Elon Musk, Boomtown Austin, and Giga Texas Progress

Giga Texas image courtesy Tesla, Inc.

Thanks for coming back to “What’s Up Tesla.” I love experiencing life in Austin because there are so many exciting changes happening here, and the original flavor of the city is also prevalent. For example, I drove around the city in my Tesla using FSD beta software to a restaurant that is still in operation since 1954! El Patio Mexican Food is one of many great places to eat in Austin and if you come here, I recommend it!

This article is about Elon Musk, Boomtown Austin, and Giga Texas. Elon Musk moved to Texas in 2020, and since then there has been fast growth in Austin. The night skyline is impressive, so I wanted to find out details about high-rise construction, as well as population and job market growth. Finally, I wanted to know how many cars are being made at Giga Texas each week, how many people currently work there, and what are Giga Texas’ plans for increasing production?

ELON MUSK

Engineering, design, and production are how Elon Musk spends 80% of his waking hours, and he sleeps about 6 hours a night. 

Elon spends much of his time in Austin at Giga Texas involved directly with his team to accelerate gigafactory progress.

“But I think what a lot of people don’t realize, is what I do 80% of the time in engineering. You know it’s actually quite rare for me to give a talk. My day-to-day work at SpaceX and Tesla is almost entirely engineering and design and also production. Production is key, although I consider that to be part of engineering.” – Elon Musk, Baron Conference ‘22

“Whether it’s Tesla, Neuralink, or SpaceX, these companies were all founded with the ultimate goal of enhancing the future of human life and creating as much practical value for the world as possible—Tesla to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, Neuralink for medical rehabilitation, SpaceX for making interstellar connections possible.” – Elon Musk

While working with his team at Tesla, Elon also plans to launch Starship this year for its first-ever orbital flight.  As Owner/Chief Twit of Twitter, he is orchestrating major changes to protect free speech by creating an all-inclusive platform. His net worth on paper changes daily, but in reality, this is just a number, the contributions Elon Musk is making to humanity will benefit our world forever.  Society has put a $ value on that by investing in Tesla and SpaceX. 

BOOMTOWN AUSTIN PROGRESS

The population and job market of Austin has grown since Elon Musk moved to Austin in 2020.  Other American metro areas have experienced population decline. High-rise construction projects are a visual indicator of Austin’s Boomtown progress.  Increases in job postings and a high GDP (gross domestic product) growth are two others. 

population chart accessed 11/11/2022 on
https://www.macrotrends.net/cities/22926/austin/population

Austin held the title of 2nd fastest growing city in the USA for 2022 by the American Growth Project based on the 2nd highest GDP growth of 4.3% (and other factors).  This was close to the top-ranking San Francisco of 4.8%. 

Job openings Austin Chamber of Commerce accessed 11/4/22 ​​
https://www.austinchamber.com/blog/category/job-postings-report

Every time I drive around downtown Austin at night, the skyline looks magnificent! 

I created this chart of Austin’s skyscrapers and those under construction (greater than 200 meters tall).  There are 6 buildings in Austin over 150 meters tall currently and there are 9 more under construction. I added Giga Texas on its side for fun!  

Giga Texas size, image courtesy of Tesla, Inc.
Council on Tall Buildings accessed on 11/10/2022 https://www.skyscrapercenter.com/city/austin

GIGA TEXAS

Gigafactory Texas body welding line. Image Courtesy Tesla, Inc.

From observing Giga Texas flyover videos, it is apparent Giga Texas is running one Model Y general assembly line 6 days a week. This line produces approximately 2000 Model Y per week. That number should grow soon because observations point to the development of two more general assembly lines.  

I spoke with Joe Tegtmeyer about Giga Texas, and he explained that “General assembly #2 and #3 are being built on the Southwest portion of the general assembly structure (from around the main entrance south) and on floors 1 and 2.”  Joe also told me that one of the general assembly lines is for the Cybertruck. 

