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2-16-2018


John and team,
 
Appreciate your fact-based opinions on Tesla and have come to agree with many of them.  While most Tesla discussions end at an all or nothing loggerhead, I'd like to suggest a more balanced approach.  For back ground, I'm a long time Tesla investor and owner (2013 Model S and 2018 Model 3 with 1,500 miles on it).  
 
Tesla will be another mid-sized auto manufacturer with a specific target segment.  Tesla has taken 25% market share in the large premium sedan and SUV segments from top tier European automakers and should continue the push into BMW 3 series, MB C Class, and Audi A3 territory.  Competitors must balance losing market share in their high volume sales categories AND invest in their own BEV offerings AND develop a high speed charging network.  Will be tough for them to do all three without significantly impacting their earnings.
 
Glad you highlighted the Model 3 interior pluses in today's segment and look forward to the rest of the series, warts and all.
 
Alan
Alan,

Great feedback, thanks for sending.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


Hi John.  I found this video on YouTube. The guy points out a lot of interesting and scary things.  I try not to take YouTube videos seriously but what do you think?  Is he correct about a serious downturn?
Of course the economy is going to turn downwards at some point. It’s been growing since 2010 and we’ve never had an 8 year long expansion before. But it’s more likely to be a mild recession than a Great Recession.

Also, two years ago Merrill Lynch was making the same prediction that all those cars coming off lease would cause prices of used cars to crash, which in turn make it harder for car buyers to get a good value on their trade-in, which in turn would cause sales of new cars to crash. But Merrill Lynch has since backed off on that prediction and now sees a more gradual downturn.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


John, 
I caught your remark to Mr. Runkle regarding a new sheriff in town may not be there much longer.
I never knew you were a Liberal till I caught that. We and millions of other Americans are sure glad he is our new sheriff. He is trying to make America great again, Pres. Trump wants closed borders, shut down sanctuary cities,
deportation and more jobs just to name a very few pro USA changes for the conservative citizens. He has removed hundreds of Obama rules and regulations since taking office, like restarting oil flowing and opening six million acres in Utah that Obama locked down with the stroke of his pen...... Thank God for President Trump!
 Hill-liary ..Hill-Rotten Clinton would have destroyed the country in one year,she would have followed in Obama’s socialist rules for radicals footsteps. Her idols are George “Schwartz”Soros and Saul Alinsky !
 
Jay in Ar.
2-16-2018


Does this new Kona only have a front grill and l-f fender?!  Is there an interior?  Does it have an IP? IP a screen or dials?  Are there any seats?  Does anything flip, slide, or fold?  Is There a rear end?  How does any hatch operate?  Any door handles?  Does it have sides, and do they have any lines?  Any integral or pop-up screen?  Any cup holders?  Any UBS ports?  How bout A-pillars from the inside?  Any media/temp backseat controls?  Does it have doors, and do the doors have any interior rests, switches, speakers, pulls, etc.?  4-seater?  5-seater?  12" wheels?  Or 30" wheels.
 
Normally when introducing a new model, your second unit photographer does a pretty good job of SHOWING the vehicle while speakers talk.  But shur as hell not today!
 
I did ENJOY the competency, candor, and wide-ranging knowledgeable perspectives of your guest -- who still cudda used a bit more prep from the marketing/PR folk.
 
PSN
2-16-2018


Hi John,
    First off I was totally elated to see the enthusiasm shown by You and the whole panel when it came to my question regarding standard shift. As you already know I am an army of one supporting standard shift,so much so,that I recently spent well over $1000.00 to replace the clutch in my 1994 Ford Ranger 4 cyl. with a Stage 3 racing clutch just to get more driving feel.
    Yes,as everyone said,you are more engaged with the vehicle and it keeps you focused. I own a Chevy Venture van also and I went crazy driving it during my clutch repair as it bored me to death having to drive it.
    I also read Molly McQueen's statements regarding at 30 how much fun she was missing out on never learning to drive a standard shift and now how much she looks forward to driving now. I feel Ford should use her in a commercial to promote standard shift and wonder how we in the United States could channel the enthusiasm towards more people learning how to drive a standard and up production.
    I am totally impressed with the photo's I have seen of the new Ford Ranger and can't wait for the Cleveland Auto Show to see it in person,but,I am sad to hear that it will not be offered with a standard shift even though it is offered world wide with a standard shift.
    I just had to write to say how everyone on the panel made my day with all the positive comments regarding driving standard shift. I am 66,learned at 14 how to drive a stick,and will continue as long as I can drive.
    Take Care,Dale
Dale,

All I can say is: You’re awesome, man!

John McElroy
2-16-2018


Hi John
Just to let you know that I really enjoyed your discussion with Sandy on the Tesla 
His comments on the gaps were very funny and spot on
Maybe the lawyers will have a field day and welcome to the big leagues of the automotive business.
 
All the best 
Kind Regards 
Ted
2-16-2018


John
Saw this article yesterday and thought it might be something to discuss on after hours.
Regards
Chuck
Chuck,

Thanks for sending. We’ve talked about this before on Autoline After Hours, not this suicide, but the fact that NYC and other cities cheated taxi and livery drivers by forcing them to buy expensive medallions, then allowing Uber and Lyft to operate without them. The value of those medallions, which cost $1 million as recently as 6 years ago, then plummeted. At the very least the city should be forced to refund the cost of those medallions.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


AAH 406 was a great show. The best part of AAH is generally the discussion segment and the shows like this one are the best of the breed. Thanks so much!

I have missed ZERO AAH shows all the way back to the beginning with Peter and Jason. It's my weekly ritual!
2-16-2018


Thanks for taking my questions on today's show, and last week's.
 
Question, do you have any contacts or suggestions for an industry wonk to get a job with Mercedes or PSA in Atlanta?  I'm ready to put my automotive obsession to good use after 20 years of sales and marketing in telecommunications.
 
I'd list Porsche as well but there doesn't seem to be much turnover there.
 
Thanks and if you ever come down to Atlanta again, please let me know.  BBQ on me.
 
Joe
Joe,

I don’t have any specific contacts at Mercedes or PSA in Atlanta. In fact, I’m not sure that PSA has even opened its office there yet. My only suggestion is to write up a great resume that is fun to read that expresses your interest and passion in working at the company and to spell out specifically the areas where you think you could help them.

Good luck!

John McElroy
2-16-2018


Dear John,
I discovered your program when it was on our public TV (KPTS) for one season.  I've been watching on my tablet every since.  Thank you for your program.
I envision my self driving car as my current car.  I will be able to drive wherever I want to with the safety of FCW and forward collision stop.  But when I'm tired I will want to be able to enter an address into my GPS and expect the car to take me there. 
I carry personal items in my car which I need and find it to be a huge hassle to switch those items to a different vehicle, which to me dispels the idea of using Lyft all the time.
I'm a poor Kansas boy so I don't expect to buy two cars - one for my driving pleasure and on for self driving. 
Thank you again for your program.  And thank you for hearing me out.
Sincerely,
Robert
Bob,

We’re glad you like the shows! And you make a good observation: people who keep gear, tools, etc. in their cars will not want to use ride-sharing services.

