destroyed or heavily damaged.”

    “We thank you for taking the time to walk with us on this battlefield of shattered lives,” he added at today’s press conference.

    “Our devastation is so complete that our recovery has to be total,” Mr. Skerrit said. “And so we have a unique opportunity to be an example to the world, an example of how an entire nation rebounds from disaster and how an entire nation can be climate resilient for the future.

    Our devastation is so complete that our recovery has to be total
    Prime Minister Skerrit of Dominica

    “We did not choose this opportunity. We did not wish it. Having had it thrust upon us, we have chosen actively and decisively to be that example to the world.”

    Reply
  39. Suzanne

     /  October 9, 2017

    “This Man is Building an Army of Environmental Voters to Rival the NRA Turnout”
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/environemental-voter-project_us_59d54fd3e4b0cde45872c35a?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003

    Nathaniel Stinnett knows he’s preaching to the choir. The problem is, even believers don’t always show up for church.

    Dismayed by how low environmental concerns like climate change, pollution and pipelines rank on surveys of voter priorities, Stinnett founded the nonpartisan Environmental Voter Project three years ago on the hunch that a substantial number of people care about environmental issues and are registered to vote, but don’t show up on Election Day.

    The veteran Boston-based campaign strategist developed a formula for identifying these voters. He builds profiles based on consumer demographic and behavioral data, then runs a series of polls to verify the data and find out how likely voters are to list environmental causes among their top two political priorities. Stinnett and his team of three sift through the survey reponses to identify patterns.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  October 9, 2017

      Here is the website in case you want to check it out for yourself…
      http://www.environmentalvoter.org/sign-the-pledge/thanks

      Reply
    • Thank goodness.

      We should really look at providing similar legislative muscle. The other side has NRA, Alex and so many others. We’ve got environmental orgs. But their focus is often broad. A pure legislative focus appears to be somewhat lacking.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  October 9, 2017

        +1 It really got my attention…I am sharing it everywhere I can think of..and I am signed up!

        I am also now spear heading a grassroots GOTV for our Congressional District..and we are starting NOW. The interest has been very enthusiastic. No more time to wait. Have to unseat the Tea Party Republican who is still kissing Trump’s ring…even now.

        Reply

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