Text/Sina Finance and Economics opinion leader columnist Ren Zeping and Xie Jiaqi in succession
When "Silicon Valley Gene" meets "Chinese market" and "Made in China", Tesla soars 8 times a year, and its market value breaks through At US$250 billion, it has surpassed the traditional car leader Toyota (US$200 billion) and has become the world’s largest car company by market value.
In 2019, Tesla spent 357 days in the Shanghai Lingang new district A piece of farmland became Tesla’s first overseas super factory. On January 7, 2020, Tesla achieved mass delivery of the first batch of domestically produced Model 3, and the price fell below 300,000 yuan. At the same time, it officially announced the launch of the Model Y project.
Tesla has risen rapidly in recent years and has surpassed all traditional car companies to reach the top of the world's largest car company by market value. This means that a century of car changes is coming, and the market is full of great expectations for the future of new energy vehicles. In the great era and the changing situation, will China, with its huge market and strong manufacturing and R&D capabilities, give birth to a world-class new energy vehicle giant? Times make heroes, heroes make times.
1. The rise of Tesla has reshaped the competitive landscape of the auto industry. 1) Model 3 has become a hot product: From January to November 2019, the sales volume of Tesla Model 3 in the North American market reached 128,000 units, exceeding the sum of sales of the same-level BMW 2/3/4/5 series (104,000), Mercedes-Benz C The sum of /CLA/CLS/E series (95,000), and the sum of Audi A3/A4/A5/A6 (70,000). At the same time, traditional car companies such as General Motors and Ford have successively laid off employees. FCA (Fiat Chrysler) and PSA (Peugeot Citroen) have merged to become the world's fourth largest car company. The traditional car companies are in sharp contrast with Tesla's triumphant progress. 2) Tesla started the wave of vehicle electrification and intelligence: Model 3 not only made further improvements in the engineering technology of Sanden, but also adopted a centralized electronic and electrical architecture similar to a smart phone, that is, using a central processing unit And the operating system controls the hardware on all vehicles. In the future, the core value of the automotive industry will no longer be engines, bodies, and chassis, but batteries, chips, on-board systems, and data. Volkswagen, the world's largest car company, announced that it will become a software-driven company and set up a "Digital Car&Service" department to vigorously promote digital transformation. Toyota announced that Toyota will transform from a car company to a mobile travel company. Their competitors are no longer Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen, but Apple and Google. 3) Speeding up the globalization strategy: Tesla's Shanghai factory has exceeded expectations and is expected to replicate Apple's "Silicon Valley innovation + Chinese market" story. The Chinese government has given Tesla land, credit, and other aspects of support. At the same time, China's strong manufacturing capabilities and industrial chain supporting capabilities will reduce the cost of Tesla's domestic production by more than 20% compared with domestic production in the United States.
2. Tesla takes the three generations of product positioning as the path of successive sinking, with electrification and intelligent developmentDifferentiated competition and a high degree of vertical integration will gradually expand the user base while maintaining an environmentally friendly, technological, and high-end brand image. At the implementation level, Tesla has learned the experience and lessons of the first-generation product development, and in the subsequent product life cycle, pays more attention to the balance between innovation, engineering manufacturing, user experience and cost, and gradually builds its core competitiveness:
1) R&D design: Tesla’s R&D intensity has basically been above 10% over the years, far exceeding the average level of 5% of traditional car companies. In the three-electric field, Tesla has many black technologies, such as the combination of high-nickel batteries and high-precision battery management systems, the first application of switched reluctance motors and silicon carbide power semiconductors, which not only increases the cruising range, but also reduces the vehicle. Power consumption. In the field of intelligence and autonomous driving, Tesla has self-developed in-vehicle operating systems and autonomous driving chips, and currently surpasses most competitors in the user experience of vehicle OTA and L2 autonomous driving.
2) Manufacturing: Tesla pursues a highly vertically integrated production model, basically adopts independent design + OEM or joint venture forms for core components such as batteries and motors, and firmly grasps the supply chain Take the lead, and continuously reduce costs through scale effects. According to UBS dismantling and calculation, the Model3 battery cell cost is about 110 US dollars/KWh, which is lower than other mainstream battery cell manufacturers such as LG and CATL.
3) Product matrix: Tesla launched a new model in an average of 2-3 years after Roadster. ModelS/X is positioned at high-end coupe/SUV, Model 3/Y is positioned at mid-to-high-end sedan SUV. The small but refined, platform-based model matrix with Apple's minimalist style also allows Tesla to focus more on creating explosive models, thereby diluting the R&D and production costs of a single model.
4) Branding, marketing and services: Tesla never advertises, but CEO Musk relies on the successful creation of the "Silicon Valley Iron Man" personality and Twitter interaction, bringing Tesla a super Traffic and media exposure. The "BrandZ Top 100 Global Brand Values in 2018" list shows that Tesla's brand value reached US$9.4 billion, surpassing established luxury car brands such as Porsche. At the same time, Tesla has adopted a direct sales model instead of a traditional distribution system, using software + OTA to provide users with after-sales service throughout the vehicle life cycle to further improve user experience.
3. Tesla's future. With the deepening of vertical integration, Tesla is constantly expanding its business boundaries, but it is also facing issues and disputes in terms of production capacity, product safety and quality, and cash flow. Tesla's future competitors are not only traditional OEMs such as Volkswagen and Toyota, but also high-tech companies such as Google, Nvidia, and Uber, as well as oil giants, hydrogen energy technology, Chinese traditional and new car forces. There are still variables in the global new energy vehicle market.
1) Tesla will become a global car company. Model 3 has become a phenomenal product in the U.S. market. The top priority is to successfully replicate it to the Chinese market with its self-built factories and low-price policies, quickly seizing the market, and proceeding to promote Model Y to meet the needs of SUV users. After that, Tesla will also launch the Tesla Semi electric truck and the Cybertruck electric pickup truck. We predict that global sales of electric vehicles will reach 35 million in 2030, Tesla's annual sales will reach 3 million, and overseas market revenue will account for more than 50%.
2) In the future, Tesla's leading advantage in the field of electrification may be gradually reduced. The core competitiveness lies in intelligence, driverless technology, data and brand. From the perspective of the development history of smartphones, the appearance and supply chain are easily imitated, but Apple's profits exceed the sum of all competitors. The core lies in self-developed A-series chips, iOS systems, and building an application ecosystem and high-end brands. Through self-developed self-driving chips and artificial intelligence algorithms, and with the largest number of fleets to continuously provide real road condition data for deep learning, Tesla will have higher algorithm iteration efficiency than other competitors. In the future, once Tesla's camera route is proved to be feasible, it will show a great cost advantage over the lidar route.
3) In the long run, auto services and energy services will become new growth points for Tesla. Tesla has established a global direct sales store and charging network, and continuously pushes new software and functions to users through OTA. Tesla is continuing to build a closed loop of online + offline, automotive + energy services. After fully autonomous driving matures, Tesla will also build its own fleet to provide taxi services.
Risk warning: automobile safety accidents, Sino-US trade frictions, etc.
