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  • Energy Reliability from Big Batteries for Texas and Beyond

    Energy Reliability from Big Batteries for Texas and Beyond

    Welcome back to my blog. I am excited to write about Tesla Energy. This week I was honored to host Johnna Crider in Austin when she was here to interview Elon Musk for her podcast, “Getting Stoned.” She invited me along, and even let me ask questions to Elon Musk about Tesla Energy. I will share more about that in the future after she releases her podcast. In this article, I will give a little background on the developments related to Tesla Energy in Texas.   In November 2021, Elon Musk said

    “Tesla Megapack batteries will help stabilize the grid this winter” – Elon Musk

    Tesla Working with ERCOT at Full Speed

    Arushi Sharma Frank, US Energy Markets Policy Lead at Tesla, spoke about something few people know. Tesla has been working successfully for nearly three years with ERCOT. Here is part of what she said in public comments to the ERCOT Board of Directors on June 21, 2022.  Arushi said,

    "Tesla has been working with ERCOT in Texas to support its efforts to improve the resiliency and innovation of the grid. 
    
    In 2020 Tesla approached ERCOT for the first time to come up with the language in the nodal protocols that will allow Tesla Megapack to interconnect in the state. 
    
    We participated and collaborated with all stakeholders, utilities, independent generators, the consumer segment, and the whole group, and within a year we were able to pass changes that allowed a 100 Megawatt battery to interconnect timely the following summer.
    
    For perspective, this was just a few months after storm Uri when the battery went live in June ... and support the grid immediately the next summer. 
    
    The one-year time period is incredible.
    
    There is no other market where I think our company or any other company could change market rules, implement them and interconnect a 100 Megawatt battery in one year.
    
    That was an incredible success! I want to make sure that everybody knows that it is an incredible precedent and that precedent must continue in how ERCOT addresses and how stakeholders address innovation in this market.  
    
    In 2021 Tesla sponsored another NPRR [Nodal Protocol Revision Request] which is happily on your agenda today as unanimously supported by the Technical Advisory Committee.  
    
    That is NPRR 1100. We came up with NPRR 1100 in its infancy when we realized that we had the ability to build another large battery on land that is contiguous with the Gigafactory Texas and we had more than one use case for how that battery could be used.”
    Gigafactory Texas Solar Roof spells TESLA June 23, 2022 Credit Jeff Roberts

    Arushi explained that in the simplest case, the big battery can participate for its full nameplate value in the energy and ancillary services market and provide grid reliability services. 

    In another case, she explained,

    “If the substation or the connection to the grid is down, and the battery just cannot get its energy out to the system, the battery could still be used and be connected locally as a microgrid to another load to help that load with its operations,”  or to put it another way, when the grid is in a crisis and a substation is down and the load can’t get power from anywhere else, NPRR 1100 will allow that battery to provide that power. 

    In the case of Gigafactory Texas, Arushi explained that NPRR 1100 would allow the gigafactory to receive backup power for some functions such as the safe shutdown of critical equipment if there was a grid failure impacting the electric substation.

    Protecting People and Businesses in the next Critical Emergency

    I interpret that what Tesla is offering to the grid will help protect people and businesses in the next critical emergency.  Arushi explains it this way,

    “The reason this NPRR is so important is that it creates a brand new value proposition for large batteries which could be essential to a lot of large critical loads in the state. 
    
    Think hospitals, think companies that make toilet paper, think anything that can suffer from a grid emergency and allow those companies to enter into contracts with developers of large batteries, and that contract is still economic for the developer, because on a good day they can participate in the market and get that value from the ERCOT but on a bad day they can turn around and use that large capacity the system to support safe operations at a very large facility.  We're talking facilities with loads of 50 to 100 megawatts.
    

    DERs [Distributed Energy Resources]

    The Texas grid can become even more stable with the help of individual powerwall owners’ contributions. Arushi explained Tesla’s next step,

    “I want to end it by talking about Tesla’s next initiative, and that is something you’ve heard about in the news I’m sure, as well as from ERCOT directly - and that is figuring out the reliability of the distributed energy system. Tesla’s first initiative in 2020 was about Tesla participating as an independent generator in the market. Tesla’s second initiative was about Tesla participating as an industrial consumer in this market. 
    
    This initiative is about Tesla’s customers.  And it is also about the retail energy offer that Tesla can bring to this market that relies primarily on the reliability and the innovation that is waiting on the distributed system, to the tune of gigawatts.
    
    It is going to be a lot of work and we know it is because DER  [Distributed energy resources] integration has taken work in every market. It is probably going to take three or four years. 
    
    But the efforts that Tesla has led over the past year not only speed things up but will allow this market to dip its toe in the water and do so by using private companies like us to take the front load of the efforts to support the studies that are needed to change the system for the better.
    
    If the board has questions or if you believe the ERCOT staff should be working on these specific issues we would love the board's support and the public support to unlock this next step of resiliency on the grid. Thank you.” 
    Tesla Powerwall as a DER, Credit Tesla 2021 Impact Report

    You can listen to Arushi Sharma Frank’s comments at the Texas Public Utility Council Board meeting here.

    A brief summary and my thoughts

    Tesla is ramping up its participation in strengthening the Texas grid with big batteries, and soon with DERs that include powerwalls from Tesla customers. Tesla has already helped support the grid, and has done it faster than expected. We depend on power all the time, for our devices, our apartments, food storage, and just about everything.  Power requirements are increasing, not decreasing. All people, globally, will one day rely on energy stored in giant batteries.

    Here are two ways you can support these efforts, and you do not need to own a Tesla or Powerwalls to do it.

    • Send an email to your state’s utility commission or power provider expressing your support for a strong energy grid based on battery storage. 
    • Take the opportunity to learn about Virtual Power Plants and Distributed Energy Resources.  

    Here is a link to information about Tesla Powerpack [Utility and Business Energy Storage]

    Link to learn about Tesla Energy Plan, Australia’s Largest Virtual Power Plant

    Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

    Gail Alfar [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blogpost was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. June 26, 2022

  • Tesla Battery Life

    Tesla Battery Life

    Welcome back to my blog, I truly hope your summer is great.  If you like learning about Tesla, you’ll love reading about how much care Tesla puts into making sure you feel confident that your vehicle’s battery will serve your needs. Find a cool spot and cold drink and enjoy! I’m sipping some cold Boba milk tea with pearls as I write this.  If you have never tried Boba tea, it’s great!

    Tesla Model Y (photo credit to 吃不胖的胖小雷 and Tesla China)

    Your Tesla Battery is Guaranteed

    Your Tesla battery comes with a warranty.  Here are the details, taken today from the Tesla website,

    Credit above:  Tesla new vehicle limited warranty page.

    FACT: The existing warranty on any Tesla is transferred to the new owner if you purchase the vehicle from Tesla.

    Tesla says in the 2021 Impact Report,

    “Our batteries are designed to function for the entire life of the vehicle.  Tesla’s battery packs are designed to outlast the vehicle. We estimate that a vehicle gets scrapped after approximately 200,000 miles of usage in the U.S. and roughly 150,000 miles in Europe.  Creating a battery that could last for 1,000,000 miles (4,000 charging cycles) would dramatically reduce the emissions per mile driven for high-mileage vehicles such as taxis, delivery vans, or trucks.”

    If you own a Model Y that was bought with a range of ~318 miles on the battery.  You should expect your Model Y will retain a range of over 222 miles by the time you reach 120,000 miles.  In the rare case that your Y does not then know that Tesla will replace the battery for free.  Tesla may also decide to replace your battery if it has a defect or problem like the inability to charge. 

    The Average EV will never need a battery replacement

    It is a myth to assume that the average EV needs a battery replacement at some point in its life, according to Tesla

    “Extending the life of a battery pack is a superior option to recycling for both environmental and business reasons. For those reasons, before decommissioning a consumer battery pack and sending it for recycling, Tesla does everything it can to extend the useful life of each battery pack. 
    Any battery that is no longer meeting a customer’s needs can be serviced by Tesla at one of our service centers around the world. None of our scrapped lithium-ion batteries go to landfill, and 100% are recycled.”

    Tesla Batteries are Recycled

    Tesla says in their 2021 Impact Report,

    “Every battery used in R&D or returned from the field that cannot be remanufactured is recycled.  Tesla batteries, including the battery packs in our vehicles and our energy storage products, are made to last many years, and therefore, we have received a limited number of them back from the field. Most batteries that Tesla recycles today are pre-consumer, coming to us through R&D and quality control. None of our scrapped lithium-ion batteries go to landfills and 100% are recycled. Furthermore, Tesla has an established internal ecosystem to re-manufacture batteries coming from the field to our Service Centers. We actively implement circular economy principles and consider all other options before opting for battery recycling." 
    
    Battery materials are refined at Tesla and put into a cell and will remain in the cell at the end of their life when they can be recycled to recover valuable materials for reuse, repeatedly, pg 95-96 Tesla Impact Report 2021 

    My Thoughts, Enjoy your Tesla, Do Not Worry 

    I am very happy with my Tesla, a 2020 Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive that was bought with a range of 250 miles on the battery.  I just hit 69,420 miles. My battery currently retains 86% of its original range of 216 miles. I expect my Model 3 will retain a range of over 175 miles by the time I reach 100,000 miles.   

    The timeless design of Tesla vehicles continues to amaze me.  A 2018 Model 3 is just as beautiful as a new 2022 one.  The body design is so classically elegant that it needs no changes from year to year. 

    For this reason, I expect most Tesla owners will feel zero need to update their vehicle from year to year as was common with the old combustion cars. Therefore, I think many people will reach 120,000 miles and beyond in their Tesla.  Tesla estimates that most cars will be scrapped after reaching 200,000 miles. I think we will see many Teslas make it to 250,000 miles before they are scrapped.

    I was inspired to write this article by Sofiaan Fraval who recently had his Model 3’s battery replaced under Tesla’s warranty, “Although it’s not new info, it’s often forgotten about or overlooked over time. I just got a pack replacement for my 3 under warranty and cost me $0. It actually bumped my range up by 11 miles and the car charges quicker. Super happy about it.” Sofiaan advises, “Tesla owners needn’t worry about battery packs, and should fully enjoy their Teslas!”

