We’ve Upped Our Game…so UP YOURS.

It is not precisely an accident that we are evtv.ME instead of evtv.COM. It’s all about ME.

That may appear a shocking admission, but it is actually a communication technique. It gets your attention. And in a way, it’s quite true, I use my self as a comic foil to disengage from the world of self aggrandizement and ego that permeates virtually everything. My mission is of course to communicate sometimes perniciously technical detail to intelligent humanoids in hopefully understandable or more rational terms, with some context as to what it might mean for the future. It’s a mission I’m bound to fail at because the potential audience for such is quite varied across the scale of competence, education, and intellect. My intent is to fail productively.

I’m keenly aware that MANY of our viewers actually know a great deal more about the topic at hand than I do. And some segment of our viewership will be ill tasked to put two batteries in a pocket flashlight and get it right before the third try. And if you pay careful attention, you might find I repeat myself a bit. Actually I don’t at all. But if you have a solid grasp of the subject matter, it would seem so. Actually I’m saying the same thing several different ways. And it strikes different levels of viewership slightly differently, noting also that a SIGNIFICANT segment don’t actually hold American English as precisely their first choice in language.

And so a word on why EVTV is long, boring, and technical. Many of our viewers know exactly why. But the recent series of Model 3 and Solar explorations seems to have caused a dramatic influx of new blood into our little club. And that is a GOOD thing I suppose but problematic at the same time.

The universal reaction is “too long, sorry”. This implies very effectively that they are very busy very important people very focused on much more important things than our trivial videos. Or else it implies the attention span of a four year old. I imagine it varies.

I’ve spent 40 years following technology, not just its development and processes, but its impact and adoption. During a couple of previous rodeos, first involving the development of the Personal Computer, and subsequently the development of the Internet, two amazing and delightful things happened. The first was that by keen observation and deep dive, I discovered I was remarkably adept at fingering which parts where important and would change the future and the world, and which parts were, while perhaps technically interesting, inevitably destined to be part of the abandoned detritus along the freeway to the future. And this was both valuable and transferable. I could empower others to know these things as well.

The second and probably much more valuable “gift” granted me was a visceral understanding of how true CHANGE occurs in our society and particularly regarding the adoption of technology. How does it REALLY migrate, adapt, and evolve to bring meaningful and REAL alteration of our future.

The caricature is of Thomas Edison “inventing” the lightbulb. In truth, there were 23 prior art “inventors” of converting electricity to light. And Edison never was a “genius” though certainly clever. He tried to explain this a number of times but it wasn’t really in his commercial interest to correct it and it was an impossible act to perform anyway in the face of media coverage and subsequent books on the topic.

I can recommend Steven Johnsons’ Where Good Ideas Come From but I don’t entirely agree with some signficant parts of it. I think it is much more about the two guys in the garage and much less about the large organizations than Mr. Johnson apparently does. But the interplay and “connections” between a lot of sources is very real.

We are all interconnected. But advances do not come from governments and governmental leaders and almost never from “corporations” and large entities. It’s not that they can’t. It’s that they don’t.

The Frisco Railroad had all the engineers and all the aluminum necessary to easily create the DC-3. But Donald Douglas with a tiny few helpers actually did. And of course AT&T could EASILY have built the Internet. But they didn’t. In fact they fought against it. Now everyone is all a twitter waiting for GM and Ford and Daimler and VW to smack down the upstart Tesla. They can. But they won’t. Dyson Vacuum Cleaners might. Google might. Apple might. Chinese battery manufacturer BYD might. But its essentially a sure bet that General Motors won’t.

Eastman Kodak SHOULD have invented digital photography, they certainly had the resources to do it. But they preferred to sell off their office furniture at 6 cents on the dollar?

Most things are started small. And spread person to person. But it takes a specific KIND of person. They have to have a good mind. THey have to be curious. And they have to be willing to tinker with stuff that doesn’t quite work, often for a long time.

I built an electric car in a little over 2 months in 1980. It went 110 miles on its first charge and I still had pedal left at 94mph when my courage failed weaving in between trucks on Interstate 55 in a high wind in a light fiberglass convertible.

And I called then for 100,000 man army to build electric cars and show them to their brother in-law. I knew that if a 54 year old unemployable working half days falling down drunk in yellow shoes could build a car in his garage that went 24 mph over the speed limit and 110 miles on a charge, using NO gasoline and NO emissions, we didn’t precisely have an enormous TECHNICAL challenge in front of us. But the acculturation and adaptation required to move to battery powered magnetic drive for personal transportation was non-trivial. Everyone was FAMILIAR with batteries. And the familiarity was very akin to disdain. Would you believe that right this minute, 10 years later, over half of the U.S. population BELIEVE if they buy an electric car now they will have to replace the batteries within 2 years and at enormous cost? We’re winning. But we’ve not won.

We are well into the early adopter stage and my impact therein will diminish exponentially as electric vehicle sales rise and the metoo’s clamor and vie for attention as the reason for it all. I’m all good with that.

