Who will Benefit once Tesla Autonomy is Solved?

Taking Al for a ride with Tesla Full Self Driving Beta, Whole Mars Catalog Youtube

Last week, my commute to work across Austin using Tesla Full Self Driving Beta version 10.69.2 was flawless! I continue to experience this daily.

I believe a world where autonomy is the norm is closer than we realize.  This article attempts to answer the question, who will benefit once Tesla autonomy is solved? 

  • Anyone who is unable or does not want to own a car
  • The Elderly and other People in need 
  • Commercial Industry
  • Mars building team 
  • Millions of people will avoid fatalities and injuries 
  • Tesla Humanoid Robot

 

Anyone who is unable or does not want to own a car

Tesla S Interior, credit, Tesla Gallery

“Self-driving electric cars will be all that matters. Gas car without autonomy will be like riding a horse & using a flip phone. That still happens, but it’s niche.” July 2022 – Elon Musk 

Three of my kids use Uber to get to work and school instead of owning a car, but the cost is high for this service. Going to work daily in a shared autonomous vehicle (a dedicated Robotaxi) will cost much less than today’s Uber or Lyft because an autonomous vehicle will not have to have a person at the wheel.

When costs to commute in dedicated Robotaxis become low enough, it can follow that many people will decide not to buy a vehicle.

The commute as we know it can be transformed when autonomy is solved.

Tim Urban tweeted, “The big story is hard to see when you’re inside of it. We’re all this wrong about something right now.” Tim quoted a newspaper clip from December 2000 from the Daily Mail which read “Internet may be just a passing fad as millions give up on it.” The article cited ‘experts’ from the Virtual Society project, which published a report saying that “predictions that the Internet would revolutionize the way society works have proved wildly inaccurate.”

So, as weird as it may sound, it may become niche to own a car at all in the future.  Can we imagine a future where the majority of vehicles are autonomous?  

“When the car is FSD without supervision, ie Robotaxi, you’ll be able to earn far more than monthly lease/loan cost by allowing others to use it. Managing a small fleet of Robotaxis will be a career for many & much better than driving a single car. “ October 2019 – Elon Musk

The Elderly and Other People in Need

I reached out to several Tesla owners and others for ideas, and many agree that when Tesla autonomy is solved, it can benefit the elderly and the disabled.

“I am completely blind, and would love to walk you through an average day, and how many times an autonomous vehicle would be of assistance.” rlloken 

“It will give the elderly greater independence for longer.  Also opens doors for the physically disabled folks who might not be able to drive currently.”  Wanda Hudson 

“People with physical disabilities and medical conditions such as seizure disorders & visual impairment would greatly benefit from such incredible technology. And those who depend on others to get places. For many, it will be independence they never experienced before.” IheartTesla  

Tesla autonomy has to be able to work on roads that the car hasn’t been on before and in situations where there is no connectivity. This will help many people who live in rural areas to gain independence if they cannot own a car.

War situations put people in great danger and autonomous vehicles could help bring supplies and rescue people. Tesla autonomy has to be able to work in millions of unpredictable situations and that will include places with unrest. 

Commercial Industry

Tesla Semi, credit, Tesla Gallery

Autonomous Tesla Semi will be a huge benefit to businesses and allow the trucker to perform other valuable tasks instead of tedious driving. 

Autonomy will lead to lower costs for production and delivery of all goods and food throughout the entire supply chain.  Delivering these essentials will be less expensive. 

Mars Building Team

Credit Arash Malik Cybertruck is like a Mars Rover for Earth.

Elon Musk tweeted right after the official Cybertruck unveiling in Nov 2019,

“Tesla Cybertruck (pressurized edition) will be official truck of Mars.” 

I believe that in our lifetime, humans will travel to Mars.  When the Mars building team gets there they can all benefit from autonomous Cybertrucks that will help deliver and haul in extreme conditions.  In this sense, these heavy-duty vehicles can protect human lives and help build the first outpost on Mars.

Just as there is a small window of opportunity for humans to make it to Mars, there is also a similar small window of time where full autonomy can be solved.  Now is that time. 

Millions of People will Avoid Fatalities and Injuries

Every day Tesla gets closer to solving autonomy, and we see vehicle safety improvements.  Tesla does not intend to create autonomy that is specific to keeping a car in its lane or even lane changes.  Autonomy for Tesla is a generalized solution.

"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 (at 2022 Sharholder's Meeting)

If you have ever taken care of kids you know how frightening it is when a child runs into a busy street.  It is heartbreaking to hear about a life ending in a car crash.  

There were 35,766 fatalities and 1,593,390 injuries from crashes in 2020 (source data NHTSA) There were a total of 5,982 pedestrian fatalities from being struck by a car (source data NHTSA). Distracted driving led to 3,142 deaths in 2020, NHTSA reported, “The number of fatalities in distraction-affected crashes, i.e., a crash involving at least one driver who was distracted, was 3,142 or 8.1 percent of all fatalities in 2020. This represents a 0.7-percent increase from 3,119 in 2019.” – Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes 2020 

Tesla expects the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.

