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In physics, a flywheel is a rotating disk that stores kinetic energy in its momentum and then spins that energy out to a nearby engine. In the context of business, as the flywheel rotates, it increases output or revenue without increasing input or cost.

Tesla, best known for being an all-electric car company, is, well, much more than just a car company. It has disrupted a legacy industry with a new business model and consumer approach. But Tesla didn’t stop there. It expanded to new industries, grabbed a stake in key infrastructure sectors, worked to decentralize power distribution, and now offers a new alternative to today’s utility industry. Tesla’s end products are state-of-the-technological-art — all of which interconnect in a flywheel that incites consumer allegiance across multiple sectors and keeps those consumers coming back to Tesla for more — in a flywheel effect, essentially.

Tesla’s mission statement is: “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.” Today, Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles, but also scalable clean energy generation and storage products, all part of a business model that prods the world to stop relying on fossil fuels and move towards a zero-emission future.

The intersecting notions of a flywheel in this article were inspired by Post Corona — From Crisis to Opportunity, by Scott Galloway (2020). The book draws upon the metaphor to suggest that, when today’s consumers are introduced to one product within a brand, they are more likely to purchase other products within that same brand. Companies today, Galloway explains, should be focusing on the reciprocal nature of consumerism so that the lure of one product leads consumers to other, different products made by the same company.

In the book, the author, an NYU Stern School of Business professor, unpacks how “tech” used to be a “narrowly defined industry consisting of companies that made computer hardware and software, which companies in ‘other’ industries bought for their business.” No longer is tech so specifically grounded. As an example, Galloway explains that combined tech/auto company Tesla appeals “through every aspect of its strategy: pricing, production, marketing, and even its leadership.”

In a February regulatory filing, Tesla acknowledged CEO Elon Musk’s numerous commitments. “Although Mr. Musk spends significant time with Tesla and is highly active in our management, he does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla,” the filing indicated. It described Musk’s leadership in SpaceX and “other emerging technology ventures.” Musk’s influence extends beyond Tesla to a company that merges the human brain with computers, Neuralink, along with a tunnel-building firm, The Boring Company.

In essence, the Tesla flywheel concept suggests that a person who purchases a Tesla Model 3 is more likely to add range at a Tesla Supercharger and eat at a Tesla restaurant. Later, when growing into other renewable energy options, that same consumer is more likely to choose Tesla Solar and Powerwalls over a competitor’s offerings. And who knows what else?

The Tesla flywheel concept makes the company very appealing to some investors. In fact, Canaccord Genuity estimates that Tesla will reach $8 billion in revenue by 2025.

Tesla Energy Storage alongside Use

The Tesla company website acknowledges that “electric cars, batteries, and renewable energy generation and storage already exist independently, but when combined, they become even more powerful.” That confluence is the essence of the Tesla flywheel.

EVs and other renewable energy sources rely on batteries, and Tesla has refused to relinquish its full autonomy as it grows into different products and sectors. As elsewhere, Tesla is planning for its own battery production in China and has been advertising for technicians for its Shanghai facility in recent months, part of better per unit profitability in the region.

The Tesla Energy division provides stationary storage batteries for residential (Powerwall), commercial (Powerpack), and utility-scale (Megapack) applications. Musk has noted on several occasions that Tesla Energy could someday become bigger than Tesla’s automobile business.

Storage is not just about enabling renewable energy — it’s also an important tool for ensuring the reliability of the grid, smoothing out peaks in demand for power, and preventing sudden surges that can overload local distribution systems.

Tesla’s Core Electric Vehicle Catalog

New regulations on safety and vehicle emissions, technological advances, and shifting customer expectations are bringing electric vehicles (EVs) into the consumer transportation mainstream. The Tesla flywheel is evident within its EV business model, which is based on 3 levels of consumer service: selling, servicing, and charging its electric vehicles, which maintains control over sales and service.

The Washington Post says that Musk’s “impulsive leadership” has vaulted Tesla from its initial entry “as an upstart electric vehicle pioneer to the world’s most valuable automaker.” Fortune named him its 2020 Businessperson of the Year.

An international network of Tesla-owned showrooms and galleries, mostly in urban centers, is based on direct sales and service, not franchised dealerships. The showrooms are complemented by internet sales as well as Service Plus centers. In some areas, Tesla mobile technicians make house calls, and service can even occasionally be delivered remotely — without ever physically touching the car.

