EV maker Tesla — which recently became the world’s most valuable car company — has hit another milestone after installing its 2,000th rapid-charging “Supercharger” site worldwide, and it’s network of 18,000th Superchargers.
The news comes in the week after the company installed its 500th Supercharger in the UK and Ireland. The 150kW system, which is currently exclusive to Tesla drivers, can charge a Tesla’s battery to 80% in around 40 minutes. A new “V3 Supercharger” promises 250kW charging and battery warm-up before arrival at a Supercharger site, which could cut charging times in half, the company says.
Tesla now operates its charging network in 41 countries, 29 of which are in Europe. It’s been six years since the UK’s first Supercharger was installed at London’s Royal Victoria docks, during which time Tesla has introduced the UK to the Model X SUV, the Model 3 saloon with the Model Y compact SUV expected next year.
The Model 3 was the bestselling car in the UK in both April and May, although new car registrations as a whole plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Model Y, Tesla’s fourth mass-production car, has begun deliveries in the US and Canada but has not yet hit the roads of the UK. Tesla is buildig a new factory in Germany – Giga Factory Berlin. It is exoected to produce European and UK models of the 3 and Y some time end of next year.
Despite Tesla’s charging network being available exclusively to Tesla drivers, the network has won plaudits since its introduction — an Auto Express survey in April found that it was the best in the country in terms of charging costs, charging speed, ease of use and reliability. With a good number of Superchargers and “destination chargers” — available at hotels, restaurants and other venues — it is also proving convenient.
Unsurprisingly, the first superchargers sprung up in Los Angeles, Tesla’s physical and spiritual home, back in 2013. More were then added across the east and central US, before installations commenced across Scandinavia, central Europe and the UK in 2014 and 2015. There are now 520 supercharger sites across Europe, and Tesla says that over 1.4bn miles have been delivered to its European customers.
Of those 520 sites and 1.4bn miles, 63 sites and more than 170m miles were accounted for by the UK and Ireland. In 2019 alone Superchargers delivered 60 million miles worth of electricity to customers across the UK and Ireland, which Tesla says, in terms befitting its space-obsessed CEO, is enough to get to the International Space Station and back 100,000 times.
Tesla has been improving its coverage across the UK, recently adding more sites across London and Bristol. The country’s 500th Supercharger, installed last week, is located in Colchester, just off the A12. Tesla is now planning on rolling out further units of its V3 units.
The Tesla chargers make up only a small number of the total charging points available in the UK, however. According to the latest figures from Zap Map, there are now more than 18,600 charging points at 11,634 locations.
UK new car car sales plunged 44pc in March as coronavirus drove away motorists and shut down the industry.
Just 255,000 vehicles were sold in the UK last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – down from 458,000 a year earlier.
Dealers had reported social distancing measures making it hard to sell cars even before the lockdown began on March 23, sending the economy into freefall and causing consumers to rethink major outlays.
Also consumers are still scared of diesels with sales down 62% Y on Y.
The only bright spot in the SMMT list is the pure electric and plug in hybrids with sales increase on 200% and 40% respectively. Together these segments shifted 18,500 units in the month.
Pure-EVs reached their highest ever total, with almost 11,700 registered during the month. The previous record was a little over 7,700, in September 2019.
Plug in Hybrid EVs also set a new record for units registered, though somewhat closer than EV figures. March 2020 saw just over 6,800 sold, whilst the previous record in March 2018 was almost 6,400.
As might be expected with such a large increase on EV units registered, market share for pure-electric models hit a new record too. March 2020’s figure saw 7.3% of all new models registered as plug-in models, and pure-electric market share was 4.6%. Put into perspective, the previous records were 6.3% (Dec 19) and 3.4% (Aug 19) respectively.
March is normally the biggest month for sales as buyers are attracted by the launch of a new registration plate number. Without the plate change the decline would have been even steeper, as many consumers agree deals further in advance than normal. The SMMT data shows it was the worst March in more than 20 years for registrations of new cars, a proxy for sales.
