back to article Tesla to build cars made of batteries and hit $25k price tag about three years down the road

Tesla will make cars out of batteries and says doing so is the way to cut electric car costs to $25,000. The company on Tuesday staged its annual general meeting and followed it with a “battery day”. The event was a peculiar spectacle as it took place in a parking lot and social distancing requirements meant that attendees …

  1. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Applefying the car

    So how do you replace "structural batteries"? Comparisons to fuel tanks do not hold water, because the latter do not wear down. Musk's answer is probably "just buy a new Tesla".

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Applefying the car

      Fuel tanks most certainly can hold water.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Applefying the car

        But they rust faster if they do.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Yes, but you can just Araldite a 2p bit over the rust hole.

          I don't think that works for batteries.

        2. Bryan Hall

          Re: Applefying the car

          Not when they are made of plastic, like any made in the last 40 years or so.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Applefying the car

      I'd love to see the costs of replacing a single battery cell (of the new type). As the OP said, Tesla will probably try to sell you a new car. That's really sustainable (NOT).

      A ding to a wing can cost up to $6000 US to repair. A ding to a wing and a door and the insurance companies may well declare the $25K car a right-off. Again not good for sustainability.

      There again, Musk promises so much that even with a few failures he comes out ahead.

      Does anyone remember the 'Coast to Coast by FSD' by the end of what was it? AFAIK, it was 2018. Still not happened.

      They really need to improve the quality of what they build or they will truly become throw away cars which does zero for their sustainability creds. The factory in China is already beating Freemont on quality. Berlin will do the same but the yanks will never admit it.

      Fit and finish are not Tesla's strong points.

      Then there is the 'always connected' bit. If you piss of Musk too much who's to say that he won't get an update pushed to your car and effectively brick it. You don't own a Tesla. you merely have his permission to drive it.

      I am very happy with my 2020 Leaf thanks. It beats my brother's Model 3 on build quality everywhere. Even he who is a fully paid up member of the 'church of Musk' admits it. Grudgingly but he does.

      Well done to the people in Sunderland. Shame that what is left of the Motor Industry in the UK will be leaving in 2021/22.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Applefying the car

        yes, comparisons between my partners BMW i3 and my Tesla are not flattering to the Tesla.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Your comments on quality compared to other electric vehicles is interesting. The last time I got my 21-year old Ford Focus* serviced I asked the mechanic about electric cars, and he claimed that Teslas were much better than the others. (I have no personal experience of electric cars outside the dodgems at fairgrounds.)

          *About 130,000 miles, and still gets 46 mpg at a steady 56 mph on the motorway, not bad for a 1.8L petrol engined car, methinks (I await correction from the petrolheads of el Reg).

          1. fishman

            Re: Applefying the car

            But that's British gallons, not Merican gallons.

            36.8 Miles/Freedom Gallons

            /s

            1. KarMann Bronze badge
              WTF?

              Re: Applefying the car

              Assuming you're using the same miles (likely statute) for both figures, I get 38.3 miles/Freedom Gallon. 1 UK gallon ≅ 1.20095, yes? Where did who go wrong here?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Applefying the car

                I believe it's the difference between a gallon of ale and a gallon of wine. The US chose one as their default gallon and we chose the other although I don't remember which. No doubt the answer is on the intertubes somewhere,

          2. Dinanziame Bronze badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            My understanding is that Tesla makes nice cars and the controls are very cool, but they don't have the same experience as BMW to make an interior really well done. Customers who are used to buy cars around $80'000 expect polished design and high comfort, and they feel Teslas are cheaply made in comparison. High-end Teslas are priced like luxury cars, but they are not luxury cars.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Applefying the car

              The BMW has standard BMW interior controls, the Tesla has a touch screen

              So going down the motorway you need to do menu->my profile->settings->environment->windscreen->select wiper->ON if it rains. Turning on the screen demist is like trying to configure a domain controller.

              Main problem was that Tesla were trying to ramp up production and weren't super concerned about spare parts, especially body panels. The local Tesla not-a-dealer-honest has a car park full of Teslas with minor bumps, which in the days of crumple zones means half the body work, waiting for parts

              1. DaveFlagAndTenDigits

                Re: Applefying the car

                Tesla wipers are easy to control. Single press of the left control stalk, or a single tap on the wiper icon on the touch screen. They also come on automatically if it rains anyhow. Likewise, the de-mist is a single button tap on the icon on the bottom of the touch screen.

                1. hoola Silver badge

                  Re: Applefying the car

                  You miss the point, it is a touch screen that you have to look at. Having the controls where you can feel them on the steering wheels is inherently better.

                  Anything that needs the operator to have to navigate a touchscreen for basic functionality is fundamentally flawed.

                  A Telsa driver in Germany was successfully prosecuted for being distracted trying to operate the wipers.

                  Who designs this sort of crap? It is tech just for the sake of it.

                  1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: Applefying the car

                    "Having the controls where you can feel them on the steering wheels is inherently better."

                    The Ford MachE has the tablet-stuck-to-the-dash concept too. Of all the things to copy from Tesla, that has to be the worst. I'm a fan of individual controls for common things. I can reach out and adjust the HVAC, wipers, radio, etc in my econbox with nary a glance. Fiddling with touch screen can mean death.

                    I remember watching a YouTube video of two fanbois gushing over one of them's new Model 3 with a non-working tablet. Didn't bother them at all. I'm not sure they'd feel the same way if the radio was stuck full on tuned to the Justin Bieber sat channel. Those LCDs ooze after a few years. Not sure what people will do when the screens go out of production and are worth their weight in gold on the used market. Most displays are going to fail. They are a sandwich of layers with a liquid inside and in a car they are being heated and cooled differentially all of the time. Eventually, the seal will break. If the display is the single point of control for the car, you wind up in a bad place when it goes out. The steering wheel buttons have gone to "soft" controls that depend on what page the main screen is on, so not much help if you can't change screens.

              2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Applefying the car

                The BMW has standard BMW interior controls, the Tesla has a touch screen

                So going down the motorway you need to do menu->my profile->settings->environment->windscreen->select wiper->ON if it rains. Turning on the screen demist is like trying to configure a domain controller.

