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Archives for tesla

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
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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.

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]
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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’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]
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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.

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.

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.


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.

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]
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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.

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.

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
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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 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.

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
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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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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]
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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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.

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]
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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.

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]
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“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 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.


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 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.

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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]
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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.

Toyota officially ended its relationship with Elon Musk’s Tesla by selling off its remaining shares of the company by the end of last year. The Japanese automaking company began with a $50 million investment for a three percent stake in the company.

In a statement, Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said, via Reuters, “Our development partnership with Tesla ended a while ago, and since there has not been any new developments on that front, we decided it was time to sell the remaining stake.” Interestingly, late last year, Toyota formed an electric car division of its own. So, it looks like Japan’s biggest automobile company is looking to compete for Tesla’s market share.

News from the BBC points to Toyota investing in Cartivator to develop a flying car. The startup has been crowdfunding their vehicle, the Skydrive, which has projected speeds of about 100 km/h (62 mph) and the ability to fly 10 meters (33 feet) off the ground.

Credit: CartivationCredit: Cartivation

This move directly opposes previous statements made by Elon Musk regarding flying cars. In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this year he said, “Obviously, I like flying things. But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.”

Electric cars have quickly become the clear front runner in the future of personal transportation. Still, it is exciting to see that flying cars may not altogether be DOA.

The post Toyota Severs Ties With Tesla, Launches Their Own Electric Car Division appeared first on Futurism.

Apple’s Other Steve

Experts in tech and tech enthusiasts alike know that there wasn’t just one “Steve” behind Apple. While Steve Jobs was the popular (and disruptive) face of the company, Steve Wozniak was the genius behind Apple’s earliest technology — most notably, the original Macintosh that was the key to Apple’s initial successes.

No stranger to innovation himself, Wozniak has made some startling assertions recently, stating that he thinks that the next big thing in tech won’t be coming from the company he co-founded—and in which he still owns a sizable amount of stock. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Canada,

Wozniak is betting that Tesla, and its CEO Elon Musk, will be the source of the next, great innovation.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

“I think Tesla is on the best direction right now. They’ve put an awful lot of effort into very risky things,” Wozniak said. “They started with a car—the Tesla Model S—that made little sense in engineering terms in how much you have to build for what price and what the market will be.”

It’s precisely that kind of attitude that won Woz’s admiration. “I’m going to bet on Tesla,” he added.

Not From Big Business

Back in the day, Jobs and Wozniak didn’t always see eye to eye, but it’s not this largely unspoken conflict that made Woz bet on Tesla. More than anything, it’s the bit of Apple that Woz sees in Tesla now. “Look at the companies like Google and Facebook and Apple and Microsoft that changed the world—and Tesla included. They usually came from young people. They didn’t spring out of big businesses,” he said.

Invaders From Earth!: How Elon Musk Plans to Conquer Mars
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For the most part, it’s also because Tesla started with a product that Musk liked very much. Again, this is another parallel with how Apple started from a project Woz was building as a hobby. “It was really built for Elon’s own life. What car would he like? And when things come from yourself, knowing what you’d like very much and being in control of it… .that’s when you get the best products,” he explained.

Tesla and Musk have gone a long way from that first electric car. For one, Woz admires Musk’s latest boring project. Apple, on the other hand, seems to be suffering from a lack of innovative spark. This has led some to argue that Apple and Tesla might work better by combining their resources together — Apple’s money and Tesla’s innovation. However, Musk has already cast doubt on the proposal. Alas.

The post Apple Founder Says Tesla, Not Apple, Will Create The Next Breakthrough Technology appeared first on Futurism.

Update Possibilities

Today on Twitter, Elon Musk got into an interesting conversation with some Tesla fans. First, he was asked about the possibility of adding a wireless hotspot:

The idea was popular, and led to an additional request for a 360-degree view:

This function, which is already in development, could allow for a complete 360-degree view while driving. And, as Electrek reports, the idea of the hotspot is not new, but fan popularity might give it more traction.

Image Credit: Tesla Motors
Image Credit: Tesla Motors

Next For Tesla

Musk has also been talking about Tesla updates to the Autopilot system that are coming soon.

Originally, Musk’s plan was to have every Tesla fully autonomous by sometime in 2017. Tesla will be conducting a coast to coast test drive this year, during which the human driver is expected not to take over control at all. At TED 2017, Musk confirmed that future Teslas on the road may be as autonomous as the coast to coast test car.


According to Inverse, Musk has already stated that if autonomous driving demands upgrades to the computers in any of the Tesla models, the design should make the process simple. The updates are going to make Teslas even safer, so it’s easy to see why fans are so excited.

The post Tesla’s Next Update Could Include In-Car WiFi and a 360-Degree View appeared first on Futurism.

That’s Fast

In the early days of electric cars, critics mocked their speed, and they gained a bit of a reputation as gas-powered cars’ slower, less powerful counterparts. While that may have been true in the past, it is certainly no longer the case.

Between Tesla’s lineup of everything from compact cars to semi trucksNissan’s futuristic sports car, and high-luxury brands like Porsche and Jaguar’s electric model releases, electric cars are now undeniably fast, efficient, and on the cutting edge of transportation technology.

This fact is more apparent than ever thanks to the Nio EP9. Currently the fastest electric car on the market, the vehicle can reach speeds up to about 312 km/h (194 mph). Recently, the car officially cemented itself as the fastest model with a record-breaking lap around the Nürburgring track. It finished the lap with a time of 6:45:9, beating its own 2016 record of 7:05:12.