Tesla has created its own network of “supercharger stations” where drivers can charge their Tesla vehicles in about 30 minutes using a proprietary network. The highly anticipated “Full Self-Driving” suite will be another way of allowing longer and safer road trips.

Future additions to the Tesla catalog include the Cybertruck, an all-electric pickup truck with angular proportions and stainless steel exoskeleton, and a Semi, which will invigorate long-haul trucking with more benefits for drivers and transit companies.

The Tesla Gigafactory Flywheel Phenomenon

Tesla’s has 4 “gigafactories” (‘giga’ stems from gigawatt-hour, or GWh, here):

  1. Giga Nevada — in Sparks, near Reno, Nevada;
  2. the Solar City Gigafactory at Buffalo, New York (Giga Buffalo? Gigafactory 2?);
  3. Giga Shanghai — the 2019 Tesla plant in Shanghai, China; and,
  4. Giga Berlin — the new European Tesla gigafactory, which is being constructed in Grünheide, near Berlin, Germany.

Three main gigafactory features are part of the Tesla flywheel phenomenon.

  • Separate from their scale, Tesla’s organization of production reverses much current conventional wisdom regarding production geography. For example, Tesla’s automotive facility in Fremont, California, reconcentrates manufacturing onsite as in-house brand componentry, especially heavy parts, or by requiring distant global suppliers to relocate in proximity to the main manufacturing plant.
  • As an electric vehicle producer, Tesla’s production and logistics infrastructures are important in meeting greenhouse gas mitigation and the reduction of global warming.
  • Tesla’s deployment of Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and predictive management are important. Gigafactory logistics contribute to production and distribution efficiency. Company effectiveness is a primer for all future industry and services as they seek to minimize time-management issues. Methods of reduction of wasteful energy usage become evident through dataset analysis.

Tesla’s global reach is extending to Europe and Asia. Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited was incorporated on January 8, 2021. Registered in Bangalore — the country’s technology hub — the company would start with sales and then potentially move on to assembly and manufacturing, Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, said. Also see:

The Long Reach of Tesla’s Flywheel

Tesla solar customers from now on will buy power systems that feed exclusively to Powerwalls. Powerwalls will interface only between the customer’s utility meter and house main breaker panel, enabling a relatively simple install and seamless whole house backup during utility dropouts, according to Musk.

Updates reflect customer feedback — many people thought their battery-less solar system would work in a blackout, only to be disappointed when it didn’t. Moreover, Tesla consumers seemed eager to gain protection against blackouts, so streamlining the offerings into paired technologies made sense — and deepened the Tesla flywheel effect.

CleanTechnica’s Zachary Shahan has outlined the extensive list of internal “Tesla companies” and their immediate competitors. If there was any doubt about Tesla’s flywheel effect, look no farther than these intersections of products and consumer loyalty to understand Tesla’s ongoing and seemingly impossible accomplishments.

  • Tesla Cars vs. BMW & Audi & Toyota & Honda — car manufacturing
  • Tesla Network vs. Lyft & Uber — mobility services
  • Tesla Supercharging vs. Electrify America & EVgo & Ionity & Fastned — fast charging
  • Tesla Charging vs. ChargePoint & EVBox & many others — home/destination chargers
  • Tesla Autopilot vs. Mobileye/Intel & Waymo & Cruise/GM & Nvidia — self-driving/driver-assist tech
  • Tesla Solar vs. Sunrun & Vivint Solar — solar panel installation
  • Tesla Solar Tech vs. SunPower & Trina Solar — rooftop solar generation tech
  • Tesla Energy Storage vs. AES & SimpliPhi & sonnen — stationary energy storage
  • Tesla Grid Services vs. Utilities around the world & Stem — grid services
  • Tesla Insurance vs. Allstate & Geico & State Farm — insurance
  • Tesla Stores vs. Auto dealerships — auto sales & service
  • Tesla Trucks vs. Freightliner/Daimler & MAN Truck and Bus & Scania & Iveco — semi trucks
  • Tesla Infotainment vs. Apple & Google — in-car infotainment
  • Tesla Computers vs. Nvidia & Intel — computer chips, systems on a chip, supercomputers
  • Tesla Batteries vs. LG Chem & CATL & Panasonic — battery cells
  • Tesla Seats vs. Faurecia & Johnson Controls & Lear Corporation & TS Tech & Toyota Boshoku — automotive seats
  • Tesla Robots vs. Kuka & ABB & Yaskawa Electric Corporation — industrial robots for manufacturing
flywheel

Tesla offices in Fremont, California. Photo by Zachary Shahan, CleanTechnica.


