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  • ⚡️ Teslaverse #9: 📐 Cybertruck tours Europe — 🏎️ Model 3 Performance — 🤔 Tesla ride-hailing

⚡️ Teslaverse #9: 📐 Cybertruck tours Europe — 🏎️ Model 3 Performance — 🤔 Tesla ride-hailing

Caution! High Voltage ⚡

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Hey, Jaan here.

I’m back with our monthly “Teslaverse” edition. This is the one that comes to you in addition to all of our regular EV industry reporting. You know, so that we would be able to fit the rest of the industry news in our reports too.

Oh, and in case you want to opt out of the Teslaverse editions and keep receiving the regular industry newsletters, just reply to this email with “out” and you’re …out.

I ended up putting together a report so extensive this week, that I had to split it into two. And both still barely fit into your email inbox. Yes, it’s a real thing.

So expect a back-to-back issue in a week or so with more Tesla insights.

Today, we’ll cover topics like:

  • Tesla positions towards the FSD/AI/Robotaxi, previews ride-hailing app;

  • Tesla layoffs and executive departures

  • Cybertruck(s) is touring Europe

  • Spotlight: Tesla’s new Model 3 Performance launched

  • Updates on the Supercharger saga; Tesla’s Prefab Superchargers

Deep dive alert: If you missed my deeper dive yesterday on Tesla laying off the whole Supercharging unit in the US, here it is.

Make sure to read this issue in online version to see a bunch more images and videos (way better experience).

Words: 3,052 | Reading time: 12 minutes | Feeling: like taking a Cybertruck off-road

The Teslaverse wouldn’t be possible without our good partner Beast Rent, the fully contactless Tesla rental startup. If you’re traveling in the area, take a closer look at summer bookings across Estonia, Czechia, and Slovakia.

Beast is a 24/7 car rental providing a premium service: no paperwork, no keys, and no hidden fees.

Tesla Q1 (l)earnings

  • Shareholder deck (31-page pdf);

  • Live stream of the earnings call and Q&A (audio);

  • Rob Maurer of Tesla Daily going over the deck (video) and call with commentary (video).

In Q1 2024, Tesla produced 433,371 and delivered 386,810 vehicles. This is a decrease of -1.69% and -8.53% from the Q1 of 2023, respectively.

While we saw overall EV sales on a likely-temporary slowdown in Q1 in most regions (stats in our next newsletter), Tesla also commented:

The decline in volumes was partially due to the early phase of the production ramp of the updated Model 3 at our Fremont factory and factory shutdowns resulting from shipping diversions caused by the Red Sea conflict and an arson attack at Gigafactory Berlin.

Musk said he thinks Tesla will have higher sales this year than last year. The current trajectory doesn’t fully support this claim, but we’ll see what the year brings.

Meanwhile, Musk has positioned Tesla more and more towards autonomous vehicles. On the Q1 call, he went as far as saying: “If somebody doesn't believe Tesla's gonna solve autonomy, I think they should not be an investor in the company.”

Here’s a direct quote from Musk:

Not quite betting the company, but going balls to the wall for autonomy is a blindingly obvious move. Everything else is like variations on a horse carriage.

Elon Musk, April 17th 2024

As you know, Tesla has said the Robotaxi will be unveiled on 8/8 (8th of August this year). In the earnings call, Musk called the purpose-built Robotaxi the “Cyber-cab”.

On the Q1 deck, Tesla says: "our purpose-built robotaxi product will continue to pursue a revolutionary “unboxed” manufacturing strategy."

Tesla says it is working on a ride-hailing functionality that will be available in the future, layers the ride-hailing seamlessly into the Tesla App. They also offered a preview:

Tesla has also updated their future vehicle lineup to accelerate the launch from late 2025 to early 2025, possibly late 2024. Opinions on if and how much the next-gen low-cost model timelines are affected vary and I’ll report back when we have something clear.

Tesla is also redesigning its purchase processes. Elon said on the call it “became far too complex to buy a Tesla. We're getting back to: you can buy a Tesla in under a minute.”

Restructuring and layoffs

“Every half decade or so, Tesla has to do a complete organizational overhaul to reach the next level.

That said, our executive tenure is unusually high at well over 10 years at Tesla.”

— Elon Musk, April 16th 2024

In mid-April, Tesla announced plans to cut over 10% of its global workforce (around 14,000 employees) as part of a strategic move to streamline operations.

From nearly every side of the company (mostly excluding AI and Energy?) Tesla seems to be on an absolute cost-cutting spree.

We’ve also seen some senior executive departures now from Tesla’s team — like Martin Viecha (head of IR), Drew Baglino (head of Powertrain and Energy Engineering), Rohan Patel (VP of Public Policy and Business Dev), Daniel Ho (Head of New Products) and Rebecca Tinucci (Senior Director of Supercharger group).

One of Musk’s memos said (per The Information):

“Hopefully these actions are making it clear that we need to be absolutely hard-core about headcount and cost reduction. While some execstaff are taking this seriously, most are not yet doing so. Any manager who retains more than three people who don’t obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test, should resign.”