    Photo of Austin, Texas by Jeremy Banks on Unsplash

    Gail Alfar, with special thanks to Sofiaan Fraval for his valuable insight.  [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blogpost was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. June 18, 2022

  • Tesla Summer Travel Trip

    Tesla Summer Travel Trip

    I’m planning a little Telsa summer travel trip to the Texas Hill Country.  I hope the ideas I share will be helpful to you when you plan your trip. So relax, imagine where you might drive to, grab an ice-cold Southern Sweet Tea, and enjoy!

    On the road again in a Tesla [credit: K. Paquette]

    Maximum Comfort

    I love tinted windows and window sunshades.  Tesla Fixed Glass Roof Sunshades work great in the summer to keep the car cool and block bright light when you want to rest or watch a movie during Supercharging. 

    When Supercharging, it is also great to get out of the car and check out the area, eat, and use the restrooms.  Most Supercharging locations in rural Texas and elsewhere are near conveniences such as restaurants and bathrooms.  At the Superchargers in Three Rivers, Texas, the Love’s Travel Stop welcomes Tesla owners by placing windshield cleaning buckets and squeegees by the Superchargers and providing clean bathrooms for free. 

    In some rare cases, you may need to be prepared to kindly ask to use the bathroom or buy something first.  In one rural town, for example, I was happy to buy a fresh cookie to get the bathroom key.

    Tesla Car Camping

    If you plan to car camp in your Tesla, many RV parks offer nice bathrooms, showers, a dog park, a swimming pool, and washers & dryers.  Bason RV Resorts in Belton, Texas warmly welcomes Tesla owners, and that wasn’t always the case because most patrons arrive with an RV.  Be sure to have a discussion with the RV Resort you want to stay at first, you may be the first Tesla owner to stay there without an RV.  A little kindness can go a long way, creating a great experience for you and future travelers. 

    With advance planning, you can also make a reservation for a spot with an electric hookup at a State Park. (They are often booked a year in advance). 

    Tesla explains the “Camp mode” setting,

    Camp allows you to power electronics through the USB ports and low voltage outlet in addition to maintaining the cabin temperature.

    The touchscreen remains on so you can play music, browse the internet, play games in the arcade, or watch shows in Tesla Theater.

    You can also control media and climate settings from a paired phone.

    Camp is ideal for remaining inside your vehicle, such as camping or staying with a child.

    While active, Sentry Mode and the vehicle alarm system are disabled. 

    You can also control Camp from the mobile app, by swiping up from the gray bar on the Climate screen.

    Staying Charged

    Tesla provides an automatic navigation route that works very well. Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, and you can travel anywhere in the USA. 

    “PlugShare” App helps find hotels with destination charging. This app allows people to leave helpful comments, like the condition of the chargers and if they work.

    Tesla NEMA 14-50 adapter can allow you to wander far away from the supercharger network without much range anxiety because the adapter turns most RV park spaces into a charger. At about 28 miles of charge an hour, you can sleep and wake up to a full charge. 

    Catching sunrise on a cross-country trip [credit: K. Paquette]

    My thoughts

    I recommend traveling in your Tesla.  I think that travel is one of the best investments a person can make in their lifetime. I think it enriches the soul. You cannot take material things with you when you pass away, but it may be possible to take an enriched soul with you. I love this quote from Mark Twain,

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

    Austin’s Pennybacker Bridge long exposure [credit: Justin Lauria on Unsplash]

    You can read about Model Y adventure package ideas here on my blog.

    Gail Alfar, with special thanks to Jordan Greene, Benjamin Greene, and Kim Paquette for their valuable insight on travel in Teslas.  [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blogpost was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. June 11, 2022

  • Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP

    Tesla’s Texas Virtual Power Plant ASAP
    Tesla Solar, Powerwalls, and Home Charging [credit: Tesla]

    Hello and welcome back to “What’s Up Tesla.” I’m excited that the kids are out of school, and that summer has arrived.  Here in Texas, it seems every summer I hear a similar sentiment, “This one is going to be a hot one!”  This summer Texas could meet power demands better because Tesla is offering ERCOT an immediate solution.

    Some weeks ago, Texans were warned by ERCOT, “With unseasonably hot weather driving record demand across Texas, ERCOT continues to work closely with the power industry to make sure Texans have the power they need. This afternoon, six power generation facilities tripped offline resulting in the loss of approximately 2,900 MW of electricity. At this time, all generation resources available are operating. We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers) during peak hours.”

    During this hot summer, Tesla is fully prepared to step in with a smart solution to the problem.  I learned details about this during a Workshop I attended on May 31. “Tesla Virtual Power Plant Workshop, Related to OBDRR041” was hosted by ERCOT and led by leaders at Tesla Energy.

    Tesla Powerwall owners are an important and untapped resource for energy

    Tesla battery storage at a home in Texas. Credit: MojoSusan

    Tesla Powerall owners are an important but untapped resource for energy. Minor changes to ERCOT’s current practices can ensure a stable grid in Texas. Owners could act as an aggregate source of power, forming a Virtual Power Plant. Tesla built a demonstration test in which 64 Tesla Powerwall battery owners participated in providing energy as an aggregate. The demo showed impressive performance, proving that there were no technical blocks to these owners providing power to the Texas grid. 

    “Nothing in Texas today lets homes behave like a hive mind and deliver clean MWs 24x 7 to the grid.” – Arushi Sharma Frank, Tesla Policy/Energy

    Tesla is requesting for ERCOT to allow all interested Powerwall owners to contribute to the Texas grid as a combined cluster. All that is needed are minor changes to ERCOT’s current practices. Tesla’s slide presentation for their “Virtual Power Plant Workshop, Related to OBDRR041” was well done and informative.  I am sharing some of it here:

    Problem Statement
    Texas needs all available, affordable, dispatchable electric capacity/resources mobilized to address grid reliability challenges
    Distributed energy resources are available today, but are unrealized dispatchable assets to ERCOT
    
    Short-Term Solution
    Minor changes to an existing, unutilized ERCOT market design concept developed 9 years ago, could immediately unlock grid reliability services from small distributed energy resources that can be dispatched as an "aggregation"
    
    
    Tesla proved that it can bring grid services value to ERCOT with volunteer customers.
    Tesla shows that distributed systems can respond in minutes or even seconds (faster than most gas or coal power plants).
    These aggregated resources (batteries in this case) could also provide primary frequency response. The response is “immediate and automatic” to stabilize the grid.

    In Summary

    Tesla is offering a proven solution to the fragile Texas grid, currently operated by ERCOT. Tesla proved that their Virtual Power Plant can work extremely well. Their VPP can act fast, respond to load demand, and thus ensure that Texans’ energy needs are met. All that is needed is a small change in ERCOTS’ current practices for this to be a reality.

    Tesla Powerwalls keep the lights on for Hannukah for one family. Credit: u/rocher

    My thoughts

    Tesla’s powerful energy software has precise capabilities to deliver stored energy to power a homeowner’s home and electric car, keep power stored up and also send energy to most local utilities for their use.  However, as Arushi Sharma Frank, Tesla Policy/Energy, explained clearly via twitter after the workshop, “Nothing in Texas today lets homes behave like a hive mind and deliver clean MWs 24x 7 to the grid.”  She explained that the main thing slowing down Tesla from unleashing this powerful lifesaving technology is “technical acrobatics.”

    I listened to some of these “technical acrobatics” during the workshop, and as the minutes wore on, I was invited to comment.

    I took the opportunity to explain that as a Texas-Registered Nurse, I am in the business of caring for families, some of whom were deeply affected by the last severe power outage in February 2021.  I explained that since Tesla has already demonstrated that they can provide power reliably through volunteer Tesla Powerwall owners, there should be no delay in allowing full participation as soon as possible. As a healthcare provider, I advocate for people in need. Having power is important to people’s health.

    If you would like a closer look at Tesla’s excellent 24-Slide Presentation, the link is here. My article featuring Texas homeowners’ experience with Tesla Solar and Powerwalls is here.

    Austin, Texas. credit unplash

    Gail Alfar, [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blogpost was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. June 4, 2022

  • Tesla Autobidder

    Tesla Autobidder

    Hello! Welcome back to What’s Up Tesla! As a Tesla owner and supporter, I am constantly learning about the incredible creations of a company I once just associated with nice cars and solar products. Though it was confusing at first, I have come to an understanding of yet another aspect of Tesla. Autobidder is an amazing piece of software created by the Tesla team. I am excited to share Autobidders’ incredible features with you and explain why it is so important.

    Tesla Solar Panels and four Powerwalls [credit: Tesla]

    Tesla creates software to optimize battery storage systems. The purpose of Tesla’s Autobidder software is to allow the owner of a Tesla Powerwall to sell their excess power to the grid automatically and at the best price. The software automatically bids a competitive price to a buyer. Tesla explains Autobidder,

    Autobidder provides independent power producers, utilities, and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery assets. Autobidder is a real-time trading and control platform that provides value-based asset management and portfolio optimization, enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue according to their business objectives and risk preferences.

    Autobidder is already being successfully deployed in South Australia at the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR). This market bidding has added competition to drive down energy prices. Tesla Powerwalls and Megapacks are much more valuable assets to their owners if they are managed by the Tesla Autobidder System. Tesla explains it this way,

    Batteries are highly flexible assets, but they require smart strategies and software to realize their full value. Autobidder allows owners to realize this value by handling the complex co-optimization required to successfully stack multiple value streams simultaneously, including:

    Wholesale markets, including energy, ancillary services and capacity

    Transmission & Distribution-level grid services

    Renewable firming and shaping

    Bilateral contractual arrangements

    Other portfolio needs

    Telsa Megapacks and Solar [credit: Tesla]

    “Autobidder operates at every scale: from aggregations of behind-the-meter residential systems to 100 Mega Watt utility-scale installations” – Tesla

    Example of Tesla Autobidder Software in action [credit: Tesla]

    Tesla Ecosystem Includes Autobidder

    The Tesla 2021 Impact Report explained how Autobidder is part of the Tesla ecosystem,

    “We are designing and manufacturing a complete energy and transportation ecosystem. We both develop the technology behind this ecosystem and focus on the affordability of the products that comprise it. We seek to achieve this through our R&D and software development efforts as well as through our continuous drive to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities.” – Tesla

    My thoughts

    I expect the electricity grid in my state of Texas to improve rapidly when ERCOT allows residential battery storage to create temporary microgrids to help in emergencies like tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather conditions. When Tesla Powerwall customers in Texas and beyond can participate in the free market and sell power, families will stay safer including yours!