Sounds like a Level 4 car will be perfect for you once they’re available: drive it when you want to, or let it drive you when you want to relax.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


Ever since my experience of making a clay model for the Fisher Body/ Motor Trend student competition in high school, I have wondered:  What is the composition of the clay that the professional modelers use???
 
I made a wood armature, and applied plasticine to it.  That oil based plasticine was not that easy to work with especially during the winter in my parent's basement.  Also, water base clay dries quickly and can't be worked.  So, neither look or work like what the pros use.
 
r work
2-16-2018


John,
It will be great to learn more about Sandy Munro’s teardown of the Model 3 on your show.  The fit and finish of the car show they are having teething pains.
It would be relevant to know how well the Model S fit and finish is now days.  Is this a problem that Tesla never seems to fix or just early mfg glitches?

As far as the frunk release... from the picture of the first salvaged Model 3, it looks like the frunk lid crumples up so that access to the emergency cut wire might be easy to access.  It would still may prove to be better to have a mechanical cable though but maybe this will not prove to be a huge problem.  How much cost did they save from eliminating the cable release?
I suspect the single center screen control is going to save them a lot of BOM and mfg costs.   Will all of these design decisions lead to a BMW quality handling, performance, NVH, and styling but at a much lower cost than an ICE equivalent?

The sticker under the right rear trunk arm would seem to be better than other cars.  What cars have stickers to show emergency responders where to cut?  Typically, the OEM publishes online a first responders’ guide (as Tesla has).  We had emergency responder training in 2011 when the first PEVs came to market and they have electronic copies in their trucks.

The door handle design reminds me of Jag or some other premium brand handles.   I’d prefer a more simple one like from a BMW but it would have impacted styling and maybe a little aero.  

I hope that Sandy provides some performance data before he tears it apart.  I have heard the acceleration and range are better than the Tesla published numbers.  Some measures of NVH would be useful.  Estimating powertrain life and yearly maintenance costs also useful.  Elon had mentioned a 1M mile target life  (but with some battery degradation).  This makes sense given the common use with the Semi.
What Sandy's teardown shows is that the Model 3 is probably a great car that was rushed to market before it was fully developed. Some of the manufacturing issues will take a long time to resolve. In my career I've never seen such a botched launch of a car. It is a disaster, and I don't think the company will hit a consistent 5,000/week build rate this year.

Tesla is very fortunate to have owners who are very forgiving and willing to overlook numerous problems, but the mass market will not be so tolerant.

As Sandy gets deeper into his teardown we'll report on what he uncovers, and undoubtedly some of that will be quite positive.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


n 2-3-2018 aired a Ford supply chain rep.O Stated that Ford will be manufacturing  vehicles for the American market in China. Switching to electric with a range of 300 miles. How can consumers drive and tolerate having to stop for charging. What do you do to recycle batteries? What happens when there is an accident with battery powered cars? Who has the infrastructure  to support dozens of cars to be charged simultainiously? Do they take into consideration that power plants use fossil fuels and the transmission of electricity has a low efficiency over power lines.
Wow, lots of questions!

Charging: people who want electric cars will not be put out by having to stop at fast charging stations. But the general public will not want a car that takes half an hour or so to charge before they can be on their way again. The charging infrastructure is still in its infancy and will improve over time. Most electricity will be generated by fossil fuels—coal and natural gas—for a long time to come.

Recycling: no one knows how to do this in volume and for a profit. Only small scale, subsidized recycling of EV batteries is taking place right now

Accidents: BEVs should be no more dangerous than ICE vehicles. In fact, the Tesla Model S has exemplary crash protection. If the crash is severe enough there is a danger of batteries catching fire, but that’s no more dangerous than gasoline tanks catching fire in severe accidents.

John McElroy
2-16-2018


John,
 
While the quality issues with that particular Model 3 surprise, Tesla is trying to sell to Tesla fans - of which there are many millions - maybe as many as Ford 150 fans. I want an EV that has the body shape, performance of a Dacia Duster and a price close to it. I would not buy a Tesla or Bolt EV because the body shapes is wrong. The future vehicle market will have variety as a mode of transport is the most expensive thing most of the world can afford to own. If you can't easily afford a car, you cannot afford to buy a house - high home-ownership is a key element of developed country economies. There could be real trouble here.. 
 
I think the young leaving traditional autos behind are doing so because they can't tell one from another, and they don't see the vehicles giving a positive message about them. The young want simple, cheap, light weight, park anywhere vehicles that don't pollute - you might call them local travel vehicles. China is making millions of them - if with poor quality at the moment. China will turn the car into a consumer product like a washing machine and it will  be sold in similar stores.
 
We need to remember that there has been a convergence in the design and quality of motor vehicles. As an engineer, I often find it hard to tell make and model of a car - but can still give a description of the shape.  Tesla vehicles look a bit different. I think we see more radical design in the future to entice the young with vehicles that don't look like their parents.
 
First responder education is an issue, as is charging out of town for every EV other than a Tesla. 
 
Some Model 3 owners are saying 300 miles/500 km genuine summer range is the point where they think about range as they do with an ICE vehicle. That probably means 70 kWh battery mid-size EVs with standard ICE acceleration. At 300 miles, with an average daily drive under 30 miles, it doesn't matter if the car is not plugged in daily. People who need to park their EV on a street, will only need to take it somewhere to plug-in once a week.
 
I like that Model 3 door handles even though I have medical issues with my little fingers.
 
I don't think there is a physical effort issue with the Model 3 boot lid, my Hyundai Tuscon looks much heavier. Sandy is getting on a bit. I don't see younger people complaining about it.
 
You missed a significant technology share issue with your camera focus on where to cut the Model 3 HV cable under the hood. That shot is all over the internet. What we needed to see was how all the equipment between the tub of the frunk and the front firewall was assembled and what the components are. With the panel removed, you had an opportunity to show it - but likely, your camera person did not know what has not been shown on the internet to date. With Model S/X all the components are individually fixed to the firewall. Is model 3 the same, or are the components on a sub-assembly? Sub-assemblies are a key to cost reduction. 
 
Autoline reported Samsung bought Harmon for $8 bn and is now producing its Digital Cockpit - integrated hardware and software for infotainment and instrument cluster, but, unlike the Tesla Model 3, it can power four screens. They will add augmented reality navigation, mood music and autonomous driving. Digital Cockpit appears top have better features than what Tesla has. Delphi, Continental, Bosch, etc will compete with Samsung to supply digital cockpits. The Tier 1s will produce more complex systems which they will supply to OEMs. The OEMs can't afford to compete with Tier 1 in vehicle systems especially when Google and Apple are Tier 1s. Perhaps Ford has the right strategy - focus on vehicles and systems integration for a great user experience, and focus on mobility services. 
 
Sandy Munro did a great teardown of the BMW i3, I expect similar with the Model 3. I note all the electronic equipment Sandy had in the rear of the car when you opened the rear door. That said Sandy was not actually going to tear down that particular car. On a past show, Sandy said he gets 2 cars. One is used to test the performance given by the components discovered in the tear down - new components are important discoveries, and how they impact performance is equally important.
 
