Tuesday 13th March 2018.



  • The original story was based on a strong, reliable source, but still when we first heard it reported plenty of people doubted it.
  • However now Tesla has confirmed production did indeed shut down on the Model 3 line from February 20-24, in order to tweak the synchronisation of the robots.
  • Tesla said: “Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1. These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates.”
  • The battery pack assembley still seems to be causing headaches, the Panasonic cell production doesn’t seem to be the issue. Once that bottleneck is sorted I would expect to see a very rapid increase in production. By the end of June they want to be making 5,000 a week.



  • Elon Musk made a surprise appearance at SXSW Interactive Sunday panel in Austin with a few choice words of advice for any budding entrepreneurs. Elon said investing in rockets and electric vehicles was “the dumbest things to do”.
  • Musk also said he hunts for “things that don’t seem to be working that are important for our life and for the future to be good. If you were to do a risk-adjusted rate of return estimate on various industry opportunities, I would put building rockets and cars pretty much at the bottom of the list.”
  • Musk said he “gave basically both SpaceX and Tesla from the beginning probably less than 10% of (being) likely to succeed.” In the early days, he wouldn’t even let friends invest in SpaceX because he figured they would lose their money. SpaceX is alive by the skin of its teeth. So is Tesla. If things had just gone a little bit the other way, both companies would be dead.”




  • Today here in the UK the diesel lobby grasped on a single stat, that of pure BEVs having a bad month of sales, so say it was the start of the end for electric cars. Truth is electrified vehicles are up 15% because plug in hybrids took up the slack. Monthly figures go up and down. As commentators and newspapers latched onto an easy story they started peddling the myth that EVs are dirty because they charge from the grid ? this was a coordinated attack on electric cars from those feeding stories to the media.
  • So let’s take a look at that claim because I spent a lot of time on Twitter correcting people. Most of that was about the energy people use to charge their cars. The most common error reported today was to compare emission at the tailpipe vs the lifetime emissions of an EV based on grid carbon and the battery production.
  • But as an EV podcast listener you probably know the nuance anyway ? where the battery is made is probably China or Asia which can have dirtier grids. Most places are decarbonising quickly though so it’s a moving target.
  • Many of those who compare the carbon emission of EVs charged on gas and coal take the worldwide average, but an EV in the UK doesn’t pop over to coal heavy Australia to charge.
  • Finally a common trick is to take a small city car and compare it to an EV knows like a Tesla Model S, again skewing results. The truth is, and the general consensus, is that EVs are 50-60% cleaner than fossil fuel cars when charged from the grid. Layer in those who charge at home from solar and it’s a no brainer, but remember what films like An Inconvenient Truth point out, the aim of those fighting for diesel and denying climate change isn’t to win the truth, it’s to create just enough uncertainty in the wider public to make them question it.




  • Pistonheads.com talked to Iwaki-san, designer of the super cute Honda Urban EV which will enter production in 2019. Read the article I’ve linked to for more, but highlights are when he said: “With a battery EV, people typically expect that they’re going to see something new, something unconventional. So it was difficult for us to kind of break through that mental barrier.”
  • “So far as the autonomous driving technologies are concerned, these technologies will not really have so much influence on interior design. However, the connectivity will have a larger influence because we are planning on using AI technology which means that the system can take over many of the operations. So the interior design will be much more simple, because we don’t need all of those switches.”
  • “The importance of design holds for battery EVs, hybrids and combustion engined cars – it’s always a priority. But the challenge was in the expectations people have of battery EVs: ‘Ah, this is an EV, so it must look like this.’ I wanted really to put it aside, so that’s why we had a more rational approach to the battery EV design.”




  • With the newly announced BMW i4 joining the i3 and i8, plus the iX3 SUV coming, electrification is coming to the BMW fleet. The BMW M CEO Frank Van Meel told BMW Blog: “There have been so many changes regarding engine sound, with the change from naturally aspirated to turbocharged where you lose the air intake. Suddenly you had backfire and things like that. It just changed.”
  • “And now these cars (EVs) have a completely different sound than current cars.” But like all new technologies, there are refinement levels involved that simply take some time. Take oil burners, for example. “Diesel cars first sounded like tractors and then they were improved and later you have Le Mans racing cars running on diesel that sounded pretty nice. Le Mans diesel later came into series production cars. So you can see there are always solutions.”
  • “If you look at ‘Stars Wars’ pod races, that was completely artificial, and yet all the kids who watch the movie say that’s exactly how a pod should sound. That’s accepted. So with electric cars there will be sound also. I don’t know exactly what it will sound like, but we will find a solution as always. There will be artificial, or enhanced sounds. They will come to the mind as completely natural one day.”



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