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Following Cybertruck Breakthrough, Ford CEO Confirms He Personally Received “How to Design a 48-volt Vehicle” Guide from Tesla, Elon Musk Responds

Tesla, to inspire the automotive world to make the shift 48-volts sent a “how to build a 48-volt vehicle” guide to all automotive CEOs. Today Ford CEO Jim Farley has confirmed receiving this guide and Elon Musk has responded to the situation in return.

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Cybertruck deliveries are finally here. Tesla is currently in the process of delivering the first 1000 Foundation Series Cybertrucks to customers. These trucks have a special 3-headed Cyberbeast logo and other unique features.

We learned a lot about the Cybertruck during the delivery event and through subsequent communications from Tesla and reviewers who have gotten to test-drive the vehicle.

Some of the things we’ve learned about the Cybertruck have to do with the truck’s range extender that increases the Cybertruck’s range from 340 miles to 470 miles. Elon Musk has given us more details about the Cybertruck’s range extender.

Related News: Elon Musk Pushes “Material Cybertruck Production Ramp” to 2025, Admits it’ll be “Such a Small Percentage of Tesla Vehicles in 2024”

Thanks to Tesla’s head of vehicle engineering, we also know that the Cybertruck is capable of 350KW V4 supercharging. Using V4 superchargers, the Cybertruck is able to charge from 15% to 85% in 18 minutes.

After being pitted against a Rivian R1T and Hammer EV, We’ve also seen a Cybertruck in “Beast Mode” break the record for the fastest pickup truck in the world.

Beyond these headline numbers, thanks to reviewers, we've also learned that, in addition to its unique exterior, the Cybertruck is full of technology breakthroughs “under the hood.”

The Cybertruck is not just a radical rethink of what a vehicle should look like but how a vehicle is supposed to be made in the 21st century.

Some of the industry first technologies coming to the Cybertruck include the vehicle’s steer-by-wire variable gain steering system, 70% reduced wiring due to the use of high bandwidth ethernet cable to transfer data throughout the vehicle, a step up in the vehicle’s low voltage architecture from 12-volts to 48-volts and so on.

If you are wondering, the 12-volt system is the lead-acid battery found on your car. The low voltage system be it in electric vehicles or internal combustion vehicles powers everything from headlights, turning signals, seat controls, window controls, ignition, infotainment, and everything except the actual propulsion of your vehicle.

Increasing the low voltage system from 12 volts to 48 volts has been the cornerstone of some of the most revolutionary changes that came with the Cybertruck.

According to Hagerty’s rather beautiful Cybertruck review video, we’ve learned that the Cybertruck’s revolutionary steer-by-wire variable dynamic steering ratio system is enabled by the move to 48 volts.

If you happen to be unfamiliar, steer-by-wire completely decouples the steering wheel from the wheels. Rather than a mechanical link, tire rotation is entirely controlled by independent motors. The steering wheel is only attached to a computer that records movements and sends them to the independent motors to turn the wheel.

This allows the Cybertruck to have different responses to steering wheel inputs at different speeds. In low speeds, for example, when doing a 5-point turn, you want minimal steering wheel input to create maximum tire rotation. This enables you to quickly execute your maneuver however, at higher speeds, you don’t want small steering wheel input to move the tires excessively because that can cause an accident.

Steer-by-wire allows you to have the best of both worlds both at high and low speeds. Since the only connection between the steering wheel and tires are independent motors, Tesla can code different turning characteristics for the Cybertruck at different speeds.

Again according to Hagerty, the Cybertruck’s motors which control the steer-by-wire system output 5 horsepower, and if Tesla kept the Cybertruck at 12-volt, similar to every other vehicle on the road today, then the current needed to deliver 5 horsepower through a 12-volt system would be 3 times more than the current going through a typical 1970’s US home.

The formula for power here represented as “horsepower” is voltage times current (P = voltage x Current). So if you increase your voltage, you can get the same amount of power while at a lower current.

