This edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review” looks at the ways that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has started a revolution in automotive thinking. Sure, the Tesla Model S was released nearly six years ago now, but, as our top stories this week point out, in that relatively short period of time the landscape of what it means to sell cars in the U.S. and abroad has changed radically — largely due to Musk’s leadership.
With revised production goals of up to 700,000 cars per year in the near future, the newest Tesla, the Model 3, differs from its sister models in its battery: the Model 3’s 2170 cell is slightly larger and more energy efficient. Both Model 3 production numbers and battery analyses became big news this week. But not one to stand on his proverbial laurels of the Model 3 release, Musk has gotten media types also scurrying in a different direction — this time by the idea of all-electric Tesla long haul trucks moving in platoons. Nevada and California may be the first tests sites of such a cargo transport management system.
Under Musk’s leadership, the ubiquity of the all-electric car will soon spur questions like, Which charger is best for my home use? Our Gas2 synthesis of a Consumer Reports article helped some of our readers to envision an answer to that question. And many of our readers were compelled by Australia’s announcement of an intention to build an 1800 kilometer-long electric highway filled with free charging stations. Thanks to Musk’s leadership in creating a vision of an all-electric future that is now more reality than fiction, a significant number of countries are creating policies and infrastructures that could someday make combustion vehicles a mere memory on our roads.
Here are those stories and more on this week’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
Musk’s leadership may result in even larger production goals for the Model 3 than originally forecast. During a conference call with investors, Musk suggested that Tesla probably will end up with the wherewithal to produce 700,00 units of the Model 3 annually one day. With much anticipation as the company’s first mid-priced car, the Tesla Model 3 poses a significant challenge to the all-electric car company and Musk’s leadership.
Unlike the Model S and X, the Tesla Model 3 will be using a battery cell known as the 2170 cell. Twenty-one millimeters in diameter by 70 millimeters in length, the 2170 is slightly larger than the 18650 cells used in the other Tesla models. They’re also 46% larger in volume and about 15% more energy efficient. Original Tesla owners’ fears that they might have to replace their batteries every five years have proven unfounded under Musk’s leadership. Data from actual drivers’ experience indicates that the batteries lose no more than 2% of their capacity per year.
The Tesla Semi, which may be released as early as September, could be seen on Nevada and California roads soon. That is, if Musk’s leadership carries enough weight for authorities there to allow tests of the trucks’ autonomous driving systems. The trucks would travel in platoons on the highway; a driver in a lead vehicle would control direction and pace using digital rather than physical connections. Platooning offers an efficient way of moving cargo and deletes typical road hazards of pedestrians, bicyclists, and cross traffic.
The Australian government is about to embark on an ambitious project to build a new, 1800 kilometer-long electric highway on coastal roads running along the Great Barrier Reef. Importantly, the section will feature free EV charging stations. The project is part of Australia’s goals to evolve to a future where electric vehicles are more prevalent on the roads than combustion engines, which will usher in a low-emissions future.
Who would’ve thought just a few years ago that homeowners would be discussing the best equipment and procedures for charging their all-electric cars? Now, with ubiquitous Teslas and other EVs soon-to-be on our roads due to Musk’s leadership and tenacity, average people will be driving an electric car. Their learning curve begins with the recognition that they plug in their car overnight and awaken with a fully charged battery. Is the Level One, Two, or Three charger the best for home use, though? The folks over at Consumer Reports have offered some friendly guidance to help homeowners answer that question.