Tesla Confirms They're Working on Wireless, Inductive Home Charging

By Kevin Armstrong
Wireless Charging Confirmed
Wireless Charging Confirmed

In a revelation that surprises no one, Tesla is working on wireless charging. The company bought a wireless charging company, then sold that company and kept all the engineers. It also hinted at wireless technology during Investor Day in March. However, we now have official confirmation from Tesla.

Franz von Holzhausen's Confirmation

Tesla's wireless EV charging development was officially confirmed in a recent interview with Jay Leno (below). Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla's Chief Designer, explained the project: "Oh, we’re working on the inductive charging. So you don’t need to plug something in at that point. You just pull in your garage, drive over the pad, and you’re charging."

While wireless charging is not new to the EV industry, Tesla's entry into this realm is noteworthy. Several companies, including WAVE and Plugless Power, have explored wireless charging for EVs. However, Tesla's involvement is expected to accelerate the technology's development and adoption.

While only home charging is being considered, the technology could translate to road charging, which now has a pilot program set up in Detroit. The technology behind this advancement involves rubber-coated copper coils embedded beneath the road surface. These coils enable charging for EVs equipped with specialized receivers. The project, a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation, Electreon, and other partners, is limited to vehicles with specific receivers, this technology paves the way for broader applications and integration into the existing EV ecosystem.

Despite the promise of convenience, wireless charging faces challenges, particularly regarding energy efficiency. Converting electricity into a magnetic field and back incurs energy losses, raising concerns about the technology's efficiency compared to traditional plug-in methods. Nevertheless, early reports suggest that Tesla's wireless chargers exhibit remarkable efficiency, potentially addressing these concerns.

The Genesis of the Wireless Charging Concept

Further highlighting Tesla's innovative approach, Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla's Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure, recently named Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Climate Leaders, provided an insightful comment during an Investor Day 2023. With a slide that read Can't Forget to Do Cool S***, she said, "We are Tesla, so we also want to make sure we are continuing to focus on providing really incredible charging experiences." This remark underscored Tesla's commitment to enhancing the EV charging experience, and the slide also showed a Model S parked with what appears to be a charging pad under it.

Tesla's pursuit of this technology was further evidenced by its acquisition and subsequent sale of Wiferion, a European company specializing in wireless EV charging. This strategic move, often called acqui-hiring, allowed Tesla to integrate key Wiferion engineers into its team while divesting the rest of the company.

Introducing wireless charging technology involves significant installation considerations, including the cost and the need for an inductive receiver on the vehicle. Despite these factors, Tesla's move towards wireless charging aligns with the company's vision of a seamless, automated charging solution, especially in the context of self-driving technology. The vision is to one day have cars that drive themselves; now, they may charge themselves, too.

Tesla Cuts Newly Formed Content and Ads Team, Musk says Ads Were “Too Generic”

By Cláudio Afonso

Tesla eliminated a newly formed marketing team of about 40 employees as part of its global layoffs, Bloomberg reported on Monday morning. On X, Elon Musk said the ads created by the team were “far too generic” adding that they would apply to “any car”.

The team was led by Alexander Ingram who joined Tesla in August 2019 as Communication lead for Automotive. After a few different roles connected with content and social media, Ingram was promoted last December to Senior Manager of Global Growth Content. In the new role, he was leading a global team of creatives focused on Tesla's first ads, as well as social media.

Ingram put out some excellent behind-the-scenes videos on Tesla’s technological advancements such as the one below explaining Tesla’s single casting.

Tesla’s Advertisement Strategy

At Tesla’s 2023 annual meeting of shareholders, Elon Musk said that the company would “try a little advertising and see how it goes”. Since then, Tesla ads have been seen in Google search results and on YouTube.

In Tesla’s proxy statement filed last week, it is seen that the automaker has spent around $200,000 on X-advertising through February 2024.

“As part of a multi-platform advertising campaign, Tesla also directly or indirectly purchased advertising on X, which totaled approximately $0.2 million through February 2024”

Bloomberg’s source added that Tesla still has a smaller marketing team in Europe.

Written by Cláudio Afonso | Info@claudio-afonso.com | LinkedIn | X

Tesla Is Ending Its Current Referral Program; New Version Will Arrive in “A Few Months”

By Cláudio Afonso
Tesla's Referral Program
Tesla's Referral Program
Not a Tesla App

Tesla shared on X that it’s ending its current referral program globally by the end of April. It’ll be replaced by a new one, but that is still “a few months away”, according to CEO Elon Musk.

When Musk was asked if the current credits would be lost, Musk responded by saying “No, just that new credits would not be earned until we launch a future referral program.” That means there’ll be a gap of a couple of months when owners will not be able to earn referral credits.

Tesla was always famous for relying on its community to promote its vehicles rather than spending millions (or even billions) in ad campaigns.

Through Tesla’s referral program — which started back in 2015— customers have been earning referral credits by having friends use their referral link when ordering a Tesla product or taking their first demo drive. At the time, it started with a direct $1,000 prize for the referrer but later evolved to a more complex system with different tiers and points.

Prizes have changed a lot over the years

In its latest version, scheduled to end by the end of the month, Tesla models (S, X, and Y), along with Powerwall, solar panels, and solar roofs, are available for purchase using a referral link. In this version, owners can redeem credits from merchandise to software upgrades for their vehicles. They can even redeem credits for several months free of Premium Connectivity or FSD.

The Evolution of the Referral Program

Tesla’s first referral program was released in July 2015 where customers who referred new buyers would receive $1,000 for every new Tesla Model S delivered. For those who were able to accrue 5 or 10 referrals for the US automaker, Tesla raised the bar and offered invitations to the opening of its Giga Factories or even a fully loaded Model X.

Over the first 2 years, Tesla significantly increased the value of the prizes and even offered free or discounted Roadsters with enough referrals. However, in 2019, Elon Musk decided to stop amid cost concerns.

The referral program was re-launched in late 2019 offering new buyers free supercharging for a period of time, FSD access, premium connectivity, or $500 off a new vehicle.

What’s Next

Given the considerable gap of “a few months” between the current program and the next one, it is expected that Tesla will bring a new structure with updated awards focused on minimizing Tesla’s cost while increasing the brand’s awareness.

Written by Cláudio Afonso | Info@claudio-afonso.com | LinkedIn | X

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