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Model 3s listed on the used market

With the production of Tesla Model 3s significantly increasing, more and more early owners are going to used markets. 

Last year when Tesla first started to produce the Model 3s, the electric car could reach up to US$150,000 on used markets. At the time only Tesla employees and company insiders could get deliveries. 

In recent weeks, several dozen Model 3 vehicles have been making an appearance on eBay and similar platforms. 

Most owners are going for a US$5,000 to US$10,000 premium on the original price of the vehicle which can cost between US$49,000 to US$59,000 under the varying configurations. 

However, buyers may want to note that used electric car buyers are not eligible for the same tax incentives and rebates that some states and the federal government offer. Some states offer up to US$10,000 in incentives for select buyers.

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New Tesla Supercharger

Tesla has expanded its Supercharger Network to allow connected travel between Auckland and Wellington.

The new station at Palmerston North is equipped with four charging bays which are available to use 24/7, where it joins existing Supercharging stations at Taupo and Hamilton.

A Tesla Supercharger can add up to 270 km of range in just 30 minutes of charging.

Superchargers are designed for city to city travel, allowing owners to travel for about three hours, take a quick break, and get back on the road charged up.

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Good news for Tesla

Fresh drone footage from on top of the Tesla Factory in Fremont, obtained from a ‘Redditor’ darksoldier360 captured a parking lot filled with brand-new Model 3s. 

 This will come as a welcome relief to Tesla and their fans, following vast shortfalls in the company’s Model 3 production figures to date.

 

When Elon Musk launched the Model 3, he said that he expected to be building 20,000 units, monthly, by the end of the year.

Yet, by mid-year the master plan had slid to a hope of producing 1,500 in September amid what Tesla called a ‘production bottleneck’. The extent of said bottleneck was underlined when Tesla confirmed that they were only able to produce 260 Model 3s across the whole third quarter.

A fraction of their September goal, let alone that big initial hope of 20,000 a month.

However, as of December 14, the Model 3’s production is at about 5,000 units per week, according to Taiwanese auto component maker Hota Industrial, Hota crafts the gears and axles for Tesla. 

Nonetheless, this is a great late Christmas present for Tesla but also for the roughly half a million people worldwide that have pre-ordered the EV. 

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UPS reserves 125 Semis

UPS, which operates one of the largest commercial trucking fleets in the world,  said on Tuesday it is buying 125 Tesla all-electric semi-trucks. This is the largest known order for the trucks so far.

“For more than a century, UPS has led the industry in testing and implementing new technologies for more efficient fleet operations. We look forward to expanding further our commitment to fleet excellence with Tesla,” said Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer.

“These groundbreaking electric tractors [trucks] are poised to usher in a new era in improved safety, reduced environmental impact, and reduced cost of ownership.”

UPS has provided Tesla real-world UPS trucking lane information as part of the company’s evaluation of the vehicle’s expected performance for the UPS duty cycle. UPS frequently partners with suppliers of emerging vehicle technologies to help them develop solutions that prove ready for stringent UPS use-cases.

UPS has established a goal for 25 per cent of the electricity it consumes to come from renewable energy sources by 2025. In addition, by 2020 UPS plans that one in four new vehicles purchased annually will be an alternative fuel or advanced technology vehicle, up from 16 percent in 2016.

The Semi unveil event in November, 2017.

The electric truck also has some pretty impressive features, the Semi can achieve 0-100 kmh in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-100 kmh in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that usually takes a diesel truck about a minute.

While some are sceptical of Tesla’s ability to break into the trucking industry, UPS joins the likes of Pepsi and Walmart as early customers for Tesla’s new electric trucks.

Walmart was one of the first companies to reserve the trucks, the retailer has made significant investments in technology as of late due to its effort to compete with Amazon and Pepsi previously had the largest Semi order, reserving 100 trucks in December. 

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Tesla’s new ‘Supercharger Fair Use Policy’

As Tesla continues to increase the number of Supercharger stations available to its customers, the company has introduced a deterrent to limit overcrowding at its current stations.

Called Supercharger Fair Use, the policy bans commercial vehicles from the charging stations. These include taxis and vehicles used for ridesharing, freight delivery, and government purposes. 

“When Superchargers are used beyond their intended purpose, it negatively impacts the availability of Supercharging services for others,” Tesla wrote on its website.

“If you charge your vehicle in a manner that does not comply with this Supercharger Fair Use Policy, we may ask you to modify this behaviour.” Drivers who don’t comply with the policy could have their access to Supercharger stations blocked.

The policy covers all Superchargers, and any car (new or used) bought from December 15th onward.

The Supercharger stations were designed for drivers who make long-distance trips for personal reasons or can’t charge their Teslas at home or work. While Tesla initially didn’t make customers pay to use the stations, it introduced a fee for cars purchased after January 15 as the stations became more congested.

