How Tesla's Constant Improvements Are Making Its Vehicles More Affordable

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's future vehicle designs will be determined by how they can be manufactured
Tesla's future vehicle designs will be determined by how they can be manufactured
Tesla

Tesla has revolutionized the automobile industry with its innovative and futuristic electric vehicles. The company's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy has propelled it to become one of the most valuable car companies in the world. But Tesla's success is not just based on its mission or sleek designs. The company has constantly worked towards improving efficiency in its manufacturing process, resulting in faster production times, lower costs, and, ultimately, greater accessibility to electric vehicles for consumers.

During Investor Day, Tesla's Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen and Lars Moravy, Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, discussed how the company continues to improve its manufacturing process, allowing it to produce more vehicles faster.

Cybertruck Changed How Tesla Works

Tesla's Cybertruck is a prime example of how the company has continued to innovate and improve its manufacturing process. Before this vehicle, the company intended to scale production by combining design, engineering, and manufacturing. This change resulted in a more efficient process; however, the shift to fully automated manufacturing caused production issues, leading Tesla to understand the importance of balancing human and robotic labor.

Now, instead of designing a vehicle and figuring out how to manufacture it, Tesla designed the Cybertruck around the manufacturing process. This approach led to using stainless steel, which resulted in a more efficient operation and a dynamic design. Tesla's manufacturing approach has always focused on making constraints part of the solution.

Changes to the Entire Process

As detailed in the slide presentation, the modelized structural battery is on the floor, and the interior and seats are attached from the bottom up or top down. This allows for better operator density, less time doing nothing, and a 30% improvement in space-time efficiency. In addition, Tesla is now looking to balance parallel and series manufacturing, building all sides of the cars independently, painting only what is necessary, and assembling the car parts only once. This will lead to a 40% reduction in footprint, allowing for faster factory building and more output per unit. This innovation will reduce costs by up to 50% and increase the scale and adoption of electric vehicles.

Tesla's success in the automobile industry is based on more than just its mission or sleek designs. The company's commitment to improving manufacturing efficiencies has not only made electric vehicles more accessible to consumers but has also set it apart from its competitors.

Tesla's ability to combine design, engineering, and manufacturing simultaneously and turn constraints into solutions has resulted in innovative and exciting vehicles that are also affordable. By improving manufacturing processes, Tesla is accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy and changing the automobile industry.

Tesla Reduces Price of FSD Subscription to $99 Per Month [Subscriptions Now Available in Canada Too!]

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla just dropped its FSD subscription pricing dramatically in the U.S., lowering the cost from $199 to $99 per month. However, not everyone is thrilled with the new pricing.

For owners who bought the Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000 USD, Tesla offered a lower-priced FSD subscription of $99, instead of $199. However, with this new FSD price reduction, EAP owners are no longer receiving a discount.

FSD Subscription Expansion

Currently, the FSD subscription is only available in the U.S., but plans for expansion are underway. Tesla's Rohan Patel recently announced that the subscription will soon be available in Canada, alongside the introduction of an annual plan for Premium Connectivity. 

This expansion into the Canadian market is anticipated to follow a similar pricing strategy, adjusted for the currency exchange rate, possibly setting the cost at approximately $140 CAD per month.

Update: Tesla has just announced that FSD subscriptions are now available in Canada! What’s even more surprising is the unexpectedly low subscription price of $99 CAD. Tesla took to X to announce the availability in Canada but unfortunately didn’t reveal any additional information regarding the subscriptions.

Is Buying FSD Still Worth It?

Despite the lowered subscription price, the outright purchase price for FSD remains steep at $12,000. This price point equates to subscribing to the service for over 10 years. Given that the average length of car ownership in the U.S. is about 8 years, this makes the current price of buying FSD unattractive to most. The saving grace of buying FSD is that you know what you're paying for the life of the vehicle and can avoid any potential subscription price increases.

Temporary Reduction or Long-term Strategy?

Tesla has not confirmed whether the price reduction is a temporary promotional tactic or a permanent adjustment. The timing coincides with Tesla's release of FSD v12 and its trial offer, suggesting that the company is keen on encouraging more drivers to experience FSD. This approach not only boosts user engagement but also accelerates the volume of data Tesla can collect to improve the system.

FSD With Referral Credits

Although Tesla hasn't adjusted the price of buying FSD, it is tweaking its referral program to accommodate the new price. Three months of FSD are now available through Tesla's referral program for 6,000 credits, reduced from the previous 12,000 credits.

Tesla's reduction in FSD in the U.S. and its planned expansion into Canada reflect a strategic initiative to make FSD more accessible and financially attractive to a broader audience. There's no doubt this change will increase the number of FSD subscriptions, but it'll be interesting to see how much. To break even, Tesla would need to double the number of subscriptions, but they likely have their eyes set much higher.

If you currently subscribe to FSD, Tesla has automatically reduced future payments to the lower $99 price point.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Additional Features in Upcoming Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla frequently introduces new models or trim levels before all the software features are available. This situation also applies to the Cybertruck, where several features are still in development.

In the 2024.8 update, Tesla added a handful of features to help the Cybertruck catch up in the software department, adding features such as Reset Tire Mileage, Rear Passenger Headphones, Auto Wipers and others. Tesla also added a Cybertruck exclusive feature that sets off the truck's alarm if the trailer is unhitched from the vehicle.

However, Tesla continues to improve Cybertruck's software. The company is planning an upcoming update that will let the truck charge faster and add Tesla's convenient cabin overheat protection feature.

According to Tesla's SVP of powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino, the Cybertruck's charging speed is about to be upgraded. This software update, slated for release later this quarter, is set to substantially improve the Cybertruck's charging curve and unlock faster charging times for owners. Baglino said the update will "let the Cybertruck get 154 miles of charge in just 15 minutes." That's a 20% increase over the truck's current 128 miles in 15 minutes.

Early reports on the Cybertruck's 4680 cells revealed a somewhat disappointing charging curve. The truck's charging speed would start at about 250kW, then drop off to about 150kW at ~40%. It would then level off at 75-80kW for the remainder of the charge.

It seems Tesla was being careful with the Cybertruck's new battery pack, but now, the company is ready to unlock additional throughput.

This fits Tesla's usual approach. The company likes to start conservatively and then improve its vehicles over time.

Cabin Overheat Protection

Another feature that's set to arrive on the Cybertruck is Cabin Overheat Protection (COP), according to the Cybertruck's program manager. This feature which keeps the cabin from overheating has been available in other models for several years, but it has yet to be made available for the Cybertruck.

In 2022, Tesla added the ability to customize the temperature at which COP would turn on. Users can now choose COP to activate at 90, 95 or 100º Fahrenheit. The Cybertruck's COP is expected to match the same features available in other models.

Given that Tesla's SVP and program manager have officially commented on these upcoming features, it may not be long before we see them available in an upcoming update.

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