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Tesla Model Y, Tesla Transit, & Tesla Gigafactories -- More Info

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by ZachShahan, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. ZachShahan

    ZachShahan Member

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    Fun news, and in the broader context of previous statements and speculation:

    Tesla Model Y, Tesla Transit, & Tesla Gigafactories — More Info

    It's hard to imagine being more excited about a car than many of us are about the Tesla Model 3, but I think the Tesla Model Y will be an even bigger deal. A relatively affordable, "compact" SUV with falcon-wing doors that beats the pants off of a Porsche and has approximately double the "fuel economy" of a Toyota Prius? Please, tell me more.

    Tesla Model Y
    [​IMG]

    Naturally, with Tesla's #1 focus being Model 3 right now (and world domination on the side), Elon isn't leaking too much info regarding the development work being done on Tesla Model Y, but he did confirm this week that the next Tesla vehicle is a small SUV (we've known this for a long time, but it's good to get another confirmation).

    Falcon-wing doors on the Model Y? Really? Well, that is all but confirmed. Last year, when asked on Twitter if the Model 3 would have falcon-wing doors, Elon responded, "there will be a Model 3 and a Model Y. One of the two will." The Model 3 doesn't have them.

    Tesla Transit
    [​IMG]

    One of the less-predicted announcements in Elon's Tesla Master Plan, Part Deux, was that Tesla would be jumping into the transit world (small transit, not big transit) with the eventual release of Tesla buses:

    In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Both are in the early stages of development at Tesla and should be ready for unveiling next year….

    With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways, and matching acceleration and braking to other vehicles, thus avoiding the inertial impedance to smooth traffic flow of traditional heavy buses. It would also take people all the way to their destination. Fixed summon buttons at existing bus stops would serve those who don’t have a phone. Design accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and bikes.

    He provided a hint of what the buses would look like, in reply to curiosity from Dana Hull of Bloomberg:






    This week, Elon provided one more interesting detail: this Tesla Bus will be built on the Model X platform. Logical. Efficient. Sure to be hot and steamy.

    This reiterates that he's really thinking about a small vehicle, which has its place in the grand scheme of various transit options. I'm super curious to hear more about this aspect of Tesla's future, both because of my city planning background and because it's just fun to explore the next frontier of technology and transport.

    Tesla Gigafactories
    Back to the focus of the week: the machines that build the machines.

    As Elon told us on a conference call last year, the really exciting thing about Gigafactory 1 isn't even what it produces -- it's that it is, in a sense, the ultimate product.

    Elon highlighted on another call that a key different between Tesla philosophy and Google philosophy was that Elon thinks the biggest opportunity is in the manufacturing process, while Google (presumably Google head and close Elon friend Larry Page) sees the biggest opportunity in the design of the product. Elon admitted that he wasn't claiming he was definitely correct with that philosophy, but that was a critical point for Tesla.

    Here are two more quotes on this, first from a Gigafactory press conference this week, and second from Master Plan 2:

    1. “The factory itself is considered to be a product. The factory is the machine that builds the machine. It actually deserves more attention from creative and problem solving engineers than the product it makes. What we’re seeing, if we take a creative engineer and apply them to designing the machine that makes the machine, they can make 5 times as much headway per hour, than if they work on the product itself.”
    2. "What really matters to accelerate a sustainable future is being able to scale up production volume as quickly as possible. That is why Tesla engineering has transitioned to focus heavily on designing the machine that makes the machine — turning the factory itself into a product. A first principles physics analysis of automotive production suggests that somewhere between a 5 to 10 fold improvement is achievable by version 3 on a roughly 2 year iteration cycle. The first Model 3 factory machine should be thought of as version 0.5, with version 1.0 probably in 2018."
    That's a pretty convincing case on the superiority of Tesla's philosophy and what seems to be Elon's premier career passion right now.

    Building off of that, and building off of previous statements, it's obvious that Tesla is planning to get several Gigafactories up and running as soon as possible. On that topic, Elon said this week that they plan to have at least one Gigafactory on each continent eventually. Europe and Asia (China) seem to be next in line.