Safety is emphasized in this excerpt from Tesla’s blog

“In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. 
For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware. 
If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident. 
Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur. 
It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. 
No one knows about the accidents that didn’t happen, only the ones that did. 
The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe. 
There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. 
If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year. 
We expect the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.”

When Elon Musk spoke at the ONS 2022 conference in Norway, he emphasized the importance of having Tesla cars being able to do self-driving when he answered the question, “what keeps you up at night?”  he stated,


“But I am fundamentally an engineer or a technologist and so the two technologies I am focused on to ideally, get done before the end of the year are getting our Starship to orbit, which I think is important for expanding consciousness beyond earth and life beyond Earth. And then, having the Tesla cars being able to do self driving.
So have self driving and wide release at least In the USA, and hopefully, potentially in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.” – Elon Musk

Tesla Humanoid Robot

Tesla Humanoid Robot visual from Tesla AI Day 2021 August 19, 2021

Tesla is developing a helpful humanoid robot that will rely on the same technology that is available in every vehicle. At Tesla AI Day 2021, Elon Musk said,

It's around 5’ 8”, has sort of a screen where the head is for useful information, it’s otherwise basically got an autopilot system in it so its got cameras, about eight cameras, full self-driving computer, and makes use of all of the same tools that we use in the car. 

Things that I think are really hard about having a useful humanoid robot is, can it navigate through the world without being explicitly trained?  I mean without explicit line-by-line instructions? 

Tesla AI Day Part 2 on September 30 will be very interesting as it will reveal the incredible progress as well as the challenges of building a humanoid robot whose purpose is to help humans in a world built by humans.

CONCLUSION

This quote from Tim Urban invites us all to imagine the future. “The big story is hard to see when you’re inside of it. We’re all this wrong about something right now.”

When Tesla Autonomy is solved, people of all ages can benefit. This article highlights these 6 ways:

  • The elderly and also the many talented people with disabilities that make it so they cannot drive
  • People who live in areas of unrest or war and even in rural areas
  • All of us because we depend on the commercial industry and its supply chain. When this becomes driven by autonomy, it will usher in a new era
  • We will go to Mars one day, and having an autonomous fleet of pressurized Cybertrucks there will help get the hard work done
  • Fatalities and injuries will be reduced by a large margin, saving millions of lives. Tesla expects the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars
  • People will benefit from a high-functioning Telsa bot fleet, which relies on the same tools as Tesla cars

Will you benefit once Tesla Autonomy is solved?

Austin Texas Sunset by Christofer Sherman.

This article is part one of a series.  It is written before  “Tesla AI Day II.” We’ll look at this question again after the September 30 event. Tesla and SpaceX remain the top two most desirable places to work for engineers and hire some of the smartest people in the world to work on their AI Team.

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5 Takeaways from Tesla’s 2022 Shareholder Meeting, read what Elon Musk said at the August 2022 Shareholders Meeting about Tesla Autonomy and the Tesla Bot.

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future which is Elon Musk’s entire essay composed for China Cyberspace magazine. In it, he discusses the incredible goals Tesla has for the Tesla Bot.

Elon Musk Interview with Xenia Wickett in Norway (ONS 2022 Stavanger Conference August 29th) Less than 25 min long and packed with information (full interview) this is the readable version of this fabulous interview, in which Elon Musk got to the main points very quickly. Amazing!

Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This article was created by Gail Alfar with the goal to inspire you to support the important advancement of generalized autonomy as a force for good. The header photo is by @BLKMDL3 with permission. All Rights Reserved. September 18, 2022

Have questions about Buying a Tesla? From fires to how to drive one, here are the answers

Texas made Model Y at the Tesla 2021 Shareholder’s meeting. credit: the author

When it comes to asking questions about buying a Tesla, word-of-mouth is the best!  Here are the most common questions I get asked, from fires to how to drive a Tesla:

  • I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that. 
  • How do you charge a Tesla, do you plug it into a regular outlet?
  • How long does it take to charge?
  • How far does it go on a single charge? 
  • How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?
  • Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?
  • I heard they are too expensive, aren’t they? 
  • How do you drive one?

I heard they catch on fire, tell me about that

The media used to exaggerate any report of a Tesla on fire in order to generate more revenue (clicks). It was never about Teslas being more fire-prone than combustion engine cars. The number of fires in a gasoline car is vastly higher.

“Now that the big automotive advertisers are making EVs, you will see far fewer articles about EVs catching on fire.

It is not surprising that internal combustion engine cars have a tendency to combust externally too.” Elon Musk

Credit Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p. 90

Tesla 2021 Impact Report states how low the risk is for a fire to occur in a Tesla,

Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.

From 2012 – 2021, there has been approximately 5 Tesla vehicle fires for every billion miles traveled.

By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Department of Transportation show that in the U.S. there are 53 vehicle fires for every billion miles travelled.

How do you charge a Tesla, can you plug into a regular outlet? 