                Tesla styling seems one of those polarising things. Some love the minimalism, some don't. Some think sports is adding a few bits of 3M 'carbon fibre' wrap, some think luxury is adding faux leather and some 3M 'wood' wrap.

                Me, I guess I'm old fashioned and like positive feedback from important buttons so I can tell their position thanks to good'ol muscle memory. That may be all hanging off one virtual brain, but I still like switchgear. But that seems to be going the way of the Edsel with gizmos like electronic parking brakes, electronic steering for driver assist/autoparking etc. Sometimes good'ol mechanical systems have their advantages.

                1. Imhotep Silver badge

                  Re: Applefying the car

                  "Tesla styling seems one of those polarising things."

                  I pointed a Tesla out to my wife - she said she had never seen one - and she was underwhelmed. She thought it conservative and like everything else.

                  I think they look OK, nothing special.

                  Maybe its the lack of a front grill that is off-putting for some?

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Applefying the car

                    Maybe its the lack of a front grill that is off-putting for some?

                    Not sure. I think there's differences in European & US senses of style. Not saying one's better, but they're different. So for example the sleekness that was the original plastic brick of an Xbox. Some time later, it's now got rounded corners. I still think the Playstation looks better though.

                    For cars, I guess there are expectations of what a 'luxury' car should look like, inside and out. Minimum 18" phat low profile tyres on easy to scratch alloys. Chrome, greebly bits, buttons, blinking lights, at least a dozen cup holders and a champagne fridge in between the rear child seats. Maybe even a proper umbrella inside the door. Not even a hint of Swarowski genuine crystal, as could be found in a respectable Land- or Range-Rover.

                    By contrast, the Teslas screamed minimalism, and a stark, fresh, clean, modern (and easy-wipe) interior. Ok, so that minimalism has been used by designers for years to demonstrate less can be more (profitable). That obviously appeals to some people, others think the seats look like something you'd find in an airport's cheap seats, not the Executive lounge. They may be comfortable, but they don't look it.

                    Then again, the humble car seat has become a triumph of engineering. Fully motorised, memorised, with heating, cooling, massaging, fart sprays.. I mean fragrance dispensors, all controlled by a computer that's more capable than the one that put a man on the moon. There's probably even a humidor option. I get the feeling a luxury car seat these days probably weighs more than a decent sports bike. Maybe even a Harley. But I guess as long as all that stuff lasts until it's just out of warranty, it's a nice earner for the service department.

                    1. NeilPost Silver badge

                      Re: Applefying the car

                      It can’t do anything for battery/power train cooling.

                  2. elip

                    Re: Applefying the car

                    I always find these types of aesthetic-based comments oddly short-sighted. I don't look at my car. I drive it. There's not a whole lot more to it.

            2. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Applefying the car

              Tesla makes good electric engines and battery integration etc. But they are lousy at putting the bodywork together or high quality interiors. Heck, my 2014 Qashqai is better put together than my boss' Tesla S!

              The gaps around the doors are constant on the Qashqai, the Tesla S are all over the place, big gap front left, small front right, big between doors on the right, almost non existent on the left etc. The interior quality is also way behind European and Japanese manufacturers.

              Great cars, they go like a rocket and are cool, but the build quality is haphazard.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Applefying the car

                "Great cars, they go like a rocket and are cool, but the build quality is haphazard."

                It's not that hard to make a car go like stink. The rest of the quality has to be there too or it's not worth buying. These days it's important that the company will be around for the long haul to keep things like the built in SatNav up to date. At some point older cars will not be supported. The code base will be far too complex if updates have to work with every hardware variant that has been manufactured over the previous 10 years. With EVs theoretically able to last much longer than ICE cars, 10 years is not that long. My petrol car is older than that and still runs great. I've kept it in good nick so if I need to do an engine swap before too long, it will be worth doing. If I had an out of warranty Tesla S and needed to do a motor pack swap, would it be worth the $6,000?

            3. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Applefying the car

              I’d have a Japanese originated car/truck any day of the year. See C-Sat figures even US producers are now more and more rebadging their ‘US Trucks’.

          3. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            I'm getting between 70 and 100 Miles/Imperial Gallon out of my 2014 Qashqai diesel. (70 average, 100 on a long run at steady 80km/h - that is around 84 Miles / Freedom Gallon).

            1. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Applefying the car

              Having driven numerous diesel’s in the UK. I struggle to believe that - for a Quashqi - unless you are doing massive amounts of F1 slip-streaming for fuel efficiency.

              I hope not to meet you on the motorway as that’s 50mph BTW.

              As Jezza would say “It’s so slllllllooooooooooooowwwwwwww’. Even the half the trucks will be passing you. Impact to other road users ??

              1. big_D Silver badge

                Re: Applefying the car

                That was on the Landsstraße from Osnabrück to Münchenhagen, a long straight road with a 70km/h limit and no junctions or traffic lights. The whole trip was about 120KM, but just over 80KM on that straight, slow road. The Qashqai has a 1.5L diesel and is very frugal.

                I probably drive on the Autobahn about 3 or 4 times a year. The rest is A and B road equivalents.

                1. NeilPost Silver badge

                  Re: Applefying the car

                  I had a Kia Ceed 1.6 Diesel 99g/CO2/Zero UK tax and no where near that. Even being driven in granny mode:

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: Applefying the car

                    I have that same car now and doing 56mph with the lorries down the motorway, 70mpg is quite easily doable.

          4. NeilPost Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            Aaah I hope it’s not you doing your ‘steady 56mph on the motorway’ in the fast lane.

            I don’t think a 21 year old Focus 1.8 Petrol ever did 46mpg at any speed.

          5. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            > *About 130,000 miles, and still gets 46 mpg at a steady 56 mph on the motorway, not bad for a 1.8L petrol engined car, methinks

            In my parts, we measure fuel consumption by liters/100km. That works out to 6.14 l/100km, which is fairly similar to what my 13 years old Citroen C4 does. It also has a 1.8l engine.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Applefying the car

              Yes, my 1.4L C3 petrol that I had before the Qashqai was around 5.8L/100KM.