Autoline reported average (median?) car price is about $36,000 and rising $1,000 per year - in part due to cost of fuel economy, pollution and safety tech. Ford is putting 10-speed gearboxes into more vehicles. Electric drivetrains have far fewer moving parts. The more powerful drivetrain of the Model 3 surely costs less than the drive train of an F-150 if we leave the battery aside. With more cycles of EV design, costs should fall significantly.
 
In the electricity energy market, there is now a word to describe the electrical network of the future - 'E-Cloud'. It is like the data cloud in many ways. It favours EVs of other vehicle power sources. There will be tens of millions of home solar PV and home batteries. Commercial buildings and industrial plants will be similarly equipped. Electrical energy suppliers will invest in new generating and storage capacity and in systems to match supply and demand in micro seconds. Generators that require a fuel (nuclear, gas, oil, coal) will fail in the market due to fuel and maintenance costs and slow response times to demand changes. Maintaining voltage and frequency are just as important as quantity. Large generators make efficient management of the grid difficult. Better to have batteries spread across the grid to manage local demand changes. And better to have many small sources wind and solar farms are comprised of many small generators. As the 'E-Could' matures, they wholesale price differences across the day and the season will narrow considerably. EVs, due to their batteries, when plugged in at work and home on Tier 2 chargers, will be a significant stabilizing feature in the 'E-Cloud'.
 
EVs and E-Cloud enable each other just as the telegraph and the steam-powered trains did (the telegraph allowed signalers to know where train were on the single track lines across the countryside). The railways needed the telegraph, and businesses used the telegraph to buy and sell goods that traveled on the train.
 
Regards
Peter
2-16-2018


Hi John,

Michael Simcoe mentioned how battery chemistry continues to evolve and that future EV batteries will get smaller in size while higher in capacity; can you imagine a day where someone might 'steal' the battery of an EV?

Mike
Most EV batteries are integrated into the floor and would be hard to steal. But if it were easy, they'd get stolen. They're worth more than catalytic converters and those get stolen too.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


Hi John,
 
F1 might be making a mistake as the F1 Grid Girls are like cheerleaders and has been part of the pageantry of the sport for as long as I can remember.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
Nah. Everyone will make a big deal about it for the first race or two and then everyone will forget there ever were “grid girls” in F1.

Besides, in the history of Gran Prix racing they’re a relatively new addition and were never used during the Golden Age of the sport.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


John, I travel quite a bit in the Southern states and can report the following. The car is all but dead down here. "The" vehicle of choice is a full size pickup truck followed by a mind numbing array of SUV's and crossovers. All you have to do is look at the floor plan of any big 3 automaker dealership and you will see acres of pickup trucks and a hand full of cars in the showroom.
Another observation. The largest advertising group on local TV are the personnel injury attorneys. I mean there are dozens of these guys all focused on vehicle accidents. Makes me wonder how on earth auto makers with autonomous vehicles are going to defend themselves. 

Tom
2-2-2018


Thank you for the ongoing quality and excellence of your shows presenting the state-of-the-art technologies being incorporated by the industry. 
 
Richard
Richard,

Thanks for taking the time to write, we will definitely share this with the Autoline team.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


Hi John,
 
I went to my local Jeep dealership this afternoon to look at the 2018 Jeep Cherokee Limited.  The current $199 per month lease program  had left them with not even one to show me.  I started to discuss with one of the salespeople about the 2019 refreshed Jeep Cherokee Limited.  I understood that the dealership had already placed orders with the factory.  The most disappointing thing I learned is that there is NO Dark BLUE ones ordered and the color is not being offered for 2019!  Please communicate to the FCA that customers want the Dark Blue exterior with Beige Interior color combination.  Black, White and Red also go with a Beige interior for the 2019 Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Compass.
 
FCA has all different names by model for the same color or nearly same colors.  The Cherokee had "Patriot Blue"  the Compass has "Jazz Blue Pearl" and the Grand Cherokee "True Blue Pearlcoat".
Why waste all this money on slightly different shades of "Dark Blue" for each model.  FCA should consolidate these "Dark Blues" into on generic "Dark Blue"!  This would save money on different shades of the same basic color shades of paints and spend it on offering different interior combinations like "Black, Grey and Beige" .  Premium and Luxury vehicle buyers gravitate to a rich Glossy Black and Dark Blues vehicles with either Black, Beige or light Grey interiors.   
 
I hope you can help me with this crusade to bring back "Dark Blue" as a exterior color for the 2019 Cherokee!  I will need to drive the new 2.0 Liter Turbo before I can decide which to get.  Either the 3.2 Liter V6 or the New Turbo!
 
Thanks for being the voice of the automotive enthusiast!
 
Lex  
Lex,

Thanks for pointing this out. We’ll publish your letter in the Viewer Mail section of our website so that Jeep designers and product planning people can read it too.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


Kia made a big splash with the stinger a few months ago and is still garner lots of positive  attention with award nominations.. but genesis is hiding the G70 the stinger classy cousin.  It waning at Detroit,  it wasn't at CES, but unveiled it at the Montreal auto show... that lets face it no one covers. It looks like a beautiful car, possible a 3 series fighter, but didn't genesis drop the ball in growing their brand?
 
My thanks, 
 
Bo
Bo,

The problem that Genesis faces in growing the brand is that it launched with two sedans into markets that are screaming for crossovers and SUVs. They will get this fixed, but not with the G70.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


John,

From their statements, Tesla employs long established statistical quality measures in their production processes.

The 'bandolier' approach to cell installation is brilliant - the 'bandolier' must look more like a belt of rapid fire machine gun bullets, than the over-the-shoulder belt of manually loaded bullets from which it is named. Think big belt with double-sided ammunition feeding an airborne machine-gun.

Ever cell is glued to a cooling tube to create the bandolier. As the bandolier is feed into the module frame (think ammunition box) and folded over, a strip of insulating material (for vibration and thermal expansions reasons) must be feed-in to stop the back-to-back cells from touching each other. The insulation between cells of different sub-modules must also provide electrical isolation. The metal case of cylindrical cells is important to transfer heat from the far side of the cell to the cooling tube.

Obviously, Tesla does not want to give away it technology info to competitors, but this news story has resulted in Tesla giving away key knowledge to fans, customers, and competitors.

To me, the Tesla module building approach is a superior way to make a battery of standard lithium-ion chemistry.

With less cells required during Model 3 “production hell”, Panasonic obviously had under-employed people who were press-ganged into the more manual battery production.

The "zone 1 & 2" assembly operations Tesla had problems with, were obviously A) bandolier creation, and B) packing the bandolier, insulating strips and current collector plates into a frame ready for ultrasonic welding. For the second operation, the module had gone up from the ~25 kg item with 516 cells in the 100 kWh modules, to about ~80 kg/~86 kg and 1058/1150 cells of the M3 module. I expect zone 3 and 4 were ultrasonic welding and flipping the module over to weld the other side. 

Solid-state cells may not take too kindly to the level of folding required for cylindrical cells. Perhaps, solid-state cells can only be made in prismatic format. In which case, cell thickness will correspond to the spacing of cooling tube.

