In Tesla’s final years as a private company, things got pretty hectic.
As we showed in Part 1: Tesla’s Origin Story, the launch of the Roadster was a public relations success, but it created all kinds of problems internally. There were massive cost overruns, a revolving door of CEOs, layoffs, and even a narrow escape from bankruptcy.
Fortunately, by 2010 the company was able to forget these troubles after a successful IPO. The company secured $226 million in capital, and hitting the public markets started a roller coaster ride of growth.
Rise of Tesla: The Company (Part 2 of 3)
Today’s giant infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals, and it is the second 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 2 shows major events from 2010 until today, and it tracks the company’s rapid growth along the way.
Tesla was the first American car company to IPO since The Ford Motor Company went public in 1956.
Interestingly, it only took seven years for Tesla to match Ford’s value – here are the major events during this stretch of time that made this incredible feat possible.
After securing funding from the public markets, Tesla was positioned for its next big leap:
- The company had just narrowly escaped bankruptcy
- The Tesla Roadster helped to dispel the stigma around EVs, but it was unclear if it could be parlayed into mainstream success
- The company was free from its feud and lawsuit with co-founder Martin Eberhard
- Tesla had just taken over its now famous factory in Fremont, CA
It was time to focus on the next phase of Tesla’s strategy: to build the company’s first real car from scratch – and to help the company achieve the economies of scale, impact, and reputation it desired.
In 2011, Tesla announces that the Roadster will be officially discontinued.
Instead, the company starts focusing all efforts on two new EVs: the Model S (A full-size luxury car) and the Model X (A full-size luxury crossover SUV).
The Model S was Tesla’s chance to build a car around the electric powertrain, rather than the other way around.
When we started Model S, it was a clean sheet of paper.
– Franz Von Holzhausen, Chief Car Designer
In June 2012, the first Model S hits the road – and the rest is history. The model won multiple awards, including being recognized as the “safest car ever tested” by the NHTSA and the “Best car ever tested” by Consumer Reports. Over 200,000 cars were eventually sold.
But despite the success of the new model, Tesla still faced a giant problem. Lithium-ion batteries were still too expensive for a mass market car to be feasible, and the company needed to “bet the farm” on an idea to bring EVs to the mainstream.
Tesla reveals initial plans for its Gigafactory concept, an ambitious attempt to bring economies of scale to the battery industry.
In time, the details of those plans solidified:
- Cost: $5 billion
- Partner: Panasonic
- Objective: To reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery packs by 30%
- Location: Sparks, Nevada
- Size: Up to 5.8 million sq. ft (100 football fields)
The company believed that through economies of scale, reduction of waste, a closer supply chain, vertical integration, and process optimization, that the cost of batteries could be sufficiently reduced to make a mass market EV possible.
Under Tesla’s first plan, the Gigafactory would be ramped up to produce batteries for 500,000 EVs per year by 2020. Later on, the company eventually moved that target forward by two years.
Tesla makes significant advances in software, hardware, and its mission.
- Autopilot is released for the first time, which gives the Model S semi-autonomous driving and parking capabilities
- By this time, Tesla’s Supercharger network is up to 221 stations around the world
- Tesla goes open source, releasing all of the company’s patents for anyone to use
After massive and repeated delays because of issues with the “falcon wing” doors, the Model X finally is released.
In the same year, the Tesla Powerwall is also announced. Using a high-capacity lithium-ion battery and proprietary technology – the Powerwall is a major step towards Tesla achieving its major end goal of integrating energy generation and storage in the home.
Tesla unveils its Model 3 – the car for the masses that is supposed to change it all.
Here are the specs for the most basic model, which is available at $35,000:
- Price: $35,000
- Torque: 415 lb-ft
- Power: 235 hp (Motor Trend’s est.)
- 0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
- Top speed: 130 mph
- Range: 220 miles
After being announced, the Model 3 quickly garnered 500,000 pre-orders. To put the magnitude of this number in perspective – in six years of production of the Model S, the company has only delivered about 200,000 cars in total so far.