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CEO says Ford is ‘getting close’ to Level 3 autonomous driving that enables ‘hands and eyes off’

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CEO says Ford is 'getting close' to Level 3 autonomous driving that enables 'hands and eyes off'

In a recent interview, Ford CEO Jim Farley discussed the American automaker’s progress in autonomous driving, stating that it has achieved Level 3, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. However, it’ll still be a while before Ford customers get to test it out.

Autonomous driving remains a hot topic in the world of EV innovation, but much like the 1960s vision of a post-millennium future full of flying cars, true self-driving vehicles are taking much longer to come to reality than anticipated.

Despite its name, Tesla’s “Full-Self Driving” feature is not even close to the Level 4 standard that truly represents such capabilities. In fact, Tesla’s Autopilot is not even Level 3 by SAE standards; the only automaker to deliver vehicles with that level of autonomy is Mercedes-Benz and its Drive Pilot ADAS. Still, that feature is only authorized to operate on approved highways in the US at speeds below 40 mph.

Level 3 autonomy means the driver can take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road, and the car will be in control (and liable for any accidents). Most automakers, like Ford, have achieved Level 2 autonomous driving, which enables hands-free but eyes up.

In fact, Ford’s BlueCruise won Consumer Reports’ top spot for driver assistance systems in 2023, beating out GM’s Super Cruise. Tesla placed seventh. Recently, Ford CEO Jim Farley shared an update on the automaker’s progress in autonomous driving, which has already reached Level 3 at the prototype stage.

Ford autonomous
Ford’s Level 2 BlueCruise autonomous driving feature / Source: Ford Motor Company

Ford CEO: Level 3 autonomous driving coming in 2026

In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, Ford CEO Jim Farley relayed that the company has already been testing out Level 3 autonomous driving, and the technology is about two years away from making its way to passenger EVs. Per Farley:

We’re getting really close. We can do it now pretty regularly with a prototype, but doing it in a cost-effective way is just the progress we’re going to need to make.

Level 3 autonomy will allow you to go hands and eyes off the road on the highway in a couple years so then your car becomes like an office. You could do a conference call and all sorts of stuff.

Farley didn’t share any details of how Ford intends to achieve Level 3 autonomous driving or whether the automaker is exploring LiDAR or vision camera technologies… or both. In 2022, Ford absorbed its autonomous driving arm, Argo AI, stating that full self-driving was too far off.

Given the quick success of hands-free driving through Level 2 ADAS, Level 3 feels like a natural next step for the industry and feels much more plausible than full autonomy being promised by other automakers. All eyes will be on 2026 to see if Ford can deliver a mass-market EV with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.

We will keep enjoying hands free driving with BlueCruise, Super Cruise, and Autopilot until then.

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Steep discounts boost EV registrations in April as Toyota, Ford, Rivian lead growth

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Steep discounts boost EV registrations in April as Toyota, Ford, Rivian lead growth

Ford, Rivian, and Toyota led the growth in April as US EV registrations perked up. The growth comes after drastic price cuts and other incentives led to over $10,000 in savings on some models.

Despite talk of cooldown, electric vehicle sales are still growing. Leading EV brands, except Tesla, saw significant growth in April 2024 registrations compared to the previous year.

According to new S&P Global Mobility vehicle data (via Automotive News), EV registrations were up 14% in April. With 102,317 electric cars registered in April, EVs accounted for 7.4% of total light-vehicle registrations.

EVs outpaced the overall light-vehicle market, which had a 7.3% gain. The report notes that the growth was driven by “bonus cash, subsidized financing and lease deals,” as many EV prices reach price parity with their comparable ICE models.

“Automakers are bringing EV prices down to the ICE level and it’s moving the merchandise,” according to Tom Libby, associate director of industry analysis at S&P Global Mobility.

April-EV-registrations
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash (Source: Ford)

Significant deals charge up April EV registrations

Several electric models had double-digit registration growth in April compared to the year before. Leading the way was Toyota’s bZ4X, with 4,666 registrations, up 646% YOY.

However, to be fair, Toyota only sold 625 bZ4X models last April after a slow ramp-up following a recall in 2022 that halted production.

April-EV-registrations
Ford Mustang Mach E at a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Ford)

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E had the second-highest growth at 287%. In April, 5,538 Mach-Es were handed over, up from 1,384 last year. The growth comes after Ford slashed prices and introduced new lease incentives earlier this year.

