Tesla Model 3 due to a suspension issue. Usually, when we hear about a Tesla recall, it’s just a bug that can be fixed with a software update, but recently we’ve heard about a few legitimate recalls for vehicles that were shipped with manufacturing errors.
Last month, they recalled over 3,000 Model Y’s for seat belt issues, and a few weeks later were under investigation for a similar issue in some Model S’s and X’s. Several weeks ago, the Semi had a physical recall also.
That truck had its first deliveries in December last year to PepsiCo, and 35 of them have been recalled because the parking brake might not engage when applied by the driver. They very quickly found the solution to that though, which is typically the case with Tesla.
Now, some 2018 and 2019 Model 3’s are having problems with their front suspension lateral link fastener, but it doesn’t sound like too serious of an issue. The fastener could loosen over time, which could lead to the lateral link separating from the sub-frame and causing the wheel alignment to shift, which could increase the risk of a crash.
So far, Tesla says they’ve had 25 warranty claims and 2 field reports since January 2019 that could relate to this issue, but there haven’t been any accidents or injuries caused by it. They’re recalling these 422 cars “out of an abundance of caution,” and the solution is to inspect and repair all the affected vehicles free of charge.
The takeaway from these recalls is that Tesla is still a growing company, ramping up their factories all over the world, and that’s going to come with some growing pains. New Tesla Board MembersNext up today, it looks like Tesla is going to have some personnel changes.
First, Tesla announced in an SEC filing that Tom Zhu would be appointed the Senior VicePresident of Automotive. Tom Zhu joined Tesla in April 2014, and previously served as the Vice President for Greater China, overseeing the construction and operation of Gigafactory Shanghai.
His expertise has led to a lot of Tesla’s growth, and we’ve seen this promotion coming for a long time. In the same filing, Tesla announced JB Straubel has been nominated as Class I director, and would be taking the place of the head of Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, who won’t be seeking re-election on the board.
JB Straubel was one of Tesla’s cofounders, but left the company in 2019 and went on to find Redwood Materials, a company dedicated to building a circular battery supply chain.
Now though, he may be returning as a Tesla board member.In their SEC filing, Tesla said, “We believe that Mr. Straubel’s extensive operational experience in senior leadership at the Company, combined with his engineering expertise and passion for cleantech, will make him an important asset in our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Whether Straubel joins the board or not will depend on a vote at Tesla’s 2023 annual shareholders meeting on May 16th. If Straubel does join the board, that would hopefully strengthen the relationship between Tesla and Redwood.
It’s a relationship that makes sense, and I hope it happens. Model 3 LeakNext is up today, we have a pretty huge leak from Tesla. Ever since its launch in 2017, the Model 3 has remained largely the same.
Tesla switched from chrome accents to black ones, added a power trunk, updated the center console, removed some sensors, and improved various things in the car over the past 6 years, but from the outside, that car still looks mostly the same.
In that 6 years though, Tesla has made a lot of improvement when it comes to manufacturing efficiency, and that has been a big motivation for what we’ve known as Project Highland. We first heard about project highland a few months ago, and while details have been scarce, we’ve known that Tesla will likely change the Model 3’s exterior a bit, upgrade its sensors, and completely revamp its manufacturing process.
For the exterior, we’ve had several sightings on the road where Tesla is clearly, purposefully covering up the front, and rear of the Model 3. That’s a red Model 3, and here’s a black one covered up, purposely hiding the headlights.
This was one of the first Project Highland Model 3’s as well where we noticed changes. Here the wheels are different, and the side fender camera line extends further into the driver-side door than a current Model 3 does.
This is something the Model Y has, but the Model 3 hasn’t. If they had nothing to hide here, they wouldn’t be covering it up, so something noticeable is going to change in those areas. We’ve also heard that Tesla will be adding hardware 4.0 on the new Model 3 and that they could even be adding cameras to the front bumper or headlights in it.
Then, we’ve seen multiple confirmations that Tesla is revamping their Model 3 production line in Fremont for this updated project highland. Then a huge update came via a source speaking with the Not a Tesla app.
We heard that Tesla was redesigning the headlights, adding a front bumper camera located similar to the Cybertruck’s front camera, updating the side mirrors a tad, adding new cameras, and new sensors, getting rid of the temperature sensor, replacing the wood trim in the interior with a fabric, and more.
They also said that this vehicle will enter production in Q3 of this year. So Tesla is refreshing this car’s design a bit while making it easier, and likely cheaper to manufacture. Now though, we finally have a photo of what this updated Model 3 looks like under those covers.