Regards

Peter
Peter,

Again, thanks for your considerable information on this topic!

Other things to consider:

I don’t think that Tesla is letting valuable IP leak out, since it already offered all of its IP for free to anyone who wants to use it. Perhaps that offer did not extend to battery making.

My understanding is that Tesla is using a synchronous assembly process with no buffers, so that if there is any problem on the line, everything upstream comes to a screeching halt. If this is indeed the case they’re going to have to revamp their battery assembly process.

John McElroy
2-2-2018


I see that you are buying the Achates' KoolAid on you said it.At the very least, I would have appreciated some mention of my previously stated Achates history.In my mind this shows that Autoline has to be "politically correct " at the expense of leaving out pertinent info. Hmmmmm. I think I know why Peter D. left the show. Youngblood
You’re right to be skeptical of Achates, since we haven’t driven a vehicle with the engine, but I think it will prove to be legit. There is more and more interest on the part of major manufacturers, and we think there’s big announcement that could be coming this year. If I’m reading the tea leaves right, it could involve GM. I talked with the Aramco technical people, who have deep engine expertise, and they’re solidly behind this engine. BTW, Aramco just opened an R&D center in the Detroit area, and that alone ought to tell you that something is up. Achates has promised us a test drive of their F-150 with the engine and when they do, we’ll devote an entire Autoline After Hours to it, good, bad or ugly.

Bringing a new engine design into production is one of the most difficult things to do. In the +100 year history of the auto industry, only three types of engines have made it into production: gasoline, diesel and rotary. And the rotary failed to catch on. If Achates succeeds it will truly be a historic moment.
John McElroy
1-26-2018


Hi John,
 
    Just saw the show and, as always, great job! While I think the Stringer would be a fantastic "Car of the Year", I believe the Accord may have it. The funny thing to me is, while the Accord is very stylish, IMHO, the front end looks more truck-ish then Honda's Ridgeline! For "Utility of the Year", while this may be Alfa Romeo's first effort and an outstanding vehicle, the Volvo may have stolen the show. It makes no sence to me that, to have once been in the Ford family, why couldn't the Lincoln brand pull off interiors as well as this? That being said, for over all packaging, the Navigator is the hands down winner of "Truck of the Year".   
 
Wayne
1-26-2018


Self Driving Car problems? 
How are the test at UM going with Winter Driving conditions? How do they react on snow, ice and other hazardous conditions? I've been in Fla during just hard rain and have seen streets covered by water. I've been in Colorado on back roads during a light rain that turned the road into conditions like ice. How will they do on roads after a fresh snow with drifting. These are a challenge for all drivers.. I have a family member that has lost his sight, will he be able to get around in all climate with a level 5 vehicle?
These would make for great show topics . 
 
David
David,

We don’t have specific feedback on Autonomous Vehicles testing in snow, but the AV experts tell us they’ve got this problem solved. They say that with 3D mapping, GPS, lidar, video and radar they can pinpoint where a vehicle is even if the road is completely covered in deep snow.

John McElroy
1-26-2018


Hi John;



I love this show, watch every year.  I agree with the new mustang 5.0, but they haven’t heard of the Chevrolet Corvette & Camaro?



It seems to me that Dodge & Ram trucks seem to be missed most years also.



It may not be new & “innovative, but my Subaru Legacy 3.6 R & my wife’s Subaru Forester 2.0XT Touring (WRX Engine) get us thru Traverse City winters just fine.



We do run snow tires too.



I’m at the age where I would rather “Unplug” than plug in.



All the best




Eric
1-26-2018


Just the facts please:The Achates OPOC format was  developed in 2004 with a $50  million venture cap-------2010 company states the engine is production ready in 3 years-----2015 $9million from ARP-E--------2015 $47.4 million GRANT  from Cummins US Army which brings us to the Detroit Auto Show news and the partnering of Achates and ARAMCO. Sure the engine was visible. It was by their own admission a  a non functional ,non runnable what?????? a model???? a piece of plastic???? A visible V-8???? Scratch that , I mean a visible OPOC engine? NOPE  it was a "prototype". I have been following the spiel from day one with hopes it could be the next best ICE. One question remains. Did the heads of Achates develope the business plan that Elon Musk has used to make Billions on his "visions:? That's my " you said it" Youngblood Cleveland OH
1-26-2018


Good Day,
 
PLEASE GET IT RIGHT! The automotive companies received a LOAN!!!! And paid it back with interest !! The banks had a “bail out” not paying a cent back.. The hard working people of the automotive companies should not be represented falsely!! A loan to the companies from the government, paid back with interest!!
 
Thank you,
 
Anita
1-26-2018


Hey John our conversations about Volvo missing the mark on safety in their ads must have been heard. Last evening I saw a new Volvo ad touting, what else, but Volvo’s safety commitment. I guess we told them!
 
Michael
1-26-2018


Tesla claims to be ramping up production but here on the ground in Fremont, CA the numbers don't seem to add up. Very few trucks are rolling and while Model 3's are stacking up in a side lot I'm not sure that's a good thing. I get the impression these cars are being held for some reason. Is production overtaking shipping or are these defects?

John
I wouldn't read too much into a bunch of cars sitting outside a car plant, unless they're parked there for more than a week. Even if Tesla is only making 1,000 cars a week you'd expect to see a bunch of them parked there. That's pretty much true of every car plant, though most of them make 1,000 cars a day.

John McElroy
1-26-2018


As someone who lives near the former Mitsubishi  Motors factory, and now home to EV startup Rivian Motors, I read with interest about the probable demise of Faraday Future. I wonder if Rivian will succeed where so many others have failed?  Rivian does appear to have a money making operation, but not by selling cars. They are renting storage space for the recalled VW diesels, 14,000 VW’s so far.  This reminds me of Tesla making money not from the cars, but from selling the EV credits.
 
Neil G
Neil,

Thanks for the info! If you get any other updates please let us know.

John McElroy
1-26-2018


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your whole staff.  Your programs create joy and entertainment throughout my whole year.  After just finishing watching AAH (Christmas edition) let me add that it is one of the best of the year; thanks.  Most of 'my' presents and coal were addressed (and rightly assigned, I must add) and the other additions appropriate.  Sadly I don't get to watch live much anymore (occasionally I still do) but still hardly miss (a one).  As a long time listener, sometimes contributor; again I say thanks and give thanks to your support of my automotive affliction of which I hope to never get over.
 
Chuck Grenci,
Chuck,

Thanks so much for your kind words. I’ll make sure the Gary, the two Mikes and the rest of the crew get to read your letter.

(belated) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
John McElroy
1-26-2018


I am seriously considering replacing my high-miles Honda del Sol. My preferred cost outlay is $10k to $12k but can spend up to $15k if the car is exceptionally worth it. 
 
What can you recommend and/or prefer among MB, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Nissan and Mazda two-seat convertibles?
 
Thank you for your assistance.
 
B R Ball
B R,

For the money, it would be hard to beat the Miata. You’re more likely to get one in your price range that is newer, with fewer miles, and better equipped. The insurance costs may even be lower.