The Ford F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling electric pickup, had 96% more registrations (2,509 vs 1,282) in April than the year before. Ford also introduced significant incentives on the EV pickup.

Place Top 10 EV models in April April 2024 Registrations April 2023 Registrations % Change YOY
1 Tesla Model Y 32,922 34,542 -4.7%
2 Tesla Model 3 8,912 19,844 -55.1%
3 Ford Mustang Mach-E 5,358 1,384 +287.1%
4 Toyota bZ4X 4,666 625 +646.6%
5 Hyundai IONIQ 5 4,078 2,117 +92.6%
6 Rivian R1S 2,855 1,259 +126.8%
7 Ford F-150 Lightning 2,509 1,282 +95.7%
8 Tesla Cybertruck 2,181 0 N/A
9 Kia EV6 2,178 1,124 +93.8%
10 Tesla Model X 2,094 1,883 +5.8%
Top ten EV models by registrations in April 2024 (Source: S&P Global Mobility)

Rivian’s R1S also saw triple-digit year-over-year growth in registrations. The R1S had 2,855 registrations, up 127% from the 1,259 in April 2023.

Kia’s EV6 had 94% more registrations, with 2,178, compared to 1,124 in April 2023. Meanwhile, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 continued its hot streak with 4,078 registrations, up 93% YOY.

Rivian-R1S-EV-registrations-April
Rivian R1S (Source: Rivian)

Tesla was the only automaker in the top ten, with EV registrations slipping in April. The Model Y had 32,922 registrations, down 4.7% from 35,542. Tesla’s Model 3 registrations were down 55% YOY with 8,912.

Although many reports suggest Tesla is dragging down the sector, several events, like the new Model 3 launch, contributed to fewer registrations.

Hyundai-new-IONIQ-model
Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

The momentum is expected to continue, with several automakers introducing even more discounts and savings opportunities this month.

Ford slashed Mustang Mach-E lease prices in June with an up to 400% discount. Hyundai is offering a $7,500 cash bonus on all EV models, including the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and new Kona Electric.

Several new EVs are already hitting the market with significant discounts. Chevy Equinox EV lease prices fell to as low as $379 per month, while the Blazer EV is listed as low as $369 per month.

If you’re looking for a new EV, now is the perfect time to start shopping. We can help you get started today. You can use our links below to find deals on popular EV models in your area.

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Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent Gen 2 released – here are all the new features

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Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent Gen 2 released – here are all the new features

Drive a Tesla Model Y? Love the outdoors? Then you’re going to love Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2! Keep reading to learn more about all its terrific new features, plus get free expedited shipping US-wide!

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2

Popular US accessory maker Tesloid‘s “big, tiny home” for your Model Y lets you have outdoor fun without the hassle – no leaky pup tents, no sleeping on the cold ground. It’s 100% waterproof, and you sleep on a mattress in the back of the car. (Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 fits all model years of the Model Y.)

Teslas are perfect for camping – no toxic tailpipe emissions! – so you can back your Model Y right into the tent. Suppose it gets too chilly or hot when you’re ready to sleep. In that case, Model Ys have the Camp Mode feature that maintains cabin temperature and powers electronics using the USB ports and low-voltage outlet without draining the car’s battery. 

When you want to go out in your Model Y, you can close off and seal the tent, even on the side that connects to the car.

What’s new with Gen 2

Tesloid has taken a great Model Y Camping Tent and made it even better. Gen 2 is more robust – it has a dome-shaped exoskeleton that can withstand stronger winds, plus three sets of straps to mount it to the car. And like Gen 1, it’s bug-proof.

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 only takes 15 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to take down – nearly half the time of setting up Gen 1. Plus, when folded up, it fits inside the frunk, leaving the trunk wide open for all your other gear.

Gen 2 has a tighter seal around the Model Y, and it comes with lightweight fiberglass poles and sturdy ripstop fabric.

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 has 40% more floor space, with a 7-foot ceiling, 9.5 ft x 9.5 ft floor space, and 25 square feet of awning. And that’s not including the sleeping area inside the car. It also now features skylights and a flap that lets you easily access your charge port.

Photo: Tesloid

Let’s go camping, Tesla-style

You can order the Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 from the Tesloid website today for $499.99, and Tesloid offers free expedited shipping US-wide.

Tesloid also offers a Model Y Camping Bundle for a discounted price of $549.98 that includes an inflatable mattress specially designed to fit the back of the Model Y. Get ready to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing comfort.

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