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Tesla is now a real auto company.


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#1 mariner

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 16:06

Tesla has just announced a 10% cut in their workforce in response to slowing sales.

 

Now we have never heard that before in the Auto industry - right!

 

I am not surprised and it doesn't detract from getting to nearly 2 million sales but I was surprised at the quoted size of the Tesla workforce , apparently 142K..to build 2 M units or 71K staff per M units

 

GM has 163K workers for 6.2 M units or 38 staff per M units.

 

Toyota as the world's biggest is 375K staff for 11.2M units or 30 staff per M units.

 

I had always thought that with basically only 2 models on one platform , Model 3 and Y .Tesla would be way more efficient than dumb old GM , tor tortoise  slow Toyota but maybe not despite al the share price hype.



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#2 Nathan

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 16:45

While Tesla undoubtedly over hired for real world production demand, GM and Toyota also aren't engineering and producing commercial battery banks, solar panels, robots and operating all their dealerships, showrooms and charging stations.

 

In the U.S. Toyota has 1,400 dealers selling 2.1 million cars.  The average automaker linked dealer employs 69, so that's 90,000+. 


Edited by Nathan, 15 April 2024 - 16:49.


#3 djr900

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 17:24

So the only fair way to compare Tesla to other auto companies is just staff numbers at factories making the cars
( or the parts for them) ?

I guess it won't be so easy to get those numbers, either from Tesla or any of the other auto makers.

I am surprised they are making cuts through, with the millions of customers waiting for a Cybertruck or Semi-truck, I thought they would be hiring, not firing.

Edited by djr900, 15 April 2024 - 17:27.


#4 Greg Locock

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 19:40

That's an impossible number to generate since you'd have to account for all the labor in bought in components. 



#5 Magoo

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 22:39

A couple of things that play into this . . . Tesla overhired a bunch of people to build the new plants and install the new production lines and doesn't need them anymore, so bye. 

 

Also, I don't know this but I do believe Musk's emotional outlook did have some (not all) bearing on the headcount reduction. He's not feeling the love from the workers as he feels he should. 

 

Musk is irrefutable evidence against technocracy. I do think he was onto something with his observations on the nature of genius. He says there are no such things as geniuses.

 

Rather, people can have moments of genius, but the rest of the time, especially outside their areas of speciality, they are ordinary people and just as full of crap as the rest of us. 



#6 Greg Locock

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Posted 19 April 2024 - 02:21

Rover (reputedly) went downhill when they hired the people who built the new assembly shops to operate them. People go on about assembly lines being unskilled work. OK you don't need a formal apprenticeship to do it well, but a good operator is easy to recognise.



#7 Bloggsworth

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Posted 20 April 2024 - 15:22

Rover (reputedly) went downhill when they hired the people who built the new assembly shops to operate them. People go on about assembly lines being unskilled work. OK you don't need a formal apprenticeship to do it well, but a good operator is easy to recognise.

I recall going to Oxford one day to discuss some design work for the Unipart division of British Leyland, the place was as quiet as the grave - I had to park about half a mile away, as I was driving an Opel Manta, I wasn't allowed in the car park; trade union pettiness abounded. When I got into the office I asked what was up and was told tha the whole of British Leyland was out on strike; I mean the WHOLE company, every division. Why, I asked...

 

"Oh, they've changed the shape of the radiotor grill on the Mini and the unions say that they wont fit them until BL renegotiates the piece rates for the whole car."

 

The same four bolt holes, the same screws, washers and nuts - That was the mentality which destroyed the British car industry.

 

"If we can't make boilers, we're going on strike"

 

"But ships are now powered by diesel."

 

"We're boiler makers, if we can't make boilers, we're going on strike..."



#8 Catalina Park

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 00:10

The solution at BL would have been a profit sharing scheme.



#9 Bloggsworth

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 13:37

The solution at BL would have been a profit sharing scheme.

