Speculations On The New Tesla Platform


I don’t suppose I’ve ever been extra interested in a Tesla investor day because the one developing March 1st. There’s a lot hypothesis on what we’re going to see, and I normally simply learn what others attempt to predict after which seize my popcorn and luxuriate in the dwell occasion, however this time I can’t assist myself. I’ve to get this on report, as a result of my head is about to blow up.

I shall be clear that the brand new automobile platform is what I discover most fascinating. The power technology, storage, and AI power arbitrage that Tesla excels in are inevitable, and in distinction, are easy duties. The brand new automobile platform is the true problem for my part, and mixed with AI, the true money cow. A minimum of till the Tesla Bot takes over the world….

Elon Musk has been very clear that the sport to any extent further is scale — huge scale. To perform huge manufacturing scale of any product, excessive scalability is important, which suggests simplicity is of the essence, not solely of the completed product, however each single element it consists of. We’ve got heard it so typically from Elon that the very best half isn’t any half, however for those who really need a product to exist, you may’t take away all components — you want at the very least one half anyway.

Talking of AI: Picture by DALL·E when requested to create “a tesla toy automobile forged as one single piece of metallic.” It blows my thoughts….

The true downside in manufacturing is to determine which indispensable components may be mixed, therefore the toy automobile analogy Elon has alluded to previously. That is what I’ve been pondering these days, and regardless that I can not in any method declare to know what I’m speaking about, I simply have to put out my ideas right here — as a easy sketch, as a result of in some unusual method, it appears believable. We’ll see.

Sketch by Jesper Berggreen

Maintaining the utopian concept of a one-part product in thoughts, listed here are my ideas on these teams of components:

  • The physique. I can solely think about the sheer quantity of challenges Tesla has been via in making the Cybertruck prepared for manufacturing. The idea of an exoskeleton appears easy, however it’s such a radical new method that the manufacturing strategies should have been designed from the bottom up. Nonetheless, Tesla has clearly made it up to now, and the Cybertruck is definitely coming to market this yr. And what the exoskeleton method will imply for the Cybertruck and new fashions by way of value financial savings is anybody’s guess, however I believe financial savings shall be substantial. I believe Tesla simply might need determined to have the choice of selecting between exoskeleton and a conventional body and panel physique constructed into this new platform.
  • The inside. I believe the inside needs to be so radically totally different from the rest now we have seen to this point. Possibly not at first look, however modularity shall be of the essence if the inside is to accommodate totally different use instances like, on the one hand, the normal drivable automobile with a steering wheel and room for a household, and however, a robotaxi with out steering wheel and pedals and perhaps even separate compartments for customers to not keep in touch with one another for privateness and even well being causes (no masks wanted…). I’ve questioned if the brand new platform shall be mounted to both a 2- or 4-seat configuration, however with the versatile physique possibility described above, and the versatile seat mounts, it’d accommodate each! Suppose low cost 4-door 25 cents per mile robotaxis alongside a phase of luxurious 2-door 50 cents per mile robotaxis, akin to 1st and 2nd class airline decisions. Clearly, the manually pushed 2-door sizzling hatch phase needs to be represented too (please make that occur, Elon!).
  • The chassis. To make the flexibleness described above sensible, the normal wiring needs to be obliviated. I believe, or fairly hope, that Tesla has gone all-in this time and executed the identical with the chassis because it did with the HVAC system within the Mannequin Y. Just like the Octovalve that’s laid out as a circuit board to get rid of numerous tubes and valves, the entire automobile communication needs to be a circuit-board-like construction, with any element having the ability to be hooked up wherever and seamlessly talk with the remainder of the automobile (e.g., a seat may be mounted at any place on the ground and energy and controls will simply work). The identical factor goes for door controls, lights, audio system, and so forth. Excessive voltage might be on the downfacing facet because the battery shall be hooked up right here, thus protecting issues protected. This will sound easy, however it’s a monumental process. The advantage of eradicating most wiring is sort of incalculable, and the manufacturing effectivity will go vertical. For this to be attainable, the chassis needs to be forged in a single piece, from the mounts for the entrance wheels all the best way again to the rear wheels. It will require a really massive “gigapress,” however Tesla simply might need the prowess to drag this off at this level.
  • The battery. This platform would be the pinnacle of what 4680 cells have been meant for. Their structural properties together with a one-piece chassis shall be a practical unit that the trade has by no means seen earlier than. It’s going to take full benefit of the potential weight financial savings that we have been launched at Battery Day in 2020. A number of battery measurement choices may be accommodated by inserting dummy cans in the identical type issue. I believe a lightweight and low-capacity 20–30 kWh battery shall be appropriate for a metropolis robotaxi, and a high-capacity 50–60 kWh unit shall be ample for the long-range, high-performance variants. Will the battery pack be simply replaceable? I assume it is dependent upon how the one-piece chassis is structured, however I hope it will likely be attainable to proceed the one-piece battery unit idea launched with the Mannequin Y at Giga Texas for straightforward service within the uncommon case of malfunction.
  • The drivetrain. The drivetrain that was developed for the Mannequin 3 has by now confirmed its price. It’s extremely dependable. I do not know if the motors on the brand new platform would be the everlasting magnet switched reluctance models which are used within the rear of the Mannequin 3 and Y, or if the induction type used within the entrance is best for this use case, however I believe the previous is the most affordable to provide at very massive scale. I believe we are going to see a smaller model that shall be ample for the smaller type issue, and I don’t suppose Tesla will trouble with totally different varieties for entrance and rear. I believe there shall be choices for front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive, and I believe the drivetrain models shall be exceptionally easy to mount to the chassis. In-wheel motors have crossed my thoughts, however because the present whole-cradle kind models shall be extraordinarily lengthy life, and simple to switch and repair, I don’t suppose Tesla will go together with the largely unproven in-wheel setup presently.

