Category: tesla

Elon Musk: The AI in Tesla’s Cars Will Be Able to Predict Your Destination

A Car That Knows You

Responding to a post on Twitter, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk described how the artificial intelligence behind his company’s autonomous vehicles would be completely capable of bringing you where you want to go without asking you for a destination.

On Friday, Twitter user James Harvey suggested that Musk consider designing a vehicle that was able to simply ask you where you need to go once you hopped in. The billionaire techpreneur replied that, apparently for future Teslas, the car will be able to predict your destination most of time without you having to say a word.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The Tesla Autopilot was one of the first working self-driving systems that ever hit the roads, first deployed on the Model S and then the Model X in 2014. Since then, the system has had a number of hardware and software upgrades and has saved lives in the process. The latest Autopilot hardware 2.0 was released on February, 2017, with a firmware update that followed in June.

Towards True Autonomy

Autonomous driving technology is surging forward thanks to the growing number of automakers, chipmakers, and even private research institutions working towards perfecting automated systems. Governments are also stepping up, either by allowing driverless car test drives or by coming up with guidelines to govern the technology. Today’s driverless systems are capable of learning enough to navigate through roads safely.

This explosion in the autonomous industry makes it easy to see why Musk is so confident in the capabilities of the next generation of self-driving cars.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

As advanced as these systems are now, however, none are classified under what the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) considers to be Level 5 autonomy — even Tesla doesn’t have that yet, something General Motors was recently quick to point out.

However, a feature dubbed as HW 2.5 — an updated Autopilot hardware coupled with a new software — is expected to come out before the end of 2017. This, according to reports, will provide Tesla the necessary upgrades to attain Level 5 autonomy, and could potentially also equip Teslas with the ability to predict your destination, if Musk’s tweets are any indication.

The post Elon Musk: The AI in Tesla’s Cars Will Be Able to Predict Your Destination appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Powerpacks Will Help Power the World’s First Solar and Wind Energy Storage Project

Renewable Energy Storage

After successfully landing a contract to build what would be the world’s largest energy storage system, and to install batteries in New South Wales, Tesla has landed another deal to supply Powerpacks to the first solar and wind energy storage project in the world.

Windlabs, an Australian renewable energy development company, announced on Thursday that they’re moving forward with plans to build a solar and wind energy farm at the Kennedy Energy Park in North Queensland. The project, which costs some $160 million, will be a joint construction under Vesta and Quanta. The former will be providing the wind turbine, and Tesla will be supplying Powerpacks for energy storage.

“Kennedy will consist of 43.2MW Wind, 15MW AC, single axis tracking Solar and 4MWh of Li Ion battery storage. The project will use twelve Vestas V136, 3.6MW turbines at a hub height of 132 meters; the largest wind turbines yet to be deployed in Australia. The Li-Ion storage will be provided by Tesla,” according to the press announcement from Windlabs.

Sustainable Energy Ecosystem

Solar and wind energy, while effective at providing power, require specific circumstances in order to generate energy. It’s necessary, then, to store whatever energy is generated at peak hours so they’ll be available to supply the grid at non-peak times. This is where battery storage comes in; something Tesla has advocated for with the Powerwall and Powerpack.

The Kennedy project’s 4MWh requirement is measly compared to Tesla’s construction of a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack energy storage system. Though, as Electrek points out, there is the potential for scaling. “We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar, and storage can be combined to provide low-cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future,” Roger Price, executive chairman and CEO at Windlabs, said in the press release.

The Kennedy project’s combination of solar and wind is expected to generate a significant amount of energy, and it’s just the first of several building phases for the Kennedy Energy Park, which will boast a 1,200MW capacity.

The post Tesla’s Powerpacks Will Help Power the World’s First Solar and Wind Energy Storage Project appeared first on Futurism.

Meet the Polestar 1, the First Car From Volvo’s New Performance Electric Brand

Volvo just shared details on the Polestar 1, the first model from their new performance electric brand.

The Polestar 1 is a plug-in hybrid Grand Tourer Coupé with a range of 150 kilometers (93 miles) using only its available electric power. That gives the vehicle the record for longest fully electric range amongst available hybrid cars.

“Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand,” Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, said in the press release announcing the Polestar 1.

Polestar 1
Image Credit: Volvo

Volvo claims this will be the only hybrid released under the Polestar brand, with all future vehicles expected to be fully electric. According to Ingenlath, this is in keeping with the “brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand.”

Next up for the brand is the Polestar 2. Production on that vehicle is expected to begin in 2019, and Volvo sees it serving as a direct competitor to Tesla’s Model 3. They even directly pointed out this competition with Elon Musk’s EV company in the press release, saying, “[The Polestar 2] will be a mid-sized BEV, joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3.” The Polestar 3 all-electric SUV will follow.

Competition in the electric vehicle market will hopefully bring about innovations that benefit consumers. Tesla more or less owns the market at this point, but as more options become available, companies are going to have to provide more than novelty to break new ground.

The post Meet the Polestar 1, the First Car From Volvo’s New Performance Electric Brand appeared first on Futurism.

Uber Users in Dubai Can Now Choose to Ride in a Tesla

Environmentally Friendly

Dubai residents looking for a more environmentally friendly alternative to the SUVs and other fossil fuel-powered vehicles operating throughout the city can now call upon one of Uber’s 50 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles.

Dubai: City of the Future [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Earlier this month, Uber announced the UberONE program for Dubai in partnership with the Dubai Taxi Corporation. This new app option gives riders the ability to request Teslas through Uber for about the same additional cost as the service’s UberBLACK tier. While only 50 Model S and Model Xs are currently available, The Associated Press reports that another 150 are set to be added in 2018 and 2019.

Dubai residents aren’t the first to have the option to summon Teslas through Uber. The UberOne service first launched in Madrid, Spain, in December.

Embracing Autonomous Technology

The Dubai Taxi Corporation wasn’t drawn to Teslas simply because the vehicles are all-electric — their future self-driving capabilities were also a factor as they align with the Dubai Future Foundation’s ultimate goals.

“By 2030, 25 percent of all transportation trips in Dubai will be smart and driverless. The strategy is projected to generate economic revenues and savings of up to Dh22 billion a year,” His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said last April.

Dubai continues to solidify its place as a world leader in futuristic transportation. Last November, the city partnered with Virgin Hyperloop One to install a new hyperloop network that is expected to cut travel time from Dubai to Abu Dhabi down to 12 minutes. More recently, the government of Dubai announced a successful test of its autonomous flying taxi, meaning it can move forward with its plans for a drone taxi service.

Expect to see more innovative developments from the city as it attempts to overcome additional challenges of the modern world.

Disclosure: The Dubai Future Foundation works in collaboration with Futurism as a sponsor and does not hold a seat on our editorial board.

The post Uber Users in Dubai Can Now Choose to Ride in a Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Has Officially Started Shipping Tesla Powerpacks to Puerto Rico

Elon Musk has made no secret of his ambition to help Puerto Rico regain power after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Previously, Tesla had sent a few hundred Powerwall battery packs to the island, and now, Musk’s company has officially started shipping Powerpacks to Puerto Rico as part of relief efforts.

With a capacity of 210 kWh, a single Powerpack 2 battery is equivalent to 16 Powerwall cells. The priority for this hardware is to supply hospitals and other medical centers with power so that staff can continue their work.

Three weeks after the hurricane hit, less than 20 percent of the island has access to electricity, but even before the disaster, Puerto Rico’s power grid was in dire need of modernization. Musk wants to renew rather than just repair, and last week, he met with the island’s governor to discuss what Tesla could do to improve its infrastructure.

By shipping these Powerpacks to Puerto Rico right now, Tesla is providing the island with a lifeline. Any major work on the power grid will take months, but this hardware should ensure that the most critical facilities can continue to operate in the interim.

The post Elon Musk Has Officially Started Shipping Tesla Powerpacks to Puerto Rico appeared first on Futurism.

A Used Tesla Model 3 Was Briefly Listed for $150,000

A Wild Tesla Model 3

On Wednesday, October 10, the first Tesla Model 3 went on sale on Craigslist. The asking price? $150,000.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Only Tesla employees and company insiders are getting their Model 3s delivered ahead of regular customers, suggesting the car belonged to someone in either group. According to Electrek, the car and, presumably, the listing both belong to a Tesla Monterey employee. However, the Craigslist page has since been taken down. The listing read:

First ever Tesla Model 3 for sale. Car is lightly used with just over 2,000 miles. This is a unique opportunity to own one of the most anticipated cars ever. Skip the line of over 400,000 people and buy the car of the future now! Car is fully loaded with the 310 Mile Long Range Battery, Panoramic Glass Roof, Premium Interior, Sound System and Aero Wheels. Car has been great for the past 2,000 miles and a unique circumstance is forcing me to part with the car. Fit and finish are excellent for an early production model. This car meets all of the hype and I plan on owning another in the future.

High Demand

$150,000 is a high price, coming in at quadruple the base price of the Model 3. That said, a slowed production of the vehicles could prompt those with enough money to eagerly buy the car through whatever means present themselves; it’s not unlike Tesla fans to buy things prematurely.

Apparently, Tesla foresaw something like this happening, and added a few lines prohibiting employees from selling it to make a profit.

“Because employees are receiving special priority, all Model 3 cars prioritized to employees must be registered to you or your family member and may not be resold for more than the original price. Reservation holders will agree to these terms when their order is placed.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in July that the company should be able to produce 20,000 vehicles a month by December. It was supposed to hit 1,500 in September, but only managed to deliver 260. It’s unclear if the company still believes 20,000 a month is still achievable.

The post A Used Tesla Model 3 Was Briefly Listed for $150,000 appeared first on Futurism.

A Global Leader in AI Promises Level 4 Self-Driving Cars by 2021

Baidu, one of the world’s largest internet and artificial intelligence (AI) technology companies, has announced plans to deliver Level 4 self-driving cars by 2021 and Level 3 vehicles by 2019. Chinese automaker BAIC group will manufacture the vehicles, while Baidu provides the software to enable their self-driving capabilities, which will be developed through their Apollo autonomous driving program.

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Right now, Tesla’s Autopilot system is considered a Level 2 since it still requires that a driver monitor the car’s behavior, and experts have expressed doubts on the company’s ability to deliver higher-level autonomy within Elon Musk’s proposed timeframe.

China is a large market for Tesla’s electric vehicles, so if Baidu and BAIC Group’s partnership is able to produce Level 3 or Level 4 self-driving cars before Tesla can, Musk’s company could be facing some stiff competition in one of their strongest markets. Of course, this competition could also provide Tesla with the motivation needed to deliver on their lofty promises.

Although more and more automakers, tech companies, and even government officials across the globe are taking notice of self-driving cars, they still have numerous hurdles to overcome, both in terms of technology and in convincing the public to hand over control of their cars to artificially intelligent tech. Still, whether they hit the roads in two years or 10, self-driving vehicles are looking more and more like the future of transportation.

The post A Global Leader in AI Promises Level 4 Self-Driving Cars by 2021 appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Factory Video to Showcase Full Automation

Robots Under Pressure

Elon Musk took to Instagram to post another video of Tesla’s team of KUKA industrial robots at work building the Model 3, to showcase Tesla’s focus on automation in its development of electric vehicles. Earlier this week Musk sent out a video of Tesla’s Model 3 assembly line slowed down to 1/10th speed.

The new video, described as, “Stamping Model 3 body panels (real-time)” shows the automated process of fabricating the electric vehicle’s body at full speed. This comes amid numerous advances and controversies surrounding the automation of production. A few days ago, Jane Kim of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors established a committee dubbed the Jobs of the Future Fund, to explore how best to smooth the transition toward more automation.

Stamping Model 3 Body Panels (real-time)

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

Skeptics of an automated future like World Bank Chief Jim Yong Kim warn that humans are in for a job disruption not seen since the industrial revolution, and that we’d best invest in education and health. Kim argues that intelligent automation and reactionary political elements may threaten economic development (e.g., the resistance to forces of globalization)—putting the world, Kim adds, on a “crash course.”

But billionaire entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson thinks we have meaningful alternatives, telling the BI Nordic reporters that a safety net provided by a basic income could help counter the effects of artificial intelligence and increased automation.

Why Elon Musk Is Sharing

Musk is likely sending out these videos in response to claims that the Model 3 is largely being built by hand, a claim which Tesla has stated to be “fundamentally wrong and misleading.” The company has been unable to keep pace with production level announced by Musk just this past summer.

11 startups building advanced robots to replace humans
Click to View Full Infographic

Another statement from Tesla said, “We are simply working through the S-curve of production that we drew out for the world to see at our launch event in July. There’s a reason it’s called production hell.”

We can expect more videos of Musk proving the Model 3 is in the hands of an autonomous, streamlined production line. Hopefully, soon we can see the results of the process finally translate into speedy production. The company has so far had difficulty meeting the high demand of the new model.

The post Elon Musk Unveils Tesla Factory Video to Showcase Full Automation appeared first on Futurism.

GM Expert Calls Elon Musk “Full of Crap” for Saying Teslas Can Achieve Level 5 Autonomy

Truly Autonomous?

General Motors (GM) recently made headlines by unveiling plans to beef up their electric vehicle (EV) lineup. Now, the veteran carmaker is again in the spotlight, this time for taking a swing at Tesla and Elon Musk.

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

While speaking to Australian news outlets in Detroit last week, GM’s director of autonomous vehicle integration Scott Miller criticized Tesla’s CEO for claiming that his company’s vehicles are capable of Level 5 autonomy.

“The level of technology and knowing what it takes to do the mission, to say you can be a full Level 5 with just cameras and radars is not physically possible,” said Miller. He went on to add that Musk is “full of crap.”

Tesla-GM Clash

In 2014, the U.S.-based Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) released their J3016 document detailing the levels of automated driving technology. Level 5 represents completely driverless vehicle technology, but at present, most — if not all — self-driving cars fall under Level 3 (conditional autonomy). Miller doesn’t believe Tesla’s current Autopilot system has the hardware and software necessary to guarantee Level 5 autonomy.

“To be what an SAE Level 5 full autonomous system is, I don’t think he has the content to do that,” Miller told the Australian press. “I think you need the right sensors and right computing package to do it. Think about it. We have LIDAR, radar, and cameras on this… [To] be Level 5, you should have redundancy.”

As for his own company, GM was the first automaker to mass produce autonomous cars, and just yesterday, they acquired a LIDAR developer to push their self-driving car technology forward. According to Miller, GM expects to be able to produce Level 4 autonomous cars “within quarters” and plans to first introduce these vehicles in ride-sharing systems.

The debate between Tesla and GM on what a self-driving system must include in order to achieve Level 5 autonomy can only help the industry by pushing research and innovation. The more automakers we have competing to create next-level autonomous systems, the sooner the public gets to reap the benefits of safer roads and a little extra downtime during the morning commute.

The post GM Expert Calls Elon Musk “Full of Crap” for Saying Teslas Can Achieve Level 5 Autonomy appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Shows Model 3 Production in Slow Motion

Elon Musk took to Instagram to show off a video of his Model 3 production line slowed down to 1/10th of its normal speed. A later tweet clarified that the production line itself was slowed down, the video was not edited to show the line in slow motion. Musk stated that that line is “slowed down right now to confirm build consistency and so that a person can stop the robots in time if something goes wrong.”

The Model 3 body line slowed down to 1/10th speed

A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

The video was likely produced in response to reports of Tesla’s inability to keep up with production goals for its newest model of electric vehicles. Musk announced a plan to launch 20,000 Model 3 units per month by December, adhering to a gradual buildup strategy. Most recently, the company was supposed to see production up to 1,500 vehicles by the end of September but was only able to deliver 260.

Musk, during the Q2 2017 earnings call with investors, urged them to not get caught up in the low numbers citing an “exponentially growing production ramp.”

Futurism predicted a rough road ahead for Telsa after the initial release of the Model 3.  Musk and all at the company have their work cut out for them as they continue to attempt to meet the high demand for the Model 3.

The post Elon Musk Shows Model 3 Production in Slow Motion appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Postpones Reveal of Tesla’s Electric Semi

A Slight Delay

Today Elon Musk tweeted that the Tesla electric semi would now be unveiled later than originally planned on November 16:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Musk cited the need to divert resources to fix bottlenecks in Model 3 production as one of the reasons, telling followers that they are now “deep in production hell.” He also pointed out that the production ramp for the Model 3 is an exponential curve, and that each day makes a difference in terms of when non-employee reservation holders can expect to see their Model 3s: “Literally every day makes a big difference.”

Musk confirmed that late October is a possibility for these reservation holders, but not a certainty. Musk also mentioned that the semi reveal date is being pushed back so that the company can increase battery production for areas affected by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico. Musk and Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rossello, began making plans for Tesla to help rebuild the island’s electrical infrastructure on Twitter on Friday.

Electric Semis

The world continues to eagerly await the electric semi. Experts have asserted that the truck will totally disrupt the auto industry, and that diesel companies who don’t respond to the coming changes in the industry — which have been deemed unstoppable — will be left behind. Long haul trucking is responsible for around 20 percent of the transportation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

With autonomous capabilities, vehicles like the electric semi will do more than help us clean up our emissions act. They will render the transportation industry far safer, ending the trend of long haul trucking being a dangerous profession. Whether the November date is the final word or not, the electric semi is coming soon, and when it does it will be saving lives.

The post Elon Musk Postpones Reveal of Tesla’s Electric Semi appeared first on Futurism.

Today, Elon Musk Is Meeting Puerto Rico’s Governor to Fix the Island’s Energy Crisis

In response to a tweet yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that it would be possible for Tesla to rebuild Puerto Rico’s hurricane devastated energy system with Tesla technologies. Hurricane Maria made landfall more than two weeks ago and a vast majority of the island is still without power.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Musk said that a decision to overhaul the territory’s power grid would be up to the people of Puerto Rico. Last night, their governor, Ricardo Rossello, took to Twitter to take Mr. Musk up on that offer.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Musk responded to Rosello that he would be “happy to talk.” The mega-CEO also made earlier promises to help the ravaged island by sending along hundreds of Powerwall batteries to help bring power to those who need it most.

Musk is also working on bringing 100-Megawatts of power to South Australia in just 100 days. The installation will be the largest of its kind and potentially power as many 30,000 homes in the region. At the beginning of the year, an 80-MW Powerpack station came online to help reduce Southern California’s dependence on fossil fuels. Elon Musk and Tesla are making great strides to provide the infrastructure necessary to support greater reliance on renewable energy, and if he and the people of Puerto Rico join forces, the island territory could stand as exemplar to the world of clean-energy sustainability.

The post Today, Elon Musk Is Meeting Puerto Rico’s Governor to Fix the Island’s Energy Crisis appeared first on Futurism.

Proof That Tesla’s Batteries Are Utterly Revolutionizing How We Power Our World

Tesla Batteries Powering the World

Tesla is getting a lot of use out of its Powerwall and Powerpack products. The company has been selling Tesla Batteries since 2015, and both received major upgrades last year, ensuring that they will continue to be used for a variety of projects.

In recent months, Tesla batteries have been used to power the company’s solar roof product, sent to Puerto Rico to provide much-needed electricity, they’ve saved Australia $1.5 million, and will soon power thousands of homes in South Australia. That last application is particularly impressive, as it also accounts for one of the largest projects Tesla has ever taken on; and that was before CEO Elon Musk set a deadline for its completion at 100 days.

As Business Insider points out, however, South Australia and Puerto Rico aren’t the only places that have come to utilize the company’s batteries. In fact, several luxury resorts, a handful of lodges, and even entire islands are being powered by Tesla’s hardware.

Singita Boulders Lodge Swimming Pool Area. Image Credit: Singita
Singita Boulders Lodge swimming pool area. Image Credit: Singita

For starters, there’s the Singita Lodge, located on the edges of the Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa, which is home to a number of animals like buffalo, leopards, and elephants. The resort itself relies on a series of solar panels which are powered by Tesla’s Powerpack system. There’s also the Dent Island fishing lodge in British Columbia, which has five Powerpacks providing nearly 500 kilowatt-hours worth of energy.

From Homes to Islands

For more residential uses, look no further than the neighborhood of Glen Innes in Auckland, New Zealand. Last year, utility company Vector installed a Powerpack system at the nearby Glen Innes substation, increasing the capacity of East Auckland’s existing power supply. The 1MW system powers the entire neighborhood and helps even out the overall energy demand during peak times.

As said previously, though, Tesla’s hardware is also supplying energy to entire islands. Most notably is the island of Ta’u in American Samoa, which is home to a microgrid comprised of solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpacks. SolarCity and Tesla built the power system last year and it now provides 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity and 6 megawatt-hours of battery storage to the entire island, including the local hospital, schools, and fire and police stations.

“The stability and affordability of power from the new Ta’u microgrid, operated by American Samoa Power Authority, provides energy independence for the nearly 600 residents of Ta’u,” explained SolarCity in November. “The battery system also allows the island to use stored solar energy at night, meaning renewable energy is available for use around the clock.”

Expect to see more of Tesla’s batteries bringing power to more people and territories. Company CEO Elon Musk is already looking to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electricity system, and the company is currently building the world’s largest Supercharger station in China. It will be some time before we, as a planet, completely shift to clean energy, but Tesla’s continued involvement continues to benefit society; let’s hope companies with such influence never lose the desire to change the world.

The post Proof That Tesla’s Batteries Are Utterly Revolutionizing How We Power Our World appeared first on Futurism.

This Image May Be Our Very First Glimpse of Tesla’s New Semi

Thanks to some internet sleuths over at Reddit, we may have our first real-world glimpse of Tesla’s upcoming electric semi truck. With only a little more than three weeks until the October 26th unveiling date announced by CEO Elon Musk via Twitter last month, this is a promising development.

