Popular and ‘Best-Of’ Posts


aa CT GTM TEC RENEWIND INTERMITTENCY IS EXAGGERATED – NREL study shows US wind potential is larger and more stable than previously thought with capacity factors of 65% available, see details HERE.  Better even than Handleman Post predictions, that capacity factors of 50% can be achieved in large volume.

CleanTechnica logo-JoBEST US WIND SITES ARE BARELY TOUCHED –  HERE  – is a post showing where the best sites are why they are underutilized and how we can harvest much more wind at those sites.

WIND TURBINE STATE OF THE ART – New wind turbine technology is further reducing the cost and intermittency of wind power – HERE


COST – The cost of Renewables Is Dropping Rapidly – HERE are some great graphs showing declining costs. Here is Lazards 2019 report showing that wind and solar are the least cost energy sources. HERE is Lazards 2018 report on the cost of generation showing solar and wind as the least cost sources.  You can always get the most up to date version of this annual report by searching on ‘Lazard’s Levelized Cost’.

GROWTH – The amount of renewable energy has been growing exponentially for decades.  Here are some good graphics illustrate that growth.

HERE is a link to videos of an entire course on renewable energy.  The presenter is engaging making it fun and interesting.


– Storage is vitally important for the future of renewable energy and many think that Lithium Ion batteries will play an important role if the cost can be brought down.   Elon Musk predicts breaking the important $100 / kwhr barrier by 2025.  This is in the same ballpark as predicted by Navigant and McKinsey  prior to the Tesla announcement of the Gigafactory.

aa Logo CleantechnicaGIGAFACTORY A conservative bet for Tesla – HERE .

LITHIUM AVAILABILITY – And not to worry, there is plenty of Lithium – HERE .

The Energy CollectiveThere has been much excitement over the Tesla Powerwall energy storage system.  It is important but not for the reasons described in the press.  My recent post post on the significance of Powerwall was picked up by The Energy Collective – HERE.


EV EMISSIONS – Electric Vehicles pollute less even when you take into account emissions from the generation source HERE

TESLA IS REVOLUTIONARY – Tesla really is revolutionary. HERE

BATTERY COSTS PLUMMET – EV batteries are the cost driver and they are coming down FAST – HERE   – A 2021 graphic HERE

aa CT-RENEEVs FOR LOAD SHIFTING – EVs combined with Load Shifting use market forces to increase the value of wind power while reducing the cost of driving. – HERE

EV RANGE IS A NONISSUE – HERE  CleanTechnica logo-Jo  .

The world according to Elon – Elon Musk on the Tesla road map from 2006.  And now more from Elon on the derogatory Larry Hirsh article.


aa CT-RENEGIGA SCALE AND EFFICIENCY INCREASES POINT TO GRID PARITY – Multiple entrants in the <20% Efficient PV module space points to impending solar grid parity.

SOLAR LAND AREA – The Land area required for solar is relatively small in comparison to the overall human footprint.


EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Incandescent bulbs are being phased out in favor of high efficiency lights.  The most efficient is LED lighting which is dropping in price rapidly and is more efficient than CFLs – Here.


Moving renewable energy from the best sites (eg Great Plains for wind, the Southwest for solar) to sites of highest demand such as the East Coast requires upgraded power transmission infrastructure

EFFICIENT INTRACONTINENTAL POWER TRANSMISSION – Clean Line Energy HERE is developing HVDC transmission lines – HERE to do just that.

LINKING THE THREE US GRIDS – The US is composed of three separate, independent electrical grids, by connecting the three grids Tres Amigas will make wider use of renewable energy possible.

aa Logo CT-TEC-RENEBENEFITS OF AGGREGATION, A CASE STUDY – Texas’ grid expansion demonstrates a path towards higher wind penetration HERE .  Completed transmission lines nearly eliminate curtailment.


These resources help you use renewable energy as a context to teach STEM.

Calculate the area required to power the earth with solar modules.  This post discusses this and includes a spread sheet with the calculations.

This site has lots of data from a fixed and a tracking array.  You can download the data or plot it on the site.  If it doesn’t plot data for today then select an earlier date a couple of years earlier.  It is an old site and the computers sometimes go down.