— Musk, reportedly

We’ll detail the high-ranking departure from Tesla’s team in next week’s newsletter. Here’s a quick history of Tesla layoffs (link, via Sawyer Merritt)

2017: 2% of headcount
2018: 9% of headcount
2019: 7% of headcount
2022: 10% of salaried workers (3% of global headcount)
2024: ~10% of headcount

Tesla's global employee count expanded from 38,000 in early 2018 to over 140,000 in early 2024.

(Supervised) Full Self Driving

Yes, since our last Teslaverse, the “FSD Beta” feature name has become “(Supervised) Full Self Driving”.

Tesla has rolled out its v12 versions wide in North America, the version that upgraded the city-streets driving stack to a single end-to-end network trained on millions of video clips (replacing the >300k lines of explicit C++ code).

Tesla also released a free trial access for one month for the feature to the 1.8M Teslas in North America and the Internet went abuzz with the videos. On the Q1 call, Musk said 50% of the 1.8M had used the trial so far. A thread of the better stuff here. I’ll keep my opinions to myself, but it is getting hard to keep myself out of reporting the AV world recently.

Tesla also dropped the price of (Supervised) FSD in the US from $12k to $8k (or $99/month) and eliminated the Enhanced Autopilot option ($6k).

Now, we’re seeing actual movement worldwide in potential (S)FSD (I’ll call it this to save my fingers ok?) rollouts.

In Europe & further: one major (S)FSD regulation roadblock is gone.

On March 6th, the DCAS Regulation was approved by the UNECE WP.29, set to go into effect in September this year if there are no objections in the 6-month waiting period. Here’s a good quick video explainer by Steven Peeters (video).

In translation, this would mean the roadblocks for Tesla to roll out the (supervised, not fully autonomous) tech to the Tesla drivers on this side of the pond would be gone and we’d likely start seeing some beta testing (or whatever it’s called) start, perhaps around the end of the year?

We held a lengthy Space on X (a live podcast-type thing) with Florian Minderop and Kees Roelandschap from MisterGreen, with a few special guests, on the topic of FSD coming to Europe. Listen to the recording here. MisterGreen has a fleet of 5,000 Teslas in Europe, playing for the robotaxi future. Kees has also recently spotted more fleet validation vehicles in Amsterdam (link).

We’ve also seen tests in Germany happen already, like the post from Rikard Fredriksson from the Swedish Transport Administration (link with two short videos):

"Another exciting day at work. Today I test drove Tesla Full Self Drive in a test car on German roads. […] We drove 45 minutes from Munich city center to the airport, and the driver had to intervene once when the car next to us wouldn't let us in when two lanes merged."

In the comments, Rikard also said the drive “felt really soft and natural actually. Like an ordinary driver at the wheel.”

Elon himself says “We believe version 12 is ready for supervised FSD in LHD [left-hand drive] countries. RHD will take a bit longer.”

In China last week, Tesla won Beijing’s approval

to roll out its Full Self-Driving software in China. (link) Tesla reached cooperation with Baidu on compliance processing of sensor data, including data classification, coordinate deflection, and data desensitization.

Tesla has established data annotation and FSD operation teams in China, and this move should enable Tesla to start rolling our the service in China. With China, it’s all about data security and making sure it doesn’t flow to the US.

Xpeng CEO: "I welcome Tesla FSD to enter China; Tesla has very good self-driving technology and brand." (link)

Tesla's data and compute needs

Tesla increased its AI training compute by more than 130% in just Q1 this year, and Musk says: “Tesla will spend around $10B this year in combined training and inference AI, the latter being primarily in car. Any company not spending at this level, and doing so efficiently, cannot compete.” (link)

This would boost its computing power by 600% in 2024 compared to 2023. Here’s how Tesla’s AI training capacity has grown over time:

Per the Q1 data, Tesla owners are now driving on average 14.7 million miles on FSD per day, a ~250% increase from 3 months ago. They’ve crossed a total of 1.25 billion FSD miles:


Musk said on the Q1 earnings call that there’s a “good chance we sign more than one deal with another automaker to license FSD this year. But will probably be at least 3 years before that automaker can integrate it.”

Just for the fun of it, here’s (S)FSD “imagining” turn signals blinking, based on other vehicles’ behavior even if they don’t use turn signals. (video) Now this is a wild version of the future for BMW drivers that I never would’ve imagined.

Oh and the vision-based (=cameras only) AI gives us a bit more convenience when we reach the destination, too — like Autopark (video), which is now also rolling out with vehicles with ultrasonic sensors in the US & Canada.

EU vs China Policy …and Tesla

This had me go “What the Frunk” for a moment, but I think I get it now: 

According to Politico, Tesla is disappointed it is not among the sampled automakers for the EU→China probe that investigates China's subsidies to EV makers exporting to Europe. (link) Why?

It's because the results from the sample chosen — BYD, SAIC, and GEELY — would determine the EV tariffs for all China → EU EV exporters.

And since Tesla is not on the sampling list, yet benefits a lot less from Chinese subsidies, it would be hit by larger tariffs while not receiving as much subsidies from China gov as those three do.