1 A brief history of Tesla’s development
2003, Silicon Valley Engineer Eberhard and TowerBenning founded an electric car manufacturing company to pay tribute to the inventor of alternating current Nikola Tesla, the company named Tesla (Tesla Motors). In 2004, Silicon Valley upstart Musk led a $6.5 million investment in Tesla’s Series A financing and became Tesla’s largest shareholder and chairman. In August 2006, he proposed the "Master Plan", a roadmap throughout Tesla’s development. , That is, the "three-step" strategy:
1. Build an expensive, niche sports car (Roadster);
2. Use the money earned to build a more expensive sports car (Roadster); Cheap, medium-selling car (ModelS/X);
3. Use the money earned to build a more economical best-selling model (Model 3);
, While achieving the above, it also provides zero-emission power generation options.
1.1 2003-2008: Roadster Hard to be born
Tesla entered the automotive industry with a high-end niche electric sports car. Automobile is a typical technology-intensive and capital-intensive industry, and it is also one of the industries with the lowest survival rate for start-ups. Regardless of manufacturing process, supply chain management or corporate branding, Tesla could not compare to traditional auto companies with decades or even hundreds of years of accumulation in the initial stage. Moreover, in an objective environment where the battery cost as high as $1000/KWh and the industrial chain were not yet mature, the cost of building a sports car or an economical and practical car was quite expensive. Tesla's thinking is very clear: Since the first car is destined to lose money, it is better to launch a high-end electric sports car for high-income groups, and to completely subvert people's perception of the short range and poor performance of electric vehicles.
In July 2006, Tesla officially launched the Roadster sports car. The Roadster was jointly built by Tesla and British Lotus Motors. Priced at 98,000 U.S. dollars, this supercar has an acceleration of about 3.7 seconds per 100 kilometers and a maximum endurance of about 400 kilometers. The push-back feel at the start stage even exceeds that of traditional sports cars such as Ferrari. As the first supercar to use lithium battery technology, Roadster has been favored by many celebrities such as Hollywood stars and Silicon Valley executives once it was launched.
However, due to the supply chain and technical bottlenecks of core components, Roadster's production costs are out of control and mass production is difficult. At that time, under the leadership of CEO Eberhard, the Tesla team paid too much attention to technology research and development and performance improvement, and ignored production arrangements and product control, which greatly delayed the progress of the finished product. In June 2007, only 2 months before the Roadster was officially put into production, Tesla still had not completed the development of the core component two-speed gearbox. In addition, due to the lack of economies of scale in supply chain procurement, the development cost of the initial 50 Roadsters rose from an average of US$65,000 to more than US$100,000, and more than 30 of the 1,000 scheduled users cancelled orders due to delivery delays.
The founder left and the top was in turmoil, Musk became the CEO to turn the tide. Because of management errors and out-of-control expenses, the founder Eberhard was dismissed from the CEO position in August 2007, and he was finally taken up by Musk himself. In order to achieve the normal listing of Roadster, the Tesla team decided to optimize the first-speed gearbox to replace the development of a new second-speed gearbox, and began to cut unnecessary expenses. In February 2008, the first Roadster was finally officially delivered.
Because of the limitations of product positioning and audiences, Roadster's economic benefits are limited. From its launch in February 2008 to the discontinuation of production in 2012, the Roadster was sold in more than 30 countries and approximately 2,450 vehicles were sold worldwide. According to the price of 98,000 US dollars, Tesla also only recovered 240 million US dollars in cash flow through Roadster, which is a drop in the price for the development and production of the second-generation model ModelS. At the end of 2008, the financial crisis made Tesla's financial situation worse, and Tesla was on the verge of bankruptcy.
1.2 2009-2015: Survival from desperation, creating explosive models
1.2.1 Resolve the crisis and successfully go public
The strategic investment of Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Tesla gets the dual endorsement of funding and brand. After the Detroit Auto Show in January 2009, Daimler ordered 4000 battery packs from Tesla for Mercedes-Benz A-Class vehicle testing, and acquired a 10% stake in Tesla for US$50 million, forming a partnership. . In May 2010, Tesla received a 50 million US dollar investment from Toyota and acquired 3% of the shares. With twoThe strategic cooperation between the giants of traditional car companies not only solves Tesla’s urgent financial needs, but also allows Tesla to quickly learn the know-how of production and management experience and models. In addition, Tesla also acquired NUMMI, a joint venture between Toyota and GM, with an annual production capacity of 500,000 vehicles, at a low price of US$42 million, laying the foundation for mass production.
With strong support from the US government, Tesla’s cash flow crisis was postponed and successfully listed. After the 2008 financial crisis, in order to promote economic development, the US Congress issued a series of policies to help all walks of life, including the US Department of Energy’s US$25 billion advanced technology automobile manufacturing loan project, which supports local advanced automobile technology through subsidies and low interest loans And parts research and development. In June 2009, Tesla successfully obtained a $465 million loan. In the context of California's Zero Emissions (ZEV) policy, Tesla owners can also receive up to $7,500 in federal tax credits (down to $3,750 in 2019). In June 2010, Tesla successfully listed on the Nasdaq, raising a total of 226 million US dollars. This is also the first American auto company to successfully go public after Ford Motor went public in 1956.
1.2.2 After four years of sharpening a sword, ModelS has become an explosive model
ModelS is positioned as a medium and large luxury The sedan is Tesla’s first mass-produced model in the true sense. It was officially delivered in June 2012. At that time, three models were launched, equipped with batteries of 40kWh, 60kWh, and 85kWh, priced at US$57,400-US$87,400. The fastest acceleration from 100 kilometers is 4.4 seconds, and the cruising range is up to 483 kilometers. ModelS introduced a 17-inch central control touch screen for the first time, integrating vehicle information query, navigation, music and other functions. At the same time, it is equipped with 4GLTE wireless network so that car owners can enjoy system OTA air upgrade services for free, such as the Autopilot automatic driving assistance function launched in 2014. In January 2019, ModelS will no longer provide battery 75kWh options, and currently only two models of 100D and P100D are left.
As the first high-end electric car, ModelS has been well received since its launch. At the end of 2012, the number of Model S scheduled to increase from 520 at the time of launch to 15,000. In 2013, ModelS's market share in the U.S. mid-to-large luxury car market surpassed established luxury car brands such as Mercedes-Benz S-series and BMW 7-series, ranking first. ModelS sales reached 17,192 in the fourth quarter of 2015, and the current global sales exceed 260,000. ModelS has won the award of "2013 Model of the Year" by the famous automobile magazine "Motor Trend", "One of the 25 Best Inventions of 2012" by Time Magazine, and "Consumer Reports", the authoritative American consumer appraisal, "Top 10 Most Satisfied Car Owners of 2017" "And other honors.
Pragmatic, focusing on long-term planning and cost Management and control, Tesla's profitability and production efficiency have risen sharply. With the delivery of ModelS, Tesla's revenue grew exponentially, and in the first quarter of 2013, it turned a profit to a net profit of $11.25 million. In the same year, it became the first auto manufacturing company to pay off the Department of Energy's low-interest loan. In addition, in order to promote the ModelS production and ModelX project, in addition to the renovation of the Fremont factory in California, Tesla and Panasonic reached a cooperation agreement in July 2014 to invest more than US$5 billion in the construction of the super factory Gigafactory1 in Nevada, USA, to cope with the future 5. -10 years production plan.
