Musk teaches the “100-year-old Fords” how to make cars and wants to solve a 70-year-old problem

Ford CEO Jim Farley recently received a PDF document.

This document on "How to design a 48V car" comes from Tesla, or from the Cybertruck, the world's first new car using a 48V low-voltage architecture .

Previously, overseas media reported that Tesla had also sent this document to other car companies, but so far, no other car company executives have opened the microphone and shouted "received".

However, now that Ford has received it, there is a high probability that other car companies have also received it.

According to traditional logic, after advanced technology is developed, the first step is to keep it secret and build a moat. "Being far ahead" will naturally happen naturally.

Obviously, Tesla is not a traditional company. They always arouse our curiosity and want to deeply understand their thinking logic.

Is it to show off and be provocative, so as to teach others, or is it for other purposes? Is Musk’s selfishness hidden behind Tesla’s immediate announcement to “teach you how to do things”?

Use your own efforts to promote the industry

Before the Cybertruck, all current models on the market used technology from the 1950s, even other Tesla models.

This technology is called 12V low voltage system.

The energy source for many electrified equipment such as your car's lights, electric windows, etc. comes from it. This is true for both fuel vehicles and electric vehicles.

Therefore, the car lights can turn on, the car windows can move, and all the electrical equipment in the car are running normally, but the 12V low-voltage system that has existed for so many years must be eliminated. Why?

Two reasons: one is cost, and the other is intelligent demand.

The first is cost, which is an "old acquaintance" of Tesla.

When the power is consistent, higher voltage means lower current, which reduces the use of cables and raw materials, which means – saving money.

Congratulations to Musk for taking cost reduction to a new level.

On the other hand, the 12V low-voltage system has truly limited the imagination of all car companies in terms of user experience.

As a product of more than half a century ago, when the 12V system was first designed, I certainly did not expect that I would still be working when I was over 70. The equipment around me had been replaced one generation after another, and the demand for electrification in the car was also getting higher and higher. It is old and has reached the limit of its capabilities. It is unable to do what it wants and is really suffering.

The mainstream solution for car companies is to reduce the power of electrified equipment as much as possible, and try to squeeze out all residual value of the 12V low-voltage system.

Car companies that are a little more ambitious, such as Mercedes-Benz, will add a 48V system to the 12V low-voltage system to drive the vehicle forward under low-speed conditions and relieve the pressure on the 12V system.

But for Tesla, the demand for electrification is only a lot more. High-end assisted driving systems, Cybertruck's wire-controlled steering wheels, etc. all have more energy needs, not to mention those ideas that have not yet been implemented. If they are trapped in 12V The low-voltage system is a symbol of compromise and limitation.

It is inevitable to innovate low-voltage systems and liberate product power and imagination.

Patents, secrets and win-win

Love of "sharing" is a characteristic of Tesla.

Before the disclosure of the 48V low-voltage system construction process, they had done similar things many times:

In November of this year, Musk said that all the design and engineering of the first-generation Roadster had been completely open source: "Everything we own, now you also own."

In 2022, Tesla will disclose the NACS charging standard in North America, and many car companies have announced their participation.

This year, Musk also said Tesla would be willing to license FSD to other car companies.

These "core technologies" that seem to be able to build barriers for Tesla can be obtained by competitors in the same track.

But don’t rush to praise Tesla yet. Behind open sharing, there is a “big game” hidden.

Let’s start with the 48V low-voltage system. The reason why traditional car companies can tolerate the limitations brought by 12V and are unwilling to build a new low-voltage system from scratch is ultimately a matter of money.

Although the 48V system is good, you don’t need it, and I don’t need it. The first car company to try it will have to pay more money, and the latecomers can of course enjoy the dividends of crossing the river by feeling the stones.

In addition to R&D and design costs, the lack of a systematic supply chain will also make the 48V system more expensive.

And Tesla is the car company that took the lead in spending money.

Musk doesn’t mind other car companies crossing the river by feeling the stones. In contrast, what worries Tesla more is that no one is willing to cross the river – Tesla has built a system, but they have to pull the strings again. It is possible to set up a mature supply chain, but it is not necessary.

There is no road in the world, but when there are more people walking on it, it becomes a road.

It's better to come with a few more people and clear the road quickly.

If more car companies can join the 48V low-voltage system camp, as the supply chain matures, costs will be diluted, and Tesla will ultimately make the profit.

It is also true that the NACS charging standard is disclosed in North America. The more car companies join, the easier the road will be. The setter of industry standards is Tesla’s role in it.

Of course, this is also a good advertisement for Tesla. From this perspective, Ford CEO Farley also seems very generous – knowing that this will bring huge traffic to Tesla, he still Announce on X that you have the document.

Farley even said that Ford will take a similar path and support the transformation of the supply chain to 48V. This is a two-way journey.

Musk also responded to Farley’s tweet:

You're welcome. (You're welcome)

Are you teaching me how to do things?

Musk once said that none of his companies do anything to inhibit competition, whether it is Tesla or SpaceX.

On a larger scale, Tesla looks very respectable when it comes to facing competition and even promoting healthy competition.

But in the final analysis, openness comes from confidence in its own products, and even more from its industry-leading management model. Under the premise that other brands are still difficult to threaten itself, Tesla's thinking perspective has expanded from itself to the industry.

But what if product power does not have an absolute advantage?

In December 2023, the schedule for new car releases in the Chinese market is almost full. Tesla's situation in China is obviously much more complicated than that in North America on the other side of the ocean.

For the Chinese market, neither the charging network nor FSD is enough to form a big enough advantage. Battery swapping, 800V high-voltage platforms, and NOA pilot assistance from major car companies are all encircling Tesla.

On the other hand, while Cybertruck uses a 48V low-voltage architecture and 800V platform, the refreshed Model 3 is not available; the implementation of FSD in China is still "progressing."

Model 3 is new, and so is the world.

It is foreseeable that in the upcoming 2024, my country's new energy industry will have another round of explosion, and new models that can be called "complete" are about to appear. Obviously, Tesla is not within this rhythm.

To a certain extent, Tesla's narrative of "teaching people to do things" has not been performed in the current Chinese market, and moving forward together is the main theme here.

Even Musk said:

Many people believe that the top ten car companies will be Tesla and nine Chinese car companies. I think they may be right.

This is a market where "among three people, there must be one teacher".

Play as an ordinary person in the cyber world.

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