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Car Reviews

The Tesla Model Y Is a Solid Crossover For Families: Find Out Why

No car is perfect, and this Tesla owner admits that. However, the Tesla Model Y may be perfect for some families.

Ben Sullins is a hardcore Tesla fan. In fact, he was one of the original Tesla YouTubers that joined the revolution that has now exploded into a multitude of Tesla owners producing video content about the brand. Since Sullins has had plenty of experience with Tesla vehicles, it has been interesting to get his take on the Model Y.

Like many Tesla owners, he has had positives and negatives to share, which is exactly what we expect. No car is perfect, though Sullins does go so far as to say that the all-new Tesla Model Y is the “Perfect Family Crossover.”

Would the Model Y be perfect for you? It’s not fair for us to answer that question or for Sullins to suggest that with absolute certainty. What’s perfect for him and his family may not work for you. However, he sits down with his wife Jennie to go over the Model Y’s family-friendly details.

What makes a car good for a family? Well, it depends on many details that only you are aware of. Do you have children? Are they still in car seats and strollers or are they adult-sized teens? How big is your family? Do you plan on transporting bikes or towing something?

The Model Y is a special vehicle in that it’s a sporty crossover with plenty of all-electric range, as well as lots of practicality. There really isn’t another vehicle on the market today that checks all these boxes, aside from the much more expensive Tesla Model X. If the Model Y is out of your price range ($53,000-$61,000), check out the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, and Tesla Model 3. In addition, if you wait it out, the Model Y should come to market in cheaper versions in the future.

In the meantime, watch Sullins’ video and then leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Tesla Is Leading The Charge In A Battery Revolution

If you were looking to nominate a technology as the most influential of the early 21st century, batteries would be a logical choice.

This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX, which makes and sells aftermarket Tesla accessories. The opinions expressed therein are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs, nor have we been paid by EVANNEX to publish these articles. We find the company’s perspective as an aftermarket supplier of Tesla accessories interesting and are willing to share its content free of charge. Enjoy!

Posted on EVANNEX on July 03, 2020 by Charles Morris

Cheap, compact batteries made smartphones and mobile computing possible, and larger and more powerful batteries represent the enabling technology behind electric mobility, renewable energy and the smart grid. 

As is the case with any new technology, the applications of battery storage expand as its cost falls. Increasing demand leads to more production, which drives continuing cost reductions and performance improvements in a virtuous circle.

Over the past decade, battery costs have seen a dramatic drop—from over $1,000 per kilowatt-hour in 2010 to around $156 per kWh in 2019, according to BloombergNEF. That’s getting very close to the “magic number” of $100/kWh that many believe will bring EVs to price parity with legacy vehicles, and end the Oil Age. What factors have contributed to this rapid reduction in prices?

Timothy B. Lee, writing in Ars Technica, points out that Tesla has played a major role, not only by bringing electric cars into the mainstream, but by focusing on the importance of battery tech from the start. “Tesla has been a battery company as much as it is a car company,” Lee writes. “Tesla recognized the potential scale of the battery market before most other companies, and has become a leading player in the market for grid storage.”

Tesla followed a classic tech-industry strategy of starting with a low-volume, high-cost product (the Roadster) and progressing to lower-cost mass-market offerings (Models 3 and Y). This iterative process was enabled in large part by falling battery costs. “Model S was designed and introduced about five years after the Roadster, and we saw improvements of around 40 percent on the battery technology, the fundamental chemistry, the packaging of the battery pack itself,” JB Straubel said in 2014. “That directly translated into how we can get close to 300 miles of range in a Model S, almost 85 kWh of energy storage in a pack that’s actually smaller than the Roadster pack.”

As more batteries get produced, economies of scale kick in, and companies learn how to streamline production processes and squeeze out costs. As Mr. Lee explains, economists measure this cost reduction in terms of the learning rate, defined as the percentage decrease in cost for every doubling of manufacturing output. BloombergNEF estimates that, in 2019, the learning rate for batteries was 18 percent. In other words, battery costs fall by 18 percent every time global battery output doubles.

Bloomberg believes that the industry will reach the portentous $100/kWh price point by 2023. Some industry observers suspect that Tesla is already close to achieving the Grail, and will make a historic announcement at Battery Day on September 15.

It isn’t just cars that are driving demand for batteries. Stationary storage for utility applications is a huge growth area—Elon Musk has said that Tesla’s battery business may someday outgrow its automotive angle.

Justin Rowlatt, writing for the BBC, agrees. “Gigantic batteries connected to our electricity grids are going to be central to the great renewable energy revolution,” he writes.

Professor Paul Shearing, a battery expert at University College London, told the BBC that the world is entering “a nearly exponential growth phase.” He points out that Tesla’s vaunted “million-mile battery,” expected to be revealed in September, will not only be good news for EV sales. Longer-lasting batteries are also essential in stationary storage applications.

