Tuesday, April 17, 2018


At the beginning of the month, Tesla noted that it had gotten Model 3 production up to 2,000 cars a week at the end of March. More recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told CBS that Tesla had produced 2,070 Model 3s in the week leading up to April 10.
If you assume Tesla stalls at approximately 2,000 cars a week for the whole month, that’s still over 8,000 Model 3 electric super-sedans produced in April.
If you assume Tesla makes its way up to 2,500/week in the second half of the month, that means over 9,000 Model 3s. If you get bullish and expect that Tesla will jump to 3,000/week in that time period, we’re talking perhaps 10,000 Tesla Model 3s in April.
Does that match Tesla’s target over the past 6 months for this time period? No — as we all know all too well. But as Kurt Lowder noted recently, you can’t really say Tesla’s late when it’s so far ahead of everyone else and is moving as fast as it can. To quote Ashanti and Ja Rule, “I’m not always there when you call, but I’m always on time.

It’s somewhat interesting estimating Tesla Model 3 production/delivery numbers, but more interesting is putting those numbers into context. One of my favorite ways to do that is to compare to other cars in the Model 3’s segment. That means the Audi A4/A5, BMW 2 Series/3 Series/4 Series, Jaguar XE, Volvo S60, etc.
We can expect sales of these models to be fairly similar in April to what they were in March, but I’ll round all their numbers up to give them the benefit of the doubt. Just highlighting fairly popular models and their close siblings, here’s what I get:
April Sales Estimate
Acura TLX4,100
Audi A4 + A55,900
BMW 2/3/4 Series9,400
BMW i31,000
Cadillac ATS1,500
Infiniti Q50 + Q606,300
Jaguar XE700
Lexus RC + IS2,600
Mercedes C/CLA-Class7,000
Tesla Model 3 (low est.)8,000
Tesla Model 3 (high est.)10,000
As you can see, the Tesla Model 3 is now more or less at the top of the table even if you add up the sales of somewhat similar models from each brand.
If you go a step further and expect that Tesla gets up to production of 5,000 Model 3s per week at some point in the coming quarter — and that US demand holds steady around that number — then the Model 3 will absolutely crush the competition in this class before the end of the year.
That said, as we’ve pointed out before, it may make more sense to pit the Model 3 against leaders in the non-luxury midsize car segment. The Toyota Camry sees approximately 35,000 sales a month, the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima 24,000 each, the Ford Fusion 16,000, the Chevy Malibu 15,000, the Hyundai Sonata 11,000, and the Kia Optima 8,000. The numbers those cars see cover everything from the near-term estimate for the Model 3 (8,000–10,000/month) to one of the most ambitious targets I’ve seen (40,000/month).
Unless you’re really super, ├╝ber, extremadamente pessimistic, though, it looks like the Tesla Model 3 has already risen to the top of the small & midsize luxury car category and may soon be targeting the podium of the overall midsize car segment in the United States. Not too shabby for an “impossible” car that “will never actually get produced.”

Sunday, April 15, 2018


Forget waiting for your pre-order to be filled, because Volvo’s all electric commercial trucks are ready to go. To try to drive that marketing point home, the Swedish company announced that sales of its first all-electric truck- as well as deliveries to customers- will begin in 2019.
It’s pretty much understood that the automotive future is definitely electric, and that fact seems to be best understood by the makers of big trucks. It makes sense, since trucking companies are, perhaps, the entities that are the most sensitive to fluctuation in fuel price.
As such, big players like Cummins– as well as “wannabe” big players like Tesla- have been pushing hard to get in on the heavily subsidized racket market.
You can check out the company’s official press release, included in its entirety, below. Read it, then let us know how you think their electric trucks compare to Tesla’s in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

    Premiere for Volvo Trucks’ First All-electric Truck

    Volvo Trucks now introduces its first all-electric truck for commercial use – the Volvo FL Electric for urban distribution and refuse operations, among other applications. Sales and series production of the new model will start in Europe next year. With this introduction Volvo Trucks takes the lead in solutions for electrified goods transport in cities.
    “We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic. With this model we are making it possible for cities that aim for sustainable urban development to benefit from the advantages of electrified truck transports,” says Claes Nilsson, President Volvo Trucks.
    With better air quality and less noise in the city, it is possible to plan for housing and infrastructure more freely than at present. An electric truck without any exhaust emissions can be used in indoor terminals and environmental zones. Their low noise level creates opportunities for doing more work at night, thus reducing the burden on the roads during the day.
    There is considerable market interest in electric trucks. Many potential customers have questions about the opportunities generated by the new technology and how it can impact their operations.
    “In order to make the transition secure and smooth, we will offer holistic solutions based on each customer’s individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters. Such a solution may encompass everything from route analysis and battery optimisation to servicing and financing. Volvo Trucks works closely with several suppliers of charging equipment. The aim as always is to offer customers high uptime and productivity,” says Jonas Odermalm, head of product strategy at Volvo Trucks.
    Backing the Volvo Trucks offer is the company’s accumulated expertise in electrified transport solutions. Sister company Volvo Buses has sold more than 4000 electrified buses since 2010. The technology used for propulsion and energy storage in the Volvo FL Electric has been thoroughly tried and tested from the outset and is supported by Volvo Trucks’ far-reaching network for sales, service and parts supply.
    “From experience we know how important it is that cities, energy suppliers and vehicle manufacturers cooperate in order for large-scale electrification to become a reality. With attractive incentives, agreed standards and a long-term strategy for urban planning and expansion of the charging infrastructure, the process can go much faster,” explains Jonas Odermalm.
    Volvo Trucks believes that it is essential to take a holistic view of electrification of the transport sector to handle the ongoing challenges in areas such as electricity generation and batteries.
    “For instance, in order to ensure that raw materials for the batteries are extracted in a responsible way, the Volvo Group works with the Drive Sustainably network, which has a special function that monitors this issue. The Volvo Group is also involved in various projects where batteries from heavy electric vehicles get a second lease of life, reused for energy storage. All the questions about handling of batteries have not yet been solved, but we are working actively both within the Group and together with other actors to drive development and create the necessary solutions,” says Jonas Odermalm.
    The first trucks in the FL Electric range are now entering regular operation with customers in Gothenburg, the home of Volvo Trucks.

Source | ImagesVolvo Group.


Sony’s Gran Turismo family of games has featured a number of carmakers’ concept cars as playable vehiclesover the years, but it’s rare for things to go the other way. That is, it’s rare for a car that was designed for the game to be made into a real car. It’s even rarer, still, for that real-life racer to have anywhere near the performance of its digital forebear. That’s what makes this 815 HP, race-ready Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo so very special.
Granted, the car looks an awful lot like the all-electric Audi R8 that was briefly offered, then cancelled in 2016 due to a lack of interested buyers. Enough so that it might make you wonder whether or not Audi might be having second thoughts about putting a go-fast EV in its future line-up, right?
Or, I dunno- maybe Audi just had a bunch of pre-production parts lying around and figured a car like this would make for good, cheap PR. If that’s the case, well- it worked!
You can check out a more comprehensive photo gallery over at the Verge, which has cleverly shuffled together pictures of the real car with pictures of the virtual car. See if you can tell the difference between the two in the photos I cherry-picked at the top of this post, then let us know what you think of this electric racer in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Source | More Photos: Audi, via the Verge.