Tesla applied with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to become a “Market Customer” in the electricity market in Australia – a move that is likely in preparation for the launch of its new “Tesla Electric” service in Australia.
Late last year, after gaining experience through its virtual power plants (VPPs), Tesla took things a step further with the launch of “Tesla Electric.”
Instead of reacting to specific “events” and providing services to your local electric utilities, as Tesla Powerwall owners have done in VPPs in California, Australia, and a few other markets, Tesla Electric is actively and automatically buying and selling electricity for Tesla Powerwall owners – providing a buffer against peak prices.
The company is essentially becoming an energy retailer.
Tesla Electric is currently only available to Powerwall owners in Texas, but the company has plans to expand its products through this new division.
We have recently seen efforts to bring Tesla Electric to the UK, and now we learn that Tesla is also setting its sights on Australia.
Robert Millar and Jon Sibley, distributed energy expert and consultant at the firm enX in Australia, found that Tesla filed with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to become a “Market Customer” in the electricity market.
Sibley believes it means one of two options:
One option is Tesla becoming the FRMP for its large-scale battery and public charging assets. Tesla would need to also register as a scheduled generator for large-scale battery purposes (noting IRP changes could change AEMO’s registration definitions).
Another more interesting option is Tesla becoming an electricity retailer to sell energy services directly to end customers, potentially with a EaaS/MaaS angle. Tesla Energy Ventures was the name used for retail registration in Texas. There is no information yet on a AER retailer authorization or exemption process for Tesla.
The latter would mean that Tesla would be preparing to launch its Tesla Electric service in Australia, which would be a great market for Tesla to expand Tesla Electric into.
Australia has had a lot of power issues over the years as it retires aging infrastructure and tries to manage a high penetration of renewable energy, which destabilized energy markets due to the inconsistency of the power supply.
Tesla first got involved by supplying its Powerpack in a large energy storage project owned by Neoen that became known as the “Tesla Big Battery.”
While in the region during the launch of the big battery, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was interviewed and presented with the significant hardship that Australia’s high electricity prices are putting on low-income families.
The unstable grid and high electricity costs result in some families having to decide between keeping the lights on or going hungry.
The CEO was visibly emotionally affected by the issue and vowed that Tesla would “work harder” to help solve the problem.
He wasn’t kidding, because a few months later Tesla announced that it reached a deal with the South Australian government to install solar arrays and Powerwalls on up to 50,000 homes – many of them homes of low-income families.
The goal is to provide lower electricity rates to those families by using those Powerwalls together into a large virtual power plant that can provide grid services.
Over the last few years, Tesla has gradually deployed Powerwalls to homes all over South Australia – working toward that goal.
As of earlier this year, Tesla disclosed having deployed Powerwalls at 4,000 homes in the state, and it was authorized for another 3,000 under the program. The company also has similar projects in various stages in other states.
The more Powerwalls deployed in a market, the more potential customers for Tesla Electric.
Volkswagen cites slow demand amid EV production cuts at German plants
Amid several reports that Volkswagen is cutting EV production at two German plants, the automaker revealed the reason – slowing demand.
Volkswagen suspends EV production in Germany
Last week, a report from the German newspaper Automobilwoche claimed Volkswagen was pausing EV production at its Dresden facility in Germany.
Volkswagen’s Dresden facility has built over 150,000 VW Phaeton, e-Golf, ID.3, and Bentley Flying Spur models since beginning production in 2002. Last year, 6,500 ID.3 EVs were built at the location.
The automaker will temporarily suspend ID.3 production at the plant for two weeks during the Saxon autumn holidays, as first reported by Germany’s DPA news. Starting October 16, the electric car will be built again in regular single-shift operation.
Dresden’s roughly 300 employees will be reassigned to other areas, including “innovative manufacturing and testing.”
Meanwhile, at Volkswagen’s main BEV plant in Zwichau, one of the two production lines will shut down during the holidays, according to a spokesperson (via Automobilwoche).
The news comes after VW announced at a staff meeting earlier this month it would be cutting 269 temporary jobs at the site.
Although Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Cupra Born will be impacted by the halt, ID.4, ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Audi Q4 sportback e-tron models will continue regular production in three shifts.
Volkswagen is discussing with local labor reps how to proceed with EV production at the Zwickau plant.