I have many examples! A union convenor who refused to us a machine because of the fumes when he didn't know what it was or what it did. The strike at a Glasgow shipyard because an apprentice engineer plugged in a lamp in order to see into a dark part of a hull - "All out! That's an electrician's job..." Several hours down-time at a different car factory when electrodes needed changing on a spot-welder. The plumber was on a lunch break so couldn't turn the water off;the electricion was on later lunch, so could not turn the welder off; then the engineer etc., etc.



#10 desmo

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 15:03

*Yeah, what have the unions ever done for us?!?

 

*Life of Brian reference



#11 Greg Locock

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Posted 21 April 2024 - 23:00

Having worked most of my life around heavily unionised shopfloors you might expect me to be anti union. I'm not. It seems to me that in a negotiation if one side has all the power and can pick the other side off one by one that negotiations are unlikely to benefit the second side. In particular at Ford the nearest equivalent workplace was 1.2hours commute away (in good conditions), so basically when 'they' decided what our pay rise was going to be , the choice was realistically - take the small payrise offered, or hit the highway (I hit the highway and they rehired me for 50% more a couple of years later). In 15 years since GFC our pay rises didn't match inflation (on average). All very logical for the execs with big bonusses, not much fun for the minions. I remember HR crowing once that retention rates had fallen from 15 years to the industry average. That person obviously thought that was a good thing. Incidentally HR associates are on separately negotiated contracts, they are 'advising' the unions/employees on stuff that doesn't apply to themselves.


Edited by Greg Locock, 21 April 2024 - 23:31.


#12 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 16:23

Unions work fine until they put the whole company out of business.

Unfortunately power corrupts people, and union leaders are as bad as any other person that has power. It becomes about them and they stop seeing the big picture.



#13 Greg Locock

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Posted 22 April 2024 - 21:33

The places that are wrecked by unions are badly managed.



#14 Magoo

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 09:26

If you are an hourly worker for an auto company, in your entire career you will never meet the people who have actual control over your wages, benefits, and general working conditions. 

 

They are many levels up the chain of command in different buildings, usually in different cities, often now in different countries. 

 

That's one reason you need a union. 



#15 Magoo

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 09:40

Unions work fine until they put the whole company out of business.

Unfortunately power corrupts people, and union leaders are as bad as any other person that has power. It becomes about them and they stop seeing the big picture.

 

Great point. In Detroit here a few years ago we had a major scandal in which Stellantis (FCA at the time) was bribing UAW officials in an employee training program, while Stellantis executives were receiving kickbacks in return. 

 

People went to jail, fair enough. The interesting yet unsurprising part: Whlie the industry and the civilian public heaped great scorn upon the union officials, which is as it damned well should be, the role of Stellantis in the scandal was essentially ignored. 

 

The sense was that well, yeah, that's the company. It's supposed to be corrupt. State of nature. No one expects it to act on the square. 


Edited by Magoo, 24 April 2024 - 09:53.


#16 Magoo

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Posted 24 April 2024 - 09:47

I have many examples! A union convenor who refused to us a machine because of the fumes when he didn't know what it was or what it did. The strike at a Glasgow shipyard because an apprentice engineer plugged in a lamp in order to see into a dark part of a hull - "All out! That's an electrician's job..." Several hours down-time at a different car factory when electrodes needed changing on a spot-welder. The plumber was on a lunch break so couldn't turn the water off;the electricion was on later lunch, so could not turn the welder off; then the engineer etc., etc.

 

It's unfortunate that such work rules exist, but do you know why they do? 



#17 Magoo

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 21:13

It's unfortunate that such work rules exist, but do you know why they do? 

 

Excellent question! Thanks for asking!

 

Because if the unions don't negotiate these job classifications and work rules and then enforce them to the most absurd limits, very soon the line assemblers will be working as millwrights at the janitorial wage rate.

 

It will start on day 2 with the low-level floor supervisors who have total responsibility for production but no real authority except to point at people and order them to do things. 



#18 Greg Locock

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 21:46

Notice that the example given was a case of piss poor planning. If my son in law presided over a debacle like that - he's a building project coordinator- he'd be on a PIP. The owner of the building firm would have annoyed contractors giving him earache for a week.