Photo: Reddit
Photo: Reddit

The photo shows a truck which looks similar to the mysterious photo released at Musk’s TED conference appearance in April. The truck in the most recent photo resembles the design of the original photo’s silhouette. Tesla was asked to comment but would only state, “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation.”

The semi truck’s range was allegedly leaked back in August by a Syder System Inc. executive who claimed a proposed range of 321-483 kilometers (200-300 miles) on a single charge. It will also be an important first move toward automating the shipping industry, which can help to increase efficiency and prevent accidents caused by overworked drivers or other human factors.

Tesla has swept through the electric vehicle industry, completely revolutionizing how we can get around. If Tesla’s more commercial offering takes off similarly to its personal transport models, we can expect a rapid transformation of how goods are transported that could even boost the adoption of electric vehicles across the spectrum as infrastructure is put in place to support the boom.

The post This Image May Be Our Very First Glimpse of Tesla’s New Semi appeared first on Futurism.

Ford Takes Aim at Tesla With “Team Edison”

Team Edison

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, and auto manufacturers are taking notice. Now, Ford has set up a group known as “Team Edison” to spearhead its efforts to carve out a place for the company in the growing EV market.

“The idea is to think big, move fast, and make quicker decisions,” said Sherif Marakby, Ford’s vice president of autonomous vehicles and electrification, in an interview with Reuters. He stated that the team “will look holistically at the electric vehicle market.”

The fact that the group has been dubbed Team Edison is a clear shot at Tesla, their main EV competition: Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were famously embroiled in a heated rivalry stemming from the War of Currents.

Tesla has been ahead of the curve when it comes to fielding electric autos, but Ford seems to be confident that its international prominence will help it compete. Team Edison will be based in Detroit, Michigan, but is set to collaborate with EV teams situated in Europe and China.

Adapt or Die

The popularity of electric cars has been trending upward, which means established auto manufacturers will need to adopt new technologies if they want to stay relevant. A host of countries have pledged to ban the sale of gas- and diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the not-too-distant future, so it’s high time that these companies prepare for what’s coming next.

Volkswagen has plans to offer electric versions of all of its models by 2030. General Motors expects to launch twenty all-electric cars by 2023. Mercedes’ parent company recently announced its plans to make a major investment in EV production. When their initial investment of $1 billion was challenged by Elon Musk, the company said they would, in fact, commit to investing $10 billion.

One thing is for sure: the automotive industry is changing. Ford is wise to establish Team Edison now to ensure the company doesn’t get left in the dust.

The post Ford Takes Aim at Tesla With “Team Edison” appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla is Shipping Hundreds of Powerwall Batteries to Puerto Rico

Emergency Power

In a continued streak of goodwill during this year’s devastating hurricane season, Tesla has been shipping hundreds of its Powerwall batteries to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Since the hurricane hit on 20 September, much of the U.S. territory has been left without power — about 97 percent, as of 27 September — hampering residents’ access to drinkable water, perishable food, and air conditioning. The island’s hospitals are struggling to keep generators running as diesel fuel dwindles.

Installed by employees in Puerto Rico, Tesla’s batteries could be paired with solar panels in order to store electricity for the territory, whose energy grid may need up to six months to be fully repaired. Several power banks have already arrived to the island, and more are en route.

Debuted in 2016, the latest Powerwall model has a capacity of 13.5 kWh.

Flood waters remain high in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017, after Hurricane Maria slammed the island. Puerto Rico National Guard photo by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos
Flood waters remain high in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017, after Hurricane Maria slammed the island. Image Credit: Puerto Rico National Guard / Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramo

According to Engadget, Tesla is currently working with local organizations to identify the best locations for the power banks.

As the New York Times reported, restoring power to Puerto Rico will be both difficult and expensive: “Transformers, poles, and power lines snake from coastal areas across hard-to-access mountains. In some cases, the poles have to be maneuvered in place with helicopters.” Tesla’s Powerwall systems could provide lifesaving energy while those repairs are in process.

In addition to supplying power in electricity-sparse places, the Powerwall system also holds promise in helping us wean off of fossil fuels and use more clean energy. Tesla recently acquired solar cell-production company SolarCity in order to produce photovoltaic cells for use with the Powerwall.

The post Tesla is Shipping Hundreds of Powerwall Batteries to Puerto Rico appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk’s Promised 100-Megawatt Battery in 100 Days for South Australia is Underway

A Promise Made

Telsa CEO Elon Musk has announced his contract with South Australia to build a 100-megawatt lithium power storage system. Not only will this system hold the record for highest capacity battery system of its kind, but Must also aims to construct it in a very short time span: just 100 days.

Musk set the deadline for himself in a series of tweets back in March. What started off as a casual internet exchange has blossomed into an international partnership that could provide reliable energy for the many Australians who experienced a crisis last year when several parts of the country had power shortages.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

A Promise Kept

The Australian summer, with its high energy demands, is just a few months away, but Tesla is off to a phenomenal start to beating the tight deadline. Musk revealed that about half the promised capacity was already in place on site — a strong indicator that Tesla will easily glide through the short timeline.

“To have that done in two months is really pretty amazing,” Bloomberg reported that Musk said in a speech on the site of the battery installation. “You can’t even remodel your kitchen in that amount of time. It serves as a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done.”

Not only will the battery system help Australia prevent power outages, but it will also bolster the country’s efforts to transition to clean energy. The goal is for the battery system to be powered by renewable energies like solar and wind farms.

“There were lots of people that were making jokes about South Australia and making fun of our leadership in renewable energy,” Bloomberge reported that South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said at the event. “Today, they are laughing out the other side of their face.”

The post Elon Musk’s Promised 100-Megawatt Battery in 100 Days for South Australia is Underway appeared first on Futurism.

Electric Vehicles Account for Six of the Ten Fastest-Selling Used Cars in the U.S.

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids are amongst the fastest-selling late model used cars in the U.S., according to a new study from iSeeCars. Of the top 10 fastest-selling used cars, six don’t rely on gasoline. The models earning the distinction of cracking the top 10 are Fiat’s 500e (#1), BMW’s i3 (#2), Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid (#4), Nissan’s Leaf (#6), Ford’s Fusion Energi (#9), and Tesla’s Model S (#10).

The average price of a one- to three-year-old car is $21,000, and Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars, speculates that consumers are more willing to take a chance on used electric models thanks to their comparatively lower price. Some of these EVs and hybrids even have price points that are less than half the average, like the 500e’s average of $9,055.

Interior of the 2017 Fiat 500e. Image Credit: Fiat.
Interior of the 2017 Fiat 500e. Image Credit: Fiat.

A used Tesla Model S, on the other hand, will cost anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000, but sales are still doing well thanks to other factors. “Tesla’s popularity, along with the scarcity of the Model S on the used car market, is probably driving prices up while cars continue to sell quickly,” said Ly. Tesla’s recent decision to discontinue the cheapest Model S option probably isn’t helping either.

Electrek notes that this study is a clear indication that people are willing to buy electric cars, despite what automakers may have said in the past about the lack of demand. In reality, people are interested in these vehicles — they just need to be priced comparable to their gas-guzzling counterparts. Discounts, tax credits, and other purchasing incentives go a long way, too.

Whether used or new, the more EVs we get on the road, the better our chances of stemming the problems caused by the use of fossil fuels.

The post Electric Vehicles Account for Six of the Ten Fastest-Selling Used Cars in the U.S. appeared first on Futurism.

An Australian City Saved $1.5 Million by Installing a Tesla Powerpack

Off the Grid

A city in Australia has saved $1.5 million by installing a Tesla Powerpack. The battery will power a water disinfection plant, which is the first facility of its kind in Australia to be supplied with electricity in this manner.

Logan City Council recently built a new reservoir to cater to the needs of the area’s growing population, but the site was so far from the power grid that it would have been prohibitively expensive to forge a connection. Instead, 323 solar panels have been attached to the roof of the facility, harvesting energy that will be stored in the 95 kWh Powerpack.

Logan City mayor Luke Smith stated that linking the plant up to the grid would have cost $1.5 million. The council hasn’t stated how much it paid to implement the Powerpack, but the hardware is estimated to have cost around $100,000, according to a report from Electrek.

“We’ve obviously been trialling it for the last few weeks and we’re confident that it’s going to work but what it will do is it will set a new standard, I think, globally but particularly what we’re building in Logan,” Smith told ABC.

Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla Down Under

Australia is proving to be fertile ground for Tesla, particularly when it comes to its Powerpack hardware. In June, the company signed a contract with Transgrid to install the batteries across New South Wales, and the following month it arranged to supply a battery to the Hornsdale Wind Farm.

Broadly speaking, the country is ahead of the game when it comes to renewable energy, producing enough to power 70 percent of homes. As such, it should be of little surprise that officials are looking into better ways of storing that energy to make the most of production.

The post An Australian City Saved $1.5 Million by Installing a Tesla Powerpack appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Jokingly Takes Credit for Daimler’s $10 Billion EV Investment

Elon Musk stirred up some friendly competition via Twitter when he responded to a USA Today article discussing Daimler’s bet on electric vehicle (EV) technology. Musk said that the “$1 billion bet” the company was putting into taking on Tesla was not enough for “a giant” like Daimler and that it was “off by a zero.”

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Daimler didn’t take issue with Musk’s criticism. In fact, they pointed out that the headline of the piece was missing the point, and that they’re investing that extra zero, more than $10 billion, into the next generation EV, plus another billion into batteries:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

When a Twitter user pointed out that Musk wasn’t really the force behind Daimler’s $10 billion investment, and that the investment preceded the criticism, Musk responded by joking that he actually had caused the investment:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This could technically be just a joke, or, as TechCrunch points out, a reference to Tesla’s pioneering work with EVs — the reader can interpret it to their liking.

The post Elon Musk Jokingly Takes Credit for Daimler’s $10 Billion EV Investment appeared first on Futurism.

By 2023, Tesla Could Have Millions of Cars on the Road

Hit the Road, Tesla

More and more Tesla vehicles are predicted to hit the road in the coming years — and that may give the company a serious edge in the competition to develop better, smarter self-driving cars.

More than 200,000 Teslas are on the road right now, each providing the company with data it can use to improve its machine-learning technology. However, now that the Model 3 is in production, the number of Teslas on the road could explode. Business Insider reports that Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told clients, in a note on September 26, that he believes that the company will hit as many as three million Teslas on the road by 2023. We’ll already have 300,000 Teslas on the road by the end of 2017, and a predicted 531,000 by the end of 2018.

“With the launch of the Model 3, we forecast the Tesla car population to multiply three times by the end of 2019,” Jonas said in the note, according to Bloomberg. “It has been generations since the investment community witnessed such a high growth rate in the population of a single auto firm,” Jonas continued, and added that by 2040, there could be 32 million Tesla vehicles in use.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla

Tesla’s machine learning technology advances its algorithms based on experience. This provides massive amounts of data with many, varied examples, allowing the algorithms to improve. This kind of data is critical to improving self-driving technology. With more Teslas on the road, the data will be rolling in, and the system will improve much faster, offering the company a tremendous competitive advantage.

Jonas emphasized that as the population of Tesla cars grows, so does the accumulation of their combined miles traveled, helping to train the Tesla machine learning network faster than competitors. “We estimate that Tesla’s cars travel a bit more than 7 million miles per day, a figure we forecast to reach 100 million miles by the 2023 or 2024 time frame, a level on par with what we estimate Uber’s fleet is executing on a daily basis today,” he said in the note. “In our view, firms that can capture sufficient quantity and quality of miles data will be in a strong position to develop competitive autonomous transport networks.”

Business Insider reports that Elon Musk is expected to produce more details about the “Tesla Network” and the planned car sharing program sometime this year.

The post By 2023, Tesla Could Have Millions of Cars on the Road appeared first on Futurism.

China is Getting the Largest Tesla Supercharger Station in the World

The great push to upgrade to more electric vehicle (EV) friendly infrastructure is underway. A set of photographs obtained by Electrek show an enormous Tesla Supercharger station being built underground at the Lilacs International Commercial Centre in the Pudong district of Shanghai. The station will house 50 Superchargers, making it the largest known Supercharger station in the world.

Tesla has previously announced a goal of installing 10,000 Superchargers around the world, with 1,000 planned for China alone. Additionally, the company recently announced plans to introduce smaller Superchargers to cities to help expand the ease of owning a Tesla.

Image Credit: Max Pixel

The expansion of Supercharger accessibility is one of the key factors in allowing Tesla’s influence to spread across the car buying world. As using and recharging electric vehicles becomes easier, it will also become easier for consumers to buy into the technology. Tesla is working to expand accessibility by making their cars (relatively) more affordable, like with their Model 3 offering.

More accessibility will help to expand EV adoption. And while Tesla vehicles are not currently capable of truly driverless operation, improving autonomous capabilities is one of the company’s major goals. The combination of the added safety of autonomous driving and environmental consciousness will help to usher in a new era in personal transportation.

The post China is Getting the Largest Tesla Supercharger Station in the World appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla to Discontinue Its Cheapest Model S

Anyone on the fence about buying the Tesla Model S 75 with rear-wheel drive should make a decision soon, because Tesla will discontinue that model after Sunday, September 24.

The company told Electrek in July it would say goodbye to the cheapest Model S, but didn’t give a specific date. Now, both Electrek and Business Insider are reporting this Sunday to be the cut-off date.

At $69,500, the rear-wheel drive Model S 75 was the most affordable Tesla vehicle available, but it’s now on its way out to make room for the currently in-production Model 3. Starting at $35,000, the Model 3 will soon be the only vehicle Tesla offers with single rear-wheel drive.

“Model 3 is a smaller, simpler, more affordable electric car,” Tesla explains on the Model 3 page. “Although it is our newest vehicle, Model 3 is not “Version 3” or the most advanced Tesla. Like Model S, it is designed to be the safest car in its class.”

If consumers want a Model S, they’ll have to choose between the 75D, 100D, and P100D, which are all dual-motor all-wheel-drive sedans; the 75D will become the cheapest Tesla model at $74,500.

This isn’t the first time Tesla has discontinued one of its cars. In 2016, both the 85-kWh Model X and the rear-wheel drive 90-kWh Model S were cut off to make room the current Model S line-up.

The post Tesla to Discontinue Its Cheapest Model S appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Is Allegedly Partnering With AMD to Build Its Own Autonomous Chips

Rumors have been swirling that Tesla is looking to build its own chip to operate future self-driving vehicles. Now, a new report from CNBC adds more evidence to that speculation. CNBC cites a source familiar with the matter who claims, “The carmaker has received back samples of the first implementation of its processor and is now running tests on it.” Furthermore, Sanjay Jha, CEO of GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor foundry, listed Tesla as an example of a company working with chip fabricators. The company has since responded that “Tesla has not committed to working with us on any autonomous driving technology or product,” and Jha’s comments were reported to be out of context.

Image credit: Automobile Italia/Flickr
Image Credit: Automobile Italia/Flickr

It became evident that Tesla was interested in building their own chip when they hired chip architect Jim Keller, who has previously worked for AMD and Apple. Since Keller’s hiring, Tesla has also brought on other big talents from AMD like director Ganesh Venkataramanan, Bill McGee, a principal hardware engineer, and Dan Bailey, a system circuit design lead. The source added that there are as many as 50 others working under Keller on this project.

Tesla’s current autopilot systems are running on chips made by GPU makers Nvidia. The move to make their own chip would help to make Tesla more self-reliant for its processing needs. The company is aiming to create vehicles that are truly autonomous, and building their own chips will give Tesla more control over the direction that development takes and complete ownership of the resulting technology.

The post Tesla Is Allegedly Partnering With AMD to Build Its Own Autonomous Chips appeared first on Futurism.

Porsche CEO: Our First All-Electric Vehicle Will Be Released a Year Ahead of Schedule

Originally expected to roll out in 2020, Porsche’s Mission E will arrive a year sooner, according to the company’s CEO Oliver Blume.

Branded as the luxury carmaker’s first fully electric vehicle, the Mission E has been established as a potential rival to Tesla’s flagship luxury EV, the Model S. However, with an expected price tag of $80,000, the Mission E is a tad bit more expensive than the Model S, which has a base price of only $62,000. The $80,000 cost positions the Mission E between Porsche’s Panamera and the 911.

The Mission E is a 1.3 meters (4.26 feet) tall, four-door sports car with an all-electric powertrain. Its initial concept included a 600-hp motor with a four-wheel drive capable of accelerating from 0 to 96 kph (60 mph) in just under 3.5 seconds and reaching top speeds of more than 249 kph (155 mph).

First unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the luxury EV is now in the final stages of production and development. According to an interview Blume granted to Car Magazine at this year’s event, it’s being readied for a 2019 shipment schedule, and Porsche would soon be testing the vehicle publicly. “We are in series engineering phase,” said the CEO.

The post Porsche CEO: Our First All-Electric Vehicle Will Be Released a Year Ahead of Schedule appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Must Overcome Local Production Laws Before Bringing EVs to India

Tesla wants to bring its electric vehicles to India, and they plan to make the Model 3 their first EV in the country by 2019. CEO and founder Elon Musk mentioned it back in June of this year, and now he’s said it again. Replying to a question on Twitter, Musk explained that Tesla continues to be in “discussions” with the national government of India, the second-most populous nation on Earth.

The only difference between his June announcement and now is the focus of discussion — that is, what it is keeping Tesla from bringing their EVs sooner. Back in June, Musk said that they were asking for a “temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions” until a factory, presumably a gigafactory, is built in India.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Now, Musk says the delay is due to difficulties with so-called local content requirements. It’s a policy that requires goods to have a certain percentage of the production process sourced from local manufacturers. Musk is asking for a temporary reprieve from this condition until a gigafactory can be built in India.

With these hurdles overcome, and the Model 3 production goals met, India could be a great market for EVs. In fact, the country already has legislation to sell only electric cars by 2030. For Tesla, getting into the Indian market before that obtains is crucial, especially with the country on its way to becoming the world’s third-largest car market by 2020.

The post Tesla Must Overcome Local Production Laws Before Bringing EVs to India appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Patent Reveals Possible Plans for a New Battery Swapping Station

Replacing the Batteries

A recently filed patent may hint at Tesla’s plans for the future, specifically, how the company intends to provide Tesla owners with the ability to swap out battery packs.

The patent, filed in May, details a battery swapping system in which a Model S or Model X would be driven onto a ramp or lift before being raised to a predetermined height. Technicians assigned to the station would then be able to assist with the machine’s operation and swap the battery for a fully charged one. From start to finish, the entire process would take about 15 minutes.

Tesla is already expanding its supercharging stations to Boston, Chicago, and parts of South Australia. Typically, a recharge can take about 30 minutes, while the smaller charges coming to Chicago and Boston need 45-50 minutes.

“This can provide a more rapid way of replenishing the electric energy for the electric vehicle and can enable electric vehicles to travel essentially nonstop on long road trips,” reads the patent.

 

An image of how the battery swapping system could look. Image Credit: Tesla
An image of how the battery swapping system could look. Image Credit: Tesla

A Second Attempt

This isn’t the first time Tesla has considered introducing battery swapping stations. In 2014, the company launched a pilot program that would allow people to swap their car’s battery in about three minutes, but it required an appointment to be made beforehand. At the time, Tesla believed future iterations of the service would take less than a minute, as the process became more automated.

TechCrunch notes that, despite the patent only mentioning the Model S and Model X, the stations could be of benefit to other Tesla vehicles, too. The company’s self-driving semi truck, set to be officially revealed on October 26, would be one model that would certainly benefit from being able to have its battery exchanged mid-trip. If the battery swapping system is truly faster than a supercharging station, it could also reduce the semi’s own travel time.

The existence of the patent doesn’t mean Tesla has plans to work on the project, however. We’ll have to wait and see if the company thinks it’s worthwhile to pursue.

The post Tesla Patent Reveals Possible Plans for a New Battery Swapping Station appeared first on Futurism.

90 Percent of Vehicles in the U.S. Could Be Electric by the Early 2040s

Horses for Courses

A new study by researchers from the International Monetary Fund and Georgetown University suggests that electric vehicles might be more popular that their gas- and diesel-powered equivalents sooner rather than later. Their findings suggest that by 2040, it’s possible that 90 percent of passenger vehicles in the US, Canada, Europe, and similarly wealthy nations could be electric.

The study compared the seemingly imminent transition to electric vehicles to the shift from horses and buggies to cars in the early 20th century. Despite driving being quite unlike steering a buggy — and the fact that buying a car was of equivalent expense to the average person as buying a $137,000 auto would have been in 2015 — it only took ten or fifteen years for horses and buggies to be replaced as the primary mode of transport.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The researchers investigated two scenarios; one based on how quickly the public adopted Henry Ford’s Model T cars, and the other based on the pace at which they abandoned the horse and buggy. A significant number of people started using public transport at this time, so it wasn’t a case of every horse and buggy that was put out of commission being replaced by a Model T.

Based on the latter metric — referred to as the slow-adoption scenario — electric vehicles will make up 5 percent of all vehicles in the US by the end of the 2020s, a figure that will rise to 36 percent by the early 2040s. If the fast-adoption scenario comes to pass, 30 percent of vehicles will be electric by the late 2020s, and a staggering 93 percent will be by the early 2040s.

Shifting Gears

Other studies have predicted a slightly slower rate of adoption. For instance, Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that only 54 percent of new car sales in 2040 will be electric. However, the consensus seems to be that gas- and diesel-powered cars are on their way out, even if it’s difficult to determine how long the changeover will take.

The cost of electric vehicles will be a huge factor in how quickly things progress. Tesla’s Model 3 could be a gamechanger, with its price tag of $35,000 — assuming that the company can fulfill the massive demand.

Other automakers are also getting in on the action. Volkswagen recently stated its intention to offer electric versions of its entire fleet by 2030, and high-end manufacturers like Porsche are prepping their own electric vehicles.

