Elon Musk recently tweeted that Tesla may need to get into the business of sustainable mining and refining of lithium. With rare-earth metals being Tesla's main limiting factor to scaling, it makes sense that the automaker would consider vertically integrating this segment of its supply chain.
Lithium is a key component in electric vehicle batteries and demand is surging amid the global push for electrification. With demand surging and pandemic-triggered supply chain issues, the price of lithium has seen a drastic increase in recent years.
Musk replied to a World of Statistics tweet highlighting the massive increase in the price of lithium over the past decade. According to the tweet from @stats_feed, lithium costs have risen from $4,450 per tonne in 2012 to $78,032 in 2022. Lithium costs have increased by 1,654% in the past decade and 480% in just the past year.
Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve.
There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.
Musk explains that "There is no shortage of the element itself" rather, the process of extraction and refinement is slow and therefore costly. Musk replied to Twitter user @PPathole, saying Tesla has some "cool ideas" for sustainably extracting and refining lithium.
We have some cool ideas for sustainable lithium extraction & refinement
This is not the first time Tesla has floated the idea of lithium mining.
In 2020, after securing rights to a lithium mine in Nevada, Tesla outlined a plan to start mining for lithium. Two years later, the electric car giant may start mining lithium due to the skyrocketing cost of battery metals.
Tesla notified the NHTSA that it will update its automatic widnow system
Tesla will soon send an over-the-air update to address the Automatic Window Reversal System. During product testing in mid-August, the company's technicians detected the system varied in response to obstructions in the window path. After more testing, Tesla concluded that it would notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a voluntary recall to address the issue.
The majority of Tesla's recalls are much different than traditional automotive recalls. Tesla owners don't have to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle to a service department. Instead, the company will update nearly 1.1 million Teslas using an over-the-air update. However, several news organizations picked up the recall, some linking it to the lower stock price when the market closed. Elon Musk tweeted: The terminology is outdated & inaccurate. This is a tiny over-the-air software update. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no injuries.
The recall and Musk's tweet generated a lot of discussions on social media and in comments below articles on news websites. What Tesla is doing is not a recall in traditional terms. However, it is the only course of action available to the company in the current system to notify the government and owners of required changes.
With more of the automotive industry following Tesla's lead, the recall term will be misleading as most fixes to electric vehicles should be conducted through updates, not physically bringing the car to a service center to change parts. A more fitting term that should replace recall in this new EV world should be: update. The headlines would read, Tesla is Updating its Automatic Window Reversal System. That is much more accurate to what is happening. It should surprise no one that Tesla does not fit the archaic terminology used by the industry.
In a report filed with the NHTSA, Tesla states that it "is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, crashed, injuries or deaths related to this condition." However, starting September 13, the company started updating vehicles' firmware in pre-delivery and one production line. This change came one day after notifying the federal authorities about the voluntary recall. The over-the-air update will go to Model Xs, and Model Ss built between 2021 and 2022; Model Ys produced from 2020 to 2022 and Model 3s dating back to when the car first hit the market in 2017.
Tesla's next update will be update 2022.36 instead of 2022.32. Tesla's version naming is based on the year and the week number. So update 2022.36 would have been started around the 36th week of 2022.
Tesla traditionally releases an update every four weeks, but sometimes updates can take longer to develop, test, or fix bugs, causing the version number to fall behind the calendar.
Although it doesn't happen too often, Tesla has skipped update version numbers in the past.
Given that we're now in the 39th week of the year, Tesla has chosen to skip version 2022.32 and jump directly to 2022.36.
Update 2022.36 is right around the corner and we're now having our first look at the features included in this update.
Tesla is adding support for a new language bringing its total to well beyond 20 now. Update 2022.36 introduces Lithuanian as a supported language for the vehicle's on-screen controls.
About two years ago Tesla added the ability to notify you via your mobile phone if the car doors, trunk or windows were left open.
With 2022.32 they're adding on to this feature and will now notify you if the car has been left unlocked.
If you have the walk-away lock feature turned on your vehicle automatically locks when you walk away if you're using a phone key or key fob. You also have the option to exclude locking when at home.
When tapping on a Supercharger icon on the vehicle's navigation system will reveal a pop-up that displays additional information about that Supercharger location.
Tesla already shows you the number of stalls available, the price and available amenities at the location.
With 2022.36 Tesla has redesigned the pop-up and will display historical usage for each Supercharger location.
It appears that Tesla will display typical usage for the location by providing an hourly analysis of how busy the Supercharger typically is at certain times of the day.
This feature should let us easily view the busiest times at Superchargers, letting us plan our charging stops a little better.
New Energy Graph
The biggest feature of 2022.36 is by far a new energy graph.
Tesla has made tremendous improvements around its energy predictions in the last few updates and although they haven't changed the UI of the energy graph, it has resulted in much more accurate predictions that now take wind, humidity, the number of occupants, phone charging and more into account when predicting energy usage.
With 2022.36 Tesla delivers a brand new energy app that shows much more detail on how the vehicle is using energy.
The new Model S and Model X haven't had the energy graph available and now this may explain why. Tesla has likely been working on this new energy graph for a while and didn't want to spend time adapting the old app to fit the new vehicles. The new vehicles may finally receive an energy app with this update.
The new energy graph will not only let you view the energy the vehicle is using while driving but also the amount of energy that was used while the vehicle was parked.
Whether the vehicle is driving or parked, you'll now be able to see a complete breakdown of all the different systems in the vehicle and how much energy they've used. Unfortunately, Tesla doesn't display energy used in kW, but in percentage.
The vehicle will also provide suggestions on how to improve efficiency.
At the top of the energy graph where you normally have Consumption and Trip, you'll now have a new option called Park which displays energy used while parked.
The consumption screen looks similar to the way it did before. It displays the vehicle's energy usage on a graph over a chosen distance.
However, the Park and Trip views have been completely revamped.
On the Park screen, the vehicle will display various vehicle components and their energy usage. For example, the vehicle will break down its energy usage over several categories including the vehicle's screen, vehicle pre-conditioning, cabin overheat protection, Sentry Mode and mobile app usage and more.
Next to each category, the vehicle will display the percentage of the energy used for the feature and how it compares to the rest of the fleet. This could be helpful to let you know whether the amount of energy used for that feature is in line with expectations.
You'll also be able to change the timeframe since the last departure or other periods.
Similar to the Park screen, the new Trip screen also displays a breakdown of energy used across different vehicle systems, although it also adds a graph at the top, similar to what's available in the vehicle today.
The graph will automatically change colors, not based on the battery state of charge, but dependent on whether the vehicle used more or less energy in the given segment of the route when compared to its predictions.
Underneath the graph, Tesla will display the amount of energy used for driving, climate, battery conditioning, altitude, and other systems.
In addition to displaying the percent of the energy used for each system, Tesla will also compare your usage to its prediction and the percentage difference above or below the prediction.
There could be other features in the 2022.36 update that aren't mentioned here and we'll have to wait a little longer to see whether there are any additional features.
The biggest update in this release appears to be the new energy app and many owners will be thrilled with its release.
We may start seeing 2022.36 going out to the public in the next couple of weeks. You can also view the release notes for 2022.36.
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