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Pre-production stage/vehicle names

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by TEG, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #1 TEG, Sep 28, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
    As the rep in the video says, they called them their "phase 0 vehicles".
    There seem to be multiple different approaches to naming prototypes.
    We got used to buck/mule/EP/VP from the Roadster program - possibly using Lotus terminology.
    Then we have concept/alpha/beta/RC from Model S - possibly coming from the computer industry.
    And then Toyota with phase 0 / phase 1 / etc...
     
  2. clea

    clea Member

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    Those of us in the computer industry understand that the next phase after beta is the release of the product but (not being familiar with the Toyota approach) does anyone know how many phases they will use before production?
     
  3. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Usually there is another step. In software they call it a "Release Candidate"; and you hope you don't have to make changes to it.

    For hardware it is often called a "Production Prototype" or "First Article", which is supposed to be built using the exact same materials and processes as the final product. It's basically just the first production unit (or units).
     
  4. clea

    clea Member

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    I understand the release cycle for software very well and did not even get into the idea of having mutiple beta cycles (which i get the impression that Tesla is planning just one Beta cycle), but i was commenting on the (for me) ambiguous naming of the phases by Toyota which does not seem to have a definitive number of phases before release.
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I think he was just clarifying since in your post you said product release was after beta -- but he is correct, there is usually at least one RC or Release Candidate. Release Candidates are different than multiple betas. RCs are supposed to be ready to go, but just one last check before things are packaged and published.

    IIRC Windows 7 had 2 or 3 RCs
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Debugging a new product is a lot like herding kittens. Very difficult to do on a schedule. It's the biggest uncertainty in any engineering project.

    Years ago I was very honest with my boss about the debugging schedule for a new product. It had several things that were rather new territory for us. He was eager to push the schedule and asked me if I could do it in 4 weeks. I told him that if everything went perfectly it would be 4 weeks, but that was unlikely and it could easily be 12 weeks. That's just the way these things go; you can easily blow a week on a single bug if it's hard to find.

    Unfortunately my boss, despite being an engineer, screwed his manager hat on so tight it hurt, and decided that it would take 4 weeks.

    It took 14 weeks. Apparently I was a little optimistic.
     
  7. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #7 TEG, Sep 28, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
    http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ABEA-4CW8X0/0x0xS1193125-11-139677/1318605/filing.pdf
    Still Baby Steps for Big Auto Cleantech News and Analysis
     
  8. clea

    clea Member

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    I have lots of similar stories with management holding strong to a release schedule even though we all knew the bug incoming rate was too much to realistically hit our target. The worst example of this when they use the time between when we RTM'ed the software to when it was released on the DVD; we had to have the first QFE already available for download at the same time as it was released to the public.
     
  9. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #9 TEG, Sep 28, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
    Your stories are all too familiar to me. "Time to Market" SOP...

    But if customers are willing to participate in an "agile process" that includes consuming frequent patches in exchange for quicker turnaround on their change requests...

    Hmm... Corollary to "Perfect is the enemy of the good"... "Unfinished is the enemy of the good, except when used for pre-release testing"...
     
  10. clea

    clea Member

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    thanks TEG, that clears it up somewhat. Since they were talking about prototype samples in the phase 1 milestones I assume that the equivalent of Tesla's alpha cycle will be part of the phase 2 milestones which implies they haven't reached there yet.
     
  11. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I was thinking of trying to equate the different types of prototype names, but they don't exactly line up. Different sort of process.

    Well, here is a really rough pass, but probably somewhat wrong:

    Roadster /= S /= Rav4
    [non-drivable] "Buck" (black) ~= "Design Model" (white) = n/a (although someone may have modeled that new Rav4 front bumper on something prior to building working cars.)
    Mule1 (Undisguised yellow Elise) = Mule1 (Undisguised White Magnum) = n/a ?
    n/a = Mule2 (Undisguised Black CLS) = n/a ?
    Mule2 (Elise w/ Gray Fiberglass/Bondo body) = "Concept Car" (silver then red) = "Phase 0" (First Rav4EV we saw at the auto-show unveil?)
    "EPs" = "Alphas" = Phase 1 (used for crash testing new chassis designs, but Rav4EV chassis is mostly unmodified. Did they crash test a Rav4EV?)
    "VPs" = "Betas" = Phase 2 (S beta coming this weekend, RAV4EV phase 2 / beta coming next year?... Trying to be complete and "production intent")
    Founders' = Release Candidate = Phase 3?

    Then on to "Signature series" production...
     
  12. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    According to he bible, God himself started with a clay model. Then, he breathed life into it, going to production that was....
    Next time my boss asks for a schedule impossible to meet, I should ask him if he can do the same :wink:
     

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