Monday, May 30, 2016

Ohio State Wins EcoCAR3 Challenge

The US Department of Energy started EcoCAR3, a four year competition designed to challenge American engineering students, in 2014. The goal is to convert a standard Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid vehicle that maintains the performance of a stock Camaro while introducing the environmental benefits of a hybrid car.
Ohio State EcoCAR3 challenger
Ohio State engineering students are on a roll. They won the final year of the EcoCAR2 competition in 2014, the first year of the EcoCAR3 competition in 2015, and were winners again in this year’s contest.
In the first year of EcoCAR3, the emphasis was on design and simulation. This year, prototypes were tested for safety and performance under various conditions. Team leader Andrew Huster shared details about his team’s entry with
The OSU entry uses two powertrains. The car can run on electric power alone for up to 45 miles. Since the average American only drives 30 miles or less each day, that means the Camaro could meet the daily needs of most drivers without using the internal combustion engine. Using both at the same time, the car has a total of more than 300 horsepower and a top speed of 85 mph.
The team chose a Parker Hannifin GVM210-150 electric motor to power the car. It is a variable frequency AC motor that’s capable of providing 150 hp and 250 Nm of peak torque. It weighs only 100 pounds.
The engine is a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine with direct fuel injection. The team chose to run the engine on E85 ethanol. It weighs 225 pounds. Even though ethanol has less energy per unit of mass as compared to gasoline, Huster says the team “conducted a number of simulations for each permitted fuel type (E10, E85, and B20) and determined that E85’s benefits, such as a higher octane rating that allows use of engines with greater compression efficiency, and reduced well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, outweighed the reduced energy content of the fuel relative to conventional gasoline.”
The motor and engine are connected to the rear wheels via a Tremec T5 five speed automated manual transmission. It has the performance and fuel economy of a standard transmission with some of the convenience of an automatic. At 75 pounds, the transmission brings the total weight of the powertrain up to 400 pounds.
That takes us to the battery. It is an 18.9 kWh lithium ion phosphate battery pack sourced from A123 Systems. It weighs more than the motor, engine, and transmission at 450 pounds. Its battery chemistry eliminates the risk of fire if the battery gets too hot, a problem that sometimes afflicts conventional lithium ion batteries.
In year three of the EcoCAR3 competition, the teams will refine their entries. Year four will concentrate on marketing strategies. Ohio State is looking forward to winning all four years of the contest.
Photo credit: US DOE

Volkswagen Plans $11 Billion Battery Factory

Humiliated by its diesel emissions cheating scandal and facing billions of dollars in fines, penalties, and civil liability claims, Volkswagen has had an epiphany. Where once it thought turbodiesel engines would propel it to the top of the heap among the world’s automakers, it now has decided battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars are the one true path to salvation.
Volkswagen BUDD-e concept
According to Handelsblatt, Germany’s respected business newspaper, the Volkswagen board will vote on June 22 on a proposal to invest $11 billion in a dedicated battery making factory in Salzgitter where it currently manufacturers internal combustion engines.
The newspaper says VW wants to be independent of the world’s principal battery makers — Panasonic, LG Chem, and Samsung.  It offered no details on what battery chemistry Volkswagen will use to produce its batteries.
Volkswagen’s new head, Matthias Müller, says he and his team are working on a new strategy to dig the company out from under the diesel emissions cheating mess that has left it humiliated and demoralized. The plan calls for producing 1 million electric and plug-in hybrid cars annually by the year 2025. That is 5 years after Elon Musk says Tesla Motors will accomplish the same feat.
The Volkswagen strategy relies heavily on the new MQB modular chassis it has developed for the BUDD-e electric car unveiled at CES in January. The new platform will support both all electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains, allowing Volkswagen to adjust rapidly to changing customer expectations.
The fallout from the diesel cheating scandal has already trimmed the company’s share price by one third. It could cost the company as much as $30 billion to resolve all claims outstanding worldwide as a result of it. Authorities in the US and Korea are still considering possible criminal charges against the company.
Adding an $11 billion investment on top of all that is a bold, even daring move. But the Volkswagen board may believe the company has no other choice if it wishes to claw its way back to the top of the global automobile business.
Source: Quartz  Photo credit: Volkswagen

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tesla's Autopilot is not a 'self-driving car'

Tesla Model S Autopilot
Tesla Model S Autopilot

Tesla's "Autopilot" system can do some impressive things. It can steer a car through traffic, and execute passing maneuvers with no involvement from the driver other than a flick of a turn-signal stalk.