How many people work at Giga Texas?  I could not find out this information directly, and there are two shifts working 6 days a week. My guess is there are over 9000 people working at Giga Texas. Elon Musk estimates that an astounding 20K people will work at Giga Texas over time!  

“Giga Texas is a $10B+ investment over time, generating at least 20k direct & 100k indirect jobs” – Elon Musk on Twitter

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk calls Texas home and spends time directly with his teams in Austin at Giga Texas to accelerate Model Y production and build Cybertruck production. Although his net worth is massive, this is not important as it is just a number on paper, what matters is how Elon is contributing to making life better for humanity.

Boomtown Austin is an accurate term to describe the rapid changes I see living in Austin. Alongside the rapid changes, local traditions are thriving, and one example is El Patio Mexican restaurant, in business since 1954.

  • Nine buildings over 200 meters tall are under construction!
  • The population of the Austin metro area has grown to over 2 million
  • There are over 94,000 active job postings
  • Giga Texas is making progress: building two more general assembly lines for the Cybertruck and the Y, and there are two shifts working 12 hours 6 days a week
Downtown Austin courtesy of Christopher Sherman
Downtown Austin courtesy of Christopher Sherman

Enjoy reading these articles too,

Texas’ ERCOT approved an Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project. What challenges lie ahead? This article is about how Texas is on track to see a much stronger energy grid. ERCOT’s Board of Directors approved an Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Pilot Project. But, there are big challenges!

Elon Musk Speaks at AI Day 2022, Optimus Wears Giga Texas “Don’t Mess With Tesla” Belt Buckle. This article highlights how the Tesla bot is designed to be made at scale, and how it will transform our civilization into one of abundance. There’s also a sneak peek into the bot at work in the Fremont factory!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. November 12, 2022. Header image of Giga Texas is courtesy of Tesla, Inc. To learn more about Gail Alfar, click here.

5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting

Elon Musk spoke at the 2022 Annual Shareholder Meeting on August 4th. I attended in order to experience the event firsthand so I could write about my impressions for you.

This article features highlights of what Elon Musk said about Tesla Gigafactories, AI, Cybertruck, Optimus robot, how we can help support the mission, and more.

Elon Musk at GIgafactory Texas, credit: Tesla

Elon Musk and Tesla, Inc. are grateful to you as a Shareholder

The Cyber Roundup was Tesla’s kind way of saying thanks to you as a retail TSLA shareholder. This year’s meeting was the largest in-person meeting ever and it provided an opportunity to see products up close, take a factory tour, and even speak with Elon Musk.

Towards the end of this article, I will share info with you on how you can attend in the future. Martin Viecha, Tesla’s Investor Relations, opened the meeting and he later joked on Twitter, “It’s not a Shareholder Meeting, it’s really a rock concert for TSLA supporters.” 

Cyber Roundup felt like this because it was a way for Tesla supporters to thank Elon Musk and Tesla directly.  This was evident as I observed many people cheering, clapping [sometimes standing], and even whistling after every informational slide, statement, or joke that Elon Musk made.  

A new way of thinking about a factory

Model Y front hoods as Art Installation at Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

Cybernetics is a term coined by American mathematician Norbert Wiener to refer to the general analysis of control systems and communication systems in living organisms and machines. At the meeting, Elon explained how Tesla went from a small start-up to what it is today, with factories as a giant cybernetic collective,

“When we started out here, we were told electric cars were impossible and if you could make an electric car with a couple hundred miles range then nobody would buy it anyway because people just love gasoline cars.

You know, when we started out it was down to a start-up company and then down a square to an electric car company, and we were told you are never going to make money, etc. and we didn’t for a while, but now we have the highest operating margin in the whole industry. 

Tesla is not just a car company, Tesla is many companies in one and we’re as much a software company as we are a hardware company and that’s really going to be obviously essential for the future.

Software in the car, and in neural net training, but also software in the factory as well.

