TESLA Model Y – Revolution in Manufacturing. Elon Musk has said for several years that the way to improve efficiencies is to build the machine that makes the machine. Elon has been espousing that one of the legacy things that Tesla will be remembered for is their manufacturing prowess.
The Model 3 initially was one of the hardest manufacturing challenges that Tesla had to contend with. This was due to several assumptions and processes that were redundant and or too complex for a machine.
So, in recent years Tesla and Elon have spent many hours, days, weeks, and months working to find better ways to manufacture. The outcomes of this work are on display at the Giga Texas Opening.
The introduction of the Model Y being built out of Giga Berlin and the most recently opened Giga Texas is the beginning of the new way to build Electric vehicles with influence from how Matchbox Cars are created.
Giga Texas is the newest Factory created by Tesla. This last week saw the opening of the new Giga Texas factory. Texas is a big state and they do everything big, the party that Tesla put on was no exception.
The scale of the attendees and the size of the building were open for all to see. With drones in the sky and cars on the ground and over 15000 people enjoying the facilities it was by all accounts one of the best parties of the year.
In attendance was the one and only Sandy Munro. Sandy is known around the globe as a clarion voice regarding the engineering of cars.
He has on several occasions deconstructed vehicles to see how they were built and designed. This has led to some interesting observations and feedback.
Sandy has deconstructed several Tesla’s over the years and Tesla has listened. So, to see him at the Cyber Rodeo (Giga Texas opening) was not a surprise.
This design has for many years been the holy grail for car manufacturing but when scaled always was impossible.
Elon has been a big believer in taking an idea and going back to first principles. It was this thinking that helped tesla get to a point of trying to create the same process at scale for EV manufacturing.
TESLA Model Y – Revolution in Manufacturing, The opening of the Giga Texas really puts this on display. As Sandy Munro highlighted in his video, the original vehicles had many parts that made up the front and back ends of the vehicle, as shown it now is one piece.
The benefits include the ability for the piece to be constructed exactly the same every time. When many parts are part of the construction variation can occur this can cause challenges with construction consistency and quality.
The injection mold of the castings is a revolution in saving time and effort. Was it an easy problem to overcome? No, as Elon has said in the presentation at Giga Texas, we asked 6 companies 5 said “no” and the 6th said “maybe”.
Well, the proof is in the pudding, the production of the Model Y will be a revelation to the industry.
With the opening of The Giga Berlin and The Giga Texas both have several giga presses that can produce these vehicles. When they ramp up it will become one of the most popular Tesla’s around the world.
The future of manufacturing.
Recently I came across a story about Metal 3D printing. This printing machine, as shown in the link produces complex and unusual shaped pieces. These pieces could be, in combination with the Giga Press and Castings combined to reduce the production time of vehicles into the future.
Giga factories will become the heartbeat of the Electric Vehicle Industry. Their sheer size and rethinking of how a factory is constructed only helps to invigorate the people around and an industry that needed a fresh start.
The Model Y will be the highest selling and most sort after electric vehicle in the coming years. Just as Sandy Munro said Tesla is revolutionizing the car industry and through the change in thinking and acting upon new ideas and innovation helps to make them the leader of the industry
EV-HQ founder, passionate about sharing the passion for Tesla and Electric Vehicles everywhere.
With the limited supply in Australia and ordering times taking many months even years is it any wonder that the prices of the used car market for electric vehicles have jumped significantly.
But don’t lose hope. Electric vehicles are proving they have a future far greater than the ICE cousins. They will only increase in demand until the market has enough supply for the demand.
Companies like Tesla are increasing their manufacturing volume to meet this demand. With Giga Factories in Berlin, Germany and Austin, Texas USA out of which will be produced, initially, the Model Y Tesla is doubling down on supply.
The Model Y is not yet available in the Australian market but once it is able to be ordered it will undoubtedly become the most sort after vehicle.
One of the greatest challenges for purchasing an electric vehicle is the price. Check out my next blog where I talk price and how the government is attempting to help.
EV-HQ founder, passionate about sharing the passion for Tesla and Electric Vehicles everywhere.