In 2016, Tesla also announces that it is taking over of Elon Musk’s other companies, SolarCity, for $2.6 billion of stock. Elon Musk owns 22% of SolarCity shares at the time of the takeover.
The goal: to build a seamlessly integrated battery and solar product that looks beautiful.
2017 was a whirlwind year for Tesla:
- Consumer Reports names Tesla the top American car brand in 2017
- The Tesla Gigafactory I begins battery cell production
- Tesla wins bids to provide grid-scale battery power in South Australia and Puerto Rico
- Tesla starts accepting orders for its new solar roof product
- The Tesla Semi is unveiled – a semi-truck that can go 0-60 mph in just 5 seconds, which is 3x faster than a diesel truck
- Model 3 deliveries begin, though production issues keep them from ramping at the speed anticipated
Tesla also unveils the new Roadster – the second-gen version of the car that started it all.
This time, it has unbelievable specs:
- 0-60 mph: 1.9 seconds
- 200 kWh battery pack
- Top speed: above 250 mph
- 620 mile range (It could drive from San Francisco to LA and back, without needing a recharge)
The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars
– Elon Musk, Tesla Co-Founder and CEO
The new Roadster will go into production in 2020.
A Look to the Future
In 1956, the IPO of the Ford Motor Company was the single largest IPO in Wall Street’s history.
Tesla IPO’d a whopping 54 years later, and the company has already passed Ford in value:
(numbers from Dec 31, 2017)
An incredible feat, it took only seven years for Tesla to pass Ford in value on the public markets. However, this is still the beginning of Tesla’s story.
See Musk’s vision for the future in Part 3 of this series.
Visualizing China’s Energy Transition in 5 Charts
This infographic takes a look at what China’s energy transition plans are to make its energy mix carbon neutral by 2060.
Visualizing China’s Energy Transition in 5 Charts
In September 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping announced the steps his nation would take to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 via videolink before the United Nations Assembly in New York.
This infographic takes a look at what this ambitious plan for China’s energy would look like and what efforts are underway towards this goal.
China’s Ambitious Plan
A carbon-neutral China requires changing the entire economy over the next 40 years, a change the IEA compares to the ambition of the reforms that industrialized the country’s economy in the first place.
China is the world’s largest consumer of electricity, well ahead of the second place consumer, the United States. Currently, 80% of China’s energy comes from fossil fuels, but this plan envisions only 14% coming from coal, oil, and natural gas in 2060.
|Energy Source||2025||2060||% Change|
Source: Tsinghua University Institute of Energy, Environment and Economy; U.S. EIA
According to the Carbon Brief, China’s 14th five-year plan appears to enshrine Xi’s goal. This plan outlines a general and non specific list of projects for a new energy system. It includes the construction of eight large-scale clean energy centers, coastal nuclear power, electricity transmission routes, power system flexibility, oil-and-gas transportation, and storage capacity.
Progress Towards Renewables?
While the goal seems far off in the future, China is on a trajectory towards reducing the carbon emissions of its electricity grid with declining coal usage, increased nuclear, and increased solar power capacity.
According to ChinaPower, coal fueled the rise of China with the country using 144 million tonnes of oil equivalent “Mtoe” in 1965, peaking at 1,969 Mtoe in 2013. However, its share as part of the country’s total energy mix has been declining since the 1990s from ~77% to just under ~60%.
Another trend in China’s energy transition will be the greater consumption of energy as electricity. As China urbanized, its cities expanded creating greater demand for electricity in homes, businesses, and everyday life. This trend is set to continue and approach 40% of total energy consumed by 2030 up from ~5% in 1990.
Under the new plan, by 2060, China is set to have 42% of its energy coming from solar and nuclear while in 2025 it is only expected to be 6%. China has been adding nuclear and solar capacity and expects to add the equivalent of 20 new reactors by 2025 and enough solar power for 33 million homes (110GW).
Changing the energy mix away from fossil fuels, while ushering in a new economic model is no small task.
Up to the Task?
China is the world’s factory and has relatively young industrial infrastructure with fleets of coal plants, steel mills, and cement factories with plenty of life left.
However, China also is the biggest investor in low-carbon energy sources, has access to massive technological talent, and holds a strong central government to guide the transition.
