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Big Auto Freaks Out as Tesla Model 3 Deliveries for Q1 Track Toward 8,000 to 10,000

The major automakers are increasingly in a bind. They’re faced with a choice — keep investing in dirty energy vehicles that pollute the air, the water and wreck the climate, jump feet first into the EV revolution, or play both sides. And it’s this dichotomy that’s producing some rather freaky behavior.

(GM has often talked big about its EVs like the Volt and the Bolt. But its policy positions are contradictory to a rapid clean energy vehicle ramp.)

We’ve heard a lot of talk from some major automakers about how many electrical vehicles they’ll be producing in one year, two years, three years or more. And even as these companies have been beating the drum about ‘Tesla killers,’ how they have enough capital to own the EV revolution, some of them keep lobbying for dirty energy vehicles by attacking U.S. fuel efficiency standards.

It’s an inherent contradiction between communication and dedicated action. One that has generated a degree of legitimate distrust in the notion that some big auto manufacturers will follow up on their clean energy promises. Whether the talk is little more than a PR campaign aimed at tamping down public loyalty to those like Tesla who operate under a 100 percent clean energy business model. At the very least, it shows that auto industry focus is starting to fragment between traditionals (which include many backward-looking CEOs) who still support harmful legacy combustion engine production while hiding behind token ‘compliance cars,’ and the progressive-minded within the industry who want to rapidly jump into the EV market and compete.

(Not a compliance car. Nissan and a handful of like-minded major auto manufacturers produce and market seriously competitive EVs. Others appear to be dithering and dissembling.)

As uncertainty over auto industry intent expands due to various contradictory behaviors, here in the U.S., Tesla has been consistently ramping its production of 100 percent clean energy vehicles. And this has generated an equally predictable gnashing of teeth from the usual suspects in the financial media.

During the fourth quarter of 2017, Tesla’s factories pumped out a record number of electrical vehicles. In total, it delivered 29,870 zero tailpipe emissions cars. These included 15,200 Model S, 13,120 Model X, and 1,550 of the new Model 3s. This was the highest production quarter for Tesla and it was enough to propel its total sales for the year to over 101,000.

(Tesla Model 3 is one of the major spear-heads of a clean energy revolution. And it’s helping to goad other western automakers into a larger and expanding EV market. Image source: Tesla.)

Q1 of 2018, however, is likely to see even more. Present delivery estimates for Model S and X alone range from 22,000 to 30,000. Meanwhile the Model 3 is likely to have expanded deliveries more than fivefold to between 8,000 and 10,000. So a total of 30,000 to 40,000 Teslas will likely have hit the road by the time March elapses.

This is particularly significant when one considers that the first quarter is typically a lower selling point for most automakers even as sales have tended to peak for Tesla during Q4. During Q1 of 2017, Tesla sold 25,418 EVs. A number that will likely grow by 20 to 60 percent during 2018.

Moreover, recent reports indicate that Model 3 production is surging.

On March 19th, it was found that Tesla had ordered a large new batch of VINS. As a result, the total Tesla Model 3 VIN count had jumped to nearly 16,000. An indicator that Tesla Model 3 production — which has ranged between 700 and 900 per week since January is also likely expanding.

So it seems that the Tesla production bottle necks are starting to clear and that its ramp is jumping yet again. What this represents is a major call on the traditional auto-manufacturers. The time has come to ante up the EVs, or get out of the way for new clean energy leaders. Bluff time is over.

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41 Comments

  1. Study on what apparently is the first ever collapse of the Beaufort High

    Collapse of the 2017 winter Beaufort High: A response to thinning sea ice?
    Geophysical Research Letters. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2017GL076446 https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL076446

    Abstract

    The winter Arctic atmosphere is under the influence of two very different circulation systems: extra‐tropical cyclones that travel along the primary North Atlantic storm track from Iceland towards the eastern Arctic; while the western Arctic is characterized by a quasi‐stationary region of high pressure known as the Beaufort High. The winter (January through March) of 2017 featured an anomalous reversal of the normally anticyclonic surface winds and sea ice motion in the western Arctic. This reversal can be traced to a collapse of the Beaufort High as the result of the intrusion of low‐pressure systems from the North Atlantic, along the East Siberian Coast, into the Arctic Basin. Thin sea ice as the result of an extremely warm autumn (October through December) of 2016 contributed to the formation of an anomalous thermal low over the Barents Sea that, along with a northward shift of the tropospheric polar vortex, permitted this intrusion. The collapse of the Beaufort High during the winter of 2017 was associated with simultaneous 2‐sigma sea‐level pressure, surface wind and sea ice circulation anomalies in the western Arctic. As the Arctic sea ice continues to thin, such reversals may become more common and impact ocean circulation, sea ice, and biology.