              Drove to work this morning on a newly resurface road, restricted to 70km/h the whole was (25km), average was 3.8L/100KM.

              I don't drive slowly, I accelerate hard, up to cruising speed, but once there, I am very gentle with the throttle, constantly adjusting. I've always managed to get very good mileage, regardless of what I was driving. When I was still in the UK, I made a trip to Munich in 2001 in my classic BMW M535i and still managed a 40mpg average, whilst cruising at 160km/h / 100mph on the Autobahn. I thought it would have gussled the fuel, but it was doing under 2,000rpm at 100mph on the Autobahn.

      2. NerryTutkins

        Re: Applefying the car

        In most developed countries, I would imagine that the vast majority of cars do not experience damage requiring repair of the kind that would be a problem if the structure was battery. In that case, the efficiency and cost improvements are quite compelling.

        This probably isn't going to hack it in India and China, where the standards of driving are pretty appalling and it's just assume that cars bump into each other all the time.

        Replacing batteries is less of a concern if the decline in performance is 10-20% over a 15 year lifespan, that would be similar to what one might expect in an IC engine, as seals and other components degrade. Yes, you can replace an engine, but few cars do. They just get scrapped.

        My main concern would be the reliance on software and updates. We've all owned phones that have been cut loose on updates, and found quite quickly that they are unusable for all but telephone calls.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          >>>where the standards of driving are pretty appalling<<<

          So no use for driving in Paris either then.

          1. Xalran

            Paris Driving

            You won't be able to drive in Paris soon.

            All the Corona bike lanes and the areas closed to traffic because of Corona are going to become permanent, and inside the Périphérique the speed limit is going to be lowered to 30km/h everywhere ( as if it was already still possible to go faster than that due to traffic.

            Add to that the will to transform the Périphérique from an urban motorway to a normal street ( with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, bus lanes and greeneries )...

            1. Dinanziame Bronze badge
              Happy

              Re: Paris Driving

              You won't be able to drive in Paris soon.

              That's good news!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Paris Driving

              You won't be able to drive in Paris soon.

              Another good reason not to visit that shithole of a city. Pavements covered in cigarette ends and dog shit, shopkeepers who see customers as a nuisance, and strikes & riots as weekend entertainment. I am so happy that I no longer have to visit it.

            3. Robert Grant Silver badge

              Re: Paris Driving

              You won't be able to drive in Paris soon.

              I'm not sure anyone in Paris is able to drive.

            4. Sandtitz Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Paris Driving

              "inside the Périphérique the speed limit is going to be lowered to 30km/h everywhere ( as if it was already still possible to go faster than that due to traffic."

              Oh come on. Early Sunday morning will let you roam the streets like a madman.

              C'était un rendez-vous - such a great little film!

              1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: Paris Driving

                I don't know if that is this, but I'm developing a taste for old films and TV where cars, trains, etc. are shown running at terrific speed just by playing the film faster, or recording it slower. I think "U.F.O." does it (set in a fabulous futuristic 1980), and the British "Avengers"... and a quite old British monochrome piece with no plot that seems to expect the audience simply to accept driving through central London at night at 100 mph (not really), or a train going faster than the speed of sound, and enjoy the spectacle.

                1. Sandtitz Silver badge

                  Re: Paris Driving

                  Several 60's films sped up the film by 25%-50% in car/boat chases and other action scenes. Even the Bond films have did them, the Lazenby film and Thunderball worst offenders. I'm certainly not a fan of it.

                  This short film isn't sped up, and clearly this is not some supercar roaming the Parisian streets - just a beefed up Mercedes. (with Ferrari sounds added)

          2. N2 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Applefying the car

            Not just Paris, all of France,

            Some drive like complete utter bellends here.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          This probably isn't going to hack it in India and China, where the standards of driving are pretty appalling and it's just assume that cars bump into each other all the time.

          And this is the biggest problem you can think of? Apart from lumping China and India together in a way no one else would, you seem to have neglected things like charging infrastructure. India can't provide enough electricity as it stands at the moment and certainly doesn't need more coal-fire power plants (the current ones of choice) that would be required for electric cars.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            "India can't provide enough electricity as it stands at the moment and certainly doesn't need more coal-fire power plants "

            Well, China was commissioning a new coal fired plant every week for some time.

            Not only is generation a problem in India, the lines don't stretch out all that far into the country. Even if you were willing to spend some time recharging, it isn't there.

      3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Applefying the car

        A ding to a wing can cost up to $6000 US to repair. A ding to a wing and a door and the insurance companies may well declare the $25K car a right-off. Again not good for sustainability.

        I'm guessing they're talking about replacing the chassis with batteries, not the outside panels. In a similar way that many racing cars started using the engine block as a structural compenent of the whole car in the late 60s / early 70s. If I recall correctly it was Lotus that did it first in F1.

        So I imagine you'd have a chassis and floorpan that were hollow and contained battery cells - possibly including large structural bits like the pillars. Then hung off these you'd have the crumple-zones, doors and other panels.

        Making the outer panels out of battery makes no sense, as these are currently very thin anyway - but often the chassis made of hollow metal tube, so why not fill it with stuff?

        Obviously it's going to limit the life of the car - but if they're conservative with the battery management and have spare cells to cover for putting knackered ones offline - you should be able to get a decent lifetime out of the car.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Applefying the car

          Travelling in a car with a chassis made of LiPos also serves as a great incentive to safer driving!

          (I'm sure Tesla use a safer technology, but Elon Musk is sometimes still a Pretoria boy at heart...)

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            > but Elon Musk is sometimes still a Pretoria boy at heart...

            Wouldn't the Tesla then have flame throwers ?

            1. Dale 3

              Re: Applefying the car

              I think that's what he was getting at.

        2. Jan 0 Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Do Teslas really have a chassis? Doesn't monocoque construction rule in the USA?

        3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Are the tubes broad enough to fill them with, say, size C cells? You could stuff them in and when they wear out, put in new ones. I changed the batteries in my radio today. You would need some special garage rig to pick the car up and shake it to get them out... and maybe you'd have to give it a whack when it stops working after you drive over a bump.