    But what does eventually mean? That's the question many of us are on the edge of our seats waiting to hear. However, I'd add caution that I think a common use of "eventually" as "in the end" isn't a conclusion you want to make. I'm thinking the actual long-term goal of Tesla is to have a few or several Gigafactories on each continent. Just do the math: Gigafactory 1 is supposed to be able to produce batteries for 1.5 million Tesla cars once fully up and running. Global auto sales were nearly 88 million in 2015, are expected to 89 million in 2016, and are widely expected to be in the tens of millions for years to come. If conventional automakers aren't willing to pick up the pace and transition to electric cars before falling into bankruptcy, Tesla will need to supply a significant portion of the market. And then there are semi trucks, buses, etc., to produce and fill with batteries.

    Elon already sounds crazy enough to people with more conservative vision. I presume he's holding back on the grand statements but is dreaming of dozens of Tesla Gigafactories eventually.

    Images via reddit and Kyle Field for CleanTechnica.
     
    • Informative x 2
  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    And in the SMP Part Deux he said, quote: "With the advent of autonomy, it will probably make sense to shrink the size of buses and transition the role of bus driver to that of fleet manager. Traffic congestion would improve due to increased passenger areal density by eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways"

    My conclusion is that this small "Tesla Bus" will have all seats facing outwards which will be accessed by Falcon Wing doors, several on each side. Since the vehicle will be fully autonomous, there will not be a human driver, so no front seat row facing forwards. The vehicle will be a low speed only vehicle (less than 45mph?) so it doesn't have to be as aerodynamic as current Tesla vehicles. That means perhaps up to 6 passengers on each side, all facing outwards, could fit on the current X chassis. No frunk, no trunk. A compact crumple zone front and rear for impact protection. Side impact protection built into the doors. This vehicle is for taking people short distances on surface streets. Will not be used at high speed on freeways/highways. A new category of vehicle.

    It could take up to a decade to realize this vision. But I see no reason why it couldn't happen. To all the naysayers about the Falcon Wing doors: the current bugs and issues are just minor engineering problems that will be solved. Think long term.
     
  3. david_42

    david_42 Member

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    Falcon doors on the Y? Well, that kills my hopes for buying a Tesla for the rest of the decade. It's way too rainy in Oregon for falcon doors.
     
  4. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    The new "umbrella mode" which doesn't open up fully doesn't work for you?
     
  5. emupilot

    emupilot Member

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    IIRC think the Elon tweet about falcon wing doors on the Y was deleted. The purpose of FWD is to ease ingress/egress to/from the third row seats. Third row seats seems like quite a stretch for something built on the Model 3 platform, and with the need to keep the cost down I don't think FWD makes any sense for the Y.
     
  6. alseTrick

    alseTrick Member

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    Good point. I was going to say the FWD might even be manual in order to keep costs down and problem points low. But they may not even have them.
     
  7. N5329K

    N5329K Member

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    Falcon wing doors seem to go to great lengths and complexity to solve a relatively minor problem that has already been solved more simply and elegantly with the minivan's sliding door. That "minivan" has become something like "station wagon" from a marketing perspective should not have deterred a "first principles" analysis and solution for the problem of 3rd row access. Plus, waiting around for the thing to open (or close) would drive me bonkers. I hope they don't grace any follow-on Tesla designs.
    Robin
     
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  8. HookBill

    HookBill Member

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    I agree with this concept except on one point. You have passengers riding a bus system exiting on both sides of the vehicle. That would mean people exiting into traffic. That would be a true safety hazard. Buses today have exits on the sidewalk side only to avoid that.
     
  9. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Personally I would have been happier without the FWD and conventional folding seats.
     
  10. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Member

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    For a small bus that, if as Elon said, passengers will sit where the existing entry points, then the sliding door on minivans can't work, since it will block part of the side of the car, and those people will have to get around people in the rows in front of them to get out, thus introducing inefficient space utilization. If each row had its own FWD, that would work to allow every part of the car to be fully utilized by seating.
     