The auto industry is preparing for major upheaval, but government bodies are doing everything in their power to ensure these changes come to pass quickly. The UK will ban new gas- and diesel-powered cars in 2040, and China is working on a timetable for similar legislation.

The post 90 Percent of Vehicles in the U.S. Could Be Electric by the Early 2040s appeared first on Futurism.

First Look: Tesla Just Unveiled Their Supercharger Stations Made for Cities

Clean City Driving

Tesla is making moves to bring more electric cars into cities by launching a network of new, slimmer Superchargers in urban centers. An announcement from Tesla reveals: “…as part of our commitment to make Tesla ownership easy for everyone, including those without immediate access to home or workplace charging, we are expanding our Supercharger network into city centers, starting with downtown Chicago and Boston.”

The Superchargers are set to be placed in convenient locations in urban areas, to allow drivers to multitask and charge their cars while shopping or running other errands. The smaller Superchargers will deliver up to 72kW of power to an attached vehicle, which is admittedly just over half of what’s capable with current 120kW Superchargers. So while the charge time will increase to about 45-50 minutes, the space between charging stations will, in turn, dramatically decrease.

Superstation Location

Ideally, electric vehicles (EVs), like those made by Tesla, would be a fantastic option for city drivers. Many city drivers would not be hindered by worrisome range anxiety, as their trips would be well below the maximum ranges of today’s available vehicles.

Unfortunately, we have yet to arrive in such a utopia, and city-dwelling EV early adopters have to be sustained by a patchwork of available charging stations. The absence of privately owned parking spaces or garages makes owning home-charging setups impossible, so city dwellers must rely on what is publicly available. The resources many currently have are not enough to conveniently support drivers, let alone encourage expansion.

As such, Tesla’s new stations are excellent news for electric vehicles in general, as increasing infrastructure will encourage the growth of the technology, allowing charging capabilities to expand beyond brand specific stations. Electric vehicles have a much smaller imprint on the environment, and as the world’s grids are increasingly relying on renewable resources to meet power needs, that benefit is growing.

The post First Look: Tesla Just Unveiled Their Supercharger Stations Made for Cities appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Boosted The Range of Cars in Hurricane Irma’s Path

Evacuation Assistance

Tesla drivers who might have been affected by Hurricane Irma have been given a helping hand from the company. The automaker issued a software update that temporarily increases the driving range of the 60kWh versions of its Model S and Model X cars situated in the path of the hurricane.

The Tesla Model S. Image Credit: Tesla
Promotional image of the Tesla Model S. Image Credit: Tesla

Previously, these vehicles were limited to a driving range of around 210 miles on a single charge. Thanks to the automatic update, this should be increased to 249 miles, which should hopefully have made things easier for anyone attempting to evacuate the area.

Reports of the change initially came in via users on the Tesla forums and the Tesla subreddit, but the company has since confirmed that it was an intentional measure. The driving range of these cars is expected to be put back to normal on September 16.

Over the Air

It might seem strange that Tesla is able to upgrade the capabilities of its vehicles via software update. However, the company is really removing a limitation, rather than upping their driving range outright.

When Tesla decided to start offering a cheaper 60kWh version of certain models, it turned out to be more practical to use a 75kWh battery and limit its range via software. Owners can actually make the upgrade whenever they want — but it typically costs upwards of $5,000.

Even without Tesla’s helpful gesture, electric vehicles are proving to be a boon to drivers caught in the path of Hurricane Irma. Gasoline shortages across Florida are causing difficulties for motorists, with reports indicating that 60 percent of gas stations in Gainesville are without fuel, and 40 percent having run dry in Miami, as millions of residents evacuated their homes.

The post Tesla Boosted The Range of Cars in Hurricane Irma’s Path appeared first on Futurism.

New Drone Footage Shows Just How Huge Tesla’s Gigafactory Really Is

It looks like there is a lot of action going on at Tesla‘s giant Gigafactory.

The factory, which is located in Sparks, Nevada, is where Tesla is producing the battery cells for its electric cars and drivetrains for its Model 3, the company’s first mass-market electric car.

Tesla aims to ramp up production of its Model 3 to some 20,000 units per month by December and some 10,000 units per week in 2018, CEO Elon Musk has said.

But in order for the company to meet these lofty goals, it must also ramp up battery cell production.

That’s where the Gigafactory comes in.

New drone footage posted by YouTube user California Phantom last Thursday captures the factory’s massive size, but it also appears to show a lot of work happening at the factory. Scroll down for a closer look:

Tesla’s Gigafactory is located on a 3,000-acre lot of land in Sparks, Nevada.

Image Source: California Phantom/YouTube

And as you can see, the company needs that land not only for its giant factory, but also for parking so that it can accommodate its growing number of employees.

Image Source: California Phantom/YouTube

Construction at the factory has come a long way in just a few months. This shot of the factory’s roof was taken in December.

Image Source: YouTube/Matthew Roberts

It doesn’t look like there’s been much more expansion of the main building externally since December, but the footage does appear to show a much busier atmosphere, suggesting there’s some expansion going on inside.

The Gigafactory will be more than five million square feet (including several floors) once it’s completed, and it will be capable of producing more battery cells than any other lithium ion battery factory in the world, Musk has said.

Image Source: California Phantom/YouTube

Check out more footage of the factory in the video below:

 

The post New Drone Footage Shows Just How Huge Tesla’s Gigafactory Really Is appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Drivers Will Soon Be Able to Access Their Preferences From Any Vehicle

Elon Musk has teased a major new feature for Tesla vehicles via his Twitter account. The company is planning to switch to a profile-based system that would allow drivers to access their preferences from any vehicle in the world.

A Tesla owner tweeted Musk a question about the possibility of setting a different work location for separate drivers sharing the same car. The CEO responded with talk of a plan to move “all info and settings” to a cloud-based server, making them accessible from anywhere and any vehicle.

Musk is well known for using his Twitter account to share everything from news on the future of his business to his opinions on the progression of technology as a whole. In the last few weeks alone, he’s used social media to reveal future plans for Hyperloop and state his concerns about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

However, in this case, he stopped short of announcing when this functionality would be made available. Now, in the past, Musk has used Twitter to brief drivers on when new firmware updates would be distributed, so it’s likely that this information will be dispersed on twitter when the time is right.

The post Tesla Drivers Will Soon Be Able to Access Their Preferences From Any Vehicle appeared first on Futurism.

Mercedes-Maybach Just Revealed a New Luxury Electric Convertible

Luxury & Efficiency

In the last few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have come a long way, with carmakers like Tesla, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and many others developing efficient, sleek, new models. Currently, Tesla is leading the pack, launching both luxury and more affordable models that range from sedans to semi trucks. But other companies are hot on Tesla’s trail, eager to reveal their impressive, energy efficient models.

This past Friday, Mercedes-Maybach launched its new concept vehicle, the Vision 6 Cabriolet, at the 2017 Monterey Car Week in California. The concept car is a glamorous, luxury convertible that runs 100 percent on electricity.

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG chief design officer, said in a Mercedes-Benz press release, “The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy. Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious haute couture interior help to create the ultimate experience.”

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Future of EVs

The vehicle has 750 horsepower and can go more than 320 km (200 miles) on a single charge. This new model is a brilliant follow-up to the previous Vision 6 Coupe, which was unveiled last year. The new model has a boat tail end, and is almost 6 meters (20 feet) long, giving the car an appearance akin to a luxury yacht.

The Tesla Model 3 has an estimated demand of over half a million, and Elon Musk recently leaked information about the impressive long-range capacity of the vehicle. While Tesla is continuing to produce quality options, competition from more affordable and even equally luxurious models isn’t necessarily a bad thing for consumers. And with this luxurious option scoring high on performance, efficiency, comfort, and — most obviously — style, it gives a big boost to the future of EVs.

The post Mercedes-Maybach Just Revealed a New Luxury Electric Convertible appeared first on Futurism.

Experts Are Divided on the Future Impact of Tesla

Divisive Tesla

At this point, everyone has heard about Tesla, the company that specializes in electric cars, energy storage, and solar panels. Elon Musk, the CEO, is a respected figure in the tech world, and is paving the way for electric cars to enter the mainstream as part of an ambitious plan to save our environment. But what is the reality behind the headlines and the hype — is Tesla all it’s  cracked up to be?

Tesla’s market capitalization reached $51 billion in April, and the company has now surpassed numerous other major manufacturers, including BMW, GM Motors, and Ford, despite all of those companies selling thousands more cars than Tesla and actually making a profit.

Numerous experts have reported on this discrepancy: Christopher Mims, a tech columnist at the Wall Street Journal, tweeted: “Tesla: delivered 76,000 cars last year, deeply in debt. Ford: 20x more revenue, billions in profits on millions of cars each year. And yet,” referring to Tesla passing Ford on market cap. Walt Mossberg, executive director of The Verge replied, agreeing with Mims, “I admire Tesla and @elonmusk, but this is the billionth example of why stock market valuations don’t reflect reality.”

Elon Musk himself stated, “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” in an interview with The Guardian. However, on Twitter, he pointed out that Tesla’s stock price represents possible future cash flow.

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson sums up the spectrum of where Tesla could go in the future, saying that the company is “either one of the greatest Ponzi schemes of all time or it’s gonna work out.” A Ponzi scheme is when investment is generated by false claims, and each round of investment pays the return for the previous generation.

David Einhorn, a Wall Street investor, sits on the skeptical end of this spectrum, comparing the enterprise to the “March 2000 dot-com bubble” in a conference call by saying, “while we don’t know exactly when the bubble will pop, it eventually will.” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in a research note that choosing the company is like taking the “blue pill” in The Matrix — it is not facing up to the company’s many problems.

However, there are also many industry voices that are fervent believers in Tesla. Apple founder Steve Wozniak has faith that they will be the company responsible for the next technological breakthrough — in an interview with BloomBerg Canada, he said, “I’m going to bet on Tesla.”

Likewise, Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley’s Tesla analyst, claimed in a research note in March that Tesla has the potential to become a key player in the future of transport. He wrote, “we think the Model 3 will feature hardware and software that provide a level of active safety that could significantly lead all other cars on sale today.”

Tesla Breaking Barriers

Whether Tesla is overhyped in terms of its market cap is still undecided. But what we do know is that, if nothing else, Tesla has broken barriers down in the electric vehicle and clean energy sectors, and for that it should be praised.

BMW Executive Ian Robertson told Car and Driver that, “I’m very supportive of what Tesla has done. The world needs that sort of new competitor.” Whether or not it can live up to the hype concerning itself, it has created public interest for environmental solutions to our transport and energy needs — and encouraged other companies to do the same through the competition it has generated, driving them forward to better, greener, innovations.

Elon Musk’s explanation to Goalcast of what he hoped he could do with SpaceX — his space company — is the kernel of what he has achieved with Tesla. He said, “If we could just move the ball forward, even if we died, some other company could pick up the baton and keep moving it forward […] that would still do some good.” Tesla may remain unprofitable, it may crash in spite of its high market cap, but at the very least it has changed the playing field for the better.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

In the same interview, Musk went on to state that, “there are just times when something is important enough, you believe in it enough, that you do it in spite of fear” and “if you just accept the probabilities, then that diminishes fear.” It is an attitude like this that Musk, and Tesla, should be lauded for, because it is belief in strong ideals that will drive us forward into a better future, rather than the clumsy and dangerous mechanisms of amassing profit.

When we cut through the speculation, the debate, and the verbiage we realize that charismatic, idealistic individuals who are willing to put their fortunes and reputations on the line are necessary, even if they may be valued incorrectly or overhyped. Elon Musk is one such individual; let us hope for many more. As Walter Lippman once said, “when all think alike, then no one is thinking.”

The post Experts Are Divided on the Future Impact of Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

Leaked Emails: Tesla Will Soon Test “Platoons” of Electric, Driverless Trucks on Public Roads

Tesla’s Other Self-Driving Vehicle

It’s no secret that Tesla has plans to build an electric semi-truck: the idea was floating around as early as September 2016. CEO and founder Elon Musk confirmed in April this year that an electric truck was indeed in the works, and a working prototype is expected to come out this September. Now, a leaked email exchange between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters, reveal that the company is developing electric, self-driving semis that move in “platoons” trailing a lead vehicle.

The email conversations dated from May and June 2017 included Tesla and various representatives of the Nevada DMV discussing potential road trials for prototype semis — which could be the first such test run on the city’s roads for autonomous trucks without a person in the cab. In one of these exchanges, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to DMV official April Sanborn about the agenda for a July 16 meeting.

“To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle,” Zamani wrote. Then, on July 10, Zamani asked the DMV for testing license terms. No particular date was mentioned, however, as to when this road testing would be.

Nevada DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters that Tesla requested for a meeting with California officials on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” as well as to introduce new staff.

The Road to Autonomous Trucks

Tesla is hardly the first to work on developing driverless trucks. Its most popular competition comes from Uber and Waymo, Google’s former autonomous vehicle development company now under its parent firm Alphabet Inc. Both Uber, working with startup Otto, and Waymo have already done tests with their self-driving trucks, which puts Tesla a little bit behind. European luxury car brand Mercedes Benz also revealed back in 2015 that it’s working on its own driverless truck, as well as an autonomous bus.

There are also a number of Silicon Valley startups working on platooning technology for fleets of long-haul trucks. Among these is automated vehicle technology company Peloton, whose current work involves several truck makers including Volvo. Peloton considers platooning as an important precursor to autonomy when it comes to long-haul driverless trucks, in order to increase safety and efficiency.

With all these efforts, it seems that self-driving trucks are close to becoming a reality. Yet Tesla is unique in developing an all-electric version — and for good reason. One of the greatest challenges truck manufacturers and autonomous vehicle companies face is battery range limitations. Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher from Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters that long-haul electric trucks aren’t commercially feasible yet. Such trucks would require huge batteries, he said, so the “cargo essentially becomes the battery.”

Perhaps this is an area where Tesla has an edge over its competitors, thanks to its experience with developing powerful batteries. In any case, with barely a month before the promised prototype, we can’t wait to see just what Musk’s electric autonomous semi could offer. If you’re driving through Nevada, keep an eye out — the road testing might soon follow afterwards.

The post Leaked Emails: Tesla Will Soon Test “Platoons” of Electric, Driverless Trucks on Public Roads appeared first on Futurism.

Ikea Launches Solar Panels and Home Battery Packs in the UK

Ikea has launched a range of solar panels and home battery packs in the UK. Partnering up with Solarcentury, the country’s leading provider of solar technology, the company hopes to simplify customers’ efforts to make their homes more eco-friendly.

While the systems cost thousands of British pounds, Ikea claims that they could cut owners’ electricity bill by up to 50 percent. An online tool can estimate the savings based on geographic location (postal code), based on measurements of the roof taken from satellite imagery.

While Ikea’s furniture is generally self-assembly, solar panels will be installed by experts. Interested parties can get a free quote, which is verified by a home survey before engineers install the hardware.

Solar power is becoming more and more accessible. Many expect Tesla’s solar roof to further expand the reach of the technology because of its cheaper price tag than current implementations, and its completely noninvasive appearance.

The big difference with Ikea is that, unlike Tesla, Ikea is a tried-and-true brand, and the convenience of its installation process will appeal to a lot of consumers. If its solar range proves to be popular in the UK, we might even expect to see the company expand the program to other countries.

The post Ikea Launches Solar Panels and Home Battery Packs in the UK appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Confirms an Autopilot Hardware Update for All New Vehicles

Autopilot Next

Tesla hasn’t been shy about sharing their long-term goal of achieving level 5 autonomous driving.

Since October 2016, every electric vehicle the company has produced has been equipped with Autopilot 2.0 hardware, with the idea that it would eventually be made capable of fully autonomous driving through future software updates. That hardware package received one such software update in March (April outside North America), and now, Electrek is reporting that the hardware has gotten a tweak as well.

According to the site, Tesla is now shipping a new suite of Autopilot hardware with a more powerful iteration of their onboard computer. The fact that the Model 3 was equipped with a driver-facing camera was a tip-off that the vehicle’s hardware was unique, and according Electrek‘s sources, the Model 3’s onboard computer is also unlike the one released with the Model S or Model X.

Those sources told Electrek that the new Autopilot hardware suite is referred to as “HW 2.5” internally and that it has added computing power thanks to a secondary GPU. However, a Tesla spokesperson told Electrek differently.

While they did confirm that the new hardware suite exists and that all Model 3, Model X, and Model S vehicles ordered today now come with it, they claim the system does not merit the “2.5” moniker: “The internal name HW 2.5 is an overstatement, and instead it should be called something more like HW 2.1. This hardware set has some added computing and wiring redundancy, which very slightly improves reliability, but it does not have an additional Pascal GPU.”

The Road Ahead

The Technologies That Power Self-Driving Cars [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla appears to remain confident in their ability to eventually achieve level 5 autonomy even without the upgraded hardware.

“[We] still expect to achieve full self-driving capability with safety more than twice as good as the average human driver without making any hardware changes to HW 2.0,” the spokesperson told Electrek. “If this does not turn out to be the case, which we think is highly unlikely, we will upgrade customers to the 2.5 computer at no cost.”

Though some have doubts, Tesla is still certain they will achieve their goal of “driving from a parking lot in downtown LA to a parking lot in downtown NY without touching the controls by the end of the year.” With 2017 more than half over, the company only has a few months left to prove their critics wrong.

The post Tesla Confirms an Autopilot Hardware Update for All New Vehicles appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Finally Divulges Capacity of Model 3 Battery Packs

With respect to the release of the Tesla Model 3, Elon Musk has been playing his cards close to his chest. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently made public the electric vehicle’s EPA certification, which provided our first look at the highly anticipated EV’s specs, but Tesla was quick to note that the numbers from the EPA report do not fully represent the pack’s capacity.

However, we may finally have a definitive answer as sources present during a conference call hosted by Goldman Sachs have told Electrek’s Fred Lambert that Elon Musk revealed the battery pack options for the vehicle during the call.

These sources say that customers will be able to choose between two battery options. The first will have a capacity of “just over 50 kWH,” equating to a range of about 354 kilometers (220 miles), while the second will have a capacity of roughly 75 kWH and a longer range of about 499 kilometers (310 miles).

Customers with access to Tesla’s new online design studio will notice that only the “long range” option is currently available, which puts the vehicle at a much higher sales price than the promised $35,000. Customers interested in the standard (cheaper) battery pack have the option to be put on a separate waiting list.

The post Elon Musk Finally Divulges Capacity of Model 3 Battery Packs appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Says Demand for Tesla Model 3 Could Go Beyond Half a Million

Updating Expectations

Last week was a busy one for Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk. On Friday, the first 30 Model 3 units were handed over to their excited new owners — though one of them was Musk himself. And, while Musk already said that the coming months would be a “production hell” for Tesla to meet the 500,000 demand for the Model 3, he’s since updated the figure to an annual demand of over 700,000 units.

Musk mentioned that the updated demand during a conference call on Monday, at an investors meeting hosted by Goldman Sachs, where Tesla discussed raising $1.5 million in bonds to fund production. During the event, two sources confirmed to Electrek that Musk projects Model 3 demand to reach “700,000 units per year,” and could even go higher.

In order to meet this demand, Musk is considering moving Model S and Model X drive unit production from Tesla’s Fremont factory to the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The former, which is already capable of producing 500,000 units per year, could then focus on just the Model 3.

A Growing Demand

Musk also updated the average sale price for the new electric sedan. Previously pegged at $35,000 to $42,000, Musk told the investors that it’s going to be priced closer to $45,000. At any rate, the Model 3 is going to be both costly and beneficial for Tesla. Production will be tedious and expensive, which is why Musk is asking for investors to dedicate funding. The high demand, however, will obviously increase Tesla’s revenue. Musk believes, without a doubt, that Tesla’s up to the task.

This expected increase in Model 3 demand shows how autonomous electric vehicles (AEVs) are transforming the auto industry. As more nations and automakers are deciding to do away with combustion engines, the relatively-cheaper priced Model 3 could help in wide-scale AEV adoption. Experts already expect electric cars to dominate markets in the U.S. and in Europe in less than two decades. More vehicles like the Model 3 could translate to safer and cleaner roads and a future in which we are more capable of battling against the ongoing repercussions of climate change.

The post Elon Musk Says Demand for Tesla Model 3 Could Go Beyond Half a Million appeared first on Futurism.

After Model 3 Release, Tesla Has Work To Do

Bumps in the Road

The Model 3 is here — at least a few of them. Tesla has released 30 of the estimated 500,000 vehicles that have been reserved. The overwhelming number of orders and last week’s fanfare at the release of the electronic, autonomous car are indicative of how highly Tesla’s product is revered by many.

However, a great product alone is not enough to guarantee a company’s success. So how is Tesla looking on other fronts?

Well, not super. For one thing, Tesla’s customer service does not seem to have been prepared for the challenges presented by the Model 3’s release. People who have tried to cancel their Model 3 reservations have reported that their refunds regularly take more than a month to arrive — some say they’re still waiting after three months.

This is a far cry from the “refunds can take up to three weeks depending on your country of delivery” Tesla had stated on their “Frequently Asked Questions” page, according to Wired – although Tesla seems to have removed this from their website.

Also, by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s own estimations, the car marker is facing “six months of production hell” to release the targeted numbers of Model 3 vehicles. The difficulty in mass producing a vehicle with about 10,000 unique components is going to be extreme.

And the Model 3 is not the only production challenge Tesla must overcome — it also has at least four other vehicles in the works. The Model Y, a new Roadster, a pickup truck, and an autonomous semi-truck all have estimated release dates around 2019 — and each of these vehicles are ambitious and challenging in their own way.

For example, the Model Y will likely be built on an entirely new, more automated platform, and its design goals include increasing cargo space compared to the Model X while maintaining a similar range of at least 383 km (238 miles) per charge. All of this is on top of Elon Musk’s reported goal of producing one million of the vehicles at a lower price tag than the Model X by 2020.

