Gas2 Week in Review, July 9: Tesla Model 3, EV Futurecast, and More

The Tesla Model 3 again out-topped any other green transportation news story this week. The Model 3 is here! The Model 3 is here! Well, actually, the Tesla Model 3 production lines have just been fired up this week, which caused stock analysts to get their knickers in a knot. Some said the Tesla sky will fall, while others proclaimed that we can’t begin to envision how the strong Tesla Model 3 will boost the company’s valuation in years to come.

All this Tesla Model 3 news came during a week in which a Bloomberg company estimated that electric cars will comprise half of all new car sales by 2040, and France announced that it will prohibit sales of internal combustion engines by 2040. Meanwhile, behind all the bravado in the news, one company is quietly developing solar powered cars, which, if tenable, could cut out the middle step of ancillary electricity production to power electric cars.

Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of “Gas2 Week in Review.”

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Production Begins This Week

[Update] It’s arrived! The first production Tesla Model 3 has emerged from the factory. Tesla CEO Elon Musk refers to this first shiny new EV as “SN1.”

Musk will be the recipient of this first Model 3, as a Tesla board member has reportedly deferred its ownership to Musk in what has been called “a birthday gift.” The Tesla Model 3 is the third model in the all-electric Tesla line. Musk explained that a celebration to deliver the first cars will take place in which 30 cars will be handed over to owners on July 28. After that, he expects the factory to build 100 cars in August and 1,500 in September. The ultimate goal is to ramp up production to about 20,000 units in the month of December.

One of our readers noted that, unlike so many concept vehicles on the horizon, Musk is good for his word. “The Man delivers! No pie in the sky here.”

Missed Production Goal, Crash Test Woes Weigh On Tesla Stock

Bombastic statements that the Tesla Model 3 launch curve will undershoot the company’s production targets have some hands shaking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announcement that the Tesla Model S did not perform as well as some other similar cars in its small overlap frontal collision test seems to be a doomsday forecast to some people. Tesla stock valuation dropping from $380 to $310 has everybody talking about lower futurecast projections for Tesla stock, including one analyst who insists the stock will eventually even out at $190 to $180 a share.

Oh, investor woes for Tesla stock!

Really? An astute Gas2 reader was not dismayed by the temporary Tesla stock furor, suggesting prudence is best for investments. “I would expect the downward trend in Tesla’s stock price to be temporary.”

BNEF Predicts Electric Cars Will Account For More Than Half Of All New Car Sales By 2040

With the price of batteries, electric motors, and other components for electric cars continuing to fall as volumes increase, Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted that new car sales globally by 2040 will account for a half of all cars and a third of all light duty vehicles on the road. Tougher emissions standards are pressing auto manufacturers who continue to rely on internal combustion engines (ICEs) to raise prices. The result may be that consumers will find that upfront selling prices for EVs will be comparable or lower than those for average ICE vehicles in almost all big markets by 2029.

One of our readers called the BNEF report ” very conservative” and offered a prediction that “100%, of new cars will be electric by 2040.” What a cultural shift that would be, eh?

France Plans To Ban Sale Of Cars With Internal Combustion Engines By 2040

Promoting its leadership in addressing global warming and climate change policies, France has announced that it will end sales of ICEs by 2040. French automakers will need to rise to the challenge, but the French environmental minister, Nicholas Hulot, suggested that the country has ideas to nurture and bring this promise to fruition. He called the new policy “a public health issue” and “a way to fight against air pollution.”

A valued Gas2 reader commented that 23 years to stop manufacturing ICE vehicles really isn’t that tough. “C’mon. Five years would be tough. Ten years should be practical. Tesla started from zero and look where it is in 14 years. Also, how about requiring all ICE vehicles to be plug-in hybrids within 5 years? That should be doable.”

Lightyear Developing Solar Powered Cars in the Netherlands

Reliance on a charging infrastructure continues to worry many would-be EV consumers. Lightyear, a Netherlands-based company, has plans to develop, manufacture, and sell solar-powered cars that could eliminate the charging infrastructure altogether. How would the Lightyear solar-powered car work? The company says it will cover the surface of its cars with solar cells and use advanced aerodynamics together with aggressive lightweighting techniques. Still in the concept phase, company goals are to build ten cars by 2019. Early adopters can reserve one today with a deposit of €19,000. with cost of the completed cars to be €119,000.

An in-the-know Gas2 reader added, “It is worth noting that some of the engineers behind this car come from the team behind Stella Lux, the winner of the Cruiser class of the World Solar Challenge 2015.” That tidbit of information may give consumers a bit more confidence in actual eventual production of this innovative vehicle.

Photo credit: wilson leonel via / CC BY


Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn grew up in Stafford Springs, CT, home of the half-mile tar racetrack. She's an avid Formula One fan (this year's trip to the Monza race was memorable). With a Ph.D. from URI, she draws upon digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+