The super factory Gigafactory1 is mainly responsible for all Tesla power systems, including lithium batteries for Model series models, solar energy Powerwall and Powerback storage batteries to meet the annual production capacity of 35GWh power batteries for 500,000 Tesla vehicles in 2020. Panasonic is responsible for manufacturing, and Tesla is responsible for battery assembly and further processing. Currently, Gigafactory1 produces approximately 3.5 million 2170 power batteries per day.
In the third quarter of 2015, the ModelX luxury SUV equipped with Eagle Wingmen was officially delivered. Compared with ModelS, ModelX does not have much innovation in performance, and the user positioning and price of the two are also similar, and both belong to the "MasterPlan" the second stage plan. ModelX is mainly to meet the more demanding luxury SUV market and enrich the product line. Compared with ModelS, the sales volume of ModelX is still growing. The total global sales volume exceeds 120,000. It is a large and medium-sized luxury in the United States. The market share of SUV is close to that of competing products such as Mercedes-Benz GLE and BMW X5.
At the same time, Tesla has carried out a series of vertical integrations in the industry. In addition to Gigafactory 1, it has also built a large number of super fast charging Superchargers and Destination Chargers around the world, and increased stores around the world. The number of exhibition areas and service centers.
1.3 Since 2016: Towards mass production
Medium-sized cars are the largest and most cost-effective segment of the market. According to car wheelbase, car In terms of length, price, and functions, the automotive market can be divided into six segments: micro, small, compact, medium, medium and large, and large. The industry law determines that the number of potential buyers will double for every 5,000 dollar drop in car prices. The importance of the mid-size market in all market segments. For Tesla, mid-size cars are not only the key to the third-stage development goals, but also determine whether Tesla can truly become a mainstream car company, which is of great strategic significance. .
Following ModelS, Model 3 has become a landmark product for Tesla to successfully open up the market. Model 3 was announced in March 2016 and delivered at the end of 2017. The standard version starts at US$35,000 and has a range of mileage. 354 kilometers, very cost-effective. With the increase in production capacity, the sales of Model 3 in the United States surpassed the same type of traditional luxury fuel vehicles such as BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A6 and so on. In 2019, the United States sold more than 160,000 vehicles, becoming 2019 Champion in the mid-size luxury car market in the United States.
The success of Model 3 has brought Tesla's revenue to a higher level. In 2018, Tesla's revenue reached 21.46 billion U.S. dollars, and its net profit narrowed from a 2017 loss of 1.96 billion U.S. dollars to a loss of 980 million U.S. dollars; 2019 In the first three quarters, revenue reached 17.19 billion U.S. dollars, and net profit fell slightly to 970 million U.S. dollars. In terms of sub-projects, auto sales in 2018 reached 17.63 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 82.2% of overall revenue. Tesla’s main revenue Sources of income. In terms of countries and regions, the United States is still Tesla’s main market, accounting for nearly 70%, and the Chinese mainland market accounts for 8.4%.
Domestic Model 3 is stirred by low-price strategies The new energy vehicle market in the Mainland. As one of the important strategies for internationalization, Tesla attaches great importance to the new energy vehicle market in the Mainland. Tesla’s Shanghai plant is 65% lower in capital expenditure than the US plant due to lower domestic labor costs and fixed asset costs, and the Shanghai government’s preferential loan policies. Domestic Tesla will cut prices into the mid-to-high-end market. The entry-level Model 3 will cost less than 300,000 yuan, and the first batch of employees will be delivered by the end of 2019. The price adjustment consists of three aspects. The first aspect is that on January 3, Tesla officially announced that the quasi-endurance upgrade version was reduced from 355,800 yuan to 323,800 yuan, and the price cut was as high as 32,000 yuan. In the second aspect, it was selected into the 11th batch of "Recommended Models for the Promotion and Application of New Energy Vehicles" in December and June 2019, enjoying a subsidy of RMB 24,750 per vehicle. In the third aspect, it was selected into the 29th batch of "Catalogue of New Energy Vehicles Exempted from Vehicle Purchase Tax" on December 27 to enjoy purchase tax reduction. Three factors contributed to the Model 3 entry price drop from 355,800 yuan to 299,000 yuan. Compared with the imported version in April 2019, the price drop was as high as 38.8%.
Model3 may have a huge impact on China's mid- to high-end traditional car and new energy car market. From the perspective of the traditional automobile market, from January to November 2019, China's traditional mid-to-high-end vehicles (28-42 million yuan) sold 1.361 million vehicles, accounting for 5.9% of traditional vehicle sales, mainly Audi A4L, Mercedes-Benz C series, Buick GL8 , BMW 3 series and other ABB car series. From the perspective of the new energy vehicle market, the sales volume from January to November 2019 was 104.3, among which the sales of pure electric vehicles were 832,000, mainly in the low-end and mid-end models. Therefore, the Model 3 competition target is mainly BYD Tang, Weilai ES6, etc. At present, Tesla’s Shanghai plant has a production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year, and it is expected that Model 3 will take the center in 2020. Guoxin Energy More than 12% of the automotive market.
In order to realize the transition to sustainable energy, Tesla accelerates the layout of the new energy industry chain from electricity production to energy storage and transportation , Including the construction of factories, energy storage networks and charging networks in major global markets. In terms of manufacturing plants, in order to reduce the impact of tariffs and reduce production costs to improve product price competitiveness, and to pave the way for long-term market strategies, Tesla built a Tilburg assembly plant in the Netherlands to assemble and test ModelS/X for European customers; Shanghai invested in the construction of Gigafactory 3 to manufacture Model 3/Y for Chinese and Asian customers.
In terms of energy storage, solar power is used to cover household energy storage and large-scale photovoltaic energy storage systems. Home energy storage products are Powerwall batteries and Solar Roof. Solar Roof collects solar energy during the day and converts it into electrical energy and stores it in the Powerwall. The Powerwall can discharge when the household needs electricity, forming an organic cycle of "storage-charge and discharge" . The large-scale energy storage system product is Powerpack, which is mainly aimed at commercial and industrial energy storage and utilization. In order to better penetrate the energy storage field, in addition to producing Powerwall and Powerpack batteries at Gigafactory 1, Tesla acquired a 22% stake in the photovoltaic company SolarCity for US$260 million in November 2016, and built Gigafactory 2 to produce solar panels in Buffalo, New York. .
In terms of charging network, Tesla’s main products are super fast charging SuperCharger, destination charging and home charging. Home charging is the above-mentioned use of solar energy + energy storage for car charging, and it takes about 10-14 hours to fully charge. Super fast charging is aimed at kilometers along the route. The charging power of the third-generation super fast charging can reach up to 250kW. In the peak power environment, the Model 3 long-life version can travel about 120 kilometers in 5 minutes, which is 50% less than the second-generation charging time. %. Destination charging is aimed at parking lots, shopping malls and other places, and the charging speed is the same as home charging. Currently, Tesla has more than 12,000 super charging piles and 21,000 destination charging piles worldwide.