The direction China takes will have the greatest impact on the health of the planet and provide guidance for other countries looking to change their energy mixes, for better or for worse.
The world is watching…even if it’s by videolink.
Visualizing the Flow of U.S. Energy Consumption
From renewables to fossil fuels, we’ve visualized the diverse mix of energy sources that powered U.S. energy consumption in 2020.
Breaking Down America’s Energy Consumption in 2020
The United States relies on a complex mix of energy sources to fuel the country’s various end-sectors’ energy consumption.
While this energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels, there are signs of a steady shift to renewable energy over the past decade.
This radial Sankey diagram using data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) breaks down U.S. energy consumption in 2020, showing us how much each sector relies on various energy sources.
The Balance of Energy Production and Consumption
In 2019 and now in 2020, America’s domestic energy production has actually been greater than its consumption—a development that hasn’t taken place since 1957.
Last year’s numbers were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a 5% drop in energy production and a 7% drop in consumption compared to 2019. Total energy production and consumption for 2020 came in at 95.75 and 92.94 quads respectively.
The energy amounts are equalized and measured in quadrillion BTUs (British thermal units), also known as quads. A quad is a huge amount of energy, equivalent to 183 million barrels of petroleum or 36 million tonnes of coal.
So how is America’s overall energy production and consumption split between energy sources?
U.S. Energy Production and Consumption Share by Source
|Energy Source||Percentage of U.S. Energy Production||Percentage of U.S. Energy Consumption|
America’s new margin of energy production over consumption has resulted in the country being a net total energy exporter again, providing some flexibility as the country continues its transition towards more sustainable and renewable energy sources.
Fossil Fuels Still Dominate U.S. Energy Consumption
While America’s mix of energy consumption is fairly diverse, 79% of domestic energy consumption still originates from fossil fuels. Petroleum powers over 90% of the transportation sector’s consumption, and natural gas and petroleum make up 74% of the industrial sector’s direct energy consumption.
There are signs of change as consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel, coal, has declined more than 58% since its peak in 2005. Coinciding with this declining coal dependence, consumption from renewable energy has increased for six years straight, setting record highs again in 2020.
However, fossil fuels still make up 79% of U.S. energy consumption, with renewables and nuclear accounting for the remaining 21%. The table below looks at the share of specific renewable energy sources in 2020.
Distribution of Renewable Energy Sources
|Renewable Energy Source||2020 Energy Consumption in Quads||Share of 2020 Renewable Energy Consumption|
The Nuclear Necessity for a Zero-Emission Energy Transition
It’s not all up to renewable energy sources to clean up America’s energy mix, as nuclear power will play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions. Technically not a renewable energy source due to uranium’s finite nature, nuclear energy is still a zero-emission energy that has provided around 20% of total annual U.S. electricity since 1990.
Support for nuclear power has been growing slowly, and last year was the first which saw nuclear electricity generation overtake coal. However, this might not last as three nuclear plants including New York’s Indian Point nuclear plant are set to be decommissioned in 2021, with a fourth plant scheduled for retirement in 2022.
It’s worth noting that while other countries might have a higher share of nuclear energy in their total electricity generation, the U.S. still has the largest nuclear generation capacity worldwide and has generated more nuclear electricity than any other country in the world.
Converting Energy to Electricity
The energy produced by nuclear power plants doesn’t go directly to its end-use sector, rather, 100% of nuclear energy in the U.S. is converted to electricity which is sold to consumers. Along with nuclear, most energy sources aside from petroleum are primarily converted to electricity.
Unfortunately, electricity conversion is a fairly inefficient process, with around 65% of the energy lost in the conversion, transmission, and distribution of electricity.
This necessary but wasteful step allows for the storage of energy in electrical form, ensuring that it can be distributed properly. Working towards more efficient methods of energy to electricity conversion is an often forgotten aspect of reducing wasted energy.
Despite the dip in 2020, both energy production and consumption in the U.S. are forecasted to continue rising. As Biden aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 (from 2005 emission levels), U.S. energy consumption will inevitably continue to shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable and nuclear energy.
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