        4. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          "n a similar way that many racing cars started using the engine block as a structural compenent of the whole car in the late 60s / early 70s."

          The difference is that race cars are assembled/disassembled frequently and have custom built stands to hold the rest of the car together when the engine is removed. If there is ever any need to take the battery pack out of a car that uses it as a structural component, it's going to take specialized equipment to keep the rest of the chassis straight. How many non-Tesla shops would invest in that?

      4. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Applefying the car

        Early adopter and devotee to the Church of Musk (2014). Now I would not go near anything electric, but perfectly happy to wait and see if someone can produce a genuinely clean hydrogen powered vehicle.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Hydrogen has its own problems. We need something more fungible and that doesn't encourage arbitrage: hydrogen at the moment is being produced by burning fossil fuel.

          1. macjules Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            Hence the word "clean"

        2. Steve Todd Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          Unless you’re reforming fossil fuels then all that hydrogen is is a much less efficient and more dangerous way of storing electricity. It’s hard to contain (to the point that any container will leak slightly), makes any metal it is exposed to brittle, needs an extended period of absence before any metal exposed to it can be welded and takes a huge amount of power to split from water and compress for storage. There’s also very little infrastructure in place for it, and because of cost per mile in comparison to battery power it’s unlikely to improve much.

          Battery power on the other hand has a far more ubiquitous infrastructure (most people with vehicles have electric power on their property or on the street), can be used to stabilise the grid (can draw power when renewable plant is producing in excess of demand, and return power (at the owners profit) when there is a shortage) and, as economies of scale kick in, is becoming rapidly cheaper. You may not like Tesla, but it’s pretty much certain that the car of the future, from any brand, will be electric.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Applefying the car

            You may not like Tesla, but it’s pretty much certain that the car of the future, from any brand, will be electric.

            Nope. The motors will be electric but I hope we won't be using batteries to power them.

            1. Steve Todd Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Applefying the car

              So you completely ignored the bits about the problems with hydrogen? No, it’s not a practical replacement for fossil fuels. The ONLY advantage it has over batteries is in the time to refuel/recharge, and for most people that’s a non-issue (at least when street infrastructure catches up).

      5. quinninho

        Re: Applefying the car

        Build quality of Telsa aside, it's worth noting your 2020 Leaf would not be the car it is without the presence of Tesla in the first place.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Applefying the car

          And would neither of them exist, if Toyota hadn't sold its factory in California so cheapy?

      6. Timmy B Silver badge

        Re: Applefying the car

        There is a replacement scheme for batteries for a Nissan leaf that starts at about £2500 and goes up to about £5000 depending on the battery you need replaced. The old batteries are then used in solar power walls. I can't find details for a Tesla but as batteries are between 2 and 4 times the capacity I can imagine that they would be 2 to 4 times the price - but they do have a good warranty plan on batteries (I'm a leaf owner btw).

        There is also a company near me that will upgrade batteries to higher capacity in a leaf - something we are considering once our warranty runs out.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Applefying the car

          "The old batteries are then used in solar power walls."

          That's likely where the battery packs will go when they are removed from a car. Dropping from 60kWh to 40kWh is a big hit in the car, but 40kWh is still a respectable amount of power for a home storage battery.

          It's hard to find any car batteries at a good price (not the lead acid 12V ones, the Li packs). They get snapped up quick. Wrecked EVs and PHEVs go for good money if the pack is not damaged. There are companies that have developed kits that plug into those batteries so they can be used for home storage. Paying Tesla for a PowerWall is a rip off.

    3. Steve Todd Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Applefying the car

      How about by making the battery live longer than the life of the rest of the car? There are already Tesla cars with 250,000+ miles on the clock, with plans to increase the battery life to 1,000,000 miles. It also depends on how the pack is attached to the rest of the car. Unless it’s welded then there’s nothing to say it can’t be detached while the rest of the body is held in place.

    4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Applefying the car

      What if you only blow the bloody doors off?... (i.e. because that's there the batteries are... maybe?)

      What if even with being the battery, what we think of as "the car" is the cheaper part of your vehicle...

      Like how a "Strimmer" consists of a small motor, and a stick*. Replaceable parts... why bother?

      *Oh, and some string.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Structural Batteries?!

    I can't be the only person who thinks they haven't thought this absolutely terrible idea entirely through?

    Teslas already are pretty notorious for how easily their batteries catch on fire in accidents and the difficulty of putting out said battery fires. Making the batteries into a structural component, meaning they'll be damaged in anything bigger than a minor fender bender, means that these new cars will be more flammable than a Pinto. It's crazy.

    The Tesla engineers will do it anyway because Phony Stark demands it, but good lord this is going to get people killed.

    1. Jon 37
      Go

      Re: Structural Batteries?!

      The idea of making the front end of the car out of batteries is ludicrous, it would be horrible for crash-test performance.

      But, structural batteries (implemented sanely) is a reasonable idea. They already have a solid, fairly stiff battery pack at the bottom of the car. However, it looks like the chassis is designed to be strong enough even without that battery pack. They could remove a lot of structural metal at the bottom of the car, and rely on the battery pack's strength. Designing the battery pack appropriately could give them extra strength. With careful design, the battery pack can be bolted into place and still be removable should it need replacing.

      And this is Musk we're talking about. It's perfectly normal for him to announce ludicrous plans or even demo ludicrous things, that quietly get dropped or scaled-back later. It's also perfectly normal for things that do actually appear to take many times longer than he claims, so don't expect this new car to be starting production in 18 months.

      Musk is a great showman, he can make these wild and clearly bonkers claims, and get people to believe him. Investors give him their money; the press loves giving him lots of coverage which is free advertising for Tesla, and customers buy his products.

      But, he does usually deliver something that matches his less-outrageous claims, so I certainly expect structural batteries in a future car or even in an updated version of the existing cars (to reduce manufacturing costs).

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        He's such a good showman that, quite often, physics also believes his crazy ideas, and his company autodocks a spaceship with the ISS while autolanding the fuel tanks on autobarges.