Why is this important? Current determines the thickness of the electrical wire used to distribute power throughout the vehicle. The higher the current, the thicker the wires which increases vehicle weight and cost.

By moving to a 48-volt architecture, Tesla has been able to significantly cut down on weight and price. If the advantages of moving to a 48-volt architecture are so apparent, why don’t other auto OEMs do it?

This comes down to 70 years of legacy 12-volt system. Everything from headlights to seat controls, window controls, basically every car electronics have been designed to work with a 12-volt system.

Meaning, that although the electrical needs of a modern vehicle have significantly grown over the past 70 years, due to legacy infrastructure, the automotive world has been stuck at 12 volts.

That’s at least until the Cybertruck. With the all-electric truck, Tesla has finally made the obvious move the automotive world was looking to make for decades and this has allowed Tesla to introduce things like steer-by-wire in its vehicles.

However, Tesla being a part of an expansive worldwide auto supplier network, the EV maker still needs the automotive world as a whole to transition to the 48-volt future.

And here is where, again according to Hagerty, Tesla sent the CEO of every major auto manufacturer a how-to guide titled “How to design a 48-volt vehicle.” This might have seemed like a joke thrown in by Hagerty during the channel’s Cybertruck review.

However, to our delight, today, Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed to the world that he has indeed received a copy of the “How to design a 48-volt vehicle” guide from Tesla.

Farley wrote on X saying “They weren't joking. We received the document today, dated Dec. 5th. Thanks, Elon Musk. Great for the industry!” this being X, Elon Musk directly responded to Farley simply saying “You’re welcome”

Although this is a brief back-and-forth between two CEOs, it also serves to show the leadership position Tesla is taking to advance the automotive world.

Currently, this is all the information we’ve regarding all the Cybertruck’s innovations and the automotive world’s move to 48-volt architecture. However, we’ll be sure to keep you posted when we learn more about Tesla’s plans.

Until then, make sure to visit our site regularly for the latest updates.

So what do you think? Surprised to learn Tesla has sent every auto OEM a guide on how to build a 48-volt vehicle? Do you think any of them will use this guide to advance their respective companies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Image: Screenshot from Hagerty’s Cybertruck Review

For more information check out: Tesla’s VP of Investor Relations Defends MKBHD’s Cybertruck Review Against “He Should Stay in His Lane” Comments & Production Quality Concerns

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at @TinsaeAregay for daily Tesla news.

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George Bertoli (not verified)    December 7, 2023 - 1:07PM

While the first automotive electrical system in 1912 by Charles Kettering used 12 volts, the majority of American cars switched to 6 volts shortly after. The credit for the widespread adoption of a 12-volt system in the mid-1950s goes to General Motors (GM).

Here's a breakdown of the timeline:

1912: Charles Kettering creates the first automotive electrical system using 12 volts.
1920s-1950s: Most American cars adopt a 6-volt electrical system due to its lower cost and easier implementation.
1953: GM introduces the 12-volt system on select models like Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Buick Roadmaster.
1954-1955: Other GM models and eventually all other American car manufacturers follow suit, completing the transition by 1956.

Therefore, General Motors was the first company to move automotive electrical architecture from 6 volts to 12 volts on a large scale, starting in 1953 and leading the industry-wide transition by 1956.

William (not verified)    December 7, 2023 - 9:09PM

Porsche was the first production car with an 800v architecture. They sent Tesla a document on how to design a car with it. Elons an ass.

Raging Ramon (not verified)    December 8, 2023 - 10:13AM

Hate to break it to you, but Tesla isn't the first manufacturer to use 48 Volts. The Germans have used it for years for their power intense systems, JLR as well. Even Suzuki does it. They just apply it where absolutely necessary and keep the rest on 12 V due to interchangeability of parts and not because they wouldn't know how to build a 48 V architecture.