#19 djr900

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 13:02

In other news, I see Elon has announced the new $25k Tesla coming out in 2025.

So in reality does that mean this new model will actually cost $40k in 2030 when it finally gets released ?

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#20 Magoo

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 17:37

In other news, I see Elon has announced the new $25k Tesla coming out in 2025.

So in reality does that mean this new model will actually cost $40k in 2030 when it finally gets released ?

 

 

I've asked you folks a million times not to exaggerate. But in all seriousness, Musk really does have a tendency to overpromise on launch dates and so on. He's a visionary. These things are all true in his head when he says them, the poor loon. 

 

If this is any consolation, he will be constantly screaming at people and threatening their jobs over the coming months to make promises come true. 

 

According to the Walter Isaacson biography (highly recommended) there is a horrible passive-aggresive phrase he likes to use when he hands out one of his impossible orders: "If you can't do it, your apology will be accepted." 

 

There are no reports that he has been assaulted by any of his employees, but I wonder about that. 



#21 Greg Locock

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 21:44

I'd guess there are a lot of meetings where faces are kept straight whilst internally eyes are rolling. For instance that bullshit about tolerances.



#22 Chubby_Deuce

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Posted 26 April 2024 - 23:15

By all accounts any success that Tesla has seen is down to the rest of the company’s ability to keep him at bay. He’s really only useful for propping up the stock price so that capital raises can make his stupid promises halfway real. Now that Tesla has a little bit of cash he’s pretty useless.

#23 Greg Locock

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 00:01

Here's the original memo. Real vehicles have tolerance stacks of the order of mm when assembled. One manufacturer had a floorpan with an overlap joint in it to accomodate the variation in build width of the frame. It could cope with 25mm (I doubt that was used up, but 5-10mm seems possible).

 

Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb.
All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy.
That means all part dimensions need to be to the third decimal place in millimeters and tolerances need be specified in single digit microns. If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we.
Precision predicates perfectionism.
Elon


#24 Chubby_Deuce

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 00:26

Turns out that they actually used Legos to build it. What a visionary.

#25 jcbc3

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 08:44

Gear selctor panel falls off: https://au.news.yaho...9K-1RPjLEp5cR3F



#26 cbo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 10:42

By all accounts any success that Tesla has seen is down to the rest of the company’s ability to keep him at bay. He’s really only useful for propping up the stock price so that capital raises can make his stupid promises halfway real.


This kind of echoes Field Marshal Alanbrookes characteristic of Winston Churchill. Great inspiration and leader, but need a short leash not to screw things up monumentally....😄

Edited by cbo, 27 April 2024 - 10:44.


#27 Magoo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 11:17

By all accounts any success that Tesla has seen is down to the rest of the company’s ability to keep him at bay. He’s really only useful for propping up the stock price so that capital raises can make his stupid promises halfway real. Now that Tesla has a little bit of cash he’s pretty useless.

 

 

If it gives you comfort to believe so that's fine, but that is not how Tesla came to be. Without Musk there is no Tesla. 



#28 Magoo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 11:38

 

Here's the original memo. Real vehicles have tolerance stacks of the order of mm when assembled. One manufacturer had a floorpan with an overlap joint in it to accomodate the variation in build width of the frame. It could cope with 25mm (I doubt that was used up, but 5-10mm seems possible).

 

Due to the nature of Cybertruck, which is made of bright metal with mostly straight edges, any dimensional variation shows up like a sore thumb.
All parts for this vehicle, whether internal or from suppliers, need to be designed and built to sub 10 micron accuracy.
That means all part dimensions need to be to the third decimal place in millimeters and tolerances need be specified in single digit microns. If LEGO and soda cans, which are very low cost, can do this, so can we.
Precision predicates perfectionism.
Elon

 

 

 

 

People at that end of the creative spectrum think dumb and crazy things all the time, and sometimes they say them out loud. Of course the Dilberts of the world, at some other point on the spectrum, are going to mock them for it. 