But years ago, I rather mastered the art of very targeted “micropublishing”. And to do so I had to learn a couple of non-intuitive central concepts. The mission isn’t to get ALL the readers. It’s to get the “right” readers and what constitutes “right” is very much about your mission. Above all, it is about making the WRONG readers go away quickly and at minimum expense.

Those are particularly key in fadish or popular areas. The problem with alternate energy, solar, and electric vehicles is that it draws huge crowds that are totally and completely USELESS and indeed can be DAMAGING to that mission. Environmental religious adherents – tree huggers – are just a shitshow horror of misdirected uninformed good intentions. And they annoy and alienate everyone they come in contact with.

The second group we refer to as copper foil helmets. These are people who wear copper or aluminum foil helmets on their heads purportedly to block out cosmic rays, gamma rays, neutron particles, gravity waves and of course to prevent both aliens and the U.S. government from reading their thoughts. But they have an endless series of ever more complicated variations on over unity energy schemes, perpetual motion, hydrogen electrolysis gasoline mileage enhancers, and more. I actually had a pair of these whackos pay me $10,000 to let them fly out and talk to me for a day. Fifteen minutes into the conversation I handed them their check back and asked them to leave the building in all due but safe haste. It took over an hour to convince them I was serious, I was REALLY handing them back their money and REALLY had no intention of any prolonged discussion regarding an investment of over $200,000 they had already made in a totally moronic perpetual motion machine of truly ridiculous description.

Many of you will find this of no surprise. Anyone who has been a PLAYER at any level in the EV game knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about. They’ve had to deal with it as well, just not at the scale a publisher does.

So ideally, I want ALL SEVEN BILLION humanoids to take a quick look at EVTV and then LEAVE peacefully, quietly, and inexpensively. The handful that stick around, I think I can provide some very interesting information with the specific INTENT to enable you to change the entire world to a cleaner, brighter, quieter, greener, more peaceful, less expensive, existence and a seriously higher standard of living for yourselves personally but really for everyone on the orb as well both directly and indirectly.

And I’m really QUITE good at it.

And so EVTV is quite technical. If you’re not already pretty intensely interested in that already, or have a very curious inventive mind you will find it extremely LONG and extremely BORING. And I let it run as long as the topic seems to need. No cat videos. No tits. No hip fast talking entertaining personality host. Do you think I couldn’t HIRE all that for not much over minimum wage? It’s by design.

I actually had a guy from the UK call and talk for hours how he wanted to basically do what I do but better, using a young beautiful talking head woman, some jazzy music and some professional camera work to make a very appealing fast paced video series on how to build an electric car yourself. I laughed out loud and encouraged him to do so and assured him he was not wrong he would have MILLIONS of viewers. That he might as well chain himself to the wagon bound for hell I might have failed to mention. He’ll find out soon enough. Copper foil helmets and green religion snowflakes aren’t a market for anything, can’t do anything, and no one wants to sell them anything because they never never BUY anything and they avoid actually DOING anything at all. That he would intentionally filter to ATTRACT them delighted my sense of whimsy. It might actually give me a place to dump these people beyond poor Jehu.

Today we face a fork in the road. A new age in a way. Solar is not new, but it is a curious thing. More than HALF of all residential solar installations in the U.S. have had the breaker turned on for the first time in the past 24 months. Nobody mentioned that I know. But it is true. And 97% of them have ZERO energy storage capability. If they lose the grid, the $70,000 investment on the roof can’t generate enough energy to charge an iPhone in a day of full sunshine. It’s “grid-tied”.

I have to tell you that it takes a certain amount of chutzpah and cajones to be able to just walk out back in your garage and seriously intend to just build your own damned car. We’re talking a tiny fraction of the male population, and no females of any kind.

But there is about two orders of magnitude MORE people who believe they can put a couple of photovoltaic panels out in the sun and hook them up to a used car starter battery. Unfortunately, 100x the number of players, 10,000x the number of copper foil helmets and tree worshippers in the Gaia persuasion. I watched in astonishment a guy bemoaning the gradual but measurable decline in the function of his two solar panels and his $30 charge controller, searching for a solution to the problem of his BATTERY APPROACHING FULL CHARGE!!! This was a 30 minute YouTube video.

Tesla is going viral. I’m not sure I really want to go viral with it. We did a segment on the Model 3 battery. And I was actually personally wounded by the huge number of comments regarding my age, girth, weight, shortness of breath, haircut, lack of eye shadow, small breasts, and so tiny ass, clothing and dress, my shoes, facial ticks, cigarette smoking, eating habits, and how they knew what I smell like from a video I will just never know.

But it doesn’t matter. These people are not our viewers and can’t ever be our viewers. And that is not a condemnation. MOST people just aren’t interested in this stuff. And most people don’t have the tools to BE interested in this stuff. What I don’t quite understand is why they would take the time to point out that I was the difficulty.

The bottom line is that many, indeed the vast majority of you, should NOT watch EVTV and indeed should just GO AWAY. Hopefully peacefully and quietly. That should leave me with a VERY small audience of very capable viewers equipped and inclined to change the world. Many of them provide ME with information which I then REFLECT much as a mirror to the others. In this way, the info is shared and accelerates the pace of change. And I overlook the fact that they at times run our videos at 2x speed to get to the part they are interested in at the moment.