The Future of Travel

Now, while the Nio EP9 is impressive, it’s probably not the most sensible vehicle for most drivers. The company is planning to produce only 10 EP9s each costing $1.48 million. But that doesn’t mean high-speed electric travel is out of the question for the average consumer. Electric cars have already come a long way, and as more and more companies make the shift to producing electric models, the variety and capabilities of the vehicles will only continue to improve.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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It is an unfortunate but irrefutable fact that climate change is only going to worsen if we keep living the way that we do. We, as a species, are simply relying too heavily on fossil fuels and producing too many greenhouse gasses, and both we and the planet will continue to suffer more and more as a result. From extreme weather patterns to natural disasters and unprecedented extinction rates, we are already feeling the effects.

And so, while switching to electric might not seem like that big of a deal, if we all made small (or large) changes to our daily lives in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we might have a real shot at combating climate change in a meaningful way.

The post The Fastest Electric Car in the World Just Broke Its Own Speed Record appeared first on Futurism.


In a Twitter session earlier, Elon Musk revealed new details concerning the coast-to-coast test of Tesla’s autonomous cars and updates to existing Tesla software.

He said that the coast-to-coast test is still on track to take place at the end of the year, and that all Tesla cars built since October 2016 would be updated. The plan, announced in a Ted Talk last month, is to “go all the way from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York with no controls touched in the entire journey.”

There are also updates concerning the autonomous driving system for Tesla vehicles. In response to some finding the driving experience uncomfortable after the speed limit was lifted last month, the company has updated the software for a smoother ride, and now the experience is “as smooth as silk.”

The speed limit on the vehicles was limited to 145 km per hour (90 mph) on highways and no more than 8 km per hour (5 mph) over the speed limit when off highway. In addition to this, the new update should feature a perpendicular parking capability and auto windshield-wipers.

Driverless Cars

This is the latest in a series of updates concerning Musk’s plans for a driverless future. Earlier this month, he revealed that he wants beat traffic by digging tunnels under Los Angeles with his Boring Company.

7 Benefits of Driverless Cars
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Musk is adamant about the safety of autonomous vehicles, saying at a press conference that people who opposes them are “killing people.” His vision was  reinforced by Morgan Stanley’s Tesla analyst Adam Jonas, who said to Electrek, “if the company achieves its goal, [it would] be an order of magnitude (i.e. 10x) safer than the average car on the road.”

Musk’s goal is to give his Tesla vehicles completely autonomy in order to make them safer and faster: the test at the end of the year and the new software updates move him — and us — closer to that future.

The post Elon Musk: Tesla’s Autonomous Car Will Drive Coast-To-Coast by 2018 appeared first on Futurism.

Solar Push

Mercedes-Benz is taking a direct shot at Tesla’s solar push and battery business.

The luxury carmaker announced on Thursday it would partner with Vivint Solar to sell a smart solar ecosystem to California residents, aiming to challenge Tesla’s new solar-roof rollout on its turf.

As part of the partnership, Mercedes will introduce its at-home battery to the US market for the first time, while Vivint will provide solar-panel installation.

The solar installer also is expected to provide a smart-home experience — Vivint Solar announced a partnership with Vivint Smart Home at the Consumer Electronics Show in January that would allow the company to use sensors and artificial intelligence to manage energy loads automatically.

The move is the latest in the solar industry’s progression, started by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, of rolling battery and solar installations into one process.

Rechargeable batteries are necessary for storing the electricity generated by solar panels that can be used during peak grid times. But before Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity in November, battery and solar installations were separate processes.

“We see this as an evolving appetite that consumers are asking us to bring to them,” Vivint Solar CEO David Bywater told Business Insider.

Image source: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes’ Bet Over Tesla

Mercedes introduced its standing battery in Germany in April 2016, but it has since expanded to the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The device, manufactured at the Mercedes subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotive, can store 2.5 kilowatt-hours of energy but could be combined to store up to 20 kWh. The full cost, with installation, would range from under $5,000 to $13,000 for a 20 kWh system.

That does compete with the price of Tesla’s battery, but there’s a catch.

Tesla’s Powerwall 2, which stores 14 kWh of energy, can cost as much as $11,450 including installation. Although it stores slightly less energy than Mercedes’ full system, you would need only one Powerwall unit instead of several Mercedes batteries. Those looking to save space may opt for the Powerwall 2, which can be mounted on a wall.

For reference, a US residential home used 901 kWh of electricity a month on average in 2015, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

But Boris von Bormann, CEO of Mercedes’ energy division, said there was plenty of room in the market for multiple players and that Mercedes has an edge when it comes to quality.

Mercedes is “not a startup. It’s not a stock-value-driven company with some velocity behind it that can go one way or another,” von Bormann said. “It’s really a mature company that will be there — and will be there for the foreseeable future. That way, you feel trusted and have a quality brand where you get support whenever you need it.”

Tesla has taken some heat for its stock valuation that has matched the levels of Ford and General Motors despite selling a fraction of the vehicles.

Powerwall 2. Tesla

Tesla is looking to improve solar adoption by offering more aesthetically appealing solar shingles, which the company began selling this month.

Both Tesla and Mercedes see at-home batteries as an extension of their electric-car plans.