2 Does Tesla have a strong moat?
As a loyal believer of FirstPrinciple, Musk tends to return to the essence of things to analyze and solve problems instead of using analogies and improvements. He believes that the latter belongs to linear thinking, which can only produce small upgrades and iterations of technology or products, and only by starting from the essence of things can disruptive innovation be produced. This way of thinking has achieved great success in SpaceX, another startup of Musk, and also has the brand of first principles on Tesla. It allows Tesla to sometimes create unique designs and products, and sometimes it is too radical but counterproductive, often leading to criticism and controversy.
2.1 R&D and design: the industry's most advanced three-electric technology
According to data from US patent analysis company Relecura, as of 2018, Tesla has a total of 408 patents/patent families. Looking at the situation over the years, after 2009, the number of patent applications and the number of authorizations began to surge, mainly related to the development of ModelS. The number of applications reached its peak in 2012 and the number of authorizations reached its peak in 2013. From the perspective of applicant countries, the number of applications from the United States has maintained its lead. The number of applications from Europe and China has increased rapidly in recent years. This is inseparable from Tesla's global market strategy.
Compared with traditional car companies, Tesla's patents in the field of new energy vehicles are not outstanding. For example, the number of Toyota related patents exceeds 14,000, which is about 50 times the number of Tesla patents. . Judging from the top ten keywords in the patent application, “battery”, “heat management” and “cooling” are Tesla’s main targets. By mobilizing limited resources to concentrate on tackling tough problems, Tesla hopes thatThe system field forms differentiated competition with traditional car companies.
2.1.1 Battery system
Battery technology is one of Tesla’s most proud areas of strength. According to patent data, battery system related patents account for more than 60%. The Tesla battery power system includes battery cells, battery management systems (BMS), heat management systems, cooling management, etc., among which battery cells account for more than 70% of the cost of the battery power system. Tesla has used 18650 and 2170 batteries before and after. At present, the latest 2170 cylindrical battery adopts nickel-cobalt-aluminum NCA equipped with silicon-carbon negative electrode. The single battery capacity is between 3~4.8Ah, and the single energy density can reach 300Wh/kg , The performance is about 20% higher than the previous generation 18650.
The Panasonic cylindrical battery used by Tesla has a mature application history in the consumer electronics market, with the advantages of high energy density, mature technology, and high degree of production automation. However, facing the more stringent automotive industry, high temperature sensitivity, difficulty in group management, and explosiveness have limited its wide use. To this end, Tesla proposed four major solutions including better bipolar materials, module structure, battery management system and thermal management.
1. Constantly looking for the best materials to reduce costs and improve performance. The difference in the composition and ratio of battery cell chemistry will directly affect battery performance. Among ternary materials, nickel is mainly used to increase the overall energy density of the material, and cobalt is mainly used to stabilize the layered structure of the material and improve the overall cycle performance. However, too high nickel content will lead to unstable chemical composition, too high cobalt content will reduce energy and capacity, and due to the scarcity of minerals, the price of cobalt has been high. To this end, Tesla continues to conquer the ratio of battery materials, trying to find the best solution. From a horizontal perspective, when competitors made lithium iron phosphate batteries and NCM111 in 2013, Tesla had already begun to apply high energy density NCA ternary batteries on ModelS; when competitors began to transition from low nickel materials to NCM622/NCM811 in 2017 In the case of high nickel cathode materials, Tesla has explored the application of higher energy density silicon carbon anodes. Tesla's accumulation of battery technology has enabled its battery energy density and vehicle mileage to be several positions ahead of its competitors. From a longitudinal perspective, Tesla has always insisted on using NCA as the cathode material of the battery, and has continuously increased the nickel content and reduced the cobalt content. Comparing the latest Model 3 and Roadster cars, Tesla's average cobalt content in each car is reduced by about 60%. According to Tesla's report in the first quarter of 2018, the energy density of Model 3 cells exceeds that of any other competing products, and its cobalt content is lower than the next-generation NCM811 cell products that will be mass-produced by mainstream cell manufacturers. .
Second, series-parallel combination, split The layer management mode optimizes the module structure and improves the battery charging and discharging capabilities. Tesla batteries adopt a unique series-parallel connection, and are managed hierarchically in the order of "single battery-brick-sheet-pack". For example, Tesla divides the 6831 batteries of the Roadster battery system into different sub-units (2 of the 4 modules are 23Brick/module, and the other 2 are 25Brick/module, ie 2*23*31+2*25* 31) The design of parallel and series, multiple series and flat panels greatly increases the number of batteries laid and the use efficiency, thereby improving the power performance and cruising range of the vehicle.
3. High-precision battery management system ensures battery safety and improves cycle life. Battery Management System (BMS) is one of Tesla's core technologies. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries have a non-linear charge and discharge curve, which greatly increases the difficulty of monitoring, predicting, and managing whether it is at the cell or battery pack level. If not managed properly, excessive charging and discharging of individual cells will cause permanent battery damage, resulting in instability of the voltage and temperature of the entire battery system, and severe thermal runaway events. Therefore, the battery management system plays a vital role in battery capacity, cycle life and safety. Since ModelS began, Tesla has used NCA as the cathode material of the battery. Compared with the more mainstream high-nickel NCM materials in the industry, although NCA has higher energy density, it has a shorter cycle life and worse stability.Therefore, higher requirements are put forward for BMS.
Tesla's BMS is mainly composed of a master control module and a slave control module. The master control module is equivalent to the "brain" of the BMS system, responsible for voltage and current control, contactor control, and external communication; the slave control module is connected to various sensors and is mainly responsible for real-time monitoring of the voltage, current and temperature in the battery pack And other parameters, and report to the main control module.
Tesla’s BMS has two characteristics. 1. High precision. According to the disassembly of Model 3 by Sandy Munro and Jack Rickard, the BMS of Model 3 can control the voltage difference of 23-25 independent battery packs to 2-3mV, which is much lower than that of other ordinary electric vehicles; Degree of integration. The Tesla BMS module integrates a high-voltage controller, a DC converter and multiple sensors, which can reduce the high-voltage wiring harness required for internal communication, ultimately reducing the total weight and reducing the cost.
Fourth, the thermal management system has a reasonable temperature difference design, a rich and smooth cooling route, and outstanding ability to control uniform temperature and energy. The thermal management system of a new energy vehicle mainly includes three aspects: the vehicle, the cockpit, and the battery. It performs vehicle temperature control, cabin air conditioning heating and cooling, and battery overheating and cooling and heating. At present, mainstream thermal management includes three solutions: natural cooling, liquid cooling and direct cooling. Tesla adopts a liquid cooling solution with 50% water and 50% ethylene glycol as the coolant. The motor and battery cooling cycle is realized by a four-way valve. Series and parallel structure. Controlled by the system chip algorithm, when the battery temperature exceeds the set target value, the battery cycle and the motor cycle are independent of each other and are connected in parallel; when the battery temperature is lower than the set target value, the battery cycle and the motor cycle are connected in series, and the residual heat of the motor is used as the battery And the cabin is heated, and the excess heat will be discharged by the heat exchanger of the air inlet. This solution makes full use of the heat of all parts in the car, makes the heat circulate effectively, and greatly improves the heat dissipation of the battery cells and the temperature consistency between the battery cells. Therefore, regardless of the extreme weather in winter or summer, the temperature difference control of Tesla vehicles is kept within 2 ℃, reflecting the strong temperature control ability.