We have apparently sprung an affiliate, Jehu Garcia, now condensing our 1:24 to a scant eight minutes. And it works. Current fadish interest in the Model 3 is such that we’ve had some 43000 views on our very secondary YouTube distribution while our viewership on our native Amazon AWS space is consistent. But Jehu sports some 63,000 views on his version for child minds.

At one point Jehu was actually a paid contributor to EVTV. But he fancied he could gain riches and fame as a YouTube personality and make millions from YouTube ads. I tried to explain how YouTube works but he assured me I just didn’t “get it”. How’s that working out for you Jehu?

The problem of course is that they won’t all comment to Jehu. Some are going to “leak” back to EVTV. And between the move to the much larger Solar universe and the fadish interest in the Model 3, I’m kind of “run over the top of” now.

So the bottom line for the “too long sorry” crowd is you’re “too short sorry” from our perspective. And while we could probably shorten our videos at whim, you can’t get any taller most likely.

Lady Astor commented at a dinner party to Winston Churchill “Sir Winston, why I do believe you are drunk.” Churchill was reported to have replied “And you Lady Astor, are ugly. On the morrow, I shall be sober.”

So some techniques that are hopefully NOT in your face and obvious but very deliberate at EVTV

1. We “opinionate” and contextualize technical information. I learned long ago that reading technical material off a spec sheet is a schnoozer. If you think EVTV is BORING now, you should see a version that way. By expressing an unqualified but strongly held opinion on a technical item, which is actually usually NOT very strongly held, it makes it more palatable and also more MEMORABLE. If high current capacity is BAD and not necessary and a “stupid thing to do”, for about half of you, it isn’t necessary and for about half, it’s just what you are looking for, and in any event ALL of you now KNOW that this type of device has a relatively high current capacity. Or this battery is less stable and more dangerous. Well that’s because it stores MORE energy in the same size package. You get the drift. It’s not that I hold these opinions in very high regard or with much tenacity. They are a communication technique I learned years ago and to good effect. It emphasizes that particular feature or aspect and it should be remembered.

2. Don’t talk down to the audience. We assume half our viewership is a lot smarter than we are. Of course that leaves the other half. But on balance, a signficant portion already knows much more on the specific topic at hand than we do.

3. Don’t hide mistakes. Success provides little value to anyone about anything. Errors and mistakes contain valuable information. It doesn’t matter how we “look”. If we share mistakes, you don’t have to make them yourself. You can vicariously steal our experience.

4. Do not rely on “common wisdom” industry practice, or tribal knowledge. If it IS such a way, it should be easy enough to hook it up and demonstrate that. And time after time after time I have found direct testing OFTEN provides surprising results. Passing on the same information you just got from somebody else who didn’t know either is not productive. I call it “typing yourself smart.” If you think it so, test it. If aren’t able to test it or view someone test it, then you are rumormongering and the misinformation could easily damage someone elses body or pocketbook.

The other aspect of this blog revolves around my astonishment at the level of technology in the Model 3. As I said, I guess I expected a smaller less expensive Model S. Rather, I cannot find a single CIRCUIT, a single device, a single NUT that could have come from a Tesla Model S. Ok the sun visor is suspiciously close. But beyond that not much. And I’m trying to suse out why a company would spend billions developing a highly successful EV, and then start with a clean sheet of paper on the next model and abandon all lessons learned wholesale, baby, bathwater, kit and kaboodle?

Mr. Wang Chuan-fu is Executive Chairman of the Board, President, Chief Executive Officer of BYD Company Limited. Neither Samsung nor Panasonic is the “largest battery manufacturer in the world.” BYD probably is.
Mr. Wang has an interesting approach particularly for a company stressing low cost replacement batteries. He hires the entire top 10% of ALL the engineering schools in CHina. Moves them to a campus where they are housed, fed, paid rather well by Chinese standards, and worked about 10 hours per day. At the end of the year, he fires 2/3 of them and brings in the next graduating class. Over time, he has amassed one of the largest pools of engineering talent in the world. They are by the way in just a few years now the largest electric bus manufacturer in the world and aiming to be the largest electric automobile manufacturer in the world.

Which is interesting in that Tesla has already achieved the status of ultimate automotive status symbol in China. In 2017 they sold $2 billion in Tesla cars representing already 19% of their automotive income. The Chinese car market became the biggest passenger car market in the world as of 2009, and annual production of automobiles in China exceeds that of the European Union or that of the United States and Japan combined. While Americans now buy about 17 million new cars and trucks per year, Chinese drivers purchased 22 million in 2017, a number that may rise to 29 million in 2018.

Volume isn’t the only way China represents an alternative automotive universe, either. The Chinese car universe is not governed by the whims of buyers. Facing a crisis of congestion and air pollution—and desiring an industrial advantage in building electric cars, President Xi Jinping and his transportation ministers are enforcing a quota on Chinese automakers that 10 percent of car sales be EVs by 2019 and 25 percent by 2025. The floor of the recent Beijing auto show featured a remarkable 175 electric models, nearly three-quarters of which are domestically produced. With a population of 1.4 billion, growth in their automotive market should continue unabated. By the way, they sold 1.1 million cars there in 1992.

