It's clear that you never saw an industry-leading achievement by Tesla that you didn't hate, lorenfb.
In case anyone missed it, you just made my case for me. First you tell us that OEMs have divested themselves of their electronics capabilites:
lorenfb wrote:GM had Delphi, i.e. a major source for design & production of their electronic needs, but sold it. Maybe 20-30 years ago having an in-house design and manufacturing operation was effective and profitable. But today with the complexity and advancements of technology, it's of little value to design & manufacture electronic systems & components in-house for an automotive OEM.
Next, you tell us that I'm unreasonable to think that Tesla's in-house power electronics capabilites are a key differentiator for them:
lorenfb wrote:You imply that GM nor any other automotive OEM lacks the ability to have a highly qualified EE design group capable of matching any Tesla power electronics development.
I will say it again: the power electronics that Tesla delivers in their car are state-of-the-art and excel in the industry. We aren't talking about electronic devices like a radio that you can purchase from any number of vendors around the world.
Just to make this point clear: GM outsourced the entire drivetrain for the Chevy Bolt to LG. That's right, not just the battery. They also purchase the motor, the inverter, the DC-DC converter and the charger from LG. So, really, when you purchase a Chevy Bolt, most of the dollar value of the car was built by LG, not GM. Really, it should be called the LG Bolt. Now Nissan is doing the same thing for the 2019 Nissan LEAF. They sold their battery arm to LG Chem and they are purchasing the battery and, I suspect, the electronics from LG for their car. LG LEAF, anyone?
In the past, both of those companies built the drivetrains for most of their vehicles that's what car companies did. In fact, both of them used to build the drivetrains for their electric vehicles. But not anymore. So how do GM and Nissan differentiate their cars when they both purchase the drivetrains from LG? Sheet metal. Features. Marketing. Certainly not by the battery or the drive electronics.
Back on topic: You cannot go down to the corner automotive supplier and purchase a battery or drive electronics to build a semi truck. But if you ask semi truck companies what differentiates their products, many would tell you that it is the efficiency and durability of their drivetrains. And guess what: they make them in-house. The fuel-injection system for a diesel trucks are considered to be extremely proprietary by these OEMs.
So, yes, when Tesla leverages their in-house expertise to develop an advanced battery, drivetrain and charging system for the Tesla Semi, you had better believe they have a HUGE advantage over these other truck companies. Those companies have never even TRIED to design a 300-kW inverter while Tesla is on their third generation of high-power inverters. How about a 2-MW charger? Same thing: Tesla has in-house designs and know-how so they can iterate off of them. Moving from a single 160-kW charger (which is 16 10-kW modules) to four 500-kW chargers is "one small step" for Tesla, but a "giant leap" for everyone else. Tesla simply needs to double the voltage of the battery and increase the current capability by about 50% in order to get there. They won't be able to directly use their old modules, but will instead likely design new modules for the higher-voltage, higher-power applications.
This is why Daimler's head of trucks
recently said the following:
Martin Daum, Head of Trucks, Daimler wrote:If Tesla really delivers on this promise, we’ll obviously buy two trucks — one to take apart and one to test because if that happens, something has passed us by.
I suspect Daimler is wishing they hadn't outsourced their EVs to Tesla a few years back and had instead started to learn how to make drive electronics.
So, yes, lorenfb, I'm serious: Tesla has a serious lead over their competitors in the area of power electronics. And, no, most corporations in the automotive industry DO NOT have the expertise in-house to compete with Tesla. If Tesla can stay in business, I think we may see a truck builder or two that doesn't make it. That industry has consolidated over the years, but this type of disruption will be very difficult for some to weather. You can believe that the board meetings at those companies are a bit tense these days. If anyone thinks that all of these companies will be able to put together a top-notch team of power-electronics designers capable of designing the drive and charging electronics for a battery-electric semi truck, they are kidding themselves. Automotive corporations have always had difficulty attracting and retaining top electrical-engineering talent. But Tesla can. Will outsourcing those electronics get them something? Probably. But then they will be just like GM and now Nissan with their EVs: They will no longer be able to differentiate their product nor compete in terms of performance with those companies which have such a capability. Pretty sheet metal can only get you so far with a semi truck.