        1. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          In all fairness, his engineers tend to have long, long talks with Physics before it comes around to Musk's ideas.

          Just don't anyone mention combustible lemons.

        2. Jon 37

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          Sure, but we've sailed past multiple dates when he'd planned a manned mars mission.

          Compared to a manned Mars mission in the timescales he'd claimed, landing a rocket on a barge counts as a "less-outrageous" claim! But I have to admit that landing a rocket on a barge so it can be reused is Seriously Impressive, as is starting an electric car company almost from scratch.

          His attitude of shooting for the moon (literally, with SpaceX) and his ability to attract funding and people, has led to some major advances. They're just not quite as advanced or as quick as he's said they'll be.

          He's one of the people pushing the edge of what's technically possible. Doing that sort of thing is important, and I have a lot of respect for him, I just try to be sceptical of things he claims until the product is actually launched.

          1. MacroRodent Silver badge

            Re: Structural Batteries?!

            The video clip where three Space-X boosters landed next to each other in perfect synchrony was the coolest technology demo I have ever seen.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Structural Batteries?!

              Before SpaceX landed a rocket:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcys-t2thk8

        3. DS999

          Landing rockets was never as hard as people make it out

          It just wasn't wasn't worth it for NASA contractors who could make them buy new each time. Only when you're a private business trying to undercut the existing companies do you start looking at ways to save money.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Landing rockets was never as hard as people make it out

            Ssh! Don't be such a spoilsport!

        4. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          NASA was "auto-landing" rockets on the Moon in the 1960's (Surveyor). The Russians, Orbital ATK (now Northrup Grumman) and the Japanese all "auto-dock" to ISS.

          For reference, Look up: Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Blue Origin and the Delta Clipper program for more rockets that land themselves. It hasn't been a technology issue for a long time. It's been a matter of economics as to lug the extra weight and fuel way up to reuse the first stage or to just make it as simple as possible and drop it in the ocean. SpaceX is still raising a couple of billion dollars a year to pay for their operations. It's hard to tell if they make a profit.

      2. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        Quote: "The idea of making the front end of the car out of batteries is ludicrous, it would be horrible for crash-test performance.

        And Tesla have already shown this isn't what they are doing. i.e. they are trying to implemented sanely.

        The batteries are still going to basically be in the same place as they are now, i.e. in the centre section of the chassis, basically as a flat plate, just as they are now. It's just that they will be an integral part of that centre section, rather than a separate module bolted on to the chassis afterwards.

        They also said this should make the car about 10% lighter, and also safer from side impacts, as it allows the batteries to be concentrated more towards the centre of the car, and so leave a larger gap between the side panels and the batteries themselves. (The new batteries are taller as well as denser, so take up more height, but use less width).

        Apologies these are on MSN!

        The chassis: https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/BB19jZy2.img

        Front on view of the battery layout: https://img-s-msn-com.akamaized.net/tenant/amp/entityid/BB19k6lU.img

        Article: https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/news/future-tesla-cars-will-use-batteries-for-shell-structure/ar-BB19k1It

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          And Tesla have already shown this isn't what they are doing. i.e. they are trying to implemented sanely.

          I respectfully disagree. Sure, part reduction seems possible, ie there's a lot of bolts holding the current model together. And given the LR Model 3 has 4,416 batteries, reducing the part count comes with using fewer, larger volume cells. But that's been one of the design challenges for Tesla. It uses battery bricks slotted into the packs, so 96x46 in the LR.

          On the plus side, that means standard battery modules can be churned out, and if there's a bad module, replaced. Or recycled, ie there's a thriving market in taking those modules from wrecked Teslas and repurpusing them. On the minus, it's limited designs, ie floorplan has to be based around the assembled battery slab.

          Alternatives were using 'prismatic' battery blocks, so still modular, but those modules could be tucked into other places. Musk criticised that approach, but seems to be stacking batteries in the rear of the artist's impression. But that also shows some other potential issues.

          Here's a Tesla that was prepared earlier-

          https://youtu.be/gkRq7vYs1PY?t=867

          Showing a Model S in need of some minor repairs. And also that someone has already salvaged some of the potentially good battery modules.. Which is also kind of impressive that those modules survived. But that's a function of the design, ie there's some seperation between battery modules to help avoid.. thermal excursions affecting the entire complement of fuel cells.

          That's missing from the artist's impression of the new layout, along with any detail of how that'll be cooled. Which could be.. fun whilst hypercharging, along with doing any QA or maintenance, ie if a leak in the cooling system is detected. I'm guessing Tesla will end up using the same modular system, just with fewer modules.

          Battery recycling can still be done with a skillsaw or breadknife, but there's less user benefit. So cutting battery cost from $10k+ to $6k is all well and good, but maybe not if a battery repair/replacement means $6k+ in labor to cut the old one out and replace it. So much for Tesla supporting the hacker/maker community. Or just any 'right to repair' legislation.

          1. Imhotep Silver badge

            Re: Structural Batteries?!

            "I respectfully disagree."

            This is the internet. We don't do that here.

      3. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        Easy, the crash tests are with flat batteries as you fire the car into the test rig. No risk then.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Structural Batteries?!

      With the current prediliction of lithium batteries to burn with the slightest puncture, structural batteries are a dumb idea, if you don't believe me, have a walk around a scrapyard and look at the bent bits on a few write offs.

      Current battery technology really requires secure installation in a well protected compartment to prevent the incineration of the occupants in a crash.

      Unless Musk has something new up his sleeve, it's just the weed talking, generally I am a fan but occasionally he does talk rubbish.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        There's more than one type of Lithium-ion battery.

        Tesla uses the kind you know best: it’s called NCA (Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminium-oxide) and it’s the same chemistry as your laptop or phone. It is energy-dense (which is why Tesla is able to offer greater range than competitors to date), but it is also dangerous: it has thermal risks on hard charging and discharging, and is highly flammable if mis-handled (e.g., if something were to smash into the battery pack and crush the cells). In every respect except energy density, it is the wrong choice to use in a road vehicle.

