Tesla hosted its annual Investor Day today, spelling out the company’s prerogatives and initiatives to a gathered in-person and live-streamed crowd. During the presentation, company executives, including CEO Elon Musk, spelled out their thoughts on eliminating fossil fuels and using a new electric vehicle platform, and gave insights into coming models.
Here’s eight of the most interesting things presented at the event.
Tesla has a plan to eliminate fossil fuels.
“My personal opinion is, as we improve the energy density of batteries, you’ll see all transportation go fully electric, with the exception of rockets,” Musk told the assembled in-person and live stream audience.
The plan calls for repowering the existing power grid with renewables, at a total cost of $10 trillion USD. The company projects that this will cause a 35 percent reduction in fossil fuel use.
Switching to electric vehicles, Tesla says, will reduce fossil fuels a further 21 percent. This vehicle switchover, Tesla estimates, needs $7.0 trillion of the $10.0 trillion to occur.
“All cars will go to fully autonomous and electric,” Musk predicts, likening riding in a gas-powered non-autonomous car to, “be analogous to riding a horse and using a flip phone.”
Tesla is also advocating for switching to heat pumps for homes and businesses to save on fossil fuel use. While much of the southern United States already uses this technology, most in the United States’ snow belt still use furnaces that run on natural gas, heating oil or propane.
High temperature heat delivery, hydrogen use and sustainably fueling planes and boats were part of the last part of the plan with the proposition that hydrogen use is able to take the place in coal in much of modern manufacturing applications.
“It is my personal opinion that hydrogen will not be used meaningfully in transport… and shouldn’t be. If you’re going to use a chemical fuel, use CH4 [methane], not H2 [hydrogen],” Musk said.
Toyota, BMW and Hyundai Motor Group are already invested in making hydrogen-powered vehicles, including tractor trailers.
Tesla is planning two more models to make up its global electric vehicle fleet.
In addition to the Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck and Semi shown on stage during the presentation, Tesla showed off two future models under digital silks. One looked like a chunky SUV akin to a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco. The other appeared to be a small car, sized to fit below the Model 3 in the company’s lineup.
Tesla claims a Model 3 is more efficient than a Toyota Corolla.
The company says that its small car is four times more efficient from “oil well to wheel” than Toyota’s small car. Much of this, the company says, comes from how the energy is transferred to the Model 3, and stored, when compared to the engine in the Corolla.
Model 3 can, “drive one mile on the energy it takes to boil a pot of water for pasta,” Tesla’s senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering Drew Baglino claims, “and another mile on the energy it takes to cook the pasta.”
Cybertruck is coming this year.
Though the date of the manufacturing of Tesla’s Cybertruck has been pushed back several times, company officials confirmed their plans to bring the car to market in 2023.
Tesla wants to remake the manufacturing process.
Traditionally (and generally) a mass production vehicle is built by first stamping the metal, then gathering all the parts for the body, then painting it, then going through a final assembly process.
“What’s interesting is that these shops are dictated by the organizational structures that exist, and they’re dictated by the boundaries that exist in the factories that are laid out. If something goes wrong in Final Assembly, you have to stop the whole line and you end up with buffering in between,” Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said on stage.
“Henry Ford first invented this assembly line in 1922. It’s been a hundred years and it’s really hard to make a change after a hundred years.”
The company is set on “rethinking manufacturing again” with their next-generation vehicle. That plan sees more individuals, or robots, working on a vehicle at once, decreasing down time. Tesla estimates that this new method will be a 30 percent improvement in space time efficiency.
In the future, Tesla plans to have parallel tracts for stamping and painting, and casting. This means that all sides of the car will be constructed independently, only painting what is needed, then the exterior and interior bits are put together in place before finally being joined together when the powertrain, glass, etc.
Tesla plans to reduce its manufacturing footprint by more than 40 percent with the next generation of vehicles, and decrease the cost of creating the model by 50 percent.
Tesla has opened its Supercharger sites to other vehicles.
The company’s charging head, Rebecca Tinucci confirmed during the confidence that yesterday the company opened its first 10 charging sites to other automobiles. This is part of a larger promise the company has made to make their heralded charging network more accessible.
Currently over 50 percent of the company’s European Superchargers are open to vehicles from other manufactures.
In the last six months, Tesla’s service department has gotten better.
There has been an 11 percent drop in the time it takes to service a vehicle and 16 percent decrease in early service in the last half-year. It also now takes 9 percent less time to get a service appointment.
New battery cell and vehicle manufacturing facilities announcements are coming.
As Tesla looks to introduce new vehicles and boost output, the company plans to open new manufacturing facilities. Their locations, size and output will be announced at a later date.