These large increases over February 2020 are expected to a degree, since March is a new-registration month, and the month prior to a new plate being launched is traditionally quiet as buyers wait. However, March 2020 has been stronger than many would have predicted.
Tesla 3 tops best sellers at #9
Although unclear, March looks as though an EV has made the top 10 monthly sales charts, for only the second time. Listed ninth, under ‘Other’ a little over 4,700 units were registered. This is likely to be Tesla’s Model 3, since the manufacturer is not currently a member of the SMMT.
Data from SMMT, Zap Map and Green Car
We have a considerable number of clients who drive a Tesla and have subsequently purchased another pure EV more often than not a Nissan LEAF as a second EV.
With an existing Tesla charger the question we are often asked is how to charge a LEAF with a Type 1 connection from the Type 2 Tesla Wall charger.
T2 – T1 Adaptor
The Type 2 – Type 1 adaptor or converter enables you to charge a Type 1 car like the LEAF version 1 or the Outlander from any single phase Type 2 outlet.
However there are a few points to understand with the Tesla chargers and we have spoken to many different residential and commercial customers about their Tesla charger setup.
These are the key points to bear in mind.
For newer Tesla wall chargers that are bought for domestic purposes, when the wall charger is plugged in, it uses SWCAN to communicate with Teslas (the Leaf does not use this, it uses J1772 signalling). After 30 seconds of being plugged in without any communication via SWCAN the Tesla wall charger will revert to “Legacy” J1772 signalling. Then the LEAF will respond. – So wait 30 seconds for a sign.
For some Tesla charges – specifically those bought as “Tesla only destination chargers” – the switching does not happen automatically as it requires a configuration change.
A Dip Switch needs to be changed in the charger. The manual for the domestic chargers documents this switch as “Switch Position 2: DIP Switch Position 2 should always be in the UP position.” – where the UP position is “Normal (SWCAN) Communication”. On the inside of the wall charger there is a sticker which says “Dip Switch 2 | Function: Communication | Up (ON): Normal | Down (OFF): Legacy* | * Contact Tesla before using this setting”.
The “DOWN” setting will force the wall charger to only use J1772 signalling, and it will not use SWCAN. Tesla vehicles can communicate in J1772 protocol, so with the position set to DOWN both Leaf and Tesla will charge.
Tesla Model 3s are expected to land in Europe early in the new year. To increase awareness of the Tesla proprietary supercharging network Elon Musk revealed via Twitter that Tesla is planning a Supercharger expansion that will cover “100 percent of Europe…From Ireland to Kiev, from Norway to Turkey,” he added, in response to a tweet that some parts of Ireland are badly in need of Superchargers.
The automaker started preparing the Model 3 for European markets in November, displaying it in showrooms in various countries across the continent. That time, the company also said that the vehicle’s European version will come equipped with Combined Charging System (CCS) fast charging-compatible ports. In addition, Tesla said it will upgrade its existing Superchargers in the continent with CCS plugs before Model 3 arrives.
If the company plans to retrofit existing Superchargers with Combined Charging System (CCS) plugs, then the new installations might already come with them from the get-go. Since CCS technology is commonly used for EVs in Europe, people wondered whether Tesla intends to open up its network to other companies’ vehicles. Tesla’s head of global charging infrastructure, Drew Bennett, said the company has been talking to other automakers, but there are no concrete plans just yet.
The Combined Charging System (CCS) covers charging electric vehicles using the Combo 1 and Combo 2 connectors at up to 80 or 350 kilowatts respectively. These two connectors are extensions of the Type 1 and Type 2 connectors, with two additional direct current (DC) contacts to allow high-power DC fast charging.
As usual the EV industry is making charging systems and standards as clear as mud. The EC is trying to impose standards for manufactures and charging stations while the industry, especially Tesla is pushing high-speed charging as a proprietary and unique selling points.
Recent communication from Tesla UK announcing the arrival of the long-awaited Model 3.
