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Surprise R and D project

Discussion in 'TSLA Investor Discussions' started by Chickenlittle, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    I always thought super chargers along highways really consistent with trucking becoming electric. However I do remember musk saying about 18 months ago that the active air suspension would work well in a pickup truck. He mentioned that he would like to develop one. I suspect this will be in the works
     
  2. daniel Ox9EFD

    daniel Ox9EFD Member

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    Or it could be the wireless charging he promised Colbert :wink:.

    Elon also said Teleportation would be cool. hmm...

    In all seriousness though, I think a truck would be too big a deal to hold secret, and would take too much time off the X and S. I'd go with a more advanced supercharger.
     
  3. vgrinshpun

    vgrinshpun Active Member

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    All of the things that were mentioned so far regarding the surprise project all involve things that were at one point or another mentioned by EM and others at TM. If I would guess about a thing that public really does not know about, it should not be anything that was mentioned before.

    I think that the secret R&D project could be about developing (adopting) the drivetrain for a major auto manufacturer, other than Toyota or Daimler. This would be a really major development because it will signify a shift in attitude toward the EVs. A project like that could be under wraps until a preliminary "proving concept" prototype is developed before inking the final contract.

    If the above theory proves to be true, it could be a watershed moment for EV adoption and Tesla Motors.
     
  4. kenliles

    kenliles Active Member

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    I didn't get the sense it was just a single thing either. The discussion was around R&D currently and on-going. And a 'new' policy position from Tesla that not all things will be revealed. I'm more in the camp of multiple items. Including stationary storage systems in a big way, vgrinshpun's major drivetrain idea another good possible, of course the auto-drive aspects, and even some expansion into other vehicle types (including anything moving people from small to aircraft). Some of these to be revealed in the nearer timeframe, some in the more distant; But the point being made is- don't financially correlate R&D spending to current revenue.
    Exciting change and really portends to Elons (and JB I think another driver here) vision for Tesla long term- much more than traditional automative. Elon seems happiest in that very advanced development role too- I think that's what drives him. Even after stepping down as CEO, said he'll be involved with Tesla permanently and building an R&D tool house is perfect for that, while SpaceX continues. It all fits nicely and I think a BIG piece they're working on currently is the stationary storage coupled to more than 1 GF to accomplish, etc. Good stuff. Excellent for Tesla's long term health, and that of the human race in general. Kudos Elon
     
  5. Ssssly

    Ssssly Member

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    #5 Ssssly, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
    Based on the earnings call comment about getting the $/kW down to $100, I expect they have the following:

    - Reduced charging time closer to ICE refill
    - Greater range - comparable to average ICE
    - Lower $/kW

    Not just one of these, but all of them.
     
  6. Nixx

    Nixx Member

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    R&D Capex spending


    Highly doubt this. Tesla is supply constrained by batteries and they already terminated the Toyota contract so they could direct more batteries at their own vehicle. On the conference call Elon said several times that they have too much demand and do not want to stoke more demand. Diverting batteries elsewhere would be counter productive.
    Whatever they are doing, they are already far along. They said both the Capex and RD numbers are high because of it. If it was just RD, they wouldn't be very far along. Since Capex is elevated, they are already buildings something out.

    Maybe they are just adding a pile of solar panels to the roof of the factory? Does solarcity charge for industrial customer installs or is it free with a 20 year lease? But installing solar panels doesn't imply any RD spending...

    Maybe there are two things they are working on?
     
  7. Causalien

    Causalien Reaper of Trolls

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    I vote for ICBM based on a railgun design where Model S is the "bullet" by strapping on some magnets for conduction with the on board battery. It'll disrupt the airline industry.
     
  8. Nixx

    Nixx Member

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    That's a good thought. It definitely could be auto-drive. I thought Elon said he would have something in this area by end of 2015?

    @Ssssly - I think lowering the $/kW is just going to come with economy of scale. The next big technological leap will be with the new technology at the gigafactory. Elon said on a conference call that a refresh of Model S would come about 6ish years after launch, at which point the battery would probably get new technology... which would coincidentally land right about when the gigafactory opens.

    I'm curious if anyone has any idea how they will get the charging times lower than they already are? I thought the cells can only charge at 1.5x. 85kw x 1.5 = 127, which is the current supercharge rate. I suppose the new cells they create might have a better rate, but how far can they push it? 2x? Even at 200kwh charge, that's still 25 min at full rate, and it slows when it gets full. So lets say 30-40 min for a full charge from empty. That's still not ICE refill time.
     