In addition, due to the upgrade of battery cell materials and the increase in volume, the battery cell capacity and density have greatly increased, resulting in battery chemical heat Sensitivity is improved, and the flammable point is reduced from about 175°C of the 18650 battery to about 65-82°C of the 2170 battery, which places higher requirements on the battery cooling system. Comparing the old ModelS 85, the new ModelS P100 and Model 3, we can find that the battery cooling system has been upgraded in stages, from the early single cooling belt to the current independent cooling belt for each layer, which provides better temperature control for the new 2170 battery, which greatly improves Battery cooling operation efficiency.
2.1.2 Electric Motor Control
Currently, the electric vehicle industry mainly uses AC induction motors, permanent There are three types of magnetic synchronous motors and switched reluctance motors. The first two are mainly used in passenger cars. The motor is mainly composed of a stator and a rotor. The stator is fixed to generate a magnetic field, and the rotor rotates in the magnetic field. From the perspective of the working principle, the rotating magnetic field formed by the stator winding of the induction motor drives the rotor to rotate with the induced magnetic field of the rotor winding, and the stator rotor is not synchronized; the permanent magnet motor stator generates electromagnetic torque to push the magnetic field of the rotor to rotate around the axis line. The magnetic fields of the stator and the rotor are synchronized. From the perspective of raw materials, the main difference between the two is that the rotor of the induction motor mainly uses aluminum or copper, which is low in cost; the rotor of the permanent magnet motor mainly uses permanent magnets, which involve rare earth materials such as neodymium, iron and boron, which are expensive. In terms of performance, induction motors can withstand a wide range of temperature differences, no risk of demagnetization, and high-speed range efficiency; permanent magnet motors have a large output torque adjustment range, high output power and small size under the same conditions. In general, permanent magnet motors are more efficient and induction motors have stronger performance.
1. The induction motor was the "best" choice at the beginning of Tesla's establishment. In the 1990s, GM's EV1 series first applied an induction motor and an inverter to electric vehicles. This system can convert the DC power output by the battery pack into the AC power required by the motor. Since then, the T-zero sports car has also used an improved version of the induction motor. This technology was adopted by Tesla founders Eberhard and Tabenin. When designing the Roadster, due to cost (the global rare earth capital is basically concentrated in East Asia, especially China and Japan), demagnetization risk, and mature technology (at that time, the manufacturing partner AC Propulsion was the leader in the field of induction motors) and other comprehensive factorsConsidering that Tesla chose an induction motor as the drive motor.
In order to improve the power and operating efficiency of traditional induction motors, Tesla has adopted a series of measures including designing corresponding punches, increasing torque, and cooling systems. Among them, the most innovative is the patented technology of the copper core rotor of the induction motor. (Patent No. US20130069476).
Copper brings higher conductivity efficiency than aluminum. From the electrical conductivity of various metals at different temperatures, at the same temperature, the electrical conductivity of copper is much higher than that of aluminum. If the raw material of the motor rotor structure is replaced with copper, the working efficiency of the motor will be greatly improved.
High melting point and difficulty in large-size manufacturing restrict the development of copper core motors. Compared with aluminum (melting point 660.3°C) and copper (melting point 1083.4°C), the high melting point increases the difficulty of manufacturing. An experiment conducted by AC Propulsion and MIT shows that once the motor volume is too large, the finished motor product using copper material is likely to cause excessive bubbles, Difficult to mount and other issues.
The silver-plated copper inserts are different from the traditional motor rotor structure, and complete low-cost and high-performance transformations under the conditions of low welding requirements . If the traditional induction motor uses metallic copper, it is mainly divided into two steps: inserting the copper bar into the rotor slot and sealing ring at both ends. Due to the high welding standard, the casting process often leads to high manufacturing difficulty and high cost. Tesla uses silver-plated copper inserts to fill the gaps in the copper bar rotor slots, then reinforces both ends, and seals the imprisoned ring pieces to reduce the difficulty of casting while improving the efficiency of the motor operation, completing Tesla's special power transformation.
Second, use algorithms to solve control problems. Model 3 applies permanent magnet switched reluctance motor. Under the multiple constraints of cost, performance and efficiency, Tesla boldly tried a permanent magnet switched reluctance motor (Permanent Magnet Switched Reluctance Motor). Traditional switched reluctance motors add electromagnets and a rotor made of steel into the stator, which only generates magnetic attraction and drives the motor rotor to move. It has the advantages of low cost, simple structure, high reliability, and low rotor heat loss. However, the traditional switched reluctance motor has the problem of torque fluctuation during power output, and requires very precise current control strategies and algorithms, which has also caused its delay in large-scale applications.
Model 3 has made a certain improvement to the traditional switched reluctance motor: a small amount of rare earth is added to the stator, and a control algorithm is designed to smooth the torque fluctuations, and finally increase the output power of the motor. The permanent magnet switched reluctance motor of Model 3 has the advantages of small size, low cost (the use of rare earths is very small, and there is no need to use a copper core, which reduces the cost of casting), and high power. Compared with the 83% energy conversion efficiency of the ModelS/X induction motor, the energy conversion efficiency of the Model3 is increased to 89%, that is, 89% of the electric energy can be finally converted into driving force, which further reduces power consumption and increases the cruising range.
2.2 Software and architecture: Cars will become mobile computers
2.2.1 System software
In 2018, the well-known American magazine Consumer Report 》It pointed out that Tesla Model 3 has the problem of too long braking distance, so it is not recommended. For traditional car companies, the most likely solution to similar problems is a large-scale recall, or replacement of parts through 4S stores, no matter which one needs to waste the long waiting time of car owners. However, Tesla engineers upgraded the system through OTA (Over-the-Air) and solved the problem within a few days.
This is the most fundamental difference between Tesla and traditional car companies-Tesla can perform system upgrades (OTA) like smartphones, while traditional car companies’ OTA is limited to in-vehicle infotainment systems ( The map and other functions in the infotainment system cannot remotely control or upgrade the functions related to vehicle parts such as the temperature, braking, and charging in the car like Tesla. The deeper reason behind it is that the underlying electrical/electronic architecture of the two is completely different.
As the electronic and electrical functions of modern cars become more and more complex, the electronic control units (ECUs) on the entire vehicle are alsoIncrease with it. At present, an ordinary car has as many as 70-80 ECUs, with about 100 million lines of code, and its complexity has far exceeded that of the Linux system kernel and Android. In the traditional automotive supply chain, OEMs are highly dependent on ECUs provided by Tier 1 suppliers such as Bosch and Delphi (now Anbofu). But different ECUs come from different Tier 1 suppliers and have different embedded software and low-level codes. This distributed architecture creates considerable redundancy at the vehicle level, and vehicle companies do not have the authority to maintain and update ECUs. Under this relationship, the R&D cycle of Tier 1 suppliers matches the 2-3 year model R&D cycle. The software updates of traditional cars are almost synchronized with the car life cycle, which greatly affects the user experience.