It seems weird that EU would exclude the largest EV importer from the sample that it uses to design the tariffs. Is it because the EU wants to push Tesla to produce more domestically anyway (Berlin) and is willing to create this unfair situation to do that?

Cybertruck is touring Europe & Middle East in May-June in an event series called “Cyber-Odyssey”. Here are all the locations and dates for Europe (link). Cybertruck is touring through May in Australia and Japan too.

You’ll find plenty of Europeans buzzing about seeing the CT for the first time already, as the trucks are present across several locations. Our friend Kees from MisterGreen went to check it out in Berlin and was… awestruck. Here’s his videos & pics (link).

Tesla released an off-road guide for the Cybertruck (22-page pdf).

Here are Top Gear’s latest videos on off-roading with the Cybertruck (17min video) and camping with the Cybertruck (and the Rivian R1T), including showcasing a lot of its accessories (15min video)

If you want to dig deeper — like really deeper into the Cybertruck, Sandy Munro and team are doing a video series on tearing down a Cybertruck (playlist), including standalone videos on the thermal management, rear cradle and EDM, battery pack, motors, steer-by-wire system, and “how the massive windshield wiper works.”

Here’s an image Tesla shared on the Q1 deck regarding trying to find cost-cutting options on the Cybertruck. Tesla says they’ve reached a production rate of 1,000 Cybertrucks per week in April.

The new Model 3 Performance

Tesla has now released the upgraded Tesla Model 3 Performance. Here is its dedicated website with a nice interactive feel.

And the details (link):

  • Starting price: $52,990 (and it qualifies for the tax credit, so it’ll be $45,490 which frankly feels nuts to me)

  • Range: 296 miles (476 km)

  • Performance: 500+ hp

  • 0-60mph: 2.9s (vs 3.1s in old version); Top Speed: 163 mph (262 km/h)

  • Track Mode V3: All-new calibration for the powertrain and adaptive suspension.

  • Ventilated Sports Seats: New seat design with enhanced side and cushion bolsters.

  • Adaptive Suspension: Powered by in-house software. Gives enhanced body control, without sacrificing daily usability or comfort. Performance Chassis

  • Forged Performance Wheels: Lightweight, staggered wheels provide sharper turn-in response, improved predictability, increased traction out of corners, and optimized aerodynamics.

  • High-Performance Brakes: Enhanced pedal feel and improved heat management.

  • Design: Exclusive to Model 3 Performance, redesigned front and rear fascias, rear diffuser, and carbon fiber spoiler.

  • Carbon Fiber Details: Lightweight carbon fiber interior décor and refined weave pattern.

Here’s a great review by Autotrader (14min video) and Kyle from Out of Spec (22min video).

Now, yesterday we addressed the elephant in the Supercharger — Musk laying off the whole 500+ Supercharging team in the US and possibly elsewhere — but the Supercharging team and everyone adjacent have done quite a lot of work in building this network up, and there’s plenty to report on how it’s done.

But first, here are some updates that I added to the article since the newsletter last night. like a leaked email reportedly from Tesla to its suppliers.

We still don’t yet know if the SuperCharger teams outside US were also affected — so far reports and the posts from people being laid off have come from the US (I listed 7 of ‘em in the article above).

There is one post from the Southeast Asia team and one business owner in Australia saying that their Tesla contact said their upcoming site will not be built as the Tesla Supercharger team has been dissolved globally. We’ll validate if the latter is actually the case or not.

Per BloombergNEF, in the US Tesla accounts for 74% of all ultra-fast chargers (link), and installed a record 3,680 Superchargers in Q1 alone, while its competitors, collectively, installed fewer than half that number.

Now add that to the short-term benefits of slowing down (or pausing) the Supercharger rollout: since Tesla is dominating the market, no expansion will mean higher average utilization for its current network, further solidifying the profit margin of the unit.

Here’s a good example of a charging network CEO, this time Aurelien de Meaux, the CEO of the large European CPO Electra, sending out the batsignal for the suddenly available talent.

The image there really says a thousand words:

Ok ok, you’ve heard enough of the layoffs for now, let’s carry on with the rest.

Prefab Supercharger Units: Tesla says it now takes just 4 days from delivery of their Prefabricated Supercharger Units (PSUs) to a charging site, to opening said charging site for the public (video).

Tesla’s (leaving) Drew Baglino commented that they will continue to integrate more pre-fab content, including lighting and canopies/solar. We’ve noticed lighting included in Prefab Superchargers already: (link). 

Tesla says 2,300 Pre-Assembled Superchargers are now installed in North America. That means about 8.24% of the 27,297 Superchargers in North America are prefab units (data per Alternative Fuels Data Center).

First 3rd-party Tesla chargers are up now, in the UK: 8x250kW. They were put into operation for the EVPoint charging network in Uttoxeter. According to an EG Group employee’s comment, the Superchargers are managed through the backend of Tesla but support OCPP from November 2024 (link).

Tesla also just lowered its charging membership fee (which allows for cheaper prices) from €12.99/month to €9.99/month and added a €100/year option.

That’s it for today! This newsletter went out to 6,990 subscribers. If you enjoyed this, please forward this to a friend.

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Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

— Jaan

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