    If this topic interests you, consider attending a workshop through ERCOT hosted by Tesla, “Tesla Virtual Power Plant Workshop Related to OBDRR041 by Webex Only.” Date/Time: May 31, 10:00 am. If you are unable to attend, the meeting should be available in the archives here.

    Downtown Austin, Texas [credit: Jeremy Bank]

    Gail Alfar, [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. May 29, 2022

  • Breaking down Tesla’s 6+ businesses, comparing them to a traditional car company

    Breaking down Tesla’s 6+ businesses, comparing them to a traditional car company

    Welcome back to my blog, I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s post. I am sharing part of Elon Musk‘s words from the All-In Summit on May 16, 2022. The reason I’m focusing on this in today’s post is that I believe Elon explains what Tesla is in an easy-to-understand way. We are all transitioning away from fossil fuels and into a clean energy future involving solar, wind, battery storage, and electric vehicles.

    I believe that after reading this you will be inspired to see the future in a more positive way. So find a cool spot, grab an iced beverage, and enjoy!

    A white Tesla charges up at Superchargers
    Tesla Supercharging Network [Credit: Tesla]

    When Elon Musk spoke at the All-In Summit on May 16, he detailed how Tesla is 6+ businesses. Below is Elon’s response to the question: Could you just explain to people all these companies inside this super-company just so folks have a sense of what had to be done to get here? 

    "Okay, I mean this question requires thought and I’ll probably be leaving out quite a few things but if you look and see what does a typical car company do, what they do is they assemble vehicles and they send them to dealers and they manage the supply chain. They might make the engine, they typically will make the engine but most of the parts are made by suppliers and a lot of the actual technology development is done by suppliers, and most of the vehicle software is done by suppliers, so the actual amount of a real work done by car companies - what you think of as GM or Ford - is not actually that much. They don’t do sales, they don’t do service."  

    Tesla Sales, Service, Supercharging Network

    "So in the case of Tesla for example we do our own sales and service. We don’t have dealerships. Tesla also has by far the biggest network of superchargers, the electric equivalent of gas stations.  We built the entire global supercharger network, which is still the most advanced and by far the best way to charge your car when traveling long distances or if you live in a city and don’t have the ability to charge your car because of street parking or an apartment. We developed the Supercharger network, and we deployed it I think we have around 15,000 superchargers globally.  You can travel anywhere in America right now with the Tesla supercharger network."

    Tesla Vertical Integration

    "In terms of vertical integration, we make the battery pack, and the power electronics, the drive unit.  We are more integrated into the parts, we actually make so much of the car internally, we’re vertically integrated, not necessarily because we think that there is some religious reason to be vertically integrated, but because the pace we needed to move is much faster than the supply chain could move.  To the degree that you inherit the legacy supply chain, you inherit the legacy constraints including their speed, cost, and technology."

    Tesla Software, Hardware, Artificial Intelligence

    "Tesla is as much a software company as it is a hardware company.  The software that runs in a Tesla operates the car, operates the screen, does the charging, and all of that stuff is developed by Tesla. And so we have sort of a ‘Tesla OS’ in the car." 

    “Very importantly, Tesla has built an autopilot AI team from scratch that is the best real-world AI team on earth and if anyone else has got a better one I’d like to see it demonstrated in a car.” 

    "The full self-driving beta at this point very often can take you with zero interventions across the Bay Area from San Jose to Marin so through complex traffic it’s really quite sophisticated and I invite anyone to join the beta or look at the videos of those who are in the beta.  We’ve got like 100,000 people in the beta so it's not tiny.  We’ll be expanding the beta to about a million people or on that order by the end of the year."  

    Tesla Chip Team

    "We also built a chip team because there wasn’t the hardware that we could run the friggin AI on. We couldn’t just fill the trunk with a whole bunch of GPUs.  That would’ve been very expensive and take massive amounts of power and cooling just to do what Tesla designed full self-driving computer can do." 

    “We started chip team from scratch and it was the best in the world and still is the best in the world several years later.”

    Tesla Dojo Supercomputer

    "We’re also designing a dojo supercomputer to be able to process all video that's coming in from billions of miles of data, because, just sort of like the way that its critical to compete with Google because they have so much data and they have all the people doing searches all the time and humanity is training it.  The same is true of Tesla.  You really need billions of miles and ultimately tens of billions of miles of training data combined with sort of a vast training computer and then optimize inference hardware in the car and state of the art AI in training, and specialized software across-the-board to be able to achieve a full self-driving solution."  

    Tesla Insurance

    "Insurance is quite significant.  The car insurance thing is a bigger deal than it may seem.  A lot of people are paying 30% to 40% as much as their lease payment for the car in car insurance.  The car insurance industry is incredibly inefficient because to put it this way, you’ve got so many middle entities from the insurance agent all the way to the final set of reinsures each taking a cut."  
    

    “The car insurance thing is a bigger deal than it may seem.”

    "It's all very statistical so that even if you are a very good driver, you could be like 20 years old and a great driver but it's all statistical so you either can’t get insurance or it's extremely expensive.  Tesla allows for real-time insurance based on how you actually drive the car.  If you drive the car in a safer way you actually have lower insurance.  So our insurance is based on how you actually drive not how historically people fit your demographic drive and you close the loop around your insurance rate by simply driving better and looking at your score and lowering your insurance in real-time and people do it.   It actually promotes safer driving."
    

    A Brief Summary

    Elon Musk highlighted why Tesla is unlike any other company involved in vehicle production.  He spoke about the importance of Tesla Sales, Service, and the Global Supercharging Network.  Tesla’s vertical integration model, as well as Tesla Software, Tesla Hardware, Chip Team, and Tesla AI are unprecedented.  Tesla’s Dojo Supercomputer work will serve to usher in an age of vehicle autonomy.  Tesla Insurance is also an integral part of why Tesla is so unique.  The insurance allows for younger (and also older) drivers a rate based on how they actually drive.  The All-In Summit was a good opportunity for people to hear Elon speak, and to consider being “all-in” for Tesla!

    The All-In Summit was hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, jason@calacanis.com, David Sacks, and David Friedberg. You can follow Jason Calacanis on Twitter and be one of his Besties!

    Elon Musk talks at All-In Summit. [Photo credit: Juilian Hosp]

    When I bought my Model 3 in 2019, I joined a community of many people who love Tesla. Every time I drive my Tesla around my hometown Austin, Texas, I’m reminded of the extraordinary effort that is put into making Tesla succeed. In January 2022, I started this blog to write positive things about Tesla and Elon Musk. I’m thankful to Johnna Crider for supporting and encouraging me to start this blog. 

    You can read more about Tesla Insurance here and you can read about how Tesla owners feel about full self-driving here. Thank you!  

    Gail Alfar, [Edited by Sarah Alfar] Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. May 21, 2022

  • Enjoying Tesla Autonomy

    Enjoying Tesla Autonomy
    White Model 3 [credit: Caleb]

    Speed and handling were what originally pulled me into ordering a Tesla in 2019. Tesla Autonomy unexpectedly won my heart the day after I took delivery of my Model 3. I am part of a large group of delighted Tesla owners.

    Autonomy Makes Traveling Safer

    What makes a road trip more fun? Tesla Autopilot definitely does! Freeway driving is also safer when there are eight cameras looking out for your family’s safety. Michael from Boston explains,

    “We took a road trip from Boston to Niagara Falls, 9 hours each way, to test out the Tesla Supercharger network and it was a great family experience. Planning our charging stops almost felt like back in the day when you’d plan a road trip with a huge unfolding paper map. We watched Mr. Beast YouTube videos with my kids at a stop or had dinner at the next. In the last hours of a long drive, Autopilot was an extra layer of safety.”

    Tesla FSD takes owning a Tesla to the next level

    Dylan shares FSDbeta visualization on Twitter, [credit: Dylan]

    People with FSD beta in their Teslas often feel like they are living in the future. One owner, Corey who drives his Tesla for Uber, says

    “Hop in the car with a nice coffee, click anywhere on the map, and click ‘Navigate.’ This works for me many times now at night. This is close to the future we dream of. I can’t wait till all my friends and family have a Tesla. There is no better product out there. This is what changes the entire equation: Once you drive a Tesla, you’ll literally never want to drive anything else. Doing Uber in the Tesla sells people on the car itself which gets more Teslas in my community which is a net benefit for all!”

    Tesla Full-Self Driving

    FSD Beta has improved over the past 6 months. Caleb told me that using this autonomous software in his Tesla has been such a unique experience and it makes him excited for the future!

    “It puts a smile on my face every time I get in it because it is so thoughtfully designed. It’s so much fun to drive.”

    A great example and explanation of Full Self Driving beta are made in this 10-minute video by Whole Mars Catalog here. Whole Mars asks the car to take him to different places in the video, “Director’s Commentary on FSD Beta 10.11.2.”

    Another Tesla owner is wild over FSD beta!

    Tesla owner, Marc Benton, shared his impressions of his first drive using FSD beta,

    It is mind-blowing in the sense that this car is driving itself with just cameras because I think back just three years ago when I first started driving with autopilot when I first started using autopilot my mind was blown, it was truly blown because I could not believe a car was navigating in the lane.

    You look where we’ve come now the car is reading the turn signal, it’s making a turn, it’s staying in the lane. Thats how I would turn!