Join us at selected Tesla locations across the UK to meet Model 3 on display.
Be among the first to sit inside Model 3 and experience the expansive glass roof, premium interior and 15-inch touchscreen display.
The events run at differing dates up to the end of January 2019 and Locations include:
See full line up on the Tesla UK Events page:
No indication of order or delivery dates and no mention of Right Hand drive Model 3s.
Just in from Tesla – Q2 totals
- Total Model 3 production for the three months: 28,578 units.
- Total Model 3 production last week: 5,031 units.
- Tesla’s Q2 2018 production totalled 53,339 vehicles, a 55% increase from Q1, making it the most productive quarter in the company’s history.
- Model 3 production, which reached a total of 28,578 units, also exceeded the combined Model S and X production of 24,761 vehicles during Q2 2018.
Q2 deliveries totalled 40,740 vehicles, of which 18,440 were Model 3, 10,930 were Model S, and 11,370 were Model X. As noted by Tesla, both orders and deliveries for the Model S and X were higher in Q2 than a year ago. Tesla also expects its overall target for 100,000 Model S and Model X deliveries in 2018 to be unchanged.
Tesla managed to produce almost three times the number of Model 3 in Q2 than it did in Q1 2018. According to the company’s vehicle production and deliveries report, the GA3 line within the Fremont factory is expected to have the capability to hit a production rate of 5,000 Model 3 per week on its own. Augmented with GA4, the Model 3’s newest assembly line set up in the tent or massive sprung structure on the grounds of the Fremont factory, however, Tesla noted that it was able to hit its production target for the compact electric car faster.
With the 5,000/week mark attained, Tesla is now looking to increase its production capacity for the Model 3 even further. According to the company, it expects to increase its manufacturing rate to 6,000 Model 3 per week by late next month. Tesla also reaffirms its guidance for positive GAAP net income and cash flow in the upcoming third and fourth quarter.
The remaining net Model 3 reservations count at the end of Q2 still stood at roughly 420,000 even though we have now delivered 28,386 Model 3 vehicles to date. When we start to provide customers an opportunity to see and test drive the car at their local store, we expect that our orders will grow faster than our production rate. Model 3 Dual Motor All Wheel Drive and Model 3 Dual Motor All Wheel Drive Performance cars will also be available in our stores shortly.
Read more at Tesla IR site
Here in the UK we have plenty of 4 by 4s on the road. From Range Rovers to smaller Audi and customers love them. When can we expect an AWD Tesla Model 3?
All-wheel-drive is a useful feature to have in wet, cold and snowy climates. – Like the UK.
In general, it’s kind of overkill in regions with a moderate climate and yet, Tesla made it standard for all its Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla achieves all-wheel-drive through having two electric motors, one on each axle, which enables them to have a greater control on the power output per wheel and optimize each motor for different uses.
Ultimately, it can result in a greater range with the same energy capacity thanks to a better efficiency, like it did when it was introduced to Model S. Of course, it also results in a greater power output for quicker acceleration.
The same thing is expected to happen with Model 3.
Now we get to see a great image of the dual motor configuration of Tesla’s latest electric vehicle thanks to some code sleuthing by Eaer from /r/teslamotors on the latest update of the design studio:
It confirms that like Model S, the Model 3’s front motor is much smaller and therefore, it’s likely going to have a lower power output.
Tesla says that the dual motor all-wheel-drive Model 3 will be available starting in “Spring 2018”.
We also have reports that Tesla are testing 4 Wheel Drive options on a select test fleet. How do we know? From the VINs. The Model 3 VINs are now in the 8,000s, but they are also telling us another interesting thing.
As shown by the Model 3 VIN decoder, the 8th digit represents the type of powertrain and the number 2 means a dual motor.
None had been discovered until now. We now know that 19 Model 3 vehicles with dual motor were registered by Tesla with NHTSA in the latest batch of new VINS recorded Jan 20th.
