The future of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing has been a subject of great interest in recent years, as the world moves towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation. Tesla, led by entrepreneur Elon Musk, is one of the leading companies in this field. However, the highly anticipated affordable electric car from Tesla was not unveiled at a recent presentation, causing shares to fall.
Tesla plans to halve production costs
Tesla has plans to cut assembly costs by half in future generations of cars, according to engineers who spoke to investors on Wednesday. However, the highly anticipated affordable electric vehicle was not unveiled during a recent presentation from Tesla’s Texas headquarters. Tesla’s next-generation vehicles are expected to cost half the amount of the current Model 3 or Model Y due to a new production process that reduces complexity and time in assembly. The automaker also plans to start production of battery material factories this year. Tesla executives said they expect the company to build next-generation vehicles for half the cost of the current models.
Feasibility of affordable electric car production
The feasibility of producing affordable electric cars is a significant challenge faced by electric vehicle manufacturers. Elon Musk promised the production of affordable electric cars in his “Master Plan 3,” which was expected to be unveiled in Texas. However, Musk has missed his targets to deliver electric vehicles at attractive prices for the mass market. In 2016, he promised the launch of a $35,000 Model 3 electric sedan before government incentives by the end of 2017. However, the car was only briefly available in 2019. At present, Tesla’s least expensive car is $42,990 for a Model 3 standard range version.
Despite his repeated promises, Musk’s self-driving “robotaxis” have not become a reality. In January 2022, Musk said that Tesla was not developing a $25,000 car, and they had “too much on their plate.” However, in October 2022, he said that Tesla was working on a next-generation vehicle that would probably cost about half the price of the Model 3 and Y platform. The cost per vehicle was $36,000 in late 2021, according to Tesla.
The feasibility of producing affordable electric cars has been studied in different parts of the world. A study conducted in Ethiopia evaluated the feasibility of EV charging stations powered by hybrid intermittent generation systems. The authors tested three different battery types: Lead-acid (LA), Flow-Zince-Bromine (ZnBr), and Lithium-ion (LI) individually. The proposed hybrid systems were then compared in terms of system sizing, economy, technical performance, and environmental stability. The results showed that the feasible configuration of Solar Photovoltaic (PV)/Diesel Generator (DG)/ZnBr battery systems provides the lowest net present cost (NPC) and cost of energy (COE) in Addis Ababa, Jijiga, and Bahir Dar.
Musk’s promise of affordable electric cars
Musk’s promise of affordable electric cars has been repeatedly delayed. At Battery Day in 2020, he promised to make a small, compelling $25,000 electric car that was fully autonomous, within about three years. However, the promise has yet to be fulfilled. Musk’s “secret” master plan announced in 2006 promised the production of affordable electric cars, but the promise has not been kept. Tesla will need to improve its battery technology, which Musk has called the development.
Self-driving “RoboTaxis”: the hype and the reality
In addition to affordable electric cars, Musk has also promised to deliver self-driving “robotaxis.” However, this promise has yet to be fulfilled. The company’s Autopilot system has faced criticism over safety concerns, and Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta program has been delayed several times. Regulators have also not yet approved fully autonomous vehicles for use on public roads.
Tesla’s Autopilot system has been involved in several high-profile accidents, raising concerns about its safety. In 2018, a Tesla Model X crashed into a concrete barrier in California, killing the driver. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the Autopilot system was engaged at the time of the crash and failed to detect the concrete barrier.
Tesla’s FSD beta program has also faced criticism over safety concerns. In October 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the system after several accidents involving Tesla vehicles equipped with the FSD beta software.
Despite these challenges, Musk remains committed to delivering self-driving “robotaxis.” In a tweet in February 2022, he said that Tesla was working on a “robotaxi fleet” that would allow owners to put their cars to work when they’re not using them. However, it remains to be seen whether Tesla can deliver on this promise.
The future of electric vehicle manufacturing
The future of electric vehicle manufacturing looks promising, with electric vehicles expected to make up a significant portion of new car sales in the coming years. However, producing affordable electric cars remains a key challenge for the industry, at least until the industry adequately invest in battery technology and reduce production costs.
While producing affordable electric cars and self-driving “robotaxis” remain a challenge, the industry is poised for significant growth in the coming years, as it is projected to reach 1,445,822 units by 2030. As more consumers become interested in sustainable transportation, electric vehicles will become increasingly important in the automotive industry.