Tesla has a big year ahead not only with the current deliveries and production but opening many more Tesla stores and increasing their global footprint.
Two key factory constructions which will be completed in the later part of the year and with this the introduction of the Cybertruck and more production of the Model 3 and Model Y.
The factories will open up a greater opportunity to deliver to Europe and middle America.
The ramp up of these factories will only improve the end of year numbers and will continue to grow the possibility of many more people receiving their new electric vehicles.
Tesla is truly an inspirational story and with its recent success and its plans for the future we will only see Tesla and the products they continue to innovate on develop to be the leaders in their fields and the future.
If you enjoyed this blog please check out my most recent blogs at EV-HQ.com.
Last week I had the great pleasure of hosting one of the most well-regarded Tesla Podcasters out there. I talk of none other than Ryan McCaffery the host of Ride the Lightning the unofficial tesla podcast. It was a surreal and fun chat that both myself and Nash from Tesla in the gong enjoyed immensely.
I first heard about Ryan in 2016 when I visited USA and experienced the Tesla Model X. The driver of the Model X mentioned Ryan’s podcast. I was hooked. I listened to all his past episodes and truly had a crash course in all things Tesla.
This education only enhanced my passion for the vehicles. When I arrived back in Australia, I booked a test drive of a model S. My wife who did not really know much about the vehicles was an instant convert.
Like Ryan explained last week, you don’t really understand the difference from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles until you test drive a Tesla. Once you do, you are hooked and, in most cases, never go back. This was true for Andrew the optometrist, my friend, and is true for so many more people in Australia and globally.
So, last week, was a bucket list item that I can tick off. Ryan was a wonderful guest and very giving of his time and knowledge to all those that joined the chat. He is such a wonderful advocate of Tesla and by his own admission he loves the vehicles and their mission.
Lots to cover
Ryan, Nash (Tesla in the gong, and my cohost) and I delved into the world of Tesla by exploring subjects like the new refresh of Model S including the new steering wheel yoke. We also discussed the possibilities and challenges the new gear shifting could bring forward.
Ryan recounted his origin story and talked about his co-host on the podcast “Daisy the Boxer Puppy”. He explained she had recently had some medical issues. Ryan was able to update us on how she was doing, and I am happy to say she is improving.
Our discussion included Australia and a role that our country could play. Australia could help to produce batteries using the natural resources our country possesses.
But as Ryan pointed out when asked regarding if Australia would be a possibility for a Giga factory, he aligned with current thinking in Australia and felt that the population would not support a Gigafactory, but a smaller battery production facility might be possible.
Australia is a country rich with natural minerals and resources and the idea that we could play a part in production of batteries for the future battery packs would be a major step forward. However, nothing has been reported that this is occurring so we will just have to see.
The audience also joined the discussion with their questions regarding Tesla India, Ryan’s day job at IGN and the crossover of video games into the vehicles of Tesla.
Ryan oozes exuberance when talking about Tesla and it is without a doubt infectious for all those who surround him. We were swept up in the discussion and time certainly was not enough to dive into all areas of EV’s and Tesla.
Nash and I both were truly thankful to Ryan for taking the time to talk with the Tesla and EV community in Australia and the audience were rewarded with great conversation and information.
Clubhouse provided a great platform that allowed all to hear and as Ryan pointed out to us, we enticed him onto another social media platform.
What today’s events showed is that the Tesla, and by extension, EV community is passionate about Tesla, they understand and are passionate about what the vehicles can do and how they are changing the world.
Ryan is a genuinely nice and passionate guy who is happy to talk for hours about Tesla, his passion project. His podcast Ride the Lightning the tesla unofficial podcast has been a great source of information and fun for those of us in the community.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to talk with Ryan today and I hope we have future chance to cross paths.
EV-HQ founder, passionate about sharing the passion for Tesla and Electric Vehicles everywhere.
Battery Day – Tesla, if anyone had any doubt that Tesla is going to be the leader heading into the future of the electric car and power management this week solidified their position.
It is truly incredible the innovation that Tesla continues to deliver. The team at Tesla reviews a part of the market that has been devoid of innovation, they turn it on its head with first principal thinking.