 

As the story goes, the concept of gigacasting came about when Musk was looking at the bottom of a Tesla scale-model toy. He noted that its entire chassis was a single aluminum die casting. He took the toy to his Tesla engineering team and said, "Why can't we make cars this way?" 

 

You and I both know very well how that question would be received in the cubicles at Toyota, VW, Ford, or GM. As hopelessly naive if not completely insane. But fortunately for Musk, he assembled a team of people who a) aren't shackled to the hidebound ways of the legacy auto industry and b) they work for him. 

 

And that is how auto manufacturing was changed forever. Do we need less of this in the auto industry, or more? 



#29 BRG

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:05

I find the idea that Musk - and only Musk - has any new ideas and is the only innovative person in the entire auto industry a little hard to swallow. That must be why Ford is still rolling out Model Ts and VW still building Beetles.  You shouldn't judge the legacy auto industry solely by the dinosaurs of Detroit.  

 

The industry is innovating all the time.  That's why my Renault Clio hybrid now returns nearly 70mpg in normal use whereas the original Clio might have managed 40mpg on a good day. ANd the new car is far quicker, and more comfortable too.  



#30 Magoo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:17

The auto industry is chock full of brilliant and creative people who are constantly thwarted by more than a century of institutional inertia. 



#31 cbo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:25

I find the idea that Musk - and only Musk - has any new ideas and is the only innovative person in the entire auto industry a little hard to swallow. That must be why Ford is still rolling out Model Ts and VW still building Beetles. You shouldn't judge the legacy auto industry solely by the dinosaurs of Detroit.

The industry is innovating all the time. That's why my Renault Clio hybrid now returns nearly 70mpg in normal use whereas the original Clio might have managed 40mpg on a good day. ANd the new car is far quicker, and more comfortable too.


That is just 34 years of incremental development.

Hardly compares to Tesla going from nothing to where it is today in 18 years....

#32 Magoo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:39

Musk is certainly a world-class jackass but I think he is right about always working from first principles. As he sees it, the only real constraints on design and engineering are the laws of physics. Everything else is optional. He rattles on about this constantly. It's hard to find an interview in which he doesn't. 

 

For example, his approach to manufacturing, which is not unlike Henry Ford's. Musk compares the total price of all the raw materials to the unit cost of the finished product. Within that spread is the opportunity for improvement, but innovation will be required. When he started buying rockets, he discovered that the raw materials cost was around two percent of the retail price. At that point he decided they should make their own rockets, and not to do it quite the way everyone else does. 



#33 cbo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:52

I guess you could point to the use of platforms as one of the legacy automakers more recent innovations, but its been a while since we had a Traction Avant or BMC Mini - type development.

Most of the time, they are content with tinkering with known tech.

Edited by cbo, 27 April 2024 - 13:52.


#34 cbo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 13:59

BTW, I wonder where we end up with damaged gigacastings in cars...

I'm kind baffled how easily modern cars are considered write-offs after damage. I've read about used cars that are still priced around 50% of their initial value being written off with limited damage IF some hideously expensive part has been damaged (like some electrical components of a hybrid system). And this is in Denmark with 150% cartax + VAT....

#35 jcbc3

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 15:00

"Federal regulator finds Tesla Autopilot has 'critical safety gap' linked to hundreds of collisions"

 

Including 13 fatal accidents with 14 dead.: https://www.nbcnews....y-ga-rcna149512

 

I don't know how this compares to other car makers statistics, so it may just be normal. But it kinda show that the Tesla autopilot isn't fail safe in any way shape or form.



#36 Magoo

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 17:43

"Federal regulator finds Tesla Autopilot has 'critical safety gap' linked to hundreds of collisions"

 

Including 13 fatal accidents with 14 dead.: https://www.nbcnews....y-ga-rcna149512

 

I don't know how this compares to other car makers statistics, so it may just be normal. But it kinda show that the Tesla autopilot isn't fail safe in any way shape or form.

 

 

 

It should be noted that the "criticial safety gap," as described by the NHTSA, is not a defect in the system's operation. Rather, it is the agency's position that the system invites misuse by the operator. 