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  11. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    FWD-On-A-Bus thoughts:

    +s -
    * If one were to design a vehicle that had one or multiple FWDs only on the curbside length of the vehicle, then passengers in each forward-facing (ie, "normal") seat would be able to enter and exit with catlike stealth and grace - far, far less disturbance to other passengers than with a van-type sliding door.

    * A vehicle with such asymmetry (doors only on one side) would permit far greater mobility of that single FWD, in that it needn't be compromised in its folding by its counterpart on the vehicle's other side.
    -s -
    * If, on the other hand, the FWD-bus had Model X-style bilaterally symmetrical doors then, as posted above, in-traffic passengers would be synonymous with road splats.

    * Also if, as mentioned by multiple numbers of speculators, the FWDs opened to fore-aft lengthwise seats, this would be a terrible failure of technology over ergonomics. From troop carriers to subway cars, the single most uncomfortable kind of human transportation is one in which a body is perpendicular to the direction of motion. IT IS TERRIBLE! Any demonstration by Tesla of the same (to date, such mention has been made solely by speulators) would be most damaging - possibly terminally - of my admiration for the company.
     
  12. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Good point, I didn't think of that.

    So how is Tesla going to get rid of the center aisle on their "high passenger-density urban transport" vehicle? The SMP Part Deux says the plan is "eliminating the center aisle and putting seats where there are currently entryways".
     
  13. HookBill

    HookBill Member

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    Got me. The first rule of physics and economics should contain the answer to that question but neither one of those was my strong point. Perhaps they treat it like a vending machine and when someone wants out at a stop they are moved towards the door like bag of chips. When the door opens they fall to the curb. :p
     
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  14. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    My configuration above eliminates the center aisle.
     
  15. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    I think Tesla Transit implements Google technology. This would explain several of Musk's recent comments.
     
  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I was responding to an earlier post by someone else and didn't see yours.

    So if the vehicle had FWDS only on the curb side, the passengers on the non-curb side of the vehicle would have to move in front of the curb side passengers to enter and exit. That seems sub-optimal.
     
  17. RobStark

    RobStark Active Member

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    Harping about the time it takes to open FWDs is even more retarded than harping about refueling times. JFC!
     
  18. Chuq

    Chuq Member

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    I'm really hoping so. Our M3 will replace a station wagon, and the reduced storage space is the only concession I'm making for a car which will be superior in all other ways. If the MY design comes out before M3 deliveries start in Australia, and reservations can be transferred (as MS -> MX allowed) it would be VERY tempting. Only thing - my wife hates FWDs (from videos - never seen an MX in real life). It could be a deal breaker!
     
  19. alseTrick

    alseTrick Member

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    Such as?
     
  20. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    First that Tesla Transit would be a 40-45 mph vehicle (IIRC). Second Musk's weird comment about Tesla owners allowing their cars to be uberized when not used.

    This is how Musk would explain the difference when using dual strategies for implementing autonomous driving.

    Tesla likely had to make a choice a year ago to sign up as a Google partner. The large investors would not want Musk to pass on that opportunity. Google car is currently reading the body language of police officers and bicyclists. Tesla autopilot is not seeing large trucks in certain lighting conditions. How could Tesla alone possibly be ready to run automated urban transit in a couple of years?

    Perhaps Musk describes it as a bus service because the first implementation Tesla/Google transit will be simpler than what uber currently does. It will take people from the closest bus stop and drop them at the bus stop closest to their destination. This simplification greatly reduces the programming complexity of the interaction between human and vehicle. This service would evolve over time into full robo-uber.

    I suspect Tesla Semi also has a partner. Not a technical partner, but a company like Walmart. Instead of first building a generic semi tractor, Tesla could concentrate on building a truck to run known routes to specific locations. The battery need and charging would be well defined early in development. Big investors would be much happier with Musk pursuing Tesla Semi if Tesla has pre-sold thousands of trucks.
     

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