Will EVs' electricity usage burden the grid? A look at their impact

By Kevin Armstrong
Teslas charging via energy producting by solar panels
Teslas charging via energy producting by solar panels
Tesla

Teslas, which make up the majority of electric vehicles, got caught in the crossfire during the September heatwave in California. As a result, owners of zero emissions cars were asked to limit when they plug in to charge. However, now that the emergency has passed and cooler heads have prevailed, several reports are surfacing showing how little EVs drain the electric grind. Spoiler alert, it's not much, and maybe less than you thought.

Let's start with California. According to Scientific American, EVs in that state account for: "less than 1 percent of the grid's total load during peak hours." California has more than 1 million electric cars, the most of any state in the U.S. But what about the drain caused by the other 26 million EVs worldwide? It's even lower.

A research branch of Bloomberg studies "trends driving the transition to a lower-carbon economy," published a report looking at the global situation. According to BloombergNEF, electric vehicles add around 0.2% to global energy demand. That accounts for 27 million electric passenger vehicles worldwide using 60 terawatt-hours annually.

BNEF zoomed in on a country well ahead of the curve on EV adoption. More than 20 percent of the cars on the road in Norway are plugging in, and these EVs are racking up more miles than ICE cars. Plus, nearly 80 percent of vehicles bought in 2021 in that country are electric. So indeed, the system cannot handle such a drain - right? It turns out EVs in Norway account for 1.4 percent of demand on the grid.

BNEF also crunched the numbers to forecast future consumption. It researched two scenarios for EVs in the next two to three decades. One deals with the main driver of EV growth being market demand. This situation assumes there will be 730 million electric passenger cars by 2040. If that were the case, these passenger vehicles would increase electricity demands by 7 percent. When adding other vehicles like buses and trucks, the demand would rise to 11 percent.

In the other scenario, the report assumes the world will be net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. In that case, there will be 1 billion EVs on the road, which would increase demand to 9 percent, and when adding in other vehicles, that number goes to 15. The report went even further. If every vehicle on the road were electric by 2050, the demand on the grid would be 27 percent.

With more people going electric, that demand will grow, and it is up to jurisdictions and utility providers to upgrade the system accordingly. Every country, state and city must plan for this growth to handle the EV revolution.

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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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.44.2.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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