But while it does enable some autonomous driving, Autopilot does not turn a Tesla Model S or Model X into a self-driving car. Autopilot's capabilities are limited, and Tesla was quick to emphasize those limits when it released the system in "public beta" form last October. At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Autopilot worked most effectively in dense traffic, on roads with very clear lane markings.
Even in a best-case scenario, though, he advised drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and stay alert at all times.
Tesla Autopilot suite of features - with version 7.0 update
Tesla Autopilot suite of features - with version 7.0 update

He also noted that Autopilot's capabilities were limited by rain or snow.
Aside from its functional limits, Autopilot is also missing a feature crucial to self-driving cars.
Autopilot isn't connected to a car's navigation system, so it can't simply follow a route while the driver takes a nap, notes a recent Forbes review of the tech.

That puts Autopilot very low on the scale of vehicle autonomy defined by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The scale includes five levels of autonomy, and seeks to clarify the difference between fully-autonomous cars and vehicles with some autonomous capabilities. Level 0 means a car has no autonomous systems to speak of, or advanced driver aids that intervene to provide assistance.
Tesla Autopilot sensor system
Tesla Autopilot sensor system
Level 1 encompasses cars with those advanced driver aids, including electronic stability control and systems that pre-charge the brakes in anticipation of a collision, that assist the driver but do not take over control of the vehicle. A Level 2 vehicle features automation of at least two control functions that work together, allowing the driver to cede limited control. With its ability to maintain a set distance from a car ahead and keep a car centered in its lane, Autopilot seems to fall into this category.

To move up to Level 3 autonomy, a car would have to be able to follow a route and drive itself without any human involvement, albeit only in certain situations. Cars with Level 3 autonomy still require a human driver onboard ready to take over. Finally, Level 4 defines a car that can drive itself over an entire trip, with a human occupant only selecting a destination.
2016 Tesla Model S
2016 Tesla Model S
Musk believes Tesla can achieve this eventually, and in the meantime the company is working to improve Autopilot. Engineers currently download data from customer cars to see how the system behaves in the real world. They also use special software to run simulations of new Autopilot features on customers cars as those cars travel down the road.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Consumers Uninformed About New Automotive Technology

New automotive technology is a mystery to many Americans. A Harris poll of 1,052 US residents to be released May 27 finds that two thirds do not know anyone who owns an electric, plug-in hybrid, or hybrid car. The survey was commissioned by Ford Motor Company, which announced recently that it will spend $4.5 billion over the next several years to expand the number of models in its lineup that either electrics, plug-in hybrids, or hybrids.
plug-in hybrid is new automotive technology
Nearly 76% of those surveyed said they were “not at all sure” how far a plug-in hybrid car could drive without refueling and/or recharging. On average, they thought such cars could go about 260 miles on a combination of electric and gasoline power. In actuality, some cars can go twice that far or more.
The manufacturers are not helping consumers understand new automotive technology. Ford announced yesterday that its 2017 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid will be able to go 610 miles on a tankful of fuel, thanks to new tweaks to the powertrain and an improved regenerative braking system. But only 22 of those miles can be managed on electric power alone. “Fusion Energi – with a full battery and a full tank of gas – can go from San Diego, through Los Angeles and all the way up to San Francisco, and still have up to 110 miles of range remaining,” says Wade Jackson, Fusion marketing manager at Ford.
That’s a 10% increase from last year, but is a PHEV with only 22 miles of range really relevant to anything? It certainly does very little to further the effort to reduce global carbon emissions. Isn’t that supposed to be the point? All it really does is bambozzle shoppers into thinking they are buying a car with significant environmental credentials when in fact it is just another hybrid after the first 22 miles. No wonder people are confused.
Consumers are also disinterested when it comes to self-driving technology. A survey of British drivers that 55% do not want to be a passenger in a driverless car. The poll was conducted by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers/ICM Unlimited and collected data from 2,002 people. A study by University of Michigan researcher Michael Sivak earlier this week found more than half of Americans would rather drive themselves than be driven in a computer controlled car.
The manufacturers are falling all over themselves to bring autonomous driving cars to market, fueled by the somewhat inflated claims by Tesla Motors for its Autopilot suite of software. Earlier this year,Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance at Volvo, said this about Telsa’s Autopilot: “It gives you the impression that it’s doing more than it is [but it] is more of an unsupervised wannabe.” In other words, Tesla is trying to create an semi-autonomous car that appears to be autonomous.
That point was brought home forcefully this week when a Tesla Model S operating in Autopilot modecrashed into the back of a disabled vehicle on a highway. As one person commented,”If you have to be fully engaged and alert to use autonomous driving what then is the point? Might as well just drive the car.”
Despite Elon Musk’s enrhusiatstic embrace of autonomous driving systems, they are still many years away from being perfected and at least half of drivers aren’t all that interested in them in the first place. Still, more than 30,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes every year. Surely technology can help reduce, if not eliminate, that deadly toll.
Source: Automotive News