Tesla Home Charging. credit, Tesla

This is a great question and I love it when people ask me this.  My answer is that you’ll likely want to plug your Tesla into an outlet that’s the same as your dryer outlet, and a regular wall outlet (110V) can work, especially if your daily commute is not very long.  Many owners install a Tesla Wall Connector in their garage.  Tesla recommends the Wall Connector on their website,

“Tesla Wall Connector is an efficient and convenient home charging solution that lets you plug your vehicle in overnight and start your day charged.” 

How long does it take to charge a Tesla?

I plug the Tesla in at home at night so that its all charged up by morning. If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles.

How far does it go on a single charge? 

The most popular Tesla,  Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. Almost everyone asks me about traveling, so I wrote about that in my article “Tesla Summer Travel Trip.” Tesla provides an automatic navigation route that works very well. Tesla Superchargers are plentiful, and you can travel anywhere in the USA. There are over 35,000 Tesla Superchargers in the world today and more are being built every day.

How much does a Tesla raise your electric bill?

The quick answer is that our bill raised from anywhere to $30 – $50 a month.  Of course, this will vary due to daily miles driven.  Tesla has a Charging Calculator and in the above example, a Model 3 driving 49 miles a day would cost $1.69 a day to charge on a wall connector.

Tesla’s Online Charging Calculator

Tesla says,

“The most convenient place to charge your Tesla is at home, overnight. Plug in when you get home and let your car charge while you sleep. You no longer need to take trips to the pump with a gas-powered vehicle, and you can utilize low overnight utility pricing during off-peak hours, saving both time and money.” Tesla

Can you still own a Tesla if you live in an apartment?

Tesla Destination Charging, Apartments & Condos may install these. credit, Tesla

Yes. Many apartment complexes, workplaces and even schools have or are planning to install chargers.

Tesla’s website is encouraging,

“Increasingly, condos and apartment buildings are required by law to allow EV charging. Installing charging makes business sense, and the case will only get stronger as more people buy electric vehicles. 

Additionally, incentives may be available to you or your building property manager to alleviate cost, at the federal, state, county, municipal and utility levels.”

Tesla’s website is helpful, saying,

We offer the following templates to help get these conversations started with your building manager or HOA:

I heard they are very expensive, aren’t they? 

As of today, the Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800).

I wrote about the vast savings in buying a Tesla in my article, Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less?

Model Y pricing from August 27, 2022

How do you drive one?

Model Y at Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

This is a great question!  I have driven so many cars both stick shift and automatic, there is no easier car to simply drive than a Tesla.  You will enjoy that the car is always on.  You get in, there’s nothing to start, the car is silently on and ready to go.  It has the basic brake pedal and accelerator pedal, which I still call the gas pedal by mistake. 

Two things make the Tesla feel very roadworthy, that’s the fact it has a low center of gravity as the heavy battery power pack forms the base of the car.  And the other is the fact the drive train is all electric and there’s no transmission.  This leads to better safety and also a heightened experience when driving.  The car is a total pleasure to drive, it’s like happiness on wheels. 

You can schedule a test drive at a service center or rent a Tesla.  Hertz rents out Teslas and they have a good webpage “What’s it like to drive a Tesla?” They say,

“Driving a Tesla is an exhilarating experience. While the basic driving principles remain the same as in a gas-powered car, the available torque, technology and braking methods are driving features which distinguish Tesla and other EVs. Learn more about how to operate your Tesla before you get behind the wheel of this sleek vehicle.”

Hertz has a dedicated EV Customer Support Team that is there to answer any questions. The best experience is to test drive one after watching the videos on how to drive one.

CONCLUSION

  • Fire incidents are ~11x lower for Tesla vehicles than the average vehicle in the U.S.
  • Tesla Wall Connector installed at your house is the easiest way to charge every night
  • If you go to a Supercharger it will only take 15 minutes to recharge up to 200 miles
  • Model Y,  has a range of 330 miles. With over 35,000 Superchargers in the world, you can travel anywhere
  • Expect your electric bill to go up anywhere from $30 – $50 a month. Tesla’s Charging Calculator will customize this figure to your needs 
  • Apartment Living: Many condos and apartments have EV charging or are planning installation
  • As of today, Model Y costs $58,190 (including potential incentives and gas savings of $7,800) Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, worth every penny   
  • There is no easier car to drive than a Tesla. Many cities have Tesla stores where you can test drive one https://www.tesla.com/drive

My Model 3 is the best purchase I have ever made in my life, it’s pure happiness to drive it, and it just gets better with the over-the-air software updates.

Tesla Gigafactory Texas, Austin on 8/24/22 credit, Joe Tegtmeyer

Like this article? You can read more like this

Is a Tesla Worth it? Does Tesla Insurance and Maintenance Cost Less? If you absolutely have to own a vehicle, then there is no better choice right now than a Tesla. I base this statement on the low cost of Tesla insurance, the ease of charging the battery, and zero maintenance.

American Innovation: Tesla owners share their favorite features I share 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!

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 28, 2022.

Read Elon Musk’s essay on technology for a better future

Elon Musk, Legendary Bomber Jacket, Gigafactory Texas, August 19, 2022. credit: Gail Alfar

It’s mid-August and school is starting up for many and this is a great time to read this inspiring essay by Elon Musk.

