Tesla Accelerates Energy Storage Growth with Nevada Battery Expansion

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Energy Expansion
Tesla's Energy Expansion

Tesla is now making significant strides in the energy storage sector, expanding its battery production capabilities in Sparks, Nevada, and doubling the capacity of its existing battery factory in Lathrop, California, according to BNN Bloomberg.

This strategic move involves utilizing idle equipment from China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), a leading battery manufacturer. This expansion is part of Tesla's broader effort to onshore the supply chain for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cells in the United States, thereby enhancing its production autonomy and reducing dependence on overseas suppliers.

Tesla's Independent Control and Strategic Planning

In a notable departure from typical industry partnerships, Tesla plans to purchase machinery from CATL and install it at the Sparks facility. Tesla will maintain full control of the operation and cover all associated costs. CATL's role is limited to assisting with equipment setup, marking minimal involvement from the Chinese company. The new facility will focus on producing cells for Tesla’s large-battery Megapack product, which is designed for utility-scale energy storage applications.

Tesla's expansion in Nevada comes during heightened scrutiny by U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration over technology collaborations with China, especially in sectors like battery production. By minimizing CATL's involvement in the new facility, Tesla aims to address concerns about U.S. companies' dependence on Chinese partnerships and aligns with the national policy of reducing technological dependencies.

Doubling Down: Tesla's Lathrop Factory Expansion

In addition to the new facility in Nevada, Tesla plans to double the capacity of its existing battery factory in Lathrop, California. The expansion of the Lathrop factory and the addition of the new Nevada facility underscores Tesla's commitment to scaling up its energy storage capabilities.

This move aligns with Elon Musk's assertion during last week's earnings call, “I said for many years that the storage business would grow much faster than the car business, and it is doing that.’ He also stated that Tesla’s energy storage business delivered nearly 15 gigawatt hours of batteries in 2023, compared to 6.5 gigawatt hours the year before. “So tremendous year-over-year growth, triple-digits. And yeah, I think we'll continue to see robust growth in storage, as predicted."

Commitment to Supplier Collaboration and Growth

Karn Budhiraj, Vice President of Global Supply Management, shared insights on the company's plans during the earnings call: "Megapack continues to see strong demand signals globally, driving consistent growth trajectory through '24 and '25. We want to thank all of our partners who've put their trust in the Megapack team to execute critical infrastructure worldwide. And I would like to personally thank the Megapack engineering and production teams for their strong 2023 execution. Lathrop continues to ramp through 2024 with the operation of a second final assembly line to double capacity from 20 gigawatts to 40 gigawatt hours by the end of the year."

Elon Musk also emphasized the importance of Tesla's suppliers in this growth, "But we also do want to emphasize that we also expect to ramp orders from our suppliers. So this is not about replacing our suppliers, it's about supplementing our suppliers. So we are very appreciative of our suppliers. Panasonic, obviously, is our longest supplier. They're an amazing company. We've got CATL, we've got LG, and BYD."

The new Nevada facility, expected to become operational by 2025, will start with an initial output of approximately 10 gigawatt-hours (GWh). Plans are in place to expand the facility, contingent upon the project's smooth progression and establishing a stable supply chain. Once fully operational, the Nevada facility could contribute significantly to Tesla's overall battery production capacity in the region, potentially accounting for about 20% of the production, including the output from the Lathrop location.

Tesla Looks to Add New Full Self-Driving and Premium Connectivity Plans in Canada

By Kevin Armstrong
FSD subscription may be coming to Canada
FSD subscription may be coming to Canada

Tesla may soon support a monthly FSD subscription and the Premium Connectivity annual plan for Canadian customers. The possible move was discussed on X as Tesla’s Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development, Rohan Patel, responded to inquiries.

FSD Beta Subscription in Canada

The potential introduction of the FSD beta subscription in Canada represents a notable evolution in Tesla’s FSD pricing. The monthly subscription is available in the U.S. for $200 USD per month, this service allows Tesla owners to access the company’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Considering currency exchange rates, this could translate to around $270 CAD monthly for Canadian consumers. This pricing strategy aims to make Tesla’s ADAS features more accessible, offering flexibility to subscribe or unsubscribe based on individual needs and circumstances, such as seasonal driving preferences. Currently, Canadian customers only have the option to buy FSD in full at $16,000 CAD.

While a subscription service for FSD Beta may allow more drivers to try out the technology, it will also assist Tesla in gathering more information and improving the system faster. The more miles clocked by FSD, the more the system learns.

Miles driven on FSD
Miles driven on FSD

Premium Connectivity Annual Plan

Alongside the FSD beta, Tesla is exploring the possibility of offering an annual subscription model for its Premium Connectivity service in Canada. Tesla started offering an annual subscription for Premium Connectivity in the US back in 2022 at $99.99, representing a 20% savings. Premium connectivity offers drivers additional features such as Live Traffic Visualization, Satellite-View Maps, and streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube. The anticipated price for Canadian subscribers is set to be around $139.99 annually, offering a savings opportunity compared to the current monthly subscription rate of $13.99 CAD.

Patel's engagement on X highlights Tesla's proactive approach to addressing potential legal and regulatory barriers that might impede the introduction of these services in Canada. He committed to investigating these issues, underscoring Tesla's dedication to its Canadian customer base.

Strategic Investments and Enthusiastic Community

Tesla's plans for Canada go beyond just offering new subscription services. The company has made significant investments in manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain operations in the country.

Tesla FSD Beta v12 Auto Parks, Completes U-Turns, But Removes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Ability

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers

Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.

FSD V12 Does U-Turns

One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.

Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.

Parking Mode / First Glimpse at Park Seek

During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.

In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.

This could be our first glimpse at Tesla’s upcoming Park Seek feature that will eventually let the vehicle drop you off at the door and then go park itself.

Return of the Snapshot Button

Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.

Automatic Speed Offset

Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.

TACC is No Longer Accessible

Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.

This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.

Update 2023.44.30.20

FSD 12.2.1
Installed on 0% of vehicles
0 Installs today
Last updated: Feb 25, 6:00 am

Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.

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