Tesla Model X Lemon Law Suit Filed In California

Barrett Lyon lives north of Sacramento, California. He is the once proud owner of a Tesla Model X, a car he paid $162,000 for. Lyon is a firm supporter of Tesla. He owns a Roadster —  Tesla’s first production car — and a Model S sedan. Neither of them has given him any trouble. The Model X is a different story, though. “It’s parked,” he says. “We don’t drive it. It’s basically a really fancy car decoration.”
Model X self presenting front door
Lyon filed suit this week in Placer County court, claiming his Model X falls under California’s Lemon Law. His suit seeks a refund of the purchase price plus damages for breach of warranty and attorneys fees. According to Courthouse News Service, Lyon says “The doors do some weird, wicked things. If you get in and slide sideways and accidentally tap the brake, the driver’s side door slams shut on your leg. That’s not a very nice thing to have happen to you.” He is not referring to the fancy falcon wing doors which are the hallmark of the Model X. His comment pertains to the self-presenting front doors, which are designed to open and close automatically.
Some of Lyon’s other complaints are:
  • Auto Pilot in the rain is extremely dangerous, it causes the car to swerve into different lanes.
  • Powered front doors are opening into cars and other obstacles.
  • The power door slams are a feature of the Model X, and cannot be disabled.
  • The touch screen freezes repeatedly, the second row seat causes driver’s seat to fold forward, and the auto park feature does not work 90 percent of the time.
Lyon does not appear to be an agitator or a grandstander. He seems to be a fellow who thinks he bought a very pricey car that does not work as advertised. He wants his money back. Many other Model  X owners have spoken up about quality issues with their cars. Consumer Reports has been getting an earful from people about problems with the Model X as well.
The chorus of complaints has gotten so strong that Tesla made a public statement about issues with the car a month ago. “We are committed to making the world’s most reliable cars. While we have seen some issues with early Model X builds, the issues are not widespread, and we are working closely with each owner to respond quickly and proactively to address any problems. We will continue to do so until each customer is fully satisfied. This commitment is one of the reasons why 98 percent of our customers say they will buy another Tesla as their next car.”
Elon Musk told people during Tesla’s latest earnings call earlier this month that he has a desk set up at the end of the Model X production line so he can personally supervise the quality control operation. He even says he has a sleeping bag nearby so he can sleep at the factory if necessary. The flurry of complaints from unhappy customers seems to have subsided, but Barrett Lyon’s Lemon Law suit indicates all the issues are not yet resolved.
Sometimes getting one of the first cars to come of the line at the beginning of a new production run is not an advantage. Musk says the first deliveries of the upcoming Model 3 will be to people who live near the factory so Tesla can return them to the factory and fix any issues that may arise quickly. The real question now is whether the Model 3 will be beset with teething issues the way the Model X has been or whether Tesla has finally figured out how to build high quality cars from the get go.
Source and photo credit: Teslarati

