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Tesla’s Mass Clean Energy Production as Response to Climate Change Surges in June

Surging wind, solar, electrical vehicle and battery storage production provide the world with the opportunity to start reducing annual carbon emissions in the near term. And one clean energy leader appears set to break new ground toward achieving that helpful goal.

(Tesla appears set to achieve goals, squeeze shorts, and help make clean energy more accessible for everyone.)

According to recent reports from Electrek, a Tesla employee recently leaked that Gigafactory battery pack production for the Model 3 has averaged 5,000 per week during June. If true, it shows that one key portion of the Tesla Model 3 line is humming along at a very strong rate of production commensurate with the company’s sky-high goals.

In addition, we have recently discovered that Tesla has not one, not two, but three production lines running for the Model 3 at its Fremont factory. During April and May Tesla constructed a second production line. And by late May these two lines surged to 3,500 Model 3 per week production.

(Tesla has constructed a massive semi-permanent structure to house a third Model 3 line in an effort to hit 5,000 vehicles per week. This line appeared in a very short period of time and shows that Tesla may indeed be capable of very rapid jumps in the number of electrical vehicles it produces. Image source: Teslarati.)

Meanwhile, during June, reports emerged that a hard-shell semi-permanent shelter had been erected to house a third Model 3 production line at the Fremont factory site. This third line is dedicated to producing dual-motor and performance versions of the EV — which are now officially on offer.

Overall, it appears that the clean energy company likely produced between 25,000 and 30,000 Model 3s during Q2. With total EV production including Model S and X in the range of 45,000 to 55,000. By comparison, Tesla produced approximately 100,000 EVs during 2017. So they are on track to at least double clean energy vehicle production during 2018.

(Indicators point to between 25,000 and 30,000 total Model 3s produced during Q2 — a massive surge over Q1. Image source: Bloomberg.)

This big surge reminds me a bit of the mass production effort that occurred in response to Axis power aggression during World War II. Although, the present clean energy production wave is in response to a serious and ramping climate threat posed by fossil fuel burning. A response that is peaceful, global, and occurring both in a chiefly capitalistic fashion (for Musk and Tesla) and in a socialistic (market-command) fashion for countries like China.

In the end, what’s most important is that a clean energy transition happens, not which political or ideological forces are engaged to achieve it. And what we see now is a mix of society-enhancing policy coming from a variety of cities and states with various market responses. In fact, it is this kind of mixed response that provides the most healthy and broadest-based solutions to the threat of human-caused climate change. So we welcome it in all its various forms.

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20 Comments

  1. kassy

     /  June 25, 2018

    New study explains Antarctica’s coldest temperatures

    Tiny valleys near the top of Antarctica’s ice sheet reach temperatures of nearly -100 degrees Celsius, according to a new study published this week in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters. The finding could change scientists’ understanding of just how low temperatures can get at Earth’s surface, and how it happens, according to the researchers.

    After sifting through data from several Earth-observing satellites, scientists announced in 2013 that they found surface temperatures of -93 degrees Celsius (-135 degrees Fahrenheit) in several spots on the East Antarctic Plateau, a high snowy plateau in central Antarctica that encompasses the South Pole. That preliminary study has been revised with new data showing that the coldest sites actually reach -98 degrees Celsius (-144 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperatures are observed during the southern polar night, mostly during July and August.

    When the researchers first announced they had found the coldest temperatures on Earth five years ago, they determined that persistent clear skies and light winds are required for temperatures to dip this low. But the new study adds a twist to the story: Not only are clear skies necessary, but the air must also be extremely dry, because water vapor blocks the loss of heat from the snow surface.

    The researchers observed the ultra-low temperatures in small dips or shallow hollows in the Antarctic Ice Sheet where cold, dense, descending air pools above the surface and can remain for several days. This allows the surface, and the air above it, to cool still further, until the clear, calm, and dry conditions break down and the air mixes with warmer air higher in the atmosphere.

    “In this area, we see periods of incredibly dry air, and this allows the heat from the snow surface to radiate into space more easily,” said Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado Boulder and the study’s lead author.

    more on:

    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-06/uoca-nse062518.php

    Liked by 1 person

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    • wili

       /  June 26, 2018

      At those temperatures, CO2 becomes dry ice. That might be one place on the planet where CO2 could be sequestered steadily in deep holes in the ice sheet as it solidifies at those temperatures, perhaps with a little help from wind-powered coolers to get it even colder?

      Just a thought…

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      • Robert McLachlan

         /  June 26, 2018

        I thought of that too, but it turns out that the partial pressure is so low it won’t deposit out.

        Liked by 1 person

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        • Robert McLachlan

           /  June 26, 2018

          Hang on, I see what you mean. Kind of a wild idea.