I hope you’ll relax with me and have a snack & a cold drink, may I suggest a KIND bar and a Coke Zero? This is what I enjoyed at Giga Texas right before briefly meeting Elon Musk and going on a tour of the gigafactory with brilliant Tesla engineers. I can tell you that after meeting Elon Musk, what he shares on Twitter is essentially the same as he talks about when meeting. He spoke about how important it is to get Starship into orbit and how important solving autonomy is.

I asked Elon if it was okay for me to take his picture, “Aren’t there already enough of me?”, “No, there isn’t one of you like this, alone, with Giga Texas in the background.”

Elon Musk is optimistic, lives with a sense of urgency, and takes action daily to make the future good. Yang Liu gave me permission to re-post this from his substack, Beijing Channel. 请用中文查看整篇文章。点击这里。 Elon Musk recognized Liu’s work in a tweet, “Reasonably accurate translation.”

BELIEVING IN TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER FUTURE 相信科技创造美好未来

Thank you for the invitation from China Cyberspace magazine. I am pleased to share with my Chinese friends some of my thoughts on the vision of technology and humanity.

As technology accelerates, it may one day surpass human understanding and control. Some are optimistic and some are pessimistic. But I believe that as long as we are not complacent and always maintain a sense of urgency, the future of humanity will be bright, driven by the power of technology. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: if humans want to make the future good, they should take action to make it good.

I want to do everything we can to maximize the use of technology to help achieve a better future for humanity. To that end, any area that contributes to a sustainable future is worthy of our investment.

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.

CLEAN ENERGY: THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY

Tesla Megapack and Solar. credit: Tesla

The starting point for my thinking about clean energy is how to create and store energy sustainably and for the long term, and how to provide a constant source of power for the future of productive life. In my view, the future of sustainable energy involves three components.

The generation of sustainable energy. The sun is like a giant fusion generator, from which mankind currently exploits a tiny amount of energy. In the long run, solar energy will become the main source of energy for human civilization. Of course, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear power are also useful energy supplements.

The storage of sustainable energy. Given the change of day and night and the change of weather, we need a lot of fixed battery banks to store solar and wind energy, because the sun does not shine all the time, and the wind does not blow all the time, energy needs to be stored in a large number of fixed battery banks.

Electrified transportation. Full electrification of transportation, including cars, planes, and ships. Electric rockets may be more difficult, but we may be able to manufacture the propellant used in rockets from sustainable energy sources. Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.

The world is on track for a sustainable energy transition, and humanity should continue to accelerate the process. The faster this transition is achieved, the less risk humanity poses to the environment and the more it will gain. When clean energy is available, carbon sequestration and desalination will be cheaper, climate change and water shortages will be solved, and when fossil fuels are out of the picture, the skies will be cleaner, the world will be quieter, the air will be fresher, and the future will be brighter.

Tesla Solar Roof. credit: Tesla

Solar power, battery packs, and electric vehicles paint a rosy picture. Next, we need to focus on the limiting factors. The electrification of cars has become a consensus among nations, but battery support on a terawatt-hour scale is needed to roll out pure electric vehicles around the globe. According to our estimates, the world needs about 300 TWh of battery storage to achieve a transition to sustainable energy. The biggest difficulty in advancing sustainable energy lies in the large-scale production of lithium battery cells. Specifically, from the mining and element refining to battery cells coming off of the production line and finally assembled into battery packs, this is a complex process that is restraining the rapid development of a sustainable energy economy.

As a pioneer and innovator focusing on energy innovation technology, Tesla was founded to solve the problem of energy innovation. On the one hand, we create integrated sustainable energy products from the three segments of energy: production, storage and use; on the other hand, we are committed to redefining battery manufacturing by innovating and developing advanced battery technology to remove restrictions on battery capacity.

I believe that the world will transition to a sustainable future through a combination of solar and wind energy plus battery storage and electric vehicles. I am pleased to see more and more companies joining this field. Chinese companies will be a force to be reckoned with in the cause of energy innovation.

HUMANOID ROBOTS: DOING WHAT HUMANS DO

Tesla humanoid robot prototype, Tesla Bot. credit: Barbara @bmt094

Today’s cars are increasingly like smart, web-connected robots on wheels. In fact, in addition to cars, humanoid robots are also becoming a reality, with Tesla launching a general-purpose humanoid robot (Tesla Bot) in 2021. The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people. You may wonder why we designed this robot with legs. Because human society is based on the interaction of a bipedal humanoid with two arms and ten fingers. So if we want a robot to adapt to its environment and be able to do what humans do, it has to be roughly the same size, shape, and capabilities as a human.

Tesla Bots are initially positioned to replace people in repetitive, boring, and dangerous tasks. But the vision is for them to serve millions of households, such as cooking, mowing lawns, and caring for the elderly.

Achieving this goal requires that robots evolve to be smart enough and for us to have the ability to mass produce robots. Our “four-wheeled robots” – cars – have changed the way people travel and even live. One day when we solve the problem of self-driving cars (i.e., real-world artificial intelligence), we will be able to extend artificial intelligence technology to humanoid robots, which will have a much broader application than cars.

