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βš‘πŸš— EV Friday | Tesla Plaid, Fiat going all electric


You've probably noticed I don't talk very much about Tesla in these newsletters. It's mainly because I find it very well covered already by rest of the media and I try to provide the big picture. I do love what they do though and in my eyes, Tesla is the pioneer, the leader that has gotten our EV movement going in modern times and is fueling the ambitions still. This newsletter covers Tesla's doings just a bit more than usual.

- Jaan

Tesla Plaid Event

Yesterday, Tesla held its delivery event at the Fremont Factory debuting the Tesla Model S Plaid. If you didn't watch the live stream (video), here's a recap:

The event started with Franz von Holzhausen, the chief designer, walking on stage with a sledgehammer, claiming: "we might be breaking a few records".

That they did.

Although I was secretly hoping to gain from the event more than just Plaid, I was still left in awe of Tesla's ability to be leading the pack when it comes to EV technology. Looks like Tesla is out trying to create the 'best of the best' with Plaid, and is succeeding to do so.

Here's how the Plaid is special:

  • Fastest 0-60mph of any production car: 1.99s
  • Fastest 1/4 mile of any production car: 9.23s
  • Features a proprietary electric motor with a carbon over-wrapped rotor. They even had to design a new manufacturing machine to wind it under extremely high tension:
  • Also new battery design along with it (no details).
  • Lowest Drag Coefficient of any production car: 0.208
  • New heat pump and thermal system, claiming it's 30% better in cold weather range, requiring 50% less energy for cabin heating. This should improve cold temperature range significantly:
  • Bigger radiator in front so the car is able to sustain more high performance continuously.
  • Charges 187 miles in 15 minutes.
  • Expected to be found having 'lowest probability of injury of any car ever tested' (top 4 are Tesla's anyway).
  • Interior upgrades with more legroom, new UI, improved cabin soundproofing with acoustic glass.
  • Infotainment system 'as powerful as PS5', can play Cyberpunk. They even have their own gaming controller:

The attendees could ride the Plaid in the test track and first 25 new owners got their vehicles at the spot. Musk said Tesla is producing a few hundred Plaid's a week with 1k/week next quarter.

I assume some of these improvements (like the thermal system) will trickle down to the other Tesla models too.

This is how 0-60mph in 2 seconds looks like (click the tweet for video):

So this, the world's quickest and safest production car packed with a bunch of proprietary technology, which also happens to be a sexy four-door family sedan, is starting at around $80,000. The tri-motor version is ~$130k.

Here's the live stream if you want to see it again: (video)

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Fiat plans to go fully electric by 2030. As latest of a series of automakers claiming to go full EV, the CEO of Fiat said at a discussion at World Environment Day 2021 its product line-up will gradually become electric-only between 2025 and 2030:

Nowadays, in this new scenario, it has a new mission – our mission – to create sustainable mobility for all. It is our duty to bring to market electric cars that cost no more than those with an internal combustion engine, as soon as we can, in line with the falling costs of batteries. We are exploring the territory of sustainable mobility for all: this is our greatest project. Between 2025 and 2030, our product line-up will gradually become electric-only. This will be a radical change for Fiat.

Currently, Fiat's electric offerings feature the Fiat 500 and Fiat e-Ducato (link).

Volkswagen will receive $351M from the former executives who ran the company during the Dieselgate scandal. Most of the money ($270M) will come from the Directors' and Officers' insurance. VW's expenses because of #dieselgate? About $40B. (link)

Renault revealed plans for its ElectriCity (now that's a good name), the industrial mega-site we've covered earlier that combines three industrial sites in Northern France. We now learned, the expected production capacity of the City will be 400k vehicles per year by 2025 and the first EV coming out of it will be the MΓ©gane E-Vision on the new modular CMF-EV platform. By the way, Renault unveiled the preproduction model of it (link). Renault claims it will be the largest and most competitive EV production facility in Europe. (link)

BloombergNEF launched its Electric Vehicle Outlook and estimates the EVs represent a $7T global market opportunity by 2030 and $46T by 2050. (link)

Aptera rolled out its second solar EV of the Alpha line, fittingly named Sol. Here comes the Sol, a car that you may never need to charge:

I'm not big on solar-on-vehicle ideas (is it because I think it isn't effective enough or because we just don't get much sun where I am?), but I am a fan of Aptera's development process and hopefully they'll be able to provide us with a line-up of wonderful EVs.