    “Wide-angle skyscraper pictures through Tesla glass roofs are the best!” Caleb’s photo in downtown Columbus, Ohio through the Tesla glass roof & Caleb’s white Model 3 is the featured image in this article [credit: Caleb]

    My thoughts

    Driving my Model 3 has been exceptionally enjoyable because of its ever-improving autonomous features. Tesla is the only company pioneering truly autonomous driving.

    Interested in why Tesla is so good for our world? You can view the Tesla 2021 Impact Report here.

    Boats at night on Austin’s Ladybird Lake by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

    Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – May 14, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

  • American Innovation: Tesla owners share their favorite features

    American Innovation: Tesla owners share their favorite features

    For this blog post, I’m sharing the enthusiasm of Tesla owners by telling their unique stories, as well as putting a spotlight on some of their favorite features in their Tesla! Hope you’ll relax and enjoy these positive vibes!

    Tesla Roadster [credit: Tesla]

    Leader in Innovation

    Tesla is a leader in American innovation and is one of the greatest American success stories of all time. Model 3 performance owner Don Fransisco originally migrated to the USA when he was 11 years old. He shares, “I am an immigrant from El Salvador and this was the first brand new car that I was able to buy and that I chose to buy. I wanted a Made in America vehicle that could push the limits of automotive technology. This car does just that, I’ve taken it on 7 rallies and it hasn’t disappointed one bit!”

    The Tesla Model 3 is the most American-made vehicle, and Tesla employs nearly 100k people. Tesla’s 2021 Impact Report states, “Our employee count has grown ~70 fold over the past decade and, in just over ten years, Tesla has created nearly 100,000 direct jobs. While many companies in the automotive industry have been trimming the number of employees and launching early retirement programs, we plan to grow our employee base for years to come.”

    Car Farts Rule

    At 12 years old, Zane’s favorite parts of his family’s Tesla Model 3 are the “car fart” sound effects, playing chess in the car’s game center, and the excitement of the daily “speed boosts” on his drives to and from school. Zane’s family has owned their Model 3 for almost three years, and the car still makes them feel happy, excited, and safe. “I absolutely love my 3! It’s fast and fun and makes me feel safe, all the while being better for the environment. I’m in the Full Self Driving beta program so every day the car is learning more and becoming smarter. ” says Jillian, Zane’s mom, who describes the Tesla as a “Work of art that drives like a Rocket.”

    Chess in the Tesla [credit: Darrell Spice, Jr.]

    Dogs Adore Teslas

    Going down from the mountains in Austria, Robert Sendziak gains about 4% of battery charge. The regenerative braking that his 2021 Tesla Long Range Model 3 has is one of his favorite features. Robert and his dog Rasti (who’s a big fan of Tesla Dog Mode) go on a lot of road trips, and the fact that his Tesla is electric and inexpensive to maintain means a lot to him. “I love the performance and how it’s a new kind of gadget with things like sentry mode and remote access to the cameras and remote controls.  In a sense, it’s still a car but also so much more.”

    Dog Rasti loves Dog Mode in the Tesla [with permission from Robert Sendziak]

    No Car Does it Better

    Blake Check, who has owned a 2018 Model 3 Performance for about a year, shared, “It’s my dream car because it’s the complete package. It’s green, packed with tech, blisteringly quick, beautiful, and compact, and it keeps getting better the longer I have it. I love the juxtaposition of performance and practicality. No car does it better, in my opinion.” 

    Blake Check shares his positive experiences on his Youtube

    My thoughts

    “What’s Up Tesla” was started to be a 100% positive voice in support of Tesla and the mission to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. I am so grateful to you for supporting this blog. I am very thankful for the kindness of many people giving me permission to share their stories and pictures. I plan to share more first-hand accounts from Tesla owners soon.

    Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – May 7, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

  • Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #3: Body and Paint [multi-part series]

    Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #3: Body and Paint [multi-part series]
    Elon Musk with Black Original Roadster at Giga Texas’ Cyber Rodeo on April 7, 2022 [credit Josh West]

    A few days ago Tesla released a video that featured the Giga Texas Cyber Rodeo and it included these words from Elon Musk,

    “When we first started out at Tesla, I thought optimistically there was a 10% chance of succeeding, and here we are today, damn!

    “We are really entering a new phase of Tesla’s future, with six giant factories around the world, and scaling to extreme size, as you can see from this building, it’s not small.

    “This is the machine that builds the machine, and it’s the latest version of the machine that builds the machine. I’ve said it before, that the factory is the product. You know, prototypes require imagination, and they’re not easy, but relative to production, prototypes are easy. Production is hard.

    “And this building is the most advanced car factory that earth has ever seen.

     

     

    Cyber Rodeo was a wonderful Celebration!

    Cyber Rodeo was a celebration of the opening of Giga Texas, the most advanced car factory in the world today. When I walked up the entrance stairs into Giga Texas on April 7, what impressed me was that Tesla made a complex manufacturing process look simple. So, I created this three part article series, in the hopes that it will help in understanding Giga Texas.

    Tesla builds one car body every 45 seconds

    Model Y body in white will head to the paint shop [credit: Tesla Q1 2022 Update]

    At the Cyber Rodeo, Tesla explained,

    Giga Texas has the highest capacity line for building the car body that Tesla has ever built.

    Robots conduct highly precise and rapid movements in an extremely dense space.

    Tesla can build one car body every 45 seconds.

    This is twice as many vehicles per week compared to previous lines that took up much more space.

     

    Giga Texas’ Paint Shop is Optimized for Speed & Scalability

    Model Y Paint Shop at Giga Texas [credit: Tesla Q4 2021 Shareholder’s Deck]

    At Cyber Rodeo, the paint shop was explained,

    Tesla’s paint shop is at the center of a highly integrated manufacturing process.

    Tesla has reduced time and space between each step

    The paint shop is designed and optimized for speed and scalability

    The paint shop is nearly 10% denser, requiring fewer vehicle turns than current lines

    Layers of paint that are thinner than a human hair form a colorful skin to protect the Model Y

     

    Walking around the Gigafactory

    Tesla allowed visitors to walk along the manufacturing line at Cyber Rodeo on April 7, 2022 [credit: Gail Alfar]

    Cyber Rodeo was an opportunity to explore most of the robotic assembly areas. This experience was explained by Chris Anderson of TED Talks, who also interviewed Elon Musk at the gigafactory. Chris said,

    This is Elon Musk‘s famous machine that builds machine and his view, the secret to a sustainable future!

    Its not just making an electric car its making a system that churns out huge numbers of electric cars with a margin so that they can fund further growth.

     

    You can watch Chris’ full interview of Elon Musk at Giga Texas here [recorded on April 6, 2022].

    Tesla Thanks Supporters

    Since 2003, Tesla employees have defied the odds by accomplishing what others have deemed impossible. By working from first-principles and ignoring bureaucratic conventions, the Tesla team has come together in an effort to accomplish our global mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy. We’ve been supported by thousands of fans and customers along the way. Thank you all for believing in us.

     

    My thoughts

    Elon Musk was not exaggerating when he said, “And this building is the most advanced car factory that earth has ever seen.” According to my estimation after I discussed with Joe Tegtmeyer, [he has documented progress since the beginning], Cyber Rodeo likely only included 1/3 of just one of four floors of Giga Texas. I think the gigafactory will exceed production expectations because of its size and ability to adapt fast. I like that the Model Y is such a fun car, as this makes the transition to all-electric vehicles enjoyable. Thanks to Elon Musks’ vision, Tesla cars make people happy and joyous. I love this quote from Elon Musk,

    What really gets me excited is when people experience delight with the product. I don’t think there are all that many things where you really experience delight and if you can make the product good enough that it far exceeds peoples expectations, I think that’s amazing.

     

    The Tesla Cyber Rodeo inspired me to create this series. Part #1 shows details on how Giga Texas makes front and rear castings and seats.  Part #2 explains how Tesla builds batteries into assemblies to form a structural pack to connect the front to the rear casting. Thank you for reading the final part of my series and for being an amazing supporter of Tesla and Elon Musk!

    Photo of Austin, Texas by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

    Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – May 1, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

     

  • Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #2: Battery Assembly and Structural Pack [multi-part series]

    Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #2: Battery Assembly and Structural Pack [multi-part series]
    Cyber Rodeo Photo Credit: Tesla

    Welcome to Cyber Rodeo Anthology, Part #2. Why not slow down and fix a nice snack, sit for a while and join me to understand better what goes into making a Tesla!

    Part #1 of this series showed details on how Giga Texas makes front and rear castings and seats.  Part #2 is about how Tesla builds batteries into assemblies to form a structural pack to connect the front to the rear casting. Only Tesla does this, and they only do it with the Model Y so far.

    The rodeo took place on April 7, 2022, at Tesla HQ on 1 Tesla Road, Austin, Texas, and showcased almost all aspects of how Elon Musk is mass-producing electric vehicles. The rodeo was unique and used colors, light, and music. Employees were available to explain different aspects of the manufacturing process.

    Tesla Builds 4680 Batteries into the Structural Pack

    Tesla builds 4680 batteries [left and center], which then form part of the structural pack, right. [Photo credit @GerberKawasaki]

    Batteries are first built, then they are connected together in strings, as shown above, next they move to form the inner strength of the structural pack as seen above on the right. All of this work is done by robots.

    Battery and Subframe Marraige

    Battery and Subframe Marriage takes one simple step at Gigafactory Texas [Photo Credit @DirtyTesla ]

    Tesla uses the structural pack as shown above, as the floor. They simultaneously install the front and rear subframe assemblies with the batteries, seats, and interior trimmings. This saves time, space, and resources, making assembly processes on the rest of the line more efficient and ergonomic.

    Meet the 4680 Batteries

    Tesla 4680 Batteries [above] have 5x greater energy capacity than other batteries. This makes manufacturing a vehicle easier for Tesla. Tesla vehicles are always getting better, and most of those differences are subtle ones from one car generation to the next. As a Tesla owner, I won’t need to be concerned about which battery type lies underneath my drive. The vehicle’s software has the capacity to come close to matching my vehicle’s function to most newer ones.