You can think of the factory as a giant cybernetic collective. So the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works. I don’t think other OEMs think like that! but that’s what it is.” Elon Musk at 2022 Shareholders Meeting

Tesla is close to solving an important part of AI and Welcomes Talented People to Apply 

Elon Musk shares the hands of the Tesla Optimus robot for the first time. credit: the author

Fully autonomous driving is an incredibly difficult problem to solve.  Elon‘s positive outlook at the meeting gives us hope that autonomy will be solved.  Elon stated, 

“It’s really interesting because we are effectively solving an important aspect of artificial intelligence, real-world AI for self driving, which, when you think about it, is what’s needed to solve self-driving because how was the road system designed?

Its designed for a biological neural net and eyes, and so naturally the thing that would therefore work for the silicon analog is therefore cameras and silicon neural net.

So, sort of by accident, we’re actually solving an important and very useful element of artificial intelligence.

I definitely want talented people who are working on AI to consider working at Tesla because I think we’re solving an important part of AI, and one that can ultimately save millions of lives and prevent tens of millions of serious injuries by driving an order of magnitude safer than people.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk talks about upcoming products Cybertruck and Optimus

Cybertruck at Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

On Cybertruck, Elon said,

“What I can say is that the Cybertruck will be one hell of a product, and it’s going to be like a damn fine machine, and we’re on track to be in production middle of next year from this factory. 

So we’re going to be installing the production equipment, the tooling and all starting the next couple months we will begin the installation so aiming to be in volume production middle of next year.” – Elon Musk

Elon Musk spoke about Optimus,

“I’m sort of surprised that people, or at least analysts out there are not understanding the importance of the Optimus robot. 

My guess is that Optimus will be more valuable than the car long term. 

In fact, I think it will turn the whole notion of what an economy is on its head. 

The point at which you have no shortage of labor.  You know, the economy is capita, if you don’t have capita constrain then the economy will be arbitrarily huge, so it’s crazy.” – Elon Musk 

The Mission to Accelerate the Transition to Clean Energy and How you Can Help

Tesla let shareholders sign a Model Y, credit: the author

The shareholder’s meeting took on a Town Hall vibe towards the end, where people formed two lines and were given microphones to ask Elon questions.  That portion starts at 51 minutes into the video, and it was delightful to experience.  A total of nine lucky people had the chance to comment, suggest, and or ask Elon a question. 

The last question was by a young man who said he simply wanted to thank Elon for everything he has done for the earth and the community and ask, aside from working for Tesla, being a shareholder, or purchasing a Tesla, how can the masses help push your vision? Elon replied,

“Well I think just generally encouraging sustainable energy and being supportive of that, I think is really helpful.

I say, you’re doing great so far! Without your support, Tesla wouldn’t be where it is.

Its people like yourself, and everyone in this room and out there and the 3 million people who bought our cars, and the millions who have gotten solar, that all really helps make the world a better place for the future. 

I’d like to sort of convey a message about optimism about the future. If we work really hard to accelerate sustainable energy and sustainable transport, the future will be good!

Just make sure people know that, I’m not suggesting complacency at all, I’m literally saying, if we work hard towards a sustainable future, we will achieve it!

And the future is bright!” – Elon Musk

CONCLUSION

5 Takeaways

  • Tesla goes above and beyond to show appreciation to shareholders, the Cyber Roundup was a unique event that was well planned out and a delight to attend in person.
  • Elon Musk is advancing the concept of a giant cybernetic collective, saying, “the factory is just an enormous cybernetic collective of humans and machines and software, and the better that software is, the better that cybernetic collective works.” 
  • Once again, Elon asked for people talented in the field of AI to consider applying to work at Tesla. Elon also said, “I think we’re solving an important part of AI, and one that can ultimately save millions of lives and prevent tens of millions of serious injuries by driving an order of magnitude safer than people.”
  • The exciting news about Cybertruck was that the production equipment will be installed in the next couple of months. About Optimus, Elon said it, “will turn the whole notion of what an economy is on its head.  The point at which you have no shortage of labor.”
  • Finally,  Elon thanked all of Tesla’s customers and shared a positive message about the future, “I’d like to sort of convey a message about optimism about the future. If we work really hard to accelerate sustainable energy and sustainable transport, the future will be good!”