John McElroy
1-26-2018


Hi John,

After watching the Mustang segment I have a question. I was under the impression Dave Pericek was Head of Mustang. Has there been a personnel change in the Mustang team, and if so, where is Dave?
 Thanks. Dale Leonard Cleveland,Ohio
Dale,

Dave Pericek is now the head of engineering for unibody cars for North America. That’s kind of a curious change, but Dave is a rising star within Ford and perhaps they are grooming him for more important roles in the company.

John McElroy
1-26-2018


This old boys gang has run its course. I think Stephanie Brinley should be a regular host.
 
We need the female perspective and she is very intelligent. She would add greatly to AAH.
1-19-2018


Hi John,
 
Sergio Marchionne is threatening to form his own race series as it would be like CART vs INDY; but without television, venues and sponsorship it's doubtful Marchionne can actually pull this off in the next calendar year.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
Good point. Ferrari receives over $300 million a year from F1 based on its historical association with the series, and its current standings in the constructors’ championship. Unless a new series sponsor was willing to cough up that kind of dough, it’s unlikely Ferrari could fund its F1 team at its current level of development. Marchionne is trying to protect its unfair funding advantage that starves other teams and ensures that Ferrari gets more than anyone else.

John McElroy
1-19-2018


John
Terrific after hours this week, very entertaining and informative great
guest.  Merry Christmas!
Regards
Chuck
1-19-2018


Just one word is all it takes. OUTSTANDING !!!!!!! Yep that's what this weeks AAH was. If you need more words try this -----F'ng OUTSTANDING !!!!! Great job MEN. Youngblood
1-19-2018


John,

Wow! Does Rachel know her business. Very interesting.



Boiling all this down, I see GM not satisfied with the profits (or lack thereof) in auto manufacturing, so they are spreading out into the car rental business and taxi business, but using disruptive smartphone technology so they don't have to buy Hertz or Avis and don't have to hassle with taxi companies. Kind of vertically integrating; a manufacturer and also a consumer of the products. Good. Both of those industries could use a good shakeup.
1-19-2018


John,

Is there any hope for success in the new Regal Sportback & TourX? A GM designed, German made, now-French owned platform? The combination gives pause to my decision making.
-HelicopterJay
PSA is committed to building Buicks or other vehicles for GM until 2020. After that, look for their replacements to come from China.

John McElroy
12-15-2017


John,
 
I am a general manager of a truck dealership and while we do not have the turnover of sales help as you indicated a 71% turnover rate, I can say that the 41% technician is about right. Automotive (especially heavy truck) technicians are scarce as hen’s teeth. They can quit a job today and find a new one in a matter of days.  You mentioned no other industry has this kind of turnover but I would have you look at over the road truckers that work for companies like JB Hunt, Swift, Schniender etc. Their turnover rate is about 95%.
 
Ed
12-15-2017


Hi John,
Just listened to your report on employee turn over at dealerships.
I work in the service dept at a local Ford dealer, and wanted you to know that my fellow techs and me have a different take on it.
For one, its the very outdated flat-rate pay system. Its becoming harder and harder to make a good living in this industry and guys are leaving for better paying jobs. Some are even leaving the industry all together.
Two, bad management. Maybe that part of your report is true; they are hiring or keeping people that should never manage.
That's my two cents.
Keep up the good work and have a good holiday.
 
Matt
12-15-2017


hi John,
 
an economic piece from someone I've read every week for many years -

the gist is that it appears likely that automation is going to eliminate 1/3 of jobs by 2030.

- think this might have an effect on car sales??  I guess!
 
rick
Scary stuff!

John McElroy
12-15-2017


John:   One of the more memorable shows for me was the interview with Oliver Schmidt (AAH #275 & ATW #1821). I was very impressed with his honesty and his "just the facts, ma'am"  approach to questions.   I just read about his conviction for his part in the VW scandal this morning.  I feel shocked, betrayed, stupid, naive and many more adjectives.  Were you surprised by his arrest and conviction or did you know all along that he was a fraud?  Is he really that evil or was he chosen to be the scapegoat for the $30 billion dollar debacle.  (And why did he ever come back to the US when he knew there was an arrest warrant out for him.)   Stuart
We all liked Oliver and were stunned when he was arrested. I still like him but hate what he did. He lied and covered up the scandal to the utmost of his ability. Not with us on Autoline After Hours, but to the EPA and Feds.

I'm sure he regrets coming to the US on vacation, but he actually alerted the authorities that he was coming.

The real crime though is that Oliver was following orders and the real guilty men, the upper management at VW, are getting off scott free. Germany should be ashamed that it's allowing this to happen. Either it should allow the FBI to have them extradited to stand trial in the US or it should try them in Germany.

John McElroy
12-15-2017


John:
  I feel a little silly that the MK(*) naming convention at Lincoln has been confusing me for years. Then out of nowhere I thought of the old Lincoln Mark 1 or 2 or “V” (5)…why in the world didn’t they just say Mark instead of MK ? Could it be like the Europeans with the size classes…i.e. 1,2,3,4 or Audi A1, A2, A3…so the Mark 4 Aviator (?).
 
Just a thought…
Rick
Rick,

Good suggestion, but it would have just made a bad naming situation a bit better. Lincoln is far better off going with proper names rather than the letters.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


why do they think this concept only appeals to women
. i love this concept and hope it becomes the real thing with 400 hp twin turbo 3.3 v6 from stinger and AWD. OR all electric 500 hp with 400 mile range and a twin horizontally opposed piston generator on board for extended range.LOL

Love your show and Happy 400th 

Todd
12-1-2017


Hi John,
I just watched your AAH #400
and as always enjoyed your show.  Now some thoughts on why hybrids are not selling.

As you noted the many models out there and yet only 2% of sales, well most are sedans and thus the improvement in mileage does not stand out as much as the loss of utility. My Fusion Hybrid averages 40 mpg as compared to maybe 30 that the base would get. Well a friend bought the gas model because he could not fit his bike in the back of the Hybrid. That did not concern me as I can put almost anything in my Explorer when I need to but it struggles to get 20 mpg.

So when you balance function vs mpg, function will win.

Hybrids sacrifice space as well as tow. Why do we buy SUV’s and CUV’s? So we can carry more stuff and pull our small trailers/boats. Their is only one hybrid out there that retains tow capacity and gives up very little space (stow & go seating). That is the Pacifica and it gets a nice boost in mpg in a vehicle that really needs it and makes a noticeable difference.

I think Mike O’Brien had it right when he said that people moving from sedans to CUV’s are enjoying the added utility but not the mileage. So when you see more Pacifica type vehicles you will see hybrids take off. I would love to have that powertrain in my Explorer.

That would be why the Prius sales are going down as RAV4 sales are going up. Some of those Prius owners are moving up in functionality without taking the big mpg hit.

That’s the way I see it.

