This article is about the five possible unusual innovations that you may see in a production Tesla in the not too distant future.
Tesla files a lot of patents, as do all manufacturers, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a patent filing confirms a particular gadget will make it into production. Some of the ideas they want patented under their name seem like they are fit for a sci-fi flick, while others are more down to earth and the likelihood that they’ll reach production is higher.
Which out of all these Tesla patents is the craziest? Well, that distinction has to go to what the manufacturer wants to replace windscreen wipers with – almost replace them, anyway, because the laser beams would actually just remove debris and dirt from the screen, and not so much keep raindrops off the screen so that the driver can see ahead.
So while this rather cool idea has been presented as a possible replacement for traditional wipers, Tesla is envisioning it more as a cleaning solution that would not only be used on glazed surfaces, but photovoltaic panels as well. We therefore could see both the lasers and physical wipers implemented on the same vehicle.
Next up is the steering wheel which will get touch-sensitive panels – they’re not touchscreens, as some have erroneously stated; they are a similar solution to what manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz are already offering on production vehicles. We’ve examined this particular patent filing in detail, if you want to check it out more thouroughly.
Another that is less talked about is for an age detection system that is built into the seats. Its goal is to approximate not only the age of the occupant, but also their rough size and weight. This is vital information in the event of a crash so that the car knows which airbags to deploy and how severely to deploy them.
Tesla also wants the car to know if any occupants are improperly using the seat belt. Basically, this takes the seatbelt sensors that are already in all new cars to the next level. Through sensors, the car will know, for instance, if any of the passengers are not fully restrained by the belt (say, they have one arm over the belt) or if it’s just fastened to the seat and someone is basically just sitting on it.
If you’ve ever driven electric vehicles, then you’ll know that their range predictions are often not accurate. Most of this inaccuracy is down to how the car is used and the inherently different energy consumption, which is why Tesla has filed a patent for a feature in the navigation system that ‘ measures energy-versus-distance to calculate when your EV will run out in real time, depending on predicted driver characteristics, the weather and traffic.’
Basically, the goal behind it is to give the driver a more accurate picture of how much range the car has at any given point. Similar solutions are already present in some EVs, although this one from Tesla will apparently be more advanced.
The bolts connecting the front upper control arm and steering knuckle may not have been torqued to specification. If not properly secured, the upper control arm can unseat from the steering knuckle, resulting in excessive negative or positive camber and adverse impact to steering.
The excessive wheel camber can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle and increase the risk of a crash, leading to the recall.
The report also provided some background on how the issue was identified:
On Sunday, November 1, 2020, the Field Quality team learned of two vehicle repairs (one on Sept. 21, 2020, and one on Oct. 16, 2020) where the upper control arm had separated from the steering knuckle. The repairs were reviewed by engineering and production teams and an investigation into root cause and scope was initiated, during which a third vehicle repair on October 18, 2020, was identified. None of the incidents resulted in injury or a crash. On Tuesday, November 10, 2020, this matter was reviewed with Tesla executives and Tesla determined that a safety-related defect exists.
Tesla says changes were made on the production line to immediately correct the issue. Model Y owners that are part of the recall can have the correcting adjustment made at a service center.
The plan is to start producing chargers in China in 2021, in a brand new facility that is currently under construction.
Tesla has been expanding its network of Superchargers in and around China’s most developed areas, but it has so far only installed chargers that had been imported from the United States. Well, that’s set to change as the manufacturer will soon begin local manufacturing of Superchargers, thus making the logistics of growing the network simpler.
It is currently building the factory where it expects to manufacture 10,000 chargers per year. The new facility, which is located close to Giga Shanghai, is expected to go online in February of 2021, but it may not reach its full output potential within its first year.
Back in late May of this year, Tesla announced plans to add another 4,000 stations to its Supercharger network in 2020, in spite of the pandemic situation affecting most businesses. The manufacturer already had over 2,500 Superchargers installed in China at that time, and they covered 150 of the biggest cities in the People’s Republic.
Tesla clearly has big plans for China, the world’s largest single automotive market, where the sale of electric and electrified vehicles is constantly on the rise. The American manufacturer sold 13,000 cars in China in October alone and its plan is to build 150,000 Model 3s in the country by the end of 2020, and it also plans to begin local production of the Model Y crossover in 2021 or 2022.
The upcoming Tesla Roadster will come with optional “special paint,” Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter.
The car designed to give a “hardcore smackdown” to all others is expected to start production in mid to late 2021. Musk said they’re adding color options as the company did for the original Roadster.
In 2008, the Roadster was available in “Very Orange,” “Electric Blue,” Brilliant Yellow Metallic,” “Fusion Red,” and “Racing Green.”
With a base price of $200,000, the second generation of the car expected to pack impressive specs even for a supercar – 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds and a range of up to 620 miles from a 200 kWh battery pack.
That said, Tesla Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen – the man who drove the Roadster out of the Tesla Semi for its debut – said last year on a podcast that the Roadster “will be even better than what we’ve unveiled in every way.”
“The Model X is equipped with a cosmetic applique at the front of the roof just behind the windshield, known as the front applique, as well as an applique at the center of the roof in between the upper falcon door roof glass, known as the spine applique. Both appliques are adhered to the vehicle using urethane. If the applique-to-urethane interface lacks primer, then, over time, the adhesion may weaken, causing the applique to separate from the vehicle.”
The report said the agency is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the issue. However, “if the applique separates from the vehicle while in drive, it could create a road hazard for following motorists and increase their risk of injury or a crash.”
The report also included Tesla’s remedy for the issue. Tesla Service will inspect affected vehicles and apply a retention test on the appliques. If the appliques pass the retention test, then they have sufficient primer and no further action is necessary. If either applique fails the retention test, then Service will apply primer at the urethane-toapplique interface to remedy the condition.
The upcoming Tesla Semi will have up to 621 miles of range, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tuesday in an interview.
The boost in battery efficiency was made possible by leveraging Tesla’s new in-house battery tech. The Semi was originally advertised as having a range up to 500 miles.
“Getting a range of let’s say 500 km is, I think, quite easy, trivial to be frank, for a semi truck and this is assuming a truck that is pulling a load of 40 metric tons,” Musk said in the interview. “If you want, for long-range trucking, we think, easily 800 km, and we see a path over time to 1,000 km range for a heavy duty truck.”
Tesla has reportedly secured thousands of orders for the Semi. Many companies with giant fleets of heavy-duty trucks are waiting on delivery, including Walmart, UPS, PepsiCo, FedEx, and Anheuser-Busch, among others.
Musk said in a June note to employees that it’s time to go “all out” and move the Tesla Semi to “volume production.”
“It’s time to go all out and bring the Tesla Semi to volume production,” Musk said in a note. “It’s been in limited production so far, which has allowed us to improve many aspects of the design.”
The automaker said in its Q1 update that deliveries of the Semi will be pushed to 2021. When the vehicle was debuted in 2017, Tesla expected to deliver the Semi in 2019, then pushed to 2020, now to 2021.