Battery day – Tesla was presented online and a number of lucky investors and followers of Tesla were in attendance and the unique way they socially distanced was very cool.
Elon has spoken a number of times regarding the first principle thinking to reframe a question regarding a current problem.
“The first principle” was conceived by Aristotle to rethink an already existing process and find another way to achieve a better outcome.
First principle thinking guided Tesla to reimagine a better battery for the future of the company.
They broke down the detail into 5 complete sections
Cell Vehicle Integration
Tesla is turning the cell design on its head. They thought long and hard about the fundamentals of what constitutes the cell. The team at Tesla looked at the main features of current cells looking for opportunities to increase energy storage and output.
The introduction of the tabless 4680 cell made of silicon whilst limiting the use of cobalt has led them to achieve an innovative approach. With these changes it can increase the cells range by 16%. This range extension is truly incredible and critical to the uptake of EV’s as we move into the next couple of years.
One of the most surprising elements regarding the cell announcement pertains to the fact that a pilot factory already exists. The fact that cells are already being produced would suggest that this is not just a theory but a revolution and real.
Taking inspiration from printing and bottling factories of yesteryear where the production line does not slow down during the whole process, Tesla has implemented a similar process that allows the cells production to increase accordingly.
Within the production of the cells there are 4 main steps
Major efficiencies can be found within the process of manufacturing battery cells as opposed to the traditional processes.
The use of a “High-Speed Continuous” motion allows for a smaller footprint within factories producing more cells per hour allowing an increase in efficiencies with manufacturing and could produce a 7x improvement with possiblility 10x improvement over time.
Tesla last year purchased Maxwell which had a process for converting dry powder materials and applying that as a film onto the separator in the jelly roll of the battery. Elon explained that since this purchase, they have iterated on the process 4 times and believe that they will achieve greater efficiency by about the sixth iteration. This advancement removes the need for a wet process and thus reduces the size of the factory required exponentially.
These improvements are revolutionary to the production of cells. Once again first principles has delivered a new perspective.
Most companies rely on old solutions where as Tesla as confirmed by Elon will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible.
Currently Tesla refers to the factories as Gigafactories. As they move forward and transition to the new cell form factor the factories will be referred to Terafactories.
Silicon is considered a fundamental element used in most batteries. Once again Tesla has had to go back to fundamentals and find a way to improve the process of creating better density and usage of the batteries.
When a battery is charged and discharged the movement of lithium across the membrane causes it to crack and become gooey. Overtime this causes the cell to lose the ability to manage the state of charge thus rendering the cell less effective.
Many have tried to rectify this by addressing the symptoms not the cause. The introduction of different binders and support materials have been used to lessen the impact of the heat generated during charging and discharging. This has been met with varying results.
Tesla is attempting to look at the fundamentals of what makes up the anode of the battery and see if they can eliminate cobalt whilst using Silicon in a different way. Raw silicon has been proposed as a possible solution to help with the expansion issue when charged and discharged.
Raw material silicon,
stabilize surface through elastic, non-conducting polymer coasting,
robust network – highly elastic binder and electrode design.
By implementing the above changes to the cell It has been shown to provide a 20% increase in range for vehicles.
A 20% increase in cell range is groundbreaking when dealing with electric vehicles. Distance is king in many cases and this could help to achieve this greater range for the same price. Or alternatively it could mean less cells with same range reducing costs.
A cathode provides structure to the management of lithium ions within the battery cell. Tesla has been experimenting with different cathode types that would allow cells to be more environmentally friendly and increase recyclability.
In the course of their investigations they believe a diverse range of materials will be utilised for different purposes. Tesla will implement different material across their product line to address cost, density and output.
Iron – Low level use
Nickel Manganese – medium level use
High Nickel – used for Long range – Cyber truck and semi
The use of nickel as a main component gives the best dollar per kwh and wh/kg. This combined with removing the cobalt has a number of positive effects
Reduces complexity of the materials
Continues to address the human rights issues with mining
Has a good structure to hold the lithium
Reduction in costs of $/kwh
Again the returned to first principles regarding the manufacturing of the cathode. This lead to an improvement in battery production and thus a cumulative effect upon the percentile shift of costs in the downward trend.