General Resources

BNEF report on the coming crash in oil.

Coffee House

Posted in EV PEV, New Energy Paradigm, Path to a New Paradigm, T&D The New Grid, US Energy Competitiveness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toyota Now In The Game

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Hertz / Brady Deal – Tesla Goes Mainstream

With the Hertz / Brady deal, Tesla has gone mainstream. Until now, Tesla was the brand of tech savvy retirees, rich and famous virtue signaling and geek chic well-to-do 20 somethings. With about 1% of sales in the auto industry, a high sticker price and not a lot of uptake with the tale-gating crowd, there were legitimate concerns about when the market would saturate for Tesla. That all changed with the October 25th Hertz Rent-a-Car announcement of the purchase of 100,000 Teslas over the next year. With Tom Brady as the spokesman featured in a nationwide add campaign aimed squarely at the flag waiving, middle America, Tesla has been catapulted from niche to possibly the most recognizable, desirable car on the planet.

Make no mistake, this is not about the added sales. Yes, Hertz is ordering 100,000 cars. But Tesla was already backordered over 1/2 a year. And this despite 2021 sales being on track to increase by about 60% over 2020. And this while sales of the competition are down. But there is more, this is also the endorsement of EVs as the future, as EVs cost of ownership being lower despite higher up front cost and of EVs being a joy to drive.

Hertz is reemerging from the Covid induced bankruptsy and Hitting the ground running. They are dusting off their 1970’s OJ Simpson playbook that catipulted them to #1 in the 1970’s. This time Tom Brady is the headliner. And the mainstream media has instantly pivoted in response. While it may not be a Tesla spend, it is definitely a Tesla induced advertising spend and suddenly the talking heads are all about Tesla is #1

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$25,000 Tesla . . . Model 3 is Close

Elon said no Model 2 ==> 3 Will be the compact model. Consider, battery costs are expected to drop by over 50%, that buys $4000.

Currently 3 does not use the gigacastings and is in relatively low production levels. Increasing volume by an order of magnitude offers another $3000 at least.

3 shares many components of the Y which will also continue to scale so there will be considerable supply chain economies of scale. Figure another $1000 per car benefit.

Further, if Tesla is willing to trade margins for volume, per unit profits will drop but total profits will increase. Figure $3000.

Standard range + is currently ~$37,000. Probably Elon is basing his $25,000 on a FSD version and that means deleting the steering column and controls which should enable them to squeeze out another couple of thousand but lets just say $1000 to stay conservative.

  • 4680 Battery – – Cost Reduction 4000
  • Volume mfg. 3000
  • Supply Chain Leverage 1000
  • Margin flexibility 3000
  • Other cost saving design tweaks 1000

$44,000 – 12,000 = $32,000

If they pass the tax credit of $7,500 then $24,500 for end user.

For FSD versions additional component deletes such as steering wheel and pedals will offer additional cost reductions.

Special thanks to MyTeslaWeekend for corrections and comments

This post inspired by = = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0rldRLR9xM

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Tesla New Factory Roadmap – My Projection

Food for thought – In Berlin, Musk said one car body every 45 seconds taking into account 25% downtime at Berlin. This looks about right when compared to video of the gigapress at Fremont. They have 8 gigapresses = 4 press pairs. This works out to about 130,000 cars per press pair or around 525,000 cars at Berlin. Looks like 12 presses possibly 14 going in at Austin. Say 12 to be conservative. But not all are going in immediately. So figure 8 by year end there. = 1 million run rate at Austin by end of 2022. Both sites have room for additional factories. Some time ago Musk said that the two sites would cover expansion through 2024. So, while some are disappointed at no announcements of new factory sites until 2023, I like it. They have trained crews at both sites. I would prefer to see those folks start building new factories same site. Should go up in under a year now that everyone from foundation diggers to local authorities know the drill.

So, I’m guessing – Between 2 and 4 additional factories at Berlin and Austin and three more at sites around the world including one on the East Coast of the US and NV expanded to cover complete site for TeslaSemi. And figure faster run rates as the factories are tuned. Say 600k per factory. 3 Austin, 2 Berlin, 1 East Coast USA, 1 India and 1 more China. By end of 2026. Add in Shanghai and Fremont ramped to 800k each and we end up with 6.5 million vehicles / year run rate by end of 2026 . ASPs will be down but Profits will stay same or higher per car. AND – Expect JV with at least 1 Japanese car maker or another plant in Japan by then so make it 7.2 Million by then. Could be more but hard to imagine it will be fewer than that. And then there is the energy business . . .