There has already been more EV registrations in January to May this year in Europe than there was in the whole year of 2019 (355K vs 354K). (link)

The Boring Company opened the Las Vegas Loop, operating currently with Tesla's in 1.5mi of tunnels (link)

πŸ“Ί What I'm watching

  • Anonymous sends a damning message to Elon Musk, which in my opinion seems almost faked and done by some fossil lobbyist. They are pretty much just citing classic myths. You decide:
  • This interactive 'game' to show Tesla Roadster SpaceX Edition vs the world's fastest cars (cool link).
  • Here's Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo racing in -30Β°C and +30Β°C at an epic (video)
  • The Volvo C40 Recharge design stories (videos).
  • I stumbled upon a Tesla Factory tour with Elon Musk by Marques Brownlee (video)

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Jerome Guillen, a longtime Tesla top executive, is leaving the company (link). Guillen joined Tesla in 2010 from Daimler as a Model S program director, acted as a VP of vehicle engineering, then became the VP of Worldwide Sales and Service between 2013-2015. He was behind Tesla's important retail sales ramp-ups.

In 2018, he was promoted to the President of Automotive, which put him as the number two man in Tesla's EV side and he played a major part in ramping up Model 3 production. Here's an interview with Jerome in 2018 (video).

In March 2021 he resumed to work as the President of Tesla's Heavy Trucking division until this week, which is working on Tesla Semi. This came as a surprise to me, since it's only a few months before the expected Semi customer deliveries start. Jerome accomplished a lot in expanding the EV Universe and we salute you. I'll keep an eye on what he's up next.

Other job news also come from Tesla: it's hiring ADAS test drivers to test the self-driving around the world, like in France, Italy and Spain, in addition to the US and Canada. (link) Tesla's job description states:

"We are looking for a highly motivated individual to accelerate our vehicle-level testing for all current and future Autopilot features on the path to full self-driving.”

Apple hired the co-founder and CEO of Canoo, Ulrich Kranz, for the Apple Car development (link). I wrote about what was happening in Canoo in the newsletter #28 (link), looks like it only took Apple a few weeks to snatch Kranz up.

Aptera Motors hired Jannies Sun Burlingame (hey, that's a fitting middle name, see the Sol story above) as its Chief Financial Officer, which might mean the company is gearing towards going public (link).

Lordstown Motors finds itself in trouble, running low on cash. The company's latest Form 10-K filing reveal among other (link):

We require additional capital to implement our business plan, and it may not be available on acceptable terms, if at all, creating substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern. [...] Expected Endurance production in 2021 will be limited and would at best be 50% of our prior expectations.

The company also said the production, supply and shipping costs have went up since the earlier estimations.

While this seems damning, I am still rooting for them as kind of the underdogs. Per the Q1 report, they've built 48 of the 57 beta vehicles so far and the Endurance passed the frontal and pole crash tests, two of the hardest ones. It ain't over till it's over, yeah?

πŸ“š What I'm reading

  • Norwegian Automotive Federation tested 21 new EVs driving them from full until they 'died' (link).
  • BNEF's Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 (link). Some of the data is free, some under paywall.
  • A great visualized thread by @JRP007 on Twitter:

πŸ€” Β An EV puzzle:

  • What connects parents and Aptera's future solar electric car?

(The answer is in the end of the newsletter. If you chuckled, share it)

That's it for the EV Friday, folks! See you on Monday!

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