    Battery assembly explained at Gigafactory Texas [Photo Credit @DirtyTesla ].

    At the rodeo, Tesla explained that Battery Assembly goes from raw to ready in this way,

    Made at Gigafactory Texas, our new 4680 lowers the cost per kilowatt hour. We have everything we need under one roof to produce and assemble the first high volume structural battery pack using our fully integrated process. The structural pack greatly reduces the number of parts used in both the battery pack and the car, allowing our pack manufacturing line to be less than half the size of previous factories.

    TESLA

    Safety is #1 for Tesla

    Seats attach directly to the structural pack [Photo credit of SEATS ON PACK Sawyer Merritt].

    Many things are happening at once to create a Model Y at Giga Texas. The above picture shows the seats attached directly to the structural [battery] pack.

    Giga Texas Construction [Credit Tesla]

    My thoughts

    The more I reflect on the Tesla Cyber Rodeo experience, the more I think of the gigafactory in terms of 3D engineering. So, while one part of the Model Y is being built in one part of the gigafactory, many other parts of the same car are being built in other parts of the enormous building. In this way, the parts converge together to create the Model Y. No other manufacturing system compares to this.

    Thank you for reading this article, it is the 2nd in a multi-part series I am writing titled ‘Cyber Rodeo Anthology.’ I know you are here because you believe in the mission of Tesla. Thank you for your role in helping our world be a better place!

    If you want to know more about Tesla, check out their recent feature on Giga Texas about jobs and more here. Tesla Quarter One 2022 Shareholder’s Deck is here.

    Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – April 23, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

  • Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #1: Casting and Seats [multi-part series]

    Cyber Rodeo Anthology Part #1: Casting and Seats [multi-part series]

    Welcome back to my blog and to Part #1 of Cyber Rodeo Anthology.

    Cyber Rodeo took place on April 7, 2022, at Tesla Gigafactory Texas. The rodeo showcased all aspects of how Tesla is mass-producing electric vehicles in order to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. Using color, lights, music, and the help of Tesla’s expert employees, different aspects of the gigafactory were presented in a truly unique way.

    Cyber Rodeo marked the opening of Giga Texas, and thus it is a very important historical event. For that reason, I am creating a multi-part series of articles and will publish them over the coming weeks.

    Tesla provided this map for the event, as you can see, there are a lot of areas to be covered between Entry 1 and Entry 3. The yellow pathway that held the exhibits was probably about 1/3 a mile long.

    Map of Cyber Rodeo exhibits [courtesy: Tesla]

    Casting Exhibit: Manufacturing is Beautiful

    The rodeo gave the gigapresses the royal treatment. They are gigantic and produce what could be Tesla’s most innovative manufacturing feat ever. They create front and rear castings simultaneously for Model Y at the rate of 0.13 seconds per casting or 130 milliseconds. In fact, they created so many castings that they were used throughout the gigafactory for other purposes, as I’ll share later.

    Gigafactory Texas Casting photo by @Brandonee916, April 7, 2022

    The above exhibit is an example of a Model Y rear casting. What once took over 70 parts laboriously put together, Tesla has condensed into just one part.

    Gigafactory Texas Casting photo by G. Alfar, April 7, 2022

    The two largest parts of an Austin-made Model Y, the front and rear casting are produced by injecting 700° C molten aluminum into a high-pressure die-cast mold that is clamped shut with 6,100 tons of force. It is filled with liquid metal in just 130 milliseconds, producing a durable shape and giving each car body its strength. This process has left Tesla with 168 fewer parts to assemble and a much more efficient casting process for the car.

    During a casting, giant heat release conduits and valves are used to make sure pressure is perfect and heat is released in a precisely measured way. When inspecting the vertices that the aluminum is fed into, employees wear protective space-like suits to ensure safety from the radiant heat of the molten metal used for the castings.

    Gigafactory Texas casting machine, photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

    At the rodeo, hundreds of additional castings were available to be used as decorations in the main entrance of the Gigafactory and throughout the building because of the speed and efficiency of this machine and Tesla’s overall manufacturing process. An employee explained that using front and rear castings in this way was a natural choice because there were so many extra ones, they needed a good place to put them!

    Tesla Gigafactory main entrance Cyber Rodeo, credit: Elon Musk

    Seats Exhibit: Fully Assembled at Gigafactory Texas

    At Tesla, the first and second-row seats are fully assembled right at the gigafactory.

    Model Y Seats assembly exhibit sign and photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

    The Tesla Model Y seat exhibit was presented in three parts. Part One shows the pretensioner, two side shields, seat buckle, suspension, sandwich, wire harness, happy basset, and ocs. Part Two reveals the Model Y seat back cover, trim, headrest, back frame, lumbar support, seat cushion, and seat frame. Part Three reveals the Tesla “T” in an incredible display of fully assembled seats.

    Model Y Seats assembly exhibit photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

    A Symphony of Seats

    Model Y Seat exhibit photo by G. Alfar at Gigafactory Texas, April 7, 2022

    After Model Y seats are assembled and inspected, they come together as part of the structural battery as seen here. Future parts of Cyber Rodeo Anthology will go into more detail on this miracle of manufacturing.

    This article is Part #1 of a multi-part series titled Cyber Rodeo Anthology. Part #2 can be found here.

    My thoughts

    I chose to start “Cyber Rodeo Anthology” because the opening of Giga Texas marks a major shift in mass vehicle production capabilities. I want to spend time with you to understand how this “Machine that Makes the machine” works, and it will take multiple articles to do so.

    I decided to start with my favorite parts of Giga Texas: Seats and Casting.

    I agree with Elon Musk that chairs are underappreciated. The seats in the Tesla are incredibly comfortable!

    Front & rear simultaneous casting begins here in Texas with Model Y. This difficult process had to be created to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

    I know you join me in having a deep respect for Elon Musk because he is doing phenomenal work to make our world a better place. Hope you enjoyed this first part!

    Photo of Ladybird Lake in Austin by Trac Vu on Unsplash

    Gail Alfar [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – April 16, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

  • Get Ready, Elon Musk’s Magnum Opus is Coming!

    Welcome back to my blog, I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s post. I’m posting most of Elon Musk‘s remarks given on April 7, 2022 at Gigafactory Texas at Cyber Rodeo.  The reason I am solely focusing on this is that I believe Elon’s words hold a lot of value. We all want a better future, and I hope reading this will inspire you to look toward a positive future for our world.  So relax and enjoy it and get ready for Elon’s magnum opus! 

    Elon Musk at Cyber Rodeo with first production Roadster [photo courtesy Vinny Lingham]
    Welcome, welcome to Cyber Rodeo. Are you guys having a good time? 
    We’re going to talk about the past, present, and future. This is the first production car Tesla ever made. It’s where we started. We started off with a very simple car, the Tesla roadster. We manufactured this thing, believe it or not, in an old car dealership in Menlo Park, California. 
    

    We made the powertrain, Lotus made the non-powertrain portion, and we did the final assembly and check out, literally in an old car dealership in Menlo Park! And here we are today, damn! 

    Elon Musk at Gigfactory Texas Cyber Rodeo
    When we first started out at Tesla, I thought optimistically there was a 10% chance of succeeding. When people say car companies are dumb, I’m like “I know.” But, thanks to the incredible work of the Tesla team, over many years, we got here. 

    So we now have, and it shows you where we are today, we’ve got the Model S, we’ve got the Model 3, we have the Model X, we’ve got the Model Y. We’ve got the most expensive joke in the world! But we did bring sexy back! 

    Elon Musk
    So we’ve got cars in major vehicle segments, we’ve got residential and commercial energy products. We’ve got powerwalls, Megapacks, yes, it’s insane! Thanks to the incredible work of the Tesla team, two thirds of the electric vehicles in the United States are made by Tesla and the hard work of the Tesla team.  This is Omead (Afshar). Omead has managed the construction of the Gigafactory here, thanks Omead! 

    Elon Musk anounces that Full Self Driving beta may be released to all FSD customers by end of 2022

    And we have full self-driving in Beta.  Does anyone here use the full self-driving beta? Great. You can really get a feeling for how much full self-driving is going to transform society. The car will be able to take you anywhere you want. Its ultimately ten times safer than if you were driving it yourself. It’s going to completely revolutionize the world. This is one of those things that comes along very rarely. The Tesla autopilot team and AI [Artificial Intelligence] team have done an incredible job solving real-world AI. We are aiming to go to wide beta for all FSD customers in North America this year. [applause] To the moon!

    Giga Texas ushers in the new phase of Tesla’s future

    This is now our sixth major factory. We are now on three continents. It’s great to have two major vehicle plants in North America. So, an Austin factory, and China, and one in Europe that I was just at recently. This is going to be a huge improvement for Tesla. It’s also going to be better for your environment. You want to make the cars for where the customers are, and not put them onto ships and over the oceans. It’s going to be way better to make cars locally. We are really entering a new phase of Tesla’s future, with six giant factories around the world, and scaling to extreme size, as you can see from this building, it’s not small. And this is also Tesla’s global headquarters. 

    Why Austin? Actually, I asked the Tesla team. California’s great, we’re continuing to expand in California, but we ran out of room and so we need a place where we can be really big.

    And there’s no place like Texas! 

    Elon Musk
    Gigafactory Texas Render [credit Tesla on youtube]

    Elon Musk thanks Austin, Travis County, and all the builders

    Here we are, we are 10 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown, a central logistics hub, and we’ve got access to awesome talent. Thank you Austin, thank you Travis County! 
    
    It wasn’t easy building this humongous building and getting all of this equipment here. I just cannot express enough appreciation and gratitude for the Tesla team that built Giga Texas. let’s give them a hand! We went through the deep freeze, rain, quicksand, and incredibly fast build, it was very difficult, but it’s done.

    I just cannot express enough appreciation and gratitude for the Tesla team that built Giga Texas. let’s give them a hand!

