Analyst Note: New Details On Tesla Model 3

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 85

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Tesla Model X Being Built By Robots

Tesla Model X Being Built By Robots – All Aluminum Here

Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research recently put out a note on the Tesla Model 3. With the car’s unveiling scheduled for the end of this month. Chowdhry’s timing is perfect.

As Benzinga writes, Chowdhry has some knowledge of Tesla’s inner workings that the vast majority of us are not aware of:

“The official unveiling will be March 31, 2016, in Hawthorn, California, and according to recent research Chowdhry gathered after attending numerous Deep Learning Hackathons, the Autonomous Driving Symposium, the Material Science Symposium and the Battery Technology Summit, production and deliveries for the Model 3 are likely to be on schedule.”

Well, on schedule is still a bit of a stretch here as the Model 3 was initially promised awhile back, but the “delivery by 2017” that’s been promised by Musk and Tesla of late is still apparently doable.

Benzinga adds:

“Chowdhry explained two elements of the Model 3 that are unique and support the timeline for vehicle delivery by 2017: The vehicle architecture and composition.”

“Vehicle Architecture: Chowdhry stated that the Model 3 will have “completely different vehicle architecture – both the chassis and the battery chemistry – hence will have different power density and energy density trade off.”

“Vehicle Composition: Unlike the Model X and Model S, the Model 3 body and chassis will be completely built of steel as opposed to aluminum. Chowdhry highlighted the key advantages of steel over aluminum as being the lower production equipment costs, the lower worker training/skill needed to work/operate steel, the lower compensation and cost savings of steel workers versus aluminum workers, and the lower repair costs.”

We’re still not sold on the “built of steel” claim but we shall find out soon enough.

Chowdhry concluded:

“Since Tesla Model 3 will be built using steel instead of aluminum, the production and deliveries for late 2017 will very likely be on schedule: steel is a lot easy [sic].”

Source: Benzinga

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85 responses to "Analyst Note: New Details On Tesla Model 3"

  1. tom911 says:

    Love these analysts.

    Say whatever you want about a company and you can be wrong or right, it NEVER matters. Pump up the stock or drive it down, all part of a days ‘work’….

    PS Even a broke clock tells the right time twice a day.

    1. ffbj says:

      Right, and about 24 hours from now you will be right about something else.

      1. tom911 says:

        Actually 12 hours in certain cases.

        1. kdawg says:

          Unless your clock is stopped at 2:30. Then you get skipped once this coming Sunday morning. 🙂

          1. x says:

            depends how you define the terms, as always.
            If “broken clock” means a clock whose indicators do not advance than this declaration holds true.
            If a broken clock means one that simply indicates the wrong time, it may not show the correct time during one day, not even once. Say it if it one minute behind and it gets behind at a rate of 1 second per day.. it will indicate an inaccurate time for a many days in a a row.

            1. Ambulator says:

              Just make it run backwards. Then it will be right twice as often as a stopped clock.

        2. ffbj says:

          Oops! Right.

    2. Tim says:

      In fairness, Trip Chowdhry has never been right about pretty much anything. I always love reading a reference that says “Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research”. It sounds so much more impressive than the fact that Trip Chowdhry IS Global Equities Research. He’s a one-man show, and he’s been saying stupid crap for years about Apple to get attention. Now he’s turned his attention to Tesla.

      1. wavelet says:

        Let me expand that… No “professional” “analyst” that I’m I aware of has ever been right about _anything_ significant to do with technology.
        Not cellphones, or ringtones, or text messages, or the significant uses for the Web.

        Reason is simple:
        In a stable, commodity industry, there’s no reason for anything to change more than a percentage point either way over a quarter or a year — so the “analyst” can forecast a small percentage change based on previous market behavior, and not be too wrong… But who cares about that kind of forecast? It’s not going to matter for anything.