Musk made that much clear at his initial solar-roof unveiling, where he discussed how a solar push would allow for the full integration of Tesla products: a Powerwall that both stores solar energy and juices up your Tesla electric car.

“We’re not just looking at energy storage as a pure storage play, but looking strongly at it from an electric-vehicle perspective, as well with the expansion of Daimler into EVs,” von Bormann said.

For now, Mercedes will leverage its partnership with Vivint to roll out its battery in California, but it could expand to other states based on consumer interest. Mercedes says it is also interested in exploring markets like China and Australia.

The post Mercedes Just Made a Huge Play That Could Threaten Tesla’s Home-Battery Business appeared first on Futurism.

Diesel’s Death Knell

Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly becoming a juggernaut in the future of personal vehicles. Tesla is leading the charge in bringing electric cars to the mainstream. Now, other companies looking to capitalize on that momentum are joining in on the fun. Volvo’s President and CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, recently talked to a German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, about how the Swedish car company is ramping up its plans for EVs.

Not only are they looking to expand on electric engines, but the CEO also mentioned in the interview that they will no longer pursue developing diesel engines. “From today’s perspective, we will not develop any more new generation diesel engines.”

Photo source: VolvoImage credit: Volvo

This announcement comes shortly after Elon Musk gave the world a first look at Tesla’s upcoming all-electric semi-truck.

Samuelsson explained further in an email to Reuters, “We have just launched a brand new generation of petrol and diesel engines, highlighting our commitment to this technology. As a result, a decision on the development of a new generation of diesel engines is not required.”

Thanks Tesla

Samuelsson admits that Tesla is the driving force behind the decision to focus on EVs. “We have to recognize that Tesla has managed to offer such a car for which people are lining up. In this area, there should also be space for us, with high quality and attractive design,” he said in the email.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Volvo does not intend to completely phase out the further development of its latest diesel engine — it will continue to upgrade the engines to meet tightening emissions standards. Samuelsson expects these stricter environmental standards to add to the price of diesel engines, giving an additional advantage to electric engines. Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs estimates an additional cost of more than $330 to each engine.

The Volvo EVs are expected to become available in 2019 and cost something in the range of $35,000 to $40,000. Volvo is hoping to release the cars with a range of roughly 402 kilometers (250 miles) per charge. These additions to the EV market will give commuters more options than ever to reduce their carbon footprints.

The post Volvo Says That They Will Stop Making Diesel Engines, Thanks to Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk has boldly claimed that within 10 years, Tesla could be as big as Apple, with a market cap of $700 Billion. He stated, “If we’re able to maintain a 50% growth rate for 10 years and achieve 10% profitability number and have a 20 P/E, our market cap would be basically the same as Apple’s is today.” His prediction is based on the technology he is releasing this year, which includes battery and solar panel production lines as well as the more affordable Tesla Model 3.

His plan is not to outsource production to other countries, as Apple does. Rather, he wants Tesla to construct the “machine that builds the machine.” His determination is shown by the 467 weird and wonderful Kuka robots that form the “alien dreadnought” which will build the model 3.

*2* Elon Musk: Robot software will make Tesla worth as much as Apple

Despite these bold claims, futuristic robots,  huge production lines, and Tesla’s ascension to America’s most valuable car manufacturer, Musk still has an awful lot of catching up to do. Apple’s quarterly profit, announced this past Tuesday, eclipsed Tesla’s total profit for 2016, and to date, they have sold over a billion iPhones. In contrast, Musk hasn’t yet sold a million cars. In fact, Tesla is struggling to reach its production goal of 1 million by 2020. Especially because of Apple’s recently acquired “cash pile,” it seems like Tesla might have a long way to go. Musk may have been right when he followed up his claims by saying, “I could be delusional.”

The post Elon Musk: Robot Software Will Make Tesla Worth as Much as Apple appeared first on Futurism.

Greening The Grid

In a global first, Tesla is joining forces with a utility company in Vermont to deploy Powerpacks and Powerwall 2s in order to supply enough power to the grid during peak usage hours. Green Mountain Power (GMP) is locating the Powerpacks on utility land, but this is only half of the picture. Up to 2,000 customers can also get in-home 7kW Powerwall 2s subsidized by the utility company — at either $15 a month, or for a one-time flat fee of $1,500, which is half of the normal price. Tesla battery power sources will be replacing diesel sources, saving the state and customers money, and reducing environmental impact.

Image Credit: GMP

GMP told WCAX-TV that they conceived of this plan after more than 15,000 customer homes lost power during an outage. There were three homes with Powerwalls that got through the outage seamlessly, and the utility company took note of that. The company is also in support of the greener, environmentally friendly aspects of the Tesla batteries and the economic savings that they promise. Traditional backup power generators are expensive, and they’re also major polluters.

“Grid-smoothing” simply refers to storage measures that seamlessly take over during times of peak usage when normal power sources are no longer capable of keeping up with the demand for power. Operational Powerwalls stay charged in individual homes until they are needed to provide backup power; the rest of the time, they recharge or stay ready. This sort of large-scale grid-smoothing trial is essential to showing that the Tesla system is viable in a host of weather and power conditions. The project will hopefully show that this system is capable of success. If and when it is, other cities across the U.S. may soon follow suit.

The post Tesla Just Formed a Breakthrough Partnership to Make Renewables Affordable appeared first on Futurism.