China Association of Automobile Manufacturers show EV sales reached 81,904 in April, and 225,310 in the first four months of the year. Sales in the January-to-April period are up 149% compared with the same period in 2017. They expect to sell 1.1 million EVs in 2018.

Bottom line is America currently has Tesla as the only real possibility of even being PART of a global conversion to electric drive vehicles.

American automakers were caught completely off guard by the move to economy vehicles in the 1970’s and the result was a permanent tilt for Japan and Toyota ever since in the American market. And it is about to happen AGAIN in electric vehicles. And literally all we’ve got in the game is Tesla.

Tesla has gained approval to not only build a factory in Shanghai, but to own all 100% of it. And with China’s recent announcement of a drop in automotive tarriff from 25% to 15%, Tesla sold TEN Model S’s out of the Shanghai showroom in a single DAY. They have achieved the status of ultimate automotive status symbol in China, with 25% tied behind their back.

Back to the Model 3, since I purchased my Model S in 2013 Tesla has grown from 8000 employees to over 37000 currently. And I’m trying to picture myself as a young 23 or 25-year-old coming out of MIT, Stanford, or Rensselaer Polytechnic with a EE degree. A Masters would be cool. Where would I want to go to work?

SpaceX sounds sexy. But Tesla has to be at the top of the list as well. And so it would appear Elon Musk and Wang Chuan-fu, have similar approaches. A skunkworks campus of the top engineering talent in the world. At some point of specific gravity, it doesn’t matter WHAT you want to build or productize. You’ve already got people in house that can do that. And right now I would guess Tesla gets to chooose from the cream of the crop. I’m told they hired 2500 last year, from 500,000 applications. SO you still have a one in 200 chance.

And so rather than productize existing technology, leveraging their already considerable investment, Tesla threw it out the window and said let’s build the next generation. I just wouldn’t have the cajones to do that I have to tell you. But on reflection, in a fast changing tech environment, it is EXACTLY the right move. While BMW and VW and GM play catchup, move on to the next generation. “We’ve upped our game, so UP YOURS”.

Porsche will have a “Telsa Killer” on line by 2020? We don’t even know what a Tesla will LOOK like in 2020.

And not only have they become the most attractive place for young talent to go, they’ve also become the most attractive place for suppliers to go. Why would NOT Analog Devices and NVIDIA, never mind Panasonic want to showcase electronic subassemblies in the Model 3 which STARTS with a 500,000 order book and who have challenged such suppliers to collaborate on the NEXTGEN electric car? And what level of R&D and development would they care to make that bet with?

Note that I’m NOT predicting the future. I’m describing a well kept PAST. True, by examining chicken entrails but I’m pretty GOOD at examining chicken entrails. I’ve gutted a shitpot full of chickens.

Tesla is on a roll. Model 3 production woes actually do not matter AT ALL in even the current scheme of things. And yes, the shorts will get KILLED. Elon Musk will be able to summon $10 billion, $20 billion or $100 billion, whatever he likes with a crook of his finger. And if Tesla never turns a profit for the NEXT TEN YEARS it won’t matter. It will still be the growth stock of the century.

Never mind that orders keep piling in for large scale solar battery installations, electric semi’s or whatever else.

And I still think Autopilot is a loser. A Tesla T-boned a police cruiser yesterday – on autopilot.

And I STILL think an Apple/Tesla/SpaceX merger-of-equals stock swap is in order, as long as Elon takes the helm. Apple has repatriated their $250 billion war chest, and I know a guy who knows just how to spend it.

Jack Rickard

39 thoughts on “We’ve Upped Our Game…so UP YOURS.”

  1. You have the right mindset here and I like it! “If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it and go away.” It’s very simple and to the point! I’m an electronic engineer and love all the detail you put in. I wish I had the financial ability to help you decode the charge controllers, inverter, etc, but I can’t right now. 🙁 I do wish all the negative commenters on YouTube would go away, then we’d be left with purple who actually contribute!

  2. Nate:

    It’s not if you don’t like it go away. It’s DESIGNED so they won’t like and so they will go away.
    Hope your financials approve and you can help row the boat. You’re who we ARE for.

    1. I think I’ll be in the position to help row when model Y starts to become available! He’s saying there will be even more demand for that one so there will be even more wrecked battery packs waiting to go into selfish solar systems! 🙂 I hope the market will be so flooded with battery packs that the entire pack will cost less than $1000!

  3. Jack, I look forward to your posts and your show! My wife laughs everytime she hears your theme music and says, “You are watching your show!” lol
    The haters are going to hate Jack, but you have the right attitude!!

  4. As a part of the 50% of your viewership who does not know more than you, I need to focus and pay close attention, so I turn the volume up to catch all of the words. This works great until you shift your posture some barely perceptible amount and send static screaming down the audio feed. Can I convince you to please upgrade your mics/audio equipment? I’d offer to sponsor this effort but if you’re in a position to turn down $10k for 12 hours of face time … I don’t think you need it.