        Where markets/industries change significantly due to technological disruption is where it matters… But noone can forecast if/how/when/how fast that disruption will occur. Certainly not someone with 0 understanding of the technology involved.
        I used to work at a VC that used yo pay a couple of $100K/year to the “professional” market analyst firms like Gartner and IDC, until we figured out that they’d by definition be incapable of forecasting areas of interest of us as a VC.

      2. jerryd says:

        His statement steel costs less than aluminum leaves out a lot.
        Steel requires more labor and 2x’s the paint shop and rusts.
        The only reason more cars are not made of alum is they don’t rust so live near forever. And that cuts new car sales if the old ones don’t die off.
        For the maybe 5% difference in cost alum is well worth it.
        Same reason they won’t do composite cars is they don’t rust and low start up costs would just not rust away, but cause many more competitors.
        Too bad Tesla won’t go composites as it leave them to get passed by if someone makes 200-500 mile EV’s with it at 60% of metal EV costs and 10% of the production line start up costs.

  2. Anthony says:

    I’m guessing that battery chemistry tradeoff is slightly lower performance per cell in exchange for higher volumetric density (which will likely result in lower costs as the cost to manufacture the cell will not likely change much but will yield a higher Wh capacity).

    Does the Model 3 need 0-60 in under 3s? Not really, under 5s is still quite good. As long as it can still supercharge in a similar amount of time compared to a Model S or X.

    1. wavelet says:

      If indeed the Model 3 is sized like the BMW 3-series / Audi A4 as has been claimed, we’re talking a length of 4.6m-4.7m…
      I seriously doubt a high-AER sedan form-factor BEV this large is going to be all-steel — the weight penalty, and consequently the battery size needed, would be unreasonable.

      However, if it is, the cell’s specific gravity (a.k.a. weight density) is goign to matter more than volumetric density, as will the $/kWh numbers.

      1. Daniel says:

        Steel construction may be only used in the structural or load bearing “stressed” portions of the car “aka” it’s bones. Exterior panels such as hood / decked “or hatch” / Doors could be made of anything from aluminum to composite plastics (Saturn did it)

        1. wavelet says:

          Obviously that’s a reasonable solution engineering/cost wise, and I believe GM and others are doing this… But that isn’t the “all-steel” this “analyst” claims, and wouldn wouldn’t qualify for the full advantages he claims
          “Chowdhry highlighted the key advantages of steel over aluminum as being the lower production equipment costs, the lower worker training/skill needed to work/operate steel, the lower compensation and cost savings of steel workers versus aluminum workers, and the lower repair costs”
          (actually, why are repair costs (due to an accident after the car is in a customer’s hands) have any bearing to Tesla’s ability to execute ?

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        wavelet said:

        “…the cell’s specific gravity (a.k.a. weight density) is goign to matter more than volumetric density…”

        Not so. Keep in mind that a larger battery needs a bigger space, which means the car has to be bigger to accomodate it. Making the car larger affects the weight of the entire car a lot more than a couple hundred pounds more or less in the battery pack.

        And despite the fact that EV makers go to great lengths to reduce the weight of their cars, a difference of just a few hundred pounds doesn’t really affect all-electric range that much. That’s no greater difference than carrying a couple of passengers, and I think most of us know that has little effect on range.

        * * * * *

        Comparing Gigafactory cells to the Panasonic cells Tesla was using when it designed the Model S, I think we can be pretty sure the Gf cells will have higher energy density, both volumetric and gravimetric energy density (reduction in both size and weight), simply because li-ion battery makers keep increasing the energy density of batteries year-on-year.

        If I understand what Tesla spokesmen have said, the size of the larger Gf cells was chosen to maximize energy density. So even aside from the YOY improvement, there should be some improvement in the volumetric energy density of cells used in the Model ≡ over cells used in the Model S.

        1. Ambulator says:

          No; the size of the cells was chosen to minimize cost. The size doesn’t make much difference in the energy density unless you make them ridiculously small.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Consider the portion of the cell’s volume which is wasted by the packaging; the “can” of a cylindrical cell. Scaling that up or down certainly will affect energy density. I’m sure there are other size-dependent factors affecting energy density.