Primarily, we’re taking a look at a brilliant easy, mild, sturdy, and versatile 5-component group construction that may carry as much as 4 passengers with most consolation and security. The components themselves needs to be tremendous dependable, but straightforward to restore, substitute, and recycle, so as to decrease use of uncooked supplies. However apart from all of that, right here’s actual the kicker: If this platform is so versatile it may tackle any type of physique, it may be licensed — I imply, the entire platform may be licensed. Suppose: “Intel Inside,” solely this time: “Tesla Inside.” This consists of the entire suite of working software program, which has at all times been a really excessive precedence at Tesla, figuring out that {hardware} is price nothing with out top-performing software program.

Sketch by Jesper Berggreen

I do know, what a loopy concept! Tesla will in fact market its personal physique designs to get the ball rolling, but when transportation as a complete is to be remodeled to all-electric together with the remainder of the world’s power programs, others should play alongside, quick. In a phrase: Effectivity! And as a welcome facet impact: True world affordability.

Intel has had preliminary run in enabling the fast growth of private computing energy, and with its new platform, Tesla could also be about to repeat this enterprise in one other trade. However as a result of unlucky influence the century-long fossil gas experiment has had on the planet to this point, time is of the essence. I discover it very exhausting to think about legacy automakers will attain this sort of a whole transformation in manufacturing automobiles any time quickly. So, I ponder, if Tesla does this, what alternative will legacy automakers have? Keep in mind, all different EV producers are presenting automobiles at present which are similar to the platform Tesla began the Mannequin 3 manufacturing with (it didn’t even have gigacasting components in it).

We’ve got heard for a really very long time that the competitors is coming for Tesla, and I really consider that legacy automakers had the appropriate intentions and themselves believed they might simply ramp up manufacturing of low cost and dependable EVs when it was time to take action. That point has come, and it appears the previous manufacturers have had an uncomfortable epiphany concerning the precise challenges this paradigm shift presents. Some are apparently nonetheless in denial, however others are very candid concerning the ugly actuality (shoutout to Jim Farley for being so trustworthy concerning the problem Ford faces at this level).

I don’t suppose Tesla fears any competitors aside from that of the idea of unsustainability, as a result of that one phrase implies that everyone shall be out of enterprise finally. With humanity on Earth in thoughts, Elon’s Grasp Plan Half 3 is an try to make sure sustainability. I believe that’s it. Easy actually, but so exhausting.

“The competitors is coming!” Picture of my very own single-piece forged Monopoly vehicles that has spurred enjoyable academic competitors in a board recreation 🙂


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