We plan to launch the first prototype of a humanoid robot this year and focus on improving the intelligence of that robot and solving the problem of large-scale production. Thereafter, humanoid robots’ usefulness will increase yearly as production scales up and costs fall. In the future, a home robot may be cheaper than a car. Perhaps in less than a decade, people will be able to buy a robot for their parents as a birthday gift.

It is foreseeable that with the power of robots, we will create an era of extreme abundance of goods and services, where everyone can live a life of abundance. Perhaps the only scarcity that will exist in the future is for us to create ourselves as humans.

NEURALINK: EMPOWERING THE DISABLED

Image credit: Neuralink

Some of our Chinese friends may not be as familiar with Neuralink as with electric cars. These companies focus on developing computer-human brain fusion technologies, developing brain chips the size of coins, similar to wearable devices such as smartphones, except that they integrate more deeply with the user’s body—recording and stimulating brain activity through implants in the cerebral cortex.

At this stage, the technology is helping injured people on an individual level. We have received many saddening letters: a 25-year-old young man was in the prime of his life when he had a motorcycle accident that left him unable to eat on his own, which is a great grief for the individual and the family. In light of this, brain-machine interface technology will be focused on curing or alleviating brain injury and other related disorders in the years to come. For example, it could help restore sensory or motor function to limbs of those with spinal injuries and mental system disorders or allow quadriplegics to use their brains to easily operate computers or cell phones.

This technology can also improve a wider range of brain injury problems, whether these disorders are congenital or accidental, or caused by age and external stressors, including severe depression, morbid obesity, sleep problems, and underlying schizophrenia, all of which are expected to be alleviated by human-computer devices.

With the development of brain-machine interface technology, in the long term, this connection is expected to expand the channels of communication between the outside world and the human brain, “accessing” more brain regions and new neural data. This technology could allow humans to effectively integrate with artificial intelligence and ultimately expand new ways for humans to interact with the world, themselves and others. Even if the goal of human-machine integration is difficult to achieve, brain-machine interface technology could be of great value in the field of medical rehabilitation.

SPACE EXPLORATION: THE POSSIBILITY OF CROSS-PLANET HABITATS

SpaceX team, Starship, and booster in Starbase, Texas, Feb 16, 2022. credit Austin Barnard

Finally, my greatest hope is that humans create a self-sustaining city on Mars. Many people ask me why I want to explore outer space and turn humans into multi-planetary creatures. In the vast universe, human civilization is like a faint little candle, like a little shimmering light in the void. When the sun expands one day and the Earth is no longer habitable, we can fly to a new home in a spaceship. If humans can inhabit other planets, it means that they have passed one of the conditions of the great screening of the universe, then we will become interplanetary citizens, and human civilization will be able to continue.

The first step toward interplanetary habitat is to reduce the cost of travel, which is what SpaceX was founded to do – first by building recoverable rockets and then by building reusable mega-ships with ever-increasing carrying capacity. As of earlier this year, SpaceX had successfully reused 79 rockets to deliver cargo to the space station and send ordinary people into space. We have also designed and built the largest launch vehicle in history, the Starship, which can carry 100 passengers and supplies at a time. In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.

As technology continues to change lives at an accelerating pace and the world evolves, life is more than simply solving one problem after another. We all want to wake up in the morning full of anticipation for the future and rejoice in what is to come. I hope more people will join us in our fight to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. I also welcome more like-minded Chinese partners to join us in exploring clean energy, artificial intelligence, human-machine collaboration, and space exploration to create a future worth waiting for.

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk wrote about the future of humanity in four critical areas

1. Clean Energy. Elon Musk envisions a thriving future that is powered by the sun. “Eventually, the world economy will be run entirely by sustainable energy sources.”

2. Humanoid Robots, “The Tesla Bot is close to the height and weight of an adult, can carry or pick up heavy objects, walk fast in small steps, and the screen on its face is an interactive interface for communication with people.”

3. Neuralink’s great potential to improve physical and mental health and eventually serve millions of households, especially the elderly.

4. Space exploration is the last topic and Elon’s words describing his greatest hope inspire us, “In the future, we plan to build at least 1,000 Starships to send groups of pioneers to Mars to build a self-sustaining city.”

Photo Cyber Rodeo. credit Ross Gerber

Underpopulation is very real, and Elon Musk has ideas on how to tackle this problem, you can read about what he thinks in my article, “Elon Musk: Discussion About Underpopulation,” which is highly acclaimed and noticed by Elon Musk who tweeted in response to it, “Children are essential to the future” on July 11, 2022.

I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to get to know some of the Dogecoin community including Gary Lachance. Elon received the Dogecoin t-shirts and was appreciative and grateful for them.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 21, 2022. Featured banner photo of Elon Musk in the Legendary Bomber Jacket on August 19, 2022, credit: Gail Alfar

Reasons Why Tesla Has the Best Factory Safety in the Industry 

This article will bring you along with me as we look into how Tesla has become a leader in job site safety in manufacturing.  Our focus will be on statements about workplace safety from Elon Musk at the 2022 Shareholder’s meeting and the Tesla 2021 Impact Report.  You’ll look at Tesla’s approach to software as a way to improve safety. Finally, we’ll see how Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect over 5000 contractors. 