The company did not specify how many units or employees would be affected by the changes.
Volkswagen is struggling to attract new EV orders amid higher inflation and weaning subsidies in Europe. Europe’s largest automaker also faces a growing threat from more advanced EV competitors like Tesla and BYD.
The core Volkswagen brand faces pressure as cheaper, more advanced EVs are taking market share at home and abroad.
In Volkswagen’s largest market by revenue (China), the automaker was surpassed by BYD as the best-selling car brand earlier this year.
In the wake of slowing demand, VW slashed ID.3 and ID.4 prices in the region. But how long can VW keep this up?
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume aims to boost VW brand returns to 6.5% over the next three years. Currently, it’s around 3.6%.
With EV makers like Tesla, BYD, and several other Chinese start-ups expanding rapidly, Volkswagen will need to act urgently to risk falling further behind.
Honda’s new electric sports car will debut next month, hinting at an NSX successor EV
At the Japan Mobility Show next month, Honda will showcase several new products and tech, including a new electric sports car that will headline the booth.
The new electric sports car will “enable the driver to experience the pure joy of driving,” according to Honda.
Although the automaker was light on the details behind the project, it claims the concept will represent “Honda’s continuous pursuit of the joy of driving” while embodying Honda’s universal sports mindset and distinctive characteristics.
Also ready to make an appearance at the booth is Honda’s SUSTAINA-C Concept and Pocket Concept, designed to use limited resources.
Both models are made of recycled and reused acrylic resin with the idea of “resource circulation” for environmental sustainability and future mobility freedom.
Other EV products set to make their world debut include the Honda CI-MEV. The two-seat, four-wheel mini EV uses Honda’s cooperative intelligence (CI) and automated driving for last-mile deliveries and areas with limited mobility options.
A prototype of Honda’s new commercial-use mini EV with a portable external power output device, Power Exporter e: 6000, will also be displayed.
Honda to unveil new electric sports car
Honda revealed plans to launch 30 new EV models globally by the end of the decade, including at least two electric sports cars.
One will be a specialty model, while the other will be a flagship. Speculation suggests one of the models will be an NSX, a two-seater sports coupe (An Acura model in North America), with the other being a GT.
Honda teased the upcoming electric sports cars under wraps, showing a low-profile vehicle with a similar body design to the NSX.
According to the British automotive magazine Car, Honda’s EV performance car will ride on the automaker e:n platform, featured in its e:Ny1 electric SUV.
The EV could also wear the Type R badge, as Honda’s technical consultant, Kotaro Yamamoto, said, “Type R stands for racing. It’s a pleasure transported. An electric car can deliver this, and a Type R is not obliged to use a combustion engine. Even in a fully electric society, there will still be Type Rs delivering ultimate driving pleasure.”
Other than that, Honda is keeping the details under wraps. We’ll learn more about the electric performance car next month.
The electric sports car will make its world debut at the Japan Mobility Show, running from October 28 to November 5, 2023. Media days will be October 25-26.
Is this the production Tesla Cybertruck?
New Tesla Cybertrucks, rumored to be “Master Candidates,” the final step before production, have been spotted coming out of Gigafactory Texas.
For the past month, Tesla has had full and at times, partial shutdowns, of production at Gigafactory Texas as it conducted factory upgrades.
Yesterday, a drone video shot by Joe Tegtmeyer confirmed that workers are now coming back to the factory.
The video showed new Model Y bodies coming out of the factory and new Cybertrucks.
There have been rumors that the shutdown at Gigafactory Texas might have been linked to the start of Cybertruck production.
Tegtmeyer, who often gets to talk to Giga Texas employees as he flyes drones there almost daily, claims that the new Cybertrucks spotted coming out of the factory are “Master Candidates,” the last step before production.
While it can’t be confirmed if they are master candidates or production versions, the two Cybertrucks spotted at the factory did look a lot more refined than the previously spotted prototypes:
The trims and fittings seem to blend better with the stainless steel body of the electric pickup truck.
While we can’t judge the vehicle’s fit and finish too closely because the footage is taken from a distance with a drone, the looks of those two Cybertrucks are encouraging.
Tesla is expected to officially start Cybertruck production any day now with deliveries to start at an event likely within the next month.
More Cybertrucks have been spotted parked at the homes of Tesla employees, which is a good sign that internal testing has expanded.
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