Swaying Public Opinion

Since Autopilot was first added to each Tesla vehicle in September 2014, Elon Musk’s company has continued to improve the already impressive autonomous driving system. Step by step, Autopilot’s software and hardware have been incrementally advanced. It has learned from human driver behavior, leading to the creation and improvement of its Auto Lane Change, Autopark, Autosteer, Summon, and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control features. The ultimate goal? Level 5 autonomy, the ability to navigate the roads with zero interaction from a human driver.

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

More than one million people die in traffic accidents every single year due to human error, and in March, a Morgan Stanley analyst stated that Tesla’s Model 3 and its Autopilot system may be an order of magnitude safer than every other car on the road. However, many of us humans remain unconvinced when it comes to self-driving cars. Some people fear new technologies generally, while others just see autonomous cars as a potential threat, even when the data stating otherwise is staring them in the face.

According to Musk, human-driven cars are the obvious threat to safe transportation, and every time a critical voice speaks out against the technology, they impede the inevitably safer roads that will follow the widespread adoption of autonomous systems. In 2016, he didn’t mince words when he told the press that vocal self-driving vehicle skeptics and members of the press who unfairly focus on the flaws of such systems are essentially “killing people.”

A Safer Future

In 2015, the United States saw a 50-year record high in roadway deaths and injuries — 38,300 fatalities and 4.4 million injuries, to be exact. Yet a single U.S. crash in a Tesla Model S — one being operated improperly, with the human driver watching a movie — led to intense scrutiny and an investigation into the system.

Human error causes about 95 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 41 percent of all human error fatalities are caused by “recognition errors.” According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), those include inattention, distraction, or inadequate surveillance on the part of the driver. Barring outright failure or computational aberration, self-driving vehicles just don’t have these problems, and usage of autonomous systems in lieu of human drivers takes these potentially fatal driving flaws out of the equation.

Musk believes that humanity’s future includes self-driving cars. How we feel about those autonomous systems won’t stop that future from arriving. A continued stubborn preference for a far more dangerous system that we already know without any doubt results in accidents, injuries, and deaths means pain, suffering, and lost money, time, and lives. Maybe it’s time to listen to Musk and let our best drivers take the wheel for us.

The post Elon Musk: People Skeptical of Autonomous Cars Are Essentially “Killing People” appeared first on Futurism.

Ahead of Schedule

For the procrastinators of the world, simply hitting a deadline is often an achievement worthy of celebration. Clearly, battery researcher Jeff Dahn is not one of those people. Less than one year into a research partnership with Tesla, his team has created cells capable of doubling the lifetime of the company’s batteries — a milestone they weren’t expected to hit for another four years.

According to Electrek, Dahn revealed this information during a Q&A session following a recent talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He noted that the target was first set during a funding request to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

“I wrote down the goal of doubling the lifetime of the cells used in the Tesla products at the same upper cutoff voltage. We exceeded that in round one,” explained Dahn at the Q&A. “That was the goal of the project, and it has already been exceeded.”

The aluminum coating identified by Dahn’s group withstood an arduous testing process using machines developed as part of the research, coming through the tests with barely any degradation. The coating is so tough, in fact, that Dahn believes the batteries and Tesla’s cars could actually last 20 years.

Tougher Tech

Once fully incorporated, these longer-lasting batteries will no doubt be a huge incentive for anyone thinking about buying a Tesla product.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Not only will the company’s cars last longer thanks to these battery cells, they’ll also dramatically increase the return on investment of Tesla’s residential and commercial energy products, the Powerwall and Powerpack. A one-time purchase would lead to decades of clean, reliable energy and transportation — great news for both consumers and the environment.

Perhaps most exciting of all is the fact that the team still has four years of research ahead of it. “We are not going to stop — obviously — we have another four years to go. We are going to go as far as we can,” Dahn asserted. If year one is any indication, the progress made by the time the partnership ends should be nothing short of revolutionary.

The post Tesla Just Doubled the Lifetime of Its Batteries Four Years Ahead of Schedule appeared first on Futurism.

A Notable Announcement

Last night, Elon Musk announced via Twitter that orders would begin today (May 10th, 2017) for his revolutionary solar roof hardware. In another tweet, he promised that ordering would be available in most countries throughout the world. He also clarified that people could expect to see delivery begin in the United States in late 2017, and that deliveries would roll out sometime next year for overseas locations.

But another announcement just came in that’s even more revolutionary: The solar roofs will have an infinity warranty.

Elon Musk: Tesla’s Solar Roofs Will Be Cheaper Than Regular Roofs & Have “Infinity Warranty”

Yes, you read that right. The Tesla website just released all the information that you will need regarding how to order their new solar roof tiles and, remarkably, the site states that the tiles are guaranteed literally forever: “Glass solar tiles are so durable they are warrantied for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.”

In the above gif, you can see Tesla’s solar roof (on the left) and traditional roofs (on the right). The test video is for the highest FM 4473 hail rating, and Tesla asserts that the video was filmed at a staggering 2,500 frames per second. Each five-centimeter (two-inch) hailstone traveling at approximately 177 kph (110 mph) on impact.

Ultimately, this absurd warranty lends authority to Musk’s previous claims that the solar roofs would be cheaper than traditional roofs, which is notable because cost efficiency is one of the primary hurdles when it comes to renewable energy.

The website also clarifies that other energy solutions could be used alongside the solar roofs to help decrease energy bills and allow individuals to truly go “off the grid.” As the site outlines, “With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility.”