Further to this, lithium is a highly abundant material and is available within many and varied locations. It seems that the collection and processing of the material is able to be achieved within in the USA.
Mining lithium is important way forward for cell production and Tesla has found a way to extract it from clay with the use of Nacl (Salt). The outcome of this leads to highly recyclable cells and materials, that can be easily reconstructed into new cells. This leads to some impressive cost savings.
Cell vehicle production
Elon announced a change to the fundamental design of the Tesla vehicles.
He was inspired by the airline industries innovation when they created a fuel tank as part of the wing which improved capacity and reduced weight. By changing the way the vehicles are constructed to achieve a similar concept Tesla’s vehicles have also had similar outcomes.
This one design change is said to lead to;
10 % in weight reduction
14% range increase opportunity
370 fewer parts
Tesla has shown that it can innovate in areas that most car companies take for granted and follow a standard view of the processes. Tesla chooses to look at the fundamentals and innovate using the first principles thinking regarding anything from the car to the power train to the battery cells and beyond.
The above innovations with cell production, cell development, anode, cathode and vehicle design allow for changes and efficiencies in their own right, but the cumulative effect it has upon the overall price and production helps to drive prices down , safety up and more people in cars everywhere.
This is a monumental step in regard to Tesla’s value as a company and value of the individual vehicles. The impact it will have on the tesla solar and battery storage costs moving into the future will be profound.
Elon highlighted that the realization of this technology will not occur for 1-3 years but the ability to own a tesla in the coming years with a price that is reasonable is extremely exciting.
54% Range increase
56% S/KWH reduction
69% Investment per GWH reduction.
What does this mean for Australia?
I have watched a number of Tesla presentations over the years and this presentation was the most exciting for a number of reasons.
In Australia the prices of tesla vehicle is quite significant for the average person. With a starting price of $74000 a lot of people find this price out of reach.
If Tesla was able to maximise on the 56% reduction in dollars per KWH then the possibility exists that in the future Tesla’s could be priced around $40000 – $ 50000. If this was to transpire then more Australians would be in a position to consider their next car to be electric.
If the new 4680 battery cell is adapted to the home power storage solutions it could assist Australians to increase their ability to maximise their solar panel efficiencies whilst also reducing the cost of electric and charging electric vehicle.
If this is the future in 1-3 years, then I am on board and I would encourage all Australians to investigate electric products.
One more thing….
It would not be a Tesla event if there wasn’t something unexpected. Tesla announced a possibility of a new, smaller sedan with a price range of around $25000 USD.
The Plaid Model S
The Plaid Model S, which has been seen on the Nürburgring, with a tri motor specifications and a 0-60 mph time of 2.1 seconds is now available to be purchased online. this impressive vehicle has a starting price in Australia of $189000.
Battery Day – Tesla has shown what it is capable of and sets a high standard for all to follow. Tesla’s mission will improve the environment and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. The information provided by Tesla has great potential to realise the possibilities.
Tesla’s philosophy of using first principles to reimagine what battery technologies can be will have positive impacts on the environment for years to come. It’s ability to continually innovate and move their mission forward is inspiring.
Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? An encouraging report is suggesting that Australian deliveries for Model 3 and Model Y from Tesla, may be delivered from Giga Shanghai towards the end of 2020 beginning of 2021.
It has been a major point of contention, that the prices in Australia are too high for the average person.
The idea of Tesla’s being manufactured and delivered from Giga-shanghai is not a new idea but one that many have requested for a while, my self included.
If the Model 3 and Y are to be sold as a family car, or as the car for the masses, then the price needs to be more affordable, around the $30,000 – $40,000 dollars mark.
This price would give price parity with the average ICE vehicle and allow for natural competition. Currently in Australia costs of Tesla’s are almost double these amounts.
Now of course, part of these cost are taxes both Luxury Car Tax (LCT) and Import tax and every other person who is involved with the delivery tax.
There is a possible change for the delivery of Tesla’s from Giga-Shanghai to the Southern hemisphere, inclusive of Australia, this was reported by Bloomberg and shared by Sawyer Merritt on twitter.