#37 Canuck

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 19:24

That doesn't make nearly as exciting a headline though.



#38 Greg Locock

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 23:19

There is a paper around on a better statistical analysis of Tesla's safety record on Autopilot which at least attempted to account for the difference between a middle aged man 'driving' an almost new car in good weather on first world roads compared with two good ole boys swerving along tracks in the backwoods in greasy rain while swigging from a bottle. Musk's ridiculous comparisons fail to do that.

 

Ah here we go, as i said it is only an attempt

 

Here's the beginnings of a rational approach to the statistics of murder-cars. I haven't been through it in detail yet and it is not definitive

Abstract
The safety of increasingly automated vehicles is of great concern to regulators, yet crash rates are generally reported by manufacturers with proprietary metrics. Without consistent definitions of crashes and exposure, comparing automated vehicle crash rates with baseline datasets becomes challenging. This study investigates the reported on-road crash rates of one manufacturer’s partially automated driving system. Their reported crash rates are adjusted based on roadway classification and driver demographics to allow for direct comparison with the manufacturer’s own advanced driver assistance systems. Recommendations for uniform crash reporting standards are provided.
5 Conclusions
By correcting for roadway usage differences between the Autopilot and active safety only data, much of the crash reduction seen by vehicles using Autopilot appears to be explained by lower crash rates experienced on freeways. Correcting for age demographics likewise produced a 10% increase in the estimated crash rate, although it remains well below the rate of severe crashes in the SHRP 2 NDS.
Several other factors may explain difference in safety rates of new vehicle technologies based on who is using them, where they are being used, and when they are being used. Some safety features cannot be used in rain or snow, for example, which may bias the data towards clear weather and lower crash rates generally.

Free download https://engrxiv.org/.../view/1973/3986



#39 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 03:26

50% of drivers are below average.



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#40 BRG

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 08:30

I guess you could point to the use of platforms as one of the legacy automakers more recent innovations, but its been a while since we had a Traction Avant or BMC Mini - type development.

Most of the time, they are content with tinkering with known tech.

When you have a mature product, tinkering is about all that can be expected, surely?  I notice that the Tesla Model S, now some 14 years old, has had little more than some minor tinkering over that period.

 

The narrative that only Tesla are innovative automobile makers is flawed.  They are tinkering with a technology that is well over a century old.  EVs were commonplace in the early days of the automobile.  I give them their due, that they have been THE major catalyst in the widespread introduction of BEVs and are still the leading maker of such vehicles (let's not mention Cybertrucks and the like).  But all this cult-like slavish devotion is a bit distasteful.



#41 just me again

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 08:39

Tesla are also leading in consumption. Tesla's driver further with a smaller battery than the competition!

#42 cbo

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 09:27

When you have a mature product, tinkering is about all that can be expected, surely? I notice that the Tesla Model S, now some 14 years old, has had little more than some minor tinkering over that period.

The narrative that only Tesla are innovative automobile makers is flawed. They are tinkering with a technology that is well over a century old. EVs were commonplace in the early days of the automobile. I give them their due, that they have been THE major catalyst in the widespread introduction of BEVs and are still the leading maker of such vehicles (let's not mention Cybertrucks and the like). But all this cult-like slavish devotion is a bit distasteful.


I resent the strawman you are erecting here.

I was addressing your suggestion that the development of the Clio was somehow comparative to what Tesla have done over the years. It was a poor example of innovation in the legacy auto industry.

I did NOT say that the legacy autoindustry could not be innovative and did in fact mention some examples (common platforms).

Still, the legacy automakers have been challenged severely when change was forced upon them i.e. in the development of alternative drivelines.

And Tesla have clearly led the way in EV driveline technology, manufacturing, software and driver interface design. Not all of it is equally good, some of it will probably end up bad, but it does show a willingness to make radical changes that the legacy autoindustry have not shown much of in recent decades.

#43 djr900

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 10:07

Why are Tesla having so many problems making simply shaped stainless body panels ?

I don't remember Delorean having so much drama 40+ years ago when making panels that have more shape formed into them.

the Cyber truck is all flat panels, with straight sharp bends , it should be easier than a Delorean.