A New Age in Energy

In the end, disruptions like these are precisely why Tesla acquired SolarCity in November of 2016. Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity allows for a completely integrated home energy experience — all housed under one company. And the revolution that Tesla is leading is remarkably promising. As we previously reported, studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and others suggest that 25 percent of the United States’ energy needs could be filled by rooftop solar installations alone.

The Energy of the Future: Harnessing the Power of Earth
Click to View Full Infographic

Of course, not every rooftop is ideal for solar paneling, and a combination of many factors determine how much electricity any given rooftop can generate. These factors include average sunlight of the area, as well as how much of that sunlight is allowed to reach the roof, uninhibited by pesky tall buildings, trees, or other shade-throwing structures.

To that end, Tesla allows you to take a look at your cost vs. savings. If you live in the United States, you can use get an estimate based on data obtained from Google’s Sunroof project.

The post Elon Musk: Tesla’s Solar Roofs Will Be Cheaper Than Regular Roofs & Have “Infinity Warranty” appeared first on Futurism.

Tweet Dreams

Late night tweets from Elon Musk are the best kinds of tweets. With his numerous ventures, you never really know what kind of Earth-shattering news he’s going to deliver. Did he begin construction on a Hyperloop connecting New York to Los Angeles? Did he send the first tweet from the surface of Mars? Is Tesla announcing an autonomous talking car to help David Hasselhoff fight crime?

Sadly, he hasn’t made any such announcements (yet). However, he is tweeting about how he is leading the revolution to overthrow fossil fuels once and for all. To this end, the mega-CEO just announced via Twitter that orders would begin for his revolutionary solar roof hardware later today (May 10th, 2017).


In another tweet a few minutes after the first, he promised that ordering would be available in most countries throughout the world. Musk clarified that people could expect to see delivery begin in the United States in late 2017 and that deliveries would roll out sometime next year for locations that are overseas, “Solar roof can be ordered for almost any country. Deployment this year in the US and overseas next year,” he wrote.

Last week, we discussed Musk’s talk at the TED convention. During this discussion, he did mention the imminent release of the first glass solar roof tiles, and he discussed how the first two styles would roll out. Ultimately, he stated that the first styles would be deployed approximately six months before the other style option. In response to another Twitter user,  Musk explained, “Black glass smooth and textured will be first. Tuscan and French Slate in about six months.”

Complete Package

In the end, disruptions like these are precisely why Tesla acquired SolarCity in November of 2016. Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity allows for a completely integrated home energy experience—all housed under one company.

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

To break this down, energy gathered from the roofing tiles can be stored in a Tesla Powerwall or Powerpack to provide energy for the home (or even to charge the Tesla Model 3 car sitting in your garage). And in this respect, Musk’s products have the potential to completely overhaul how the world is powered, as Tesla will completely revolutionize the way that we collect and store energy.

In fact, even its vehicles will benefit from this solar tile integration. The upcoming Tesla Model 3, for example, is slated to incorporate the solar technology in its roofing system.

The post Elon Musk Just Announced That Tesla’s Solar Roofs Are Going on Sale Today appeared first on Futurism.

Volkswagen Takes On Tesla

Now that electric vehicles are here to stay and making money, competition in the industry is heating up. Volkswagen has declared its intention to take on Tesla in a big way — and those most likely to benefit are consumers.

The Financial Times reported that Herbert Diess, the brand chief for Volkswagen, made the company’s plans public at a press conference Sunday: “Anything Tesla can do, we can surpass,” Diess remarked.

“[Tesla] is a competitor we take seriously. Tesla comes from a high-priced segment, however they are moving [to less expensive cars],” Diess continued. “It’s our ambition, with our new architecture, to stop them there, to rein them in.”

Volkswagen has already unveiled three concept vehicles: a smaller hatchback model, a minivan, and a crossover. They are all based on its flexible EV platform, which it calls MEB. Volkswagen aims for a production rate of 1,000,000 vehicles by 2025.

Clearly the German automaker has the capacity to mass produce vehicles; the question is whether it can take Tesla to the mat based on volume. The weak point for Tesla vehicles has always been cost. The company hasn’t always been profitable, and average consumers are priced out of buying from Tesla. This is where companies like Volkswagen will hit them — but how much it will hurt remains to be seen.

Via Volkswagen
Via Volkswagen

Electric Cars Get Competitive

Tesla is also ramping up production: based on its latest projections — which seem totally achievable — it should reach production of 500,000 cars per year seven years earlier than Volkswagen. However, they can only accomplish this feat if people are able to buy those cars. Thus far, people are willing — but the prices remain out of reach for many consumers. That’s Volkswagen’s real edge, assuming it can keep its own costs lower.

However, Tesla has plenty of edges of its own – not least its track record of innovation. Tesla as a company has many loyal consumer-fans precisely because it does things differently than “the big boys” — and companies like Volkswagen may find this loyalty harder to get around than they imagine. In the meantime, consumers can enjoy the benefits of competition as more and more electric vehicles come to market, and companies look to capture more mainstream, middle income demographics.

The post A Veteran Automaker Expects to Be the World Leader in Electric Vehicles by 2025 appeared first on Futurism.

The “Tesla First Quarter 2017 Update” for shareholders was released on Thursday, and with it, updates about the Model 3 timeline. It’s looking like 2017 is going to be an amazing year for Tesla: “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 energy company also reports that Model 3 production will start in July as previously announced, and that road testing is already underway.