As a Tesla shareholder, you can become involved by voting.  Tesla has shared information about how you can vote on their website

Tesla Investor Relations has shared that the new Tesla Shareholder Platform has been launched.  You can join the program to participate in Tesla events and receive updates about events by logging into your account at this link.

Tesla Semi awaits outside the doors of Gigafactory Texas, credit: the author

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 7, 2022.

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 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 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!

Read the rest of this three-part series here:

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]

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!

Read the rest of this three-part series here:

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

Model Y Emerges from Giga Texas Today

Austin Model Y Production (credit Jeff Roberts, February 17, 2022)

(Austin, Texas) 17 Feb 2022. Today was a very exciting day, as it marks the day when numerous made in Austin Model Y emerged directly from Giga Texas. Tesla employees parked rows of Model Y in a large parking area just south of Giga Texas, possibly because they have now run out of room to store them inside the gigafactory.

All of the Model Y were covered, for reasons unknown. This could possibly just be to protect them from weather exposure, or possibly because Tesla has not yet certified their vehicles for delivery to customers yet. Vehicles spotted today were of colors Solid Black and Deep Blue Metallic.

It is thought that Giga Texas has produced Model Y in all of their offered colors, as a car carrier truck was spotted recently loaded with all variants.

Jeff Roberts contacted me today after he photographed these beautiful vehicles. I asked him how he felt seeing these emerge straight out of Giga Texas for the first time. “I had seen new Model Y in the Westside parking lot, and that was cool, and I had seen a full load of Ys on a car carrier with Texas plates, but until you see them driving out of the factory, you always wonder in the back of your mind – are these production vehicles that were made at Giga Texas? – but now we know 100% and that felt so exhilarating! I’m on cloud nine!” stated Joe.

Currently, the paint colors that Tesla offers at no extra cost are Midnight Silver Metallic and Pearl White Multi-Coat. Tesla also provides the 21’’ Überturbine Wheels for no extra charge with the performance version. Model Y has two independent motors that digitally control torque to the front and rear wheels. The Performance Version of the Y goes from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Tesla’s website states: “Model Y is fully electric, so you never need to visit a gas station again. If you charge overnight at home, you can wake up to a full battery every morning. And when you’re on the road, it’s easy to plug in along the way—at any public station or with the Tesla charging network. We currently have over 30,000 Superchargers worldwide, with six new locations opening every week.”

Tesla Model Y Supercharging (Credit: Tesla)

Why I created this blog

I love to share good vibes about Tesla, Giga Texas, Tesla China & Tesla Solar. I really do believe our future is bright! “What’s Up Tesla” is one way that I support the mission of Tesla and Elon Musk. It is also my way of preserving what I consider major milestones for Giga Texas. There is truly a long road ahead for Tesla!

Having fun painting the Flying Model Y

Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – February 17, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

Header Image Red Model Y Supercharging Credit: Tesla

Something Palpable Has Changed at Giga Texas

(Austin, Texas) by guest contributor Joe Tegtmeyer

Jow Tegtmeyer is a dedicated Tesla enthusiast and highly skilled drone operator. Today he shared observations of Tesla Giga Texas with me that I would like to pass along to anyone interested. Thankfully, Joe gave me his permission to do this.

Giga Texas South End

The morning started out with strong winds, low clouds but warm temperatures. Immediately noticeable when I arrived at Tesla Road is that something palpable has changed on the site.