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    • The intrusion of warm air masses from the south, primarily from the ocean zones, is contributing to major and significant weather changes in the Arctic environment.

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  2. Radar images show large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates. Mar 21, 2018. Southern Methodist University
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180321110855.htm .
    Summary:
    Radar satellite images show a large swath of Texas oil patch is heaving and sinking at alarming rates, according to a geophysical team. Analysis of the images with oil activity data from the Texas Railroad Commission suggests decades of oil activity have destabilized localities of the 4,000-square-mile area, which is populated by small towns, roadways and a vast network of oil and gas pipelines and storage tanks.

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  3. Jeremy in Wales

     /  March 21, 2018

    The legacy auto-makers are almost guaranteed to have a dichotomy built into their behaviours since they are governed by accountancy rules. Their balance sheets have a value attached to the plant and machinery used to produce ICE engines and transmissions plus a value given to their intellectual property, patents and software etc. Value those as zero and the companies are insolvent and then bankrupt (again). So they are walking a tightrope, to extract the most value from their assets while developing new electric products.

    Either you accept they will go bust, in many cases, or you give a government subsidy of some sort to enable them to transition, a loan or buy shares (stock) in company in exchange for a cash injection. Depends on how much economic mayhem you want.

    If you let them go bust you are relying on new players – such as Dyson – being able to gobble up those parts of the old auto-makers that have use in the future and the reduced R & D needed to become a auto-maker.

    It is disruption pure and simple.

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    • Eric Thurston

       /  March 22, 2018

      It’s a good point about obsolescence bringing down large companies that can’t change in time to accommodate changes in technology.
      I used to work for a portrait photography company that owned and operated the portrait studios in Wal*Mart. The company had millions invested in its studios’ camera equipment and in the processing labs. Then came digital and had our lunch. There was no way the company could change to digital in time, especially given it would have to write off virtually all of its capital investment. So it went belly-up. EV technology for cars is similarly very disruptive to the entrenched auto industry.

      It’s analogous to the climate changing too fast for humans and our fellow evolved travelers to change and accommodate. Hopefully EV autos will be a positive force in the overall picture.

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  4. Greg

     /  March 21, 2018

    And these legacy companies fight is not to create wealth, but simply to attempt to deliver another decade of profit to shareholders. So glad Elon got voted by shareholders for another 10 years today! “Even after we’ve missed 2ºC, our fundamental fight does not change. Until we get to zero emissions, that will remain our goal, in every scenario. Disastrous Trump administration? Get to zero carbon, as soon as we can. Breakdown in global climate agreements? Get to zero carbon, as soon as we can. The Amazon burns and the tundra thaws? Get to zero carbon, as soon as we can. Our main job doesn’t change, the curves we face just keep getting steeper.So, blowing the budget for 2ºC is not game over, it’s game on. It won’t be “over” in our lifetimes. We never get to declare defeat.”
    There will never be a better time to save the planet…
    View story at Medium.com

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  5. Greg

     /  March 21, 2018

    Puerto Rico recovery story is not a singular failure. There is shame and worse involved among some of the government response, particularly from the Executive branch of the Federal Gov’t. But some images newly posted show what resiliency looks like:

    For more:
    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5ab28b0ce4b008c9e5f389ae

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  6. wharf rat

     /  March 22, 2018

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  7. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 22, 2018

    OT of course but more floods followed by more drought and again more floods and on and on………
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180320084334.htm

    32 degrees Fahrenheit is commonly considered to be the air temperature threshold for rain versus snow, thus informing meteorological forecasting and climate simulations. The new findings, however, show that coastal areas have a cooler threshold for rain, meaning that even temperatures below freezing might not produce snow. Inland and mountainous areas, meanwhile, are likelier to see flurries even when temperatures are several degrees above freezing.

    “In Denver, Colorado, it might be 40 degrees and snowing. But in Charleston, South Carolina, it could be 28 degrees and raining,” said Noah Molotch, Director of the Center for Water Earth Science & Technology (CWEST) at CU Boulder and a co-author of the study. “This study shows these fine-grain differences on a hemisphere-level scale for the first time.”

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    • I’ve experienced snowfall in VA Beach when surface air temperatures were as high as 40 degrees F. Sometimes, the coastal environment produces a warmer layer of air at the surface due to the ocean effect even though temperatures may be 32 F or lower as little as 500 to 1,000 feet up. If there’s an inversion and those warmer airs from the waters get flipped as a cold front digs in, you can have the opposite effect. The coastal environment is an interesting one to live in.

