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Tesla’s Gigafactory formula rose from a humble “tent” at the Fremont Factory

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Back in 2018, Tesla was in a very different place. The company was struggling to release the Model 3, and it was behind on Elon Musk’s aggressive self-imposed vehicle production targets. The Fremont Factory’s assembly lines were not producing enough Model 3s, and it seemed like the company was poised to fail. Critics and shorts circled Tesla like sharks smelling blood in the water. But something unexpected happened, and things were never the same after. 

Throwing convention out the window, Tesla built another Model 3 line inside a massive sprung structure at the Fremont Factory grounds, which CEO Elon Musk fondly called a “tent” online. The structure, dubbed as GA4, was mocked to the highest degree, used as a joke by critics, and dismissed outright by skeptics. However, what was almost unknown at the time was that Tesla might have actually stumbled into something special with its sprung structure-based line. By building a simple, straight, Model 3 line inside a “tent,” Tesla seems to have effectively created a solid Gigafactory formula. 

A Practical Concept

The sprung structure-based Model 3 line was the brainchild of Automotive President Jerome Guillen, widely known as Elon Musk’s “problem solver” back in the Model S’ early days. The “tent”-based line followed a relatively simple system, with vehicles being assembled progressively the further they moved into the tent. Even GA4’s loading bays were placed on the sides of the structure, allowing Tesla to take deliveries into the line efficiently. Musk was enthusiastic about the sprung structure on Twitter, noting not long after the “tent” was built that the vehicles produced in the site had “slightly higher quality” than cars made elsewhere. 

These humble but creative beginnings appear to have become the heart of Tesla’s Gigafactory formula, one used in Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin, and seemingly improved further with Gigafactory Texas. This could be seen in the design and processes that Tesla has adopted so far in its Shanghai and Berlin plants, both of which invoke the image of a scaled-up, refined, and optimized version of Fremont’s “tent.”

Tesla’s Gigafactory Shanghai. (Credit: Tesla)

A Gigafactory Formula

Tesla critics typically overlook the fact that the Fremont Factory is a legacy car plant at its core. It’s an expansive facility, and it is impressive in its own right, but it’s not a site developed specifically to produce all-electric cars. Thus, for the Model S, Model X, and the Model 3’s early days, Tesla was essentially developing a system that makes EVs at scale using a facility designed initially to manufacture cars equipped with the internal combustion engine. 

Of course, Tesla has made numerous adjustments to make the Fremont Factory into one of the most advanced electric vehicle plants in the market. However, it is difficult not to be impressed with Tesla’s quick production ramp and flexibility in Gigafactory Shanghai, arguably the first EV factory that the company built using its GA4 formula, with its simple production lines to its numerous loading bays at its side. This concept seems to have been carried over to Gigafactory Berlin, which is expected to ramp its operations at a rate that rivals even that of Giga Shanghai.  

Tesla Gigafactory Texas’s parallel buildings envisioned. (Credit: Joe Tegtmeyer/YouTube)

A Matter of Scale

Ultimately, it appears that GA4 was Tesla’s “eureka” moment of sorts, at least for its electric vehicle factories. By scaling up and refining the sprung structure-based concept, Tesla was able to create monster factories like Giga Shanghai, and later this year, Gigafactory Berlin as well. However, this is not all as Tesla seems to be adopting an updated design for Gigafactory Texas, with its three main buildings built parallel with each other. Little is known about the reasons behind Giga Texas’ design, but there’s little doubt that the expansive facility will be very impressive when completed nonetheless. 

Prior to the Model 3’s “production hell,” Elon Musk spoke about Tesla’s “Alien Dreadnought” factories, which are supposed to be so automated and advanced that they would resemble alien facilities featured in sci-fi fiction. Tesla seems to have shelved this idea following the Model 3’s challenges in its initial production ramp. With an established Gigafactory formula of sorts in its repertoire, however, and coupled with innovations such as the Model Y’s megacasts, Elon Musk’s dreadnoughts may not be too far into the future at all. 