    Elon Musk

    Giga Texas is the machine that builds the machine

    I want to give you a sense of the size of this thing. It’s not small. What we have here is, if you put the building on its side, it’s taller than the Burj Khalifa, that’s to scale. It’s equivalent to three pentagons. When a building is measured in units of pentagon, you know it’s quite large! This is the largest factory building in the world by volume. How many hamsters fit in it? [yells someone in the audience] I’m glad you asked that, according to our calculations, 194 billion hamsters could fit in this building!  
    
    This is the machine that builds the machine, and it’s the latest version of the machine that builds the machine. I’ve said it before, that the factory is the product. You know, prototypes require imagination, and they’re not easy, but relative to production, prototypes are easy. Production is hard. And this building is the most advanced car factory that earth has ever seen. Alien Technology. You know a factory is advanced if it feels like an alien dreadnought landed!  
    
    The team is doing great work in Fremont, California, but we took a lot of lessons and learned from that. The buildings were all separate, there was a lot of movement between the buildings, Think of us like a chip, an integrated circuit. You combine everything in one package, and now this is what you get. 
    
    This is a case of raw materials coming in one side, they get formed into a cell, they get formed into a pack, then we cast the front and rear body.  The pack itself is structural, and the outcome is a finished product. So it’s raw materials in one side, and cars out the other side.
    We’re building our own battery cells, we think the most advanced cell in the world, here at Giga Texas. All the footage you see here is from this factory and we think, over time, this will be the biggest cell factory in the world. 

    Revolutionary manufacturing: Making a car out of three major parts

    Largest casting machine ever made [photo by Gail Alfar at Gigafactory Texas]
    Another major innovation is the structural pack. So we are basically bringing into fruition the things that we said we would do. We said we would basically make the car out of three major pieces. A real body casting and a structural pack with the cells themselves carrying the load. 
    
    Just like in airplanes where the wing is a fuel tank in wing shape, with the new Model Y architecture, the cells themselves carry the load. And that results in a car that is lighter, has a smaller number of parts, costs less, and improves the crash performance. 
    
    Its a safety advantage too. As I was saying, its revolutionary for car manufacturing to basically make your car out of three major parts. A cast rear, a structural pack, and a cast front. 
    
    What you are looking at is the biggest casting machine ever made [see above photo]. And it’s kind of a crazy thing to make a car this way, it’s never been done before. When we were trying to figure this out, there were six major casting manufacturers in the world. When we called all six, five said no, and one said maybe. I was like, that sounds like a “yes!”  It was a lot of effort and great ideas from the team. We’ve made the world‘s biggest casting machine work very efficiently to create and radically simplify the creation of the car.  Raw materials in, a bunch of stuff happens, and then car out. [audience screams, 'if you don’t make stuff there is no stuff']  Yes exactly, if you don’t make stuff there isn’t any stuff.
    We are aiming, just with the Model Y program alone, to get to ½ million units a year and then we’re going to start manufacturing Cybertruck here next year. The Model Y line will be the highest capacity line, I think, of any line in the world. In fact, I’m confident it will be. Half a million units per year in a single factory of one product is the biggest thing in the world. Definitely, this will be the highest volume car factory in America.  
    
    Cybertruck always looks like CGI in real life, but that is not CGI, that is an actual Cybertruck driving around. I can’t wait to have this baby in production, it’s going to be epic!  

    Tesla has a long road ahead

    Elon Musk explaining bar chart showing Tesla has 1% of total vehicle output in the world [cr: Tesla]
    Tesla is growing at the fastest pace of any large manufacturing object in history. In twelve months, we’ve delivered over a million cars worldwide. 
    
    Now that said, there’s still a long way to go because that red bar chart is Tesla and then the blue is global vehicles. So you can see, even though we did one million cars in the last twelve months, we’re still maybe, a little over 1% of total vehicle output in the world. We want to try to get to, I don’t know, about  20% or as much as we can, to move the needle. 
    
    This is why scale matters. In order to make a really big difference to sustainability, we have to make a lot of cars, we have to make a lot of stationery packs, to transition the world to sustainable technology as quickly as possible. 

    What’s next? Futuristic Robotaxis and an Age of Abundance

    Sunset Optimus by Ryan on Twitter
    What’s next?  I’m not going to spill all the beans right now. What I can say, is we’re going to move to just a truly massive scale. Scale that no company has ever achieved in the history of humanity. 
    
    That has to happen, in order to transition the world to sustainable energy. Massive scale, full self-driving, there’s going to be a designated Robotaxi that’s going to look quite futuristic. 
    
    And, of course, we’ve got the Tesla robot, Optimus and this is, I think, Optimus will obviate what an economy really means. Basically, anything that humans don’t want to do, Optimus will do it.
    
    It’s going to be an age of abundance. It may be hard to imagine it, but as you see Optimus develop, and everyone will make sure it’s safe, no terminator stuff or that kind of thing, but it’s really going to transform the world, I think to a degree even greater than the cars. And, I think we have a shot at being in production, for version one of the Optimus, hopefully, next year.  And then Cybertruck is coming next year.  We will be in production of Cybertruck next year. We will be in production with the Roaster and with Semi. So, that’s all coming. So this year is all about scaling up, and then next year there’s going to be a massive wave of new products. 
    And now, let us deliver our first Tesla cars made in Texas! [numerous Model Y drive onto the stage]

    Elon Musk Calls Cybertruck his and Franz’s Magnum Opus – A Masterpiece, the greatest work of a person’s career

    Cybertruck drives onstage, “What have we here, Franz, is there anything you want to say about the Cybertruck?” says Elon.

    “Cybertruck is going to be awesome, I mean you see it here, you’ve seen it before, you’ve seen it over there [points] it’s worth the wait, believe me. There is no other truck, everything else pales in comparison. This is the only one you need!”  says Franz

    “I think this will be our magnum opus, you can see some of the changes we made already, there are no handles. Who needs handles? The car can tell that you’re there, and it just knows that it needs to open. I think we’re going to have an incredible Cybertruck product for you next year. it’s going to blow your mind. 

    “I can’t wait to build this here and deliver them to you, sorry for the delay. It’s been an intense couple of years but we’re gonna have this for you next year, and it’s going to be great. Its, going to be one kick-ass product after another. Starting next year, and then, some cool stuff that we haven’t even talked about, so let’s see, thanks again for coming. 

    “I hope you’re having a great time. Here at Tesla, we believe in throwing great parties. So, let’s get this party started! Have a fantastic time tonight, I love you guys! 

    Royal display of Fireworks by Tesla to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and No. 9, Allegro Con Brio and Ode to Joy [photo by Gail Alfar at Gigafactory Texas]

    Cybertruck drives off stage with Elon Musk and Franz von Holzhausen. This is accompanied by a royal display of impressive fireworks. The music choice is loud and important-sounding: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 Allegro Con Brio followed by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Ode to Joy.

    My thoughts

    Elon Musk’s celebration was larger than life for a good reason. The impact on our world by Giga Texas and its processes will be epic. The road ahead is very long and difficult. The beautiful inspiration of Cyber Rodeo will remain in our hearts for many years to come! I am thankful I could attend the event in person. It will take weeks to process the deep resonance of the event. That will come with time. I look forward to sharing more soon. Meanwhile, enjoy your beautiful life!

    Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – April 10, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

  • Tesla in Europe is a Gemstone

    Welcome back to my blog. This past week, Tesla started delivering the first Model Ys following the opening of Giga Berlin-Brandenburg.  

    The new German-made Model Y has been handed over to customers in Germany as well as in Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy.  Soon customers all over Europe will celebrate receiving their Model Ys.

    Tesla Model Y delivery in Denmark [credit Lars Strandrider]

    Elon Musk compares Giga Berlin to a gemstone for Germany, Europe and the world

    These were Elon Musk’s first words when he addressed guests at the Delivery Day event on March 22, 2022.

    “And to the community, Tesla will make sure that this is a gem — a gemstone for the area, for Germany, for Europe, and for the world. Every vehicle that we make will be another step in the direction of a sustainable energy future. We will also make battery storage. So this is going to be very important for storing renewable energy — so, for solar and wind. Because it’s intermittent, it needs to be stored, but we’re extremely confident that the world will transition to a sustainable energy future with the combination of solar, plus battery storage, and electric vehicles.”

    Elon Musk

    German Model Y is High Quality

    Alex Voigt, a Munich-based blogger, engineer, and BEV Enthusiast was invited by Tesla to attend Giga Berlin Delivery Day. Alex has spent significant time examining vehicle build quality from Teslas built in California, Shanghai, and now, Berlin. Alex says,

        “What I can say is the cars from Giga Berlin have the best quality, obviously they’ve been selecting them carefully so there is no doubt about it, not every car made it, but if you look at the panel gaps and the paint and all the details, it’s by a large margin the best quality I’ve seen so far from Tesla.
    
        I know the critical areas for instance at the charging port but also other places where usually you have fit and finish problems, regardless if you go inside or outside I definitely couldn’t find any flaws.”  
    

    Alex and other people I spoke with observed that it appears Tesla has chosen black paint, the most difficult color to paint a car because if you are excellent at painting black, you can be good at about any color.  I asked my friend Johnna Crider, writer for Clean Technica, for her opinion on the video that Alex created. She compared the Model Y in the sunlight to the gemstone black obsidian. Johnna custom wraps gemstones. Getting Stoned is her online store. Here is the video she watched, see what you think,

    Link to video on twitter by Alex Voigt

    Elon Musk makes it clear that he considers Giga Berlin to be a gemstone for the world.  The analogy is significant.  Gemstones are something that is both sought after and protected by humans.  Here’s what Johnna Crider had to say about this in her article for Clean Technica,

        When we think of something precious, we often compare that thought to rare gems, minerals, or something of high value.
    
        And what is more valuable than a fully sustainable future, a goal that Tesla and its employees globally, including Elon Musk, seem to be passionately working toward?
    
        This is worth more than any beryl, corundum, carbon (diamond or rare shungite), or natural Moissoanite from a meteorite. We can’t enjoy these gems or life if we are not here — or if we don’t have a planet with the capabilities of supporting human life. Right now we have a planet, but our dependence on fossil fuels is wreaking havoc on our environment.
    