A Long Journey Ahead

All of these projects will require an explosion in Tesla’s productivity compared to even last year, when it produced 83,922 vehicles. However, Tesla will likely be spending at least half of the time between now and then getting production of its Model 3 up to speed. Is the company likely to complete so many challenging projects in the space of a couple of years?

Probably not, if the recent stock market has been any indication. Despite the rave reviews of its latest offering, Tesla continues to be an unusually volatile automaker, which actually has some investors betting against its success in the coming week. While Friday’s release of the new vehicle gave Tesla’s stocks a boost, attaining a high of $339, the company’s value never regained the record high it reached in June. Additionally, Friday’s bump has since evaporated, with stocks falling and climbing again since.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

These concerns also present themselves in the numbers for Wednesday’s second-quarter earnings report. While Tesla’s revenue increased, its earnings per share is still negative — in keeping with the company’s recent trend. In other words, Tesla is selling more cars, but its production costs and other financial burdens are lowering the company’s value.

What it all boils down to is that Musk really has his work cut out for him. Tesla has some great products, but to say its timeline for new vehicle production is a little overly ambitious is an understatement. Tesla’s first task will be to streamline production of the Model 3, its customer service support, and its associated infrastructure. The other projects will need to take second seat to this.

And Musk, just remember — we’ll all still be here until 2025. It’s OK if it takes you a few more years to get some of these projects done.

The post After Model 3 Release, Tesla Has Work To Do appeared first on Futurism.

The Chevy Bolt Just Bested Tesla’s Model S in a Range Test

Chevy vs. Tesla

According to EPA estimates,  Tesla’s Model S 75D should have a range of ~416 kilometers (259 miles) per charge under ideal driving conditions, while the Chevy Bolt should be able to last for ~383 kilometers (238 miles) on a single charge.

However, in a recent range test by Consumer Reports, the Bolt bested the Model S, showcasing an impressive ~402 kilometer (250 mile) range compared to Tesla’s ~378 kilometers (235 miles). In other words, while the Bolt surpassed expectations, the Model S fell short of them.

Car Tech Forecast: The Next 10 Years [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Now, these results don’t imply that the Model S is secretly a bad vehicle — in fact, it is very common for cars to perform below EPA estimates. These estimates are based on testing done in ideal conditions, but Consumer Reports’ test involved what’s called “mixed driving.” That means the vehicles were operating under slightly less than ideal conditions, which makes the Bolt’s performance even more surprising.

An impressive range doesn’t automatically make the Chevy Bolt the better vehicle, though. In fact, Consumer Reports still placed it second behind the Model S in their list of best electric vehicles due to factors like its charging time and uncomfortable seats. At a cost about half that of the Model S, though, the Bolt’s range victory will certainly make it an appealing choice for those on a tighter budget who are looking to go electric.

A Competitive Field

According to Engadget, the Chevy Bolt is “big enough to carry four full-size adults plus a week’s worth of groceries, while the vehicle itself retains the nimbleness and driving experience of a small vehicle.” As mentioned by Consumer Reports, the vehicle has its flaws, but it is all-electric and, perhaps most importantly, has an affordable price point.

While still widely recognized as producing superior vehicles in terms of performance, the massive price difference could be luring buyers away from Tesla’s models and toward cheaper but comparatively capable vehicles like the Bolt. Although Tesla’s Model 3 is the company’s most affordable vehicle to date, even it could end up being much pricier than initially expected if the available add-ons are taken into consideration.

With forthcoming offerings from Volkswagen and Volvo poised to make the affordable EV field even more competitive, Tesla will need to continue to make smart moves to stay on top — that overnight price reduction for the Model S and Model X was a good place to start.

The post The Chevy Bolt Just Bested Tesla’s Model S in a Range Test appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Just Cut the Cost of the Model X by Thousands of Dollars

Electric SUV

Tesla has led the way in developing all-electric vehicles to meet a variety of needs and wants. Case in point: their Model X, the world’s first all-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV).

In an effort to make their high-performing vehicles more accessible, Tesla has, overnight, modified their online design studio to lower the price of the basic Model X as well as include more standard options for the performance versions of both the Model X and the Model S. This change comes in the midst of what Elon Musk has described as “production hell” for their Model 3.

Note the Falcon Wing Doors. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Note the falcon wing doors. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Model X 75D now costs $3,000 less than it did previously, starting at $79,500. The performance version of the vehicle, the Model X P100D, now starts at $145,000, while the Model S P100D starts at $140,000 — a difference of just $5,000.

Tesla explained the price cut via a statement: “When we launched Model X 75D, it had a low gross margin. As we’ve achieved efficiencies, we are able to lower the price and pass along more value to our customers.”

The Future of Luxury EVs

The one thing that has prevented Tesla from being many customers’ top choice is, quite simply, the price. Tesla vehicles are not made to be the most affordable, and at their current price points, they are, for most people, completely inaccessible.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Additionally, as a recent range test by Consumer Reports shows, some performance aspects of these high-end vehicles are incredibly comparable to features in more affordable models.

While the new pricing for the Model X and Tesla’s performance vehicles might not be enough to make these vehicles accessible to everyone looking to purchase an electric vehicle, they could incentivize those on the fence to give Tesla a try. After all, if futuristic falcon wing doors are a must-have EV feature, you don’t have many other options.

The post Tesla Just Cut the Cost of the Model X by Thousands of Dollars appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Drivers in Italy Just Broke the EV Long Distance Driving Record on a Single Charge

Single Charge Yields 1000km+

2017 has been the year to set (and break) driving records with electric vehicles. The latest record-breaking event happened in Italy just last week. Tesla Owners Club Italia drove a Model S P100D for 1,078km (669.8 miles) on a single charge, breaking the long-distance record that had been in place since June. The previous record, from Belgium, was a mere 901.2km (560 miles). This makes the Tesla Owners Club Italia the first to drive a production EV more than 1,000km between charges.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This victory is in large part symbolic, because to break the record at this point it’s necessary to drive in a way you’d never want to duplicate in real life. Hypermiling, optimizing driving behaviors to maximize a charge, isn’t fun or efficient from a “getting somewhere” perspective. The team toured Salerno at a sluggish 40km/h (24.9MPH) without air conditioning on low rolling resistance tires, and used Autopilot to ensure they employed smooth driving techniques to get the most from the battery. In the end, the trip took 29 hours — 29 hours that were almost certainly exciting only for serious Tesla and/or EV fans.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

However, the outcome should be exciting to everyone. Although EVs are not likely to achieve mileage like this anytime soon, the basic achievability shows how far the engineering and design of EVs has come. Tesla rates the range of the P100D at 337 miles (and the range jumps up when you drop the traveling speed below 65MPH). This rate reflects the reality of a vehicle needing to stop and go, negotiate turns and uneven terrain, and handle other issues encountered on the road — all of which shrink the range. However, the achievement reveals that EVs that are truly long-range really aren’t so far off in the future.

The post Tesla Drivers in Italy Just Broke the EV Long Distance Driving Record on a Single Charge appeared first on Futurism.

SpaceX Helped Tesla Speed Up Their Car Production, Elon Musk Revealed

Innovation Overflows

Tesla’s second-quarter earnings for 2017 are in. That means there’s also a bunch of updates and sneak-peaks inside the company’s world of innovation. These tidbits more often than not come from CEO and founder Elon Musk himself, and this time, he revealed an interesting detail about SpaceX.

Yes, that’s no typo. After some investors asked how innovation at SpaceX (which is also run by Musk) could be applied to Tesla, Musk recalled a particular instance when it actually happened. It’s not about rocket propulsion or anything of the sort, of course. Instead, Musk talked about how SpaceX helped fix a major issue in Tesla cars that resulted in saving eight hours of work per vehicle.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

Jon McNeill, Tesla President of Global Sales and Services, supplied the details. “We had a challenge in service just over the past week where we needed to determine the quality of an object deep within our structure, an aluminum casting. That’s something that SpaceX knows how to do,” he said during the earnings call. “Our team reached out to the SpaceX team, the SpaceX team provided us with some ultrasonic sensors so we could quickly take corrective action.”

The Perks of Running Both

This was made possible because both SpaceX and Tesla are run by the same person. But just as much as this collaboration is about Musk, it’s due due to the kind of work being done by both companies. Each one’s determined to build better products — cars for Tesla and rockets for SpaceX. That determination makes it necessary, and even inevitable, for both to share research behind building their materials.

“This cross-fertilization of knowledge from the rocket and spacecraft industry to auto and back and forth I think has really been quite valuable,” Musk said during the call. It’s a shortcut, really. Tesla and SpaceX need not look far for support when it comes to the “high-volume manufacturing of something that has to be extremely reliable,” Musk said. The same can be seen in how Musk’s relatively newer tunnel-digging venture has been depending on SpaceX for its tunneling machine.

Image credit: SpaceX
Image credit: SpaceX

For Tesla and SpaceX, this combination of minds is obviously a benefit — one that could help ensure the quality of materials and products developed by both. It’s certainly not impossible for SpaceX’s rockets to run a similar autonomous system found in Tesla’s vehicles. Who knows?

The post SpaceX Helped Tesla Speed Up Their Car Production, Elon Musk Revealed appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Has “Zero Doubt” Tesla Can Achieve 10,000 Units per Week by 2018

Historically, Tesla has had problems hitting their aggressive projections. While the company did reach the low-end of their target delivery range for 2014 and 2015, they’ve struggled to reach their quota in specific fiscal quarters of those years. In 2016, the company fell slightly short of their 80,000 target deliveries, hitting just 76,230.

One can argue that the differences are minimal, at best. However, now that Tesla has begun deliveries of their new Model 3 line, some are concerned the company won’t be able to meet the overwhelming demand for the electric vehicle (EV). Founder and CEO Elon Musk assured investors during an earnings call for the company’s second-quarter of 2017 on Wednesday that that will not be the case.

tesla model 3 elon musk electric vehicles
Image credit: Tesla, screenshot

“What people should absolutely have zero concern about, and I mean zero, is that Tesla will achieve a 10,000 unit production week by the end of next year,” said Musk. “I think people should really not have any concerns that we won’t reach that outcome from a production rate.”

The CEO was referring to plans to ramp up Model 3 production by significant increments over the rest of this year, from 100 cars in August to more than 1,500 in September. That number is predicted to grow to 20,000 cars a month by December.

This is a surprisingly strong statement, Electrek reports, given that Musk has always tended to flavor predictions with phrases like “best guess” or “I might be wrong.” He has previously admitted that the next few months would be a “production hell” for Tesla, but he appears confident they will be able to deliver.

The post Elon Musk Has “Zero Doubt” Tesla Can Achieve 10,000 Units per Week by 2018 appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Says Tesla Model Y is Coming to Market Sooner Than Expected

On an August 2 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said efforts to bring the forthcoming Model Y electric crossover vehicle to market sooner rather than later are underway. Part of those efforts include building the Model Y on a similar architecture as the new Model 3.

“Upon the council of my executive team to reel me back from the cliffs of insanity, the Model Y will, in fact, be using substantial carry over from Model 3 in order to bring it to market faster,” Musk said, according to The Verge.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Musk may still ditch the 12-volt battery architecture used in other Teslas to reduce the wiring requirements and pare down the production process. The Model Y is also likely to share certain features with other models, such as the falcon-wing doors of the Model X. However, the single vehicle architecture shared with the Model 3 will mean more automation, a simplified process, and lower costs.

Tesla needs the Model Y to be produced more quickly and easily if it wants to meet its 1 million cars delivered by 2020 goal. Previously, Musk said the Model Y wouldn’t be in production until late 2019 or early 2020 — so this development indicates the cars could go into production sooner.

In Q2, Tesla delivered 22,026 Model S and Model X vehicles, bringing the 2017 total to 47,077 so far.

The post Elon Musk Says Tesla Model Y is Coming to Market Sooner Than Expected appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Model 3 May Already Be Set Up for Autonomous Driving

Driver-Facing Cameras

On August 1, Jason Hughes, Twitter user @wk057 and , asked the internet if anyone else noticed that Model 3s appear to be equipped with driver-facing cameras. He then confirmed with sources that it’s a camera.

Later in the day, Electrek reported on the camera, after confirming with Tesla that the camera is there but inactive, and will only go active after future software updates. They also reported that the camera is not only focused on the driver but on the cabin as a whole. They speculate that this feature could become useful for Tesla’s future (hopeful) ride-sharing network. It could also prove to be a valuable safety feature, depending on how it is implemented. But, of course, there still exists the privacy issue of having cameras connected to a larger network situated inside of your private property staring right at you.

The post Tesla’s Model 3 May Already Be Set Up for Autonomous Driving appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Will Release 2017 Q2 Earning Reports Tonight. Here’s What to Expect.

Revenues Up, Earnings Down

After markets close on Wednesday, Tesla will release its second-quarter (Q2) earnings report for 2017. Tesla’s usual practice has been to conduct a conference call and Q&A with the company’s management team and investors after releasing quarterly reports. This is the plan for tonight at 5:30 PM ET (2:30 PM PT).

Tesla’s first quarter 2017 update back in May featured an overall increase in production and revenue. “Vehicle production in Q1 increased by 64% compared to a year ago, which enabled us to set new quarterly records of 25,051 deliveries and $2.7 billion in GAAP revenue,” the report read. The trend was expected to continue for Q2, including the decline in earnings per share.

Speculations about the company’s Q2 results from various sources are generally the same: consensus in Wall Street, as well as figures from independent firms like financial estimates crowdsourcing website Estimize, and Zacks Investment Research are consistent. Tesla’s expected to report a growth in revenue of around $2.548 billion to $2.599 billion. The company’s revenue has been growing over the past four quarters, almost always beating expectations, according to Electrek.

Earnings per share, on the other hand, are going to be on the decline: current estimates predict a loss of around $2 per share.  Wall Street predicts a $1.94 per share for the quarter, Estimize counts a $1.81 loss per share, while Zacks puts it at $2 per share. For those wondering about the difference between revenue and earnings, earnings are counted after all deductibles (such as production costs, taxes, etc.) have been considered. Revenue is the profit from products sold.

The loss per share comes from investing heavily on Model 3 production and a decline in deliveries for Q2. Tesla’s already reported a total of 22,000 deliveries from April to May, down from a Q1 total of 25,000. The company claims that despite the decrease, it’s able to hit the low-end of its mid-year delivery target of 47,000 to 50,000 vehicles.

Updates: Solar Products, the Model 3, & More

Speaking of production, this Q2 report would be a significant one for Tesla, as it’s going to be the last one before Model 3 production and sales will be counted. As such, delivery numbers are expected to go up before the end of the year as Tesla works towards fulfilling the large number of pre-orders for the Model 3. Less than a week since its release, the low-cost electric vehicle has been receiving favorable reviews.

Other general updates that may be mentioned include Tesla’s work with the highly-anticipated electric semi truck, as well as the long-awaited Model Y. Some are also looking forward to developments in Gigafactory expansion — especially with plans for manufacturing cars in China already in the works. Perhaps there may even be a mention of Tesla Music, too?

Aside from reports on its vehicle production, investors and shareholders are also looking forward to updates about Tesla’s solar products (the solar roof tiles and Panasonic’s solar panels) which were launched over the summer. Updates regarding Tesla’s energy division could also pop up, particularly regarding projects they are currently engaged with in Australia.

The post Tesla Will Release 2017 Q2 Earning Reports Tonight. Here’s What to Expect. appeared first on Futurism.

Proposed Offshore Wind Farm Will Store Power with Tesla Batteries

Wind Farm And Powerpack

Energy supplier Deepwater Wind hopes to team up with Tesla to provide clean power to the state of Massachusetts during peak times. Bloomberg reports that the company has proposed the building of an offshore wind farm with a 144-megawatt capability and a 40-megawatt storage capacity thanks to Powerpack commercial storage batteries. The batteries would store power collected during high generation times and save it for heavy use hours. This is how other facilities with Tesla Powerpack batteries work, such as the Kauai energy storage installation that went online earlier in 2017.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla

This proposal was submitted in response to a request, so Deepwater Wind still needs to compete with other companies for the contract. Whoever wins will be responsible for generating about 9.45 million megawatt-hours of clean energy annually. But this company has an edge: they’ve already successfully built and brought the first offshore wind farm in the US online — the Block Island Wind Farm Rhode Island installment.The proposed wind farm’s 40-megawatt storage capacity is less than those of both the Kauai and the planned Australia facilities, but the offshore implementation of the Powerpack would prove additional versatility from Tesla, which is already making waves as an energy supplier. Tesla is ideally situated to work with companies fulfilling contracts like this, because they require that the highest levels of power be deliverable during the evenings and in the wintertime. As for Deepwater, it will continue to compete for contracts for offshore wind developers — part of a Massachusetts initiative to develop clean energy at an aggressive pace.

The post Proposed Offshore Wind Farm Will Store Power with Tesla Batteries appeared first on Futurism.

Reviewers of Tesla’s Newest Vehicle Are Unanimous: “The Model 3 Has No Competition”

A Peerless Ride

As the Tesla Model 3 launch was imminent, Jack Stewart of Wired wrote, “The arrival of Tesla’s Model 3 signals a new chapter in automotive history, one that erases 100-plus years of the gas engine and replaces it with technology, design, and performance hot enough to make electric vehicles more than aspirational — to make [electric vehicles (EVs)] inspirational.” But would it live up to its promise?

If you’re still feeling skeptical about Tesla’s Model 3, the reviewers definitely aren’t. Here’s what they have to say now that they’ve driven it.

Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. – Kim Reynolds

In a piece prefaced with, “The Tesla Model 3 is here, and it is the most important vehicle of the century. Yes, the hyperbole is necessary,” Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend raved: “If anybody was expecting a typical boring electric sedan here, nope.”

“Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. And this is the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive starting point. The already boggled mind boggles further at the mention of Dual Motor and Ludicrous,” Reynolds continued. “Have I ever driven a more startling small sedan? I haven’t. At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before […] [The] 2.0-liter Alfa Romeo Giulia […] feels like a wet sponge by comparison.”

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla

“I’ve driven all Tesla’s vehicles,” Matthew Debord of Business Insider wrote, “But the Model 3 is something else […] [it’s] going to blow many, many minds. This is easily the most attractive entry-level luxury, all-electric car on the market […] I can safely say that the Model 3 has no competition.”

“[T]here isn’t anybody who’s going to sit in the driver’s seat of this car and not want it,” Debord continued. “The Model 3 stokes immediate desire, and the lust lingers. That truly changes everything.”

Future Ride

Peter Holley of The Washington Post gave a sense of the Model 3 as the car of the future, writing that “from the moment you sit inside the Model 3, you do sense that you have entered uncharted territory […] I attribute that feeling to the intuitive nature of the Model 3’s minimalist design [and] the way the car seamlessly incorporates technology that is already second nature in many people’s everyday lives.”

“It’s not so much that Tesla is ushering in the future,” Holley argued. “After riding in the Model 3, I’m more inclined to think that Tesla is single-handedly pulling the automotive industry into the present — the way anyone born before the Internet thought 2017 would look like decades earlier.”

[T]he Model 3 really feels like the car that will bring electric vehicles as a whole into the mainstream. – Andrew Taratola

Charlie Turner of Top Gear explained the Autopilot experience: “Our brief excursion also allowed us to test the Autopilot, a system that still feels like witchcraft. The levels at which the car is capable of processing information are staggering and if we’re honest it’s clearly concentrating a lot harder than most of us after a hard day at the office.”

And both Engadget and Wired see the Model 3 and a sign of a new era in transportation. Engadget‘s Andrew Taratola wrote, “While the Roadster put Tesla on the map, the Model 3 really feels like the car that will bring electric vehicles as a whole into the mainstream.” And for Stewart, “This car feels like an automotive tipping point, a sign that electric vehicles — and hopefully, the infrastructure that supports them — have finally come into their own.”

The post Reviewers of Tesla’s Newest Vehicle Are Unanimous: “The Model 3 Has No Competition” appeared first on Futurism.

Reserved a Model 3? Take a Look at Tesla’s New Online Design Studio

Electrek is reporting that Tesla is preparing to begin fulfilling their Model 3 orders. Right now, employees who have priority reservations are being given access to an online configurator to help build their cars to a host of specifications.

One of the Model 3’s biggest selling points is its low price tag, relative to other electric vehicle options. However, the available specs on this round of shipments require customers to drop at least $48,000, a far cry from the starting price of the $35,000 base vehicle. This added cost covers the longer range battery, which can take the vehicle 499 km (310 miles) versus 354 km (220 miles) for $9,000. Other “Premium Upgrades” include a glass roof which accounts for the remaining $5,000. There is another option to wait for the cheaper features to be available if a customer decides thrift is more important than expedience.

Image source: @sfmatinlin/Twitter
Image source: @we_drive_at/Twitter
The design studio allows users to choose from 6 colors and two wheel options, among the aforementioned options.Musk has previously mentioned that he foresees 150 deliveries next month, so it may still be a while before the general public gains access to the configurator, let alone get a chance to drive their creation. Tesla’s factories are revving up to greatly increase the production of the vehicles. The current goal, according to Electrek, is 5,000 units per week in December.

The post Reserved a Model 3? Take a Look at Tesla’s New Online Design Studio appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Announces That a Performance Version of the Model 3 Will Arrive in 2018

The Performance That Was Promised

Good news for those who like their Teslas cranked up to 11. Elon Musk has tweeted that a performance version of the Model 3 should be arriving about a year from now. The news came as the response to a recent tweet:

This is the second time that Musk has confirmed a performance version of the car. The first was in response to a tweet in April 2016:

This latest response regarding a performance version of the Model 3 is not the first time Musk has mentioned the “production hell” surrounding the vehicle — he used the same phrase at a press briefing Friday night. Meeting the 500,000 unit annual production target for the Model 3, ensuring that the car has “mass appeal,” and piecing together the 10,000 individual components of the car are all contributing to the difficulty producing the highly anticipated vehicle.