Happy Thanksgiving
Len
12-1-2017


Hi John,

I really enjoyed the show on automotive data monetization
.  Regarding your question/challenge at the end of the segment about how to be remunerated for offering personalized data, there is at least one technology startup exploring this area using block chain technology (a prescient guess on your part) called Algebraix Data Corporation
in Austin, TX.  I am not affiliated with this company in any way but they apparently plan to use smart contracts to license the use of and payment for accessing personal data across all types of touch points where data could be personally monetized (primarily search engines, and social media).  I imagine the emerging auto industry vertical would be an ideal application for this type of smart contract that they are probably also exploring (assuming such contracts could be embedded within sales and leasing agreements and consumers were given the ability to opt out of giving up their data).  That is a big if, however, as it would likely require federal and/or state by state legislative actions, which would likely be resisted by automotive dealership lobby groups.  I know that here in Texas this is a powerful lobby group, as they have thus far kept Tesla from being able to market their cars directly to consumers outside of the traditional dealership framework. 

Take care.

Ben
Ben,

Thanks for sending this. Very interesting. I had not heard of this company. But I'm reading up on it!

John McElroy
12-1-2017


My name is Etti Hadar and I decided to purchase a Tesla model X because I wanted a stress-free automobile; nevertheless, since getting the car, I have been frustrated by problem after problem (over 17). As a result of the growing list of issues, I have lost trust in both the car, and the manufacturer.

 The car has been in the repair shop on 4 separate occasions for a total of 21 days out of the first 38 days of owning it (I am writing this letter on the 38th day). 

If you need more information feel free to contact me. 

Kindly, 

Etti
Etti,

How disappointing. It's always exciting to get a new car and to hear that it's been in the shop so much has got to be maddening.

Tesla has inspired many people, but until it stops talking about future products and concentrates all its efforts on building quality into its existing vehicles the company simply won't survive.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


John;



I’m with you. If I have to give up my data, I want a check every month also
.



Great Stuff.



Thanks much.



Eric
Imagine if everyone got a check every month for allowing corporations and governments to use their data. It could put everyone on a better path, especially if we are truly heading into a jobless society in the future.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


Hi John,

Yesterday’s F1 race proved that despite there was only a handful of seconds between the first car in the starting grid and the last car; there were only 4 cars that had any real chance to win especially as Lewis Hamilton started last and tore through the field to finish 4th.

Mike @ San Francisco CA
12-1-2017


John,
 
I think GM is on the mark with its EV and battery architectures - based on the attached images you featured in the 'Daily' show.
 
The battery has 12 modules which likely means each has 8 sub-modules - the electrical and cooling circuits look very efficient. It could mean that each module has just 8 cells, but likely means each module has 16 or 32 cells. (respectively, 2 and 4 cells in parallel). It is possible they could go the Tesla route of a large number of cells in parallel, but I doubt it at this stage.
 
I would love to know the consequences for battery function if a cell failure occurs when there are just 2 to 4 cells in parallel. Surely it means an expensive repair to replace a relatively cheap cell (possibly $15.63 each based on the GM target of $100/kWh and 384 cells in a 60 kWh battery). 
 
The Tesla approach of 31 and 46 cells in parallel, for its new Model 3 standard and long range batteries, can sustain a number of cell failures without needing to replace modules/cells. 
 
Tesla's small cells mean the cooling fluid tubes can be closer to the centre of the cells and, thus, more effectively manage cold and heat. Without the ridiculous acceleration of the Tesla cars, perhaps intimate thermal mgt of cells is not necessary. 
 
Like Tesla, GM is making its batteries a structural component - necessary to pass structural safety tests (great for side intrusion test). 
 
I think it better that batteries are not exposed to the underside of the car - they are an expensive component to expose to rock and object damage. The other issue is thermal mgt - exposing the battery to the extreme heat of black pavement in summer and the freezing cold of northern winters. A well insulated battery can be kept at a good operating temperature with just a trickle current when not in use. The underside of the battery should come with a replaceable rock and thermal shield glued to it. Tesla puts a lot of emphasis on a clean underside of its vehicles for aerodynamic purposes. We should expect EVs to have very clean undersides due to regen braking permitting smaller friction brakes. While we all like the look of alloy wheels, smooth hudcaps cut fuel use 5% to 10%. 
 
I prefer the GM approach of not attaching ancillary equipment to the battery - in contrast to the Tesla M3. It should lead to a cheaper, more flexible architecture of ancillary equipment under the hood. It likely means no 'frunk', but 'frunks' surely have limited appeal and value. With an EV, all the ancillary gear - inverters, low voltage batteries, fluid tanks, fuses, etc, could be packaged and mounted under the hood like it were an ICE - this would cut many final assembly line tasks.
 
My benchmark for a basic CUV is the Renault Dacia Duster - the 2018 is just released - see image. Price for the base model in the UK appears to be US$12,200 and US$12,600 in Germany - the two cheapest prices I could find. Does this mean a Duster glider has a wholesale cost of $8,000???
 
For a car with 50 kWh battery with $100/kWh cells, that is $5,000 of cells. Surely a $20,000 CUV EV with a 50 kWh battery is possible.
 
The new Tesla Roadster (2020 deliveries) no doubt needs its 200 kWh battery (likely 830 kg of cells, 2.5 times the Model 3 battery) to produce enough power for its 3 motors to propel it to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds - that means an average acceleration of 14.18 m/s.s - 1.44 x Gravity. Laws will surely get made to restrict this much acceleration on public roads. Over 400 kmh and 1000 km range. The new Roadster likely has a carbon fibre body. Roadster and new Semi build on Model 3 technology.
 
Roadster may need a triple layer of cells in its battery. 
 
No update on Model 3 production at Semi/Roadster launch event. Elon surely hoping new products will keep investor minds off M3 battery module troubles.
 
Regards
Peter
Peter,

Great amount of information, thanks for sending! And we agree that Tesla needs to concentrate on getting the Model 3 up to line speed. Everything should be put on hold until that is accomplished.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


Hi John,
now the Stinger has been released I am far from impressed with Kia's pricing. Pricing is in US$ at current exchange rates.
Four cylinder base model is U$40,000 on road and the GT six cylinder is US$49,000 on road!!! (AU$53,000 to AU$65,000)
All right hand drive Stingers are two wheel drive only.
I feel Kia is gouging customers in the Australian market (one of Kia's biggest markets) to the tune
of about US$8,000. For comparison US prices are US$32,000 to $50,000. 
In Canada the top spec Stinger 4WD GT Limited is US$39,000. (CAN$50,000).
Not sure if these comparisons are valid as I realise the US and Canada may incur on road, local taxes and destination charges on top.
Regards Tom C Melbourne Australia.
PS: Congratulations on 400 episodes of Autoline After Hours, it is a great show, keep up the great work.
12-1-2017


John
 
The current problems with BEV's is charging time. maybe the Israel company that is working on a battery that will charge in five minutes or less will work, sounds like a capacitor battery.  Another way would be inductive charging embedded into the roadway. Until BEV's can compete with ICE powered cars in range they will not be the preferred mode of personal transportation. I make a 150 mile drive about twice a month and a 400 mile trip every few months, Hybrid for me makes much more sense
 
Love your shows:
 
 
David
12-1-2017


Thanks for the follow-up (11/10/17) John!  
 