        Because of the safety issues with NCA, the rest of the EV industry uses NMC (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) chemistry instead. These batteries are less energy dense than NMC but are an order of magnitude safer - especially when mechanically shocked. When Tesla started, NMC was far behind NCA, but the latest generation of NMC has come very close to the energy density of NCA, while retaining the higher safety profile, and it may surpass NCA, simply because more vendors are investing in improving it.

        Incidentally, not all Li batteries are fire-risks. The safest Lithium chemistry, Lithium-iron-phostphate (LiFePO4), is nearly impossible to get to catch fire (you could try dousing it in petrol, I guess...), but suffers from much lower energy density than either of the previous two. However, it does not require expensive and ethically-dubious-to-source Cobalt or Nickel, and could easily get below the magic $100/kWh figure for vehicles that are not size or weight-constrained. (LiFePO4 is already used in applications where Lead-acid cells were used that don’t require high current at very low temperatures; in the freezing cold, lead-acid is still king, which is why all EVs still have a lead-acid battery on board)

        1. Steve Todd Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          Tesla model 3’s built in China are using LiFePO4, so the density isn’t that bad, but still a Standard Range model weighs as much as a US Long Range model.

          Nickel isn’t sourced from unethical locations, and according to Tesla’s battery day presentation they are planning to move to a Silicon-Nickel chemistry.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          "which is why Tesla is able to offer greater range than competitors to date"

          The range is a combination of how many batteries you shove in the car and how much the car weighs. Other manufacturers are looking to make a profit on each car they sell (the car, not carbon credits) and most people aren't driving 300 miles in one go. Putting a smaller capacity pack in costs less and is lower in weight leading to a sales price that more people might be able to afford.

          200-250 miles of range will cover 98% of the driving I do. I've gone past Range anxiety and over to Bladder anxiety mode. I need a stop every few hours to purge and refill. I will chose those stops where I can plug in the car on long trips.

          I've been keeping track of my stop times on long trips and it's usually around 20 minutes for a stop without a meal and 45 for one with. Locally it doesn't take me as long because I won't be using the restroom or buying cold drinks and rounding up the trash to bin. The time savings from not having to visit a petrol station normally makes up for an ever so slightly longer trip time when I need to stop and top up. I've figured that on a full day of driving, I'd add an additional 2 hours over and above for charging an EV. Chances are I would plan those trips with charging stops at interesting places. I'm not in such a huge hurry these days to get places. I'd rather see the scenery on the back roads or take a train. I'm skeptical, but there could be some situation where I'd take a plane again, but I can't think of one. I'd rather pay for somebody else's ticket to come see me than to be stuffed into a much too small seat for hours. My shoulders are wider than the average coach airline seat by 3-4 inches.

      2. DoctorNine

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        Using batteries as a structural component in a backbone system, where they are still protected in the event of a high energy collision is doable. You are correct of course that one of the limitations of this approach, is that current mainstream lithium battery technology produces cells which are flammable with deformation or puncture. Also, whatever structure these modules would represent, would need to be replaceable/repairable in the event of failure or end of life discharge/recharge cycles. Otherwise the whole vehicle would need to replaced too frequently, and the energy required to produce each replacement, would create materiel and energy inefficiencies for Tesla globally.

        I don't think it's a good idea to do this, until battery technology creates cells which have better safety upon collision. That may be where we are though. Newer technologies are beginning to show promise. So look for that announcement next.

        If we see it? Sure. If not? It's the THC talking.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          "Using batteries as a structural component in a backbone system, where they are still protected in the event of a high energy collision is doable."

          That's going to dictate the design of the car to a great extent. You design impact strategies by directing energy through structural components. You can't do that through the battery cells so it's the outer pack casing that has to do it. The rest of the car also has to be rigid enough to stand alone when the battery pack is removed. Any components such as fuses and contactors that are commonly installed in the pack need to be accessible without removing the pack.

          I think Elon is all excited by the Cybertruck exoskeletal design but hasn't been shown the downside to that sort of construction in the real world. If many things attach to the batter pack, a consumable part, many things have to be removed to get it out.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Structural Batteries?!

      Anon,

      I can't be the only person who thinks they haven't thought this absolutely terrible idea entirely through?

      They have seemingly thought about it at least a bit. Your point is invalid anyway, seeing as they're not proposing to put any more batteries on the car, just to move them around a bit - so it stays exactly as flammable as it already was/is.

      Actually of course, they probably will end up putting more batteries in. Because when you save weight you're going to be tempted to increase range by adding more. But that's only adding a bit of extra fuel to an already flammable system - so isn't really increasing the risk. With good engineering they should be able to create a system that is actually stronger than their current battery containment while saving weight.

      The potential issues are much more about replaceability and lifetime of the batteries.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Structural Batteries?!

          So how is this different ?

          BMW i3 'chassis'

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Structural Batteries?!

            "So how is this different ?

            BMW i3 'chassis'"

            The VW MEB platform is also very similar. Is it possible to get the i3 pack out without the rest of the car bending?

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Structural Batteries?!

        "Because when you save weight you're going to be tempted to increase range by adding more"

        The batteries are the biggest cost driver in an EV. Saving weight automatically increases range. Stuffing more cells in adds cost at a diminishing return.

        Many original Leaf owners found they have plenty of range and many never installed a high power EVSE as charging on a standard outlet worked fine for their needs. It seems like many people think they need 400-500 miles of range as that's what they have now in an ICE car. Never mind they will only use that range once or twice a year, maybe. If you can plug in at home/work or while shopping, 250 miles of range may be more than enough. Another £10,000 in cost to double that may put an EV out of reach when it doesn't add real value for somebody.

    4. timrowledge

      Re: Structural Batteries?!

      “Teslas already are pretty notorious for how easily their batteries catch on fire in accidents”

      What utter tosh. BMW have a worse record by far. Petrol tanks ignite after days of being tucked away in a garage.

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Upkeep and repair

    Tesla is the reason I haven't bought a Tesla. I hear that keeping them running and either not becoming a pauper in the process or losing your sanity is a major accomplishment.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Upkeep and repair

      Tesla's main problem is vehicle cost and build quality. Some defects would be covered under warranty but apparently things like panel gaps aren't. That's where they're playing catchup on established manufacturers in ensuring that they don't put lemons on the road.

