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Tesla Motors - Major Innovations

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Cattledog, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    #1 Cattledog, Feb 22, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
    Tesla has been innovative on many levels - I tried to step back and think of what the major innovations have been in their efforts to usher in the era of sustainable transport. We all might have our own definitions about what constitutes an innovation, or even a major one - some things on my list Tesla is first to market and some things they simply pushed miles beyond anyone else. Anyways:

    Vehicle
    Compelling Battery-Electric Car with Significant Range & Performance
    Highly Efficient Electric Motor/Power Electronics & Packaging
    'Skateboard' Platform Leading to Class-Best Aerodynamics and Center of Gravity
    Touchscreen Interface
    Exceptional Safety Performance from Skateboard Design
    Battery Pack of 1000's of Thermally Managed Consumer Electronics Cells

    Sales
    Direct to Consumer Sales Model w/Factory-Owned Stores + Internet Purchases
    No Current Traditional Advertising

    Service
    Over-the-Air Software Updates
    Supercharger Network
    Smart Phone App Control
    'At-Cost' Service Model
    Fuel Up at Home

    Manufacturing

    Gigafactory
    Highly Adaptable Robotic Factory (Fremont)
    High Percentage of in-House Manufacturing (not just assembly)
    Stationary Storage Products (announced)

    Design/Engineering Process
    CEO Involved in Product Design
    Tight, Vertically Integrated Design/Engineering/Manufacturing Process
    Open-Sourcing Patents

    Other thoughts, comments?
     
  2. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    One thing you left out, which I think is possibly the biggest technical contribution they've made to date, is the "RAID" battery pack - made up of large numbers of inexpensive small cells each individually fused and with thermal protection around them, so that a cell failure has minimal impact on the vehicle as a whole and won't cascade, while allowing them to use denser chemistries and mass produced cells.
    Walter
     
  3. aronth5

    aronth5 Long Time Follower

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    Cattledog, excellent list.
    The concept of continual product improvement without being tied to the traditional model years.
     
  4. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    Saghost - Yup, yours is sort of a smack your head one and not really captured in my list. Good catch.

    Aronth - Thanks, I am giving a talk on Tesla to a bunch of architects in May at the American Institute of Architects national convention and I am trying to ask the question, "What can our profession learn from Tesla?" So I am looking for input from my good TMC friends by helping think about all the ways they took an unconventional, or 'first principles' approach to things. Will be fun to see others' thoughts.
     
  5. haid

    haid Member

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    * Keep demand high by doing the right thing for customers & expanding to new markets early (and other reasons).
    * High demand minimizes the need to pay for advertising
    * High demand is a buffer against regional issues (local dealer associations, etc.)
    * A real, public, multi-year plan
     
  6. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    what about

    releasing all tesla patents (well, most) for free? thats a big one.

    and im sure theres a bunch re; spacex, but that's separate.
     
  7. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    I think to keep a running list at the top, I'll add some of the ideas in red.
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #8 TEG, Feb 23, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2015
    Willing to roll up their sleeves and design/build anything if they don't find what they want.
    For instance, they tried to use some sort of 'standard' charging solution, but decided that nothing was going to live up to their expectations, so they designed their own connectors, DC/QC system, etc.

    Modular, "building-block" approach to things. SpaceX is building bigger rockets by adding more small engines (instead of just making bigger and bigger engines.)
    Tesla has bigger battery packs by adding more and more cells.
    Tesla has charger modules they stack to do "dual charger" Model S, and very many in parallel in the supercharger cabinets.

    Leader in taking advantage of materials engineering... Roadster had evolved state of the art for carbon fiber bodies. Model S is a leader in aluminum construction techniques.

    Evolved ability to achieve world class aerodynamics and at the same time make very attractive designs.

    Attempting to be a leader in self driving technologies.
     
  9. Bet TSLA

    Bet TSLA Member

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    By May Elon will (probably) have revealed the "new service model" he talked about recently, which I expect to be something innovative.
     
  10. strangethingintheland

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    Some possibilities:
    - Supercharger Network and decision to make it free. Buildout during 2nd gen phase so that by the time their mass market car appears they have the dominant supercharger network footprint, for free, with fastest charging times, in best locations (that last being a first mover advantage).
    - Funding growth by moving downmarket. Calculated strategy to begin upmarket, where margins can afford to be higher, and using that to fund the significant capex required to move downmarket to mass market without significant
    - I read an article that they built their own SCM software rather than going with what all the other auto manufacturers went with (presumably SAP), as a long-term competitive advantage.
     
  11. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    On the sales/ownership side...

    - financing program
    - residual value guarantee

    Dunno if I'd categorize them as innovations or what. Just mentioning them for consideration.
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Rather than free I'd say that it's up-front payment for the life of the car. This is important because that means the heavily front-loaded costs are paid for more rapidly. Then by eliminate ongoing payments:
    a) no account management or other payment systems, lowering management overheads and increasing reliability.
    b) authentication between car and charger eliminates the need for constant connectivity, increasing reliability.
    c) authentication between car and charger eliminates the time taken to handle the financial transaction, reducing total occupancy time of charging slots.

    It's a great example of how Tesla is always thinking ahead.
     
  13. Duckjybe

    Duckjybe S P232

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    Here is another potential innovation. What other consumer product company has a mission statement so altruistic and beneficial to our planet? Elon reminds us often of Tesla's goal "to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible". This clear altruistic mission is what helps motivate employees and customers to rally behind Tesla as not just another car company.
     
  14. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    Great information.
     
  15. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    All great contributions...others?
     
  16. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

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    For me the important part about Tesla is that they have designed the cars and charging network as a single system.
    They are the only manufacturer to build a true network of chargers to meet the capabilities of the cars.
     

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