2017 has been another successful year for the electric vehicles leader, despite the significant pressure from competitors and sceptics. Tesla introduced numerous novelties and announced new models in 2017, laying the foundation for additional development of Tesla in 2018.
The electric vehicle that was launched in 2017, will become available to a wider share of the market in 2018, as the company speeds up production and delivery. Just recently, before the closure of 2017, a footage of hundreds of new models parked in front of the Tesla Fremont factory was released, thus silencing speculation about its inability to scale production.
The company was accused of failing to deliver its production targets, as there were only 712 Model 3s produced by November, but recent developments suggest that Tesla will be able to reach its 2018 goal of producing 5,000 vehicles weekly by March, hence shortening waiting times.
Currently, there are approximately half-a million pre-orders for the vehicle, placed almost 2 years ago, meaning that the Model 3 will not be available to the masses initially. However, increased production will additionally slash delivery times and contribute to delivering the car at $35,000 before incentives, resulting in increased interest for electric vehicles and higher demand.
Going forward, Tesla’s Model 3 challenge for 2018 will be managing production and delivery, particularly of new orders. This will also spark up debates about potential new Tesla factories.
Model Y is a Tesla’s crossover all-electric vehicle built on the same platform as the Model 3. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has stated that the company’s focus will shift to Model Y after the company assures successful production of Model 3.
2018 will see the release of the new model, the orders for which will begin in the first half of the year. Model Y will be built on the same platform as Model 3, in order to speed up production and delivery times.
Tesla’s older vehicles Model S and Model X are performing well, even though there have not been significant updates of some features. The company has already announced a set of upgrades to Model S, Model X and even Model 3, based on customers feedback replying to Musk’s recent Twitter inquiry about potential improvements.
There are several confirmed upgrades, which will most probably take effect in 2018. Namely, the company plans to bring back the automatic windshields, which were a standard feature before the Autopilot overhaul in 2016, implement new batteries that will improve performance in cold weather conditions, as well as introduce a set of other novelties such as an app that can be used to turn on heated window and seat, ambient light settings, sign recognition, music quieter when opening all doors, Disco Mode option and a feature to alert family members when a Tesla driver selects “home” as a destination.
The electric truck that was introduced in November 2017, has already received pre-orders from big brands. As companies learn more about the benefits of electric trucks, it can be expected that orders will increase, while the entire freight industry will begin undergoing changes.
Tesla also announced an electric pick-up truck, which has been a long term ambition of the company. Although production of the electric pick-up will not begin until several more years, after the Model Y, an initial prototype of the vehicle could be revealed in 2018.
Even though Tesla is a leader in the electric vehicles segment, it still has to prove its autonomous driving capabilities. The company’s vehicles are already produced with a built in Autopilot 2.0, which does not enable fully autonomous driving yet. Musk recently announced that the company plans to introduce a major overhaul to its autonomous driving features by levelling up the capabilities to Level 5 of autonomous driving.
Every Tesla vehicle sold since October 2016 is equipped with Autopilot 2.0. hardware, providing the basis for future software updates that could enable Level 5 fully-autonomous driving. Level 5 autonomy would mean that a human driver would not be required even under difficult conditions.
Tesla offers customers the possibility to upgrade some of the cars’ features, among which are the autopilot capabilities. There are currently more than 90,000 vehicles with the feature Autopilot 2.0., 77% among which include an Enhanced Autopilot package of $5,000, while around 40% have the Fully Self-Driving capability, of additional $3,000.
When the technology is prepared and tested, all owners with the purchased additional capabilities could upgrade their vehicles to autonomous driving. Tesla has been releasing different dates regarding these upgrades, the latest of which include Musk’s confirmation that 2018 will be the year when the major change is revealed.
The scaling of production and advent of new models for other market segments is greatly dependent on the availability of Superchargers and Megachargers. Even though Tesla reached a record year for Superchargers, obtaining a cumulative 8,000 chargers installed globally, it did not meat its target for 2017.
Nonetheless, its goal for 2018 is to install 18,000 chargers by year end. In addition, the release of the Tesla Semi will require the instalment of Megachargers which will enable uninterrupted driving from one location to another.