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Musk Followed the Rules and Won

Elon Musk is the poster child for how well government programs can work. He leveraged the government loan program to buy a used auto factory in which he built the best car in the world (model S). Tesla leveraged the federal EV tax credit program to sell Tesla cars on a massive scale. They were the first car company to complete the 200,000 car limit. And finally, Tesla, by being well positioned as the primary manufacture of ZEVs, has collected billions in ZEV credits through programs designed to penalize companies for producing carbon emitting cars without sufficient offsets from ZEVs. Most importantly, Tesla has plowed those profits, not into stock buybacks but into ramping production of ZEVs. Again, exactly the most societally beneficial use for the gains.

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When Will EVs Impact Oil Consumption?

Oil consumption is expected to grow to 100 million barrels of oil per day by the end of 2022. For perspective, a barrel of oil contains 42 gallons of crude which can be converted to 19 gallons of gasoline. With so much excitement about electric vehicles (EVs) and the growth of that industry, how can the oil industry be reaching all new highs? The reason is that the auto industry is enormous. With about 80 million cars and light trucks built every year and about 2 billion on the road, it would take about 20 years to replace all of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles even if all the cars sold in a year were electric! But there is more to it than that and the impacts of the EV industry will be felt much sooner than many expect.

On average Americans drive about 13,500 miles per year which comes out to 37 miles per day. The average fuel efficiency for light cars and trucks in the US is about 22 mpg. So each vehicle uses about 1.7 gallons of gasoline per day. This amounts to about .088 barrels of oil per car per day. So about 90,000 barrels of oil per 1 million cars. Or 1 million barrels per day per 11 million cars. For purposes of approximation we can round to 10 million cars. So if we converted all auto sales to electric we would reduce oil consumption by about 8 million barrels per day every year. But Americans use more gasoline than drivers in most countries. So a good approximation is that when all cars sold are electric it would take about 20 years to end oil use for transportation! That sounds like a long time, what can we do to pick up the pace?

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What The Analysts Don’t Seem To Understand

Analysts continue to be caught off guard by Tesla’s share price growth and now by its resiliency. What they seem to miss is that it is not Tesla’s size, but its growth rate. In the first graph below the absolute car sales figures are compared. I projected Tesla out 2 years. 2021 is roughly what analysts are predicting, 2022 is what I am predicting based upon bringing new production capacity online in Berlin, Austin and Shanghai. Helpful Video to see the writing on the wall for big auto, looks at the debt situation among other things.. Lots of good graphs in this video showing accelerating S-Curves. Looking like 2022 may be the year Video, hard to believe but important not to ignore!

The second graph uses a mathematical tool called normalization. This enables the visual comparison of growth rates of things with very different sizes. The normalized graph shows that the legacy auto makers are not growing. They are stagnating. Tesla, on the other hand, is growing rapidly. If it continues at the 50% average growth rate it will produce more cars per year than Toyota by about 2027. Actually they will probably trade places sooner because Tesla will soon grow large enough that it will cannibalize market share of the other majors.

Cars Shipped by the major auto makers compared to Tesla
Growth data normalized to compare relative growth rates. The majors are in decline while Tesla’s growth is accelerating.
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Is Tesla About To Feed Fremont Production With Castings from Austin ?

UPDATE 5/19/2021: Castings are on Trucks – – See Below for Details

My Tesla Weekend pointed out that there are a lot of castings piling up at Fremont 1:40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhNO9RzsO1c .

Video Describing Stockpiling of Castings Start at 1:40

I was pleasantly surprised that they put the gigacasting machines in Austin LONG before the factory was ready for production. I immediately thought that they could make castings there to support production in Fremont. Sure enough, the first thing they are making appears to be front castings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vjajK_G8w8&t=642s @ 10:06 .

Appear to be Front Castings, Jeff Roberts Video 10:06

Compare this to the solid model shown at battery day (below) at 13:33 for comparison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK79ioBW8Mg .

