Tesla has paved the way for many other automakers to launch their own electric vehicles and possibly improve the electric battery. However, all is not rosy for EV makers.
UK and Germany: Increased Interest in Electric Vehicles
Summary: the UK saw an increased interest in electric vehicles by 500 percent while in Germany, there is an 18 percent increase in electric vehicle registrations.
The United Kingdom is planning to completely ban sales of gas/diesel cars by the year 2030 for many reasons like the protection of the environment, but also because electric vehicles are gaining popularity. The announcement inspired many to start considering an EV for their next vehicles. According to buyacar.co.uk the inquiries for electric vehicles increased 5 folds, and this could be explained by the tight timeline of the announced change; after all, 2030 is just 9 years away. Obviously, not everyone is in a position to make the switch yet, but cleantechnica.com reported that in October, sales went up by 12 percent. We can safely assume that sales will continue to increase during the next 9 years.
Meanwhile, in Germany, sales of electric vehicles are growing steadily, with 48,000 new vehicles registered in October alone. To learn more about the distribution of those numbers by make, check out this chart. With the increased consumption of electric vehicles, German authorities also noticed a decrease in sales of petrol and diesel.
European countries seem to be ready to switch completely to electric vehicles, even though Tesla is not the most popular make among their users.
Tesla: At Risk or Thriving?
Summary: During the year, a series of events related to Tesla Motors leaves the world wondering if the automaker is doing well or failing.
The hacking tool used by Wouters to hack Tesla model X, Image from Wired.com, Courtesy of Lennert Wouters
For many of us, the year 2020 has been synonymous with a rollercoaster, even for companies. One company that experienced highs and lows are Tesla Motors with its market capitalization surging well beyond half a trillion dollars, according to Reuters, and a researcher discovering a possible way to hack into the electric vehicle’s firmware and steal it; leaving the rest of us wondering if the newfound confidence and value investors place in the electric vehicle maker is reasonable.
Back in November this year, a Belgian security researcher, Lennert Wouters, reported having found a way to hack into the Tesla Model X operating system to steal the car. Based on the demonstration, which you can read about here, the attack would take just a few minutes and takes advantage of a flaw in the key fob update system. Simply put, the attacker can modify the electronic control unit of an older model X, which can be bought on eBay, to highjack the victim’s key fob, copy the codes to unlock the vehicle. Using the stolen codes, the attacker can unlock the vehicle, hack the car’s diagnostics connector and set up their own key fob as the default key to unlock the vehicle.
Although Tesla has taken measures to fix the bug, it would be foolish to think that was the last time; especially since the same researcher, Wouters, has found weaknesses in Tesla vehicles in 2018 and 2019. What might he find in 2021?
EV Manufacturing Revolution: Tesla’s Machines
Summary: Tesla has set the standard in EV manufacturing with state-of-the-art machinery.
Right picture shows the rear of Tesla model Y in one part as opposed to the 70-piece rear in model 3, thanks to the casting machine, image from electrek.co
Tesla Motors is recognized today as a leader in the automotive industry. Tesla’s success is in part due to the machines it uses to manufacture its electric vehicles (EV), setting a new standard for other automakers to follow. Some might even say that Tesla’s manufacturing processes are the new industrial revolution.
To start, we must note that Tesla has improved in its ability to set up factories. The proof can be found in the numerous factories it has established around the world in a short period. In addition, Tesla’s factories are considered gigafactories due to their level of outputs compared to traditional automakers, and by integrating a line of battery production, Tesla is expected to decrease costs as well as production time at its gigafactories. Another secret of Tesla’s production prowess is the casting machine at the gigafactories. Considered to be the largest in the world, Tesla’s casting machine helps reduce production costs by 40% by casting tens of body parts with just one sheet of steel using AI technology.
Another aspect of the revolution set forth by Tesla is its vision for the future. Elon Musk, the CEO of the company has a vision of using 3D printing in the manufacturing of cars after he noticed that using the technology at SpaceX sped up the production of rockets. Musk acknowledged, however, that 3D printing is still too expensive to be used all the time and by all. In a tweet you can see here, Tesla’s CEO said SpaceX was 2-3 years ahead of other companies thanks to the use of 3D printing.
Tesla Updates Models 3 and S
Summary: Tesla introduces a new update for its car models 3 and S; the new update will increase the range in both cars.
Image from wikipedia user https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Vauxford
This year Tesla increased the range for models 3, X, Y, and S; but models S and 3 saw more updates than the other cars.
Earlier this year the Tesla Model S received a software update which increased its range to 402 miles on a single charge, a record amongst electric vehicles. But last month, after Lucid introduced its EV with a range of 406 miles, Tesla decided to increase the range of its model S to 409 miles as seen in the picture below. Unfortunately, as experts at Electrek noticed with the increased range came a decrease in efficiency compared to the 402-mile version: from a 117 MPGe rating to a 116 MPGe.
Image from electrek.co, Monroney sticker of the new Model S
Another model that has seen some improvements is the 2021 model 3. The details of all the changes are not clear yet, but some users reported seeing a 9-mile increase in range. For now, we know that the update will be applied to all 2021 models of standard range and long-range.