Speculate Wildly

While no specifics have been released explaining exactly what a performance version on the Model 3 would entail — beyond its faster speed than the standard model — several sources have made educated guesses.

Jalopnik predicts that the upgraded electric car would be “a dual motor car with all-wheel-drive, a sub-four-second 0-60 mph time, and a top speed not likely higher than around 155 mph,” while Electrek wrote that they expect it “to be equipped with a dual motor all-wheel-drive system, and if it turns out like the performance versions of the Model S and Model X, it should have as [sic] new high-power performance rear motor with higher amperage connection to the battery pack.”

Whatever the performance version may look like, the release of the Model 3 is already a phenomenal achievement. Since Tesla’s humble startup beginnings, the company has not only created a series of cars that are gorgeous, functional, and futuristic, they’ve also helped start an electric car revolution that will benefit the planet.

The post Elon Musk Announces That a Performance Version of the Model 3 Will Arrive in 2018 appeared first on Futurism.

Analyst Questions Elon Musk’s 10-Year EV Prediction. Is it Achievable?

Musk’s Prophecies

A few days ago we saw the keys to the first 30 Tesla Model 3 vehicles — the car billed as the future of transport — handed over to consumers at a swanky event. The last few years have been momentous ones for Musk’s vehicular aspirations: he has galvanized other car companies into going electric, his cars are breaking records, and he has overtaken industry giants like Ford in market value.

But, behind the grand designs, consumer interest, and seductive new cars is a real world question of how to reify his zero-emission transport dreams. Writing in the MIT technology review, James Temple has given a three part argument discussing Musk’s recent prediction that “in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States.”

An Awful Lot of Batteries

Temple’s first is an argument of scale. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, if half the vehicle demand in 2027 is for electric vehicles, this would come to around 9.1 million vehicles in America alone. In order to supply this demand, 546 gigawatt-hours’ worth of battery packs would have to be created annually if every vehicle ran on the 60 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery packs that the Model 3 uses.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The final and maximum capacity of the gigafatory will be 150 gigawatt-hours, meaning that four will have to made to meet demand. Given that the first one took six years to construct, the idea that four more will be created in the next decade is ludicrously optimistic.

A Matter of Taste

Second, Temple argues that the introduction of electric cars will be hampered by consumer tastes and the simple economics of supply and demand. Jeremy Michalek, director of the Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University, explained incisively to MIT that electric vehicles are “more expensive, they don’t drive as far, and it takes time to recharge.” Although the electric car has enthusiasts, “for mainstream consumers it’s still just an inferior product.”

While estimates vary, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that it won’t be until 2025 that electric vehicles achieve price and quality parity, which will provide a practical and economic reason for people to buy them rather than the current ideological one. Given that this is eight years away, and not everyone will want a new car at this point, Musk’s prediction of a decade again seems highly optimistic.

Polluting to Go Green

Finally, Temple picks up on the irony embedded in the introduction of electric vehicles — that they require emission-belching machines to introduce. Electric cars are often billed as better for the environment, but in order for them to be adopted, charging stations need to be a lot more common. Because there are no electric construction vehicles yet, creating the infrastructure is, in part, counterintuitive to the eventual aim.

The post Analyst Questions Elon Musk’s 10-Year EV Prediction. Is it Achievable? appeared first on Futurism.

Musk: Next Six Months Will Be “Production Hell” for Tesla

Designing the Model 3 to meet pricing and production goals has been a nightmare, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk revealed during a press briefing Friday night.

“The major challenge we faced with the Model 3 is not really the product,” TechCrunch reported that Musk said at the briefing. “It’s going to be pretty great, but it’s going to be quite a challenge to produce this car.”

Musk went on to describe the “six months of production hell” Tesla is facing in order to meet its production target of rolling out 500,000 Model 3 vehicles per year – a goal that Musk hopes to meet within the next year or so.

To a greater degree than Tesla’s earlier vehicles, the Model 3 has been built for “mass appeal.” This has required “10,000 unique components in the car,” Musk emphasized. If the manufacturing of any of these parts is particularly cumbersome, it will slow the entire production line down.

To avoid this, Tesla engineers had to simplify some of the car’s components. Among other changes, “[w]e’ve intentionally gone for a very simple interior with a single screen,” Musk said at the briefing.

But one feature that the Model 3 does not cut corners on is autonomous driving. Musk said that the vehicle is equipped with the same sensor devices that are used in the Model S and Model X, and that Tesla plans to continue to build on this foundation.

Ultimately, the simpler design of the Model 3 has allowed Telsa to manufacture the vehicles at about 1/5 the cost of Model S cars. The affordable pricing will tap into a demand that not even the Model 3’s reservations have truly revealed yet, Musk postulated.

“If we did anything to even not put the brake on demand, it would go bananas,” Musk said according to TechCrunch reports.

The post Musk: Next Six Months Will Be “Production Hell” for Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Model 3 is More Than a Car. It’s a Revolution.

The Lucky 30

On Friday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a special event to hand over the keys for Tesla’s new Model 3 to the EV’s first 30 customers. The very first Model 3 owner was Musk himself, of course — then, the next 29 ultimately went to Tesla employees (who made up 10,000 of the 500,000 supposed preorders).

The event marked an exciting moment for Tesla and, no doubt, those 29 new owners, who had deposited $1,000 to reserve one of the company’s first mass-market EVs. Everyone else on the list still has a bit of a wait before they’ll have keys in hand: the rate of production for the Model 3’s is to be 100 cars built by August, ultimately building up to 1,500 cars by September. Also, before buyers are guaranteed a unit, they have to configure the vehicle online before they can place an order. Tesla plans to produce 20,000 Model 3s per month by September.

The homepage of Tesla’s website produced a live stream of the event.

The Wheels of Revolution

If you’re wondering what the hype over the Model 3 is all about, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not just going to be another new electric car; it’s anticipated to be one of the world’s cheapest EVs. “The Model 3 is far more than just another car,” Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader, told The Verge. “If successful, it would mark a breakthrough for electric vehicles and would be promising in terms of the proliferation of the technology.”

The Model 3 signals a change in the air, perhaps heralding an end to the era of the combustion engine. It’s expected help to increase adoption of EVs — since several countries are already firming up policies to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles in favor of cleaner alternatives. The average passenger vehicle releases some 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and replacing these with 500,000 EVs would be a major step in clean energy adoption. Further, energy stored in EVs could also be used to power microgrids.

The Model 3 also comes with an autonomous driving system — another technology that’s set to revolutionize transportation. So, it’s not just going to make EVs more accessible, it’s also putting self-driving cars within reach of the general public. That’s important, as some research has indicated that autonomous vehicles could significantly lower the number of car-related deaths caused by human error — which is roughly 40,000 every year in the case of the U.S. alone.

Naturally, before any of these changes become palpable, there are hurdles that must to be overcome. Government policy and infrastructure are two, with the former already making headway in Congress. Tesla is also committed to building more charging stations, a feat that will reshape the landscape of today’s cities. Additionally, significant improvements in roads are also needed to allow self-driving AI to function.

Overall, what the Model 3 brings is opportunity. It’s giving people a chance to change how society works; hopefully for the better.

The post Tesla’s Model 3 is More Than a Car. It’s a Revolution. appeared first on Futurism.

Consumer Reports Upgrades Tesla’s Newest Model to Top Safety Rating

Consumer Reports and Tesla have been at odds quite a bit in the past few years. In October of 2015, Tesla stocks fell when Consumer Reports called the cars unreliable. Then again this year, Tesla’s stock fell after Consumer Reports downgraded the Model S because the second generation Autopilot hardware’s Automatic Emergency Braking wasn’t enabled at highway speeds.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla
However, Tesla updated the feature, and Consumer Reports has now returned the Model S to the top safety rating category. Consumer Reports writes: “CR’s engineers then verified at our test track that the AEB operated at higher speeds by driving the electric Model S at a target that mimics the back of a car. We also verified that Tesla had sent the software update to its other cars by checking online forums and inspecting cars at Tesla dealerships.”Meanwhile, it remains a fact of life that various studies on autonomous vehicles and car fatalities all indicate that self-driving cars will save lives. In the US alone, around 30,000 to 40,000 people die in auto accidents annually, about 94 percent of which are caused by human error. Bizarrely, around six million drivers admitted they hit other cars intentionally, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). It seems obvious that self-driving cars are the safest option and, when integrated into everyday life, will save lives.

The post Consumer Reports Upgrades Tesla’s Newest Model to Top Safety Rating appeared first on Futurism.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years

Tesla’s big party for the Model 3 kicks off on Friday.

The electric automaker will reveal the production version of its long-awaited sedan to the first 30 customers who ordered one at a handover party. Tesla will then kick Model 3 production into high gear with the goal of producing 1,500 sedans in September and 20,000 cars in December.

We decided to take a look back at just how far Tesla cars have progressed, and within just the last year there’s been a lot of change. Scroll down for a closer look.

Tesla garnered a lot of attention in 2008 when it released its very first electric car — the wildly sexy Tesla Roadster.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Dennis Larson/Flickr

The Roadster Sport boasted a range of 245 miles and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Its base price in 2008 was $98,000, according to Car and Driver.

Tesla sold more than 2,400 Roadsters across 30 countries, the company wrote on its webpage.

In 2012, Tesla released its Model S — the first luxury electric sedan on the market.

The car could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds and had a range of 265 miles per charge. It was named Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year.

But the car was pricey at $106,900 before federal tax exemptions.

In late 2014, Tesla released two dual motor all-wheel drive configurations for the Model S, the world’s first dual electric motor car.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Wikimedia/Martino Castelli

It was also the first time Tesla made Autopilot, its semi-autonomous package, standard on every car. The car came in three versions — the 60D, 85D and the top-of-the-line P85D. Above you see the P85D.

The P85D could reach a top speed of 155 mph and could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, outperforming the McLaren F1 supercar, Tesla wrote on its blog at the time.

The P85D had a range of about 285 miles and cost $71,200 MSRP, according to Car and Driver. But that model was discontinued in February 2016.

Tesla offered three new versions of the Model S in early 2015, the 70D, 90D, and P90D. At the time, the P90D was coveted for its Ludicrous mode.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Tesla

The P90D could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds while driving in Ludicrous mode. When it first came out, people went bananas for the new feature. It also had a range of 253 miles and could reach a top speed of 155 mph.

At the time, the Model S started at around $68,000.

Tesla introduced its Model X with its stylish falcon wings to the world in September 2015.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Tesla

Like the Model S, the Model X comes in three different versions. At the time, the vehicle started at $74,000 before tax incentives.

The highest performance version at the time of its release was the P90D. It came with a range of 250 miles and could reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds in ludicrous mode and had a top speed of 155 mph.

The car had some production issues and deliveries were pushed back from early 2016 to the second half of 2016.

Tesla rolled out its 7.1 software update at the beginning of 2016 — giving the Model S and Model X several cool new semi-autonomous features.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: YouTube/ Tesla

The software update offers safety features like automatic braking, lane switching, and blind-spot warnings. The cars also gained the ability to autosteer without a center divider, self-parallel park, and manage speed using traffic-aware cruise control.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the new update was giving drivers the power to summon their cars at the click of a button — it’s like a personal, robotic valet. At the time of its release, the Autopilot package cost an extra $2,500.

Since the 7.1 software release, Autopilot has gotten another massive upgrade. Cars built after October 2016 are equipped with a suite of new hardware that advances Autopilot’s capabilities.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Tesla

Like new Model S and Model X cars, the upcoming Model 3 can support Tesla’s second-generation Autopilot system.

The software hasn’t been fully released yet, but it will eventually allow cars to match their speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. It will also be able to maneuver around objects in a more complex environment than it could before when you summon it.

The software costs $5,000 at the time of purchase. Tesla says the hardware will also support full, self-driving capabilities, which will cost an additional $8,000 at the time of purchase.

The Model S and Model X got a major battery upgrade to extend their ranges.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Tesla

In August 2016, Musk announced the new 100-kilowatt-hour battery upgrade for the Model S and Model X cars that have Ludicrous modes last August.

The new battery option extends the range of the Model S to 315 miles per charge, making it the first electric car on the market to exceed 300 miles of range. The new battery option also extends the range of the Model X with Ludicrous mode to 289 miles.

The upgrade also enables the Model S P100D Ludicrous to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, making it the world’s third-fastest production car. The larger battery pack also makes the Model X the world’s quickest SUV with the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

But the upgrade isn’t cheap — those who already own the car can upgrade for $20,000. If you don’t own it yet, it will tack an extra $10,000 on the price.

All of these releases have led up to Tesla’s biggest car launch yet: The Model 3. the sedan was first unveiled in March 2016 and it got almost 325,000 pre-orders.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: YouTube/ Motor Trend

The Model 3 will start at $35,000 without federal tax exemptions, making it a huge competitor in the EV market. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and will boast a range of at least 215 miles.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that these are baseline specs Tesla hopes to exceed.

We got a glimpse of a pre-production version of Tesla’s Model 3 on Interstate 680 in the San Francisco Bay Area last week.

The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years
Image Source: Troy Wolverton

The Model 3 has a very smooth and restrained design, which is the handiwork of Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. The sedan has a more subtle rear haunch than the Model S and a continuous glass roof that starts at the windshield and run through the rear spoiler.

We’ll get to see more soon!

Tesla has a lot more in the works. The automaker is working on an electric truck and another SUV that would be dubbed Model Y.

Musk announced in his “Master Plan, Part Deux” that Tesla will build an electric semi- and pick-up truck. The automaker will reveal the semi-truck in September.

Tesla also plans to release a smaller SUV called the Model Y in 2020 and a brand new Roadster.

The post The Model 3 Arrives Friday — Here’s a Look at How Tesla’s Cars Have Evolved Over the Years appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Scraps Solar Roof Idea for New Tesla Model

Bye Bye, Solar Roof

In November 2016, Elon Musk said that the upcoming Tesla Model 3 would incorporate the technology of the new solar roof. However, on July 15 at the National Governors Association meeting, Musk squelched the idea in his remarks. When asked about the solar roof, he indicated that he would “scrap that idea” which requires some very complicated engineering. He explained:

I really thought about this. I pushed my team. Is there some way we can do it on the car? Technically, if you have some sort of transformer-like thing that will pop out of the trunk like a hardtop convertible that ratchets solar panels over the car. . .and provided you are in the sun, that would be enough to generate 20 to 30 miles a day of electricity. It’s a difficult way to do it.

Image Credit: Toyota
Image Credit: Toyota

As Electrek reports, the issue with the concept of solar panels that cover the top of cars is that they are rarely efficient enough to be worthwhile. Furthermore, their functionality varies based on your location. Even the Prius “solar roof” is really mostly a ventilation system, not a significant source of backup power for the car. In the end, the idea of a retractable array in the trunk is a complicated solution that would, at most, add 20 to 30 miles per day.So, unfortunately, it looks like we won’t be seeing the solar roof option on the Model 3, at least not now.

The post Elon Musk Scraps Solar Roof Idea for New Tesla Model appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk: “Almost All Cars Produced Will Be Autonomous in 10 Years”

During a talk at the National Governors Association on Saturday, Elon Musk shared a bold prediction for the future of personal transportation. Not only does he believe that half the cars produced in the United States just 10 years from now will be electric, he thinks almost all cars produced by then will be autonomous.

“In 10 years, half of all production will be EV,” he told the governors. “I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous in 10 years, almost all. It will be rare to find one that is not, in 10 years.”

While EVs and autonomous cars will comprise a bulk of new vehicles, however, that doesn’t mean they will be the majority on the roads. “New vehicle production is only about five percent of the size of the vehicle fleet,” Musk explained, and because a car or truck can last for 15 to 20 years, it will take some time for the old to be replaced by the new. “Even when new vehicle production switches over to electric or autonomous…that still means the vast majority of the fleet is not,” he noted.

Musk estimated that we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we see a significant change in the types of vehicles on the road, but two decades from now, he expects an overwhelming portion of vehicles to be electric and fully autonomous.

7 Benefits of Driverless Cars
Click to View Full Infographic

The shift won’t be limited to cars and trucks, either. He predicts that eventually “all transport will go fully electric” with the exception of spacecraft.

Musk is at the forefront of this driverless and electric revolution. Tesla recently began production on their Model 3, which is poised to make electric vehicles more affordable, and the company’s cars have been breaking EV industry records for hypermiling and cannonball runs.

Tesla’s progress has spurred their competitors into action, with other industry leaders like Volvo making the decision to go all electric. If the trend continues, Musk’s predictions could prove true and we could be just a few short years from entering the age of electric, autonomous vehicles.

The post Elon Musk: “Almost All Cars Produced Will Be Autonomous in 10 Years” appeared first on Futurism.

Volkswagen’s EV Will Sell for $7-8K Cheaper Than the Tesla Model 3

Volkswagen chief strategist Thomas Sedran announced at the Automobil Forum that the I.D. Concept will sell for $7,000 to $8,000 less than Tesla’s model. Aside from competitive pricing, the I.D. Concept was designed to compete with the Tesla Model 3 across the board. The price cutting strategy is one of the company’s more traditional competitive moves in a battle that has, at times, strayed into the unorthodox. According to Electrek, last year before unveiling the concept, VW misrepresented the Model s’ NEDC-rated range in a presentation designed to favorably compare the VW concept electric vehicle (EV).

volskwagen electric vehicles tesla model 3
Image Credit: Volkswagen

At this point, it appears that the all-electric hatchback from VW will be available to compete with the Model 3 in the U.S., but not for more than a year after the Model 3 hits the market. Meanwhile, the concept vehicle — which is about the size of the VW Golf — will be part of the company’s more focused EV efforts in the EU and China. Its crossover model made its debut in Shanghai in April.

While Tesla may see the VW model as a potential competitor, its marketing strategies are more centered on converting drivers of gas-powered cars to EVs. However, if VW follows through with its plan to offer 30 all-electric or hybrid models by 2025, it seems likely that it will remain a competitor for Tesla — and everyone else.

The post Volkswagen’s EV Will Sell for $7-8K Cheaper Than the Tesla Model 3 appeared first on Futurism.

Faraday Future, Once Called “Tesla-killer,” Scrapping Big Nevada Factory as Cash Crisis Deepens

Faraday Future

Faraday Future, the California startup that set out to dethrone Tesla in the electric-car business with ambitious plans to build a self-driving, 1,000-horsepower entertainment hub on wheels, is officially in trouble.

Faraday Future, Once Called “Tesla-killer,” Scrapping Big Nevada Factory as Cash Crisis Deepens
Image Source: Eric Matzner/Futurism

The company, at least for now, is abandoning one of its cornerstone projects, a 1-million-square-foot assembly plant in North Las Vegas, it announced on Monday. Business Insider has also learned that the company is significantly pulling back on its operations at its Los Angeles-area headquarters amid a deepening cash crunch.

“We are in a precarious situation right now,” a senior-level Faraday Future employee told Business Insider. “The generous funding we had in the past is no longer here.”

The developments represent a big change in Faraday’s public posture. Though reports of cash shortages and internal strife have circulated for months, the company had continued to insist that it was on track to build the Nevada plant — itself a scaled-down version of a planned 3-million-square-foot facility — and that its electric SUV was on track to hit the market by the end of 2018.

Though it still doesn’t have a production-ready car, Faraday has frequently sought to grab public attention with high-profile presentations and bold claims about the capability of its technology.

Monday’s news is an acknowledgment that things aren’t going as well as the company had hoped. It also suggests that efforts to raise new funding, to ease dependence on its Chinese billionaire backer, failed — at least for now.

“We at Faraday Future are significantly shifting our business strategy to position the company as the leader in user-ship personal mobility — a vehicle usage model that reimagines the way users access mobility,” Faraday Future said Monday in a statement.

“As a result of this shift in direction, we are in the process of identifying a manufacturing facility that presents a faster path to start-of-production and aligns with future strategic options.

“Accordingly, we have decided to put a hold on our factory at the APEX site in North Las Vegas. As the land owner, we remain committed to the buildout of the APEX site for long-term vehicle manufacturing and firmly believe North Las Vegas is an ideal place for us to be.”

Current Faraday employees told Business Insider the company would search for an existing facility in either California or Nevada rather than build its own factory at the North Las Vegas site, which they said would require $80 million to $100 million the company did not have.

Day-to-day operations at Faraday’s Gardena, California, headquarters will continue, but these people said some belt-tightening was required. No layoffs are planned in the near term, but a dearth of financial resources means the development of the company’s FF91 electric SUV is expected to slow down as well.

Who’s Paying for Faraday?

Faraday relies heavily on its owner, Jia Yueting, the founder of the Beijing-based tech giant LeEco, which is having cash-flow problems of its own.

Unpaid loans recently prompted a Chinese court to freeze $182 million in assets tied to Jia, his wife, and several affiliates, according to reports in The New York Times and Xinhua. Courts also imposed a three-year freeze on Jia’s roughly $2.3 billion stake in a publicly listed arm of his empire, Leshi Internet Information & Technology.

Trading in Leshi was suspended in April for a restructuring review — one of several suspensions for the stock in the past 12 months.

Faraday’s recently hired chief financial officer, Stefan Krause, had set out to corral new investors for Faraday in recent weeks to stave off fallout from Jia’s cash crisis. Krause told Business Insider in a May interview that he had hoped to round up $1 billion in a series A round of funding. His worldwide blitz took him to the Middle East, London, Germany, China, and back to the US to speak with roughly 35 investors — mostly private individuals — to fund a two-year plan designed to get Faraday’s factory off the ground and move the FF91 closer to production.

Faraday employees with knowledge of the talks told Business Insider the endeavor was unsuccessful because of the uncertainty surrounding Jia and LeEco.