Utility-scale storage systems use a lot of batteries. In 2017 Tesla installed the world’s largest lithium-ion battery system at the Hornsdale Wind Farm in Australia, with a storage capacity of 129 MWh—equivalent to 2,000 Model 3s or 10 million smartphones. This year, the site’s capacity was increased to 185 MWh. Even so, it will be dwarfed by the planned Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida, which is supposed to have a capacity of 900 MWh and go online in late 2021. Clearly, more economies of scale, and corresponding price reductions, are coming.

Another avenue to lower cost would be reducing the costs of raw materials such as lithium. Despite the scare stories you may have seen, there’s no risk of a shortage—lithium is plentiful around the world. However, it could emerge as a bottleneck as demand mushrooms, because current methods of extracting lithium from salt deposits are slow and inefficient. Mr. Rowlatt writes that, at the Salar de Atacama in Chile, the evaporation process used to produce lithium salts takes months, and recovers only 30% of the available lithium.

Various companies are working to develop improved refining methods. The BBC reports that EnergyX is developing a new type of nanoparticle filter, which it hopes will be able to recover lithium from a salt solution at a 90% efficiency rate, while reducing the time required from months to days. Another innovator is Lilac Solutions, which is testing an ion-exchange process on the rich lithium deposits at California’s Salton Sea. Tesla, meanwhile, hopes to exploit a huge and easily exploitable trove of lithium in so-called Lithium Valley, just a couple hundred miles north of Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

So, we see that Tesla is working on several fronts to keep battery costs coming down. As a recent article from Loup Ventures points out, other automakers are falling farther and farther behind. As Gene Munster writes, “We believe Tesla has a competitive advantage in batteries that is under-appreciated by investors. In the future, we expect that advantage to widen.”

By all accounts, Tesla’s batteries are the best in the industry—but that’s not the only advantage the California company enjoys. Its battery supply chain is more mature and robust than that of other automakers. Munster points out that Tesla has strong relationships with battery suppliers. Most of the company’s battery cells are manufactured by long-time battery partner Panasonic at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory. Loup Ventures believes that over 60% of Panasonic’s battery cell production is currently going to Tesla.


Above: A broad overview of battery electric vehicles using Tesla’s Model S as an example; Note: Since this video aired, Model S range has increased to over 400 miles of range (YouTube: Bloomberg Technology)

Recently, Tesla has also begun working with China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem. As if that weren’t enough, the company is also widely believed to be working on its own battery cell design, which likely uses a new, proprietary chemistry. With its recent acquisitions of Maxwell Technologies and Hibar Systems, Tesla has secured access to cutting-edge battery tech that is sure to lead to further cost reductions. Maxwell’s “dry electrode” manufacturing process could allow Tesla to remake its battery production line, saving loads of money, time and factory space.

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Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Ars Technica, BBC, Loup Ventures

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Car Reviews

Bloomberg: Tesla Scaled Back Berlin Gigafactory

Battery pack production is reportedly no longer included and buildings will be much smaller.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla Gigafactory 4 (aka Giga Berlin) site in Grünheide near Berlin in Germany may be smaller than initially anticipated.

The new planning documents sent to authorities reveal abuilding height reduced by 29 feet (9 m) or more than a third, from 79 (24 m) to 50 feet (15 m), as well as reduced water usage.

More importantly, the plan no longer includes battery assembly facilities and plastic components, which makes us wonder where Tesla will assemble the batteries? Could it be considering a separate facility in the UK just for batteries? 

The car assembly capacity will be about 100,000 per year, which is less than the 150,000 we heard initially.

It’s difficult to say whether Tesla really scaled back the Giga Berlin project, or was just forced to change the plan due to the area’s sandy ground – that would explain why there are new pile foundations and smaller buildings. There is a possibility that the battery assembly facility will be somewhere near, but that’s a pure guess.

The other reason would be a simply more conservative approach to the project in the current uncertain times.

As of July 1, 2020, the first pillars emerged at the site:


Tesla Gigafactory 4 (aka Tesla Giga Berlin) at brief:

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Packing Up A Tesla Model Y And Model X For Vacation: What Fits?

How much cargo space does the Tesla Model Y have compared to the Model X?

Brian Jenkins of i1Tesla is always keeping us posted with solid videos that help Tesla shoppers and owners better understand Tesla vehicles. He just recently took delivery of a Tesla Model Y and has been putting it through the paces for a few months. Now, it’s time to pack it with luggage for a trip.

Jenkins also owns a Tesla Model X, so he has options when it comes to vacations. Both vehicles offer him plenty of range and impressive cargo space. However, clearly the Model X is going to fit more luggage. The question here is, how much more?

The Tesla Model Y is much like the Model 3, though the Y has more passenger and cargo space. Eventually, you’ll be able to get the electric crossover with a small third row. However, when you look at the Model Y, it doesn’t have the tall, boxy shape of many traditional SUVs. Will it still suffice for a typical family’s vacation luggage?