      Assuming your vehicle is okay I don't see how you'd have any trouble with operating costs. The thing costs less to refuel, has less mechanical parts to service and has good resale value.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: resale value

        It's only good until people realise the problems that may come with second-hand ownership of Teslas

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: resale value

          What Tesla giveth, Tesla can taketh away.

          At least in Europe, Model 3's use CCS charging so you aren't limited to the supercharger network if you want more then 50kWh charging (with an expensive dongle)

          What is it with Tesla in that they don't provide Android Auto or Apple Car Play? Pretty well all others do even if some like BMW charge silly money for it.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Upkeep and repair

      Latest reliability by sector results from the automotive world show hybrids to be more reliable than pure electrics, despite being more complex.

      Why?

      Digging into the figures shows that Tesla singlehandedly do for electric statistics what Land Rover do for SUVs (which actually aren't the most horribly unreliable POSs once you take Land Rover out of the figures)

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Upkeep and repair

      The operating cost of a Tesla is very good. The repair cost in money AND time is atrocious. While under warranty, you are only out the latter. If you buy the car second hand, you have to consider both.

  4. Mark192 Silver badge

    Tesla might become an irrelevance

    As other companies catch up and overtake, Tesla might become an irrelevance... but what a ride while it lasted!

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Tesla might become an irrelevance

      Actually, the capital markets are acting a bit like national governments and have decided that Tesla is the winner. This means that it has lower capital costs than the competition which will allow it to buy the compeition up. This is likely to lead to very inefficient capital allocation, just like when governments pick national champions, but as long as it leads to a monopoly the investors will be very happy.

      1. DS999

        Re: Tesla might become an irrelevance

        They won't have lower capital cost than the "competition", when the competition will be VW, GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, etc.

        They have blocked the door for any startups though.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Tesla might become an irrelevance

          They already do. It's one of the side effects of excessively loose monetary policy that dovetails nicely with "network effects" and "webscale". Tesla currently has sufficient market capitalisation to buy them all. Now.

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Tesla might become an irrelevance

            "Tesla currently has sufficient market capitalisation to buy them all. Now."

            Market Cap is a slippery subject. When it's this out of balance, the tiniest nudge can bring it crashing down. The only way Tesla can capitalize the Market Cap is by selling more shares, which dilutes the shareholder value for those that already hold shares. It would make the P/E (profit evaporation metric) even worse than it is now.

            The same thing goes for calling Elon and Jeff Bezos multi-billionaires. On paper, sure. In the real world, if they started to convert their holding into cash, investors would become very nervous to see the head honcho divesting himself. (Elon more than Jeff). In the US they can't hide their trades. They have to file a form with the SEC stating their intended sales and the media watches those notices very carefully.

            While Tesla could move to "acquire" Ford or VW through a stock swap, the house of cards that is Tesla might crash down if "the market" isn't on board with the purchase. People who wind up with Tesla shares in place of their Ford shares may also decide they'd rather cash out which would drive the TSLA price down in short order.

            Market Cap is just one indicator and can't be looked at alone. It also only means certain things and one of them isn't "value" or "worth". What is the "worth" of Tesla if it were shut down and selling off it's assets? Much less than it would be "worth" as an ongoing concern with expectations of a solid future. "Value" is even harder to nail down. I'd love to have a drink with the CEO of Toyota and get an honest opinion from him on what he thinks Tesla is worth. For $400 billion dollars, starting a new car company from scratch might be much cheaper.

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    The state of autonomy

    Tesla's auto summon can't even navigate an outdoor car park properly so what faith should we place on it doing things properly on the open road and at speed?

  6. Christoph
    Flame

    Obvious possible problem

    "the front of a chassis, with the implication being that much of the metal would be batteries."

    What happens in a crash which stoves in the front of the chassis? What stops those batteries shorting out and catching fire?

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Obvious possible problem

      Except that there are no batteries in the front section to short out.

      All Tesla have said is that the centre section, where the batteries are already, is going to become part of the chassis, rather than a separate battery module that you bolt onto the chassis afterwards.

      At the moment the chassis is made up of lots of stamped or moulded bits, that are then welded or otherwise fastened together, to make up a complete chassis. The battery pack is then bolted to the chassis afterwards.

      Tesla plan on stamping out the front and rear sections of the car, as two separate single pieces, and then build a central section that incorporates the batteries. So you basically have three parts for the main chassis, a front, centre and back. Bolt these three together, and you've got yourself a complete chassis including the batteries.

      Main issue could likely be how replaceable is this centre section? i.e. Could you clamp the car in place, then remove the centre section? So replace this with a new one? And therefore still replace the battery. Or is this a case of potential built in obsolescence, once the battery is worn out, do you replace the whole car?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Disposable tech

    The first car to get an iFixit teardown and repairability score?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Disposable tech

      Already done BMW i3 teardown

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Disposable tech

        "Already done BMW i3 teardown"

        Thank you for that link. I'm getting a copy of that!

  8. Combustable Lemon

    Not sure about the structure but..

    Removal of Cobalt from the batteries is a good move given that a lot of it's sourcing isn't ethical (child labour, etc). I guess a big point of that wasn't made since that would be admitting that they were okay with the ethical issues sourcing it until something cheaper came along or it got more expensive to continue to use it.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Not sure about the structure but..

      What about the rare earths in the magnets?

      1. Combustable Lemon

        Re: Not sure about the structure but..

        Yeah, you are right, sorry. They should put the Cobalt back in.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Not sure about the structure but..

        "What about the rare earths in the magnets?"

        Turns out those aren't all that rare.

        The problem in the US is the heavier side of the Lanthanides always comes with Thorium which is classed as a radioactive hazardous material. There isn't a big market for it and it's expensive to get rid of. In China, the government is buying it and stockpiling it as reactor fuel for the LFTR reactors they are working on. The US could do the same, but it won't buy enough votes and .... mining is bad. Patents for neo magnets have also been bought up by China, so nearly all magnet manufacturing has gone over there. You would not believe all of the places you find magnets. It's akin to how German ball bearing factories were bombed in WWII. So many things relied on ball bearings that taking those factories out made a big difference. China "bombed" the magnetic materials industry.

