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Plug In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry. Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance and growth will continue....

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Electric Republican

A fellow EV-advocate just shared an exchange that he had with a Republican friend of his. Without going into detail, I'll just say that the EV-advocate was attacking his Republican friend for not supporting EVs.

I believe that an aggressive assault, like the one that this EV-advocate was undertaking, has very little chance of success. In fact, it is more likely to cause a backfire effect and the attacked-person will just entrench deeper into their current belief and further shield themselves from anything that contradicts their current ideology.

So to all my EV advocate friends, I want to say, honey works better than vinegar.

Use tact, not attacks.
If you want to talk to someone, find out what is important to them. See things from their perspective, even if it is radically different from your own. Their reasons for doing things don't have to be the same as yours. Agreeing on what the right thing is, that is what's important.

If you say things like "The Republican Party is wrong" then EVs become a tribalism symbol. When this happens, the facts no longer matter and you no longer have any ability to influence them.

Instead of attacking, try listening. After listening, let's say that you learned that jobs and patriotism are important to them; if you have, then you could then try a tact like this:

Which political party uses smartphones?
Which one uses the internet?
What about computers, Google, YouTube...

The answer is both political parties (or all of them).

These technologies don't have a political party. And I don't think electric cars should have a political party either. Every American, and especially every Republican, should drive an Electric car. Why 'especially Republicans'? Because these cars are fueled with American made energy and that means more American jobs. When you spend money on electricity, it goes to the local power plant and your neighbor that works at the utility repairing downed power lines, instead of the rich ruling families in the Middle East.

And Electric Cars are made by American companies. GM and Ford have both made commitments to invest heavily in EVs. Tesla is an American company and they are winning market share from German and Japenese luxury car makers. They are shipping cars around the world; cars that are built in the US. That, again, means more American jobs.

As Victor Hugo said, "Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come." Things happen when the time and place are right. The time for EVs is now. If the time is now, where is the place going to be? I want the place to be here. EVs are inevitable. If the place is not here, it will still happen and it will be someplace else. If it's someplace else, they will get the manufacturing plants and they will get the jobs and we'll be buying from them. The move to electrify transportation is a tidal wave; we can surf it or be crushed by it. The choice is yours.

The move to electrify transportation is a tidal wave; we can surf it or be crushed by it. The choice is yours.
So to answer "Why especially Republicans?" Because the Republican party supports jobs, it supports America's growth and, most importantly, it is the party of patriotism and driving an American made, American fueled car is patriotic.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

When Will Tesla Hit 200,000 Sales in the U.S.? [Q3 2017 Update]

We've been tracking Tesla's sales for some time now. Specifically, the sale of the 200,000th vehicle in the US is an important milestone since it will trigger the US Federal incentive to begin its phase out 3 to 6 months later.

There are hundreds of thousands of people with Model 3 reservations, the timing of the incentive phase-out could impact many buyers, so it's an important question.

Earlier this month, Tesla released their Q3'17 sales numbers. This was Tesla's best quarter for vehicle deliveries, representing a 4.5% increase over Q3 last year. They added over 26,000 cars to the roads worldwide and 15,000 of those in the US. This moves Tesla another step closer to the trigger-point with their current total at just over 145,000.

Model 3 production was less than Tesla's forecast and they attribute this to "production bottlenecks". As they said, they are in production hell. As we've projected problems are to be expected and these early ramp-up pains will be resolved and are not consequential to the eventual volume forecast we've made.

Given the new sales data, here are the up-to-date US sales data and our forecast.

For the past six months, our prediction has had the 200,000 trigger-point occurring would occur in the second quarter of 2018. News outlets and other blogs have been predicting the more optimistic Q1'18 or even Q4'17. Well, after adding the latest sales data, the trend move out even further to late in Q2.

However, it is unlikely that Tesla will cross the threshold near the end of a quarter. If that were the case, they would be more likely to withhold shipments (to the US at least) to allow for the maximum delay of the period before the phase-out begins. This could result in the trigger-point occurring in July. However, I am going to assume that we'll see a step up in Model 3 deliveries later this year that will pull the 200,000 mark solidly back into Q2. If so, for now, we'll keep our 200,000th US sale forecast in Q2 of 2018. If this turns out to be true, here's how the US Federal incentive will phase out.

By the end of the year, we'll know if Tesla can break the Model 3 production bottleneck. Production hiccups on Model 3 at this stage don't have a big impact on the overall delivery data, as Model 3 production ramps, this will change significantly as it will dominate Tesla's sales volume.

Assuming that the above forecast is correct, the incentive would remain in full effect until the end of September of 2018. This would afford Tesla more than one year of Model 3 deliveries with the full US tax incentive. This should include delivery of the dual motor all-wheel-drive and performance versions of the cars that are expected to start delivery in early 2018. So if you placed your reservation before Independence Day of this year, there's a good chance that you could have your car in time to qualify for the $7500 federal tax credit.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Traveling Oregon in a Tesla - Photo Journal (Part 6 Oregon Coast)

In part 5, we'd left the butterfly pavilion and headed to the Driftwood Shores Resort on the coast. It's a beautiful drive.

Bridge as seen from the beach
After checking in, we headed to Cape Perpetua and hiked along the beach to see the rugged spouting horn Cook's Chasm, Devil's Churn, and Thor's Well.