            Here’s a relevant quote from an older InsideEVs article:

            “Panasonic is studying new cylindrical-cell geometries that would optimize both the cost and the energy density for Tesla’s needs. Today’s Model S lithium-ion battery already uses a nickel-intensive cathode that is cheaper than the usual cobalt chemistry, but Tesla acknowledges that it is working with new cathode and anode materials for its next-generation battery, hoping to improve cost, density, and longevity.”

            source:
            http://insideevs.com/tesla-ceo-elon-musk-next-disruption-next-gen-battery/

            1. Ambulator says:

              The packaging loses are not significant unless you are looking at ridiculously small cells. The main thing they are minimizing is the cost.

    2. David Murray says:

      I would think as long as the Model-3 is as fast as the BMW i3, it will be fine.

      1. Josh says:

        I am expecting Model 3 to perform in line with 3 series, 0-60 6 – 7 seconds. I also expect there will be a P version that approaches M3 performance, 0 – 60 ~4 seconds.

        Tesla’s target is to compete against ICEs, not other EVs.

        1. Philip d says:

          The non Rex i3 hits 60 in 6.5 seconds which would put it in the 6-7 second range you’re talking about.

          1. ffbj says:

            Except if you get one equipped with Ridiculous speed, which they oddly skipped over. They went from Insane, to Ludicrous.

      2. cab says:

        Agreed David, and given the Bolt’s promised sub 7 second times, and Tesla’s continued “performance” focus (from day one) it would seem practically mandatory.

    3. theflew says:

      Under 5’s might be possible depending on the battery chemistry, but I imagine like GM and the Bolt EV they are going to go with longevity given the pack size over all out performance. The Model S 60kWh could do 0-60 in about < 5.9s. Performance of EVs is all about how much current you can pull from those batteries without them overheating. The larger the pack or C rating the more you can pull.

      1. Philip d says:

        I don’t think the Model 3 will have any problem with this. The Model S60 was sub 6 seconds with older cell tech than what the Model 3 will have.

        And the Model 3 pack will be close to the S60 in capacity while being lighter and in a smaller and lighter car albeit a steel frame one.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I expect the Model ≡ to have a higher 0-60 time than the Model S60. There is no reason to think the Gigafactory cells will deliver higher power. They will be optimized for low cost and high energy density, not high power density.

          What gives the Model S its exceptional acceleration is the large battery pack coupled with a powerful electric motor and inverter. Will the Model ≡ have a 60 kWh battery pack? Perhaps, but perhaps it will be a bit smaller.

          With the car being only 20% smaller than a Model S, but made mostly of steel rather than aluminum, there’s no reason to think it’s going to be much lighter, either.

          And since the Model ≡ will be about half the price of a Model S85, it seems almost certain it will have a lower performance… hence it will take longer to reach 60 MPH. Even if it has a 60 kWh battery pack, there’s no reason to think it will have a motor and inverter as powerful as that in an S60.

  3. ffbj says:

    On the question steel vrs. aluminium I think that the high volume intent of the Model III, tipped the scales in favor of steel. In the end it is just so cheap, and much easier to work with.
    Also considering the size of the vehicle, a cost benefit analysis for saving weight is not as great as for larger vehicles.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Going from Aluminum to steel is roughly going from 1000$ to 2000$, so it saves about 1000$ per car. On a Model S that’s no big deal but on a Model 3 it is 3 to 4% of the production cost (assuming 15% gross margin). So in reverse that is 20 to 30 % of the 15% gross margin. That is enough to make the case for steel unless you agree to pay 36000$ instead of 35000$.
      Since most buyers of the Model 3 are rather money constrained they will prefer to stick to the 35000$.

      Note that I personally would pay 36000$ for Aluminum because I think its worth the other extra benefits of it like lower weight and better durability but if the 35000$ targets is that important that it must be met no matter what, there aren’t that many choices.