Thursday, May 26, 2016

UPS Adds Hybrid Electric Delivery Van To Its Fleet

UPS has decided to add a battery electric delivery van with a range extender engine to its fleet. It will buy 125 vans equipped with E-GEN hybrid powertrains from Workhorse. “These vehicles are a great example of the impact our Rolling Lab approach is having. Our real world testing of this new technology revealed opportunities to improve its performance and efficiency, which led to the development of a more advanced propulsion system,” says Carlton Rose, president of UPS global fleet maintenance and engineering.
Workhorse E-GEN powertrain for UPS Delivery Van
The Workhorse E-GEN is equipped with a 200 kW Sumo electric motor and a 60 kWh battery pack (45 kWh usable). It uses the familiar Panasonic 18650 cells — the same cells used in the Tesla battery pack. It also has a 2 cylinder internal combustion enginge rated at 30 horsepower.
The package is intended to allow the delivery vehicles to complete most of their daily route using electric power only without any concerns about being able to get back to the UPS terminal if battery power is exhausted during the day. The powertrain is designed to maximize fuel economy during the delivery day.
Workhouse describes its E-GEN system this way: “A compact, quiet-running 2-cylinder engine replaces a prior 4-cylinder engine to extend their range, improve performance and fuel efficiency. The updated trucks deliver significant fuel economy equivalency gains — up to four times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle.” If the new trucks cut fuel consumption by 75%, that is the sort of number that brings joy to the heart of any fleet manager.
“These low-emission trucks are designed specifically to meet the stop and start needs of UPS’s urban delivery routes, while driving unprecedented fuel and maintenance savings. This new system enables the vehicle to accommodate UPS’s typical route on battery energy and uses a very small internal combustion engine to add additional energy to the batteries when and if needed and eliminates range anxiety,” says Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse
The new delivery vans will be deployed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Texas. They should e in service by the end of this year. Before 2018 rolls around, UPS intends to log a total of 1 billion miles with alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. It has been experimenting with various types of plug-in hybrid vehicles for several years.
Source: Inside EVs   Photo credit: Workhorse

Faraday Future Adding a Bay Area Factory

Faraday Future has signed a deal with the California city of Vallejo for a 150 acre manufacturing site on Mare Island, an abandoned former US Navy shipyard situated 30 miles north of San Francisco.
Faraday Future factory
“When we first started marketing this property, our first objective was good-paying jobs with green technology and an employer willing and able to make the necessary investment,” said Mayor Osby Davis. “Faraday Future and its plans to make Vallejo its second manufacturing site and bring green technology to Mare Island checks all the boxes.”
The Faraday facility is expected to create hundreds of much needed jobs and to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into Vallejo. The city was the original capitol of California. It went bankrupt in 2008 after the Navy shuttered the shipyard and left town.
“We anticipate that the project will create hundreds of construction related, ongoing professional, and manufacturing jobs to local residents,” said Faraday Future spokeswoman Stacy Morris. “Additionally, the investment in our manufacturing facility, customer experience center, and business offices is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This includes investing significantly in the restoration and revitalization of the land surrounding the facility.”
Faraday Future is keeping quiet about exactly what sort of work will take place on Mare Island. Its company headquarters are located in Gardena, an industrial city south of Los Angeles. It is just now beginning construction of a billion dollar factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada. It is said to have 760 employees in the US.
The company says it will build electric cars that feature advanced connectivity. It also claims to have created an innovative chassis platform that can be adjusted for width and length to accommodate the shifting needs of the marketplace.
Faraday is expected to unveil a prototype of its first car before the end of this year. The first production cars are supposed to begin rolling out of the Nevada factory in 2018.
Source: Associated Press via CBS Sacramento. Image credit: Faraday Future

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Airbus Makes A 3D Printed Electric Motorcycle

AP Works is a division of Airbus. Last week, it unveiled the Light Rider, an all electric motorcycle that uses a 3D printed aluminum frame. The finished bike weighs a feather light 77 pounds. The frame is one third lighter than a normal e-bike. According CEO Joachim Zettler, conventional production techniques such as milling or welding could not be use to build such a complex structure of branched, hollow tubes.
Light Rider 3D printed electric motorcycle
Actually, saying the frame is aluminum is a bit misleading. APWorks calls the material it uses “Scalmalloy,” a custom aluminum alloy powder “with almost the specific strength of titanium.” When used in a 3D printer, it is capable of making structures that are incredibly strong but super light in weight by fusing thin layers of material together.
The Light Rider is no TT Zero racer or Pikes Peak contender. It has a top speed of only 50 mph and accelerates to 30 miles per hour in just a touch more than 3 seconds. The battery can be easily removed for recharging or swapped out when depleted. It has a range of 35 miles. The light weight means it could actually be carried on a normal bicycle rack or taken upstairs in an elevator without much exertion.
Price will be an issue for most people, though. APWorks will make only 50 of the Light Rider machines and is selling them for $56,000 a copy. That’s a fairly expensive solution to the “last mile” conundrum. But just as prices of personal computers and LED televisions plummeted after they went into mass production, the Light Rider is merely a way point on the journey to low cost all electric transportation.
Right now, these e-bikes are mostly an advertisement for APWorks and its 3D printing technology. It won’t be long before these sorts of innovations begin trickling down to mainstream manufacturing.
Source: The Verge  Photo credit: AP Works

