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Discussion Starter #1
Really good video by Alex on Autos of three EVs under $40,000: the Niro, Model 3, and the Leaf. Also mentioned in context were the upcoming Kona and Soul EVs.
 

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TL;DW (Too Long;Didn’t Watch)

Niro and Tesla tied for most points. Tesla won more of the “sexy” categories: looks, driving, interior... Niro won more of the practical scores: range, warranty, insurance cost...

I’m still appalled that the build quality of the “luxury” Tesla cars are so poor. Paint defects, scratches, misaligned panels, etc. Alex bought a seal kit that was supposed to help with wind noise leaking through the glass roof, but it didn’t work because the gap on one side was wider than the other so the seal would stay put.

TFL Cars had to bring their Model 3 in for body work and the Tesla certified technician told them that he wouldn’t buy one until they figured out their manufacturing issues.

I guess you’re paying for technological innovation, not workmanship.
 

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A big problem is Musk wants to micromanage everything himself. So rather than hiring experts in production in the car industry, he does the industrial and production design himself. With the results everyone can see for themselves. There is a rather famous video of a firm who tears cars down to learn how they are designed and built. One example I remember from the Model 3 was showing that the wheel well used something like 7 different pieces of sheet metal with 5 different kinds of fastening methods, where most manufacturers use 3 and 1. The firm estimated that if the Model 3 was built with standard practices, manufacturing costs would be $10,000 less per car.

Tesla has some advantages other manufacturers don't have, like a nationwide charging network and a battery factory, but when it comes to producing a well built car to a price point, well, when the others get going, Tesla is going to have some big competition.
 

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Tesla has some advantages other manufacturers don't have, like a nationwide charging network and a battery factory, but when it comes to producing a well built car to a price point, well, when the others get going, Tesla is going to have some big competition.
I agree this is the massive problem Tesla will face going forward. Their advantages are fairly easy to copy (charging network) or substitute (batteries from other suppliers) but their challenges (poor build quality, massively more expensive manufacturing processes) will be tough for them to solve in time before the competition leaves them behind.

It's very disappointing that Tesla refused to leverage the thousands (millions?) of man years that have gone into optimizing mass production of automobiles and instead insisted that they could "disrupt" the industry by doing it their own way. I read an article that talked about how Tesla jumped directly from concept to robotic assembly without actually designing and testing their manufacturing process with people in the loop. This meant that when things went wrong, and they did, they had no-one who knew how the process was supposed to work in the first place and thus no way to easily fix the problems. They're still fighting this as evidenced by the continued shoddy build quality and the need to repair many vehicles at the factory as they come off the assembly line.

I think ultimately Tesla may fail as a business but may succeed in the larger goal of jump starting consumer demand and acceptance of electric vehicles. That would be good for us but bad for Tesla investors and workers.
 

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My brother-in-law’s first job as an industrial engineer was with a company that produced touch screen displays. This was way before actual touchscreen technology was perfected and these displays used LEDs around the edges of the screen to determine where the screen was being “touched”. His company had bought the technology from another company and no one really knew how it worked so they just kept using the original circuit board design and added around it because if they mucked something up, they wouldn’t know how to fix it.
 

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since we're talking tesla. did they drop their plan to offer swapping batteries rather than recharging them to offer s quick stop and go?
 

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Good review. My view? We were shocked at the great reviews of the Niro, but we didn't like the boxy look. We have a Leaf SL, and I expected my wife wanted another. It's her car, and we both loved it. I wasn't expecting my wife to like it, but we bought the Tesla, the next day. The Leaf looked unexciting - and even less so, after the Tesla.
Pricing - The Leaf SL Plus was ~$42k, with delivery and maybe $800 in options. The T3 was $40k. We needed the car before the rebate was cut again, so we found one in transit. It had the red paint, which we wanted. It also had the 19" wheels. Every car on the truck had these wheels! We're old, and no longer 23. We ate the cost of that.
So the cars were about the same price, except... the Leaf had the full rebate. And Nissan offered 1% financing. That would save another $8000. A big difference. But Tesla felt like the future, while Nissan didn't. Tesla also felt like a gamble, while we trusted Nissan knew how to build good cars. In the end, sexy won the day.

Insurance - We expected to get bad news on insurance. Our 2015 Leaf cost $700/yr. The Tesla is 900. Not that much difference! And it's so much safer. Insurance companies seem to love the Leaf. We also got glass replacement. They had to look it up, but it covers ALL the glass. Even the roof.

I am disappointed that there is no heat pump in the T3, but we live in Atlanta. I hated the drumlike sound in the back seat, but no one has ever been in the Leaf's back seat.
 

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since we're talking tesla. did they drop their plan to offer swapping batteries rather than recharging them to offer s quick stop and go?
Yeah, that's pretty much gone nowhere. They only had one operational station, and I am unsure if it's still open. I don't think they have to cash to spend on that anymore. They're really struggling to get the Model 3 and the upcoming Model Y out. And they are still working on the Tesla Semi and Pickup. I don't think there's any money to spare for the battery swap project.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alex on Autos has posted a full review of the Niro EV.
 

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since we're talking tesla. did they drop their plan to offer swapping batteries rather than recharging them to offer s quick stop and go?
Yeah, that's pretty much gone nowhere. They only had one operational station, and I am unsure if it's still open. I don't think they have to cash to spend on that anymore. They're really struggling to get the Model 3 and the upcoming Model Y out. And they are still working on the Tesla Semi and Pickup. I don't think there's any money to spare for the battery swap project.
musk recently did an interview with third row tesla podcast and they asked about this. he said it’s pretty much been set aside because their longer range batteries and fast charging have essentially solved the problem it was designed to address.
 

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musk recently did an interview with third row tesla podcast and they asked about this. he said it’s pretty much been set aside because their longer range batteries and fast charging have essentially solved the problem it was designed to address.
I would agree with that. With Tesla Superchargers, battery swaps really wouldn't be a huge time saver. If you can drive 350 miles, I can easily see a 30 minute stop for rest rooms and a bite to eat. And with non-Tesla, DCFC is becoming more available and faster all the time. Of course, a faster charger does nothing if the car can't accept the higher rate.
 
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