  4. Three Electrics says:

    This analyst’s logic is flawed. The argument is essentially: “Because steel is easier than aluminum, Model 3 production and delivery will be on schedule.”

    However, that presumes that Tesla’s previous delays with the Model S and Model X were because of the use of aluminum. That premise is highly suspect.

    In addition, this analyst seems to think that the “completely different vehicle architecture” of the Model 3 *won’t* delay development. I don’t see how any lessons learned with the Model S and Model X can be applied to an all new architecture manufactured completely differently.

    1. Robb Stark says:

      Because it is not completely different.

      Managing the supply chain is not different.

      Assembling the battery pack is not different.

      Assembling the interior is not different.

      Etc Etc Etc

      1. Three Electrics says:

        The supply chain is different: steel vs. aluminum, different materials, etc.

        Assembling the battery pack is different: different chemistries, densities, and physical dimensions.

        Assembling the interior is different: new body style, cheaper seats, etc.

        If anything, you could say that your argument applies to the limited differences between the Model S and Model X–and yet the Model X was still horribly delayed. So it appears that even when everything is similar, that fact doesn’t prevent delays.

  5. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Well, doesn’t Tesla has more experience working with Al than Steel?

    I don’t buy the argument on steel.

    Also, when the cost constrain is tighter, it often is harder for engineers to design something.

    Smaller in size, cheaper in cost are the often two things that engineers have to face in design. They are also some of the hardest thing to achieve.

    1. scott franco says:

      Agree. Most of the steel to Al costs that people have been quoting are conversion costs.

  6. wavelet says:

    The most serious challenge Tesla faces with the Model 3 is obvious, and this “analyst” is a complete idiot if he doesn’t mention it. It’s not the vehicle engineering, it’s scaling everything else in the company 10x: Tesla sold ~50K vehicles in 2015, and they’re planning on ~500K by 2020 — witin 5 years (the vast majority being presumably the Model 3 and/or the Y (presumed name for the CUV based on it).
    That’s huge, and unprecedented by any automotive company ever, AFAIK, possibly excepting wartime production in WW2.
    It means scaling supply chain (vendors+logistics), factory capacity, assembly employees, QA/QC teams, warranty/service departments… And I’m pretty sure Tesla will also need to do active marketing & advertising to get there.

    1. Three Electrics says:

      Agreed. One benefit of the dealership model is that it scales very easily. Tesla will face difficult growing pains, especially with their service centers.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      wavelet:

      If there was any justice in the world, InsideEVs would take down this so-called “analyst’s” blog post, and put your comment in its place.

      And the really sad thing is, it’s all too common for a comment on an “analyst’s” blog post (I won’t dignify it by calling it an “article”) to be far more informative and perceptive than comments from some guy pushing his stock position.

      1. Vexar says:

        Analyst Note is modern lingo for click-bait on InsideEVs. One of the reasons I read this site so regularly is because of the comments section. The “details” are hardly new. This so-called analyst chiming in, repeating info from a year ago, is technically new.
        On record, we have one comment from one leader within Tesla Motors that they might work with steel as a cost element, and that was some years back. I think Bloggin’s comments about steel vs. aluminium nailed it.

        Why hasn’t anyone tackled Elon’s comments about what it will look like? Projections on the battery energy density, or pack size? How they will get to a drag coefficient of 2.0?

  7. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Also let us compare it to S60

    S60 is still about 4600lbs.

    If it is switched to steel but still kept 7/8 of the size, you will be lucky to reduce the weight for the same design/material by 1/3. AL typically saves about 35-45% of the weight compared with Steel with same strength. That 1/3 weight saving is pretty much wiped out by switching back to steel. So, I will seriously double that Model 3 will be less than 4,000 lbs.

    Of course, the new 60kWh battery will be improved by at least 20% already in terms of energy density which will be lighter. The motor should be lighter as well with smaller power requirement. But it would still be hard to go under 4,000 lbs.

    The Chevy Bolt is already a 3,700 lb car with “extensive use of Al” as well.