Spring is rather general phrase and Tesla have not been known to stick to schedules. It makes sense since Tesla has been going for higher margin vehicles first with the Long Range battery pack and the dual motor option would be the next logical step in keeping the price high while volume is constrained strategy.
Porsche admits the EV investment to take on Tesla Motors is an “enormous burden”.
It’s no secret that Porsche is looking to soak up market share away from Tesla when the automaker releases its long-range, all-electric Mission E in 2019. Arguably one of Tesla’s strongest potential competitors, with decades of manufacturing expertise and support from parent company Volkswagen AG, the German automaker specializing in high performance vehicles is preparing to face financial headwinds as it aims to electrify its fleet.
Porsche’s CFO, Lutz Meschke, recently spoke with Automotive News Europe about the company’s plan to stay profitable as it invests billions into its electric vehicle program.
“Today Porsche packs 8,000 to 10,000 euros in added content into an electrified vehicle, but those costs cannot be passed on via the price. The customer won’t accept it, just the opposite, in some parts of the world there’s a certain hesitation,” said Meschke in his interview with Automotive News Europe.
As Porsche looks to invest more than 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion USD) into the development of EVs and plug-ins, the automaker will continue to build internal combustion engine vehicles in parallel and implement company-wide cost-cutting measures to retain its profit margin. “That’s an enormous burden for a company of our size.” says Meschke.
“To protect your margin, you have to look at substantial fixed cost cuts, but there’s only so much potential since the biggest chunks are personnel and development. As sales shift toward EVs, a temporary drop in profitability in the midterm may be expected.”
For context, Porsche’s investment into its EV program amounts to roughly 70% of what Tesla’s Gigafactory will cost when complete. It’s a massive undertaking that Porsche admits will require company restructuring along with financial incentives to its workforce. “We need to structure the company so that it is in position to sustainably achieve that. There can always be years when it might drop to below 15 percent due to exchange rates or an economic crisis, but every worker has to know we are not letting up.” says Porsche’s CFO. “There’s even a pension component.”
By setting a fixed margin target of 15% on a company-wide basis, Porsche’s entire workforce is able to work towards a single goal as looks to maintain a steady CapEx and R&D ratio. “It’s better for Porsche to work with a fixed margin target. It’s really an internal steering instrument. That’s why everyone in the company from the manager to the assembly line worker knows the goal is 15 percent. If we work with a range, that effect is diluted.”
When asked by Automotive News Europe on whether Porsche will need to implement a deep cost-cutting program to maintain the company’s high margins, Meschke responded “Under our Porsche Improvement Process, we aim for annual savings of at least 3 percent in indirect areas and 6 percent in direct ones.” Moreover, Porsche’s exec notes that the company performs a cross-department review each year to see if they were able to maintain a 10% savings. “There can always be a time when we need to pull on all levers, but identifying and extracting efficiencies is our everyday business. That way we don’t have to resort to major savings programs at the slightest headwind.”
Maximizing efficiencies across the organization is something Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long talked about. By “building the machine that builds the machine“, Tesla looks to utilize an army of manufacturing robots to achieve mass volume production of its product line that consists of vehicles, solar products and battery storage solutions. It’s the company’s key differentiator over other manufacturers that largely have robots augmenting human personnel as opposed to replacing them.
The goal to achieve full automation is Tesla’s biggest strength, yet also the company’s weakest link, as made evident when Musk announced that production of its mass market-intent Model 3 vehicle was facing issues. The downside to implementing a highly automated production line is the need to have robots that work in perfect harmony with one another. Any misconfiguration or general issue around a specific machine in the process becomes amplified across all other machines that rely on it. There’s less tolerance for errors in an automated process, explained Musk during the company’s third-quarter earnings call.
Porsche’s strategic entry into a market that’s been largely dominated by Tesla is an interesting match up that pits David versus Goliath. With two very different approaches to reaching mass volume production from two very distinct companies, it’s anyone’s guess who’ll come out ahead in the race to electric mobility. Regardless, competition helps stimulate innovation, productivity and growth prospects in the electric car sector, and that can only be a good thing.