This change in location of manufacturing and delivery increases the chance of a possible price change. That would make the Model 3 and hopefully Model Y see price drops and become more affordable and achievable by the average person in Australia. This would continue to help to support the Tesla Mission.
The news that it may actually be occurring is exciting for Australians looking to make their next purchase an electric car.
The Electric Vehicle Council released a report in August 2019 called the State of Electric Vehicles. This report highlights some of the details relating to the possibility that 53% of people either already own or are thinking about purchasing an electric car as their next vehicle.
Model Y ordering
In Australia the Model Y is yet to be able to be ordered. This is not in line with the Model 3, which was available to be reserved from almost day one of the announcement.
This delay with ordering could be aligned with the decision to ship cars from Giga Shanghai. Giga Shanghai has a number of buildings being constructed currently which have been rumored to be for the Model Y.
These would need to be completed for deliveries of model Y to Australia to occur.
Based on reports the building are close to being finalised which would in turn align with the timeline suggested for Giga Shanghai deliveries to Australia.
Prices in Australia
Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? EV-HQ in February of this year commented on the prices of Tesla’s in Australia on Twitter and Elon Musk responded with this tweet.
Tesla’s mission of transitioning the world to sustainable energy and transport must at its core be able to be flexible in the execution. The possible change to delivering and manufacturing vehicles for the Southern hemisphere and right-hand drive (RHD) countries is another step towards this achievement.
Opportunities for Fremont
The knock-on effect of a change like this opens the way for reduced reliance on delivering all models of the Tesla fleet globally from Fremont and disperses the deliveries across the network of factories. Thus, building redundancy and stability in manufacturing and deliveries.
It also allows Fremont to start planning for the manufacturing of the Roadster which Elon has mentioned would come out of Fremont factory.
Are Australian Tesla’s about to get cheaper? It is encouraging to see that possible changes may be coming to the way Tesla is progressing their vision and the positive impact it can have on the average person is a win for the individual, and also for the world as we try to fix the issues that we have caused over the last century.
Could Australia have a Gigafactory to call their own. Let’s not rule it out. In my tweet on the 10th February to Elon of which he responded the talk after this extended itself to a possibility that a Gigafactory in Australia would be possible.
Now of course Elon has not confirmed or denied any possibility of this happening, but I am one who believes there is merit in the idea.
Australia has proven in the last couple of years that it is capable of utilizing Tesla technology to produce some amazing results especially in the area of power generation and storage. The Adelaide battery that was supplied by tesla has proven to be a great success. It has supplanted the power generation I Adelaide for the last couple of years with such great effect that they have now installed a second such system to continue the great work.
Currently in Australia there are no vehicle Manufacturers, and with that car prices are at the mercy of the import taxes and fees. This adds a large amount to the value of the car and the hip pocket of the person.
The introduction of a Giga Factory could be one such way to grow Tesla’s footprint with vehicle manufacturing but also tesla power products.
Australia has had a prolific uptake of solar energy products and have recently started to gain interest in the power storage market for home batteries.
If Tesla was able to build a Gigafactory in Australia they could not only focus on Car production but also on solar, batteries, etc. This would allow Tesla to utilize Australia as a home base for production of Right-hand drive vehicles as they are within close proximity to the countries that are Right hand drive.
Australians want for solar products make it a market ripe for the picking with the Tesla batteries and Solar products among the best and most competitive in the world.
This in combination to close proximity to vital minerals and ores in Australia that are part of the battery cell production would make Australia well suited to address a number of requirements for tesla to truly consider Australia as a viable option.
As has been the past experiences with Tesla they have worked with government and business alike and all experiences from the lay persons perspective has been positive and uplifting.
It is time Australia stopped dragging its feet and started to lead like it had done for the last 100 years in many fields. We have come complacent and lost our get up and go spirit. Tesla and Elon Musk would help to bring new life into a struggling industry, they would be able to employ large numbers of people and we as Australians can finally show the rest of the world that we haven’t given up on the environment, that we haven’t given up on growing our industry and we haven’t given up on the people who desperately need a chance to prove themselves worthy of working for an amazing company with a philosophy greater than itself.
Elon help Australia feel proud of itself again and bring GigaOz to be a reality.