Never mind the outstanding acceleration, low running costs, and quiet ride, there are other stronger reasons why Teslas are a game-changer in the market-place.
Watch this video on Someone Killed My Model 3 – but we’re uninjured! to see what they are:
- Auto-updates of software whenever improvements are made
- Structural strength to protect occupants from collisions
- Alert sent to the company if an accident occurs.
Imagine that you’re female or an elderly driver involved in a collision on a rural road at night. The car immediately alerts Tesla to the fact that your vehicle has been involved in a collision, and someone calls your mobile to check if you need assistance. Data about the collision is collated, and improvements can be made to improve braking, autopilot, etc., then issued as updates within weeks (as happened recently when a car review site highlighted longer stopping distances).
Drivers need to understand that the current autonomous driving is driver assist, not full self-driving. Even auto-pilot on aircraft needs to be overridden by the pilot sometimes, and there are not nearly so many other close-proximity vehicles in the sky as on the road.
It may be less than a year before full self-driving is available, but it may take a few more years before regulators will permit cars on the road without a driver. The UK may take even longer to catch up with the US, but within five years I expect to see fully autonomous vehicles on the roads.
No Need to Advertise
While other car manufacturers are spending huge amounts of money on advertising and dealerships, Tesla needs neither. Tesla fans create countless videos on social media reviewing their cars, and some go to great lengths to build customised Tesla models.
Never Mind the Naysayers
Whenever a new disruptive technology appears, there are many saying that it will never catch on who are quick to point out the possible disadvantages. They do not understand the issues at all.
The Range is Too Limited¹
Currently, the range is about 300 miles on a single charge. That is adequate for daily use, but for long journeys one will have to stop to recharge. However, one should stop after driving for four hours anyway if only to take a toilet break and buy a snack. Super-chargers can add 80% of the car’s range in about half an hour.
Future battery technology will steadily increase the range and reduce the recharging time. After five years the best electric cars will go a thousand miles on one charge and recharge in fifteen minutes.
People Living in Flats won’t have Anywhere to Charge
People living in flats do not refill their petrol or diesel cars from home either. However, slow charge points could be added to street lighting columns. Plug in to charge overnight.
They Cost Too much
The initial purchase price is high, but total cost of ownership breaks-even after about five years, depending on the model and the mileage. Lower maintenance, depreciation, and insurance will mean significant savings. Tesla insurance will have a huge advantage over other companies; they have huge amounts of data about Tesla users’ driving habits and will be able to offer low prices to safer drivers.
Full self-driving will allow your investment to earn money whenever you’re not using it. Sure, the vehicle will wear out after five years if used as a robo-taxi, but it will earn many times its purchase price in revenue.
Even if you don’t want to have strangers riding in your smart new car, you can send the kids to school in it, transport elderly relatives to the shops or hospital, fetch urgent deliveries, etc., all from the comfort of your home or office without spending your precious time to be an unpaid chauffeur.
Where will the Extra Electricity Come From?
Solar, wind, wave, and biomass are all developing. The main problem with solar and wind is storage. An electric vehicle connected to the grid is a power storage device. Charge it when the wind blows, and feed energy back to the grid when you do not need to use it. Invest in a solar roof to produce all that you need for your own use.
Electricity is Not Green if it is Produced from Fossil Fuels
Some electricity is produced by burning coal, but not all. More and more is produced from renewable resources. Bulb account holders use only electricity purchased from renewable sources.
Are Electric Cars Really Green?
The World will Run Out of Lithium
Perhaps lithium will become scarce, but that will drive the search for alternative electrolytes. Nearly 100% of lithium can be recycled. Degraded EV batteries can be used for Power Walls; degraded power wall batteries can be stripped and the lithium recycled. We don’t need to throw away aluminium, copper, or lead; why would we throw away lithium?