    I wonder if Tesla is going to to with smaller packs such as 50kWh to save even more weight and then make it up by efficiency.

    Bolt has a terrible Cd where the Model 3 can be in the 0.24Cd range which can give it a 4 mi/kWh efficiency to still make it to 200 miles range with only 50kWh….

    We will see for sure.

    1. kdawg says:

      I’m still hoping the Model 3 will have 220 or 250 miles of AER.

      One can hope…

      1. Josh says:

        There will be an optional pack with that level of range. I am expecting 200 – 210 range on the standard pack, then ~$7k more for a 250 – 275 mile range pack.

        Say 55 kWh and 70 kWh or something like that.

      2. Rich says:

        +1 I’m hoping for the 225 to 250 range if purchased with all wheel drive.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Cool, thanks for the info.

        So, the S60 is about 280lbs lighter than a P85?

        I bet that is mostly the battery and motor weight.

        If the Model 3 goes to Steel, I don’t see how they are going to trim another 300lbs off the aluminum S60 with much heavier steel unless they are installing much smaller battery.

        1. Djoni says:

          Use of super high strength steel does provide weight saving.
          The steel Mazda RX-7 was lighter than the Acura NSX all aluminum.

          So there’s steel and there is high strength steel.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            Lighter by how many lbs?

            I am sure the Engine in the NSX is much heavier than the rotary engine in the RX-7

  8. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    We’re more than a year and a half out from when Tesla says it’s going to start selling the Model ≡. Even if this so-called “analyst” is right, even if Tesla is currently on track, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be some delay between now and then.

    Tesla can actually get a car into production when they said they would? Well, I may live in Kansas, but on this point: “I’m from Missouri — show me!”

    Now, I do realize that Tesla is going to make a stronger effort to start producing this car when they actually said they would… or at least, when they’ve been saying they would for the past couple of years. But Tesla’s history gives no assurance whatsoever that they are capable of sticking to a projected timeline. Even the Roadster was, as I recall, about 9 months late into production.

    1. Josh says:

      I agree.

      Unless we see prototypes rolling on the roads by the end of this year. Customer deliveries won’t start in CY2017.

  9. Gary says:

    I am not convinced it will be made of steel. As they buy Al in bulk I think it can be feasible. Ford is using it on the F150 box and cab and it is just slightly higher than last years model. I am not sure where the rummer the whole car is going to made of steel started?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It’s not a rumor, it’s a fact. Tesla spokesmen have said repeatedly that a lot more steel will be used in the Model ≡, to save money.

      And despite what MMF posted above, there’s no doubt using steel vs. aluminum will save money. Steel is easier to work with, easier to weld, and of course it’s cheaper to buy a roll of sheet steel than a roll of sheet aluminum.

      The fact that Tesla has experience working with stamping and welding aluminum, rather than steel, doesn’t matter much in the long run. They’ll soon gain experience making steel car bodies, and when hiring new employees, they’ll have a much larger pool of workers with previous experience working with steel than they did working with aluminum. That means less time needed to train workers, and probably a lower hourly wage for welders. Steel will also cut down on assembly time because it’s easier and faster to work with. Faster stamping and faster welding equals fewer work hours to assemble a car.

      * * * * *

      “To Cut Costs, Tesla Gen 3 Won’t Be All Aluminum Like Model S”

      http://insideevs.com/cut-costs-tesla-gen-3-wont-aluminum-like-model-s/

      “Tesla Model E Will Be Built Mostly Of Steel, Priced ‘Realistically'”

      http://gas2.org/2014/07/01/tesla-model-e-will-built-mostly-steel-priced-realistically/

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “Steel is easier to work with, easier to weld, and of course it’s cheaper to buy a roll of sheet steel than a roll of sheet aluminum.”

        hmm, it depends. Steel is only “relatively” easier to work with based on familiarity. Actually Al is easier to “work with” as it is softer and lighter. AL also don’t hold strength at higher temperature as Steel so it is easier to machine/bend/fab.