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        • kassy

           /  June 27, 2018

          I would love to know more about this but:

          The authors of the new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, found “approximately 100” sites that posted low temperatures of around minus 144 Celsius during the winters of 2004-2016. Most frequently, these temperatures, colder than the average temperature on Mars (around minus 76), were observed in dips and hollows near the top of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. They occurred at elevations of about 3,800 metres to 4,000 metres, mostly during July and August.
          The locations where the minus 144 air was analyzed shared similar characteristics. “[T]hey occurred in small hollows 2 to 3 meters deep in the surface of the ice, on the southern side of high ridges on the plateau,” the study’s news release explained.

          http://calgaryherald.com/news/world/minus-144-c-turns-out-planets-most-frigid-region-is-even-colder-than-scientists-thought/wcm/46da38f2-44f1-4a45-bb75-d0b5556c1dd3

          So if you want deep holes

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        • kassy

           /  June 27, 2018

          sorry…the last 4 lines of the quote should be a seperate paragraph.

          And the whole reasoning is that right now the temperatures occur in small holes and they are pretty high up so i am unsure how deep the ice would be or how deep of a hole you could dig there.

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  2. Reblogged this on Wild Voices.

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  3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-26/us-judge-throws-out-climate-change-lawsuits-against-big-oil

    U.S. Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil

    San Francisco (AP) — A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth’s changing environment.

    Noting that the world has also benefited significantly from oil and other fossil fuel, Judge William Alsup said questions about how to balance the “worldwide positives of the energy” against its role in global warming “demand the expertise of our environmental agencies, our diplomats, our Executive, and at least the Senate.”

    “The problem deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case,” he said.

    Alsup’s ruling came in lawsuits brought by San Francisco and neighboring Oakland that accused Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and Royal Dutch Shell of long knowing that fossil fuels posed serious risks to the environment, but still promoting them as environmentally responsible.

    The lawsuits said the companies created a public nuisance and should pay for sea walls and other infrastructure to protect against the effects of climate change — construction that could cost billions of dollars.

    The Oakland city attorney’s offices did not immediately have comment. John Cote, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney’s office, said the office was reviewing the ruling and would decide its next steps “shortly,” but the lawsuit had “forced a public court proceeding on climate science.”

    “We’re pleased that the court recognized that the science of global warming is no longer in dispute,” he said.

    New York City, several California counties and at least one other California city filed similar suits…
    …In Monday’s ruling, the judge said he accepted the “vast scientific consensus” that the combustion of fossil fuels has contributed to global warming and rising sea levels. But he questioned whether it would be fair to “ignore our own responsibility in the use of fossil fuels and place the blame for global warming on those who supplied what we demanded.”

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  4. Mike S

     /  June 26, 2018

    What Tesla is doing for this planet is fantastic, and I am hoping other automakers will follow their lead.

    One thing to note, though- no $35,000 Model 3s have been sold yet- they’ve all been high-end Model 3s for about $50,000 to $70,000. I am confident they will eventually produce some “base” Model 3s, but as of now, the Model 3 has not been a car for the masses, it has been a luxury car, just less expensive than the Model S or X. It’s kind of at the low end of the luxury car market now. I am hoping they will start selling the $35,000 models soon, so middle-class America doesn’t feel left out.

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 26, 2018

      True, but to do that Tesla must survive when they are under intense attack from m,any fronts, to survive they have to make a profit and the only way that can be achieved is by selling bthe higher margin cars first, otherwise there will be no basic, mid or high end cars produced to be sold. The cold hard realities, like tne laws of physics we all have to live with

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Mike S

         /  June 26, 2018

        I understand your point exactly. But this is why I firmly believe that free markets simply do not work.

        Free markets maximize the production of the biggest and most expensive items, and minimize the production of smaller and more affordable things. You can see this with both vehicles and housing. The government should be intervening to level the playing field.

        Of course, the makeup of the federal government is not conducive to this now. Hopefully that makeup will change in the coming years.

        Before James Hansen’s speech to Congress about global warming 30 years ago this month, people noted that small cars produced less pollution, and used up less gasoline, than big cars, at a time when we imported most of our oil from the Middle East. But American automakers were making a lot more profits from the sale of big cars than small ones.

        Homebuilders make more profits from selling big homes than small ones. So, we have a lack of small, affordable houses in many places.

        AND, Tesla is making more profits from its $70,000 Model 3s than it would from a $35,000 Model 3, so they are now only making the former.

        If the government were to intervene, and provide incentives so the profit margins would be EXACTLY THE SAME, regardless of whether the EV is sold for $35,000 or $70,000 or $100,000, that would cause a big increase in the production of affordable EVs. Tesla should be receiving the exact same profit margin for all its cars, regardless of the selling price. And homebuilders should be receiving the same profit margin for selling a house with 1,000 square feet as they do for selling a 5,000 square foot house. They would with government incentives for doing so.

        Those who believe that free markets work perfectly are missing the point that they do so for the wealthy and powerful only.