Tesla Giga Texas North End

Most, if not all of the equipment, cranes, materials, and trash containers have been removed from the north and northeast sides of the casting, paint, and battery cell structure, and the stamping test part containers and other materials have been removed from the southeast corner of the stamping machine area. Other areas around the main factory building similarly look much cleaned up. Only one small crane was lifting drywall up onto the loading platforms which themselves look much more “clean” with all of the plastic and extraneous structures now removed.

As I said, it is immediately noticeable today!

Tesla Giga Texas 4680 battery production area

 We also get a good look into the 4680 battery production area on the 3rd floor of the battery cell structure this morning. We see quite a bit more has been installed and most appear operating. There was also activity of workers in this area tending to the machines, possibly doing tests or calibrations. It appears more “completed” for lack of a better word and more of the equipment appears to be operating. All great signs!

Here are some other highlights from around the site this windy morning:

Tesla Giga Texas South End

– On the south end, we see quite a bit of concrete has been poured and is well on it’s way to curing, while some of the remaining phase 2 area forms and rebar are in preparation to complete this area. The stormwater pipe install in this area also is nearing completion.

– The south end of the General assembly structure also is much cleaner with most equipment and materials relocated to the east side staging areas. We look briefly into the two large openings on this end (ground level) and see more materials moved inside here as well. Overall, the south end looks much “cleaner” and organized this morning.

– On the east side of the stamping area, most of the AIDA stamping press crates and parts are now gone, with just a few remaining near the disassembled gantry crane. The bins that were used for test parts in this area are also noticeably absent, which may mean they have moved to a different phase of operations.

– On the roof of the General Assembly structure, we see solar panel installation continuing, but also nearby, we see crews working on the HVAC large ducting over the body-white structure. The vents themselves were emitting quite a lot of vapor, but it was quickly blown away due to the strong winds.

– On the north end of the battery cell, we also see more wall panels have been added, almost finishing off this area (except where the temporary loading platforms are). Only three much smaller loading docks are now visible on the ground level.

– The electrical conduit installation on the northeast of the casting structure is now surrounded by concrete barriers and overall this area also presents a much cleaner appearance.

– On the east parking lot area, we see the earthwork nearest to the powerlines has moved farther north and now reaches the new Tesla Road. The parking lot also had a lot of cars parked on the eastern half, indicating lots of activity.

– The trailer area just south of the electrical sub-station also has much of the equipment and other vehicles formerly located on the north end of the main building, possibly indicating a shift in where this equipment will now be stored.

– The far northeast clearing area is buzzing with activity this early morning with many earthmovers and excavators at work removing hills, ponds and getting ready to improve the overall grade of the land area.

Overall, there is definitely something that has changed in the construction of Giga Texas, and it seems we may be moving into a new phase of operations, possibly related to Model Y production-ready to pick up soon.

Distinct Tesla T at the entrance to Giga Texas

Gail’s Thoughts on today:

Tesla Model Y production in Texas is going to move Tesla into a new and brighter phase that will put this factory on the global stage. Giga Texas will take center stage as it ramps up production. Currently, Giga Shanghai leads in production, and my take is that operations in Austin likely benefitted from talent from both Tesla China and talent from Giga Berlin Tesla team (as well as Tesla Fremont of course). This places Giga Texas in a position to serve as a flagship model for future operations.

Gail Alfar, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – February 16, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

Texas and Many People Will Benefit by Allowing Tesla Direct Delivery

Opinion Article by Guest Contributor Jim Ringold

Image Credit Tesla

Texas car dealers have always made a point of being well represented in Austin in the legislature at the State Capitol. Good for them. They are furthering their cause in a Democratic way.  But car sales methods are evolving in Texas. There is a huge new vehicle factory in Austin

“It’s going to be the biggest boomtown that America has seen in 50 years,”

Elon Musk talking about Austin on Joe Rogan Podcast

Getting a price you are willing to pay has always been a one-against-one loses battle in this free enterprise country.  But on one side is you, an individual, against the other one a car dealership.  The dealership is loaded with years of experience in getting the most profit from car buyers.  It is far from a balanced and fair negotiation. 