        The welding part is true since Al oxides so fast that it will require special gas to protect the surface before welding. But that is no longer rare anymore and Tesla already got the robots and machines ready for it.

        Yes, Steels are cheaper for sure. But steel will require more rust proofing and coating to protect.

        So, it isn’t as simple as. But overall, steel is cheaper and Al is lighter. Tesla already got the AL fab machines and labor experiences ready in house.

        1. scott franco says:

          Just a small nit: Al is welded while bathed in inert gas:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_tungsten_arc_welding

          As with any metal, the high temperatures involved greatly speed Al’s combination with oxygen, so the weld must occur in the absence of oxygen.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “The welding part is true since Al oxides so fast that it will require special gas to protect the surface before welding.”

            Yes, the special gas is the inert gas. =)

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          ModernMarvelFan said:

          “Steel is only ‘relatively’ easier to work with based on familiarity. Actually Al is easier to ‘work with’ as it is softer and lighter. AL also don’t hold strength at higher temperature as Steel so it is easier to machine/bend/fab.”

          This is factually incorrect, MMF. Yes, aluminum is softer and lighter, but more difficult to bend and stamp into a given shape. (You are likely right about machining; but how many aluminum automobile parts are machined? Most machined car parts are steel, not aluminum.)

          I did check my facts before posting on the subject, MMF.

          Here’s a relevant citation:

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Formability for deep drawing and biaxial stretching of aluminum is about 65 percent of carbon steel. Therefore, part design must limit forming to an area two thirds of that which would be permitted when forming steel.

          The bend radii of the tools should be about three times those of steel for similar formability requirements.

          The strain rate sensitivity is low for aluminum, which generates high stresses in the initial phase of drawing, and the part might fracture. To compensate for this, the hold-down pressure should be lowered, and the radii for the draw-ring and punch nose must be increased.

          Aluminum is more notch-sensitive than carbon steel, so any blanking tool should be designed with close tolerances and must be sharp. Burrs must be minimized to reduce edge splitting in subsequent bending operations.

          Because of its lower elastic modulus, springback is higher for aluminum. The machines must be designed to compensate for the increased springback compared to steel parts.
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          source:
          http://www.thefabricator.com/article/metalsmaterials/6-questions-about-stamping-aluminum

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “Formability for deep drawing and biaxial stretching of aluminum is about 65 percent of carbon steel. Therefore, part design must limit forming to an area two thirds of that which would be permitted when forming steel.”

            Yes, they are different. 65% is less, is it not? So, obviously the statement here is about the tools requirement that are different than steel, not necessarily “harder” or more difficult.

            “The bend radii of the tools should be about three times those of steel for similar formability requirements.”

            That is only if you are forming the same shape as opposed to steel. If you actually watch the video on CTS-V engineering breakdown and Bolt engineering breakdown, the engineer mentioned that AL requirements a larger volume and shape forming pieces to achieve the same strength while having the same weight. That larger volume and shape basically wouldn’t require the same radius.

            And Tesla already got AL forming process down.

            “The strain rate sensitivity is low for aluminum, which generates high stresses in the initial phase of drawing, and the part might fracture. To compensate for this, the hold-down pressure should be lowered, and the radii for the draw-ring and punch nose must be increased.”

            All of those are based on comparison with steel fab. It is not more difficult but different.

            “Aluminum is more notch-sensitive than carbon steel, so any blanking tool should be designed with close tolerances and must be sharp. Burrs must be minimized to reduce edge splitting in subsequent bending operations.”

            That is true. But keep in mind that post process treatment such as rust proofing requirement is less.

            “Because of its lower elastic modulus, springback is higher for aluminum. The machines must be designed to compensate for the increased springback compared to steel parts.”

            Again, that explains the difference between the steel fabrication. They aren’t harder or more difficult unless you only have steel fab experience. Al fab process is already ready in house at Tesla.