I think this is the most comprehensive video of an autonomous system that I've seen.  I live in the Bay Area and see Google and GM's autonomous vehicles fairly regularly.  What I find compelling is that (a) This checks all the boxes of what I would have for an autonomous system and (b) illustrates that having a strong AV system should be more compelling to insurance companies and (c) that I would probably want to own a car with a level 3 system, but probably not a level 5 system per-se.  
 
The car was able to detect when a pedestrian walked out in front of them, could handle normal traffic conditions (from what I've seen, highway traffic isn't really a technical problem) and seemed pretty robust. 
 
I would think once the insurance companies figure out that AVs would probably lower risk premiums, they would want to try and get Level 3+ mandated for all vehicles.  
 
I think I liked that the driver could just grab the wheel and make an adjustment and then let go and have the car retake control.  I don't think I'd want to own my own car if I couldn't do that.  If I couldn't / can't take over the driving of my car at any time, then I think I'd rather not own such a vehicle and would rather use a ride hailing service (Uber/Lyft) with autonomous vehicles.  
 
One more comment/ question for you:  Uber & Lyft's business models don't work if they have to own the fleet of vehicles.  Part of their value proposition is that they don't require capital expenditure on cars and can still increase/decrease the number of drivers at a moment's notice.  So how do they exist in a world of Level 5 AVs when they can't/shouldn't own the fleet of vehicles?  I think this implies a new business model where private equity groups (big PE shops all the way to individual car buyers) would own the Level 5 AV's and then "subscribe" to Uber and/or Lyft and charge them a fee when they're in use.  This is analogous to how airplanes are owned by investment groups and leased to the airlines. This would also create a more demand for new U&L alternatives. Do you think that Uber/Lyft/Maven/the OEMs understand this business model limitation that AV's bring and are planning around it?  
 
I'll look for videos of the other systems you mention.
 
thanks again!
 
Doug
12-1-2017


Check out the video in this article. It’s GM Cruise Automation and its autonomous system is far in advance of what Nissan showed. There are several times when the car comes across a truck or bus partially blocking its lane, and it pulls out all by itself once the traffic is clear. No human intervention needed.
 
Then check out these videos
and see how the car gets through a 6-way intersection with no problem and later follows hand signals from a construction worker.  It looks like the Nissan system comes nowhere close to what Cruise can do right now.
 
When they get to Level 5 cars, Uber and Lyft or any other mobility provider will likely pay a fleet management company to own and maintain their cars. There are several players already lining up to do that.
 
John McElroy
12-1-2017


Follow up to viewer mail sent on 11/3/17

John,
Thanks so much for your message! I didn’t expect one and I was so happy to get it. 
I just watched your 11/14 Autoline Daily podcast. The segment on electric/hybrid vehicles got my attention because of my Bolt experience. 
I keep thinking about the limitations of an all electric vehicle and range anxiety. I believe that an electric owner would have to pay more attention to their vehicle having to watch for the miles left before needing a charge and where they want/need to go. 
I truly believe a hybrid is a much better alternative. Never having to worry about running out of a charge. 
Also, I think Chevrolet needs to market the Bolt to all those waiting Tesla buyers!  Make them enticing lease/purchase deals while they wait for a Model 3! Then see if they keep it or not. 
Many thanks for all your work in the programs and do!  I love them all. 
Barry 
Ps. You ever thought about having an audience when doing Afterhours? Would love to meet you guys!
12-1-2017


Hello John. Has someone calculated the percentage of income the ave American spends per mile driven in a typical ICE car today compared to the past 60 years? My guess is it's near an all time low. Factor in wage inflation over the past few decades and the significant increase in MPG, this seems like the good old days at the pump.
If there is any truth to the above it is hard for me to see the personal economic case for the higher upfront costs of owning an EV or Hybrid. If the Federal Government and CARB continue to try to "social engineer" the auto fleet, I see a backlash where folks like me will hold onto pure ICE cars for longer.
 
Tom
Tom,

What a fascinating question. And best of all we have the answer.

According to data from Wards, in 2016 the fixed cost of operating a car came to 75 cents/mile. In 1950 it was 8 cents, but adjusted for inflation that comes to 83 cents in 2016 dollars. This includes gas, oil, maintenance and tires.

The fixed cost of owning a car, including insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation and finance came to $6,351 a year in 2016, and $533 in 1950. But as a percent of median household income, someone in 1950 devoted 16.5% of their income to own a car, while someone in 2016 devoted 10.7% of their income.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


Hello,
 
I've been very disappointed to learn that WYCC Chicago channel 20 is soon going off the air and that they have already stopped showing Autoline.  For years now, I've always looked forward to Monday evenings so that I could watch John McElroy talk about cars.  What time and channel will Autoline be shown in Chicago?  Will I be forced to watch John on my computer screen?
 
Best Regards,
Sergio
Sergio,

Thanks for the heads up on this. We are going to search for another Public Television station in the Chicago market to air our show.

But in the meantime, don’t forget that you can watch all our shows on our website: www.Autoline.tv


John McElroy
12-1-2017


John,

    The more I read, it seems obvious that the number of electric vehicles will be increasing dramatically, and soon.  One analysis I have not heard is who will be the winners and losers.  GM and Ford will adapt and continue to build vehicles, but what about the entire industry.  Comanies dedicated to performance parts like cams, exhausts, etc.  Oil and filters and the businesses dedicated to oil change.  The list goes on.   Do you think this is an issue?  Thank you.  

Rich
The internal combustion engine will be around for decades to come. But as EVs gain market share we will not need as much production capacity for traditional ICEs and their components. The danger for the companies that make these components is determining the cross over point. EVs currently account for 1% of sales. Will they go to 10%? When? How do you plan around this as a company that may need to buy equipment or build a new plant right now, knowing these items will last for years if not decades? So yes, this move to electric cars already is and will be a risky challenge for all companies whose livelihood relies on ICEs.

John McElroy
12-1-2017


i'm also considering unsubscribing  to the this biased bullshit show. This bias vs TESLA and EVS is really stupid this publication jumps on anything that makes EV's and Tesla look bad.
12-1-2017


John,
 
Below is deep into the weeds, but I think it gives confidence that Tesla's manufacturing problems are fixable in the rough time-frame Elon has given. It will surely be a question at next weeks truck reveal. Tesla is achieving MS/MX production targets and achieving cost reductions. 
 
Last month's Model 3 production rate was apparently 180 for the month, 6 cars per day . 
 
Musk identified zones one and two of the 4 zone battery module production line as the cause of the extremely low rate. 
 
So the rate was 24 battery modules per day (4 per car). They are surely using a largely handmade process to produce the 24 battery modules per day - likely the same process used for the preproduction vehicles. However, they must be using a robot ultrasonic welder similar (same?) as used for MS/MX modules. Humans can't do the welds well enough or fast enough. 
 
The MS/MX 100 kWh battery modules (16 per car), for which they also had similar production problems, have 516 of the 18650 size cells (total 6.4 kWh per module) with half turned upside down. The module weighs about 25 kg. The modules are about 22 Volts each - well under the low voltage safety class limit.
 
The cells are packed between cooling tube. Then they are ultrasonically welded to 3 plates on one side, then turned over and welded to 4 plates on the other to achieve 6 'sub-modules' in series. 
 