Unlike traditional car manufacturing, Tesla has adopted a centralized electronic and electrical architecture, that is, through independent research and development of the underlying operating system, and the use of central processing units to unify different domain processors and ECUs management. This architecture is very similar to smartphones and PCs. The electrical and electronic architecture of Tesla Model 3 is divided into three parts-CCM (Central Computing Module), BCM LH (Left Body Control Module) and BCM RH (Right Body Control Module), where CCM consists of IVI (Infotainment System), ADAS /Autopilot (assisted driving system) and communication inside and outside the vehicle are composed of three parts, and the X86 Linux system is running on the CCM. BCM LH and BCM RH are responsible for the functions of the body and convenience systems, chassis and safety systems, and power systems.
The biggest advantage of this is:
1. Decoupling of software and hardware, centralized computing power. It can truly realize the standardization of hardware and the reuse of software development, which can not only realize the replacement of suppliers, but also greatly shorten the software iteration cycle, while clearing away obstacles for third-party software development in the future. Vehicles will become mobile smart terminals, and at the same time, a large amount of computing work can be concentrated on the on-board central processing unit or even the cloud, reducing internal redundancy and making Internet of Vehicles collaboration possible.
Second, the internal structure is simplified and manufacturing is automated. Automotive Ethernet began to replace the CAN bus structure, and semiconductor integration allowed Tesla to streamline the internal wiring harness structure. The internal wiring harness length of Model S is 3 kilometers, and Model 3 is only 1.5 kilometers. In the future, Tesla's plan for Model Y is to control the length of the wiring harness to 100 meters. Model 3's wiring harness automated assembly problem once caused Tesla to fall into "capacity hell" for a while, and eventually had to switch to manual assembly. The streamlining of the wiring harness structure can further improve Tesla's production efficiency.
Third, enhance the added value of services. After implementing the OTA function of the vehicle, Tesla can continuously improve the vehicle functions through system upgrades. The software realizes the functions of the traditional 4S shop to a certain extent, and can continue to provide operations and services after the vehicle is delivered. The delivery of traditional automotive products means the beginning of loss and depreciation, but software OTA gives the car more vitality and brings a better user experience. Since the launch of ModelS in 2012, Tesla’s software system has undergone 9 major updates so far, with an average of one minor update every few months. More than 50 new and improved functions have been added and improved, including automatic assisted driving, battery preheating, and automatic Features such as parking. If Tesla is only competing with traditional car companies in the same dimension in the field of three-electric systems, then the vehicle OTA is a dimensional reduction attack by Tesla on traditional car companies and even traditional car tier-1 suppliers.
Although traditional car companies have begun to transform into intelligence, they may not be able to catch up with Tesla. According to Bosch’s definition of EEA, Volkswagen and other traditional car companies are still in the transition stage from “Modular” (modular) to “Integration”, while Tesla is already a “Vehicle Computer” (vehicle central computer). ) Again. At the press conference of the 2018 annual report, Volkswagen CEO Diss clearly proposed to build the vw.OS operating system and gradually integrate more than 70 ECUs of the vehicle into 3-5 high-performance processors. Volkswagen has become the first company among traditional car companies to explicitly propose intelligent transformation, but compared with Tesla, software is not Volkswagen's strong point. If the transformation is to be successful, the public not only needs to cultivate a large number of relevant software development talents and form endogenous software development capabilities, but also need to adjust the corresponding organizational staff structure. Shareholders’ support, management’s foresight, and strong execution are indispensable. In addition, the existing Tier 1 suppliers will inevitably have a fierce game with car companies on the leadership of ECU software and hardware development in the future. The difficulty of car companies' transformation is conceivable.
2.2.2 Application software
Autopilot is special Sla’s most important application software at the moment. The biggest difference between traditional cars and smart cars is the driving system. At present, mainstream smart cars are basically equipped with L2 assisted driving systems, and no company has realized a fully automated driving system.
The vehicle assisted driving system is composed of a combination of software and hardware. From the perspective of the structural framework, it is mainly divided into a perception module, a map module, and a driving behavior decision-making module. From the perspective of the process, the perception module collects object data detected by the surrounding environment through hardware such as radar, sensors, and cameras. The map module provides positioning and global path planning. The data is jointly transmitted to the driving behavior module to provide information support for the driving plan. The decision-making module controls the steering, acceleration and other implementation behaviors of the car body.
From the perspective of the technology path, there are currently two major schools. One is Tesla as the representative and the camera is the dominant solution; the other is Google and Baidu as the representative, and Lidar is the representative. Leading plan. The camera is the sensor closest to the habit of the human eye to acquire the environment. It has a relatively stable image processing capability, but the resolution decreases in harsh environments such as rain and fog. Lidar detects objects by emitting laser beams, which has the advantages of strong anti-interference ability and accurate detection. However, the cost and technical threshold of multi-beam high-precision lidar is much higher than that of cameras.
The main achievement of Tesla Autopilot is to be the first to achieve large-scale commercial use.
1. Autopilot has outstanding performance in assisted driving commercialization. The risk rate can determine the safety of the vehicle body and the automatic driving system to a certain extent. According to the U.S. Insurance Indemnity Regulations, it can be divided into six categories, namely Collision (vehicle collision, compensation for the faulty party’s vehicle caused by the faulty party), Property Damage (vehicle collision, compensation for the other party’s vehicle caused by the faulty party), Comprehensive (other non-collision accidents) three car insurances and Personal Injury (respectively paid by both parties), Medical Payment (vehicle collision, the personal compensation of the wrong party caused by the wrong party), Bodily Injury (vehicle collision, the right caused by the wrong party The other party’s personal claims) three personal insurances.
Comparing the risk rate of the same large luxury car, from the perspective of three car body protection insurance, Tesla is similar to other luxury cars, with poor performance, and the data is much higher than other cars of the same type. It shows that the average collision rate of Tesla bicycles is higher than the industry average, which also implies that more collisions are likely to occur due to system misjudgments or driver neglect. However, from the perspective of the three human protection risks, Tesla ModelS is below average and basically at an excellent level, indicating that ModelS has good personal protection for its own car owners and the opponent's car owners.
From the perspective of lane keeping, according to the IIHS data of the American Highway Safety Insurance Association, the diameter of 1300-2000 feet (396- 617m) Under different open road test environments, compare five cars of the same category, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E, Model 3/S and Volvo S90, set up a total of 18 test conditions in 3 conditions and 6 tests, Autopilot 8. 1 The driving assistance system has the most outstanding vehicle retention ability in curves and slopes, and it has only performed a line pressure on the slope.
Second, Autopilot has data advantages. As the first electric vehicle brand to be equipped with an automatic assisted driving system, it also has the world's largest assisted driving fleet. As of January 2019, Tesla's Autopilot has driven more than 1.73 billion kilometers, far exceeding other competitors, and the fleet size is conservatively estimated With an annual increase of about 400,000 vehicles (ModelS/X 100,000 vehicles/year + Model 3 300,000 vehicles/year). For comparison, according to the data from the California Vehicle Administration's "2018 Autonomous Driving Disengagement Report", Waymo, the leader of the lidar route, had a road test fleet of 110 vehicles between December 2017 and November 2018, and the number of road test mileage About 2 million kilometers.
