Musk says Tesla did not plan to invest in Swiss mining company

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
Tesla's 4680 battery cells
Tesla's 4680 battery cells
Tesla

The Financial Times recently reported that Tesla had talks with Glencore about taking a stake in the Swiss mining giant. It seems that Tesla and Glencore held some sort of discussions starting as early as last year. Discussions apparently continued until March this year when Glencore’s chief executive Gary Eagle visited Tesla’s Fremont Factory.

According to the FT, Tesla supposedly planned to buy a minority equity stake of 10% to 20% in Glencore but both parties were unable to reach an agreement. Tesla had concerns over Glencore’s coal mining business which conflicted with the EV manufacturer’s environmental goals.

However, at an investor's conference today in New York, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla "never contemplated investing in Glencore." It's not clear what led the FT to think that Tesla was considering investing in Glencore, but there may have been conversations between Tesla and Glencore as Tesla tries to secure mining materials.

Glencore does plan to align itself with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and shrinking its coal portfolio over time.

Glencore is the world’s largest trading house and producer of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and Canada. A few years ago, Tesla secured a cobalt offtake agreement with the Swiss mining giant for Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin.

Will Tesla invest in mining?

Although talks between Tesla and Glencore did not lead to Tesla considering an investment in the mining giant, the discussions hint that Tesla is interested in what's happening in the mining industry.

Elon has said in the past that he prefers not to enter the mining industry, although Tesla will if they have to. Mining could become more of a constraint as Tesla increases vehicle production and scales the 4680 battery assembly line.

At the Q3 2022 earnings call, Elon was asked about vertically integrating into mining, and he responded:

“We’ll do whatever we have to. Whatever the limiting factor is, we’ll do. We do not artificially constrain ourselves. We don’t vertically integrate just for the hell of vertically integrating,” Elon Musk replied to Jonas.

“Like if there was a great supplier who’s better than us or we think is at least very good, or even where the economics of comparative advantage suggests that we should use that supplier, even if we could beat them, but we could use our resources to do something else that will be more productive, then we would in source in that case. But if we have to go mine, we will mine,” Musk explained.

The rise of EVs has caused many carmakers to become more involved in the mining industry to secure raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel that are needed to manufacture batteries.

These types of discussions will likely continue as the need for such raw materials increases. It is possible that Tesla's Master Plan Part 3 will involve the acquisition of a mining company so that Tesla can “scale to extreme size to shift humanity away from fossil fuels.”

Tesla Chief Designer Says His Favorite Vehicle Is Yet to Come

By Kevin Armstrong
The Tesla Roadster 2.0 could be Tesla's next vehicle to hit production
The Tesla Roadster 2.0 could be Tesla's next vehicle to hit production
Tesla

Tesla's Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, has designed the company's entire fleet of vehicles, but the Model S, 3, X, Y, Cybertruck and Semi are not his favorites. "My favorite one is the one that is coming.

I can't talk about (it)," von Holzhausen told CNBC. He then quickly pivoted the conversation away from that topic. Nevertheless, several rumored vehicles will be the next to carry the "T" logo. So, which one is the creative mind of Tesla referring to in his evasive answer?

Franz von Holzhausen Interview

Let's start with the suspects. A cheaper, smaller and less expensive electric vehicle has been predicted for years. More recently, there have been ideas about a van. And then there is the second generation of the highly anticipated Roadster. While von Holzhausen didn't talk about the next one, he did give some clues later in the interview. "My all-time favorite car is a '62 250 GTO (Ferrari). I mean, it is quintessential. It's an insane car. I'm also a big fan of this kind of wedge era. The early (Lamborghini) Countachs, the whole kind of flat, low sports car. Those were always the posters on my wall."

The Designer Loves Sports Cars

When a 54-year-old man reminisces about the cars featured in posters plastered on his wall when he was a kid, he is not excited about a van or a compact vehicle — no, he is excited about a sports car. The second-generation Roadster was unveiled in 2017 simultaneously with the Semi. But there hasn't been much mention of the sports car since. The company is just now delivering Semis, and Cybertrucks are expected in 2023, but the Roadster doesn't have an ETA. Or does it? The chief designer says, "… the one that is coming." So, we can only assume that the Roadster is next to hit the production line.

Tesla Roadster 2.0

A Designer Who has Changed the Industry

One of the first employees of Tesla back in 2008, von Holzhausen, recalls the early days and how things have changed. "There is a moment that I thought when I first joined Tesla that it would be great to see multiple Teslas in one drive experience around town. And now, it's hard to go anywhere without seeing a bunch of Teslas. So, it's great to see the impact that Tesla has had in people's lives but also how it's changed the industry. It really pushed this idea that an EV can be better than an internal combustion vehicle."

He also gave some insight into designing vehicles that have and continue to change the auto industry, "Tesla isn't beholden to what has been done in the past. We are always trying to push the boundaries and deliver on a promise of something fun, something enjoyable and something you would love to own and tell your friends about."

It looks like The Roadster could be the next fun, enjoyable vehicle to tell everyone about.

Tesla's 2023 Model 3 'revamp' is for cost-cutting, not a redesign

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla's revamping its Model 3 vehicle
Tesla's revamping its Model 3 vehicle
Tesla

Tesla’s gearing up for a small "revamp" of its popular Model 3 vehicle, which is set to go into production in the middle of 2023.

According to Reuters, the revamp is called “Project Highland” and aimed at lowering the production costs and increasing the Model 3’s attractiveness and not because it needs a redesign. The Model 3 was launched back in 2017, and Tesla has already sold well over 1 million of them.

According to our sources, don’t expect a design overhaul of the Model 3, though. Instead, Project Highland will focus on reducing the number of components and complexity of the Model 3’s interior.

The main goal of this Model 3 revamp is to increase manufacturing efficiencies and reduce costs. Tesla would like to get the Long Range and possibly the Performance variants of the Model 3 to qualify for the US tax incentive for 2023. Under this tax credit, manufacturers’ suggested retail price for brand-new sedans must be less than $55,000. For SUVs, trucks and vans, the maximum price is capped at $80,000.

Our previous evaluation of the vehicles that would qualify include the Model 3 RWD, Model Y Long Range (AWD), and Model Y Performance. However, this will likely change once the revamp goes into production.

Do not expect new vehicle features to be added to the Model 3, such as a rear display, air suspension, or ventilated seats. These features would raise the price of the Model 3 and create a significant overlap between the Model 3 and the refreshed Model S.

Yoke Steering Wheel

One new feature that is possible in this Model 3 revamp is the introduction of a yoke steering wheel or more likely, a wheel similar to the Tesla Semi, which has capacitive controls and no stalks. The stalks are replaced with capacitive controls on the steering wheel and touch controls on the vehicle's display. We previously reported on this rumor in August.

Redesign Rumors

A few rumors are floating around online including a redesigned front bumper and removal of door handles in exchange for touchless doors like the Cybertruck and Roadster 2.0, although our source tells us that this is cool, but not accurate.

The revamped Model 3 is likely to remain without its ultrasonic sensors, as Tesla is beginning its transition to its own Tesla Vision. This technology uses the vehicle’s onboard cameras and vast amounts of data from the neural net to function.

Over the past few years, Tesla has made significant efficiencies in the way it builds and manufactures vehicles. Recently, the Model Y switched to a single-mold front casting. This requires 169 fewer pieces and 1,600 fewer welds. To achieve this, Tesla is using its Giga Presses at its Berlin Gigafactory.

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