If the 100 kWh battery is about half MS/MX sales, they likely reached output of more than 3,000 modules per day - over 3,000,000 ultrasonic welds of cells to current collector plates. So this must be a reasonably automated process. 
 
For the 75 kWh batteries, the module numbers will be roughly similar, but the welds will be down to a figure over 2.3 mill per day. 
 
All up, Tesla is doing 5 to 6 million ultrasonic welds per day - or it was until it cutback from three assembly lines to two for MS/MX (I assume 1 production line each) and production was cut 10%. Excess staff are devoted to model 3 and perhaps some were let go after those performance reviews to preserve capital??
 
The M3 78 kWh battery has 4 modules with 23 and 25 sub-modules in series - respectively, 1058 and 1150 of the 2170 size cells (respectively, 18.7 kWh and 20.4 kWh per module), again with half turned upside down to make the 'in series' connections, and packed between cooling tube. 
 
They are ultrasonically welded to, respectively, 12 and 13 plates each side. The result is, respectively,  each module is 85 to 90 Volts and in a different electrical safety class. The M3 modules are three times heavier (perhaps 90 kg (200 lb) each), have four times the voltage and many more parts than the MS/MX modules, even if they similar in design. 
 
(((With the 4 modules connected in series, the battery has 96 sub-modules connected in series - as per industry standard.)))
 
As there are an odd number of sub-modules in series, they can be welded one side, then turned over, rotated 180 degrees, and welded to the same pattern on the other side.
 
Elon implied he made a bad call on a module subcontractor - perhaps he chose a different subcontractor to the 100 kWh modules due to difficulties with the 100 kWh pack.. 
 
I think the problems in the two zones Elon mentioned are:
--- Zone 1 - the machine that packs the 90 kg of cells and cooling tube into a frame was not well designed for the task,
--- Zone 2 - the machine that takes the cells and cooling tube packed in frame, then adds and holds the collector plates while the welding machine welds, then flips the frame over for welding the other end of the cells to collector plates - is also not well designed for the task. 
 
I assume at zones 3 and 4 various circuits and electronics are added to the modules.
 
To get to 5,000 cars per week, they likely need a module production rate of 4 modules per minute. This likely means multiple machines doing the same task. At present, they are surely trying to get the first machine of each type to work as intended. No other company makes modules like Tesla. While there are machines that do similar tasks in other factories, they need to be tailored to the task - this will be Tesla's production hell due to Elon's mistake.
 
Regards
Peter
Peter,

Thanks for all the detail. We love getting this kind of information from our viewers!

John McElroy
12-1-2017


The last appearance of Stephanie was a bit off in that she couldn't formulate a question except for a ramble.  She was a great contributor on the Expedition show.
.  Always on point, Henry's comparison with the minivan is appreciated.
 
I'm hoping someone points out that a minivan cannot drive the (non) roads at the speed shown of the Expedition in your clips.  The minivan is limited to suburban and highway travel.  With it fully loaded with occupants and luggage, it's close to bottoming out with only 4" ground clearance to begin with.  I love the minivan, but truck based 'van' has it's place with urban potholes and back roads, AND heavy loads.
 
R Work
11-10-2017


Hello John,
Regarding autonomous cars, what is to become of people who LOVE driving, LOVE cars, LOVE working on cars, LOVE collecting cars or, at least, owning one car that is their ‘Baby”?
 
What is to become of people who not only LOVE driving but LOVE performance cars?
 
Are we to become a dying breed?
 
Even with current cars, I am very concerned about ALL the electronic controls such as stability control, traction control, launch control, hill assist, automatic braking, automatic parking, automatic transmissions, paddle shifters, AND NO CLUTCH PEDAL!
 
Cars that connect to the internet? Hacking? Telematics? Really?
 
We want to DRIVE!
 
For DRIVERS, what is our future?
 
Sincerely,
Rick
Rick,
 
Here is a link to an Autoline This Week we did that addresses this.
 
And here’s an editorial I wrote for Wards on the topic.
 
John McElroy
11-10-2017


Hello,
 
Countries in Europe need to talk to car companies about what might be the most efficient charging stall for future EVs or whether an underground system where the vehicle simply needs to park over a metal plate like the wireless smartphone recharging systems would be better.
 
Mike @ San Francisco, CA
11-10-2017


John, enjoyed today’s show and discussion. Just one comment regarding autonomous vehicles and which company wins.  People forget that Google basically owns the navigation mapping market. Through Google maps & Waze they instantly know about construction, accidents, weather conditions etc. I believe this may be their Secret Sauce.

Michael
You’re right, Google has a mapping advantage, but it’s not the only one in this space.

Here, TomTom, Civil Maps, DeepMap, Mapper and Mapbox are some of the other companies involved.

John McElroy
11-10-2017


John - I'm curious to know if you've been in Nissan's autonomous car (seen in this video) and, if so, what your impressions are.
 
thanks,
 
Doug
I have not been in Nissan’s AV, but this looks to be a very good Level 3 AV. I would not call it a Level 4 because at one point in this video the driver has to take over and steer around a parked bus, even though there is ample room to drive around it.

This demo was on fairly open roads without a lot of traffic or pedestrians.

Waymo and Cruise Automation have put out videos with more impressive capabilities. But this technology is still in its infancy and in another three years or so the Nissan system will be much better than demonstrated here.

John McElroy
11-3-2017


1)  I would be interested in the latest status of Elio Motors. Have they just given up on setting a production date at this point?

2)  With autonomy becoming a reality do you suspect a day where it will be mandatory with potentially another clunker buy back to eliminate non-autonomous cars?  This would limit associations like SCCA and historic cars to parades and closed circuit events.

Lambo2015
Elio Motors says it will start production in 2018, but don’t hold your breath. The company is already two years behind when it first announced it would start building them.

It’s possible that cars driven by human beings will be banned, but not likely. With all the ADAS (driver safety) systems being added to cars, they could become as safe as AVs, especially if V2V becomes standard.

The bigger threat to non-AVs is that the vast majority of people will lose interest in driving and automakers will stop building them, except for some small niche manufacturers.

John McElroy
11-3-2017


John,
 
I just drove a new Bolt from Sterling Heights MI to Indianapolis. It's a great little car. Hard to distinguish it from a gasoline model. I averaged 3.8KW/mile. I'm not sure what that equates to MPG.
 
My only issue is RECHARGING! I got stuck in Ft. Wayne IN because there wasn't a fast charging station ( or at least I could find). So, I had to sit in a new car dealers lot for 7 hours to recharge it. That's not fun! And I just made it to my destination before it went to limp mode.
 
Bolt needs to be marketed to large city folks who can recharge it at home overnight.
 
Barry
This is one of the challenges that early adopters of EVs (like you!) will have to contend with until the charging infrastructure spreads to more locations.

Just like in the early days of the horseless carriage, you’ll need to plan out your trip before you leave. The Bolt app is very handy in locating charging stations. You may have to take a less direct route to find fast chargers, top up, then continue on your way. Or you may decide to never leave in the first place.

And of course I’m assuming your Bolt has the optional Level 3 charging plug.

John McElroy

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