For fun, I share what it was like walking through Tesla’s employee cafeteria, where Elon says, “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.” You’ll see 2 rare pictures of the cafeteria area at the end of the article.

“In 2021, our focus remained on protecting people, the planet, our property and products.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report

Elon Musk Spoke about Factory Safety on August 4th at the 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Elon Musk at Shareholder’s Day, credit: Tesla

While sharing a chart titled “Safety Records Continue to Improve,” Elon said,

“We’ve also made a lot of improvement with factory safety, so I believe we now have the best factory safety in the industry.

We are excited to have very good safety, and getting better, and a bunch of this is driven by just encouraging people in the factory to submit ideas for safety improvement.

We have passed our goal of three suggestions per employee this year.  This really is a game changer for improving safety.”

Elon Musk

“Safety Records Continue To Improve” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Tesla featured employee Sherry Ihrig in the 2021 Impact Report. Sherry made over 1,800 improvement suggestions using the “Take Charge” software.  Her suggestions were to safety, processes, cost-savings, and more since the program’s start in early 2021. Sherry stated,

“The Take Charge program encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment. 

When these and other potential safety hazards are noticed and resolved, it allows associates to improve their overall work performance.” 

“Driven by Increasing Employee Engagement” credit: Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting

Giant Cybernetic Collective Where Everyone is a Worker

I think the most important aspect of humans working alongside big machines is safety.  Software should be designed to improve processes and ensure safety instead of stagnating.  Elon Musk likens his factories to giant cybernetic collectives,

“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, 2022 Shareholders Meeting

I think safety processes can improve when all workers operate at the same level.  On June 2, Elon Musk described this in a tweet,

“Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff.

There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”

Elon Musk

When I visited Gigafactory Texas on August 4th for the Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria, food truck area, and use the company restrooms and it is true, there are no special areas for any executives, including Elon himself.

Tesla Builds New Software to Improve Safety

In Early 2021, Tesla developed new software to help workers build capacity to ensure safeguards are in place and functioning. 

“In order to build capacity and allow our workers to fail safely, we needed a more dynamic approach to how we collect and manage data that allows us to make decisions that reduce risk.

In response to that need, we developed an internal Environmental, Health Safety & Security [EHS&S] tool named MyEHS to help drive execution and improve outcomes by allowing the intake and visualization of data globally.

We designed and deployed 11 modules in 2021, allowing us to better manage our EHS&S information, identify emerging risks and take action to implement improvements suggested by our employees. 

Foremost in this effort was our improvement suggestion module — Take Charge.

Combined with Action Tracker, this module allows workers to submit improvement suggestions in various categories, including environment, health, safety, security, people and accuracy, while connecting with their supervisors and other work groups to identify and implement solutions to improve the presence of safeguards.” – Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.48

Tesla Extends Safety Protection to over 5000 Contractors

Solar Roof Install credit: Tesla 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the civilian occupations with the highest rates of fatalities include roofers and construction trade helpers.  Tesla employs solar roof installers and construction workers and contracts with over 5000 contractors.  Tesla is making an extraordinary effort to protect contractors and keep them safe through a new program they developed called ‘Constructing Our Future’ led by 87 Tesla Responsible Persons [TRP] and Contractor Responsible Persons who are all trained in the new process that includes meeting a TRP and EHS&S professional at the location of work to complete a Pre-Work Risk Assessment.

“We are on schedule to release the new and improved supplier and contractor onboarding and management system, Workforce Management, in the second quarter of 2022.

This simple, scalable, centralized system will build on the efficiencies of the interim onboarding process and provide better visibility for managers and engineers to track performance.

We will report our contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report.”

Tesla 2021 Impact Report, p.54

CONCLUSION

Elon Musk called Tesla’s new improvement suggestion module, Take Charge, a “game changer for improving safety.”

One employee said Take Charge “encourages associates to increase their awareness of the work environment.”

When I toured Gigafactory Texas, it was easy to see why Elon Musk referred to it as an “enormous cybernetic collective.”  Within this gigantic space, Elon stated “Everyone eats same food, uses same restrooms, etc – no executive chef or other ivory tower stuff. There shouldn’t be this workers vs management two-class system. Everyone is a worker.”  

Safety is an integral part of this collective because it is based on humans and machines and software all working in symphony, and that includes Tesla’s over 5000 contractors.  In fact, Tesla will include contractor injury rates in the 2022 Impact Report. 

FUN FACT:  

At the Tesla 2022 Shareholder’s Meeting, all participants got to walk through the employee coffee shop/cafeteria area and it is true, there is no executive chef area, not even for Elon Musk.

The cafeteria was stunning with a beautiful clean white design featuring floor-to-ceiling glass on both sides. One side has a view of the City of Austin in the distance and the other side overlooks Model Y production. Also featured near the Coffee Bar were Model Y seats mounted on a structural battery pack, Model Y frame with castings, and a drive train!

