Tag Archive | "Tesla"

Panasonic Provide Spark For Tesla

As the relentless march towards alternative automotive fuels continues, it has been announced that Panasonic and Tesla Motors, have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the USA, to be known, rather unimaginatively, as the Gigafactory.

Inside The Gigafactory

According to the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities. Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools based on their mutual approval. A network of supplier partners is planned to produce the required precursor materials.

t1 Panasonic Provide Spark For TeslaTesla will take the cells and other components to assemble battery modules and packs. To meet the projected demand for cells, Tesla will continue to purchase battery cells produced in Panasonic’s factories in Japan.

The Gigafactory is being created to enable a continuous reduction in the cost of long-range battery packs in parallel with manufacturing at the volumes required to enable Tesla to meet its goal of advancing mass market electric vehicles. The Gigafactory will be managed by Tesla with Panasonic joining as the principal partner responsible for lithium-ion battery cells and occupying approximately half of the planned manufacturing space; key suppliers combined with Tesla’s module and pack assembly will comprise the other half of this fully integrated industrial complex.

The Electric Future

The Gigafactory is meant to represent a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized. Not only does the Gigafactory enable capacity needed for the Model 3 Tesla but it sets the path for a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy storage across a broad range of applications. Economies of scale, in other words.

Cost reductions will be achieved through optimized manufacturing processes previously unobtainable in battery cell and pack production. Further price reductions are achieved by manufacturing cells that have been optimized for electric vehicle design, both in size and function and also by co-locating suppliers on-site to eliminate packaging, transportation and duty costs along with other ancillary expenses. Anything that brings down the cost of EV’s in the medium to long term has got to be a good thing.

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Tesla Take A Trip

Although sales of electric cars continue to tick over, they are not exactly setting the world on fire. This is largely because of the well-known range issue. Clearly, the motor manufacturers don’t give up that easily and research and development presumably continues unabated as they seek solutions.

This hasn’t stopped Tesla from making sure its customer base in the USA is well catered for. As time has gone on the company has been quietly establishing a network of Supercharger points. Supercharging enables Tesla Model S drivers to travel long distances, for free and indefinitely. Right now the network covers California and Nevada in the West and the Washington DC to the Boston area in the East.

Since going live in October last year Tesla reckon that an estimated one million miles of happy eco-friendly travel have been driven by Tesla owners. The Superchargers effectively enable city to city travel. The driver can motor for about three hours then stop at the dedicated points, take a half hour break from driving and enjoy coffee and a snack whilst his car is rapid-charged. Then it’s back on the road and best of all – it’s completely free and will be for the life of his or her ownership of the car. That’s customer service.

Now there is to be an accelerated roll-out of stations and Tesla owners can expect there to be a tripling of halts by the end of June, including many more in California and at other destinations around the whole of the Northern Continent. The scale is ambitious. It is expected that within six months the Tesla Supercharger Network will connect most of the metro areas in the USA and Canada. They say that it will ultimately be possible to travel from LA to NYC stopping only at Tesla points without spending any money at all on fuel.

Improving the network is one thing but the Tesla Company are not stopping there. They are also working to improve the technology behind the charging system to dramatically reduce charging times for the Model-S. Early trials have achieved a fifty percent cut from the early original times. The new technology is testing right now and should be available to customers this Summer meaning a twenty minute charge equating to up to three hours of driving.

They say that what happens in America eventually makes its way over here in due course. Well, there isn’t much sign of a workable charging network appearing any time soon so just remember what they’ve achieved over there when you next fill up with liquid gold at an immense cost.

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Tesla Perseverance Might Pay Off

Here we go again. Another electric car that is said to move the technology forward by another couple of notches. It’s from the American manufacturer Tesla who have, to be fair, persevered with electricity – even when most car makers worldwide are showing EV sales that are flatter than the West Siberian Plain – and are producing a new vehicle which goes on sale over the pond this year. The really irritating thing is that they might just have cracked the basic problem – a bit.

As ever, it’s range anxiety that puts British buyers off. That and the prices. Nevertheless, Tesla in America have received 13000 advance orders for their new Model S premium four door saloon. In the USA the asking price is expected to be priced from around $85000 (depending on the model) which in real money is about £54000, although you can bet your life that in the UK we will actually pay the dollar equivalent in pounds when the time comes.

The Model S is marketed to rival the BMW 5 Series or the Mercedes E-Class so it’s no shrinking violet. It certainly looks the part – it is a very nice design. The platform is laid out like a skateboard with a flat lithium-ion battery under the floor. In the top-of-the-range model this powers the 416bhp electric motor between the rear wheels.

Tesla reckon that this car will go for an impressive 300 miles between charges and shoots it to 60mph in a mere 4.4 seconds. It is probable though that those two figures aren’t really compatible and it is be expected that to achieve 300 miles will require some frugal driving without lights or air-con. We’ll see.

Because there is no proper engine there is masses of boot space front and rear. The principal feature inside is the massive 17-inch tablet style computer in the dash which drivers can use for the popular media functions as well as some car controls. There are few switches.

Early testers report that this physically big car handles well thanks to its low-slung ride on air suspension. The only drawback seems to be the amount of lateral grip provided by the seats. Apparently they could do with more bolstering when cornering. This oversight is probably because the Americans don’t really understand the concept of corners.

The overall impression is so far pretty favourable. To cater for all tastes the company will be produce a less powerful model that will have a more restricted range but it’s likely that the top version will be the one to buy. Does this car finally raise the EV bar or is it another false dawn of hope? No doubt all will become clear in the next couple of years.

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