Supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic have been particularly challenging for the automotive sector. A global chip shortage among an onslaught of supply chain obstacles have adversely affected the entire industry. Tesla's vertically integrated strategy proved to be very advantageous when facing these supply chain challenges.
Tesla's insistence on vertical integration used to be one of the main reasons the company struggled to become profitable and reach volume production. Now, it has allowed the company to scale rapidly while the broader automotive industry is down amidst a supply chain disaster.
The conventional automotive business model has traditionally concentrated on design and final assembly while largely outsourcing to suppliers. This strategy left them extremely vulnerable to supply chain turmoil.
In the past, automakers outsourced as much as possible and mainly focused on supply chain management. In the short term, this strategy reduced production costs but in the long term, legacy automakers lost the ability to adapt, innovate and advance technology.
Automotive manufacturing has typically relied on third party suppliers which has led to supply chain contingency and reliance on external companies. This business model has been successful for a long time due to the maturity of the internal combustion engine and a lack of need for innovation.
Tesla recognized the stagnant supply chain of the automotive industry and revolutionized it by adopting a vertically integrated strategy.
Tesla is a chain of startups
- Elon Musk
In recent years, Tesla has defied the conventional business model, reducing supply chain needs and reliance on other companies.
Tesla has vertically integrated many production steps, from battery production to electric powertrain production and self-driving software. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tesla is a "chain of startups."
This strategy allowed Tesla to avoid shortages of batteries, which have hindered legacy automakers from reaching volume production of electric cars. Before legacy automakers began investing in electric vehicle manufacturing, Tesla partnered with Panasonic to build its first gigafactory to produce batteries. Now, the gigafactory ensures a reliable supply of batteries.
Lucid Motors, a newer EV automaker, has also adopted a more vertically integrated business model. CEO Peter Rawlinson says that gives them a huge advantage in the modern EV technology race.
In an interview, Rawlinson stated, “The electric powertrain cannot be bought off the shelf at a world-class standard, it is not a commodity. This is a technology race and the market doesn’t see it yet."
Tesla's in-house software development is perhaps their biggest advantage over its competitors. As a Silicon Valley born company, Tesla has never outsourced their software. They have instead developed a proprietary self-driving software that is improved by collecting data from Tesla's network of over one million beta testers.
Ford CEO Jim Farley emphasized the company's need to move away from the “catalog engineering” business model at a conference earlier this year, saying "The most important thing is we vertically integrate."
Tesla is potentially going a step further to vertically integrate their supply chain. In light of the skyrocketing prices of lithium, Tesla may plan to get into the lithium mining and refining business. Tesla is considering mining some of its own raw materials for the same reasons that they developed their own batteries, produced their own electric motors and built their own computer chip and software for autonomous driving.
Tesla's pace of innovation and lead in the industry has become clear as the traditional business model of outsourcing components and software to cut production costs is quickly becoming outdated.
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Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.
Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.
Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.
The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.
You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.
While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.
It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.
With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.
Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.
Ambient Lighting in Action
While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.
Deciphering the 'T'
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X
Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.
This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!
This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.
Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.
Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades
Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.
TeslaFi is a service that logs your drives and charging sessions so that you can later refer back to them. We highly recommend checking them out if you use your car for business trips and would like to keep track of reimbursements, if you like to see how much you spend on charging or if you just love statistics. View their about us page and see everything they have to offer!
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