Tesla Coffee Bar, credit: the author
Model Y structural frame by Coffee Bar at Tesla Giga Texas Cafeteria by glass overlooking Model Y production. credit: the author.

Article by Gail Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – All Rights Reserved. August 14, 2022. Featured banner photo, credit: Tesla Media

4 Families from the Southern USA tell what they love most about their Tesla [series]

Are you on the fence about if you should get a Tesla or do you know someone who is trying to decide if they should get one? This article shares good practical reasons why people love Teslas.

So pass this along to a friend who might need it and I will pass along to you my Southern Sweet Tea recipe. Iced Tea is great in the hot summer. Recipe below.

CAMPING AND TRAVELLING

Tesla at Lindsey’s Resort, Arkansas

“We never camped as a family prior to owning a Tesla.”

“Tesla has plenty of amenities like air conditioning and entertainment so we felt confident enough that even if our campsite wasn’t great, we’d still have fun and be comfortable.

We have camped in Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas.” – Simon, Little Rock, Arkansas

Simon’s kids love camping! Lindsey’s Resort in Arkansas has 12 Tesla Destination Chargers. Simon told me his family had a great time there. If you plan to travel this summer in your Tesla, check out Tesla Summer Travel Trip.

SAFEST CAR MONEY CAN BUY

The Tesla 2021 Impact Report emphasizes safety as one of Tesla’s top design priorities. Tesla says,

“At Tesla, safety features are not optional. Our full suite of safety features comes standard with every vehicle.

When we design vehicles, first and foremost, we want them to be safe.” Tesla 2021 Impact Report, page 81

Three diono child safety seats in Model S, credit: Jack

Safety was the #1 reason one father of three kids bought a Tesla. He trusts his three kids to be safe on drives as well as entertained watching Netflix in the back.

“Safety & performance immediately come to mind.

I could not wait to put my family in a Tesla for safety reasons.” – Jack, father of three, North Carolina

ENGINEERED LIKE NO OTHER

Tesla Model Y in Austin, Texas, credit the author.

I asked a family in Alabama with two Model Ys what they love most about their Teslas and the list was amazing!

“Some of the things we like best are the organically integrated software including the battery management system, the minimalist user interface, the extended range due to superior battery tech, regenerative braking/one-pedal driving, the incredibly efficient onboard HVAC system, and having the privilege of testing the FSD Beta software.

I also love not having a transmission; the available power and torque are instantaneous and astounding. The Model Y Long Range handles amazingly well for a small SUV; it stays planted and flat in turns.

It’s a very versatile vehicle. I like the ride height and large cargo area. The seats are comfortable. Overall, the Y’s are a pleasure to drive. The design is truly inspired; the lines, curves, and glass roof are beautiful AND aerodynamic!

I like all the little touches like Santa, Sentry, Camp, and Dog Modes, and over-the-air software updates. We love charging at home and saving money (not having to buy expensive, smelly gasoline).

The Tesla Supercharger network is a huge plus for extended trips.

Most importantly, we fully support Tesla’s mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy and enjoy driving these incredible, environmentally-friendly vehicles.” –Wanda, Huntsville, Alabama

DITCH GAS STATIONS, ZERO EMISSIONS

Heather loves her Model 3. Credit: Lee Overstreet

“Nearly everything about the car is a dramatic upgrade from our last car, a 2001 Maxima.

The Tesla is non-polluting, non-stinking, comfortable, cheap to charge, and partially drives itself.

You never go to the gas station and never get oil changes.  Most repairs I’ve ever done to a gas car were to things that don’t exist on a Tesla Model 3.

I’m thrilled to not be belching out pollution everywhere I go, and to at least be doing my little part in slowing our effect on the climate.”

Lee, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Conclusion

Tesla owners love their cars for many reasons, here are some shared in this article,

  • #1 in Safety
  • No gas stations, no oil changes, charge at home
  • Zero emissions
  • Great for travel and camping
  • Comfortable seats, a pleasure to drive
  • Beautiful and aerodynamic, glass roof
  • Over-the-air software updates
  • Instant power, torque, great handling
  • Model Y – ride height and large cargo area
  • Camp Mode, Dog Mode, Sentry Mode, and Holiday Santa Mode

Many people are finding out the advantages of driving an all-electric Tesla. It is no shock that Tesla was #1 in premium vehicle segment sales and also the EV sales leader in the USA in Q1 2022. Eva Fox of Tesmanian reported, “without a doubt, Tesla continues to be the absolute sales leader in the EV segment, which is obvious given how much effort the manufacturer puts into this, especially when compared with other brands.”

To read what four more Tesla owners love about their Teslas, see “American Innovation: Tesla Owners Share Their Favorite Features.”

Maybe one of the reasons why you love your Tesla was not mentioned. Feel free to share it in the comments.

Southern Sweet Tea:  Boil 4 cups water. Let family-size tea bag steep 10 minutes (add a pinch of baking soda to reduce bitterness).  Remove tea bag. Add 4 cups cold water and 3/4 cup sugar and stir.  Chill and serve with ice and lemon.

Rooftop view of Austin, credit the author.