Years ago, I learned that the way to negotiate with a car dealer was with absentee negotiating.  Choose a dealer salesman and negotiate the price by phone calls, or by email. There are just two rules for you to follow; know what price you will accept, and always be willing to walk away. There are lots of dealers, salesmen, and vehicles out there. (OK not so much right now. This is why dealers are making record profits on lower supply and, therefore, high demand.)  In normal times this will get you a deal you find acceptable.  Oh, and tell the salesman that the price you settled on is final. What if there are add-ons at closing, you will immediately walk.  Drive away slowly, they will likely chase you down. 

Then along came Tesla, without all the sales offices, that would sell you a car online at a fixed published price, no lower, but no higher.  When we settled on our first Tesla, I felt an obligation to the nice guy that had taken us on a demonstration ride, something car salesmen hate because it takes them out of the office and a chance at the next “walk-in” customer.  So I wanted him to enter the order so as to get the sales credit. He explained he did not receive a commission on the sale but would be glad to guide me through the purchase in the Mall Tesla store computer if I couldn’t use or have a computer.  Now a smartphone will also accomplish the task.  What a revelation!  Select your configuration, inside and out colors, and make a $100 deposit online so you have a place in line for a Tesla with a locked-in price.  As the instigator of this new model, Mr. Elon Musk said, “You get the same price my mother paid!”  One of the biggest dreads of buying a car is magically gone. 

So back to Texas and a few other states like Michigan where the biggest problem is taking delivery.  The Texas dealers can’t prevent you from buying a car online from California.  But they can, by Texas law, prevent you from taking delivery in Texas.  And then there is California deterring you from taking delivery in the state without paying the full California state sales tax there.  AND you still have to pay the sales tax again in the state where you license your Tesla. Presto, no Fremont car deliveries except if you are licensing in California unless you are willing to pay dearly for the joyful experience of factory delivery.   

It should be noted that the German car companies have made this factory delivery process into a science.  Tour the factory, take delivery at a fancy delivery center, drive around Europe and drop off your new German car at a designated drop-off point when you are through touring.  Then about a month later, pick up your car at your local dealer back home for the second delivery. You even get a European license plate as a souvenir. 

So when thinking about how Tesla could legally allow me to take delivery at Giga Texas in Austin, I came up with some schemes. Since I am very far from being a lawyer, I am not certain any of these will work but I am throwing them out there for consideration:

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR DRIVERANOTHER STATE DESTINATION TRIP

With this idea, the customer picking up the Y or Cybertruck in Austin would sign a contract as an “independent contractor driver” to drive the vehicle to its final purchase destination. Maybe a token of $1 would have to be paid. A dealer tag would have to be provided and that could be a problem. The money for the normal “destination” fee would cover the insurance on the vehicle during this delivery trip.  With the payment for the Tesla completed by the time of the pickup, the final State Title, Tax, and Tag paperwork would be completed in the destination State at a Tesla Service Center.  At that point, the independent hauler contract would be completed. 

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR DRIVER – TEXAS BORDER ROUNDTRIP

In this case, the customer picking up the Model Y or Cybertruck in Austin is a resident of Texas. Texas is a big state but it is not too far to the state border from around the state. So the contract driver/future owner would drive to the closest Supercharger outside of the State of Texas. Tesla Navigation will show you which, and you Supercharge, perhaps at no cost, to get you there at no cost.  This Supercharging transaction shows you are outside of Texas. The tax, tag, and title paperwork would be automatically activated for delivery outside of the State of Texas.  Maybe even a Lunch/Hotel Voucher option could be offered.  Perhaps a trip to the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, near Eagle Pass, could also qualify with the addition of a Supercharger at the Casino. 