The World Will Run Out of Copper
Some say that electric vehicles will need so much more copper for super-chargers that copper will become scarce. Perhaps, but innovation always finds a way around such problems. The Tesla Model S uses 3Km of wiring, the Model 3 uses only 1.5Km. The Model Y will use only 100m! Saving expensive copper is not the main reason. Using sub-assemblies greatly reduces manufacturing complexity and cost. Super-chargers need much more copper than cars, but similar innovations will reduce the amount needed. Perhaps graphene will soon remove the need for heavy copper cables completely.
Stock Market and Tesla
- On September 22nd 2020 announcements about new battery technology are likely to include batteries with much longer range and faster charge times.
- Due to the coronavirus the Stock Market is extremely volatile at the moment. Tesla Stock has always been volatile, but it seems to be weathering the storm better than most. Check Market Watch for the latest prices. On July 22nd 2020 Tesla released its Q2 Results, showing a substantial profit that make it eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index.
- The stock price rose to over $2,000, from below $1,000 at the end of June, after the announcement of a 5 for 1 stock-split due on August 22nd.
- After the split on August 31st the stock was $442, equivalent to $2,210 pre-split. The price quickly rose to over $500 and before the market opened on 2nd September it was still around $490. With battery day just weeks away now, the anticipation of what might be announced on 22nd September is likely to fuel further growth.
Battery Day 2020
Battery Day was originally scheduled for the end of April, but it was put back due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It was held on 22nd September.
- Tesla will make their own batteries with the new dry cell technology. The batteries are tab-less so they can use a larger 4680 format (46mm diameter, 80 mm height). The hold five times more energy, provide 16% more range, and six times better power/weight ratio. It is seven times faster to produce the same number of Gw/h.
- The new cells and thermal honeycomb will be structural components of the new battery packs, which will be smaller, lighter, and stiffer than the old ones. This means that they are safer in a side impact being closer to the centre of the vehicle, and a lower polar inertia that will improve handling.
- The overall benefits of the new batter packs are 54% increase in range, 56% cost reduction to $52/kwh, and 69% lower capital investment in the production line.
- The anodes use silicon (cheaper and better power), and the cathodes no longer need cobalt. Nickel will be used for the highest energy density packs (Semi truck, Roadster), medium high energy packs will use nickel and manganese, and iron will be used for power walls where energy density does not matter.
- Old battery packs can be recycled, so less mining, and more reliable supply chains. Less dependency on third-party suppliers or market price fluctuations of metals for battery manufacture.
- Surprisingly, the stock price dropped significantly after Battery Day to below $400. By 24th September it was back just over $400 again. This may look like a bargain a few months from now.
Model S Plaid
Also announced on Battery Day was the new Model S Plaid, which will be available at the end of 2021. The cost is from $139,990. Acceleration 0-69 < 9 seconds. Quarter mile < 9 seconds. Top speed 200 mph. Range 520 miles. Laguna Seca lap time 1:30.3, and only 1,100 horsepower.
New Giga Factories
Work is proceeding at an astonishing pace at Giga Berlin after receiving permissions. Production is scheduled to begin in mid 2021, but some experts say it may start much earlier. Work has already started on Giga Texas too, where building progress promises to be equally quick.
Pikes Peak Winner
A production Tesla Model 3 Performance set a new world record for the annual hill climb race. Sponsored by Tesla fans without corporate finance, they achieved an amazing result.
Tesla Police Car
Another perfect market for Tesla Performance cars: Police, Paramedics, and others who do a lot of mileage or need to get around fast. The Police department is talking to Tesla engineers to incorporate their radios into the software. They can securely store equipment such as computers and weapons, and allow access to medical equipment in the frunk using their mobile without leaving the victim.
Tesla’s Real Secret Sauce
Why Tesla is changing the future. Danish Tesla fan Lars Strandridder summarises what Elon Musk has achieved in just twenty years, and Tesla are just getting started. If you had invested £1,000 in Tesla stock just a year ago, it would now be worth about £9,000. Stock prices can go down as well as up, but the future of the company looks bright.