This photo comes via a post on Reddit, and there’s a lot to see here. Right off the bat, we can tell this is a Model 3, but it sticks out pretty quickly because of how different the headlights and front bumper are. The headlights are much tighter, and give the Model 3 a much sleeker design than the current headlights which somewhat add to the overall round shape of this car.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the current model 3, and project highland model 3. It’s amazing what these small changes can do for this car. The updated bumper size and new headlights change this car. It’s also missing a Tesla logo which could be what Tesla plans to ship or not.
We assume this is of course a prototype that Tesla has had entirely covered up, and someone leaked here. These headlights though take a lot of inspiration from the Tesla Roadster. It looks a lot like a combination of a Model 3 and the Roadster, which Tesla has still yet to ship, even though they announced it 6 years ago.
In general, Tesla is keeping what they have shipped on this car for a while, but these few changes make it stand out from previous years, and I like this design a lot. I’ve seen a lot of speculation here, and some think that this could simply be a body kit from a third-party company that leaked.
Here is why I don’t think that’s the case. First, this has Tesla design language written all over it and lines up perfectly with Tesla getting this car ready for rumored launch times. Second, check out the driver-side door.
That updated, extended Fender camera line that we saw extending into the driver door of a Project Highland Model 3 in the wild. It’s there. I haven’t seen anyone mentioning this. To me, that’s another piece that tells me this is Tesla’s Project Highland Model 3 and not a body kit upgrade.
It has the updated Fender line, and I don’t see why a body kit would make that tiny change, since it would require an entirely new door. For Tesla, it makes sense as they’re revamping the manufacturing of this car.We also spotted this exact feature in the wild.
Then, on the front bumper, I can’t see any ultrasonic sensors. Tesla just removed these a few months ago on the Model 3, and they are sticking with that change. Likely though according to rumor, there’s a front camera on this car in the spot we can’t see from this angle.
Then, if you think the photo might be photoshopped, here we can see that it isn’t. I am completely convinced that this is Project Highland Model 3. Everything lines up with the rumors and leaks we’ve heard, and now we’re finally getting a peak before Tesla officially launches that car in Q3.
I’m just curious what the car next to it might be. I assume it’s another of the same car. Maybe in this same location though, Tesla also has their Project Juniper Model Y which is rumored to come next year.
It’ll be interesting to see this change come since it will differentiate the Model 3 and Y for quite some time, according to the latest rumors. Next up today, Tesla is preparing to release another updated product, the Powerwall 3.
The Powerwall 2 has been the product Tesla has shipped for quite some time, and they updated that to a Powerwall Plus in 2021 which includes a new inverter and higher power output. Now “Electrek has obtained confirmation that Tesla has applied with some electric utilities to have a new product named Powerwall 3 approved as certified equipment for connection with those electric utilities.”
We don’t have specs or anything for this power wall, but it’s expected to bring easier installations, better aesthetics, and higher performance. It’s also expected to launch very soon given the fact that they already have electricians certified for it.
Many are hoping that this new power wall 3 could bring increased capacity since Tesla has kept it at 13.5kWh since 2016. We could also see Tesla shift their battery cell type, potentially moving to LFP. That could make these power walls cheaper, with a very similar product to what they currently ship.
I imagine they could also redirect the Chinese-made LFP batteries they currently use in the RWD Model 3 to this Powerwall 3 as they shift vehicle LFP production to the US. Cybertruck UpdateNext up, the latest updates on the Cybertruck.
A new video has been posted of the truck getting its suspension tested on an obstacle course at their Fremont factory. Since that truck was announced, Tesla said it would have an adaptive air suspension, where you can “Raise and lower suspension four inches in either direction for easy access Cybertruck or the vault, while self-leveling capabilities adapt to any occasion and assist with every job.
”We can’t quite see from these angles if the ride height is changing, but it’s good that Tesla is considering ride quality. When this truck is released, it’ll be competing with the Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning. Both of those trucks tout a very smooth ride, and I have had a great experience in my R1T.
Also during this test though, the Cybertruck made a few tight turns, and here you can see the rear wheel steering kicking in to make the turn even tighter.
This also appears to be the same production beta we saw last week with all-season tires paired with the old aero wheel covers. The flyover didn’t quite get close enough to see if the windshield wiper has had any changes, but you can see the triangular side mirrors.
More recently though, a Cybertruck prototype was spotted with new steel wheels. Photos were shared of the leaked truck on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum, and you can see it rigged with a lot of measurement devices as well.
There’s also a sensor on the wheel, that, as pointed out by Electrek, is a Wheel ForceTransducer.According to Kistler, the manufacturer of those sensors, they’re used “in the development and testing of complete chassis and chassis components…During measurement, a wheel force transducer replaces a standard wheel and measures the forces and moments acting on the tire contact patch.
”We don’t know what specifically they’re testing here, but the fact that we’re seeing sensors on these wheels means they’re a feature that Tesla is at least considering a permanent option on this truck.If they were just test wheels, Tesla wouldn’t be measuring them.