“The noise around him really makes it difficult to find investors right now,” one senior-level employee said of Jia. “There’s a lot of interest — the story sells very well — but his situation makes them all stand on the sidelines and they’re not really willing to provide the money.”

Expanding Too Quickly, Setting off Alarms

Jia, who goes by the nickname YT, has personally backed Faraday since the company was founded in 2014, but the blows the billionaire’s financial portfolio has taken in the past year have created problems throughout his sprawling empire.

LeEco sought to expand rapidly in the US last year, opening new offices in San Jose, California, with plans for a larger campus to be built on some 50 acres the company bought from Yahoo. LeEco also planned to buy the TV-maker Vizio for $2 billion. Separately, Faraday bought 900 acres of land in North Las Vegas for its inaugural factory and made deals with the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo to secure property for a second facility.

All of those plans were canceled. LeEco sold off the Yahoo property less than a year after the purchase, laid off 70% of its US workforce, and dropped the $2 billion Vizio deal. Construction was halted at Faraday’s North Las Vegas site before any foundation was laid, and suppliers began suing Faraday over unpaid bills.

More than $2 billion in fresh investment from a Chinese real-estate business late last year did little to slow LeEco’s bleeding, and several high-profile executives left Faraday in a hurry. A handful of Faraday’s suppliers sued the company for millions, claiming they were not paid. And creditors occupied LeEco’s Beijing offices for a week in June, demanding payment.

Jia acknowledged last fall that LeEco expanded too quickly and required more cash than the company anticipated. Jia wrote a public plea for leniency on China’s biggest social-media site, Weibo, last week, promising to repay his debts while also saying he would throw all of his energy into his electric-car business.

“Please give LeEco some time, please give LeEco car some time,” Jia wrote. “We will pay back creditors, suppliers and any other debts.” Jia told stakeholders that his empire’s financial troubles were “more severe than we expected” and said the company “made some mistakes” in allocating its funds.

He promised to dive headfirst into the car business with Faraday Future, but critics have said the capital-intensive endeavor is what caused his troubles.

Faraday’s Fight to Survive

Krause said Faraday would search for an existing facility to build its FF91 self-driving cars once they were ready for production. For the Deutsche Bank and BMW veteran, the rationale is straightforward: An operational factory is the key to new investor cash.

“Some of them would like to see a factory and would like to see us moving a little bit further down the road,” Krause told Business Insider in a phone interview last week. “We will secure an existing facility that we can lease or buy at a low cost and then bring in our equipment and be faster to market with the FF91,” Krause said, adding that Faraday had already purchased some of the equipment for the factory that was planned for North Las Vegas.

But the startup still faces a dire outlook in the short term. The company is slowing down development of the FF91, which has been undergoing beta testing for months. Faraday has sought to keep some positive buzz going, participating last month in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, where it beat a Tesla Model S P90D in a 12-mile high-altitude race in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Still, publicity stunts have done little to deflect the real concern that Faraday’s days may be numbered. The company says that, while it no longer has access to generous funding through Jia, it is still able to cover payroll for its roughly 1,000 employees. Faraday executives declined to clarify what the company spent to maintain staffing and routine operations.

Exhibiting the same kind of dogged determination of its owner, Faraday Future insists it will push forward. Jia has other financial holdings in the US, including some real estate, which could be liquidated for cash. And the acreage Faraday owns in North Las Vegas could also be sold to replenish its reserves.

It is unclear how long Faraday can hobble into the future with its visions of immersive self-driving, electric transport, but, at least for now, the company remains intent to fight a while longer.

The post Faraday Future, Once Called “Tesla-killer,” Scrapping Big Nevada Factory as Cash Crisis Deepens appeared first on Futurism.

Solar Expert Predicts Tesla Will Be a “Game-Changer” for Clean Energy

The Shape of Solar

When Tesla announced their intention to acquire SolarCity in June of 2016, the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer’s stock plummeted. Shares dropped as much as 10 percent, and the company’s value took a $3 billion hit. And, despite Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s assertion that the move was sound, experts were skeptical, to put it mildly.

Now, a mere eight months after Tesla’s SolarCity acquisition was approved, the company has emerged as a world leader in solar technology. Of the many advancements, a massive Tesla solar farm is bringing power to an entire Hawaiian island, and government leaders are asking Musk to help solve their nations’ energy crises.

The company’s impact on the solar industry extends to the individual level as well. Weeks after the company’s solar roof tiles went on sale in May, news broke that they would be out of stock well into 2018 due to demand exceeding supply. This is with good reason — Tesla’s solar roofs are cheaper than traditional solar panels, more aesthetically pleasing, and come with an “infinity warranty.”

More than simply building a better solar panel, however, Tesla is changing what it means to have a solar-powered home thanks to their revolutionary battery technology. “One of the game-changing events is going to be when battery technology becomes widely available for homeowners,” Sistine Solar co-founder Senthil Balasubramanian tells Futurism. “Tesla is getting closer and closer to that.”

A Powerful Battery

Traditionally, homes with solar panels are still connected to the electrical grid. Any extra electricity generated when the Sun is shining is sold to the utility company to power neighboring homes, and when the solar energy system isn’t producing electricity (for example, at night or when the weather is inclement), the homeowner simply draws power from their utility company.

Tesla’s Powerwall is upending this relationship.

These wall-mountable home batteries integrate seamlessly with Tesla’s solar roofs, giving users the ability to bank any surplus electricity generated by their system and use that energy instead of relying on the utility company when the Sun isn’t shining.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Right now, one Powerwall 2 battery can store 14 kWh of energy, a little less than half of what the average person in the U.S. uses daily, according to Business Insider. As many as 10 batteries can be used on one system to increase the storage capacity, but even with a maxed-out system, a homeowner would still be at risk of being without power if they were hit with a week of inclement weather. Additionally, while a homeowner could save money in the long run with a Powerwall system, the upfront cost is steep — $5,500 per Powerwall 2, plus installation fees.

Tesla is determined to bring this cost down and make their battery technology more widely available. They recently teamed up with Panasonic to begin mass-producing battery cells at their Nevada Gigafactory, which should help to lower costs. Additionally, the research team developing Tesla’s next-generation of battery cells found a way to double their lifetime four years ahead of schedule. This means that a one-time Powerwall 2 purchase could lead to decades of energy storage.

A Brighter Future

The impact of affordable, long-lasting, high-capacity battery technology will dramatically influence the future of solar power, according to Balasubramanian, who predicts that Americans will appreciate the low-cost and freedom afforded by Tesla’s all-in-one home energy system.

“All of the projections that we are making [about solar adoption] are based on status quo, which is solar pumping electricity into the grid. The moment people can go off grid anywhere in the country, that massively changes the equation,” he asserts.

The impact of widespread solar energy adoption will extend far beyond saving people money on their energy bill. Already, the solar industry is a major job creator, adding 50,000 new positions to the U.S. economy in 2016 — a rate 17 times faster than the rest of the economy. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, if even 27 percent of the nation’s energy demand was met by solar by 2050, we could reduce water scarcity, prevent hundreds of billions of dollars of carbon-related damage to the environment, and dramatically lower healthcare costs.

As Balasubramanian notes, however, we won’t have to wait until 2050 to enjoy the benefits of a solar-powered future if Tesla has anything to say about it: “If three to five years from now, Tesla’s battery technology is widely available for every homeowner, everything could happen significantly sooner.”

The post Solar Expert Predicts Tesla Will Be a “Game-Changer” for Clean Energy appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Just Revealed Exactly How They Plan to Expand and Improve Automotive Services

Tesla just released a new video revealing how they plan to expand and improve their automotive services, giving car maintenance a special Tesla twist.

The company’s electric vehicles will feature over-the-air software updates and remote diagnostic features, which, according to the video, will be able to identify 90 percent of vehicle issues.

Tesla is also making it easier for customers to get help from humans by employing mobile technicians who will be able to take the shop to the car instead of vice versa. Additionally, if a car does need to be brought in for repairs or maintenance, drivers can make appointments through a feature in the vehicle itself.

Tesla is committing to streamlining the service center experience, promising that services will be four times faster than conventional repair shops.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Automatic check-in and optimized repair flow will make services “quick and seamless — and likely [to] be complete before you finish your coffee,” according to the written explanation accompanying the video.

Tesla’s decision to build 100 more optimized service centers is part of a wider strategy to create the infrastructure necessary to fully integrate electric, autonomous vehicles into our future. We may have a few more years before we reach that goal, but the wait for Tesla’s update service system won’t be that long. According to Elon Musk, the vision of Tesla service revealed in the video represents “the very near future, not, like, the far away future.”

The post Tesla Just Revealed Exactly How They Plan to Expand and Improve Automotive Services appeared first on Futurism.

New Aerial Photos Appear to Show Just How Massive Tesla’s Gigafactory Is

Gigafactory Update

Tesla has a bunch of lofty goals for the next few years — and all of them rely on its massive battery plant known as the Gigafactory.

New Aerial Photos Appear to Show Just How Massive Tesla’s Gigafactory Is
Tesla’s Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada will play a key role in Tesla’s lofty vehicle production plans. Image Source: YouTube/Matthew Roberts

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always been forthcoming about the size of the Gigafactory. He has said it will be the world’s largest building by footprint — big enough to fit 100 Boeing 747 jets. But from the ground, it can be difficult to appreciate the sheer size of the facility, which stretches 5.5 million square feet.

Instagram user Eva Kaplan, however, was apparently able to capture the magnitude of the Gigafactory while on a flight traveling to Reno, Nevada.

New Aerial Photos Appear to Show Just How Massive Tesla’s Gigafactory Is
Image Source: Eva Kaplann/ Instagram
New Aerial Photos Appear to Show Just How Massive Tesla’s Gigafactory Is
Image Source: Eva Kaplann/ Instagram

From the photos, it’s easy to see why Musk has called the building an “alien dreadnought.”

Tesla did not immediately confirm the veracity of the images to Business Insider, but the building in Kaplann’s photos appears to be identical to prior images we’ve seen of the plant.

A Key Role

The Gigafactory will play a key role in helping Tesla meet its lofty goal of producing 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018, a five-fold production increase. The electric car maker is producing its lithium-ion batteries at the plant as part of a partnership with Panasonic.

The $6 billion plant doesn’t only supply the batteries for the Model S, Model X, and newly released Model 3 vehicles. It also supports Tesla’s growing energy division, which develops the company’s at-home battery, the Powerwall, and commercial battery, the Powerpack.

Tesla will aim to sell more Powerwall batteries now that it has entered the solar business with the launch of its solar roof product. The company acquired solar panel installer SolarCity in a deal worth $2.1 billion in November.

But Tesla is also making strides with its Powerpack projects — Tesla announced last Friday that it will build the world’s largest battery in Australia. The Powerpack system will store energy from a wind farm in South Australia to power up to 50,000 homes.

The Gigafactory is already producing batteries, but it won’t be fully operational until 2020. Tesla aims to build up to five Gigafactories and is interested in building its second one in Europe.

But Tesla is far from the only company making a big investment in battery production.

Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, broke ground on its second battery plant in Germany in May, which will begin production in 2018. Chinese companies are also set to bury Tesla when it comes to battery production in 2021, Bloomberg reported.

The post New Aerial Photos Appear to Show Just How Massive Tesla’s Gigafactory Is appeared first on Futurism.

Two Guys Just Drove a Tesla Model S From California to NYC in a Record Breaking 52 Hours

Two friends, Jordan Hart and Bradly D’Souza, have beaten the previous record for the fastest transcontinental run in an electric vehicle by more than three hours. Using a Tesla Model S, they traveled from Redondo Beach, California, to New York City in just 51 hours and 47 minutes. The previous record was 55 hours.

The duo achieved the feat through a combination of bullishness and optimal driving strategies, only stopping to eat once and selectively ignoring the vehicle’s recommendations. “I believe that our knowledge of the limitations and willingness to push the boundaries whenever possible is what made the largest difference,” D’Souza told The Verge.

Despite some hardware obstacles, like their Tesla Model S 85D being less efficient than the Model S used by the previous record holders, the pair endured no environmental hardships. As Hart explained, “We hit essentially zero traffic jams, only [four] minutes of inclement weather, and arrived in NYC on a holiday to find the streets almost empty/devoid of traffic.”

This represents a victory for not only the two Tesla owners, who were doing the run to raise awareness of human trafficking, but also for Tesla specifically and the electric car market in general. It illustrates the capabilities of EV technology and will potentially speed up the acceptance of EVs into the mainstream.

Fastest transcontinental run isn’t the only EV record to be broken recently. Steven Peeters and Joeri Cools broke the hypermiling record for a Tesla, achieving a whopping 901.2 kilometers (~560 miles) on a single charge, and the Nio EP9 broke the record for fastest speed of an electric vehicle, getting to a dizzying 312 km/h (194 mph). The age of impressive electric vehicles is well and truly upon us.

The post Two Guys Just Drove a Tesla Model S From California to NYC in a Record Breaking 52 Hours appeared first on Futurism.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning

Jaguar is releasing its Model X competitor in 2018 — and the vehicle is absolutely gorgeous.

The SUV will be Jaguar’s very first electric car. Jaguar is smart to start with an SUV at a time where US consumers are consistently opting for more space.

The move puts Jaguar in direct competition with Tesla’s Model X, which has also experienced strong demand. In fact, Tesla sold roughly the same number of Model X SUVs (11,550) as Model S sedans (13,450) in the first quarter.

Here’s what you need to know about Jaguar’s very first electric car:

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

Behold: Jaguar’s I-PACE, a five-seat SUV. Here it looks somewhat similar to Tesla’s Model X.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

See what I mean?

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Tesla

The I-PACE is a preview of Jaguar’s electric, five-seat production car coming in 2018. That production car will be Jaguar’s first ever battery-powered vehicle. The brand new red I-PACE debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The car features a “cab-forward design.” Jaguar was able to execute this design because the car doesn’t need an engine upfront. Jaguar said in a statement that taking a cab-forward design approach frees up room in the interior to make it more spacious.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The I-PACE’s design is why many will consider the vehicle a crossover SUV. It has a compact body and is fairly low to the ground for a traditional SUV, but it still seats five while offering plenty of cargo space.

The Jaguar I-PACE has the same suspension system as the F-PACE, which Business Insider’s Matt DeBord called “the most beautiful SUV on planet Earth” in 2015.Jaguar has admitted the design it chose is unique in that sense.

“The I-PACE Concept is, however, something altogether new: not a traditional sports car, saloon or SUV and absolutely not a traditional Jaguar,” the automaker wrote in a press statement.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The car comes with a 90 kWh battery pack that powers two, 200 hp electric motors sitting over each axle.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

Jaguar claims the car has a range of 220 miles, allowing it to compete most closely with the Model X 75D that offers 237 miles of range and starts at $85,500.

There’s no word on how much the Jaguar electric SUV will cost yet, so it’s hard to really compare it to the competition just yet. But Joe Eberhardt, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said in a Business Insider interview it will be comparable to luxury offerings from brands like Porsche.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

As Business Insider’s Benjamin Zhang pointed out, that means you’re looking at an asking price north of $50,000, which, again, not to beat a dead horse, really places it as a competitor with the luxury Model X in both offerings and price.

Jaguar said the car will offer 400 hp and 516 lb./ft. of torque, allowing it to accelerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds. That outpaces the Model X 75D and 90D, which can accelerate to 60 mph in 6 seconds and 4.8 seconds, respectively.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The I-PACE comes with a rear spoiler and a full-length panoramic sunroof.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

Using a 50 kW DC rapid charger, it will charge the car in two hours.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The interior itself is striking. The seats are made of fine Windsor leather that matches the light color palette used inside.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The cockpit comes with two touchscreens on the center console.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The traditional driver’s instrument was also replaced with a virtual screen that can be controlled using buttons on the steering wheel. The buttons offer haptic feedback when in use.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

Here’s another shot of the cockpit, which was finished with dark walnut veneers.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

It’s easy to see the attention to detail, from the stitching on the seats…

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

… To the seamless integration of metal and wood…

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

… To Jaguar’s personal engraving etched with laser on the instrument panel’s wood surface.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

From what we know about the car so far, it seems Jaguar’s car has the potential to be a real contender in the electric car space when it arrives in 2018.

Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning
Image Source: Jaguar

The post Jaguar is Releasing its Tesla Rival in 2018 — and it’s Stunning appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Just Shared Photos of the First Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3

After teasing that the Tesla Model 3 was headed to production last week, Elon Musk tweeted out a photo of SN1 on Saturday night. Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that the Model 3 was headed to production after passing the last round of regulatory requirements with flying colors. The Model 3 serial number 1 (SN1) was slated to roll off the production line on Friday, and based on Musk’s photos it looks like that goal was met. In terms of customer’s expectations, if the photos of the sleek new Tesla are any indication, they’ve likely not just been met, but exceeded.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The most anticipated Tesla model yet, the Model 3 will be the most affordable electric vehicle to date. By the end of the July, at least 30 Tesla customers will have theirs in hand: Musk indicated in earlier tweets that the first 30 preorders would be fulfilled at a party on the 28th of this month.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

For the other 400,000-some people who preordered (and anyone else hoping to snag one for $35,000), Tesla’s aiming to produce 20,000 Model 3’s each month by December — a goal they’ll reach gradually, starting with 100 produced by August, then 1,500 by September. While it might seem like an ambitious timeline, it’s hardly the most ambitious a company of Musk’s has undertaken. And with the help of the legion of robots at the Tesla Gigafactory (where the Model 3 batteries are being manufactured), the Model 3’s rollout will no doubt continue right on — if not ahead of — schedule.

The post Elon Musk Just Shared Photos of the First Tesla Model 3 appeared first on Futurism.

The First Production Tesla Model 3 Will Be Made Today. Here’s a Look Inside the Factory.

Photos posted on Instagram by user Chris Suen are giving those waiting for Tesla’s Model 3 a glimpse of the factory in Fremont in the hours just before the predicted release of the Model 3 serial number 1 (SN1).

On July 3, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the Model 3 had successfully hurdled through the final regulatory requirements for production, two weeks ahead of schedule. He had hoped that would make it possible for SN1 to reach the finish line of production today (Friday).

Image credit: Chris Suen/InstagramImage credit: Chris Suen/Instagram

Suen’s photos show some of Tesla’s “alien dreadnaught” Kuka robots installed on a second platform. Previously, Tesla purchased more than 400 of these robots for the Model 3 assembly line. Model 3 production has taken up work not just in Fremont, but also in Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 where the battery cells, packs, and drive units are being made.Image credit: Chris Suen/InstagramImage credit: Chris Suen/Instagram

Tesla aims to launch 20,000 Model 3 units per month by December, according to Musk. It’s a gradual build up, starting with 100 cars by August to about 1,500 by September. The ramped up pace of production is necessary to cope up with the huge number of pre-order’s Tesla’s received for the Model 3, set to be the company’s most affordable electric vehicle yet.

The post The First Production Tesla Model 3 Will Be Made Today. Here’s a Look Inside the Factory. appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Just Landed a Deal to Build the World’s Most Powerful Battery

Largest Lithium-Ion Battery

Tesla seems to be growing its roots down under. Earlier this month, the company landed a deal with Transgrid to supply New South Wales homes with energy via its Powerpacks, and now, Tesla has been selected after a competitive bidding process to build a Powerpack system to work in tandem with the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla will provide the entire energy storage system for the wind farm via a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system. The Powerpack will be charged using the energy generated by the wind farm, which is owned by French renewable energy provider Neoen. It’s expected to make South Australia’s power grid more reliable by delivering energy during peak hours.

“Upon completion by December 2017, this system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world and will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes,” according to Tesla’s press release. That’s roughly the same number of homes affected by a state-wide blackout in South Australia back in September, which left 1.7 million people without electricity.

Sufficiently Powered

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is, of course, excited about the deal. In a tweet, Musk proudly announced that the Hornsdale Powerpack system would be the world’s highest power battery system.

But Musk isn’t the only one excited about the project. According to the Sydney Morning HeraldSouth Australian Premier Jay Weatherill expects that this “extraordinary collaboration” will stabilize the state’s energy system, as well as lower the price of electricity: “Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space.”

The post Tesla Just Landed a Deal to Build the World’s Most Powerful Battery appeared first on Futurism.

Get Ready. The Tesla Model 3 Goes on Sale This Week.

Arrival of the Tesla Model 3

When it comes to Elon Musk’s ventures, it seems like there’s always something to look forward to. This past weekend SpaceX launched its third mission in nine days which came after their historic doubleheader last weekend. Then there’s the progress on Musk’s “Boring tunnels” under L.A. But the most recent announcement had more than 400,000 people in wait; those who have signed up for pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3.

In a tweet Sunday night, Musk said that the Model 3 has already passed regulatory hurdles.

He expects that the serial number 1 (SN1) for Tesla’s electric vehicle will be finished by the end of this week. Musk also said in a second tweet that the “handover party” for the first 30 Model 3 customers will take place on the 28th of this month.

Automated Production

Musk was clearly pleased to make the announcement, and he’d done the legwork ahead of potential questions, too. He also shared on Twitter just how many Model 3s are expected to be rolled out by the end of 2017. Continuing on in his Twitter thread, the Tesla CEO said that they expect 100 cars by August and over 1,500 by September. By December, Tesla hopes to be producing 20,000 Model 3s per month.

It should come as no surprise that Tesla has ramped up production for the Model 3. Previous reports revealed the Model 3 production line runs on what Musk called an “alien dreadnaught” of Kuka robots. This was certainly the right move, considering the amount of pre-orders Tesla received for the Model 3 was staggering.

While the Model 3 is Tesla’s most affordable EV yet, the energy company isn’t going cheap in terms of its design and capabilities, which will include Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot software.