Via Tesla
via Tesla

“Simultaneously, preparations at our production facilities are on track to support the ramp of Model 3 production to 5,000 vehicles per week at some point in 2017, and to 10,000 vehicles per week at some point in 2018.” Tesla reports that equipment installation at Gigafactory 1 is already in process. The expansion plans for their Supercharger network are also on schedule.

“Based on our current order and production rates, our first half outlook remains unchanged at 47,000 to 50,000 deliveries, which represents 61% to 71% annual vehicle delivery growth.” After the first half, Model 3 sales will figure in, and things should become even more exciting — especially given the huge number of preorder sales the company needs to fulfill.

The post Tesla Confirms That Model 3 Progress Is Right on Track appeared first on Futurism.

Highly Unlikely

Back in 2015, an investor made a bold claim that Apple would buy Tesla within 18 months. It’s been more than two years since that prediction was made, and Tesla and Apple are still independent entities — and it looks like they will stay that way.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

During yesterday’s first-quarter earnings call with investors, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared his thoughts on the chances of Tesla working with Apple on an electric car. “Yeah, I don’t think they want to have that conversation,” he said, according to Business Insider. “I’ve at least not heard any indication that they do.”

Musk was reiterating a point he made back in February in an interview with Bloomberg about how a merger with Apple was highly unlikely: “I’d be very concerned in any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that we would become distracted from that task which has always been the driving goal of Tesla.”

Their Own Separate Ways…and Cars?

Analysts and journalists have made comments about how a merger or a collaboration with Apple would be beneficial for Tesla and vice versa. Tesla, largely due to Musk, has the innovative mind that Apple seems to sorely lack these days. At the same time, Apple has the earnings and capital that Tesla is arguably in need of.

Hopes for such a pairing, which has the potential to be one of the best combos in the tech industry, have been fueled by Apple’s recent progress in the autonomous vehicle game. The Cupertino-based company has already received approval to test self-driving vehicles on California roads, which was confirmation that Apple is working on an autonomous car. Tesla is also busy working on its newest electric vehicle, the Model 3, with production well on its way and a final unveiling slated for July.

For now, Apple and Tesla seem content to continue forging their own paths with separate vehicles, but whether those paths will intersect in the future is anybody’s guess.

The post Elon Musk Is Setting the Record Straight on Rumors Regarding a Major Tesla Collaboration appeared first on Futurism.

A New Model Y

We’ve heard a lot of talk about Tesla’s plans for an electric crossover SUV, dubbed the Model Y, but so far, that’s all it’s been: talk. We’ve gotten the occasional tease tweet from CEO Elon Musk about the electric crossover, but overall, Tesla’s been secretive about the Model Y. That’s finally changing as Musk revealed more details about the highly anticipated vehicle during Tesla’s investor call yesterday.

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

The biggest surprise? Tesla plans to build an entirely new vehicle platform for the Model Y. This means that the crossover EV won’t be built using the Model 3 or Model S as a basis — Tesla is making something entirely new.

Musk shared a few details on the kinds of changes we can expect from the Model Y: “The wiring harness on Model S is about 3 km, on the Model 3 it’s about 1.5 km in length. The wiring harness on the Model Y will be 100m.”

No one knows for sure whether or not the Model Y will have the divisive falcon-wing doors of the Model X, but Musk did voice his expectation that it will be out “sometime in 2020 or, aspirationally, sometime in 2019.”

Tesla Spells S.3.X.Y.

By building an entirely new platform for the Model Y, Tesla can take advantage of the latest technologies, as well as prepare for perhaps a new lineup of vehicles — its next generation of autonomous EVs. As such, a new version of the Model S or the Model X isn’t likely before the Model Y is released.

With this electric CUV, Tesla isn’t just playfully spelling S.3.X.Y. with its EV lineup, it’s also moving forward on its quest to revolutionize modern transportation. Musk has long placed his bets on EVs and how they’ll eventually dominate the market. That day may still be some ways off, true, but we’re already on the path toward it. Other automakers, including industry veterans like Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and Volvo, see EVs as the future, too.

What’s clear right now is that the transportation sector is committed to getting greener, which is great news for the environment and those who don’t want to contribute to its destruction but still have places to be.

The post Elon Musk Just Revealed Key Details About Tesla’s Next Breakthrough Car appeared first on Futurism.

Safety at Any Price?

The auto industry must grapple with a difficult double standard: although consumers agree safety-related technology is the most important feature in cars, people don’t want to pay more for it.

The findings are based on a Deloitte survey of 22,000 consumers in 17 different countries. The report found that US consumers have a growing interest in advanced safety technology, such as adaptive cruise control and anti-lock braking, but don’t want to spend a lot on it.

US consumers are willing to pay $925 on average for advanced safety features, a 30% decline since Deloitte’s last survey on the topic in 2014.

“Perhaps more concerning, a significant share of American consumers suggest that the auto industry should bear the entire cost for bringing these advanced technologies to market, saying they are unwilling to pay any more for these features — even those designed to improve safety,” the report reads.

That’s a difficult pill for the auto industry to swallow as it invests billions in self-driving-car tech. Volvo plans to sell “deathproof” cars directly to consumers in 2020, and Tesla is about to enter the mass market space with the roll out of its Model 3.