        I most certainly would like to see EVs bought by a lot more people in this country and elsewhere, and get us away from fossil fuels ASAP. Having more affordable EVs available would help hugely with this.

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        • Abel Adamski

           /  June 27, 2018

          Do not forget the pre loved vehicle market, those that can afford the higher priced models will tend to upgrade to a newer model a few years down the track, this applies to all ICE vehicles and obviously those with demonstrated battery longevity and or an economical battery change over availability will benefit from that, give it 10m years and the local hoons will be in Tesla S’s and X’s and 3’s modded of course

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    • The Model 3 was always aimed at the mid-range luxury market. And the fact that 450,000 remain on order shows that it’s a mass market vehicle. It’s worth noting that in the present range of $45,000 to $70,000 the Model 3 is a direct competitor with the BMW 3 series and other similar mid range premium ICE vehicles. Eventually, Tesla will produce a base Model 3 for 35,000. But they have to achieve a high production volume to make the base Model 3 revenue positive. This will likely happen by 2019 — well ahead of any high volume competition.

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      • Jim

         /  June 28, 2018

        I agree with the market positioning you describe. BMW has always been a target of the Model 3, for the same reason luxury cars were targeted by the model S and X. Tesla will continue to move down market as costs drop and fixed costs of things like design and engineering, and battery production gets amortized over a rapidly growing sales base.

        Tesla is a few years ahead of their competition, both in the design of desirable electric cars, but especially in the case of battery production scale and costs. Tesla has already begun replicating battery production lines and this will continue to favor Telsa over competitors until they – or their battery suppliers – reach a similar scale.

        While I’m happy to see increased Model 3 production numbers, I think they mask the real progress, which is sustained and massive cost reduction of energy storage which feeds into personal transportation, freight transportation, home energy storage (with or without PV solar cells), and utility-scale storage – each huge market opportunities. Being primary in energy storage for the grid, home, personal transportation and freight transportation is an enormous market opportunity for Tesla. While they have competitors in each of these segments none of Tesla’s competitors has the ability to leverage advances in battery technology and production across all of these markets.

        Once automotive batteries drop below $90 – $100 dollars, which for Tesla is expected within the next 12-24 months, it will become cheaper to produce an electric car than a modern ICE automobile with pollution control and the advanced transmissions needed for reasonable mileage and performance. And while the rest of the auto industry sneers at Musk for trying to completely automate the assembly production as a “been there done that” event that doesn’t merit revisiting, the dramatically lower part count and Tesla simplistic design philosophy of the Model 3 still suggest that even if Tesla doesn’t achieve total automation today, they still have a strong shot at it in the near future.

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  5. kassy

     /  June 26, 2018

    Barents Sea seems to have crossed a climate tipping point

    any of the threats we know are associated with climate change are slow moving. Gradually rising seas, a steady uptick in extreme weather events, and more all mean that change will come gradually to much of the globe. But we also recognize that there can be tipping points, where certain aspects of our climate system shift suddenly to new behaviors.

    The challenge with tipping points is that they’re often easiest to identify in retrospect. We have some indications that our climate has experienced them in the past, but reconstructing how quickly a system tipped over or the forces that drove the change can be difficult. Now, a team of Norwegian scientists is suggesting it’s watched the climate reach a tipping point: the loss of Arctic sea ice has flipped the Barents Sea from acting as a buffer between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans to something closer to an arm of the Atlantic.

    Triple threat

    The loss of ice also means that the surface water in this area is exchanging heat with the atmosphere and absorbing more sunlight during the long Arctic summer days. These two have combined to heat the top 100m of water dramatically. If the mean of its temperature from 1970-1999 is taken as a baseline, the temperatures from 2010-2016 are nearly four standard deviations higher. 2016—the most recent year we have validated data for—was 6.3 standard deviations higher.

    This has the effect of heating the intermediate water from above. Meanwhile, the warm Atlantic water will heat it from below. As a result, the cold intermediate water has essentially vanished from the Barents Sea, turning the area into a basin dominated by Atlantic water. The entire water column, from surface to the sea floor, has both warmed and gotten saltier, all starting in the late-2000s.

    While dramatic, that in and of itself doesn’t make for a tipping point. But the authors argue that the present conditions make it extremely difficult for the sea ice to re-establish itself during the winter: “Increased Atlantic Water inflow has recently enlarged the area where sea ice cannot form, causing reductions in the sea-ice extent.” The water both starts out warmer and has increased salt content, making freezing more difficult.

    In essence, the authors argue that the entire Barents Sea has started to behave as an arm of the Atlantic. Unless some external factor re-establishes the layer of fresh water on the surface, “the entire region could soon have a warm and well-mixed water-column structure and be part of the Atlantic domain.”

    https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/06/barents-sea-seems-to-have-crossed-a-climate-tipping-point/

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