            Another thing is that when you cast al part vs steel part, the al is much easier to handle as often the trucks would ship “molten” metal to the final casting plant where the al molten temperature is much lower than steel which is easier to raise the temperature back.

            Of course, those case only happens when you pour to cast an engine block. I don’t know how many “casted” Al parts that Tesla uses.

            At any rate, what you described are correct. They are the “difference” between the two process. It doesn’t mean AL is more difficult than steel, it just means they are different. Considering that Tesla already got Al fab down, I wouldn’t call them difficult as far as baseline goes against steel.

            1. Phr3d says:

              agreed, MMF, though I suppose the case is being made for percentage of steel, i.e. I’ll guess that the Model E will be 70% or above aluminium, and the last bit of weight savings will be thrown out for cost savings – seat rails, dash frame,screws, so very many parts that we don’t care to examine – at a cost of I suppose a couple-hunnert pounds, but also at the magic cost savings.

              If there are steel body panels on the Model 3, I owe everybody here a beer – not gonna happen IMHO.

      2. ModernMarvelFan says:

        “And despite what MMF posted above, there’s no doubt using steel vs. aluminum will save money”

        I never made the claim that it won’t save money. I only made some estimate on whether it will save weight which impacts efficiency and range and whether it will save fab process.

  10. Peter says:

    Steel?! Welp, that’s a no-go in my country, where everyone sprays salt on the road when there’s a tiny chance of snow. Rust is a big enemy of steel.

    1. TomArt says:

      Welcome to the Northeastern and Central USA! Better coatings from the factory, as well as avoiding debris and collisions, helps to fend off rust for many years of ownership. It’s not the issue that it once was.

      Plus, all cars are steel, except for the fancy ones (fiberglass, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc.).

      1. Stimpy says:

        It’s exactly the same issue it’s always been. Your steel bodied car will go about 10 years before the first signs of rust on pin the Midwest. Happened to all of my last cars, and all were garaged daily.

    2. scott franco says:

      Buzzzzz!

      Sorry but aluminum corrodes in the presence of salt and water as well. Anyone with an airplane knows this.

  11. evcarnut says:

    It could get messy if the steel isn’t isolated properly from the aluminum….

    1. TomArt says:

      Well, you’d hope they’d have figured that out by now – the Model S and X have boron-steel reinforcement in various parts of the frame – they are not structurally 100% aluminum.

  12. Michael says:

    Expect a 100 kWh pack and a range of 300+ miles. How? Perhaps a spine in the pack and a drive shaft tunnel type design. (not a completely flat floor)

    1. scott franco says:

      So smoking pot is legal in your state?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I think whatever drugs he’s on must be stronger than pot, if he really thinks the Model ≡ will have a 100 kWh battery pack!

  13. Speculawyer says:

    “Model 3 will have “completely different vehicle architecture – both the chassis and the battery chemistry – hence will have different power density and energy density trade off.””

    Really? I can see them moving to a new chemistry but I would think they would also transition the Model S & X too.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      The Model ≡ is being designed around a battery pack using the new, larger Gigafactory cells. The Model S wasn’t. I strongly suspect the Model X was designed to be able to switch over to Gf cells when available.

      Obviously it will be to Tesla’s advantage to redesign the Model S battery pack to use the lower cost (but larger) Gf cells, at some point. Just how easy or hard this will be, I have no idea.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        since the packs are swap-ready, I would say putting new cells “should be” easy as long as the “external” specs/requirements are the same.

        There are no reasons why they can’t be.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          There is a very good reason why. The Gigafactory cells are said to be approx. 10% taller than the 18650 cells Tesla is currently using. Since the cells are oriented vertically in the Model S battery pack, replacing them with Gf cells, which are said to be about 1/4″ taller. In photos from a Model S battery pack teardown, it looks to me like the cells are flush with the top of the pack. In other words, there isn’t room in the pack to put in taller cells.