The Model X is similar in that it’s not shaped like a “normal” SUV. However, its minivan-like design makes it a class leader in terms of cargo volume. Jenkins puts the Model Y and Model X side by side. He packs the same assortment of luggage into both electric crossovers to help us see the difference.

Check out the video for the results. Then, scroll down and leave us a comment below.

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This Tesla Model Y Has Already Paid For Itself In Just Three Months

Tesla doesn’t directly offer any cash on the hood, but you can certainly work to put some cash in the frunk.

Ryan Shaw has owned his Tesla Model Y for about three months or so. His crossover is the least expensive Model Y currently available – the $52,900 Long Range. Still, that’s a whole lot of money for a new car. Thankfully, Tesla will bring a cheaper Standard Range version to market at a later date.

As soon as we tell you that Shaw’s Model Y really did pay for itself, you’re probably skeptical. There’s no longer a $7,500 federal EV tax credit for Tesla vehicles, and he hasn’t had the car long enough to rent it out enough times to add up. However, Shaw can still stand behind the claim that the electric crossover is paying for itself.

Shaw explains five ways his Model Y has paid for itself. First of all, he took advantage of cash incentives. Shaw lives in California, so he got $2,000. In addition, he got $1,000 from his power company, Southern California Edison.

Since Shaw isn’t using the car every day at this point, he decided to rent it out on Turo. So far, he’s made almost $1,000 via Turo in about a month.

The third, and likely most profitable situation for Shaw related to his Model Y, is his YouTube channel. He has benefited financially from making videos about the car. Sure, it’s one of his jobs, and it’s not something everyone is able to do successfully. But still, without the Model Y, Shaw wouldn’t have that income. So, it’s fair to say the Y is paying for itself here, though it requires some hard work. Shaw actually made videos prior to the Y and saved money for the car’s down payment too.

Also related to his YouTube channel, Shaw has used affiliate links to generate additional income. Again, if he’s promoting products for the Model Y, and he makes money doing so, the car is paying for itself. Shaw explains:

“If you check out the description in my videos, I list off all the equipment I use to make my videos …

This is one of those things where you might say ‘how is this the Model Y paying for itself? It’s a camera lens on amazon,’ but the only reason that link was clicked, is because I made a video about the Model Y, which is a popular subject.”

Finally, the Tesla Referral Program has helped make the Model Y pay for itself. He has enough referrals to pay for his Supercharging for a long time. Moreover, he could end up with more incentives from the program.

Have you used any of the above methods to help pay for your car? If so, share them with us in the comments below.

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Car Reviews

This Video Says Tesla Cars Are Great Even If The Company Isn't

Did Andy Rogerson, from EVM, hit the nail on the head? Or is he wrong?

It’s been a while since we last published a video from the EVM channel. Andy Rogerson had just bought a Tesla Model 3, and we wrote about it on March 16. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to hit hard, and he did not make a review of his car then. That only happened recently, and the youtuber states it seems like a long-lasting marriage. He also says that the vehicle is excellent even if many cannot say the same about Tesla.

His comparison to marriage comes from those moments in which he looks at the car and says, “this is why I chose you,” along with those he wants to split ways with the machine. Considering what he says about Tesla, his metaphor would be perfect if he compared the company to a bad mother-in-law.

Rogerson says the car is great and that there is a reason for all these automotive channels on YouTube to seem to be made by apologists. According to him, anyone that gets to drive a Model 3 would fall in love with it for the product it is. Chris Harris already said that he loved the EV, but did not buy out of fear of having to be part of “the club.”

The bad points of his experience with the car come from the finishing and quality issues, such as the way the rear bumper does not integrate well with the body. What bothers Rogerson is that it is something so evident in his Model 3, like the aspects of your wife’s – or husband’s – personality that you are sure that are due to the way she/he was raised. In Tesla’s defense, the company promised to fix that.

He is also annoyed by the “non-premium” aspects of his car, such as the lack of knobs, the way the frunk lid closes, and the “fake leather” – as Rogerson names the synthetic leather Tesla calls vegan. Imagine a spouse that lacks more sophisticated manners in a situation that requires that.

Apart from the cost-cutting elements of his Model 3, he is positively impressed with his car’s performance and its running costs. The latter is the reason why he never bought a BMW 3 Series, the car he always wanted to have.

Finally, Rogerson mentions some people had bad experiences with Tesla but that they were not due to the car, but instead to Tesla. We get that many times whenever someone reports an issue, such as the paint problems the Model 3 has. All owners so far said they loved their EVs: what they can’t stand is their “mother.”

What do you think about that? Would the experience with these cars be better if the company was different? Is Rogerson wrong in the points he makes? Feel free to share your comments on his video below. Be sure to watch it fully.

Source: EVM 

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