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

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

Tesla Word-of-Mouth, No Advertising

Tesla Model Y. credit, the author

Word-of-Mouth is the best Advertising

Some weeks ago I went to a drive-in movie. The Twilight Drive-In sits atop a building in downtown Austin. It has a great view of the city. It was a cold evening, and I put the Tesla in CAMP mode and enjoyed a Pepsi and some Popcorn. It was the perfect setting for a fast-moving action movie.

It was word-of-mouth that led me to go see True Romance. Word-of-mouth is also how people first hear about Tesla. It is the best form of advertising!

“Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great.” Elon Musk

Money Spent Making a Better Product

Elon Musk knew from the beginning that money is better spent on making a better vehicle than on advertising. There are so many wonderful qualities about Model Y, it is such a beautiful vehicle.

Tesla’s approach is to spend effort on making a product that generates word-of-mouth. In dollar amounts, they spend $0 on advertising. Instead, their relentless dedication to creating the best product possible is worth pure gold in the form of word-of-mouth. When I was in film school at CSULB, one of my professors explained that nothing creates a box office hit more than a great film that makes you talk about it after you watch it. No amount of advertising compares to word-of-mouth.

Other vehicle manufacturers spend money to attempt to convince us their product is worth our money. Subaru of America is a great case study in this. Subaru spent over $100 million on advertising in digital, print, and national TV in the last year. They created a campaign to evoke feelings of warmth and benevolence and use the word ‘love’ often. Tesla takes a better approach,

Yeah, what we’re seeing is that word-of-mouth is more than enough to drive our demand in excess of production.

We have no plans to advertise at this time.

At some point in the future, we may do advertising not in the traditional sense but more to just inform people and make sure they are aware of the product, but not engage in the typical trickery that is commonplace in advertising.

Elon Musk Q3 Earnings Call in 2019

Tesla vehicles are wonderful for travel, something many people also share by word-of-mouth and on social media. Tesla obviously won’t advertise it, but the Model Y would make an incredible “Adventure Vehicle.” A good friend and I came up with this idea,

Model Y Adventure option”:

  • Forest Green Paint
  • Roof and Bike Racks
  • All-Terrain Tires, Mudflaps
  • “Off-Road” assist with 7″ Ground Clearance (comes standard already)

Model Y can sleep two people and a dog in comfort. Model Y is perfect for driving on dirt, sand, gravel, and snow. It has superb traction control, especially on ice.

Tesla Model Y on the Spiral Jetty in Utah

Marjorie Allen recently put her Model Y to the test in Utah, in a quest to see Smithson’s notable earthen sculpture that spirals into the Great Salt Lake. “The spiral jetty was further off-road than I was expecting and the Y handled it like a champ!”

Marjorie Allen’s Tesla Model Y at Spiral Jetty

CONCLUSION

As a consumer, it’s great to know Tesla places so much value on creating a better product instead of conjuring up ways to make us think they have a better product.

When is the last time you saw a really great movie? I think “True Romance” is one of the best movies from the 1990s. You may want to check it out. I hope you will join me here every Saturday for a fresh and positive view of Tesla. Thanks for reading!

Made-in-Texas Model Y. credit Joe Tegtmeyer from August 30, 2022

Want to read more excellent articles? I suggest…

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

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.