        And I’m not naive to think that mining the actual gems and minerals doesn’t have an effect. In the end, people with good hearts and who passionately care about our world do what we can to help as well as what we can to offset our own negative impacts. 
    Giga Berlin Model Y manufacturing [credit: Tesla]

    My feeling is that our world needs Tesla in order to make the transition to sustainable energy as fast as possible. Tesla makes cars that are better than all other cars, regardless if they are electric or not.

    Other vehicle manufacturers are acutely aware they will need to mass-produce cars as good as Tesla in order to survive.

    The transition to all-electric vehicles is imminent, and that’s worth celebrating.

    Gail Alfar, [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2022

  • Elon Musk Speaks on Giga Berlin Delivery Day 

    “Tesla will make sure that this is a gem, a gemstone for the area, for Germany, for Europe, and for the world” – Elon Musk [photo courtesy Tesla Welt Podcast]

    Welcome back to my blog, I hope you’ll enjoy this week‘s post. I am posting part of Elon Musk‘s speech given on March 22, 2022 at Giga Berlin Brandenburg. The reason I am focusing on his speech in this blog post is that I believe it is a historically significant speech.  It contains a roadmap for the future of our world as we transition away from fossil fuels and into a clean energy future, involving solar, wind, and battery storage and electric vehicles.

    Elon’s speech inspires us to look towards a more positive future. So grab a warm blanket, a good beverage, and enjoy! 

    Thank you for your hard work which has led to this great day, and it was amazing to see how excited the customers were to receive their cars. It was just super good vibes and it bided very well for the future of Giga Berlin Brandenburg. 
    
    I think it’s worth remembering that every car that we make is a step in the direction of a sustainable future. The thing about this factory and the cars that we make is that it gives people hope about the future and it’s like it’s very important to have reasons to be excited about the future. Often people are depressed or sad about the future because they think it won’t be good but what we’re doing here is with every car we make, with every battery we make, we’re making the future better. So what you are doing really matters, it makes a difference. 

    “I’m sort of working on the Master Plan Part 3”

    Elon Musk
    I’m sort of working on the Master Plan Part 3. Yes, it’s going to be good. But a huge part of that is scaling to high volume. So in order for us to really affect the world in a positive way- because we get a lot of press, we get a lot of attention- but say how many vehicles have we made as a percentage of total vehicles in the world? Because there are 2 billion vehicles in the world. Well, so far, we’re actually well below 1% and not even 1/2 a percent. So, it’s essential for us to really affect the future in a positive way. We have to make a lot of cars. It’s the only way. So that’s why we call it a Gigafactory, it’s very big.  

    We’re starting off with the Model Y and we’re going to do a number of exciting additional vehicles here. So I think this overall is going to be a center of excellence for sustainable energy in general, and it’s really going to help the world. I look forward to doing it with you and once again, thanks for everything!

    “At Tesla, we really try to do the right thing. We want to be a company that you can believe in, in your heart and soul.”

    Elon Musk
    In addition to the work that we do here, we also inspire and encourage the rest of the industry to go towards electrification. I think it’s fair to say that without Tesla, without the work that the Tesla team has done, the rest of the industry would not be moving so quickly towards electrification. That’s also why we open-sourced our patents. We have made our patents freely available to the other car makers, because it was the right thing to do.  No other company has done that far as I know. At Tesla, we really try to do the right thing. We want to be a company that you can believe in, in your heart and soul. In order to do that, we must be a company that does the right thing.

    In response to a question about when Tesla would go to South America, and maybe some other markets, Elon stated,

    We definitely want to go to the world, the challenge we have right now-  it’s a high-class problem - the orders we have are well in excess of our production, so sometimes people will say, “why aren’t you in all these other markets and why don’t you make all these other different versions of the product like different cars like where is the Tesla semi-truck and the Cybertruck and the Roadster?”  The challenge we have is that our orders far exceed our production, so, you know… ‘ A high-class problem.’ But we need to have our production get to the point where it exceeds our current orders and then it makes sense to expand to additional markets and to have additional products. Because, if we add complexity and we don’t add production volume, then we’ve not actually done anything more. 
    
    The good is a function of how many vehicles we are able to make. As we are able to ramp up production and satisfy demand in our existing markets, then we will expand to other markets and we will also add additional products. Last year there were a lot of supply chain challenges with chips, everyone knows about the chip shortage. This year there are still some chip shortages. Next year, I think will be a challenge with total battery production. Certainly, if you start going, like 2 to 3 years out, it’s all about how many gigawatt-hours of battery are produced. That will be the limiting factor. 
    
    And then going even further down into the supply chain, what is the right battery materials that are being mined and refined? And obviously, you want to do that in an environmentally sensitive way. In the grand scheme of things is “how many terawatt hours of battery can be produced per year.”  Our rough calculation is that about 300 TWHR  is needed to transition the world to a sustainable energy economy. This is a lot of batteries basically. So we want to try to do as much of that as possible. I think we are doing a pretty good job, we are growing by 70% to 80% per year on average and maybe even faster than that in the future. So that is, I think, the answer to ‘why not more markets, and why not more products?’ 
    

    When asked what he was most proud of, Elon responded,

    I am most proud of the amazing work done by the Tesla team, to scale at the rate that we are scaling and make compelling products that people love. You know, you think about, how many products can you buy that you really love? It’s so few, you know, and it would be great if people made more products that you love. 

    “At Tesla, we really focus on making products that people love.”

    Elon Musk
    And Tesla is a rare company that actually makes products you love. It brings you joy every day, that’s great.  If you look at our rate of growth, Tesla is the fastest-growing company in history that makes a large manufactured product. So the next fastest was the Ford Model T and that was 100 years ago and we are actually growing faster than the Ford Model T, which is crazy!
    

    Elon Musk explains Giga Berlin Model Y will be offered in a deep complex red and liquid silver

    With respect to colors, which colors will be available from this factory? 
    
    Colors are always a challenge because when you think about You do not only need to manufacture it but you need to service it and fix it for like 20 years. You have to think about what are we going to put the service team through? You know, managing all these colors? So we have to be careful with a total number of colors but, we obviously are going to make some special colors here because  - and it’s more than just color itself but it’s the layers of paint to get the dimensionality -  we’re going to make a really special red, which I think a lot of people have seen. It’s like 13 layers of paint. The layers give you dimensionality. It makes the color look deep and complex. and then we will also have silver. It will have maybe eight layers, and it’s going to be really special. Like kind of liquid silver and a deep red. A deep complex red. In a few months, we will make this special deep dark red and quicksilver. 
    
    I think it will be the best paint on any production car that is not made for a show or something like that.  And you have to design the paint job especially for 13 steps.

    Elon answered questions about battery composition, as well as when FSD beta might come to Europe, 

    I think will be ready to show it to regulators in the European Union, maybe in two or three months. But then we have got to do quite a lot of work for all of the special use cases in Europe. As you know, the roads vary quite a lot by country. The road rules, and the way the lines are painted, are different. And then you have to recognize all the different languages. It’s quite difficult to do full self-driving in Europe. Much more complex than say, the USA or Canada. There are a lot of little tricky things, the rules are not the same. But I think, probably, we can start doing FSDbeta maybe later this year in Europe. Depending on regulatory approval. Things are different in the USA, in the USA, things are legal by default. In Europe, they are illegal by default.
    So, we have to get approval beforehand, whereas in the USA, you can do it on your own cognizance, more or less. 
    

    But as for what the next target is, Elon responded

    I guess the next target is, to really scale production this year, and try to make as many cars as we can. We want to complete the development of the Cybertruck and be ready for production next year. Hopefully, have enough battery pack capability to start the Tesla semi-truck. Hopefully, we may complete the engineering of the new roadster, and then there are some future products that are also pretty important. There’s also stationary storage, new versions of the Tesla solar roof and Powerwall 3. There are a lot of things. So we have a very exciting product pipeline.

    When asked what makes him happy, Elon responded with,

    “It makes me happy to see you guys happy“

    Elon Musk

    There was a question from the audience was about production capacity and Elon responded,

    Twenty million cars in 10 years. And that would be a good number because there are 2 billion cars and trucks in the world that are in active use. So 20 million would be one percent of the global fleet per year.

    Waving goodbye, Elon said,

    “Thanks again guys, love you.”

    Elon Musk

    This was my eleventh blog post and one of my favorite.  I am extremely thankful that Tesla Giga Berlin-Brandenburg is open and producing wonderful electric vehicles.  Each vehicle will bring happiness and joy to its owners.  I have owned a Tesla since December 2019, and I love driving it around Austin.  I went to see Gigafactory Texas a few days ago, and I am very excited about the future of electric vehicles made in Texas.  I hope to learn more about both Gigafactories over time. I know that you also share this enthusiasm with me and many others.  We are truly living in exciting times. 

    Elon Musk delivers an inspiring speech at Giga Berlin Brandenburg [credit Tesla]

    Gail Alfar, [edited by Sarah Alfar], Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. March 26, 2022

  • Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?

    Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?
    Black Tesla Model 3 by Zack @BLKMDL3 [used with permission]

    Every car looks promising when it is sitting on the dealer’s lot. It’s nice and clean, begging you to hop in and take a drive.

    Getting started in life as a young person can seem like a vicious cycle when a car is involved.  There’s a circle of making payments and sinking money into insurance payments, not to mention the nightmare that happens when your car needs repairs. Since gasoline prices are spiking, combustion engine cars cost a lot to operate.  On the other hand, electric cars are becoming more common because they cost little to operate.

    If you absolutely have to own a vehicle, then there is no better choice right now than a Tesla.  I’ll argue this statement in this blog today based on the low cost of Tesla insurance, the ease of charging the battery, and zero maintenance. 

    Tesla Insurance is low cost

    Tesla Insurance, which is based on real-time driving behavior, is available in Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas [Virginia and Oregon soon]. Real-time driving behavior means that the monthly rate you pay for insurance will drop lower if you drive safer, and will increase if you drive less safe. Tesla will help you drive safer, through their app and your usage of the vehicle’s autopilot software that comes with every car.