All Tesla cars will be equipped with the costly hardware to support self-driving capabilities, but Model 3 owners may be less willing to pay the extra $5,000 to download the autonomous driving software compared to Model S and Model X luxury buyers.

Ride-Hailing Over Ownership

Still, many automakers are preparing for the reality that consumers may be unwilling to pay for the extra costs associated with the technology.

Image credit: Ford

Ford and Uber plan to introduce self-driving cars as part of a ride-hailing fleet. Google’s Waymo is reportedly also exploring a robot taxi service for its self-driving minivans.

But as the Deloitte report notes, ride-hailing services aren’t as popular in suburban areas that require more constant access to a vehicle to get around.

“For this reason, it is unlikely that ride-hailing services will have a significant impact on overall vehicle demand in the near term, at least outside core urban centers,” according to the Deloitte report.

That raises questions as to how the auto industry will scale its self-driving tech in areas where personal car ownership still prevails. It remains to be seen whether autonomous taxi services, which don’t require the cost of a driver, will be enough to offset the price of sophisticated self-driving sensors that can cost several thousands.

Still, some automakers have managed to introduce more advanced autonomous features without asking consumers to break the bank. Honda Sensing — which offers offers lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and more — only costs an additional $1,000.

The post Would You Be Willing to Pay More for a Self-Driving Car? appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk has been hitting the headlines lately because of two companies he recently started up: his Boring Company and his brain-hacking venture Neuralink. The serial entrepreneur has been very busy lately, what with SpaceX’s recent accomplishments and the latest developments in Tesla. And speaking of Tesla, rumor has it that there’s another new venture in the works.

Evidence about this new initiative comes from an SEC filing which revealed a $2 million investment in a recently incorporated firm called Redwood Materials. According to a write-up by CB Insights, this supposed new company doesn’t involve Musk directly, just some of Tesla’s executives: CTO JB Straubel and Special Projects head Andrew Stevenson. Both Straubel and Stevenson are listed as executives of Redwood Materials, with the latter as CFO.

Image credit: Redwood Materials, screenshot
Image Credit: Redwood Materials, screenshot

The Califronia-based firm describes itself as focused on “advanced technology and process development for materials recycling, remanufacturing, and reuse.” Could Redwood Materials be Tesla’s entry into the recycling industry, as part of its efforts to make manufacturing greener?

Until Tesla official says anything about it, we can only surmise what connections it has — if any — to Redwood Materials. It’s possible though, especially since Stevenson once mentioned in a speech that “re-thinking the materials supply chain” is an area of innovation for Tesla. Recycling materials could well be useful for Tesla’s vehicle and solar technologies.

The post Tesla May Be Launching a Mysterious Startup For “Materials Recycling” appeared first on Futurism.

This past weekend, the tech world was abuzz with the most recent developments discussed by mega-CEO Elon Musk at the annual TED conference in Vancouver.

During his talk, Musk updated the crowd on some of his most anticipated projects, including his future vision for The Boring Company, the all-electric semi-truck from Tesla, as well as developments regarding the Gigafactory. This progress was already covered over the weekend, but now we have a video of his entire talk.

Musk dazzled audiences with a video presentation that displayed a network of underground tunnels. Vehicles were skirted through the tunnels at high speeds on proprietary platforms, dubbed skates. During the talk, Musk stated that “There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have. The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall,” suggesting that his plans for the company are titanic in scale.

Musk also gave the audience a glimpse into Tesla’s new heavy-duty electric truck. The all-electric vehicle is said to be capable of rivaling or surpassing sports cars in terms of performance.

He also, of course, discussed SpaceX and his vision of putting humans on Mars.

To the uninitiated, Musk can look a lot like a ‘Wizard of Oz’ type figure. However, unlike the wizard, Musk’s magic is being backed up by both action and verifiable science.

The post Elon Musk Just Unveiled His Plans for the Future in a Ted Talk appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla is again stepping up its autonomous driving game as it begins its roll out of a crucial feature to its Autopilot 2.0 hardware, as reported yesterday by Electrek. The feature comes as a follow up to the 8.1 software update released in March, 2017.

According to a report by Electrek, the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) feature was originally intended to be part of the 8.1 update. However, Tesla had to make sure that this safety feature could work. Tesla had to build the new AEB from scratch, using its own “Tesla Vision” technology and an array of new sensors. An unnamed source told Electrek that Tesla’s team is now confident and satisfied about the AEB, which is being released as an over-the-air update.

Improvements such as an AEB feature will make Tesla’s autonomous vehicles even safer. The report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this year noted how Tesla’s crash rates dropped by 40 percent after Autopilot 1.0 was installed. This was due in part, Electrek noted, to the old AEB feature.

At any rate, Tesla wants to raise the bar higher, promising to eliminate 90 percent of crashes. The new AEB is part of delivering this promise.

The post Tesla Has Officially Started Releasing Its Revolutionary Autopilot Update appeared first on Futurism.

Alien Robots

Tesla “hired” its first robots back in 2014 to be used as part of a dedicated production center for the Model S. These robots, developed by German industrial manufacturer Kuka Robotics, are also responsible for the Model X and Tesla’s energy product line. Now, photos leaked by someone who claims they work as a Field Service Engineer at Kuka Robotics posted by a user in SoutheastTraders forum show an army of Kuka robots ready to be shipped out.