The huge amount of data makes Tesla significantly ahead of its competitors in terms of data accumulation in high-precision maps and obstacle recognition. In addition, unlike most autonomous driving startups that use a large amount of simulated data for algorithm learning, the Tesla fleet collects all real data, which is of higher quality and more useful data.Conducive to the iterative update of the algorithm.
3. Tesla self-developed self-driving chips to meet the demand for fully autonomous driving computing power. According to the information disclosed by Tesla on the Autonomous Driving Day on April 23, after 3 years of secret research and development, Tesla has completed the design and production of on-board AI chips (made by Samsung), and the SOC computing power exceeds that used in AP2.0 NVIDIA Drive PX2, and has already been installed. From a principle point of view, no matter which path of automatic driving technology, the processing and learning ability of massive data It is very important. Therefore, the realization of automotive AI requires an all-round transformation from the underlying software to the hardware. Previously, autopilot chips were basically monopolized by Nvidia and Mobileye (acquired by Intel). The self-developed in-vehicle chip is Tesla’s most important hardware innovation in recent years and will make Tesla the only company with auto Automobile manufacturers with driving chip R&D and design capabilities have further expanded their leading advantages in the field of intelligent and unmanned driving.
However, it is worth mentioning that Tesla and Musk have been over-promising and exaggerating in the promotion of Autopilot driving system. Most consumers are deceived by words such as "automatic steering and automatic parking" without in-depth understanding, which leads to relaxation of vehicle control during driving, which in turn causes several safety accidents. In addition, because the camera-led vision solution has very high requirements for the volume of object detection data, Autopilot cannot 100% transmit every physical object that exists in real life into the database, which in turn leads to traffic incidents caused by system misjudgments.
2.3 Manufacturing: High vertical integration
Tesla produces and assembles many core components on its own, including battery packs, BMS systems, charging ports and equipment, motors, etc. The biggest feature of this model is the high vertical integration of the industry chain, and it is not easy to be "stuck" by suppliers in terms of core technologies and parts. However, mastering a large number of core technologies will inevitably lead to a large amount of early-stage R&D investment. Therefore, it is necessary to build high-quality products and explosive models, and dilute the early-stage investment such as R&D and mold opening through scale effects.
The powertrain integration optimizes the internal structure, which is conducive to reducing vehicle models, reducing costs, and forming price competitiveness. Tesla has always maintained the highly integrated characteristics of the powertrain, including battery packs, BMS, cooling systems, and motors. For example, whether it is an induction motor or a permanent magnet switched reluctance motor, the basic structure is a combination of a gearbox, an inverter and a motor. In contrast, every time a new model is introduced, Tesla tries its best to integrate and upgrade on the original basis. Compared with ModelS/X, Model 3 body is reduced by about 20%, and the price is reduced by about 50%. In order to ensure the performance of the whole vehicle, Tesla has added more system chips to control the coordinated operation of components, and will use such as Model 3 chillers, Electric valves, liquid cooling tanks and other components are integrated into a coolant storage valve tank, namely Super Bottle, which adjusts the internal circuit series and parallel structure through algorithms to reduce components such as PTC heaters.
2.4 Sales, branding and service: Direct marketing and full life cycle interaction
In terms of sales, unlike the multi-layer distribution model of traditional car companies, Tesla followed Apple’s example and chose to build its own showroom and experience store. The location was selected from California in 2012. , New York, Washington and other major cities in the United States have expanded to 378 cities in the world, and the sales network continues to expand. Although the direct-sales model helps to improve the brand image and solve the problems of different prices and poor experience caused by the distribution links, the operating costs of the direct-sales stores are not low, and the direct-sales model is not unique to Tesla , There is no actual threshold, new car forces such as Weilai Xiaopeng, etc., mostly also adopt this model.
Tesla has a very high brand value, which is largely due to the personal charm and unique halo of CEO Musk. Musk initially created a realistic image of Iron Man, and his personal influence was soaring. The "net celebrity effect" made Tesla bring its own traffic and media exposure. For example, after the Model 3 conference, various media on social networks and self-media were used to discuss topics. The booking amount exceeded 300,000 in the first week, and the dissemination effect far exceeded that of traditional advertising channels. According to data from the global brand evaluation platform BrandZ, Tesla has ranked among the top ten global auto brands since 2016, and its brand value has also increased from 2016.The annual US$4.4 billion rose to US$9.4 billion in 2018, even surpassing established luxury car brands such as Porsche.
In terms of services, because Tesla uses OTA to update the software, it can greatly increase the added value of the product, and because of many problems, it can be remotely "diagnosed online", which can save user maintenance Time, thereby reducing costs. In addition, as the "Twitter Big V", Musk often interacts with users on social networks and listens to user opinions when products and software are updated. This close communication has also won the favor of many users, making most users feel good about the product. Some of the flaws that exist indicate understanding and support.
3 Tesla’s next decade: challenges and prospects
The first principle is that angels are also devil. Tesla is accustomed to solving problems in rapid development, but as time goes by, certain problems have accumulated deeper and deeper and become hidden dangers in the future:
1. Capacity issues. Tesla's production capacity has always been criticized. Due to insufficient production capacity, the production capacity does not match the scheduled product volume, and the delivery delay is serious. Due to the highest degree of deviation between Model 3 orders and actual production, Tesla's exposed capacity problems have become more serious since the end of 2017. The actual output of Model 3 in the third quarter of 2017 was only 260 units, which was far lower than the 1500 expected, mainly because the early battery super factory Gigafactory 1 has not yet officially mass-produced, and the manual assembly of battery packs is slow. After the battery mass production problem was solved, the Model 3 capacity problem remained unsolved, mainly because the production line was too highly automated. The GA3 production line for production and assembly has a degree of automation of more than 90%. The production of a car is matched with hundreds of machinery and equipment. The production line is too dense, and too many machinery and equipment lead to conflicts in operation time, reduced efficiency and flexibility, and the surge in maintenance costs is offset. The cost advantage brought by automation is eliminated. Therefore, Tesla stopped production to maintain the GA3 production line in February and April 2018, reduced the degree of automation and added more manpower, and also opened the tent production line GA4 to increase the production speed. In June 2018, Model 3 reached the target weekly production capacity of 5,000 vehicles, and the current weekly production is about 7,000 vehicles. Even so, it is still difficult for Tesla to complete the delivery task on time. According to the calculation of about 455,000 Model 3 orders at the end of 2017 and the actual delivery of 147,000 in 2018, regardless of new orders, the remaining orders will take about 1 year to complete.
Second, quality and workmanship issues. On the one hand, there are defects in the quality and reliability of the Model3 body. In terms of raw materials, aluminum and steel have the highest utilization rate. Comparing the physical properties of the two, in most cases, under the same quality, the strength of aluminum alloy is greater than that of high-strength steel; under the same volume, the strength of high-strength steel is greater than that of aluminum alloy. For this reason, most new energy car companies have switched to aluminum bodies in order to reduce the weight of the entire vehicle. From the point of view of chemical properties, due to the low melting point of aluminum alloy and higher sensitivity to temperature, traditional welding and other heating methods are not suitable, and riveting, adhesive bonding and other technologies are often used, which increases manufacturing costs. In addition, due to the particularity of aluminum, it is difficult to repair the car body with traditional methods after an accident. Partial or complete replacements are carried out according to the severity of the accident, which increases the cost of post-repair and reduces the user's sense of use. ModelS/X is the representative of high-proportion aluminum body.