    California has a different kind of Tesla Insurance, and it is not based on real-time driving [but this may change, each state has complicated laws].

    Tesla insurance usually costs less than $100 a month, with the likely probability that it will decrease in price. Or, it could increase based on your driving habits.  

    I am unsure what you expect to pay monthly, but I was paying about $250 a month before I got Tesla Insurance.  I thought I had a good rate until I experienced the kindness of Tesla.  

    Old fashioned style insurance companies cannot compete with the low price of Tesla Insurance.  The antiquated way is to charge you more based on your age instead of your ability to drive carefully.

    Charging a Tesla is low cost

    Your Tesla, if you decide to get one, costs much less to charge than what you would pay to fill a combustion engine’s tank up with petrol.  

    I am not going to give specific overall dollar amount averages in my argument. Instead, I will explain what I pay. Since I charge at home, I do see a small increase in my electric bill.  I set the charge time to when electricity rates are low.  I don’t notice more than a $25 increase in my monthly bill since I got the Tesla.  Supercharging my Tesla away from home costs anywhere from $15 – $20 for a full charge.

    Maintaining a Tesla is also low cost

    My Tesla has an electric motor that requires no maintenance.  There’s a saying among Tesla owners, that annual maintenance costs are about $7 [cost of windshield wiper fluid].  Conversely, people pay a lot to maintain a combustion engine as there are so many moving parts, valves, and coolant needs.

    My own view is that when you need to get your first car, there really is no better car to buy than a Tesla. Here is a brief comparison of Tesla versus combustion engine car:

    TESLACOMBUSTION
    insurance costs much less in some statesinsurance based on your age, costs are high
    avoid the gas pumpsubject to high gas prices
    no maintenancescheduled maintenance and constant repairs
    A comparison of the costs of owning a Tesla versus a combustion engine car.

    Overall, owning a Tesla is less expensive than owning a combustion car. This issue is important because your vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make so it needs to be one of the best you can get.  

    Why I wrote this article and who I wrote it for

    A few nights ago, I signed up for Tesla insurance.  I was really happy with the significant rate reduction Tesla gave me.  My teenage kid was also happy.  She explained to me that her friends are just starting out with jobs and their first cars.  She told me they have constant car expenses like insurance [big one], gasoline, and huge maintenance bills [one car needed a whole new engine].  She asked me to consider blogging in a “style that might help her friends believe they could afford a Tesla.” 

    Interested in what people think about Tesla Autonomy? You can check that out here.

    Red Tesla Model 3 by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

    Main header photo of Black Tesla Model 3 by Zack @BLKMDL3 [used with permission] Article edited by Sarah Alfar.

    Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. March 19, 2022

  • Tesla Solar System

    Tesla Solar System

    This is the year to invest in solar. Putting money into a Tesla Solar Roof or panels with Powerwalls is a smart choice.

    For a long time, most of us assumed we should reliably purchase energy from a local utility. The era of expecting a local entity to offer a never-ending supply of affordable energy has come to an end.  Today people can generate their own energy.

    The decision to go solar may be more affordable than we once thought

    Vi To, father of two and homeowner in Dallas, shares with us why he bought Tesla solar panels and powerwall, “Texas had a scary Snowmageddon last winter where we lost power for one day and neighbors and friends lost it for ten days in freezing temperatures.  I started to seriously look for solutions/backup power options.” 

    Vi likes to crunch numbers, and he shares that he spent about $50k on his Tesla Solar Panels and Powerwalls.  After a 13k federal tax credit, he financed through Tesla for 10 years, so he pays $270 monthly to Tesla instead of paying $300 monthly to the utility company.  “My system pays for itself in 5-7 years and then its free power thereafter,” he adds that he “also saves $200 a month by driving a Model Y.”

    Would You Sell Energy to Your Local Grid?

    Tesla has invited Solar and Powerwall owners like Vi to join in a demonstration to show that a fleet of powerwalls can be a source to power the Texas public utility grid.  In this way, people who are part of the Tesla fleet may one day sell power to ERCOT.  

    “Powerwalls like yours can be a powerful tool to accelerate the grid’s transition to sustainable energy. 
    Opt-in to our technical demonstration to help Tesla and ERCOT prove that a fleet of Powerwalls can provide the same services as conventional power plants with distributed clean energy.  
    This is a valuable step toward Powerwalls’ paid participation in ERCOT markets.”  -Tesla
    

    Increasingly people like Vi are proving they can generate their own energy.  They are showing that solar is more reliable than their local utility. Their word of mouth is just one indicator of the strength of solar power. Supporting the wider electricity grid will soon be another indicator.  In short, solar and powerwalls work together to perform the important job of bringing energy to all people.  The more that people invest in solar, the safer everyone will be from events that are beyond our control. 

    But above all, I say that we are transitioning into a world where many people will be helped by the intelligent system that Tesla is pioneering.

    One day, it will seem ridiculous that people ever relied so heavily on utility companies for energy. 

     “I think the beauty of the product is that you can’t tell it’s solar, most people come by, they have no idea.” - Tesla Solar Roof Owner
    

    Credit TTVZ NewsChannel 21 – Bend Roofing Co. first in C.O. to install Tesla Solar Roof [10/4/21]

    In writing this blog post, I kept thinking about the amazing work that Elon Musk is doing to help Ukraine. Tesla and SpaceX employees not only facilitated bringing Starlink to Ukraine, but they also scrapped together parts last-minute from Tesla Giga Berlin to create a system for humanitarian purposes. Through a system linking solar panels to Tesla Powerwalls, they showed how to power up Starlink satellite receivers. This is another reason why I am willing to invest in Tesla Solar. It is a creative system designed to help ultimately help humanity.  

    Thanks for reading my blog post. I look forward to creating interesting takes on Tesla to share with YOU most Saturdays! Find out more about Tesla Solar here.

    Austin, Texas by Mitchell Kmetz on Unsplash

    Article header photo Tesla Solar Panels, Powerwalls courtesy Tesla

    Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. March 12, 2022

  • Honoring SpaceX Raptor 2

    Honoring SpaceX Raptor 2
    Raptor 2 featured in Charro days parade [photo courtesy whataboutit ]

    In this blogpost, you’ll see how SpaceX -the most successful rocket manufacturing company in the USA- is closely involved with local students. I also share a brief scenario of what it might feel like to be a spacefaring civilization. Find a nice comfy chair, sit down, relax, and enjoy!

    Star of the Parade: Raptor 2

    Charro Days is a week-long celebration of friendship between the citizens of Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas along the Rio Grande. It began in 1938 to boost the economy and the spirits of the community suffering from the Great Depression and aftermath of a category 5 hurricane. This year marks the first one that SpaceX has participated.

    Employees of SpaceX donned traditional Mexican costumes, built a float and rolled the superbly engineered Raptor 2 engine down Elizabeth Street. Using a huge LED screen showing Starship, and passing out small white SpaceX maracas, they gave the engine a proper introduction. This matters because Raptor 2 will carry Starship into orbit soon, and bring humans to the moon!

    Free rides to all kids were provided by SpaceX. According to local club spokesperson from ‘Space X Girls’ there were about eight rides and the spaceship ride was the one that stood out the most. ‘I did see them [the kids] have so much fun’ said Space X Girls.

    Elon Musk was seen with his 21-month-old son, X, enjoying a delicious festival treat called Spiropapas or spiral potatoes [fried potato cut in a spiral and stacked on a long stick]. Fans hope this will become the official food for SpaceX and Tesla.

    I caught up with Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa [Commissioner, District 2], after the festival. "Charro Days," she says, "is an intricate celebration between three organizations. SpaceX caught us by surprise and was a major sponsor of all three. We were very excited to see how willing they were to contribute to the festivities." 
    
    She tells me that, "the best part was seeing how many children came to see the SpaceX float in the parade on Saturday. There were at least ten times as many children at Saturday’s parade than any year that I’ve participated in.  Mr. Musk has been incredibly generous to our students, so they really wanted to meet him and see him in person. It was very exciting that many kids did get to see and thank him personally." 
    
    Also, she adds, "Mr. Musk distributed 20 million dollars to schools for our students in Cameron County, 10 million dollars to the City of Brownsville for downtown revitalization, and other significant donations throughout the community."
    
    We talk about the generosity of Elon Musk. "Just last week," she says, "he donated a Starship prototype to the Brownsville airport." She continues, "It’s incredible to see that Brownsville ISD students are now able to have access to technology, math, and science programs."
    
    "The city was finally able to install much-needed lighting that makes our downtown area feel safer. Community members are able to venture out as a family during the night hours because it’s cleaner and safer." 
    
    "More than anything," she continues, "we appreciate the kindness, thoughtfulness, and generosity behind Mr. Musk's contributions to our community. He is a person that gives from his heart, and we are incredibly grateful to support and have him in our community." 

    Humans as a Spacefaring Civilization

    When you were a kid, did you ever imagine autonomous flying cars, battles in space? I’d like to leave you thinking about a beautiful future, inspired by the Raptor 2 and Elon Musk. Here’s my updated vision of life for future humans,

    Gathering in Spaceball City [Brownsville elected to be renamed in 2099] via supersonic rocket travel, are humans from all over earth.  There is a welcoming complex with as much or as little entertainment or information that anyone could want in order to learn about Mars, SpaceX and the glorious history of its founder, Elon Musk.  
    
    At Starbase, families rally around their beloved Mars-bound astonauts as they watch Starships launch elegantly to space.  Boosters return to earth, landing gracefully, as Starships glide effortlesssly among the stars and past the moon to the red planet.
    
    Every single human, upon arrival to Mars, stops at a memorial called Thrawn. Thrawn, a statue similar to the Thinker, inspires the Martians to continue their mission to travel beyond Mars, to other galaxies. 

    Traditional folk dress combined with a celebration of space travel [credit Space X Girls]

    Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved, March 5, 2022