Tesla is currently stuck in “production hell” with Model 3 delays, as Elon Musk describes it.
But Winston Churchill had a great quote about facing what seems like insurmountable adversity: “If you’re going through hell, keep going”. This is certainly a maxim that Musk and Tesla will need to live by in order to realize the company’s longstanding mission, which is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Rise of Tesla: The Future Vision (Part 3 of 3)
Today’s giant infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals, and it is the final part of our three-part Rise of Tesla Series, which is a definitive source for everything you ever wanted to know about the company.
Part 3 shows Elon Musk’s future vision, and what it holds for the company once it can get past current production issues.
To understand Tesla’s ambitions for the future, you need to know two things:
1. Tesla’s Mission Statement: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Tesla can accomplish this by making electric vehicles, batteries, and energy solutions – and by finding ways seamlessly integrate them all together.
2. Tesla’s Strategy: “The competitive strength of Tesla long-term is not going to be the car, it’s going to be the factory.”
Tesla aims to productize the factory, so that vehicle assembly can be automated at a revolutionary pace.
In other words, Tesla wants to perfect the making of the “machine that builds the machine”. It wants to use these factories to pump out EVs at a pace never before seen. It aims to change the world.
The Future of Tesla
If Elon Musk has his way and everything goes according to plan, this is how the future of Tesla will unfold.
Note: Keep in mind that Tesla sometimes overpromises – and that the following is an extrapolation of Tesla’s vision and announced plans as of Spring 2018.
A Sustainable Energy Powerhouse
Tesla’s goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy – but simply making a few electric cars is not going to be enough to put a dent into this.
That’s why the future of Tesla will be defined by bigger and bolder moves:
The Tesla Semi: Tesla has unveiled the Tesla Semi, which can go 0-60 mph with 80,000 lbs (36 tonnes) in just 20 seconds. Fully electric, and with a 200 kWh battery pack, Musk says that it would be “economic suicide” for trucking companies to continue driving diesel trucks.
Mass Transit: Elon Musk said in his Master Plan, Part Deux blog post that he wants to design “high passenger-density urban transport”. It’s anticipated that this will come in the form of an autonomous minibus, built off the Model X concept.
A New Energy Paradigm: Tesla is not just building cars – it’s democratizing green energy by creating a self-dependent ecosystem of products. This way, homeowners can ensure their appliances and cars are running off of green energy, and even sell it back to the grid if they like.
As Tesla works on this sustainable future, the company isn’t afraid to show off its battery tech in the interim. The company even built the world’s largest lithium-ion battery farm (100 MW) in South Australia to win a bet, in fewer than 100 days.
Other New Models
Elon Musk says that Tesla plans to “address all major segments” of the auto market.
Model Y: This will be a crossover vehicle built on the Model 3 platform, expected to go into production in 2019. It will round out the “S3XY” product line of Tesla’s first four post-Roadster vehicles.
Pickup Truck: This will be Tesla’s priority after the Model Y, and Musk says he is “dying to build it”. Musk says it’ll be the same size of a Ford F-150 (or bigger) to account for a “game-changing” feature he wants to add, but has not yet revealed.
Ultra Low-Cost Model: Tesla has also announced that it will need a model cheaper than the Model 3 in the near future. This would allow Tesla to compete against a much wider segment of the auto market, and the future of Tesla hinges on its success.
Tesla already has two: Gigafactory I in Reno, NV (Batteries), and Gigafactory II in Buffalo, NY (Solar panels).
The Gigafactory I started battery cell production in 2017. It will eventually produce enough batteries to power 500,000 cars per year. Meanwhile, the second factory is operated by Tesla’s SolarCity subsidiary, producing photovoltaic modules for solar panels, and solar shingles for Tesla’s solar roof product.
Tesla said in 2017 that there will be “probably four” more battery Gigafactories in locations that would “address a global market”, including one in Europe. This makes sense, since the need for lithium-ion batteries to power these EVs is exploding. An important component of Tesla’s future will also be source the raw materials needed for these Gigafactories, such as cobalt, lithium, graphite, and nickel.
The Chinese Market
The good news: Tesla already owns about 81% of the market for imported plug-in EVs in China.
The bad news: That’s only about 2.5% of the total Chinese EV market, when accounting for domestically made EVs.
China is the largest auto market in the world – and make no mistake about it, Tesla wants to own a large chunk of it. In 2017, China accounted for 24.7 million passenger vehicle sales, amounting to 31% of the global auto market.
Automation and the Sharing Economy
Finally, Tesla wants its vehicles to be fully autonomous, and to have shared fleets that drive around to transport people.
Autonomous: Tesla aims to develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning.
Shared: Most cars are only used by their owner for only 5% of each day. With self-driving cars, a car can reach its true potential utility by being shared between multiple users.
The future of Tesla is ambitious, and the company’s strategy is even considered naïve by some.
But if Elon Musk and Tesla are able to perfect the building of the “machine that builds the machine”, all bets will be off.
That concludes our three-part Rise of Tesla Series – don’t forget to see Part 1 (Origin Story) and Part 2 (Rapid Growth). We’d also like to offer a special thanks to Global Energy Metals for making this series possible, as well.
Palladium: The Secret Weapon in Fighting Pollution
The world is in critical need of palladium. It’s a crucial metal in reducing emissions from gas-powered vehicles, and our secret weapon for cleaner air.