This Fan Created Tesla Commercial Is Awesome

A fan created Tesla commercial uploaded by Loren Booker is simply awesome. It features the voice of Carl Sagan narrating his 1980 television show Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. Cosmos was a thirteen part PBS series that covered a variety of scientific topics. It attempted to demystify them and make the knowledge that was unique to the scientific community at the time understandable to the general population. To this day, Cosmos is one of the most frequently watched programs ever aired on PBS.
The video footage itself comes from a time lapse footage captured by TSO Photography. To get it, he trekked to the top of Spain’s highest mountain, El Teide, elevation 12,000 feet. The artist says, “The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide.” The filming was done between April 4 and April 11, 2011. On April 9,  large sandstorm struck the Sahara Desert.
“Interestingly enough my camera was set for a 5 hour sequence of the milky way during this time and I was sure my whole scene was ruined. To my surprise, my camera had managed to capture the sandstorm which was backlit by Grand Canary Island making it look like golden clouds. The Milky Way was shining through the clouds, making the stars sparkle in an interesting way. So if you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00:32.”
for this commercial, the videographer blended Sagan’s voice and TSO Photography’s footage to make one of the most powerful fan based Tesla ads ever done. No professional film crew could have done better. Interspersed with the original video are images of Tesla automobiles, SpaceX missions, and a reference to the possibilities waiting to be unlocked by the Hyperloop. All of these achievements owe their genesis to the imagination and determination of Elon Musk.
Why does Elon Musk and Tesla Motors inspire so many people to create graphic presentations to celebrate them? That’s a question that is difficult to answer. Perhaps it because, like Carl Sagan, Musk can look beyond the banal and imagine the possible. There is no question that this is one commercial that would make Don Draper weep with joy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Is Tesla Stealing Sales From German Automakers?

According to, almost 30% of people who purchase a Tesla automobile look at a BMW model before making their buying decision. The Edmunds data is cited in a report by Bloomberg News. Other German luxury brands also are considered by Tesla buyers. 20% cross shop an Audi product, 19% consider a Mercedes, and nearly 12% think about getting a Porsche instead.
Tesla Model 3
Is there a linkage between the upcoming Tesla Model and the iconic BMW 3 Series? You bet their is. Both cars are about the same size. Both start at $35,000 and can cost as much as $60,000 when fully equipped with all available options. Right now, BMW sells nearly 200,000 3 Series cars a year in the US. How might those numbers change once the Model 3 arrives on the scene in 18 months? Meanwhile, the Tesla Model S is outselling the Mercedes S Class, the Audi A8, and the BMW 7 Series in the German marketplace.
What’s going on here? “The decisive factor is what’s happening inside people’s heads,” commented Jürgen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler. “Many see in Tesla the innovation they’re missing from the Germans.”
Bloomberg notes that “Executives at rival car makers privately squawk about Tesla’s poor track record of manufacturing delays and persistent financial losses. Yet they can’t ignore that Musk’s products are exciting consumer passions in a way that incumbent automakers haven’t for decades.”
The German car makers are all quick to point out that they are working on exciting electric cars of their own, but almost all of them are still 5 years or more away from being available in showrooms. In the meantime, Tesla will have the premium electric car market all to itself. If it can get the Model 3 into production on time and if its build quality and after sale customer care meet buyers’ expectations, the Germans may have no one left to sell their expensive wares to.
“Competition from the Model 3 might prompt German carmakers to drop some prices as much as 10% to defend their US market share,:says Stuart Pearson, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. Tesla is aiming the Model 3 at “those looking to spend roughly $40,000 on a car, and that’s the core target market for BMW and Mercedes basically,” he says. “The fact is they don’t really have an answer to the Model 3 until the next decade.”
By the time the competitors from Germany get here, it may be a case of too little, too late.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Solar Powered Electric Bicycle Is Lightweight - VIDEO