  9. jkliu47

    jkliu47 Member

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    #9 jkliu47, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
    I went back and watched Elon's interview on CNBC Disruptor 50 interview (http://www.cnbc.com/id/101706968) and got some hints:

    1) AI (as an offshoot of the autonomous car development)
    2) Genetics (extending human life - probably related to space travel)
    3) Hyperloop (not personally involved now, but may take it on if no one pursues it)
     
  10. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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    IIRC from a previous SolarCity conference call (I think the one announcing the Silevo acquisition) that Tesla and Solarcity are working on inverter technology. I'd imagine (completely guessing here) there to be an announcement within 6-12 months regarding this.

    It's possible Tesla could have been working on advanced inverter technology and is looking to release an inverter for the solar industry, perhaps for the residential market first but not exclusively.
     
  11. twinklejet

    twinklejet Member

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  12. mershaw2001

    mershaw2001 Member

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    How about electric trains? I thought that Tesla had initially supplied some electric parts to train manufacturers years ago, but the supercharging, the massive regenerative breaking and the torque of an electric motor would all be good for a train.
     
  13. uselesslogin

    uselesslogin Enthusiast

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    Well trains already have the torque of an electric motor being that they are all hybrid diesel-electric unless they are a pure electric where there are overhead wires but regenerative braking and supercharging would be good additions. TIL diesel-electrics use dynamic brakes that dissipate the energy from braking into heat. This makes sense because they probably couldn't make batteries big enough to take the regeneration charge.
    Regenerative brake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  14. Bgarret

    Bgarret Model S ownin' Michigan scofflaw

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    If it isn't the Hyperloop they are working on, think about the implication. You have already designed & disclosed a concept that would revolutionize medium term transportation, but you didn't have the time to pursue it??? The thing you are putting through your R & D paces is COOLER than the Hyperloop? Can't wait.
     
  15. Jackl1956

    Jackl1956 Member

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    Imagine what Elon's coming media interviews will be like. How many times will he answer this question before the reveal?
     
  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    On the earnings call Elon clearly implied that Tesla was working on more than one new project that he was not yet ready to discuss. He is very disciplined and he won't reveal it until he is ready.

    The projects may or may not be things he has mentioned in the past. I am sure they are things that relate to Tesla's core mission. I doubt they are in completely different fields like AI or genetics or trains.

    A drivetrain to be used by another car company seems possible since that company could source the batteries elsewhere, as MB does currently. But just an EV drivetrain hardly seems that big a deal or something to keep secret. After all, pTesla has already supplied batteries and drivetrain for the Toyota RAV 4 EV and batteries for the new Mercedes B Class EV.

    It could be the semi autonomous driving capability that Elon has mentioned earlier this year, but if so then why refuse to discuss it now?

    A new stationary grid storage product would be great, but I don't think that's it because batteries are not exactly plentiful right now.

    I don't believe it's another car model given that the clear priority is bringing the Model 3 to market by 2017 and as we all know the gigafactory has to come on line for that to occur. A new truck would be impossible to keep secret, and what would be the motivation to do so?

    So I really have no idea what mystery projects Elon was referring to. The Hyperloop seems like an outside possibility but in the past he's been clear that doesn't have the time to work on that, and even one Hyperloop between LA and SF is a huge project.
     
  17. Jackl1956

    Jackl1956 Member

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    #17 Jackl1956, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
  18. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    This

    IMO Elon will announce within the end of the year the Driving Assistant Package.
     
  19. mitch672

    mitch672 Active Member

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    It's possible Tesla has discovered the Model S pack it good for a great many more cycles than originally estimated.
    one possibility, would be an early proof of concept of grid storage and home backup power would be tesla designed V2G system, for the Model S/X. Initially, I think they would market it as home backup power, but could be expanded to be solar storage as well.
    this is power engineering, and completly in Teslas "wheelhouse"

    btw, the relays to access the 400VDC pack already exist in every Model S, so the car already has the capability on the existing charging connector for this possibility.
     
  20. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    I'm thinking his engineers have come up with a way to harness the mental energy created by this forum's members when he throws out zingers like this one.
     

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