Despite the growing hype around electric vehicles, conventional gas-powered vehicles are expected to be on the road well into the future.
As a result, exhaust systems will continue to be a critical tool in reducing harmful air pollution.
The Power of Palladium
Today’s infographic comes to us from North American Palladium, and it demonstrates the unique properties of the precious metal, and how it’s used in catalytic converters around the world.
In fact, palladium enables car manufacturers to meet stricter emission standards, making it a secret weapon for fighting pollution going forward.
The world is in critical need of palladium today.
It’s the crucial metal in reducing harmful emissions from gas powered vehicles—as environmental standards tighten, cars are using more and more palladium, straining global supplies.
What is Palladium?
Palladium is one of six platinum group metals which share similar chemical, physical, and structural features. Palladium has many uses, but the majority of global consumption comes from the autocatalyst industry.
In 2018, total gross demand for the metal was 10,121 million ounces (Moz), of which 8,655 Moz went to autocatalysts. These were the leading regions by demand:
- North America: 2,041 Moz
- Europe: 1,883 Moz
- China: 2,117 Moz
- Japan: 859 Moz
- Rest of the World: 1,755 Moz
Catalytic Converters: Palladium vs. Platinum
The combustion of gasoline creates three primary pollutants: hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. Catalytic converters work to alter these poisonous and often dangerous chemicals into safer compounds.
In order to control emissions, countries around the world have come up with strict emissions standards that auto manufacturers must meet, but these are far from the reality of how much pollutants are emitted by drivers every day.
Since no one drives in a straight line or in perfect conditions, stricter emissions testing is coming into effect. Known as Real Driving Emissions (RDE), these tests reveal that palladium performs much better than platinum in a typical driving situation.
In addition, the revelation of the Volkswagen emission scandal (known as Dieselgate) further undermines platinum use in vehicles. As a result, diesel engines are being phased out in favor of gas-powered vehicles that use palladium.
Where does Palladium Come From?
If the world is using all this palladium, where is it coming from?
Approximately, 90% of the world’s palladium production comes as a byproduct of mining other metals, with the remaining 10% coming from primary production.
In 2018, there was a total of 6.88 million ounces of mine supply primarily coming from Russia and South Africa. Conflicts in these jurisdictions present significant risks to the global supply chain. There are few North American jurisdictions, such as Ontario and Montana, which present an opportunity for more stable primary production of palladium.
Long Road to Extinction
The current price of palladium is driven by fundamental supply and demand issues, not investor speculation. Between 2012 and 2018, an accumulated deficit of five million ounces has placed pressures on readily available supplies of above-ground palladium.
Vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) will continue to dominate the roads well into the future. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it will not be until 2040 that ICE vehicles will dip below 50% of new car sales market, in favor of plug-in and hybrid vehicles. Stricter emissions standards will further bolster palladium demand.
The world needs stable and steady supplies of palladium today, and well into the future.
Animation: U.S. Electric Vehicle Sales (2010-19)
This stunning animation visualizes the last nine years of U.S. electric vehicle sales. We also look at who will lead the race in the coming years.
It’s challenging to get ahead, but it’s even harder to stay ahead.
For companies looking to create a sustainable competitive advantage in a fast-moving, capital intensive, and nascent sector like manufacturing electric vehicles, this is a simple reality that must be accounted for.
Every milestone achieved is met with the onset of new and more sophisticated competitors – and as the industry grows, the stakes grow higher and the market gets further de-risked. Then, the real 800-lb gorillas start to climb their way in, making competition even more fierce.
Visualizing U.S. EV Sales
Today’s animation uses data from InsideEVs to show almost nine years of U.S. sales in the electric vehicle market, sorted by model of car.
It paints a picture of a rapidly evolving market with many new competitors sweeping in to try and claim a stake. You can see the leads of early successes eroded away, the increasing value of scale, and consumer preferences, all rolled into one nifty animation.
The Tesla Roadster starts with a very early lead, but is soon replaced by the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt, which are the most sold models in the U.S. from 2011-2016.
Closer to the end, the Tesla Model S rises fast to eventually surpass the Leaf by the end of 2017. Finally, the scale of the rollout of the Tesla Model 3 is put into real perspective, as it quickly jumps past all other models in the span of roughly one year.
The Gorilla Search
While Tesla’s rise has been well-documented, it’s also unclear how long the company can maintain an EV leadership position in the North American market.
As carmakers double-down on EVs as their future foundations, many well-capitalized competitors are entering the fray with serious and ambitious plans to make a dent in the market.
In the previous animation, you can already see there are multiple models from BMW, Volkswagen, Honda, Fiat, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, and Chevrolet that have accumulated over 10,000 sales – and as these manufacturers continue to pour capital in the sector, they are likely posturing to try and find how to create the next mass market EV.
Of these, Volkswagen seems to be the most bullish on a global transition to EVs, and the company is expecting to have 50 fully electric models by 2025 while investing $40 billion into new EV technologies (such as batteries) along the way.
The Chinese Bigfoot?
However, the 800-lb gorilla could come from the other side of the Pacific as well.
Source: The Driven
Chinese company BYD – which is backed by Warren Buffett – is currently the largest EV manufacturer in the world, selling 250,000 EVs in 2018.
The Chinese carmaker quietly manufacturers buses in the U.S. already, and it has also announced future plans to sell its cars in the U.S. as well.
How will such an animation of cumulative U.S. EV sales look in the future? In such a rapidly evolving space, it seems it could go any which way.
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