Supercharger Fair Use Policy excerpt:
“To help ensure that Superchargers are available for their intended use, we ask that you not charge your vehicle using a Supercharger if your vehicle is being used:

  • as a taxi;
  • for ridesourcing or ridesharing (through Uber, Lyft or similar services)
  • to commercially deliver or transport goods for government purposes;
  • or for any other commercial venture.

If you charge your vehicle in a manner that does not comply with this Supercharger Fair Use Policy, we may ask you to modify this behaviour. We may also take additional action to protect the availability of Superchargers for their intended purpose, such as limiting or blocking your vehicle’s ability to use Supercharger stations.”

The policy applies to Tesla vehicles purchased after December 15 through Tesla or a third-party seller.

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NIO takes on Tesla

Electric vehicle start-up NIO have launched their first production car, the ES8 – a 7-seater high performance electric SUV.

With both front and rear motors, the ES8 delivers 480 kilowatts of power and 840 Nm of torque to all four wheels, enabling the ES8 to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds.

The ES8 is equipped with a 70-kilowatt-hour battery pack comprised of cutting-edge VDA square cell batteries. These cells feature the highest energy density of their kind and provide a 2,000-charge lifecycle.

The ES8 achieves over 500 kilometres of range when constantly run at 60 kph, and the car achieves an NEDC range of 355 kilometres.

The ES8 is produced at a world-class fully automated factory. The ES8 will finish a 3,000,000 km road test before NIO begins delivering the vehicle to users.

Buyers of the Nio ES8 can also have the battery swapped out at power-swap stations in three minutes, or charge it via a service vehicle that travels to you. The ES8 also comes with an autonomous driving system similar to Tesla’s, with a variety of cameras and sensors making it capable of self-driving on main roads and motorways.

Power Mobile is a brand-new power service product developed by NIO, which enables an ES8 to run 100 kilometres after charging for ten minutes. By 2020, NIO plans to build over 1,100 Power Swap Stations and deploy over 1,200 Power Mobile vehicles.

“We hope that we can have more people interested in smart electric vehicles by presenting ultimate products and services, and then we can achieve our vision of bringing back blue skies.” NIO Founder and Chairman, William Li, said at the inaugural NIO Day. “

NIO wants people to enjoy owning a car again and aspires to redefine the experience of owning a car. The ES8 launch is another beginning for NIO.”

The NIO ES8 has a base price of RMB 448,000 (NZ$97,000) before subsidies. There’s no official confirmation of a launch in the US or Europe, but bosses are planning to expand beyond their home market.

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Tesla switches on battery

Tesla Inc switched on the world’s biggest lithium ion battery on Friday meeting a promise by Elon Musk to build it in a hundred days or build it for free.

The battery will help stabilise the state grid that gets more than 40 per cent of its electricity from wind energy.

 
“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” said State Premier Jay Weatherill at the official launch at the Hornsdale wind farm, owned by private French firm, Neoen.

Neoen’s mission is to develop, finance and manage electricity and heat generation projects operating on renewable energy.

Tesla won a bid in July to build the 129-megawatt hour battery for South Australia, who has suffered a string of blackouts over the past 18 months.

In a political debate, opponents of the state’s renewables push have argued that the battery is a “Hollywood solution” due to the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its electricity.

Supporters say it will help stabilise the grid in a state that now gets more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind energy, but needs the help when the wind dies down.

“Storage can respond within a fraction of a second. It can address those stability issues very quickly without needing to resort to using large power plants,” said losing bidder, Praveen Kathpal, vice president of AES Energy Storage.

The state has yet to reveal how much it is paying Tesla.

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Volvo to supply autonomous vehicles to Uber

Volvo Cars and Uber join forces to develop autonomous driving cars

Volvo has signed a non-exclusive agreement with Uber to sell tens of thousands of vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of auto alliances.

“This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

The vehicles are developed with Volvo’s fully modular, in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). SPA is one of the most advanced car architectures in the world. It is currently being used on Volvo’s 90 series cars and the new XC60 midsized SUV.

The agreement enables a strategic partnership between both parties and marks a chapter in the merging of Silicon Valley-based technology companies and international car makers.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive.

“Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

By working together Volvo and Uber’s engineering teams have developed the XC90 SUV, which incorporated all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies.

The autonomous cars are to be sold between 2019 and 2021.

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Musk unveils world’s fastest production car

Using the launch of the new electric semi-truck, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the new Tesla Roadster, the world’s fastest production car.

Roadster open convertible – Tesla Motors

Musk told the crowd at the company’s design studio, “I won’t say what the actual speed is, but it’s above 250 mph.”

“The point of this is to give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars.”

While no specific details have been formally released, Musk showed off a prototype of the pricey new vehicle, a convertible which he said will go from zero to 100 kmh in 1.9 seconds and from zero to 160 kmh in 4.2 seconds, as well as covering 400 metres in 8.9 seconds.

