Tesla's Master Plan, Part 2  

Posted by Big Gav in , , , , , ,

Elon Musk has a great blog post up outlining Tesla's updated plan for the future - Master Plan, Part Deux.

From the point of view of this blog, Musk is the most important person on the planet as he's been the most successful at accelerating development of 3 of the 4 pillars of the clean energy economy - electric vehicles, energy storage and (to a lesser extent) solar power.

The first master plan that I wrote 10 years ago is now in the final stages of completion. It wasn't all that complicated and basically consisted of:

Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car

Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.

The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn't want to risk anyone's funds in the beginning but my own. The list of successful car company startups is short. As of 2016, the number of American car companies that haven't gone bankrupt is a grand total of two: Ford and Tesla. Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.

Also, a low volume car means a much smaller, simpler factory, albeit with most things done by hand. Without economies of scale, anything we built would be expensive, whether it was an economy sedan or a sports car. While at least some people would be prepared to pay a high price for a sports car, no one was going to pay $100k for an electric Honda Civic, no matter how cool it looked.

Part of the reason I wrote the first master plan was to defend against the inevitable attacks Tesla would face accusing us of just caring about making cars for rich people, implying that we felt there was a shortage of sports car companies or some other bizarre rationale. Unfortunately, the blog didn't stop countless attack articles on exactly these grounds, so it pretty much completely failed that objective.

However, the main reason was to explain how our actions fit into a larger picture, so that they would seem less random. The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good. That's what "sustainable" means. It's not some silly, hippy thing -- it matters for everyone.

By definition, we must at some point achieve a sustainable energy economy or we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilization will collapse. Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better.

Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner:

Integrate Energy Generation and Storage ...
Expand to Cover the Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport ...
Autonomy ...
Sharing ...

So, in short, Master Plan, Part Deux is:

Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
Develop a self-driving capability that is 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning
Enable your car to make money for you when you aren't using it

Donald Trump right about something for a change ?  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The only time I ever feel any sympathy for Donald Trump is when I read some journal like The Washington Post and come across some neo-conservative warmonger calling Trump a fascist or some of form of the pot calling the kettle black.

One of Trump's occasional "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" moments came around recently when he referred to the looting of the US taxpayer funds that occurred during the George W Bush years, with billions dispatched to Iraq and straight into the pockets of the sorts of people and organisations that supported the invasion and occupation (not to mention the attempted grab for Iraq's oil).

The Washington Post responded to this outrageous slur with a column from an ex member of the US military talking about how insulted he was and how during his time in Iraq he "had distributed about $2 million to the people of Iraq for justified damage" (apparently the payment for having a parent or child killed while going about their daily business didn't attract a particularly large amount of compensation).

The question which came immediately to mind for me was that if that $2 million is the only money that can be (anecdotally) accounted for, surely someone must be wondering where the rest of the $7 - $12 billion dollars of cash ended up ?

Apple Energy ?  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Apparently the electric vehicle recharging market isn't enough to keep Apple amused - ReNew Economy reports they may also be looking to start selling electricity as well - Apple’s energy bombshell: Why it may sell you electricity.

Perhaps when they look down the highway at Tesla they see the future is about a lot more than phones and ipads...

The rise of electric vehicle power demand  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The recent Bloomberg report on peak fossil fuel consumption was based on data in the latest BNEF New Energy Outlook.

Another snippet of interesting information that I didn't note in the earlier post is the estimates for rising electrical power demand due to the switch from oil fuelled vehicles to electric powered vehicles - BNEF estimates that the rise of electric vehicles will add over 2,700TWh of power demand to 2040.

Seven climate records set so far in 2016  

Posted by Big Gav in

The Guardian has a report on the record breaking temperatures of the past year Seven climate records set so far in 2016.

1. The Arctic had its warmest winter on record in 2015-16
2. Since October every month has been the hottest on record
3. India's hottest day ever - 51 degrees
4. Alaska's warmest spring ever
5. Carbon dioxide levels pass 400ppm
6. Australia recorded its warmest autumn on record in 2016
7. 2016 has seen mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef

NASA Unveils Plans for Electric-Powered Plane  

Posted by Big Gav in

The NY Times has an article on NASA's plans for an all-electric airplane designated as X-57. The agency hopes the technology can be incorporated into general aviation and commuter aircraft - NASA Unveils Plans for Electric-Powered Plane.

The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has a new forecast that plots out global power markets for the next 25 years. The article dubs this "peak fossil fuels - a turnabout that's happening not because we're running out of coal and gas, but because we're finding cheaper alternatives" - The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity.

The report notes that demand is peaking ahead of schedule because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected.

The report highlights a number of major trends:

1. There Will Be No Golden Age of Gas
2. Renewables Attract $7.8 Trillion in investment up to 2040
3. Electric Cars Rescue Power Markets
4. Batteries Join the Grid
5. Solar and Wind Prices Plummet
6. Renewable energy technology keeps improving - Capacity Factors Go Wild
7. India is the New Polluter to Worry About

100 miles per gallon ? The Hybrid Stirling Engine  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

KHOU has a (confused) report on a Texas man who is experimenting with adding a Stirling engine to a hybrid car - San Antonio man has engine that gets 100 mpg.

How future-proof are the ideas of Buckminster Fuller ?  

Posted by Big Gav in

New Scientist has a review of a book on Bucky Fuller by Jonathon Keats, entitled "You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the future" - How future-proof are the ideas of Buckminster Fuller ?.

Chapter by chapter, Keats asks how the future has served Fuller’s ideas on city planning, transport, architecture, education. It’s a risky scheme, because it invites you to set Fuller’s visions up simply to knock them down again with the big stick of hindsight. But Keats is far too canny for that trap. He puts his subject into context, works hard to establish what would and would not be reasonable for him to know and imagine, and explains why the history of built and manufactured things turned out the way it has, sometimes fulfilling, but more often thwarting, Fuller’s vision.

It’s going to be a wild ride in the global lithium market  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

RENew Economy has a look at the forecast demand for lithium worldwide as demand for electric vehicles and energy storage ramps up - It’s going to be a wild ride in the global lithium market.


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