Tesla's battery tech and software push is starting to make sense for veteran vehicle-makers

Discussion in 'In the News' started by simonalvarez0987, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. simonalvarez0987

    simonalvarez0987 Active Member

    Dec 21, 2017


    When Tesla was designing the Model S, the company made it a point to build the vehicle from the ground up. This means that everything, from the electric cars’ battery packs to its software, are manufactured by Tesla itself. Tesla’s approach to electric cars is the auto equivalent of Apple’s strategy with the iPhone and iOS, and it finally seems to be making sense to some legacy vehicle-makers.

    Elon Musk’s private space firm, SpaceX, is known for producing its rockets in-house. Musk took this same approach with Tesla in the company’s early days, and the result of this approach was the Model S, a vehicle like no other on the road, with simple, powerful, all-electric internals and a software that is custom-built for the car. A particularly telling image of this hands-on, in-house approach was taken during the company’s younger days, featuring a much younger CTO JB Straubel assembling one of Tesla’s early battery packs by hand.

    [​IMG]Tesla CTO JB Straubel assembling one of Tesla’s early battery packs by hand.

    And in a lot of ways, this strategy worked. Tesla’s in-house approach for the Model S was a key point in the vehicle’s allure to consumers. This carried over to the Model X, and now, the Model 3. With Tesla’s 2170 cells used in the Model 3 gaining rave reviews from teardown experts like Sandy Munro of Munro and Associates, and with the company preparing to release Software Version 9, Tesla is poised to take even bigger steps in its mission to usher the transition to sustainable mobility.

    Tesla’s history is rife with criticism and doubts from the veterans of the auto industry, but now that the company has established itself as a leader in the premium electric car segment, its progress and breakthroughs now seem to be undeniable, even to traditional vehicle makers.

    Just recently, a report from German publication Electrive emerged, citing insiders from Jaguar who noted that the veteran carmaker will be using Samsung SDI’s cylindrical 2170 battery cells for the electric cars it would produce from 2020 onwards. This is a big step for Jaguar, considering that the I-PACE, its first all-electric vehicle that can actually compete with the Model X 75D and 100D in terms of performance, is currently using pouch cells from LG Chem.

    Using Samsung SDI’s 2170 cells for its electric cars’ batteries would likely benefit Jaguar, considering that the I-PACE is currently being bogged down by reports that the vehicle is lacking in efficiency and range. Jaguar might never admit it, but it’s not difficult to infer that the company’s decision to reportedly commit to 2170 cells was partly influenced by Tesla’s progress in its battery tech.

    [​IMG]Tesla Model 3s side by side in a parking lot.

    Another vehicle-maker is starting to see the value of software and its relationship to hardware. Earlier today, veteran motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson stated that it is planning to open a dedicated research and development facility in Silicon Valley to support its plans for its upcoming line of electric bikes. Harley-Davidson plans to release its first motorcycle, dubbed the “LiveWire,” sometime next year, and it would be the first of a line that features a “twist and go” system. The LiveWire is set to be followed by other electric bikes in 2022 as the company transitions to producing cleaner and possibly even quicker, more powerful vehicles.

    Seemingly taking a cue from Tesla, Harley Davidson is now in full throttle recruiting Silicon Valley talent in electrical, software, and mechanical engineering. Just like Jaguar and its decision to commit to 2170 cells, Harley-Davidson’s decision to establish a Silicon Valley-based team seems to be inspired partly by Tesla and its software-focused electric cars.  

    Tesla is not a perfect company by any means, and its leader, Elon Musk, is not infallible. Musk himself would be the first to admit that Tesla committed a lot of errors in the past, and it is through these failures that the company was able to fail forward. Tesla is now a much more mature electric car maker that knows its market and knows what it’s doing; and if the recent updates from Jaguar and Harley-Davidson are any indication, it appears that other vehicle-makers are now starting to realize the value of Tesla’s experience.

    Article: Tesla's battery tech and software push is starting to make sense for veteran vehicle-makers
  2. JRDM

    JRDM Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    It's interesting that words and phrases like "not perfect" and " not infallible" are now generally used to paper over blunders, not minor mistakes that the words had previously implied.

    I don't know when Silicon Valley had (again) become a hotspot for more conventional engineering disciplines.
  3. Don Denesiuk

    Don Denesiuk New Member

    Sep 26, 2017
    I think you are getting the concepts of clean sheet design and vertical integration confused. Tesla admits to making a mistake trying to shoehorn an electric drive train into a Lotus Elise chassis with the Roadster 1, since then it\'s been design to specific purpose, unlike most of the other makers using existing chassis\' and adding electric drive, can\'t be optimum. On vertical integration no one was making a suitable battery pack so there was little choice to develop their own. Prism or flat pack cells were tried early on but found to be thermally inferior to discrete cylinder cells, just ask Boeing regarding the 787 battery pack. Tesla factories can\'t do everything so they do rely on subcontractors due to the sheer volume of items required. However there have been disappointments such as the Model S door handles and Model X Falcon wing door actuators. SpaceX has also had this problem with things like check valves and COPVs forcing them to bring this manufacturing in house to better control quality and get optimized designs. Elon\'s genius was realizing what the future held for battery supply if his goal of promoting EVs to the main stream was successful and invested in the Gigafactory. And here we are.
  4. J.Taylor

    J.Taylor Active Member

    Feb 13, 2017
    Tesla blunders ...
    The first roadster was harder to build because it was based on a gas car.
    The Tesla S turned out to be a little more expensive than was ideal, and took longer to build, but is is still great value for the price.
    The Tesla X had way too much technology built in to the initial design and this slowed down production.
    The Tesla 3 just had a few ramp up problems mostly due to over relying on robotics.
    Clearly Elon has learned from each build and is not falling for the same errors each time.
    Over all, it is hard to fault Tesla for their mistakes, they learned by doing what was thought to be impossible.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. JRDM

    JRDM Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    Meanwhile Elon's blunders include accusing someone of being a pedophile without proof for having his feelings hurt over being told his kiddie submarine was useless, then doubling down on it when people pushed back, then writing letters to bloggers to talk about it even more after an public, apparently empty apology. We get it Elon, you're a man with a fragile, vindictive ego. I wouldn't be surprised if he hires a PI to go dig up dirt on the guy.

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