Tesla has been on the cutting edge of electric car design and motorization – and it’s now poised to bring more of its vehicles to market with two new announcements.
October 9 marked the company’s “D Day,” on which CEO Elon Musk revealed a new dual motor. In recent weeks, the company has also selected Nevada as the place to manufacture their batteries.
So what’s The D? “The D” is a dual motor that will be part of the 2015 Model S from Tesla – there will be one engine for each pair of wheels. With all-wheel drive and an automated self-parking feature, its aim is to be safe as well as energy-effective. “The D” also features a slightly elongated battery life than previous versions of the battery. The engine of the Model S will allow drivers to specify certain settings for acceleration speed. And drivers can summon the car while on private property.
During his announcement, Musk stated that the dual engine technology makes the model strong because “you can dynamically shift the power from the front to the rear at the millisecond.” He also stated that driving with the D model engine is “like taking off from an aircraft carrier [or] having your own personal roller coaster.” The model will be $89,000 at the lowest end and $120,000 at the highest – and both need batteries to get going.
Tesla’s plans. Tesla has plans to make those batteries even easier to get. After a five-way race with other states, Tesla Motors made a deal with Nevada for their future battery factory. The so-called Gigafactory is going to be 20 times larger than the biggest battery factory, and will double the global capacity for producing lithium-ion batteries. As a result, the cost of the batteries will decrease by 30 percent, which may pave the way for more affordable electric cars.
In order to bring the manufacturing opportunities – and jobs – to the state, Nevada offered a tempting deal to Tesla. They promised a package of tax breaks that will total approximately $1.2 billion over 20 years. The package will still need to be approved by the State Legislature, but so far everything seems to be running smoothly.
A game-changer for the state of Nevada. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said that the agreement would “change Nevada forever” and expected that the benefits of having the factory there would well outweigh the costs of the tax breaks.
According to Sam Jaffe, a battery expert at Navigant Research, the prospect of having such a large plant for Tesla is going to spark other companies to get moving on their own factories. State governments will seek them out because they bring jobs – and battery factories are likely to bring in more jobs than average.
Everyone wanted a piece of the Tesla action. California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas competed with Nevada for the Tesla honors – and did a bit of taunting back and forth in order to sway the decision. Governor Rick Perry of Texas told reporters that Musk should build in his state because of the “over taxation, overregulation and over litigation” in competitor state California. In turn, California Governor Jerry Brown countered that Tesla wouldn’t be able to build in Texas because of laws that requires cars to be sold by dealers. Tesla sells cars directly to the public.
This deal is not without risk. Even with the potential that the factory would bring to the state, Nevada is still taking a risk by working with Tesla. Analysts question if the plant will work at all. Ideally, the factory would be producing a version of the lithium ion batteries that power laptops and electronics. It would just offer more energy per pound. With better batteries, Tesla could create lighter, cheaper cars that could potentially sweep through the mass-market sedan market. But these are a lot of “ifs.” For the time being, both Tesla and Nevada are confident that they can profit together doing just that.