  5. Ladson Geddings

    Enjoyable; think you have it right about the shortened version of ‘your’ video…begs the question; Are there no rules on Youtube about using someone’s videos? Seems to me Youtube would encourage creativity not plagiarism.

  6. the more I see your videos and read your posts the more I want to sit down with a good bottle of liquor and hear stories til passing out… and do it again the next day, with a couple of corona discharges while figuring out some new batshit to make the world better

  7. Very funny article, thanks for the read. I agree 100% about Tesla AND Elon’s misplaced confidence in Autopilot. AI is not where it needs to be for autonomous operation. Waymo (google) appears to have the most advanced technology, but their ability to commercialize it is suspect. Tesla’s program is still in infancy.

    1. I think autopilot is simply a bridge too far. Here’s why:

      First it poses a complete change in the concept of legal liability for accidents, and of course there WILL BE accidents. Less. More. It doesn’t matter. You have an automobile manufacturer voluntarily ASSUMING responsibility for vehicle mishaps. You can see Tesla struggling in vain with this in real time and live. They DEMONSTRATE, sell and promise an autopilot that can drive your car without you and indeed in my case charge $9000, 16% of the purchase price, for it. As soon as the first fender bender occurs, they IMMEDIATELY go to the bizarre concept that the DRIVER is at all times responsible for the operation of the car. Well saying it fails to make it so. If the CAR is driving, the CAR is responsible for the operation of the car and the car maker is ultimately responsible for all of it. This is simple NOT a position an automotive manufacturer can be in. And no, Tesla can’t have it both ways.

      Second, it’s kind of like battery management systems. Much much more difficult to do than to imagine. The devil gets into the details very quickly and there are an enormous number of variables. Perhaps and infinite number of variables.

      As to Waymo, Google, General Motors, et al. They are NOT way out in front of Tesla. Indeed Tesla is way out in front of them. Testing stuff under controlled conditions is one thing. Being loose on the road with thousands of cars and operators is quite another. Tesla is the only one putting rubber on the road here and unfortunately I would measure experience, expertise, and knowledge by body count.

      I can pass on from direct personal experience that the Model 3 Autosteer and Adaptive Cruise is both pleasant, and deeply deeply flawed to the point of presenting an attractive hazard and I mean immediate and pressing peril. I’m paying MORE attention to the driving WITH the autopilot than I do in normal driving and it has STILL very nearly got me at least four times. As I only use it on the freeway and as I’m infrequently ON the freeway, this is alarming. And the failures happen VERY quickly and VERY unexpectedly.

      The autopilot thing represents such a HUGE pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that everyone feels they HAVE to go for it. GM just this week secured I think $2.3 billion investment to pursue it. But ultimately I think this thing will play out as a technological boondoggle of epic proportions regretted by all who attempted it.

      1. Collin Kidder

        Massive arm chair quarterbacking ahead:

        Everyone wants to use cameras and neural nets to do autopilot. Guess what, everyone already does that! It’s called your head. You have two cameras and a lot of neural network processing, more than a car is likely to ever have. People still drive over curbs and into guard rails. Trying to mimic human beings isn’t the way to go. We suck at driving and if you try to make a computer be like you it’ll suck too. Vision is a very poor thing to emulate. Sure, we can visually process a lot but our vision also lies to us all of the time. Computer vision can get tricked by the same things our vision does. You just can’t trust your lying eyes and you can’t really trust a camera either. Quite a bit of driving is about being in the right place and vision is about the worst way to figure out where you are. We use binocular vision to figure this out and still we can get tricked.

        The correct solution is to radically rethink what driving is and how it works. But, nobody does that. They all “me too” and jump onto the computer vision bandwagon while nodding up and down like a dog looking at a waving flag. It shocks me that so many intelligent people seem so dead set on two things: computer vision and AI. I really don’t think either of them are the best way to create a self driving car. But, I’m massively overruled by lots of people who are sure that they know better than I do. Well, they’re getting paid the big bucks so I guess they’re right. But, I’m reminded of something I’ve heard several times “nobody who is trained in the field really creates anything disruptive to the status quo of that field” I think too many of these people have prayed at the altar of computer vision and AI. When you’re an AI expert everything looks like an AI problem. When you’re a computer vision expert everything looks like a job for computer vision. They have no incentive not to take the money and worship at their native altar. But, one would think that someone like Elon Musk would be smart enough to investigate other options so that they don’t end up on the well trodden path that might not be right. Maybe they have investigated other options and found that this current path truly is the best. I don’t know. But, I suspect we’re seeing a giant rush of me too and not a lot of creative thinking here.

        1. I agree mostly. What has Musk entranced is the AI. Most not deeply familiar with it discount it. I’m not among them. Musk cites Google’s GO player as an example. Progression of an AI system isn’t precisely linear. Much like us, it learns in exponential fashion where it takes a lot of time and effort to build one that plays GO really really badly. But a little less effort to go from there to one that plays GO pretty well. And then the distance from there to playing GO in unbeatable fashion is very small. If you can get it to the point of teaching itself, it goes very quickly.

