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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tesla in 2022 (predictions)

Following Tesla is always exciting. They don't use the standard playbook. They are not chained to history or even their own existing designs. If they've found a better way of doing things, they'll take a 90-degree turn from their current heading.

On January 26th Tesla held their Q4 financial conference call. We heard all about how 2021 fared and we got a glimpse into what might happen in 2022 and beyond.

On the conference call, Tesla's 2022 guidance was more about what they are NOT going to do, than what they will do. The chip shortage will continue to be an issue for Tesla (and the rest of the auto industry) this year. Given this and their planned growth, Tesla will not be introducing any new vehicles in 2022. This means another year of waiting for people with Cybertruck, Roadster, and Semi orders. 

However, even with this limitation, there is a lot to look forward to in 2022. Here are a few of the things that could happen in 2022. Let's start with the highly likely and then get into some fun speculation.

Giga Berlin Body Production Line

  • Opening of the Giga Austin and Giga Berlin
    Both of these Gigafactories have started pilot production and are expected to deliver their first customer vehicles in Q1 of this year. The Model Ys coming out of Austin have structural battery packs and 4680 battery cells (which are also being produced at Giga Austin). 

  • Tesla Insurance Continues to Grow
    This offering recently expanded to Ohio and Arizona, bringing the total to 5 states where your Tesla can be insured by Tesla. Tesla has a goal to make their insurance product available to 80% of current US Tesla owners by the end of the year. How many more states would that take? Well, not 80% of US states. US Tesla owners are not evenly distributed throughout the nation; they're mostly concentrated on the coasts. So you can expect to see Tesla insurance spreading up and down the left and right sides of the country this year. 

  • 1 Million Vehicle Year
    Tesla delivered 936,172 vehicles in 2021. Giga Shanghai has expansion plans and Austin and Berlin will begin their ramp. Estimates for 2022 vehicle deliveries range from 1.2 million to 1.8 million. Even at the low end of these estimates, 2022 will be a record setting milestone and the the first year ever that Tesla (or anyone else)  produced over the 1 million electric passenger vehicles in a calendar year.

  • New Gigafactories Announced
    Once Austin and Berlin are online. Tesla will not slow down. We can expect to hear about at least one new site. Where do you think it/they will be? India, Russia, Canada, South Africa, Brazil... we'll see. 

  • Supercharger Upgrades
    With larger pack vehicles like the Roadster and Cybertruck in the works, the Tesla Supercharger network will likely see another speed upgrade this year. 

  • Cybertruck Revisions
    With another year on the drawingboard, there will be tweaks to the Cybertruck. Side mirrors, interior, wheels, through cabin bed access, and more will likely all have improvements/refinements. There's been speculation that we'll see two sizes of Cybertruck. That would add significant manufacturing complexity, so it seems unlikely that Tesla would unveil or announce a second truck before the first one is in production. I'm interested to see if that single giant wiperblade will be in the final production Cybertruck.

  • Redwood Partnership 
    Tesla is looking at supplychains from mining to chips. They want to secure materials from all the sources they can. As Tesla ramps their own cell production, a partnership with Redwood is a natural fit. Redwood's founder, JB, is also one of the founders of Tesla. He left Tesla on good terms. In the partnership, Redwood would receive all of the production scrap from Tesla's battery factories and add it to their recycling flow. In return, Tesla gets another raw material supply source. 

  • Tesla Semi and Megachargers
    This is the year that we can expect to see the first Tesla Semi-trucks on the road. And the first deployments of the giant Megachargers that will be used to recharge these beasts. These will likely be test vehicles or a limited deployment (rather than volume production). This will allow Tesla to test the vehicles and refine the design further. 

  • 4680 Battery Cells
    Revealed at Battery Day. These are the next evolution in Tesla's battery technology. These cells will initially hit production in the Model Y from Giga Austin. This is an important milestone and will eventually enable the next generation of Tesla vehicles (Semi, Cybertruck, Roadster...). Don't expect to see deliveries of the Cybertruck or Roadster this year, but delivering 4680s in any vehicles will clear a major hurdle to the eventual delivery to these phase 4 vehicles.

  • FSD Beta Wide Release
    By the close of 2021, FSD Beta was in the hands of about 60,000 Tesla owners (select influencers and those US drivers with a score high enough safety score). The software continues to improve and the roll-out will continue to broaden (perhaps to safety scores as low as 90). Version 11 of FSD Beta will have even more improvements. This year, you can expect to see Canadian drivers get their first chance to try out FSD Beta. To be clear, it will still be Beta; Tesla will not be removing the steering wheel anytime soon.

  • FSD in Boring Company Tunnels 
    Speaking of FSD, today, the Boring Company tunnels have human-piloted Tesla vehicles driving in them. This is an environment that Tesla (er, the Boring Company) controls completely. This is the ideal first deployment environment for a vehicle with no steering wheel. For the initial roll-out, they could have remote pilots to help the cars out if/when the cars encounter a situation where they don't know what to do. Tesla could also add a concierge service button in the vehicle for riders that have questions or concerns. If they cannot make robotaxi work there, it has no chance in the complex above-ground world. 

  • Dojo
    Dojo is Tesla's dedicated AI training supercomputer. You can learn much more about it here. Tesla is currently using GPU clusters to train their neural network systems. Dojo promises to cut the training time significantly, allowing more rapid iteration of the FSD software. This iteration speed is vital to the march of nines for FSD performance. Each build allows them to learn, to check one path in the maze, determine if it is a dead-end or not, learn, and then feed those learnings back into the next iteration. Nothing is more important to a fully functional FSD system than this iteration time. 

  • Redesigned Roadster 
    The Tesla Roadster is officially not going to be released in 2022, but that does not mean that we won't see teases of the updates. I want to see a demo of the SpaceX package hovering car. Will cold gas thrusters really allow a battery-laden car to float on air? That would be a sight to see. 

  • Tesla Bot
    This is a major AI talent recruiting project for Tesla. There will be activities to fan the flames of this hype. You can expect to see teases like an arm moving or legs walking... It's likely too soon to see anything like a Boston Dynamics demo this year, but total silence is not an option. 

Well, that's my list. What did I miss? I do expect a TSLA stock split this year? How about an app store for games, movies, and other in-car software? Maybe a human-piloted rideshare as a slow-start to the eventual robotaxi network? Tell me what you think will happen in the comments below.


  1. A couple of things I am hoping to see in 2022 in this space:
    - Will there be a significant expansion of the Non-Tesla Supercharging Pilot program in the US.
    - Real world measurements of the 4680 cells and comparisons with the older generation cells.
    - Production output of the Austin Gigafactory and really curious with all of this production capability coming online what the market headroom is in terms of customers buying a new Tesla or if there are any detectable headwinds from competitors coming online.

  2. Hi Kevin. I agree these will be interesting to watch in 2022.
    - Tesla's Supercharger network is one of the reasons that they are my preferred EV to own/drive. If it opens up, we'd have a great network for all EVs (but there could be some capacity issues).
    - 4680 seems like a nice step forward, but not a 'gamechanger'
    - Tesla has been production constrained for all of their existence. They might have to advertise or something eventually to drive demand (assuming they continue to sell cars instead of just deploying robo-taxis).