9 Big & Cool Cleantech Stories of the Week

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There’s no doubt about it, the most cleantech headlines of the past week were centered around Tesla’s Q3 2023 investor conference call. In part, that’s because Tesla is the king of cleantech chatter worldwide, but it’s also because of how abnormal the call was and the possibility that it will be a significant marker in yet another shift in the long-term Tesla story. My big takeaway was that expectations for Tesla — stemming from Elon Musk’s years-long statements and forecasts about the company — may just be far too bullish and unrealistic at this point. Tesla seems far away from its previous 50% CAGR, which was forecasted to run throughout the 2020s but Musk and team are now pulling back on. The Cybertruck is delayed (again) and Musk said on the call “we dug our own grave with Cybertruck.” Jennifer Sensiba argues that Cybertruck or no Cybertruck, Tesla should have developed a more conventional Tesla pickup truck, more like the Truckla or the Ford Maverick. Musk couldn’t even say much about his expectations for FSD. Overall, he sounded depressed and seemingly began to cry at one point toward the end of the call. It was odd.

Aside from those links above, I recommend watching our EV Obsession show dedicated to the Tesla conference call.

On a more positive front, we’ve got the Biden administration’s $3.5 billion investment in “58 projects across 44 states to strengthen electric grid resilience and reliability across America.” We need that, and it will help with renewable energy adoption and use to a great extent. This large investment stems from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Congress passed before Republicans took over control of the House of Representatives in 2022.

And how about an odd, lighthearted, and quite confusing piece of cleantech news in order to lighten things up here? Disney has patented an interesting EV charging station of sorts. It’s hard to know what Disney would use this for, where and how it would be implemented. There’s also the possibility nothing comes of the patent — but that would just be sad.

We also published the latest France EV sales report last week. The Tesla Model Y is still on the top of the scoring table, then followed by various small electric cars. Overall, Stellantis sells the most plugin vehicles in the country — by far — followed by the Renault–Nissan Alliance and then Tesla.

With the EV revolution and the “Electrify Everything” revolution, one thing is becoming clear: we need a lot more electricians! If you’re looking for a job or considering a career move, note that electricians are in high demand, and especially EV charging technicians. In fact, one of the biggest bottlenecks to a quicker EV transition may well be lack of people power — not enough electricians.

Speaking of jobs and the economy, a new study finds that the transition to clean cars could provide Illinois with $178 billion in benefits for the state itself.

Circling back to Tesla, BMW is the latest automaker to say it will adopt the North American Charging Standard (NACS), Tesla’s charging standard. That basically leaves out Volkswagen Group and Stellantis as the most notable automakers that haven’t yet announced a switch to the NACS.

Ghanaian company Kofa has partnered with TAILG to create a battery swap network for electric motorcycles in the country. The joint venture’s target is “200,000 electric vehicles using the Kofa battery swap network by 2030.” That would be something!

Haven’t had enough? These are Jo Borras’ top choices for electric cars that are not Teslas. I agree with some of them. With others, not so much. Listen to our dedicated discussion of this list on YouTube.

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