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Article by Gail Alfar with thanks to Lee Overstreet, Simon Mahan, Dr. Jack, and Wanda Husdon. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 30, 2022

Frunk Stories from Tesla Owners

The term “frunk” was new to me when I bought my Model 3 in 2019. Tesla created a convenient and secure front trunk for storage for you that can carry up to 55 pounds of cargo.

Tesla owners are an amazing group of people and very inventive when it comes to ways to use the frunk! This article includes one of the latest inventions made just for the Tesla frunk, the “Fruble.”

The Fruble in action on a camping trip.

Frunk Animals and Frunk Parties

Dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, and other animals have posed for pictures in the frunk since the early days of Tesla. Earl of Frunkpuppy has created a literal dynasty based on the frunk. Earl features a weekly contest with prizes and international voting for the cutest frunkpuppy. Earl has awarded prizes to many animals, including to a frunk-duck!

The Tesla frunk is a truly a practical space, as Tesla Model S owner, Jonathan, describes,

“Our Classic Tesla Model S frunk is big enough for a birthday party of 12 + sleepover gear, leaving room for 7 in the car.

The excitement from 2 in the rear-facing seats is priceless. If finances allow we may never sell this Tesla it is such a freakishly functional machine.”

The Humane Society of Silicon Valley had 7 frunkpuppies up for adoption.

Cooking up a Storm in the Frunk

Tesla owners are practical and a few have built their own wooden frunk tables to make cooking easier in the wild. Jimmy explains,

“Calvin from Calgary invited me for a hike today in Alberta and I didn’t expect to see a full-blown Tesla camping setup.

I was shocked to see a frunk table existing elsewhere. We made sure to set up our kitchens and made some delicious tofu+salad+mashed potatoes!”

Calvin designed his own frunk-kitchen.

A frunk – table called the “Fruble” delights Tesla owners!

Jimmy is hand-crafting frunk tables to share with other Tesla owners! His concept, which he calls the “Fruble,” makes it easier to prep food to enjoy when camping. You can see how he makes his tables and all the many ways they can be used in your Tesla on his kickstarter site!

Jimmy says, “The frunk is the best place to store food in our opinion. In combination with the Fruble, you’ve got yourself a kitchen countertop on the mountain, at the beach – anywhere and everywhere the car takes you.”

Tesla Frunk Keeps Food Odors out of the Car

Chad, who helps lead the East Bay Tesla Club, loves to use his frunk to put take-out in.

“I love DOGS, and takeout in the frunk is the best! No food stank in the whip!” 

Chad was filling his frunk with vegetables at a Farmers Market when two women walked by, delighted to see a frunk in use,

“Is that a Tesla? Why yes it is! Oh, I love that front open space for extra storage.”

Baby Portrait in the Frunk

My heart went out to the dad who placed his newborn in his Model 3 frunk for a portrait soon after the infant was born. His love for a world with electric cars led him to celebrate his daughter’s birth in a unique and beautiful way!

Matthew had his baby daughter’s portrait done in the frunk.

Wedding Photos feature one in the Frunk

Newlyweds from Virginia decided to include a picture in the frunk of their Model 3, along with a message of gratitude to Elon Musk for their car’s safety features saving them from an accident just days before the wedding bells rang.

Emily Nachbar with her new Husband in the Frunk of her Model 3.

My searches on Twitter, Reddit, and all over the web led me to laugh at how funny and creative people can be with the Tesla frunk from Germany to New York, California, and beyond! I found people filling the frunk with flowers, lighting frunks up with psychedelic lights and making TikTok videos of people hiding from their bosses in the trunk. There are grown men so enamored with the frunk that they post videos of themselves studying, sleeping, and popping out of frunks. Most other electric carmakers also post frunk shots although no frunk matches the charm of the Tesla frunk.

My thoughts

Security from theft is one of many reasons I love my Tesla frunk. It is a very visible area of the vehicle, and difficult to access unless you own the car. Every time I open the frunk up to stash groceries, I’m reminded of how my vehicle does not contain a polluting combustion engine. I am also pretty excited about the frunk table (the Fruble) that Jimmy is developing for people!

In the upcoming few months, I’m looking forward to writing about what YOU like about your Tesla. I am excited to share with you what a family in Little Rock, Arkansas loves about their Model 3. A family in Tuskaloosa, Alabama also has a great story about their Tesla that I plan to write about soon!

What do you really like about your Tesla?

Austin, Texas. Credit: Truest B. on Unsplash

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

Header image of White Maltese in Tesla Frunk used with exclusive permission from Reddit user u/mahkus11.

Article by Gail Alfar. Edited by Sarah Alfar. Exclusive to What’s Up Tesla – This blog post was created utilizing STARLINK satellite services. All Rights Reserved. July 17, 2022

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

I would love to share a few more interesting articles with you that relate to Tesla Energy!

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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

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

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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

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]

Tesla’s Official Website Has Important Summer Driving Tips

Climate Control Features, Accessories, and Tires are all critical factors when traveling in your Tesla in hot weather. Be sure to check out Tesla’s Support page titled “Summer Driving Tips.

credit: Tesla

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.

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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 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