“It is not a question of “if” but “when” Texas will allow Tesla to sell direct in Texas”

Perhaps Full Self Driving (FSD)  could be turned on as an incentive demo for this registration trip. Or FSD could serve as the Contract Driver.  Not likely for now, a step too far.  But decidedly this is the future unless the folks in the Texas Legislature make a change that allows Teslas to be delivered in Texas.  Not a question of if, in my opinion, but simply when.  The voice of Tesla buyers in the Legislator will get louder as more and more Teslas hit the roads and byways of Texas. 

Here’s to dreaming of a lap around the “Ring Road” of the Giga Texas near Austin, in my Cybertruck!

Texas State Capitol by Dale Honeycutt on Unsplash

Jim Ringold, Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – January 18, 2022 –  All Rights Reserved

Sent to Gail Alfar – January 18, 2022

TESLA: MADE IN TEXAS

Giga Texas is built with an iconic Cybertruck look and is at once powerfully productive. Giga Texas’ attention to detail is evident the minute you see it for the first time. I see Tesla as wanting to celebrate engineering production at scale, not just churn out cars from a boring cement box. No one EXPECTS a vehicle factory to be aesthetically pleasing. Then again, when people ride in a Tesla it is also an unexpectedly pleasurable experience.

Cruising past Giga Texas at night you see suspended Model Y soaring high amongst perfectly aligned and symmetrical steel beams, lighting, and conduits.

Austin Model Y Suspended in Giga Texas, credit, the author

The flying Austin Model Y is delightful and evokes Elon Musk’s sense of irony

Consider that Giga Texas is perfectly aligned true North, a mile long, and blends in with the Texas landscape. The lines of the Gigafactory also resemble the lines of the Cybertruck.  The front of the factory incorporates an abstract T for Tesla.  The solar panels on the roof will spell out TESLA for the enjoyment of all who fly over Austin.

It is a celebration to drive past the Gigafactory as an observer.  People smile when they see this large structure with angular glass. Giga Texas is designed so that you are invited to look inside, especially at night. I take you there in the video below.

This connection is taken so seriously that Elon Musk insisted Giga Texas will one day be open to the public, not closed and only for Tesla.

“It’s right on the Colorado River, so there’s actually going to be a boardwalk where there’ll be a hiking and biking trail.

It’s going to basically be an ecological paradise, birds in the trees, butterflies, fish in the stream, and they will be open to the public as well.

So not closed and only Tesla.”

Elon Musk, Q2 2020 Earnings Call

Giga Berlin Celebrates German Precision and Local Art

It is notable that Giga Texas and Giga Berlin have both been designed to showcase incredible beauty on the outside while being a manufacturing powerhouse on the inside.

German Model Y is highly acclaimed for its luxury excellence. The factory also features local graffiti art, as seen below. This imaginative approach is appreciated because it creates an important connection with local talent.

GigaFactory Berlin Graffiti (Source: Tesla Q4 and FY2021 Update)
Gigafactory Berlin Graffiti (source @GF4Tesla/Twitter)
Giga Texas Model Y Flying High at Night. credit, the author
Note: Giga Texas and Giga Berlin are both currently under construction, hopefully, they will be open to the public when construction is completed.

CONCLUSION

  • Giga Texas is an artistic landmark that celebrates engineering production at scale
  • The factory is perfectly aligned true North, a mile long, and blends in with the Texas landscape
  • One day, the factory grounds will be open to the public, Elon Musk said it will be an “ecological paradise, birds in the trees, butterflies, fish in the stream.”
  • Giga Berlin is known for its manufacturing excellence and precision as well as being a showcase for local artistic talent.
Tesla Giga Texas. credit Joe Tegtmeyer. August 30, 2022

Here’s why I created this blog. In January 2022, I was frustrated over spending valuable energy on trivial matters. My friend Johnna Crider, suggested to start painting or start a blog. I did both (you can see my Giga Texas painting here). We tossed around different names. Johnna came up with “What’s Up Tesla.” I rented shared office space in order to work uninterrupted. I am thoroughly enjoying expressing creative energy in support of Tesla and Elon Musk in this way.

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

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