          But one problem is that we aren’t quite sure how it got there. And you have to be very careful in defining where “there” is in the first place. Winning at GO is pretty clear and there are a very limited number of base moves and endless combinations of that base move and I would offer that it is a very easy THERE definition.

          Applying that to an endlessly variable driving situation with at least THREE goals, 1. Get me from A to B, 2 Comply with road rules, 3. Don’t kill me, would not appear to lend itself to all that. But perhaps. The expertise displayed so far is in my estimation really really bad.

          I just received an over the air update enabling autohighbeam this week. Last night it nearly killed me. Did I ever have a problem operating the high beams in the first place? Comically no. Now I have to find a way to turn this “feature” off and I do hope they provided one.

          And so my point is that if it cannot reliably open the garage door, or properly work the headlights, or even work the radio I’m not sure I think driving coast to coast is within grasp. Elon thinks its three to six months, but he can’t even maintain his group of altar boys and acolytes you describe. They keep leaving in panic as he seemingly demands that they make one that actually works. I can understand their anxiety attack.

          The things it DOES do are kind of remarkable. And I would love Musk to prove me wrong. And understand I can very much BE wrong. I’m really not sufficiently involved in the current state of AI art to even comment knowledgeably. I question the wisdom of the basic premise of autonomous driving, and I think I DO grasp the pot of gold at that end of that rainbow.

          But what I am seeing is not AI, but simple minded software done badly by children who have not done enough software in their careers to gain the humility necessary to practice the craft. And I don’t intend my old fat carcass to be one of the painful lessons they will learn on the road to that humility.

          Wetware is not really very good at driving as you point out. I’m from Missouri. If your story is software is better, show me. And start by opening the garage door accurately and consistently.

          Jack Rickard

          1. Hey Jack. I really appreciate and am captivated by all your contributions. I just wanted to respond to some of your complaints about the Model 3 since there might be solutions.

            1) The auto-highbeam can be toggled on/off: Controls (car icon) > Lights > Auto Highbeams. When it’s enabled and your high beams are on, an ‘a’ appears in the center of the blue high beam icon on the display. I am curious why you didn’t like the feature, or how it almost killed you. In the short time I’ve used mine, I was impressed.

            2) I’ve used the garage door opener hundreds of times and it only failed once. Since you’ve had problems with both your 3 and your S, I think it might be a problem with the hardware attached to your garage door rather than your car.

            3) Regarding the sound system not playing what you request, I think that might have more to do with Slacker than voice recognition. I’m far from a Slacker expert, but the way it appears to me is, it won’t always play the song you request and never plays the same song if you request it a second time. Instead, it seems to try to choose a song with a similar style to create a “station” that matches what you request.

            This whole self-driving thing has been exciting to watch unfold. At first I thought it was really going to happen, but then with all the delays, and reading/watching your thoughts on it, I really started to question it. But now Waymo seems to have cracked the code and are actually putting cars out there for the public to use, which also might end up in the hands of consumers. Every time I read the latest information about it, I feel like I should have a bucket of popcorn in my lap.

          2. There might be.

            The autohighbeams went to low beam at the perfect moment when I was taking a cloverleaf exit in a very dark part of town and the exit is simply unlit. It startled me when the world suddenly went dark.

            I’m pleased to learn it can be disabled. I will most certainly do so. My observation of its switching from low to high and back would indicate it is both mindless and erratic. I at no time found it actually useful.

            I have had problems with both my 3 and my Model S and on a variety of garage doors. I have a lot of garage doors as it so happens. No the screen displays a little wirelesss transmit symbol when it keys. It’s not transmitting at all or even attempting to, about a third to a half the time. The reason this is annoying is because ti is SO useful and so delightful when it does work, it is exasperating then when it doesn’t. And it has nothing to do with the door or hardware or distance. I have the 3 set now to trigger less than 5 meters from the door. It works great half the time. But I can observe when it tries to and when it fails it simply doesn’t make the attempt. I think it is GPS related.

            I don’t care WHY the radio doesn’t work. It purports to work and they claim that it works. ANd it is actually entertaining to see what it is going to come up with.

            The bottom line is if simple hardware/software combinations such as these cannot be well thought out and fully operational, why would you trust them to hurl you down the freeway at 75 mph?

            Waymo has cracked nothing. Have you ridden in a Waymo car yourself or are you reporting press you’ve read online?

            Musks APPROACH to developing autonomous driving is probably correct. We differ in the estimated timeline to make it happen and work well and I think there are some legal liability issues he needs to work through in his head one more time, at least.


      2. I think you can either have Level 0 or Level 5 (once ready), but nothing in-between. There are simply too many people who think L2/L3 is good enough, put the car on auto pilot, get too comfortable, and, unfortunately, put their brain on autopilot. So far, that appears how these recent “auto pilot” crashes are occurring.

  8. When it comes to negativity on the internet it helps to view this comic:


    The gist in text: Take a normal decent person, let them be on the internet somewhat anonymously and give them the means to communicate to a large number of people at once. Boom, instant asshole. Unfortunately it’s all too easy for people on the internet to get way more abrasive then they’d feel comfortable with in person. So, trolls gunna troll.

  9. Thank you Jack for the write up. I may only be an EV enthusiast, but I have a great deal of interest in how the batteries, BMS, Inverter etc all work.