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Tesla’s Gigafactory formula rose from a humble “tent” at the Fremont Factory

Source: https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-gigafactory-formula-fremont-tent/

Automotive

Rivian adopts mobile service model for maximum convenience

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Rivian Service promises to provide a proactive and personal approach to mobile vehicle service. Rivian seems to have developed an intricate mobile service model to make vehicle care more convenient for R1T and R1S owners.

Over-the-air updates will support Rivian’s mobile service model to optimize a vehicle’s performance continuously. Most of the over-the-air updates will take place at night, making it more convenient for owners.

The company’s mobile service will also be backed by Rivian Remote Care, enabling the company to perform comprehensive diagnostics from afar. With Rivian Remote Care, technicians can proactively identify most vehicle problems even before the owner notices them.

Credit: Rivian

“We’re remotely diagnosing vehicles and pre-ordering parts if needed. By the time we arrive for your mobile service appointment, we’re ready to resolve your issue on the spots,” said Edwin, a Rivian Service technician.

Rivian will have a fleet of mobile service vans ready for deployment at any time. Rivian mobile technicians can attend to calls at an owner’s home, workplace, or anywhere service is needed within the United States and Canada. Rivian plans to expand its mobile services as it reaches other markets.

Rivian technicians will also bring vehicles that need extensive care to service centers and return them to owners afterward. The company will provide a loaner to owners while their cars are cared for at the service center. Rivian has not specified what vehicles will be used as loaners.

Rivian plans to open over 40 service centers in the United States and Canada soon. More service centers are planned for the future as Rivian grows. The company has also established a network of Rivian-owned and Rivian-certified collision centers for bodywork and exterior damages.

Rivian Service seems to go hand-in-hand with the company’s warranty coverage. Rivian’s warranty system is also quite intricate. It includes a Comprehensive Warranty, a Battery Warranty, a Drivetrain Warranty, and a Perforation Corrosion Warranty.

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, email us at [email protected] or reach out to me at [email protected].

Rivian adopts mobile service model for maximum convenience

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Lucid Motors, Rivian sued by Illinois car dealers for direct sales

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Lucid Motors and Rivian were sued by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, and some individual franchised auto dealerships in the state for selling vehicles directly to consumers.

The numerous plaintiffs are accusing both Rivian and Lucid of violating state laws that require new vehicles to be sold through franchised dealerships. The direct-to-consumer sales platform has become popular with electric car companies, especially Tesla who has never operated through dealerships. While each of the aforementioned automotive companies does have showrooms in operation to display their products, they do not have salespeople or sales managers who negotiate prices with customers. The costs are the same for everyone, a strategy that has alleviated a lot of stress from the car buying process.

In May 2019, the dealers, the Secretary of State, and Tesla entered an agreement that would consent to the automaker obtaining no more than 13 dealer licenses in Illinois. This allowed showrooms to sell vehicles to customers, but it only applies to Tesla and not to Lucid and Rivian.

The new lawsuit against Rivian and Lucid alleges the Secretary of State of “turning a blind eye to Rivian’s unlicensed sales operations,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We have no choice but to file this lawsuit, both to protect consumers as well as the hundreds of franchised dealers across the state who contribute to the local economy,” Pete Sander, the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association President, said. Sander represents more than 700 auto dealers that operate over 2,300 franchises across the state.

Credit: Lucid Motors

The Illinois Vehicle Code and the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act were cited in the lawsuit. These mandate that all vehicle sales to the public “must be made through licensed and independent franchised” dealers.

Lucid operates out of California and has its main production facility in Arizona. The company recently opened a sales studio in Oak Brook, a suburb of Chicago that is home to several large corporations like Ace Hardware and Blistex. However, Rivian is based in Normal, Illinois, and the lawsuit seems to affect it more than Lucid simply because of the company’s base location.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office issued “an informal opinion” last summer that stated new automotive manufactures are not expressly required by law to establish franchised dealerships to sell their cars. This gives companies like Rivian and Lucid the opportunity to sell their products directly to customers unless the lawsuit filed by the numerous plaintiffs moves forward. A spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office said they would review the complaint when it comes to their office.