To reduce costs, the Model 3 body chooses a steel-aluminum mixture. According to the dismantling report of Munro & Associates and the structure drawing of the body model, it can be found that Model 3 uses four materials: aluminum alloy, mild steel, high-strength steel and ultra-high-strength steel. Since the single-motor Model 3 is a rear-mounted motor, in order to balance the weight, most of the rear body uses lighter aluminum alloy. Most of the longitudinal beams and bottom plates are made of ultra-high-strength steel to increase the firmness of the body to improve safety. However, too many different types of materials increase the difficulty of connection. There are as many as 5 ways to connect the Model 3 body, and it does not simplify unnecessary accessories, but increases the manufacturing cost of the vehicle.
On the other hand, since ModelS listed Tesla's workmanship problems have been criticized for many years. This situation may be reflected in the illegible handwriting of the keychain, excessive plastic interiors, poor car doors, and so on. As positioned atAs a luxury car brand, Tesla cannot compare with similar German and Japanese cars in terms of interiors and workmanship. This is mainly due to the lack of experience in large-scale mass production by Tesla on the one hand, and the lack of sufficient accumulation in automobile manufacturing process and supply chain management. On the other hand, Tesla is too pursuing automated production and eventually had to adopt a "tent factory". The way to rework, on the contrary, affects the quality. In addition, due to the lack of international experience of traditional car companies, the Model series has not adjusted the cockpit for different markets, which often results in interior seats suitable for European and American body types, but it is too empty and uncomfortable for Asian consumers.
Third, security issues. Even after many product upgrades and various safety measures, the frequency of Tesla car accidents is still on the rise. In 2013, the frequent car fires caused Tesla's share price to fall by up to 20%. According to disclosed reports, from 2013 to March 2019, Tesla had 36 car safety accidents, 47.2% of which were caused by vehicle collisions, including collisions caused by drunk driving, improper operation, roadblocks, etc. However, unlike fuel vehicles, 58.8% of vehicle collisions cause battery combustion, and because of the high combustion time of the power battery, it causes varying degrees of damage to the driver. In addition, the severity of accidents was high, with 9 out of 36 accidents causing deaths.
Fourth, cash flow issues. As a start-up high-end manufacturing company, Tesla has basically negative cash flow for 10-20 years due to its asset-heavy and R&D attributes. Although the mid-to-high-end new energy vehicle market is occupied by explosive models such as ModelS and Model 3, Tesla's corporate free cash flow was positive for only two quarters from the second quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2018. In order to enter the European and Chinese markets, Tesla's free cash flow has deteriorated since the second quarter of 2017. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the company's free cash flow reached negative 1.38 billion U.S. dollars. Therefore, in 2019, Tesla will substantially close its stores and showrooms and shift its sales model to online to cut costs. The hot sales of Model 3 in 2019 once improved Tesla’s cash flow. In the third quarter of 2019, the cash flow decreased to minus 170 million U.S. dollars. However, with the acceleration of the operation of Model Y in the United States and China, the Model 3 in Europe /Y speed up, future cash flow is still an important consideration.
5. Frequent high-level shocks. Tesla's high-level turnover rate is increasing. In 2018 alone, more than 40 senior executives left. In addition to the normal personnel transfer and administrative resignation, the technical, financial, R&D, and legal management personnel of Tesla’s core team have resigned, such as Greg Reichow and Josh Ensign, vice presidents of manufacturing, who resigned in May 2016, 2017 Jason Wheeler, the chief financial officer who resigned in April, Kurt Kelty, the battery technology director who resigned in July 2017, and Gabrielle Toledano, the chief personnel officer who resigned in September 2018. Even if executive resignation and job-hopping are common in Silicon Valley science and technology companies, frequent management changes are still not conducive to the steady development of Tesla.
Looking back, Musk proposed in the "Master Plan" in 2006 The ten-year plan and the four major tasks have been basically completed. In 2016, Musk proposed a new "Master Plan Part Deux", including four tasks: 1. Manufacture solar roofs and integrate energy storage batteries;
2. Expand special features Sla’s new energy vehicle product line covers all major market segments;
3. Actively develop driverless technology and achieve rapid iteration through large-scale fleets;
4. Launch car sharing Time-sharing lease.
If the key word belonging to Tesla from 2006 to 2016 is "electricity", then from 2016 onwards, Tesla will focus more on intelligent networking, sharing, clean energy production and storage Work hard. With the deepening of vertical integration, Tesla is constantly expanding its business boundaries, but it is also facing issues and disputes in terms of production capacity, product safety and quality, and cash flow. In the future, Tesla will face not only traditional OEMs such as Volkswagen and Toyota, but also high-tech companies such as Google, Nvidia, and Uber, as well as oil giants, traditional Chinese and new car forces. Global new energy vehicle marketThere are still variables in the pattern.
1. Tesla will become a global car company. Model 3 has become a phenomenal product in the U.S. market. The top priority is to successfully replicate it to the Chinese market with its self-built factories and low-price policies, quickly seizing the market, and proceeding to promote Model Y to meet the needs of SUV users. After that, Tesla will also launch the Tesla Semi electric truck and the Cybertruck electric pickup truck. We predict that global sales of electric vehicles will reach 35 million in 2030, Tesla's annual sales will reach 3 million, and overseas market revenue will account for more than 50%.
2. In the future, Tesla's leading advantage in the field of electrification may be gradually reduced. Its core competitiveness lies in intelligence, driverless technology, data and brand. From the perspective of the development history of smartphones, the appearance and supply chain are easily imitated, but Apple's profits exceed the sum of all competitors. The core lies in self-developed A-series chips, iOS systems, and building an application ecosystem and high-end brands. Through self-developed self-driving chips and artificial intelligence algorithms, and with the largest number of fleets to continuously provide real road condition data for deep learning, Tesla will have higher algorithm iteration efficiency than other competitors. In the future, once Tesla's camera route is proved to be feasible, it will show a great cost advantage over the lidar route.
Third, in the long run, auto services and energy services will become Tesla’s new growth points. Tesla has established a global direct sales store and charging network, and continuously pushes new software and functions to users through OTA. Tesla is continuing to build a closed loop of online + offline, automotive + energy services. After fully autonomous driving matures, Tesla will also build its own fleet to provide taxi services.
(Introduction to the author of this article: Chief Economist of Evergrande Group, Dean of Evergrande Economic Research Institute. Former Deputy Director of the Research Office of the Macro Department of the Development Research Center of the State Council, Managing Director and Chief of the Guotai Junan Securities Research Institute Macro analyst.)
Label group:[electric car] [Car] [Tesla] [new energy vehicles] [new energy] [battery] [new energy technology] [new energy industry] [self-driving car] [Automotive R&D] [Battery technology] [Tesla effect] [Tesla model3 China] [Battery Management System] [Motor Controller] [models] [Induction motor]