    At home, here in Auckland, NZ, we are currently a 2 EV family. A 2011 Jap imported Leaf, now down to 70% SOH and a 2016 UK imported Hyundai Ioniq with currently no noticeable drop in battery capacity.

    Keep up the long, informative posts and be well.



  10. Jack,

    I do understand the make it long so they go away aspect. I am active duty and an EE student, so time is short. I do read and watch the entirety, but only when I can afford the time. Having the trolls commenting is a problem. I also understand that generally we don’t want anybody who wants to jump into this stuff without much understanding, as accidents and oops makes us all look bad, draws negative attention, or worse.

    At the flip side of that argument, you are limiting the conversation to a smaller pool. This is detrimental to discovery, knowledge, and that’s potential customers your driving away. That’s also bad for the community. As much as it’s a pain to deal with basic questions to someone newly interested, I have found that sometimes that brings better understanding for myself, and sometimes new thought processes or discoveries.

    Your post is fairly long and must have taken some time. Time that could have been used in other parts of your business, experimenting, ect. Like tesla, your one of the leaders in this field especially the DIY/practical side of the coin. If you and your business are successful, the whole community is successful.

    I would prefer instead of you chasing people away, that instead you have a platform for them to get knowledge, be safe and do things right. If they don’t go to you, they will experiment on thier own or go to someone else, someone who may not have the nessesary knowledge. The resulting accident and negative attention still damages the community regardless.

    Thanks for everything you do



    1. Interesting points. I’ll ponder but I’ve been doing micropublishing for a very long time. It is of course editorial choice, what to leave in and what to leave out and I decided several rodeos ago to talk about what I was interested in at the moment, rather than doing an introduction to the topic over and over and over.

      But the issue is not to turn away newbies. But to DISattract fruitcakes and religious zealots and people who just can’t ever be that into it. Many start with something more basic and if they pursue it, they will find EVTV eventually. If they do, I hope they find useful information and perspective on these topics. But it isn’t precisely spoon fed in bite sized and easily digestible chicken nuggets. You kind of have to pluck the chicken.

      That IS how we can support our core viewers with just a handful of people from a small shop in Missouri. And if we have to have seven incoming telephone lines and operators “standing by” I’m outta here.

  11. So very very true. I lost that battle 20 years ago. I’ve always opposed anonymity online. And if you notice, refuse to practice it myself. I always identify with my name. Its my real name.

    But the “privacy” advocates early in the game won that one. I just don’t get the “right” to be anonymous.

  12. Kraig D Schultz

    Keep up the good work Jack. I learn something from each of your posts and videos and eagerly wait for them to come out. Sorry about the idiots and mean people who comment on Youtube videos. I normally just disable comments, but good discussion does happen in the comments – so it’s an interesting situation, spend time and energy dealing with negative energy or some how just block it out or ignore it.

  13. That’s quite the mission statement. Sorry if I’ve been a useless thorn in your foot for a moment, since I feel a bit like a guilty influence for this post. (I didn’t criticized anything apart from the form of your speech though, it would have been terribly wrong to say things on other superficial things, but the Internet is full of terrible, clueless people.)

    Aiming for the best is indeed a very valuable strategy indeed (disclaimer: I know nothing about your whole business model, I was just pondering on the YT and sole viewership side of things and the business model is *the* bottom line in the end — making dense and technical videos is possible but takes much more time though and more editing means aiming the mainstream and so reducing quality content and enhancing the infamous wow effect) and reaching the next generation of EV makers is a very noble thing too.

    So I’ll shut up from now on.

    PS: curious about this weird Apple/Tesla/SpaceX(?) merger however, even though an Apple Auto would be cool (why not buying Lucid Motors then? Rawlinson rulez) and, also, since a complete self-driving car is indeed a far-off future prospect, designing a perfect interaction between user and a partially autonomous car is crucial, something the fruity device brand can be very good at (while Tesla decided it could leapfrog all of that quite rapidly, even Musk declaring sensors probing the driver not working or useful, or something like that in a recent tweet). Also SpaceX public? Hum. Maybe SpaceX’s BFR-powered Spacelines but I doubt sending people to Mars is a valuable business.

    1. Rouget:

      Not at all although I did kind of lump you in with it. Whenever we do something that crosscurrents with some current fad, we get an influx of new viewers many of which just don’t belong with us. I kind of have to re-explain the micropublishing concept and targeted audiences. Everyone assumes we WANT to go viral but viral has its own set of challenges and simply does not fit with targeted specialty publications, which is the kind of done for 30 years now. SO about every three years I have to reiterate the mission. It has changed remarkably little since our first video in May 2009. That video is still there to see nine years later.

      I first proposed the Apple/SolarCity/SpaceX/Tesla merger nearly five years ago. Basically, Apple as a growth stock faced two enormous challenges. One, of course was loss of their visionary driver Steve Jobs. The other has to do with the law of big numbers in that to double in size each year you quickly reach a very large number of new business you have to develop each year to maintain growth.
      At some point that can only be accomplished by acquisition – you can’t organically grow products and markets fast enough.