The post Get Ready. The Tesla Model 3 Goes on Sale This Week. appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk Says Details on Tesla 3 Will Be Released This Weekend

If you’ve been waiting for more details about the Tesla Model 3 launch, you’ll want to stay tuned this Sunday, July 2. Late last night, Elon Musk responded to a Twitter user’s query about the exact release date of the latest Tesla model:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In the past, both Tesla as a company and Musk personally have stated that deliveries of the Model 3 will begin in July. Obviously, once the new models are in circulation, the final details will no longer be rumor, but verified fact. For instance, fans are waiting to see whether there will be a solar roof or windshield, and how much the car’s final look will resemble leaked photos of prototypes.

Only the most hardcore Tesla loyalists and employees will be driving Model 3s from the first production run, but the plan has been for production to scale up by September. Sunday may also be when we find out what the configuration process looks like — although Musk has already said it will be limited. In order to limit complexity and achieve an economy of scale, Model 3 buyers will probably choose their car’s color and the size of its wheels.

The post Elon Musk Says Details on Tesla 3 Will Be Released This Weekend appeared first on Futurism.

A New Age in Energy: Nissan Has Major Plans to Take on Tesla in 2018

Gearing Up For a Fair Fight

The Nissan Leaf takes on Tesla’s Model 3

Nissan is trying to return its all-electric Leaf to its former state of glory.

The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car, but that’s largely been a product of it being a very early, affordable contender in the electric vehicle space. The Leaf, which can drive 107 miles on a single charge, has lately been eclipsed by incumbents like the Chevy Bolt, a $37,495 car with 238 miles of range.

As Tesla prepares to officially launch its mass-market Model 3 in July, Nissan’s Leaf is set to get more competition.

But Nissan is gearing up for a fair fight: the automaker will attempt to challenge Tesla’s Autopilot by installing its ProPILOT Assist in the 2018 Leaf, which is expected to drive 200 miles on a single charge.

ProPILOT

ProPILOT allows vehicles to drive autonomously on highways by keeping the car in a single lane even when the road curves. The system will also automatically brake if it detects an obstacle in front of it.

ProPILOT, which is essentially adaptive cruise control, is not as sophisticated as Tesla Autopilot, which offers active cruise control, forward collision warning, autosteer, and automatic parallel parking.

By the end of the year, Autopilot will be able to handle even more complex tasks, like automatic lane changes and the ability to merge on and off highways.

A New Age in Energy: Nissan Has Major Plans to Take on Tesla in 2018
Image Source: Saud Al-Olayan/ Flickr

But Nissan has big plans for its ProPILOT technology, saying it will support level 4 autonomous driving by 2020. That means the cars can handle any driving scenario without relying on a driver.

Nissan first installed its ProPILOT technology in its Serena minivans in Japan last August. As part of its ramp-up efforts, Nissan said last year that ProPILOT will allow cars to automatically change lanes by 2018.

A Nissan spokesperson declined to say whether the 2018 Leaf will come with the automatic lane change feature, but said the automaker is still committed to its 2020 timeline.

If not next year, Nissan will need to add features like automatic lane change soon if it wants to compete with Tesla.

The post A New Age in Energy: Nissan Has Major Plans to Take on Tesla in 2018 appeared first on Futurism.

These Leaked Tesla Model 3 Photos Offer You Views of This Decade’s Most Anticipated EV

New photos of the Tesla Model 3 — the most anticipated electric car of the decade, if not all time — have been leaked by You You Xue, who claimed on Reddit that Xue came across the new model randomly in San Matteo, and “jumped straight out of the car and started snapping photos!” The car is due to be launched sometime this year.

Side View. Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue
Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue / Reddit

Tesla has been extremely secretive about the project, going as far as to camouflage and cover the vehicle in every road test it has conducted to date.

The Model 3's dashboard and steering wheel. Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue
Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue / Reddit

The photos show us the interior of Tesla’s upcoming vehicle, including its dashboard with a 43-cm (17-inch) display, the steering wheel, charging ports, and wheels.

Dashboard display of the Model 3. Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue
Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue / Reddit

This has been the latest piece of information in a series of exciting updates concerning the Model 3. We know what the robots that will build the cars look like, that it will have an updated autonomous mode, and that production of the battery cell has begun at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

Charging port of the Model 3. Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue
Image Credit: You You Xue @youyouxue / Reddit

At this point, 2017 looks to be the year of Elon Musk, who is pushing the boundaries of almost any industry he enters: from space rockets, to solar panels, to autonomous vehicles — the sky seems to be the limit for the modern technological prophet.

The post These Leaked Tesla Model 3 Photos Offer You Views of This Decade’s Most Anticipated EV appeared first on Futurism.

The Rumors Are True. Tesla Wants to Build a Gigafactory in China.

Tesla in China

Rumors that Tesla is looking to establish a firmer foothold in China by building a factory in the region have been circulating all week. First, China Daily shared the news, then both Bloomberg and Reuters picked it up. Now, the world has confirmation straight from Tesla that the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer is indeed in talks with local government in China.

Tesla sent Electrek a statement on the potential Chinese Gigafactory:

World’s Biggest Factories: Facts and Figures
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla is working with the Shanghai Municipal Government to explore the possibility of establishing a manufacturing facility in the region to serve the Chinese market. As we have said before, we expect to more clearly define our plans for production in China by the end of the year.

Tesla is deeply committed to the Chinese market, and we continue to evaluate potential manufacturing sites around the globe to serve the local markets.

While details of a deal haven’t been confirmed, anonymous sources told both China Daily and Bloomberg that one would be signed yesterday.

China’s Commitment to Clean Energy

It’s no secret that Tesla has been searching for locations to build more of its Gigafactories, and China does seem like a very obvious choice. Tesla sales increased by 181.7 percent from 2015 to 2016 according to LMC Automotive Consulting Shanghai, with the company selling 10,399 cars in the country last year, tripling its sales to more than a billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

By manufacturing cars for local distribution in China, Tesla could avoid the 25 percent import tariffs it currently pays, but the company stressed in its statement that it would continue manufacturing the bulk of its cars in the United States: “While we expect most of our production to remain in the U.S., we do need to establish local factories to ensure affordability for the markets they serve.”

The decision to allow a Gigafactory to be built in China would affirm the nation’s commitment to eliminating pollution. Currently, renewable energy sources are booming in the Asian country — it’s now the world’s biggest solar energy producer. It’s also doubling up efforts to promote electric vehicle use in several key cities, and having locally produced Teslas would definitely give China more muscle in its fight against climate change.

The post The Rumors Are True. Tesla Wants to Build a Gigafactory in China. appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk’s Move Into Streaming Could Make Tesla This Generation’s Monopoly

Facing the Music

When something bothers serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, it seems he just can’t help but come up with a solution. That’s how the Boring Company was born. Now, it looks like Musk is being true to one of the musings he voiced during Tesla’s shareholders meeting earlier this month.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

At that time, Musk criticized existing music streaming algorithms and their bad playlist quality. He promised a music service feature for Tesla vehicles, which would suggest “the music you want to listen to.” Sources from the music industry are now confirming that that Tesla does, indeed, have interest in coming up with a music service. These sources confirmed to Recode that the company has already had talks about licensing proprietary music with all the major record labels.

“We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose,” a Tesla spokesperson told Recode. “Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers.”

While the sources aren’t clear yet about the scope of Tesla’s music service, it’s possible that the company would start by offering a Pandora-like web radio streaming. As Tesla’s vehicles come with a high-tech dashboard and full internet connectivity, this is highly possible. There’s also interest from the record label companies, as Tesla’s sales have been going up. They sold more than 100,000 cars last January and has already 400,000 preorders for the Model 3.

Embracing the Future

Let’s take a moment to look at Tesla, though. With its hand in electric vehicles, solar power, and next-generation batteries, Musk’s company is already a major player in the renewable energy market. It’s also an industry leader, in its own right, in autonomous vehicle technology. Tesla’s already grown past what its earliest critics expected.

Now, as Tesla expands into music streaming, it’s potentially turning into this generation’s monopoly. In the same way, Musk is becoming a truly versatile entrepreneur. He’s already building reusable rockets and planning to go to Mars, he’s digging a tunnel through L.A. traffic, and he’s also supporting the conscious development of artificial intelligence. Oh, and he also has that other venture to meld human beings with machines.

There seems to be nothing Musk doesn’t want to do. If you think about it, he’s just being a good innovator by providing a service to answer a particular need. The question is, is there a need for the kind of music service Musk envisions?

Getting into the streaming business might seem like a weird path for Tesla to take. By providing what promises to be a better music streaming service, however, Tesla’s simply improving the overall experience of driving its cars. Who wouldn’t want to listen to good music while your car drives itself?

The post Elon Musk’s Move Into Streaming Could Make Tesla This Generation’s Monopoly appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Brings on a Leading Computer Vision Expert to Give “Sight” to AI

Tesla’s line of vehicles is changing our concept of personal vehicles forever. The unique combination of electric engines, self-driving ability, and even integration with home energy systems are allowing them to carve out a significant portion of existing and future markets. Neither Elon Musk or Tesla show any signs of slowing down.

In hopes of bringing their artificial intelligence (AI) powered self-driving capabilities to new heights, Musk has brought on a deep learning and computer vision expert. Andrej Karpathy has been a researcher at OpenAI and holds a PhD from Stanford, where he created and taught the university’s first deep learning course. Karpathy has been designated Tesla’s Director of AI and Autopilot Vision.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Karpathy’s expertise makes it plain that Tesla is looking to ramp up its self-driving features. His previous work has focused on image recognition and understanding. His work could give the autonomous driving systems something closer to actual sensory vision. According to a statement from Tesla given to TechCrunch, “For example, identifying not simply that there is a cat in a given picture, but that it is an orange, spotted cat, riding on a skateboard with red wheels on brown hardwood flooring.”

This could allow for better decision making for Tesla’s AI. Instead of just noticing that there is an object in the road, the car can notice that it is a squirrel, and perhaps it can be taught that squirrels (generally) run away before the car approaches, leaving both passenger and furry woodland creature completely safe.

The post Tesla Brings on a Leading Computer Vision Expert to Give “Sight” to AI appeared first on Futurism.

Volvo Takes on Tesla with Announcement of Its New Electric Vehicle Brand

A string of recent reports from Volvo has suggested that the Swedish car company is preparing to take on Tesla with an electric vehicle (EV) division. The company has released plans for their upcoming Tesla Model 3 competitor, an SUV slated for release sometime before 2019. More recently, the company announced that they will no longer develop diesel engines, signaling a shift toward electric models.

All of this has culminated in Volvo’s latest announcement. The company has also introduced a separate brand to produce and market “high-performance electric cars,” called Polestar. Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars said that “Polestar will be a credible competitor in the emerging global market for high performance electrified cars.”

Image credit: Volvo Press
Image credit: Volvo Press

Volvo’s first EV is expected to cost something in the range of $35,000 to $40,000, roughly similar to Tesla’s Model 3. However, Volvo’s electric option does seem to boast a slightly higher range at around 402 km (250 miles), compared to the Model 3’s 346 km (215 miles).This could be the beginning of the EV wars to come. Volkswagen recently unveiled three concept cars of its own and is planning to become an EV juggernaut by 2015. This competition will only push the transition from fossil fuel burning cars to EVs.

The post Volvo Takes on Tesla with Announcement of Its New Electric Vehicle Brand appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk: With the Right Tires, a Tesla Could Travel 1,000+ Kilometers on a Single Charge

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk claims that a Model S P100D could travel a distance of over 1,000 kilometers (~621 miles) if driven efficiently on a single charge as long as it had the right tires. Musk’s assertion was made after he retweeted a post by Electrek featuring a link to an article about a new Model S hypermiling record.

For the unfamiliar, hypermiling is done to test just how far a vehicle can go on a single tank of fuel — or, in the case of electric vehicles, a single charge — when driven to maximize efficiency.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In the article, a hypermiling duo from Belgium drove a Model S P100D — currently the fastest Tesla car available — in a 26-km (16-mile) closed loop for nearly 24 hours. Traveling at speeds of 40 km/h (24mph), they were able to run the car for 901.2 km (roughly 560 miles) on a single charge.

The previous record was set by Casey Spencer, who drove a Model S 85D ~885 kilometers (550.3 miles) on one charge. The Model SP100D has a higher energy capacity, which accounts for Musk’s confidence that it could go even farther under ideal conditions.

While the average driver won’t be operating their Tesla under hypermiling conditions, the significance of this new record is clear: Tesla’s EVs are now more efficient than ever before. That’s a plus for anyone considering an electric car, as a primary obstacle to adoption has been concerns about limited range, and the more EVs we can get on the roads, the fewer of their fossil fuel-powered counterparts will be contributing to carbon emissions.

The post Elon Musk: With the Right Tires, a Tesla Could Travel 1,000+ Kilometers on a Single Charge appeared first on Futurism.

A Tesla Just Drove a Record Breaking 900+ Kilometers on a Single Charge

The Model S Record

Tesla Model S P100D has just been used to set a new record for distance driven on a single charge: 901.2 km (~560 miles). Steven Peeters and Joeri Cools managed to break the record for the lowest energy consumption for the vehicle as well, achieving 88 Wh/km (54.7 Wh/mile).

They did so by hypermiling (driving the vehicle with the specific goal of increasing efficiency). For example, because cars are not as efficient at high speeds, the drivers averaged only 40 km/h (24 mph) — a speed that wouldn’t be ideal for actual travel, but that’s great for breaking records.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Most previous approaches to hypermiling have focused on driving cars in a straight line, but Peeters and Cools opted for a different approach, following a 26 km (~16 mile) closed loop in Belgium in order to learn to optimize the car’s energy usage.

“By the time we finished the attempt, we knew perfectly how to take every turn and roundabout to make sure we drove with the least possible consumption,” Peeters explained in a blog post. They also learned how to drive under different temperature conditions as the attempt took them almost an entire day: 23 hours and 45 minutes.

A Tesla Just Drove a Record Breaking 900+ Kilometers on a Single Charge

In 2015, Elon Musk predicted that a Tesla with a 950 km+ (~600 mile) maximum range would be ready by 2017. This attempt was just shy of the prediction, but the drivers think they did the best they could under their circumstances and explained what would be necessary to break the 1,000 km (~621 miles) record: “That would have to be a perfect run in perfect circumstances, which I believe are not possible in our country.”

A Precedent for Electric Cars

Hypermiling is not the way the vast majority of people drive, but it is a good test to show just how efficient a car can be. We must also consider that this test was undertaken in the error-strewn landscape of human judgement. If the Model S’s Autopilot were adjusted to maximize efficiency, it could potentially learn more quickly than the drivers and make the appropriate adjustments.

The previous Tesla record holder, Casey Spencer, achieved an 885 km (550 mile) run last year, so this record-breaking run marks an impressive new milestone for the Model S’s efficiency.

While these scores are not particularly close to beating the records set by non-electric vehicles, we must remember that this is only the second Tesla car ever built (with the Model 3 coming soon), updates are arriving quickly, and a lower maximum milage is a happy sacrifice for a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

If Tesla’s cars continue progressing at this rate, it won’t be long before their environmentally unfriendly counterparts are matched in performance — the only category they’re really ahead in anymore. Electric cars are now closing in fast on their fossil fuel-powered counterparts, with other recent feats including a Nio EP9 achieving a staggering time of 6:45:9 around Germany’s Nürburgring track. Soon, they’ll be ready for full industry domination.

The post A Tesla Just Drove a Record Breaking 900+ Kilometers on a Single Charge appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Neural Network is Receiving a Massive Amount of Data from Cars

Yesterday, courtesy of Reddit user kutrod, we received the first images that show the change since Tesla started gathering data from the 50,000 customer-owned vehicles around the U.S. — although the actual change in policy occurred last month. The manifestation of this is that the vehicles send the company photos from its cameras seemingly at random. Kutrod’s image showed huge spikes in the amount of data a Tesla vehicle has uploaded since the beginning of May.

According to the company, Tesla’s neural network is then applied to the massive collection of data, which will allow it to build a 3D virtual world of numerous cityscapes, as well as learn constantly and exponentially about real-world environments. This is pivotal for safety because it allows Tesla to get feedback from cars already in the hands of customers and apply this information to updates.

The decision marks a departure from the strategy of other companies, such as GM and Waymo, who are using test fleets to collect data before the vehicles are released onto the market.

Tesla asked for permission to use the recorded clips during an upgrade for Autopilot 2.0. Tesla stated in a message that accompanied the upgrade that, “In order to protect your privacy, we have ensured that there is no way to search our system for clips that are associated with a specific car.”

The post Tesla’s Neural Network is Receiving a Massive Amount of Data from Cars appeared first on Futurism.

A Major Component of Tesla’s New Affordable Electric Vehicle Just Went Into Production

Tesla just took a major step forward with their Model 3 by starting production on the electric vehicle’s battery cell at Gigafactory 1 in Nevada over the weekend. According to Electrek, Tesla cofounder JB Straubel said during a presentation at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s 28th Annual Energy Fair that the battery was in production “right now.”

World’s Biggest Factories: Facts and Figures
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla’s 2170 batteries for vehicles are made using Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA), as opposed to the 2170 battery cells that power the company’s stationary energy storage products, which utilize Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NMC).

Musk has called the batteries “the best cell in the world that is also the cheapest cell” and says they have the “best energy density in the world.” While they will initially only be used in the Model 3, which is due to go into production next month, Tesla plans to eventually scale up to integrate them into the Model S and Model X, which are already in production.

This is exiting news for both the electric and autonomous vehicle industries as the batteries are pivotal to achieving the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag. As price decreases, general adoption increases, which will result in safer roads for drivers and pedestrians alike. Coupled with the environmentally friendly nature of the cars, Tesla’s Model 3 is looking like a serious game-changer.

The post A Major Component of Tesla’s New Affordable Electric Vehicle Just Went Into Production appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Wins Contract With Transgrid to Bring More Sustainable Power to Australia

Tesla has won a contract with Transgrid, the company that operates the New South Wales (NSW) portion of Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). The contract dictates that Tesla will install Powerpack batteries at sites throughout NSW in Sydney. The first 250 kilowatt, 500KW/h Powerpack will be installed at the Alexandra Canal Works depot in Sydney.

The Powerpack contract is intended to help smooth the uneven supply of power from solar and wind energy sources. These sources often spike during daylight hours that don’t correspond with demand, necessitating some device for storage. It is also to be part of the trial “demand response” technique for moderating prices and avoiding blackouts.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla

Although it is part of Australia’s larger overall energy plan, this contract is not part of the March 2017 pledge Musk made to install a solar farm within 100 days of a signed contract. Interestingly, Musk’s interactions with Australian officials and Tesla’s activities in the country have inspired interest from other nations in Tesla’s power solutions. So far, Twitter users from Ukraine and New Zealand have asked Musk about similar deals for their countries.

The post Tesla Wins Contract With Transgrid to Bring More Sustainable Power to Australia appeared first on Futurism.

As Cost Plunges, Solar Power is Ready to Surpass Coal

Solar Boom

Solar power is among the easiest ways for individuals to hop on the clean energy generation train. There are many incentives afforded to homeowners who are looking to make the switch to solar power. Even more, it is only getting cheaper to produce, install, and operate this technology. And with the advent of Tesla’s solar power generating roofing tiles, the process is getting a welcome aesthetic upgrade on top of all of the fantastic vertical integration their technology provides. 

Top 10 Countries Using Solar Power
Click to View Full Infographic

This boom is going to continue pushing solar power to the forefront of clean energy initiatives, as the cost of solar energy is expected to drop 66 percent by 2040. Furthermore, a report from Bloomberg states that in just four years’ time, solar power will finally be cheaper than coal “almost everywhere.” The report also claims that by 2040, up to 20 percent of Brazil’s power will be generated by the sun, and Germany will be at 15 percent.

Coal Out, Sun In

The economic benefit of switching from coal to solar power will spur even greater growth — as coal supporters will no longer be able to deny the cost saving potential of renewable energy. Thankfully, the rest of the world will also benefit from a significant decrease in the amount of fossil fuels being burned, a major contributor to climate change.

The report, generated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, states that greenhouse gas emissions will peak in 2026. But thanks to the clean energy revolution, these levels will be 4 percent lower in 2040 than they were last year — the reigning hottest year on record.

With the decline of fossil fuels, we may likely also start seeing the decline of large utility systems. Tesla is a pioneer in this area with its vertical integration of solar panels and solar power storage systems. Their technology is already being used to decrease regional demand on fossil fuel burning plants in Southern California.

The post As Cost Plunges, Solar Power is Ready to Surpass Coal appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk in Talks to Bring Electric Cars to India

Tesla Enters the Indian Market

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he’s in talks with India’s government to sell electric cars in the country, which is currently the fourth-largest auto market in the world.

Musk said on Twitter Thursday that he is currently negotiating a relief on import penalties until Tesla can build a local factory. This isn’t the first time Musk has announced he intends to enter the Indian market — Musk said in February he was hoping to launch in the country this summer.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

India could become one of the most important markets for Tesla given the country’s massive population size and focus on reducing emissions.

Adoption of Electric Vehicles

Vehicle adoption in India is expected to grow rapidly. At its current pace, the country is set to become the third-largest auto market in the world by 2020, according to a May report by the India Brand Equity Foundation, the Indian government’s resource center for economic information.

India’s passenger vehicle segment witnessed the most growth in the 2016 fiscal year, but two-wheelers still secure the most widespread adoption.

But some foreign automakers have so far struggled to increase sales in India, driven partially by a crackdown on diesel vehicles. General Motors put its $1 billion planned investment in India on hold last summer due to poor sales and the regulatory environment, Reuters reported at the time.

What could give Tesla an edge is that India is looking to promote electric and hybrid vehicle sales through its National Electric Mobility Mission Plan. The initiative aims to have 6-7 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2020 by offering manufacturing and purchasing incentives. The country, however, will need to invest heavily in a charging infrastructure to make that vision a reality.

