Tesla 2018 production plans maybe not so ludicrous after all

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Motors and its CEO Elon Musk consistently push the envelope, seemingly as part of the company’s culture. When Tesla announced it was going to ramp up the Fremont, California factory to produce 500,000 vehicles in 2018, two years ahead of schedule (and just after the eruption of pre-order reservations for the mass-priced Model 3 in April 2016), automotive experts lined up to say it couldn’t be done.

But maybe the doubters should hold back. A report by global research and consulting firm Cairn ERA shows Tesla’s growth-rate goal has already been exceeded by three Chinese auto manufacturers, according to Electrek, indicating that what Tesla is attempting can be done.

“Based on our analysis, three of the top ten car companies in China reached or exceeded the growth rate that Tesla will need to reach over the next three years. We think the most likely scenario is for Tesla to produce 450,000 cars in 2018,” said Cairn ERA Managing Director Sam Jaffee in an email to Electrek.

The Chinese car market grew from 1.4 million cars sold in 2000 to 24 million in 2015, almost all manufactured in China. When Cairn ERA surveyed the top ten Chinese car makers, the average growth rate was 85.9 percent. Using that more conservative figure would calculate Tesla producing only 340,000 cars in 2018. However, Jaffee believes Tesla will be able to beat the Chinese growth model and that’s why he predicts 450,000 vehicles.

Jaffee explained why Tesla could even outdo the Chinese carmakers in rate growth — electric cars are simpler to put together. “The reason is the nature of the product. The Tesla Model 3, which will comprise the majority of Tesla vehicles manufactured in the year 2018, is a significantly cheaper car to assemble than any of the Chinese cars made by the ten automakers surveyed in this study. Tesla has revealed that there are approximately 8,000 discrete parts in a Model 3. Any internal combustion vehicle, even the cheapest sub-economy model, will have at least 20,000 discrete parts. An internal combustion engine (ICE)-based drivetrain is and always will be dramatically more sophisticated and complex than any electric drivetrain vehicle.”

While 450,000 is an impressive production number, it still isn’t the 500,000 annual vehicle production goal Tesla and Musk have thrown down. Jaffee stated that Tesla producing 500,000 vehicles in 2018 is “plausible, if aggressive.” Electrek, however, observed,  “To get to a production rate of 500,000 cars in 2018, Tesla would actually have to grow at only 30 percent of the rate its Chinese peers were able to reach during their strongest three-year period of growth.


Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.