      Given the narrow range of Apple, almost ANY acquisition large enough to move the needle would endlessly be attacked as anit-competitive. And so they had a HUGE war chest of ready cash, but nowhere to usefully deploy it. Indeed they actually began issuing dividends which is the sinful admission, among tech growth companies, that you don’t have any creative plans to use the money for further growth.

      Tesla Solar City SpaceX represents three almost unlimited blue sky markets where Apple has ZERO nexus and so could not be perceived as even the slightest bit anticompetitive. Passenger cars represents an $85 billion market obviously and electric has no place to go but up. Solar has obvious blue sky if you’ll forgive the pun. And Launch services is of course the third and perhaps most interesting because I saw THEN that Mars is the nth part of it. There is a huge lottery ticket in low earth orbit gigabit Internet to everywhere and indeed SpaceX has been approved for that just that last month.

      Satellite Networks, car plants, solar plants, battery plants, require huge capital investments. Happens Apple has a $250 billion warchest now – about five times the amount of cash the U.S. government has on hand on any one day.

      So merge em all, name Elon Musk CEO, let Cooke run the existing Apple divisions, and you wind up with a stock with unlimited growth potential and the cash AND vision to make it happen. Plus the obvious synergies of handheld phones and global Internet satellite network – freed from incumbent telephone companies.

      The result would be SO disruptive I almost cannot imagine it. But I also can’t sell it to either Cooke or Musk because of personalities, hubris, and arrogance. What would have been VERY easy five years ago is much harder now, but incredibly still mostly makes sense even at this late date.

      1. Brandon Fouts

        Apple – Being a growth stock still has limits. So I expect failure just like KODAK or they become (perhaps already are) a luxury consumer product company similar to fashion industry or Swiss watches. With profits the primary goal what do we expect?

        Just as you don’t want to go viral – I don’t think Musk does either. He prefers building the world he dreams.

        Google will no doubt stay virtual – making things not easy and not so profitable – sticking with software. And they have the security state to subsidize them.

  14. Jack,

    I forgot to add one thing to my comment from yesterday…

    You’re probably already aware of this, but in case you missed it, due to several complaints about a stiff ride on the early Model 3 cars, Tesla changed the suspension and will replace yours for free if you ask them to.

  15. Sadly Kodak was one of the companies that first created the digital camera. They mostly made them for the space and medical industries and stayed out of the consumer market to avoid cannibalizing the film market. Of course we know how that ended. But its important to note they really were at the bleeding edge at the beginning, they just didn’t follow through with it.

    1. Kodak and all others that follow their path into obscurity suffer from what I like to call: “The upstairs maid syndrome”. Other staff members that comment on the maids reluctance to pull her weight may comment, but most likely only harvest the comment: “I don’t do windows”. It doesn’t take a vivid imagination to figure that one out. Tim Cook sets on one of the largest hoards of capital in history but does nothing with it. His focus appears to be more toward molding political sentiment than forging forward in technology and services. I sold my stock a while ago but didn’t realize how long they’d be able to play the “newer better” phone game successfully. It’s a bit like musical chairs. When the music stops, Apple stock holders loose all. When Elon takes the high ground, i.e. internet in the sky Apple big wigs will be just wringing their hands chanting “Alas Babylon” in unison while holding hands. Tim Cook deserves my nomination for the “Upstairs Maid” award in this decade.

  16. Thanks for the battery curves. Do you think we might see voltage sag at higher discharge currents? Like you used to talk about on the better place or even the LifePo cells.

    1. Battery Curves? I like seeing curves.

      At the shareholder meeting Elon was asked about what charging speed was possible and he was talking about the 3rd generation of the supercharger. I seem to recollect that he said 3X faster than current supercharger speeds was possible, but not with the S and X cells. I’ve been assuming that the model 3 batteries can charge a lot faster than the S and X NCA cells and Tesla has to sort of pretend they can’t.
      They’ll then maybe unveil the 3rd gen supercharger and do a magic software update and unlock their performance. I don’t know if this is right though. It’s such a shame there is no one with a model 3 pack who could test this…..at some point down the road.

      1. That is not precisely what he said. He indicated the early Model S probably would not benefit from the higher charging rates. In fact, I was surprised he acknowledge 5 or 6 distinct generations of Model S.

        It’s always been unusual that Tesla has no model year. But the manufacture year still rather carries the same information. Here he actually acknowledged that they DO kind of have model generations, they just don’t tie them to years.

        The Model 3 will of course work fine with the new Supercharger Gen3 as will the later Models S and X.

        Jack Rickard

  17. Dear Jack, What about those “people who just ARE interested in this stuff..but don’t have the tools to BE interested in this stuff?” Just found you on the interwebs and will start my journey. Perhaps you have a “where to start” section for those who would love to develop the tools to understand what the hell you’re talking about. Keep up the good work!

  18. Jack, I discovered you three years in, and watched all of them in about 10 days if I recall. I most enjoy your side comments on humankind, coconut farming, millennials, technology adoption curves, Californians, airplanes, politics, distilling, and lots of futurism general; always interesting and insightful. I say go ahead and go off subject more!

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