Albert van Dalen is an inventor/tinkerer from the Netherlands. He has designed and built what he calls the world’s first solar powered electric bicycle, the Maxun One. It has a top speed of 15 mph from solar power alone and is manufactured to a very high standard. Because it is charged by the sun, you never have to charge the battery yourself. Van Dalen says it even works on cloudy days.
Maxun One electric bicycle
Van Dalen says, “The solar bike is made very lightweight, sportive and fast, despite the solar panels it rides almost as light as a road bike. The solar panels are small enough to allow easy riding in traffic, and large enough to perform well, even on a semi-cloudy days. A small battery provides energy in the absence of sunlight.”
An electric bicycle is a popular idea, but it has a significant disadvantage — it weighs much more than a conventional bike. Batteries and motors are heavy. There just no way around it, at least not with today’s technology. An electric bicycle is too heavy to use with a normal bike rack or to carry up a flight of stairs. The Maxun One weighs just 38 pounds. Some electric bikes weigh twice as much.
Van Dalen has a several inventions and patents to his credit. He can tell you how to make a fine spot welder yourself or build a device to calibrate your multimeter. My personal favorite is his guide to debouncing electrical switches and buttons.
“The development of the solar bike was a technical challenge,” he says. “all components have to be of the highest level, such as the solar cells, for which a superior, anti reflective, low loss coating had to be developed. Aerospace materials are used to reduce the weight of the whole solar bike to 17kg, but also make it strong enough to withstand stress caused by riding at high speed on bad roads. Furthermore the solar bike remains stable at high speed, even with both solar panels.”
Van Dalen is justly proud of his creation. “With the Maxun One solar bike, high tech, beautiful design and usability come together. Because it is the first solar bike of its kind in the world, it’s called the “One”.
Enjoy this video that shows the Maxum One being ridden around van Dalen’s hometown of Maastricht. American viewers may need to adapt your thinking a bit because of all the bicycles on the road. In some countries, bicycles, not SUVs, are the preferred means of transportation.

Tesla Motors Considering Assembly Plant In China

Electric vehicle sales are exploding in China, thanks in large measure to aggressive rebates and incentives from the Chinese government. Interest in Tesla automobiles among Chinese customers has increased strongly since the company officially announced its new, less expensive Model 3. Tesla has gotten more reservations for the Model 3 from China than any other country outside of the United States, according to Ren Yuxiang, Tesla’s head for Asia Pacific.
 Tesla Model 3
Last week, Tesla co-founder and chief technical officer JB Straubel was in Leipzig, Germany, where he participated in a panel discussion at the International Transport Forum. While there, he told China Daily that as interest in the Model 3 increases, constructing a factory in China begins to make economic sense.
Last fall, Elon Musk set of a firestorm when he was quoted as saying all Model 3 cars would be manufactured in China. He was quick to point out that a translation error was responsible for the mix up, but tweeted that a Chinese factory was definitely being considered.
My comments in China weren't transcribed correctly. Tesla will keep making cars & batteries in CA & NV as far into future as I can imagine.
Model 3 is due in ~2 yrs. A China factory for local demand cd be as soon as a year after. A factory in Europe wd happen for same reason.
China is a tricky market for all manufacturers. Foreign companies are often required to partner with a local company. Such partnerships often involve more of a transfer of technology than Tesla may be comfortable with. However, in order to avoid significant import duties that drive up the price of cars made outside the country, other global manufacturers have found it necessary to form such alliances.
Tesla is said to be exploring partnerships with several Chinese automakers, but has not yet concluded an agreement. Nor has it decided the best place to locate its factory in China. Another unanswered question is whether it would only manufacture the Model 3 in a Chinese facility or also begin making its Model S sedan and Model X SUV in China as well.
Another factor to consider is that the incentives the Chinese government has put in place to encourage the sale of zero emissions vehicles are costing the country a lot of money. There is no guarantee China will be able to afford the same level of incentives indefinitely. It could decide to scale back its incentive program at any time.
There are lots of imponderables for Tesla as it seeks to sell its cars in China. Partnering with a local company and sharing proprietary knowledge could be dangerous. But more than 20 million new cars were sold in China last year. That is simply too large a market to ignore, and Tesla has never shown itself to be afraid of taking risks. A Tesla factory in China before the end of the decade seems almost a sure bet.

Source: Forbes