Surely , a "legacy" car maker like Delorean couldn't have been better at this 40+ years ago

#44 BRG

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 10:17

I resent the strawman you are erecting here.

I was addressing your suggestion that the development of the Clio was somehow comparative to what Tesla have done over the years. It was a poor example of innovation in the legacy auto industry.

It was to keep your strawman company.

 

I DID NOT suggest that the development of the Clio was comparable to that of Tesla and I resent your deliberate mis-reading of my post.  It was made as an example of how a legacy manufacturer had developed their product in response to the frequently implied narrative that the legacy manufacturers are so hidebound that they have sat on their hands for 100+ year and only Tesla was innovating.  

 

As a start-up, Tesla had the advantage that any progress they made at all in their first years would look impressive compared to mature companies.  But as I pointed out, they are not innovating at the same rate anymore - hence the example of a nearly unchanged 12 year old Model S.  And their other products  - Model 3, Y and the proposed new small car - are all essentially derivatives of the S rather than innovative clean-sheet designs.  



#45 Catalina Park

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 11:28

Why are Tesla having so many problems making simply shaped stainless body panels ?

I don't remember Delorean having so much drama 40+ years ago when making panels that have more shape formed into them.

the Cyber truck is all flat panels, with straight sharp bends , it should be easier than a Delorean.

Surely , a "legacy" car maker like Delorean couldn't have been better at this 40+ years ago

The DeLorean stainless panels weren't structural. They were simply decoration on a GRP body. Kind of like gluing Laminex onto chipboard.



#46 cbo

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 11:33

It was to keep your strawman company.

I DID NOT suggest that the development of the Clio was comparable to that of Tesla and I resent your deliberate mis-reading of my post. It was made as an example of how a legacy manufacturer had developed their product in response to the frequently implied narrative that the legacy manufacturers are so hidebound that they have sat on their hands for 100+ year and only Tesla was innovating.

As a start-up, Tesla had the advantage that any progress they made at all in their first years would look impressive compared to mature companies. But as I pointed out, they are not innovating at the same rate anymore - hence the example of a nearly unchanged 12 year old Model S. And their other products - Model 3, Y and the proposed new small car - are all essentially derivatives of the S rather than innovative clean-sheet designs.


I wonder why you are so aggressive about this?

But I find it a waste of time discussing with someone with your attitude so I'll end it here and put you on the ignore list.

#47 Nathan

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 11:42

Why are Tesla having so many problems making simply shaped stainless body panels ?

I don't remember Delorean having so much drama 40+ years ago when making panels that have more shape formed into them.

the Cyber truck is all flat panels, with straight sharp bends , it should be easier than a Delorean.

Surely , a "legacy" car maker like Delorean couldn't have been better at this 40+ years ago

 

Probably because the DeLorean used 304 stainless, which is among the easiest stainless steel alloys to work with and form, and the DeLorean panels being were laid over fiberglass substructure before being bolted to the chassis, and thus are up to half as thick as what is found on Cybertruck.



#48 Magoo

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 11:55

I find the idea that Musk - and only Musk - has any new ideas and is the only innovative person in the entire auto industry a little hard to swallow. 

 

 

No one here said anything remotely like that. I know I didn't. You made that up. That's how my ex-wife liked to argue. What fun that was. 



#49 djr900

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 13:40

The DeLorean stainless panels weren't structural. They were simply decoration on a GRP body. Kind of like gluing Laminex onto chipboard.


Are the Cybertruck panels really structural then ?

I know Tesla claimed some kind of "Exoskeleton" for the Cybertruck, yet in all the pictures & videos i have seen , it appears to be a regular Unibody , so i guess if they are not really structural, why add weight & manufacturing problems with thicker panels ?

#50 djr900

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Posted 28 April 2024 - 13:42

I wonder why you are so aggressive about this?

But I find it a waste of time discussing with someone with your attitude so I'll end it here and put you on the ignore list.


I read that post and didn't see anything aggressive, just somebody pointing out some facts