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  8. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/20/marine-heatwave-set-off-carbon-bomb-in-worlds-largest-seagrass-meadow
    22% of seagrass in Western Australia’s Shark Bay was lost after 2010-11 heatwave, causing release of up to 9m tonnes of carbon
    Seagrass is a flowering grass-like plant that grows in shallow waters. It gathers carbon dissolved in the sea and buries it below the surface, often storing similar amounts of carbon in the top metre of sediment as is stored in tropical forests.
    But unlike forests that store carbon for about 60 years before releasing much of it, seagrass meadows often store the carbon for thousands of years until they are disturbed. That process is thought to offset up to 2% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.
    Recent studies have shown that when the top layer of actively growing seagrass is disturbed – either by local impacts such as boat anchors or climatic impacts like heatwaves – the carbon that has been sequestered over thousands of years can be quickly released.
    Since the start of the 20th century, seagrass meadows worldwide have declined at an average rate of 0.9% per year, mostly due to direct human impacts such as coastal development and water quality degradation. Over the last century about 29% of global seagrass has been destroyed and it is estimated it is releasing carbon at a rate similar to the emissions of Australia and the UK combined.
    “So when you have an event such as the losses at Shark Bay, you not only lose the seagrass as a way of removing CO2, but the sequestered gas is released back into the atmosphere during seagrass matter decomposition,” said Serrano.

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  9. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 22, 2018

    Its about time this talk got going..

    https://thinkprogress.org/climate-change-makes-east-coast-snow-storms-more-intense-00e7b0853960/

    Indeed, the repeated storm surges and flooding from the recent spate of nor’easters have been so brutal in Massachusetts, that they’ve “raised questions among environmental organizations and the state about whether to keep rebuilding properties prone to such extreme weather damage,” WGBH reported Tuesday.

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    • Did you note they are being targeted in relation to ad placements affecting their revenue.
      (bottom of the page)

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    • There’s a back and forth going on between normalcy narratives and an increasing number of these attribution based reports. The overall conversation appears to be shifting somewhat, which is progress. But broadcast meteorologists could still do a lot more to help inform the public about climate change risks.

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      • Xbutter

         /  March 23, 2018

        Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t recall ever hearing the words ” climate change” or “global warming” spoken even once while watching the meteorologists broadcasting OTA from Cleveland. Not even one time and I have been checking in on them for years.It’s obvious to me that it’s a topic they are for forbidden to mention.

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        • I don’t know if forbidden is the exact word. But it’s obvious that they’re not encouraged to mention it.

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        • So I’m having a conversation with Guy Walton about this subject. He worked at the weather channel. Very enlightening. Click to view down thread:

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  10. Greg

     /  March 22, 2018

    Tesla, as we know is much more than a disruptive auto company. Their recent battery installation supporting a solar project in the Philippines is, to me an iconic, moment where we see the appreciation of what the future can hold for those who truly know what reliable, sustainable and affordable energy means. These villagers are already investing in their community as a result of electrical reliability. “No more Brownouts”

    See:
    https://electrek.co/2018/03/21/tesla-powerpack-microgrid-stop-outages-philippines/

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    • They’re also building a 25 mWh storage facility in Queensland at the moment. Looks like they’ll sell close to 1 gWh of storage this year. Pretty big leap, but worth noting that their total EV sales projected for 2018 (I’m projecting between 150,000 and 250,000) represent about 15-20 gWh. Just goes to show how much latent storage comes in the form of electrical vehicles.

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  11. kassy

     /  March 22, 2018

    Theresa May’s coal phase out plan has three dangerous loopholes

    Theresa May’s government finally confirmed its intention to end coal burning in power station in 2025 this January. This coal phaseout is long-overdue.

    But the decision contains three dangerous loopholes: firstly, the government does not seek to end coal mining in the UK; secondly, it would allow plants to continue burning coal if large amounts of wood are cofired despite science showing that this is far from climate friendly and thirdly, the government is determined to compensate for the end of coal burning with a significant expansion in gas power station capacity.

    After all, this is a Government which has axed almost all new onshore wind and solar subsidies, cut support for energy efficiency by 58 percent since 2012, handed North Sea oil companies £1.2 billion in tax rebates in 2017/18 alone, and is endeavouring to open up large swathes of the country to fracking.

    much more on:
    https://theecologist.org/2018/mar/22/theresa-mays-coal-phase-out-plan-has-three-dangerous-loopholes

    The second quote is only to highlight how much money we still waste on oil.