As Musk explores India, Tesla is also looking to further tap into the Chinese car market, the largest in the world, as the government pushes battery-powered vehicle adoption.

The post Elon Musk in Talks to Bring Electric Cars to India appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk: The Next Generation Tesla Roadster May Achieve 60 MPH in Under 2 Seconds

From 2008 and 2012, Tesla actually had a line of electric sports cars called the “Tesla Roadster,” which was the first-ever highway legal serial production of an all-electric car powered by lithium-ion batteries. Tesla has since discontinued its production, but it was announced three years ago that a second generation roadster is coming.

CEO Elon Musk plans for this Tesla Roadster 4.0, so to speak, to outdo the first version. It will be capable of a “Maximum Plaid” performance mode, as Musk would call it in reference to the movie Spaceballs. In a recent tweet, Musk hinted at just how fast this Maximum Plaid would be.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If the first generation, had a “Ludicrous mode” capable of 0 to 97 km/h (60 mph) acceleration in just 2.5 seconds, the Tesla Roadster 4.0 might just hit 97 km/h (60 mph) in under two seconds. “That would [be] an interesting target,” Musk said in a tweet, replying to a question about the new roadster.

“Would, of course, only count if capable of doing so right off the production line with street legal tires,” Musk added, which Electrek’s Fred Lambert considers a possibility for the roadster to be faster with aftermarket components.

However, because Tesla is still busy with launching the Model 3 and perhaps working on the Model Y, and not to mention the highly-anticipated all-electric semi, the roadster is still “a few years away” — supposedly in 2019. But the Roadster still gives Tesla fans who love sports cars something to look forward to.

The post Elon Musk: The Next Generation Tesla Roadster May Achieve 60 MPH in Under 2 Seconds appeared first on Futurism.

General Motors Just Became the First Car Manufacturer to Mass Produce Autonomous Cars

GM Joins the Race

There’s a potential new major player in the autonomous vehicle industry, and its a seasoned player in the automotive market. Veteran car maker General Motors (GM) announced Tuesday that it’s completed 10 self-driving test vehicles of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV). The cars were manufactured at the company’s plant in Lake Orion, Michigan. GM believes the achievement could position the company at the head of the autonomous car race.

“The autonomous vehicles you see here today are purpose-built, self-driving test vehicles,” GM’s chairman and CEO Mary Barra told her employees Tuesday morning, USA Today reported. GM has the platform and the technology to back up its claim: it’s the first car manufacturer to mass produce self-driving vehicles.

“The level of integration in these vehicles is on par with any of our production vehicles, and that is a great advantage. In fact, no other company today has the unique and necessary combination of technology, engineering and manufacturing ability to build autonomous vehicles at scale,” Barra added.

Image credit: General MotorsImage credit: General Motors

Growing a Niche Market

GM, however, didn’t rush to mass production when it came to the development of test versions of the Chevy Bolt EV. In addition to the efficiency inherent to electric vehicles, the cars are also designed to be more affordable than other EVs on the market. “To achieve what we want from self-driving cars, we must deploy them at scale,” Cruise Automation CEO Kyle Vogt said in a press release. “By developing the next-generation self-driving platform in San Francisco and manufacturing these cars in Michigan, we are creating the safest and most consistent conditions to bring our cars to the most challenging urban roads that we can find.”

Currently, autonomous vehicles are still part of a rather niche market, though a number of studies seem to indicate that soon may change. One predicts that by 2024, the demand for self-driving vehicles will have grown to 138,089 units — a huge jump from the current demands. Not only that, a previous study, published in 2014, concluded that the autonomous vehicle market would grow to $87 billion by 2030.

Image credit: Grand View ResearchImage credit: Grand View Research
Clearly, GM is in the right path. While Tesla may have joined the autonomous vehicle game earlier, GM’s ability to mass produce these self-driving cars will certainly give it an edge in this growing market. Not to be outdone, Tesla is doubling up efforts, too: the company has already indicated their plan to build more Gigafactories in the near future.

The post General Motors Just Became the First Car Manufacturer to Mass Produce Autonomous Cars appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Original Designer Created a New Car and It Charges in Just 9 Minutes

If competition drives innovation, a crowded electric vehicle (EV) market may be the best way to save the environment. One of the latest competitors to enter, Henrik Fisker, just announced a new electric car that may instigate an innovation war that leads to the next wave of cool, high-performing — and most importantly — climate friendly EVs.

The EMotion — the luxurious sibling to the as-yet-unannounced mass market design — ostensibly has a range of 643 kilometers (400 miles), a not insignificant improvement on the 563 kilometer (350 mile) range of Tesla’s Model S. With a top speed of 259 km/h (161 mph) and a nine-minute charging time, the EV lays down a serious benchmark for Tesla.

Fisker is best known for designing some of the most iconic luxury car models in history, including ones that were used in James Bond films. The EMotion is the first car to be produced by his EV company, Fisker Inc.

Although details concerning the vehicle’s price, launch date, and autonomous capabilities have not yet been revealed, the EMotion’s announcement is a welcome update for the people who have been waiting with baited breath to see what the car would look like and how it would compare to Musk’s designs.

The Fisker EMotion. Image Credit: Fisker Inc.
The Fisker EMotion. Image Credit: Fisker Inc.

Electric cars are a pivotal part of the global fight against climate change, and the efforts of several car manufacturers — including Toyota and Porsche — to make them faster, sleeker, and more luxurious are helping EVs break into the supercar sector of the automotive market. Once there is an EV to meet the taste and desires of every driver, we can start to really phase out the vehicles’ gas-guzzling counterparts.

The post Tesla’s Original Designer Created a New Car and It Charges in Just 9 Minutes appeared first on Futurism.

It’s Official. Tesla’s Model X Is the Safest SUV on the Market With 5 Stars in Every Category

Tesla has done it again. Just like the Model S before it, the all-electric Model X has scored a 5-star rating in all categories following a crash test conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Car Tech Forecast: The Next 10 Years [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla proudly shared news of the achievement in a blog post: “We engineered Model X to be the safest SUV ever, and today, the [NHTSA] announced that after conducting independent testing, it has awarded Model X a 5-star safety rating in every category and sub-category, making it the first SUV ever to earn the 5-star rating across the board.”

In addition to receiving the highest safety rating, the Model X also set a new standard for injury risk. “More than just resulting in a 5-star rating, the data from NHTSA’s testing shows that Model X has the lowest probability of injury of any SUV it has ever tested,” according to Tesla’s blog post. “In fact, of all the cars NHTSA has ever tested, Model X’s overall probability of injury was second only to Model S.”

Not only can the Model X survive crashes, it can avoid them before they even occur thanks to Tesla’s self-driving system. The NHTSA itself previously reported that Tesla’s autonomous system lowered its crash rates to 40 percent. Self-driving cars are expected to save up to 40,000 lives every year in the U.S. by removing the major cause of car crashes, which is human error, so it seems the only car safer than a Tesla is a Tesla that’s driving itself.

The post It’s Official. Tesla’s Model X Is the Safest SUV on the Market With 5 Stars in Every Category appeared first on Futurism.

Audi is Taking Aim At Tesla With Their New Electronic SUV

It looks like Audi is putting its production where its mouth is. A press release from Volkswagen — Audi’s parent organization — says that the car maker is ramping up production capacity for electric vehicles. The company is embracing an increased commitment to electric engines with the philosophy, “electric motors instead of internal combustion engines, batteries instead of fuel tanks.”

Image Credit: Audi

Audi is gearing up to launch their e-tron quattro, an electric SUV that is planned to release in 2018 that boasts a 500-kilometer (310-mile) range. The company is launching what it is calling an “E-factory” in its Brussels plant to help ease the transition over from traditional combustion to electric powered engines.

In the new facility, logistics will be run in the front and the rear will be home to the production line for the vehicles’ new 95 kWh battery packs. The company will not be making its own cells but will be assembling the battery packs in the house. One of Audi’s battery specialists stated in the press release: “We had to develop a whole series of new production technologies, all the way to automatic setting of the cell module into its mounts.”

[Taken] Audi is Ramping Up its Commitment to Electric Vehicles
Image Credit: Audi

When announcing the new SUV, Audi took a direct shot at Tesla’s Model X by emphasizing Audi’s model’s superior range. Pricing information is not yet available, but we will see if that added juice will be worth any extra cost.

The post Audi is Taking Aim At Tesla With Their New Electronic SUV appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Updated Autopilot to Launch Next Weekend

This Sunday afternoon, Elon Musk tweeted about the imminent Autopilot release for HW2 Suite Teslas which, as promised, will launch next weekend.

The update will be deployed only to HW2 Tesla cars (which have been in production since October, 2016), because the first-generation (HW1) cars lack sufficient computing power and sensors to handle it. This update will correct issues with the original control algorithm, which was “safe, but unpleasant,” to use Musk’s own words. Rain sensors and perpendicular parking may also be part of the update.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Screenshot, Tesla
Tesla’s focus this time around has been on refining the control algorithm, not only to improve safety and add features like those in this update, but also to achieve the velvety smoothness that they have promised customers. It’s the finer points of the algorithm that control the tinier stops and starts, and those minor jolts are what have made the Autopilot ride less than perfect thus far. This version will hopefully prove to be both smoother and safer.

The post Tesla’s Updated Autopilot to Launch Next Weekend appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk: All Superchargers Are Being Converted to Battery and Solar Power

Elon Musk and Tesla are taking the expanding Supercharger network off-grid, with an end goal of one day running almost completely off of solar power and batteries. Since the electric grid is still mostly powered by coal and natural gas, disconnecting from allows them to go green in a more meaningful way, at least for now. The Supercharger network is a critical selling point for Tesla customers, giving them a way to completely power a vehicle within 30 minutes.

Image Credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla
Musk tweeted about this issue Friday in response to recent criticism of Tesla’s plan, which powers the network of Superchargers, slated to double by the end of 2017, with the fossil fuel-based energy of the grid.

Now, it’s still better for overall vehicle emission levels to drive an electric vehicle rather than one that burns traditional fossil fuels. However, charging EVs with natural gas, coal, and nuclear power is a clear weakness on the road to fighting climate change. Decarbonizing the grid is a longer-term goal than Tesla’s plan to go off-grid, but luckily Tesla drivers will probably be able to drive without the grid long before it’s decarbonized.

The post Elon Musk: All Superchargers Are Being Converted to Battery and Solar Power appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Just Landed on the Fortune 500 List for the First Time

It’s been a great week for Tesla. The company has been enjoying favorable coverage in the news cycle — from its highly successful launch of pre-orders for their solar roofing technology to a number of exciting developments they announced  at their shareholder’s meeting. Now, the company’s stock prices are reaping the benefits: Fred Lambert at Electrek reports that as of Thursday, Tesla’s stock reached an intraday high of $360 per share — setting the valuation of the company at $60 billion.

This healthy trend has led to the company being added to the Fortune 500 list for the first time. Currently, Tesla is listed at the 383rd position on the list.

Image credit: TeslaImage Credit: Tesla[/caption]This most recent surge is likely thanks to the strong focus on the future the company displayed at their shareholder’s meeting. Tesla has a clear vision for its future and a solid plan to get them there, and their list of upcoming projects is exciting enough to keep interest in the company’s workings high. The world is readily awaiting the arrival of the first solar roofing tiles, a new Tesla car model, and the Tesla Semi, as well as a host of new Gigafactories (which may be going international) to ramp up production and help meet the high demand.

The post Tesla Just Landed on the Fortune 500 List for the First Time appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s VP of Solar Products Claims Their Competitors Don’t Stand a Chance

Tesla’s new Vice President of Solar Products is aggressively confident about his company’s solar roofing product. In a recent interview with Austin Carr from Fast Company, the former CTO and co-founder of  SolarCity, acquired by Tesla, said that the Tesla/SolarCity combo is the only one that can pull off the technology successfully. He said, “If you just created a solar shingle, you’re kind of f****d. I don’t think anybody but the combination of SolarCity and Tesla can pull this off.”

Orders for the technology have been through the roof (pun intended), selling out well into the next year. Still, none of these pre-orders have shipped, so we will have to wait to see if the technology actually does live up to the hype.

Image credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla
The market may not be saturated with competition, but it does exist. Fred Lambert at Electrek discusses Forward Labs‘ offering which was announced shortly before Tesla unveiled their roofing tech. Their tech is modeled after steel roofing, which is an entirely different market than Tesla’s products would serve. Both technologies still have to prove themselves, but Tesla’s option does have a leg up with its vertical integration capabilities. Tesla’s technology fully integrates into their home battery storage systems, the Powerpack and the Powerwall.

The post Tesla’s VP of Solar Products Claims Their Competitors Don’t Stand a Chance appeared first on Futurism.

Here’s Everything You Missed From Tesla’s Annual Shareholder Meeting

An Annual Update

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is a showman, perhaps on par with Apple’s Steve Jobs when it comes to big reveals during public appearances.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

His usual platform is Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, but yesterday, he didn’t deliver much by way of reveals. Still, Musk did paint the general direction Tesla would be taking in the next several months while addressing the shareholders and responding to questions from Twitter.

If you missed the livestream of the presentation, don’t fret. Here’s everything you need to know from it.

An SUV, a Semi, and…an Airplane?

Musk mentioned three upcoming vehicles that Tesla has been working on: the Model 3, the Model Y, and an electric semi truck (that last one’s so exciting it deserved an article all to itself).

The Model 3 is expected to be released by the end of the month, and Musk emphasized the vehicle’s relative simplicity. “I should say that we’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple,” said the CEO. “A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility — there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish.”

Attendees were then treated to a first look at the Model Y, Tesla’s electric crossover SUV. The image is decidedly lacking in detail, so we still have very little to go on with this model, but we do know that it’s slated for a 2019 release and would be built on a completely new platform. In fact, Tesla would build an entirely new factory for its production.

Oh, and an electric plane somewhere down the road is also not “inconceivable,” according to Musk.

*5* Here’s What Elon Musk Talked About at Tuesday’s Shareholder’s Meeting

Autopilot Updates

Musk also offered updates on Tesla’s Autopilot, claiming that the company will be rolling out improvements to the system for its Hardware 2 vehicles. Since its split with Mobileye — the Israeli software maker responsible for the earlier versions of Tesla’s self-driving system — Tesla has been developing its own semi-autonomous software. While some consumers have had some issues with the autonomous system in Tesla’s new vehicles, Musk said that it’s now almost better than the Mobileye version.

Tesla Music?

Usually, after Musk points out a problem, he shares a solution for it (see: traffic and the Boring Company). At yesterday’s meeting, Musk shared his criticisms of today’s music algorithms and playlist quality, and in typical Musk fashion, he plans to do something about it. He says Tesla will release a music service or feature later this year, and “it’s gonna be the music you want to listen to.”

A Busy Man

After being asked about how he spends his time, Musk made reference to his late-night tweets. He admitted that he would “sometimes go crazy” on Twitter, but he blames it on music, wine, and a sedative. “You know, [when] there’s a little red wine, a vintage record player, some Ambien. Magic. Magic happens,” he said, later echoing the sentiment (where else?) in a tweet.

Musk also explained that he generally spends 90 percent of his time working on Tesla and SpaceX, while dividing the rest between Neuralink (3 to 5 percent), the Boring Company (2 percent), and Open AI (less than 2 percent).

Something More in September

Like a true showman, Musk was sure to include a cliffhanger in his presentation to keep the people wanting mroe. “There’s a few other things I haven’t mentioned here. I just like, really recommend showing up for the semi truck unveiling,” he said. “Maybe there’s a little more than we’re saying here. Maybe. Could be. Who knows?”

The post Here’s Everything You Missed From Tesla’s Annual Shareholder Meeting appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk: Tesla Will Reveal a Working Prototype of the Electric Semi in September

Yesterday, CEO Elon Musk shared details about future Tesla products at the company’s annual shareholders meeting. Perhaps most exciting of all was what he had to say about Tesla’s forthcoming electric semi truck.

Our Warming World: The Future of Climate Change [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

“A lot of people don’t think you can do a heavy-duty, long-range truck that’s electric, but we’re confident that this can be done, so we’ll be showing off a working prototype … at the end of September,” he told an enthusiastic audience.

Tesla has already shown the prototype to a number of buyers in the industry, and “they’ve all loved it,” according to Musk. “They want to know how many they can buy, and how soon,” the CEO claims.

Musk told shareholders that potential buyers were getting “closely” involved in the final stages of the design process to ensure that Tesla’s electric semi will be “specified to their needs.” He continued, “So, it’s not a mystery; they already know that it’s going to meet their needs…because they’ve told us what those needs are, so it’s really just going to be a question of scaling volume to make as many as we can.”

It seems that long-haul trucking will have a new, electric option in just three short months, and really, we need that option as soon as possible. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heavy duty trucks account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions and oil use, and they’re on track to be the country’s primary source of such emissions by 2030. Replacing those vehicles with ones powered by electricity will go a long way toward alleviate their burden on the environment.

The post Elon Musk: Tesla Will Reveal a Working Prototype of the Electric Semi in September appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk is About to Unveil the Future of Tesla

Elon Musk and Tesla are holding their annual shareholder meeting today, June 6th. Musk kicked the party off a little early yesterday on Twitter, soliciting questions from users that ranged from silliness to truly important topics that may point to the trajectory of the company.

The upcoming questions will likely veer a little closer to the serious side of the spectrum. Tesla’s rapid growth in the last year will likely leave plenty for shareholders to inquire about.

You can watch live here.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Likely topics of discussion will be updates on the upcoming Tesla Model 3, the company’s most affordable option to date, its electric truck plans (which Musk recently gave a sneak peek at a TED conference), the resounding demand for their solar roofing technology, and any plans to expand production by building more Gigafactories.

Shareholders will also get a chance to vote whether board members will have to be re-elected each year.

Whatever is discussed at the meeting will likely give a clearer view as to the vision of the company for the future. Tesla is rapidly becoming a driving force in the push away from fossil fuels. Their products —from the electric cars, solar roofing tiles, to the battery packs to store that power — are already revolutionizing the way people generate and use energy.

The post Elon Musk is About to Unveil the Future of Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

Toyota Is Eager to Bring a Flying Car to the 2020 Olympics

Toyota is amping up the race to make flying cars the vehicles of the future. Japan’s largest automobile company has invested nearly $400,000 in Cartivator Resource Management to develop a flying car for a very special purpose. Toyota is hoping that this single driver vehicle will be ready by 2020, in time to deliver the Olympic torch along its final stretch to open the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

A video was recently released showing an initial prototype being tested. These results, however, are less than spectacular, even with the interesting cinematography.

Toyota has also recently made headlines in acknowledging that their partnership with Elon Musk’s Tesla had come to a close at the end of last year. The automobile giant has since advanced their own electric car division to compete with Tesla’s popular line.

The team working on the flying car will use Toyota’s investment to improve the design of the vehicle. With these improvements, they hope that a prototype will be ready to be piloted sometime in 2019.

Their work with Cartivator is markedly more low-key than previous flying car concepts from Toyota. They introduced a futuristic concept car called the Concept-i at the most recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This concept had a lot more bells and whistles like an emotion reading artificial intelligence named “Yui.”

It is unclear at this point if either car will take off. Perhaps Toyota can give the flying car one last fighting chance to step out of the pages of science fiction and into reality.

The post Toyota Is Eager to Bring a Flying Car to the 2020 Olympics appeared first on Futurism.

Solar Power Has Finally Proven That It’s The Energy Source of the Future

Futurism only supports companies that we use and love. Understand Solar is one of those companies.  We may collect a share of the sales from the items featured on this page. Shop For Solar Power Now

A New Age In Energy?

As with most energy and cost efficient power alternatives, there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding solar energy — even when we’re faced with hard facts outlining their benefits. Consider the fact that it took nearly 30 years for fluorescent light bulb (also known as CFL) sales and dependency to rise, as Americans were unwilling to switch over from incandescent bulbs until 2010.

Tried and true sustainable products often sit on the market for a while before they become “trendy enough” to be purchased. But now, thanks to some promising developments from Tesla,(including some slicker-than-expected solar panel roofs) the value and importance of solar power is finally getting the momentum it so critically needs.

The World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

These moves are important because, not only is solar power cost effective, it reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, which is an imperative issue we need to tackle. Humanity’s current net emission is

Humanity’s current net emission is 37 gigatonnes of CO₂, meaning we’ll need a reduction of at least 700 gigatonnes to keep global warming within safe limits. By switching over to solar power, we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by over 37 million metric tons. And while it might be hard to see past your own finances, switching to solar power saves the United States over $400 billion in healthcare and environmental cleanup costs. But back to your wallet: solar panels pay for themselves in six to 15 years and increase the resale value of a house by about $15,000.

But solar power technology is nothing new. In fact, a similar standard of today’s models has been around since the 1960s. And since that time, panels have only become more efficient, more dynamic, and more attractive. So, what’s taken us so long to consider the switch?

Making A Change

It’s the myths that deter people from trusting in the technology. Most commonly, potential consumers worry that solar panels will not work in cold or cloudy climates. The truth is, they’re highly functional in cold climates, as conductivity is increased at colder temperatures. And, Germany, a country that receives half as much Sun as the sunniest city in the United States, has the most successful solar power system in the world.

Now that Tesla has shown us how chic the solar panel roof of the future will look, skeptical homeowners will be more likely to make that change.

If you’re curious about the potential to save money and the planet, check out a solar power advocate like Understand Solar and get a proper estimate for your home. When faced with the facts, it’s hard to see it any other way: solar power roofs are essential investments for your home and the future. Fill out a cost estimate form and get access to exclusive deals in your area, and a fast and easy estimate to get things started.

The post Solar Power Has Finally Proven That It’s The Energy Source of the Future appeared first on Futurism.