Rear profile of Roadster – Tesla Motors

“These are all world records,” Musk said.

The battery pack will allow the three-motor, four-seat car to travel 1000 kilometres on one charge, enough to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back, Musk said.

Making this the first ever production electric car to cover 1000 kilometres on a single charge.

Roadster Steering Wheel – Tesla Motors

According to Musk, the Roadster will be available in 2020 and the car will cost around US$200,000.

 

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Tesla Semi truck: what we know so far

Tesla has unveiled its all-electric semi-truck, aptly named the ‘Tesla Semi’.

The Semi unveil event Tesla Motors

The Semi is the latest step in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s mission to accelerate the shift to sustainable transportation.

It boasts a significant charge capacity, and its aesthetically distinct look will help the Semi stand out from the other class 8 freight vehicles on the road.

“From day one, having a Tesla semi will beat a diesel truck on economics,” Musk stated on Friday in California. “It’s got better drag coefficient than a supercar.”

Without a trailer, the Tesla Semi can achieve 0-100 kmh in five seconds, compared to 15 seconds in a comparable diesel truck. It does 0-100 kmh in 20 seconds with a full 80,000-pound load, a task that takes a diesel truck about a minute, Tesla says. 

Most notably the Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life.

Overall, the Semi is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger car traffic.

Tesla Semi Front Tesla Motors

Musk also claimed that if a driver were to have a medical emergency, the truck would come to an automatic stop, and would call for help if the driver wasn’t responsive.

The truck’s low centre of gravity makes for good handling and roll-over prevention, and its technology makes jack-knifing impossible, Musk said.

Semi Interior Overview Tesla Motors

The semi has automated-driving features including lane-keeping and automatic braking, and has four independent motors, he said.

“Even if you have only two of the motors active, it’ll still beat a diesel truck,” he said.

On one charge Tesla’s truck will be able to travel 800 kilometres at 96 kmh, with Musk adding that 80 per cent of trucking routes in the US are shorter than 400 kilometres.

A statement from an advocacy group for diesel vehicle and engine manufacturers was also issued at the same time as the announcement.

“Diesel is the most energy efficient internal combustion engine,” said Allen Schaeffer, the group’s executive director.

“It has achieved dominance as the technology of choice in the trucking industry over many decades and challenges from many other fuel types. Still, today, diesel offers a unique combination of unmatched features: proven fuel efficiency, economical operation, power, reliability, durability, availability, easy access to fuelling and service facilities, and now near-zero emissions performance.”

The launch also comes as the company faces financial and production issues. The most recent quarterly earnings report revealed a NZ$895.9 million loss and three-month delay for the Model 3 sedan.

Tesla is also venturing into an uncertain market. Demand for electric trucks is expected to grow over the next decade as the US, Europe and China tighten their emission regulations. So, it makes sense that Tesla is going after a market that contains traditional and mostly diesel-powered trucks, which is estimated to reach US$34 billion by 2020.

However, many analysts expect the demand for electric trucks to centre around smaller, medium-duty haulers like rubbish trucks and delivery vans.

These trucks can be charged overnight and due to their limited range, they require fewer expensive batteries.

Long-haul semi-trucks can be expected to go greater distances which can be a challenging variable. There’s little charging infrastructure on global highways and charging even a medium sized truck would likely require a two-hour stop, cutting into companies’ efficiency and profits, said Brian Irwin, managing director of the North American industrial group for the consulting firm Accenture.

However Tesla maintains that owners can expect to gain US$200,000 or more in savings over a million miles based on fuel costs alone due to the low and stable nature of electricity prices. These prices can be significantly less for commercial and industrial users, falling to almost nothing when combined with local solar generation and storage. 

The new electric Semi truck will be released into the market in around two year’s time.

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EVs driving lithium demand even higher

The Global Lithium-Ion Battery Market is expected to reach $46.21 billion by 2022, according to a report by Allied Market Research.

Lithium-Ion battery detail

 
Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries with high energy density and are mainly used in portable equipment. 

The report reports that the market for these batteries is expected to reach significant growth due to the increasing demand for electric vehicles. 

The increasing popularity of lithium is largely to do with technologically innovating companies. Tesla is a prime example who plays a major role in the lithium industry.

Recently an agreement between the Australian Government and Tesla was made, whereby Tesla will build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to store renewable energy in South Australia.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, explained how the battery will work and its benefits.

“You can essentially charge up the battery packs when you have excess power when the cost of production is very low; and then discharge it when the cost of power production is high, and this effectively lowers the average cost to the end customer. It’s a fundamental efficiency improvement for the grid.”

The massive demand for global lithium is already sending shocks throughout industries. There are already expectations of a significant shortfall in the very near future.

To answer the heavy demand, lithium companies are increasing their production capacities and searching for new sources of lithium. This includes a number of early stage lithium mining companies who are using the market’s momentum to advance more quickly toward production.

 

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