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  12. Greg

     /  March 22, 2018

    One more ace in the hole for electric vehicles. Wake up GM. Nissan taking used automobile “waste” in the form of diminished batteries and creating solar street lighting:

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  13. If we’re going to “Make America Great Again” , we’re all going to need Thorazine doughnuts every morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. https://cleantechnica.com/2018/03/22/california-utilities-say-climate-change-caused-recent-fires-not/
    California Utilities Say Climate Change Caused Recent Fires, Not Them

    Ultimately, insurance companies and liability lawyers may do what James Hansen, Michael Mann, the Paris climate accords, Jerry Brown, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a carbon tax cannot. When insurers jack up their premiums to cover the cost of climate change related harm — from rising sea levels to more powerful storms to fires and floods — that’s the moment in time when all the debate about climate change and junk science will come to an end. That’s when the horror of the disaster humanity has wrought by its own hand will become real. Banks won’t loan money on projects that can’t get insurance. No loans, no commerce. Simple as that. Over and done with. Finis.
    The utilities insist the real culprits are warmer temperatures and lack of rain caused by climate change, conditions over which they have no control. They have a point. In a way, it is refreshing to hear major corporations dare to mention climate change, a subject that is anathema to the current administration. If the utility companies really want to press their claim, they should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, which are suing 5 major oil companies for the money they say will be needed to protect residents of the San Francisco Bay Area from the ravages of climate change attributable to rising sea levels.

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    • They’re right in that climate change enhances the risk of these fires. Blaming power line drops when the fire danger is unprecedented is a bit short-sighted, as many of us in the community realized at the time.

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  15. https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/22/17151532/climate-tutorial-san-francisco-oakland-lawsuits-judge-alsup-chevron-exxon
    Chevron’s lawyer, speaking for major oil companies, says climate change is real and it’s your fault
    In a court hearing in San Francisco, oil companies publicly backed the science of climate change
    In a federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, major oil companies concurred with the “scientific consensus,” saying it was “extremely likely” that human activity has been driving global warming since the middle of the 20th century. They just don’t think they can be sued for it.

    “Chevron accepts what the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has reached consensus on concerning science and climate change,” said Theodore Boutrous, who represents Chevron and is heading up the assorted legal team for the five oil companies that are defendants in this lawsuit. But, he said, that didn’t mean that a civil lawsuit was the right way to address climate change. “It’s a global issue that requires global action,” he said.

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    • Of course. They’re trying to spread the blame for a set of harms due to a product that they work as hard as they can to keep us captive to. They’re force feeding us this crap and then blaming us. It’s the very definition of blaming the victim.

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  16. Shawn Redmond

     /  March 23, 2018

    Have a look at the last two weeks globally.
    http://floodlist.com/news

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  17. Now let us go AMOC
    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/03/22/new-research-could-north-atlantic-current-be-slowing/#more-52555
    New Research: Could North Atlantic Current be Slowing?
    I took some heat for the above video from some who questioned whether a the slowdown of the North Atlantic current, discussed here, was still a live issue in climate science. My take evolved, having heard from heavy hitting scientists like J.P. Steffensen,(above) and Mike Mann, Stefan Rahmstorf and Jason Box (below) that a persistent “cold spot” in the North Atlantic was suggestive of a slowdown in the Atlantic Meriodonal Overturning Circulation (AMOC).

    A continued slowdown of that current would divert warm ocean water from Northern Europe, with potentially severe consequences for agricultural production, among other impacts.

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    • So there’s a periodic cycling of strengthening and weakening of AMOC that is associated with natural variability. Overlapping that cycle is the longer term climate signal which is generating, in my opinion based on the responses from these scientists and from data observation, a weakening of AMOC over time. For example, various studies indicate a 10-30 percent weakening of the Gulf Stream during recent decades which is an upstream indicator of a slow down in ocean overturning. This signal, of course, will likely be strengthened by any increase in Greenland melt outflow. But that melt is already historically at a high rate. And it’s growing.

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  18. wharf rat

     /  March 23, 2018

    Puerto Ricans protest at FEMA on six month anniversary of Hurricane Maria
    “We’re still going to make sure they’re held accountable.”

    https://thinkprogress.org/six-months-puerto-rico-fema-cea5b3d07841/

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    • I definitely support the protest. But the fault likes not with FEMA — rather in the Trump Administration’s failure to deploy FEMA and other national resources effectively. This was also enabled by the do-nothing-to-actually-help-the-American-people republican party.

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