side thought: Maybe TESLA turns into a research company that sells its IP to manufactures instead of actually building cars.
Does Tesla have that much valuable research ?
I thought their manufacturing process came from external actors with experience in “legacy” car makers. Same with their batteries technology, didn’t big players like Panasonic intervene to bring their experience ?
Regarding AI or software they don’t seem to be ahead of the other players either.
From a distance, Tesla looks like a company that believed in bold ideas and had the chops to execute on them. Is there a “secret sauce” outside of that ?
This is all basic electrical engineering, and now reproduced by other carmakers, but Tesla did it first.
For example, when I was at National Semiconductor working on Solar tech (2010ish), another team was building systems for lithium ion battery management for cars. They did this to sell the tech to car makers.
I dispute that claim. They may have created a solution for use in their vehicles but did not "invent" anything, they just upscaled existing solutions and used existing know-how.
Perhaps they feel that a little espionage is worth it to get 500000 electric cars a year onto Chinese roads?
The advantage of those cars on the Chinese market is that they cost only a fraction of any Western car and middle-class Chinese can actually afford them.
Additionally, the sheer number of copycat vehicles available from Chinese automakers suggests that distribution of IP and technology within the industry is pretty common. Be it from sharing, theft, or reverse engineering.
TESLA's secret is that they're a battery company. I don't think people understand how big of an issue energy storage is, and what the resulting opportunity is. Energy storage to Tesla is what AWS is to Amazon.
If you point out that Tesla is a car company using Panasonic batteries, you get speeches about how they’ll be the next GE and you don’t get it. If you point out that Tesla is up to its eyeballs in debt and can’t peoduce even the cars it tries to make without serious flaws, in a tent, you get speeches about WSJ, Big Oil, Shortsellimf conspiracies. The True Believers ignore the reality of a publicly traded company struggling, in favor of a narrative spun around Musk’s tweets and promises.
It’s a cult, I think one born of existential dread about environmental collapse and a desire to see it fixed by a visionary billionaire who tells them they don’t have to make any sacrifices, just buy a fast car. I think that arguing with them ends up with a similar response as criticizing Google 7 or 8 years ago. Some things just have to play out, and until then it’s all “crush the non-believers!”
Edit: Again, don’t just downvote, downvote and rebut.
"...The founding of France's other great wine regions is not as clear. The Romans' propensity for planting on hillsides has left archaeological evidence of Gallo-Roman vineyards in the chalk hillsides of Sancerre. In the 4th century, the Emperor Julian had a vineyard near Paris on the hill of Montmartre, and a 5th-century villa in what is now Épernay shows the Roman influence in the Champagne region. "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Rome_and_wine
If that's true, then it worked out well for Romans wine consumers, likely freeing them from local wine-making monopolies, and also for the development of regionally unique varieties of wine.
Also, what is the relationship between Roman wine making technology and Teslas? It's not like China doesn't know how to make electric vehicles - they already produce many more that the US does.
I mean maybe some research espionage might steal a technology from them before they patent it - but if they wait until AFTER then they can use it.
You could take all of Tesla's IP and hand it to any company and they couldn't do anything with it except use it to burn money.
Tesla is the first choice for great engineers interested in its fields of work. The reason is that Elon Musk wants to help them do great work and he actually knows how to help them do it. He's not perfect but he's the best there is today and he's only getting better.
Great technology companies are like massive gravitational anomalies for a specific field. Until their power fades or a more powerful anomaly comes along it's impossible to beat them.
So far, that's all Tesla has managed to accomplish as well...
The advantage of a great technology company is its ability to continue innovating, make hard decisions, and maintain a commitment to quality.
One noted problem that Tesla faces is that Musk is frequently unable to make hard decisions because he spends so much time micromanaging...he's easily distracted by the latest new "thing" he wants each car to have. As for quality...many people who have ridden in or owned a Tesla would dispute the notion that Teslas are quality cars. You can get much better built ICE cars for a quarter of the money, hybrids for half the money, and competing EVs for 2/3rds of the cost of a Tesla.
Tesla is the first choice for great engineers interested in its fields of work. The reason is that Elon Musk wants to help them do great work and he actually knows how to help them do it.
The many engineers and AI scientists who have left Tesla in the past year would strongly disagree with that statement. Musk has frequently forced his engineers to do things based on marketing goals rather than sound engineering principles.