Tesla Model X Parked at the Obeach

Hiking down to the Pacific Ocean

Walking Along The Shore

Thor's Well
After our beach trip, we drove into town for dinner and found an old fashion drive-in restaurant. We thought it would be funny to park one of the newest high-tech cars on the road in this relic from another era. The 1950s car parked next to us completed the juxtaposition.
Tesla Model X in an Old Time A&W Drive-In Diner

Our next stop was the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Heceta Head Lighthouse in the fog seen through the falcon wing door of a Tesla Model X

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

The next day, after all the miles of driving the Tesla for the last week, we decided to try a couple different forms of transportation: one that eats sand and another that eats hay.
Riding quads on the beach and the dunes of Florence, Oregon

Riding Horses on the Pacific Beach
The next morning we hit the road to head home. The final day of our big summer adventure was here. Before we left Florence, we stopped at a local donut shop, Big Dog Donuts.
An old gas station converted into a donut shop
This donut shop was in an old gas station. The non-functioning pumps were still there. It's nice to see that when everyone starts driving electric cars, there will still be a use for these locations 😋

After grabbing a few donuts for the road, we started up the coast. We were taking the scenic route home. We passed through Newport and made a quick bathroom stop at the Superchargers in Lincoln City.
Driving Home on the Scenic Highway 101 up the Oregon Coast
Later that day we arrived at home. We'd added about 900 miles to the odometer during our week-long adventure. The Superchargers and destination charging spots made getting around in the state easy. I had packed my bag of RV adapters but never needed them. We made some great family memories this summer.


Saturday, September 30, 2017

SpaceX May Offer Rocket Rides on Earth

Anywhere on Earth in under an hour 

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX (among other things), recently gave a talk about making life multiplanetary. He discussed SpaceX's plan to go to Mars twice in 2022. He admits that the timeline is "aspirational", but then says that 5 years is a long time.

To get to Mars they are planning on building a giant rocket, one that Elon refers to as BFR during the talk (I'll assume this stands for Big Falcon Rocket). The design has 31 Raptor engines with a payload capacity of 150 tons.

Near the end of his talk (@38:30), he says, "If you've built a ship that is capable of going to Mars, what if you take that same ship and go from one place to another on Earth? We looked at that and the results are quite interesting."

The video then cuts to people being ferried out to a floating launch pad and entering a giant rocket. The rocket launches and hits a top speed of 27,000 kph; which is really fast and made me think people might be leaving rocket like this:

If there is one thing the CEO of Tesla knows, it's smooth acceleration, so I am sure the trip would be fine and not leave you rubber-faced :)

The video continues and shows that the BFR could fly from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. The video lists of other possible trips with “most long-distance trips less than 30 minutes” and “anywhere on Earth in under an hour.”

Elon Musk's full speech is below and it includes footage from their successful rocket landings and what terraforming Mars might look like.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Tesla Referral Program

Tesla is making a change to their referral program. Today, if you use a referral code when you buy a Tesla Model S or Model X you get unlimited Supercharging and $1,000 off the price of the vehicle.

Well, the $1000 discount is going to end on October 31, 2017.

The discount might be going away, but solar panels are being added to the program. In addition to buying a Model S or Model X, you can use this referral code to buy Tesla solar panels. Using this code, you'll receive a 5-year extended limited warranty.

What surprises will they add to the referral program in November, we'll just have to wait and see.

For full disclosure, I should add that using my code will help me get some Tesla swag, like a home charging station signed by Elon Musk.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Traveling Oregon in a Tesla - Photo Journal (Part 5 Elkton Butterfly Pavilion)

Welcome to part 5 of our summer Tesla adventure. In this entry, we make our way to the Oregon coast with a colorful stop in Elkton.

We were traveling from a motel with destination charging to another motel with charging. This was great. With overnight charging and a relatively short trip, we had no need to make a mid-drive recharge stop.

We left Sutherlin after a late breakfast. We had a short drive and it was nice to take a slow morning and enjoy the day.

We arrived at the butterfly pavilion in Elkton.

From here we continued to Driftwood Shores and checked in. Next on our adventure list is the Oregon coast.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

2017 is the Year of the 2170

The year is 2017. Jumble the digits a little and you can arrange them into 2170.
Tesla started mass production of their 2170 form factor battery cells on January 4th, 2017. These cells were first used in Tesla's Powerpack and Powerwall energy storage products.

In July, Tesla handed over the keys (or key card) to the owners of the first Model 3s. Like the Powerwall, these cars were powered by 2170 cells.

The 2170 cells are so named because they have a 21mm diameter and a height of 70mm. The cells are produced at Gigafactory 1 near Reno, Nevada. By 2018, this one Gigafactory is expected to produce 35 GWh/year of lithium-ion cells annually, about twice global production today.

Tesla started their business with the idea of using commodity battery cells. They used the 18650 cell; it was popular in portable electronics and the form factor to receive chemistry improvement faster than others. They used these in their Roadster, as well as their Model S and Model X.

For Model 3, Tesla went back to the drawing board. Previously they used the 18650 because it was the best option available. Now that they were going to be making the cells themselves (along with their partner Panasonic), they could make them however they'd like. Nissan, GM, and others are using pouch cell form factors. Tesla, however, stuck with the "jelly roll" tucked in a cylindrical cell. Tesla CTO, JB Straubel, said that the 2170 cells were designed to be the optimal in size and energy density for electric vehicles, balancing energy storage with an external surface area for cooling. Elon Musk had a similar statement about rethinking the battery from “first principles of physics and economics.”

Tesla is poised to disrupt both the energy market and the transportation market with their 2170 cells and it started this year in 2017 with the production of the first cells.