Saturday, 15 April 2017

Lithium Race And The Coming Tide Of Electric Cars: Tesla Has Now 8 Vehicle Programs In The Works.

The next generation of Tesla Roadster.

Electrek reports about 8 electric vehicles in the works at Tesla and now you can better understand what I call the coming tide of Electric Cars. China is investing billions of dollars in The New Energy Plan creating its leapfrog into the post carbon economy by building the manufacturing base for the 21st century based on renewable energy and electric cars. Elon Musk has made electric cars unstoppable in the West almost alone - just compare the state level support in China with their military discipline to secure the full supply chain for Energy rEVolution and constant cry from auto lobbyists and Big Oil in the West.

Tesla is still way ahead of any closest competitors in the EV space. Elon Musk made it in a silicon valley style: get big fast and go online. His very bold move with Gigafactory is slashing lithium battery costs down and Chinese companies are mimicking it with their Lithium Megafactories. And Tesla's ability to collect data online from billions of miles driven by its electric cars and update them as our mobile phones has made a dramatic reduction in time and cost of EV R&D possible. That is why China is already flexing its financial muscles to get Tesla inland with "Chinese Facebook" Tencent taking 5% stake in the company recently. So do we still have a chance not to hold that bag after Energy rEVolution will claim its victims after all?

Lithium Race: Transfer Of The Best EV Technology Is Next - China's Tencent Takes Five Percent Stake In Tesla.

Make no mistake, geopolitical implications of the attempt to "Make America Great Again" with "Clean Coal" will go very far. China is executing meticulously its New Energy Plan taking dominant positions in one market after another. Lithium Materials - check, Lithium Batteries - in the making, Electric Cars - more than 70 EV models are on sale and now the hunt is on for the best technology to transfer in exchange for the access to the largest market.

"Today's news about the technology giant behind the Chinese "Facebook" Tencent taking a 5% stake in Tesla is giving more credibility to Elon Musk's plans to expand his operations in China. It is showing that the largest market in the world for electric cars in China will welcome Tesla in order to get the best technology for electric cars. It is all part of the very carefully crafted New Energy Plan in China. Next logical step will be to follow up on Elon Musk's ideas to bring production of Teslas into China as well. The transfer of the best EV technology is the next step. Who will be left behind holding the bag after Energy rEVolution?

Joe Lowry from Global Lithium has just reported that NCA cathode for lithium batteries is still produced in Japan by Panasonic for Tesla. This supply chain for Tesla Gigafactory is going all the way around the Globe and back to China. Panasonic is buying its lithium chemicals from China. China is "The Centre of The Lithium Universe"Lithium is the magic metal at the very heart of this Energy rEVolution and International Lithium is Lithium Strategic Investments and Royalty Company which is plugged-in the most dynamic EV and Energy Storage markets in China with partners like a giant from China Ganfeng Lithium." Read more.


Tesla’s automotive business is expanding quickly and we are not only talking about the Model 3. The Model 3 program will significantly increase its overall production capacity from roughly 2,000 vehicles per week to ~7,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year if all goes well, but Tesla is also expanding its automotive offering with now 8 vehicle programs at different stages of development.

CEO Elon Musk’s update yesterday gives us a better idea – albeit still vague – of the timeline for those programs.

Here are the 8 vehicle programs:
Most people know about the Model S and X, which are both currently in production and are expected to keep their positions as Tesla’s flagship luxury sedan and SUV for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the Model 3 is also well-known and while it’s not in production yet, it should be in the next few months as long as there are no delays.

After the Model 3, the timeline to production for Tesla’s other vehicle programs becomes less clear.

Musk said in the past that the Model Y, a small SUV based on the same platform as the Model 3, will be Tesla’s priority once the company gets a handle on the Model 3 production ramp up.

But we have yet to hear anything about a planned reveal of a Model Y prototype and instead, Musk confirmed yesterday a planned unveiling of Tesla Semi, the company’s upcoming all-electric semi truck, for September.

Does it mean that Tesla Semi is further along the development process than the Model Y or Tesla is only keeping its cards close to its chest when it comes to the compact SUV? It’s hard to say at this point.

Musk also made rare and welcomed references to the next generation Roadster recently after the upcoming vehicle was surprisingly left out of Musk’s product plan last year. He confirmed that the vehicle is still planned, but “a few years away” and yesterday he added that it will be a convertible.

Furthermore, Musk clarified that the “Tesla Pickup truck” is only going to be revealed “18 to 24 months” from now. Considering the current popularity of pickup trucks, we would have thought that it would have been further up Tesla’s list of priorities, but apparently, we are not likely to see it before 2019, which means that production before 2020 is unlikely.

The last vehicle is what we have been referring to as the “Tesla Minibus”, a microbus built on the Model X chassis. Musk said that the bus is inspired by the “California Custom VW combi design art”. Jalopnik came up with the rendering seen below to help visualize what it could look like:

Since Tesla plans to build the vehicle on the Model X chassis, it could be further along the development process than most other vehicles, but it doesn’t have a clear unveiling timeline like Tesla Semi.
Based on the information we have so far, here are my best guesstimates (emphasize that these are guesses) for the production timelines for each upcoming model:
  • Tesla Model Y – late 2018
  • Tesla Roadster next-gen  – 2019
  • Tesla Minibus – 2019
  • Tesla Pickup truck – 2020
  • Tesla Semi – low-volume late 2018"

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