There's a huge demand for non-polluting vehicles in China, so expect other automakers to begin looking at similar factories in that country.
Just from 2016:
Musk said in May 2016 that he expected Tesla would produce 500,000 vehicles a year in Fremont by 2018, but the company has repeatedly fallen short of his manufacturing goals with the Model 3 sedan. Tesla built about 88,000 cars in the first half of this year.
With Musk and claims YMMV, and it pays to believe it only when and if he delivers. In this case there is no reason to believe it isn’t what he does best: PR.
Edit: for the anti-Tesla downvoters -
"CEO Elon Musk has said that Tesla wouldn't require new funding in 2018, in either equity or debt. On a call with investors, in response a question from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, Musk said that when it comes to raising new money, "I specifically don't want to." "
In reality they make nowhere near 350k cars a year. They built 41k in Q2 which was their most ever by a long shot. They celebrated the 300,000th shipped Tesla in Q1 2018...
At the end of Q2 they hit 5,000 Model 3s per week, plus 2,000 S/X. That’s an annualized rate of 350,000.
And yes, they haven’t even built 350,000 cars yet. The acceleration of their manufacturing over the last few months has been amazingly fast.
Q2 2018: 53,339
Q2 2017: 25,708
Still impressive, but not an increase of 250%.
Am I just not making myself clear on where the 350,000/year figure came from, or are you ignoring it to make some sort of point?
1) A temporary production line
2) Reworked cars included in the total
3) 24x7 production, all hands on deck
4) No downtime for maintenance
5) Went on for 175 hours, not 168
6) Whatever else that went on that's not public (almost certainly some stockpiling of parts)
Maybe you can draw some inferences from the outcome but N x 50 is not the way to do it. Output will certainly drop in the short term, it's just a question of how much. In the long term, maybe they'll do better than 5k a week, maybe they'll eventually reach there as a steady state, but even the latter isn't guaranteed.
I think they’ll sustain this rate. We’ll see.
 - https://qz.com/1292202/china-now-effectively-controls-half-t...
They also pollute, a lot, because they produce a lot of energy full stop. Afaik they do everything and anything, right now.
Burning coal doesn’t make you anti clean energy , it just makes you a polluter. It’s a bit ironic , but then again: welcome to China :p
China has a significantly higher % of it's electricity generated from renewables than the USA and a much faster adoption curve. So, adding electric cars is still a very large net gain for the environment over IC cars.
Looks to me like the US is much better for emissions. Especially since US coal plants are probably a lot cleaner.
USA happens to have a lot of natural gas which is better than coal for the environment but still much worse than solar/wind etc. Further, because they still use a lot of coal and they use more total fossil fuels it's not as a big a difference as you might think. Really the important question is what is going to come online to fuel electric cars, and that mix is vastly better than oil especially when you include extraction, transportation, and refinement.
PS: China is something like ~58% coal equivalent vs ~47% USA coal equivalent (assuming natural gas produces 1/2 the carbon of coal.)
Coal is very much on the way out, but it's not quite useless yet. Far more coal power plants are going to be destroyed in the next 10 years than built. But, if you are going to build a coal powerplant then paying a Chinese company can be a good choice.
Electricity production in China (TWh) From coal
It’s a great place to do business. Their MoUs and LOIs are worth jack shit.
You could argue MOU is jack shit in general, but saying MOU is jack in China but China is great to do business with does not a computer, considering some of the largest companies in the world are signing MOUs and going ahead with their project just fine.
MOUs from non-mainland companies may get you financing. MOUs from mainland Chinese companies will not. They have a high rate of falling through, and are most properly treated as prettified e-mails. Different commercial cultures.
The layout is a bit broken, just scroll down.
> Last week, in response to tariffs imposed by the United States, China increased the import duty on U.S.-made cars to 40%, prompting Tesla to raise prices. A plant in China also would reduce shipping costs and could make sourcing components more economical.
There's a reason why the NUMMI factories failed in the first place. The Hawthorne factories were located in the wrong place. The region's culture and human capital couldn't support the best efforts and know how of Toyota. It worked in Brazil, however.
Meanwhile, the numerous aerospace factories in Hawthorne and the LA South Bay seem to be doing fine, largely because LASB is the center of the private aerospace parts supply chain.
> the need Toyota had to start building cars in the United States, a requirement due to the possibility of import restrictions by the U.S. Congress.
So much irony.