          Now, it may be that Tesla can reconfigure the pack for cells laid horizontally. But in any event, putting larger cells inside a battery pack casing that’s not designed for them will require re-engineering the pack, and possibly changing the shape of the casing.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            “The Gigafactory cells are said to be approx. 10% taller than the 18650 cells Tesla is currently using”

            That is interesting. Can you provide a reference for that?

            I heard about different form or factors (maybe fatter?) but I haven’t heard about it being taller.

  14. AlphaEdge says:

    Bamboo body panels! You heard it here first! 😉

  15. Don says:

    Don’t like the idea of steal it rusts

    1. scott franco says:

      Again, aluminum oxidizes and corrodes as well.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Yes. It oxides so fast that it forms ALO2 on the surface to protect itself…

  16. TomArt says:

    Are some of you just being amusing, or are you trolls? Of course, steel rusts! However, every car on the damn planet has been made of steel from the first horseless carriage onwards! Even the Model S and X have steel reinforcement in parts of the frame!

    It’s not the issue that it used to be. Better coatings on the frame as well as better paint coatings have reduced the risk of rust by several years of ownership.

  17. GeorgeS says:

    Steel or no steel.
    That is not the question.
    The manufacturers now know how to mix the composition. The higher stressed parts get a higher strength material.

    Lot’s of manufacturers do this.

    Tesla doesn’t.

    Maybe Tesla will start using it in model 3.

    1. TomArt says:

      Tesla does – the Model S (and X) has boron-steel reinforcement in critical areas of the frame.

  18. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I think it’s worth adding something:

    It’s Trip Chowdhry! Ignore anything he says!

  19. Koenigsegg says:

    lol k

  20. Bloggin says:

    It just ‘seems’ like a lot of what he had to say about the advantages of using steel over aluminum, does not take into account that Tesla already produces vehicles in aluminum, and has already worked out the efficient production processes, along with necessary training.

    It seems to make more sense for the Model 3 to be made of aluminum, where quantities of scale as a byproduct would lower the cost of producing the Model S and X with aluminum even more. Thus increasing the profit margins of the S and X.

    Besides the fact that Aluminum is another advantage Tesla has over the competition.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Trip Chowdhry is probably wrong when he says “…the Model 3 body and chassis will be completely built of steel as opposed to aluminum”, but there’s no question that Tesla reps have said repeatedly that, to save costs, the Model ≡ will use a lot of steel in the body, and a lot less aluminum.

  21. Loboc says:

    F150 and CT6 have a lot of AL. F150 seems to have no problems selling. Tesla builds in AL and recently expanded lines. The same lines.

    I see nowhere that saying ‘more steel’ equals ‘completely steel’.

  22. cab says:

    The whole aluminum vs. steel thing is interesting from a weight perspectine. As a comparison, the new Ford trucks, as everyone knows, leverage aluminum heavily (no pun intended), and saved a bunch of weight over the previous Ford trucks. HOWEVER, the joke here is that Ford had to build a truck out of aluminum to get the weight down to that of a (steel) Chevy truck! The deltas between the Ford and its competition in weight and mpg simply aren’t there in real life. The ecoboost engines in particular look to be a lot more thirsty in real-world use too (common with turbo engines). The use of high strength steel and various lightening techniques can yield massive improvements. Heck, GM shaves a ton of weight off the new CTS and Camaro platforms with a new platform, high strength steel, and even going so far as to shorten the length of bolts (every little bit helps). Good construction techniques are as, or more important, than the materials themselves.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      GM actually already uses a lot of AL in its designs. It just doesn’t make as big deal as Ford.

      The GM truck hood is already Al and various suspension parts are also AL.

      It is just the cab and bed that aren’t AL…

      The Ford frame are still high strength steel though.

      I have heard that the new Boron high strength steel can get pretty close in terms of weight to strength ratio of the AL alloy when used in frame designs.

      GM also uses more Mg in its alloy as well.

  23. Chris B says:

    Meanwhile the “other” 3 series (from BMW – the 330e) gets its offical rating: paltry 14 miles of range:

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=37289