  9. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Tesla's main problem is that the person who runs it is completely barking mad.

    That and the build quality and reliability is poor.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >Tesla's main problem is that the person who runs it is completely barking mad.

      I thought this was their only advantage.

      BMW's problem is that they had to produce a luxury electric car that no prospective BMW buyer would want to buy - because otherwise their dealer network would revolt.

  10. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo
    Trollface

    The year of fully autonomous Tesla is just after the year of the Linux desktop

    A bit of news from 2038: Musk promises full self driving for sometimes in the next two years.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: The year of fully autonomous Tesla is just after the year of the Linux desktop

      I think you'll find the paperless office is first in that queue.

      Not sure where reliable fusion power comes into the list though.

      1. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: The year of fully autonomous Tesla is just after the year of the Linux desktop

        The paperless office predictors didn't bank on Scrum and Post-it note usage.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: The year of fully autonomous Tesla is just after the year of the Linux desktop

          The doctor prescribed a cream and viola, no more Scrum.

          Am I sharing too much?

  11. nautica
    Meh

    Amnesia check indicated?

    Elon Musk is good at doing one thing only: promising .

    I seem to remember that his last promise of a "low-cost" version was not "low-cost", at all, after all the add-ons Tesla mandated.

    Memory problems, folks? Or serious case of Confirmation Bias?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Amnesia check indicated?

      I seem to remember that his last promise of a "low-cost" version was not "low-cost", at all, after all the add-ons Tesla mandated.

      Yup-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Onajosm9PWo&t=2m48s

      From 2007, discussing the planned Model 3. Then the not-low-cost deliveries started 10 years later. He also made the "low cost" claim in 2018, which is probably why the market was a bit sceptical about the claims.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tesla Model Y Owners Have Found Home Depot Shit Used To Mount A Critical Part

    IFixit should do a teardown

    https://jalopnik.com/tesla-model-y-owners-have-found-home-depot-shit-used-to-1844999285

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Cars, cars, carcass

    We're all running around jacking off about cars but wouldn't the world be a better and healthier place if we returned to the days of the railways to move around the country, with locals trains and buses to get the final mile or two done if we didn't want to walk or bike for some reason.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cars, cars, carcass

      No

    2. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Cars, cars, carcass

      We're all running around jacking off about cars but wouldn't the world be a better and healthier place if we returned to the days of the railways to move around the country, with locals trains and buses to get the final mile or two done if we didn't want to walk or bike for some reason.

      God, no. I remember freezing my balls off on Reading station for half an hour or more, waiting for my connection, twice a day.

      1. timrowledge

        Re: Cars, cars, carcass

        Bah, I got stuck there for more like 18 hours one winter ‘evening ‘. Such fun.

        And mass transit ? Madness! I’m not sharing space with lurgy spewing plebs, in no-ventilation/badly-heated death boxes.

    3. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: Cars, cars, carcass

      That is more feasible in population dense areas, but for most of the geographic US it has never really been an option. Especially the walking and biking part.

      I do love the idea of letting someone else drive a bus or train while I read the paper or a good book and enjoy a cup of coffee. Unfortunately the light rail in our area doesn't actually go to where the commuters are and prohibits food and drink.

  14. P.B. Lecavalier
    Facepalm

    BS

    "complete with full autonomous driving mode"

    Anyone who believes this needs to get checked. That same guy promised in 2019 that in 2021 they would start making cars without a steering wheel. What happened to this? The news cycle is crazy and peddlers have it their way.

  15. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Two interesting statements

    From Tesla customer services

    "Tesla has recently identified instances of customers being incorrectly configured for Autopilot versions that they did not pay for. [...] unfortunately Full-Self Driving was not a feature that you had paid for.[...] If you are still interested in having those additional features we can begin the process to purchase the upgrade."

    [1] so it's the customer not the car that is entitiled to the function. Maybe someone should rip the radio out of my car as it's aftermarket but was in place when I bought the car and wasn't itemised on the bill.

    [2] I thought that according to tesla, "autopilot" was specifically not Full-Self Driving.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Two interesting statements

      This is going to involve a lot of interesting legal cases

      Suppose Tesla make essentially the same hardware and configure features and performance in software - and you pay for what you want (like the old Windows NT ws vs server).

      If you pay for a 3rd party software patch that enables extra features, is that different from me fitting a 3rd party turbo to my Subaru instead of paying for a WRX? Or is it like buying a pirate satellite TV card?

      Do upgrade features transfer with the vehicle? If not do you get to transfer the feature to your new car?

      Can you sell the feature to another Tesla owner?

  16. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Investors were less impressed

    > Investors were less impressed

    This is so depressing. Whatever you think about the actual vehicles, what was announced was good old-fashioned research and development. It's almost as if investors think that these things already exist and no one thought to put them together before.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Investors were less impressed

      That's not what was announced. It was more showmanship designed to keep the cost of capital down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Investors were less impressed

        If you thought that was showmanship then you definitely didn't watch it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Investors were less impressed

      Yes, I think it was pretty impressive, the work by some really talented people.

      The problem seemed to be we need 20TWh of battery capacity a year to remove fossil fuels from road vehicles and power generation.

      They then realised that was impossible to achieve as the gigafactory idea could not scale to do that. They then went and looked at every single step of battery production to be able to make it possible using *currently available* technology.

      There was nothing they said that seemed unachievable and they had found some amazing inefficiencies.

      Good work.

  17. Jay Lenovo
    Coat

    Just sounds wrong

    The article title suggests "a car made of batteries"

    Couldn't help thinking, "Like a zeppelin made of hydrogen"

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    Hmm. Investors go crazy for *real* muskiness

    And I think you'll agree a car made of batteries is full bore Muskiness.

  19. Steve Crook

    Every accident will be a write off.

    Because the battery storage will be stuffed and unserviceable. It'll be interesting to see how this plays with the EU wanting to have things made more repairable.

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