Lucid Motors, Rivian sued by Illinois car dealers for direct sales

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/lucid-rivian-lawsuit-direct-sales-ban-illinois/

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Elon Musk’s Starlink Beta meets opposition from India’s industry body

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It appears that Starlink is facing a challenge in India, a country expected to receive coverage from the satellite internet system sometime next year. 

The opposition against Starlink was initiated by the Broadband India Forum, which has written a request to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The forum asked the bodies to block SpaceX from pre-selling the beta version of the satellite internet service in the country. 

As noted in a report from The Economic Times, TV Ramachandran, the industry body president, argued that SpaceX does not have the necessary license or authorizations from the government to offer its beta services in India. 

The Broadband India Forum represents companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hughes, and Microsoft. In its request, the forum asked the bodies to “urgently intervene to protect fair competition and adherence to existing policy and regulatory norms.” It also noted that SpaceX seemed to be “non-compliant to existing guidelines” in India.  

Explaining further, the forum added that Starlink does not have its own ground stations in the country, nor does it have the satellite frequency authorization from the ISRO and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). According to the forum, these are needed for a company to be allowed to offer beta services in India. 

SpaceX, for its part, has not issued a statement about the matter. In a statement to the Times, a senior TRAI official has stated that the issue brought up by the Broadband India Forum “would be examined.”

SpaceX is currently offering pre-orders for the beta version of Starlink in India for a fully refundable deposit of $99 (about Rs 7,000). The satellite internet service is poised to compete with other satellite communication services such as the Bharti Group and the UK government-owned OneWeb, which is also expected to launch its services sometime in 2022. Competition may also be coming in the form of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which is yet to provide internet services, even in beta form. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us for news tips. Just send a message to [email protected] to give us a heads up.

Elon Musk’s Starlink Beta meets opposition from India’s industry body

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Elon Musk to become board member of Endeavor Group Holdings: SEC Filing

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk will join the Endeavor Group Holdings Board of Directors ahead of the group’s Initial Public Offering, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission says.

Musk, 49, currently spends his time with Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, but will join the Endeavor board in the coming months, the filing says. He is currently listed as a “Director Nominee.” However, the filing describes what Musk’s eventual position will be.

“Mr. Musk is currently a director nominee and will become a member of our board of directors at or prior to the pricing of this offering,” the filing says. “Mr. Musk was selected to serve on our board of directors because of his professional background and experience running a public company, his previously held senior executive-level positions, his service on other public company boards and his experience starting, growing and integrating businesses.”

Endeavor includes several well-known brands under its parent company, including talent agencies WME and IMG, and premier mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Fighting Championship, most commonly referred to as the UFC. The UFC was purchased by Endeavor’s WME-IMG joint venture in July 2016 for $4.2 billion.

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Endeavor had attempted to launch an IPO in the past but pulled the plug on the effort at the last minute in the Fall of 2019 when market conditions were unfavorable. The company may have sensed it wouldn’t reach its fundraising goal, according to Deadline, and opted to wait for better economic circumstances.

It also skipped 2020 as a possible date for its IPO due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite pulling in less of a profit compared to 2019, CEO Ari Emanuel stated the company remained resilient despite the tough circumstances and is attempting to initiate an IPO in the coming months.

“As challenging a year as 2020 was, it underscored the strength, creativity, and resilience of our people who mobilized time and time again in the face of overwhelming odds,” Emanuel wrote in the S-1 filing. “We made difficult decisions but worked as a team to find creative solutions and best position the business for the future.” The company reported $3.5 billion in revenue last year, down $1.1 billion from 2019.

The filing for the possible Endeavor IPO indicates the company wants to raise $100 million, but this number could ultimately change.

As long as Endeavor can raise the correct capital and it avoids any other dicey economic uncertainties, it will trade under the “EDR” ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.

Elon Musk to become board member of Endeavor Group Holdings: SEC Filing

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Source: https://www.teslarati.com/elon-musk-endeavor-group-holdings-boardmember/

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