We haven’t seen these wheels before though, so it’s interesting that they’re testing them out this close to production.I guess it’s also possible though that they have been spotted out in public, but they were covered up by the wheel covers we’ve been seeing a lot of.
Then there’s a short clip from some Jeff Roberts drone footage where the Cybertruckis spotted. In this case, it’s a short shaky clip, but we can see the Cybertruck doing what appears to be wind testing. The interesting thing here is that this is taking place near Giga Texas.
Usually, we’re spotting the Cybertruck testing out near Tesla’s Fremont factory, but this one is testing in Texas specifically. All of these sightings add up to keep us excited that Tesla is actually working to release this truck soon.
Tesla Mega Pack ChangesNext up, Tesla has made a change to their Megapacks that will improve deployment speed and may increase their commissions for large-scale projects.
Tesla Megapacks has become the industry-leading technology for organizations that want tobring clean energy storage to their sites, but it’s not just for their batteries.
Megapacks also come with Tesla’s other cutting-edge energy products, like Autobidder andPowerhub. With that software, companies can monitor, control, and automate their energy storage, which is something no other companies offer all in one package.
Now, Tesla is deploying a new ‘Megapack controls platform,’ which could give the man an even bigger advantage. Chris Bowman, a senior staff product manager at Tesla, shared details about the new feature on LinkedIn.
He said “Our next gen. Megapack controls platform, combined with our industry-leading controller-hardware-in-the-looptest services (our “CHIL” platform), speeds up and de-risks deployment of Gigawatt scale battery and hybrid renewable plants.
This matters because time and time again, our competitors fail on control system commissioning, causing multi-million dollar losses and 3-4 month project delays.” So he both announced the new product and claimed that Tesla’s competition on this front is lagging behind.
He says this platform will allow Tesla to deploy Megapacks faster, and therefore take more commissions. That’s great news for Tesla because each commission is usually worth well over $ 100 million, but it’s also great news for the energy sector because more Megapacks will mean more clean energy being used.
Bowman goes on to say that “unlike our competitors”, Tesla provides “control solutions that work the first time.”This is a pretty harsh judgment of the competition, but Tesla has created a system that works. They recently announced their second Megafactory in Shanghai, which is capable of producing 10k Megapacks per year.
With the opening of this new factory and Tesla rolling out new features that make their products even more competitive, we’re starting to see Tesla’s lead in general energy, and not just cars. Their energy business is still a comparatively small percentage of Tesla’s profit, but it’s growing very quickly.
In Q4 2022, their energy storage deployments increased by 152% to 2.5 GWh, which is 300MW more than the previous quarter. That brings their total energy storage deployment for the year to 6.5 GWh, a 64% increase from 2021.
They said demand for their storage products was in excess of their ability to supply, and that’s evident on their Megapack configurator which is no longer accepting orders. This is just the beginning though. I won’t be surprised if they’ve managed to maintain this growth when they report their Q1 earnings on April 19th.
Other UpdatesLast up today, some updates from other automakers. Rivian has introduced a new configuration of their R1T.In December, they removed the quad motor, Max packs R1T, and promised to replace it with a higher horsepower “Performance” dual motor option.
Now, they’ve followed through with that promise. The Performance Dual-Motor AWD option gets a 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, has a 400-mile range, has 700 hp, and 700 ft-lbs of torque. On top of that, Rivian has applied for a new patent that describes a “movable panel” on the side of the truck.
The patent includes several photos that show the different ways this could work. One shows the panel flipping down to reveal a small storage compartment on the side. Another shows a pull-out kitchen table, with a panel that mirrors the gear tunnel door to make a set of two seats.
Whichever change they make, it’ll be an interesting addition to this truck, but I personally think it would be really cool if there was a built-in kitchen table that you could use while camping. At the Bank of America Securities Summit, Rivian’s CFO made a lot of exciting announcements.
Rivian Updates summarized the event in depth on Twitter, but the most notable announcement was that Rivian is still on track to become profitable by the second half of 2024.GMC has teased some early designs for their second fully electric truck, the Sierra EV.
This truck, built on their Ultium platform, is expected to get a 400-mile range, and we now have 2 new sketches showing off its “machined face”.The first edition Sierra will feature special interior accents, a panoramic glass roof, air ride suspension, and vehicle-to-home charging that can power your home for u to 21 days.
It’s also has 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque with a max towing of up to 9,500 pounds. For charging, it’ll be capable of 800V DC fast charging, recouping 100 miles in about 10 minutes. It’ll also feature the same 4-wheel steering crabwalk ability that we’ve seen on the Hummer EV pickup.
Reservations for the first edition will open early next year, and the AT4 trim will open later in 2024. The Elevation trim, their base model, will be available in early 2025.
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