Solid Model Mock – Up Shown at Battery Day 13:33

We haven’t seen them on trucks yet but that is something to watch for. I bet they will be shipping castings from Austin to Freemont. Elon said that each casting eliminated about 300 robots. To date they have been doing only rear castings in the Model Y. They are bursting at the seams in Fremont. Bringing fronts up would allow them to build better cars AND clear more floor space. And that extra space would be very handy if they were building . . . say . . . a cyber truck pilot line.

UPDATE 5-19-2021: Looks like the castings are headed to Austin. There is one flat bed loaded up and two more waiting. They are putting 21 on the trucks. I think that, with some care and some sort of frame or structure, they could do 54.

Castings loaded and waiting to head to Fremont? Thanks Randy

We can get a back of the envelop handle on costs. Trucking rates are as high as $4.00 / mile but lets consider a Tesla driver using a Tesla semi and call it $2.50 per mile. Its about 1750 miles to Fremont so the cost would be about $80 per casting to get them to Fremont. I found that each casting requires the energy equivalent of about a gallon of gasoline @$3.00 / gal the energy cost is inconsequential (I assume the thermal energy from gasoline is comparable in cost to natural gas). And they weigh about 100 kg. Aluminum costs about $1200 / mton but Tesla has their own custom alloy so lets double it to account for that. So at $2400 / mton and about 10 castings per metric ton the cost of the AL is about $240 / casting . That puts the total around $320 each FOB Fremont.

According to Elon, this allows them to take 300 robots out of the line. And all of the stamping and special handling and bonding and fastening of parts etc. The castings will require trimming and prepping. It is hard to know the exact trade-offs but it would appear that an $80 per casting shipping charge is a small price to pay compared to cost reductions at Freemont. And we are promised that it would also improve the quality, fit and finish of the cars. In typical Tesla style, they appear poised to do something that NOBODY does, plop production in the middle of a construction site !

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GM Is All In

GM I building a battery factory in Lordstown that is expected to employ 1,100. It is a joint venture with LG Chem. It is about 3,000,000 square feet. Its projected cost is $2.3 Billion. It is expected to produce 30 GWhr of batteries. They are in the process of deciding whether to build a second plant in TN. Presumably it would be of comparable size.

GM Lordstown 35 GWhr Battery Plant Under Construction

For perspective, Tesla’s existing plant in NV has production capacity of 35 GWhr and is ramping to 40. Their Fremont pilot line is, or will soon, produce 10 GWhr of batteries. Technology developed there will be used for the Berlin and Austin factories. Their Austin battery plant will have a run rate of about 100 GWhr by the end of 2022 and 200 GWhr by the end of 2023. The size of the Austin battery factory has not been confirmed but reading the tea leaves, it is a near certainty. The Berlin factory will also start at 100 GWhr and ramp to 250 GWhr. It is expected to be the largest battery factory in the world.

Tesla Pilot Production Battery Line

GM Lordstown OH Site August 17th

GM Lordstown OH Site as of Jan 12th

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Tesla Battery Plans Support 3.4 Million Vehicle Run Rate by End of 2023

450 GWhr capacity by end of 2023 suggests 3.36 Million vehicles / year run rate Q4 2023. Assuming 200 GWhr battery production at both Austin and Berlin.

Captive Production Capacity 450 x 10^9 GWhr = 450 x 10^6 kWhr

Assume average for cars 75 KWhr

If cars only ==> 450 / 75 = 6 million cars by end of 2023

Now add some Nuance – – :

  • 3 Million Cars end of 2023 225 x 10^6 kWhr
  • Semi = 500 – 1000 kWhr say average = 750 kWhr and 150,000 per year 112.5 x 10^6 kWhr
  • 250,000 Cyber Trucks Assume 100 kWhr Average 25 x 10^6 kWhr
  • 362.5 GWhr for Vehicles
  • Leaves 87.5 for Energy Storage – Power Walls and GigaPacks

Note that they will be purchasing batteries from other companies which will make up for any shortfalls. The questions are:

  • how quickly can they scale batteries.
  • How fast will they ramp Cyber Truck and Semi
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