These new Kuka robots —quirkily named after X-Men superheroes — will be responsible for several Model 3 production line duties, including: spot welding, laser welding, handling, and loading materials, and various other tasks. The Kuka robots are part of what CEO Elon Musk previously called an “alien dreadnought” that will be tasked with building the Model 3. According to the person who posted the photos, the robots will be at the Tesla factory for the next 7 weeks to “help set up and commission 467 robots and 21 KL slides.”

Tesla users who toured the factory confirmed sightings of these “alien” robots. “[T]here is an enormous area of the factory where the Model 3 assembly line is being built,” said an owner from the Tesla Motors Club (Engle). “There are Kuka robots all over the place waiting to be installed.”

All images courtesy of Mac11FA/Southeast Traders

Bringing EVs To More People

Tesla and Musk have long seen the value of automation in its factory production lines. As Tesla’s highly-anticipated Model 3 electric vehicle is slated to begin low volume production by July, these robots — which cost between $50,000 to $500,000 — will be essential. Supposedly, Tesla spent more than $50 million on them — and the additional $1.4B capital raised in March certainly helped cover the cost.

tesla kuka robotics model 3 automation
The Model 3
will be Tesla’s cheapest EV yet, priced at $35,000. It’s expected to have the latest Autopilot software, an entirely unique display system, Tesla’s solar roof technology, as well as a number of features found in preexisting Tesla models.

tesla kuka robotics model 3 automation

As a less costly EV, the Model 3 is Tesla’s attempt to bring autonomous and green vehicles within the reach of more people. Research has indicated that autonomous vehicles are already saving lives, and helping the environment. Now it’s just a matter of getting them on the road.

The post Leaked Photos From Tesla Show the “Alien Robots” That Will Build Model 3s appeared first on Futurism.

Doubling Tesla’s Charging Network

On the heels of announcements about a more affordable Model 3 and a Tesla pickup truck, Tesla has begun to prepare for the mass-market in earnest for the first time by making more charging stations for available for their vehicles. To that end, Tesla’s blog announced on Monday, April 24, that the company would be doubling the Tesla charging network in 2017. This includes expanding existing sites in city centers and along highways so drivers need never wait to charge before getting back on the road.

Since the charging network began in 2012, Tesla has constructed more than 5,400 Superchargers to make long distance travel possible and even convenient for Tesla owners. They’ve also built more than 9,000 Destination Charging connectors equipped with Wall Connectors at restaurants, hotels, and other locations.

Via Tesla
Credit: Tesla

By the end of 2017 Tesla plans to have more than 10,000 Superchargers and 15,000 Destination Chargers in place around the world. Superchargers will increase by 150 percent in North America, and 1,000 additional Superchargers will be built in California alone. Site selection is underway now so many will open before summer travel season begins. Tesla will place charging sites in urban centers for quicker charging. Larger sites, which will accommodate simultaneous charging for several dozen drivers, will be constructed along the most-used travel routes for Tesla drivers.

New Age In Energy

Tesla’s investment in infrastructure represents a vote of confidence in the success of its newest products as well as the potential for the auto industry to continue shifting toward electric vehicles. Tesla’s overall plan is to change the way we think about power and energy. Experts are already acknowledging that Tesla will be disrupting the auto industry, and the energy industry is next.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla’s newest solar panels integrate seamlessly with the Tesla Powerwall battery system and will be available this summer. By 2018, the Tesla Gigafactory will reach full capacity; when it does, it will be producing more lithium ion batteries than the rest of the world combined. These tools will allow Tesla owners to power their homes — and their vehicles — with solar power, greatly reducing their carbon footprints.

With the ability to harness and store enough renewable energy, we could end our reliance on fossil fuels once and for all — and Musk thinks that’s something Earth urgently needs. In terms of the effects of pollution and fossil fuel use, he’s right: our planet can’t wait.

The post Tesla Just Announced Plans for a Major Expansion appeared first on Futurism.

Stocking Up

Tesla’s recent stock market surges placed Elon Musk’s company above some of the car industry’s veterans, including General Motors and Ford. Though its reign as the highest valued automaker in the United States was relatively short-lived, the momentary victory was a clear sign of Tesla’s current place in the industry, and Musk has boasted that it was also a sign of even better times ahead.

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

In a letter sent to its German automation subsidiary, Tesla Grohmann, a copy of which was obtained by Fred Lambert at Electrek, Musk explained to the somewhat disgruntled employees why the raise they were asking for wasn’t better than the stock he was offering:

Unlike other automotive manufacturers, each Tesla employee receives Tesla shares in addition to salary. These shares can be easily sold for money, but they also open up the possibility of earning much more through stock appreciation. The tenfold increase in our share price over the past five years has made shareholding exceptionally profitable for our Tesla employees. I firmly believe that we have the potential for a further ten-fold increase over the next five to ten years. That would make a total value of € 100,000 from the € 10,000 in stock.

If his calculations were to come true, Tesla’s current valuation could grow to about $500 billion, which could make Musk the richest man in the world thanks to his 22 percent share.

Confidence Booster

While some have criticized Tesla as being overvalued, Musk’s optimism seems grounded in both experience and confidence in his company’s products. Tesla’s no stranger to criticism, and naysayers have been barking at Musk since its formation. However, if the past five years are any indication, Tesla has a knack for proving critics wrong.

Tesla has grown to be more than just an automaker. The company’s current product line includes its Powerwall and its recently launched new solar roof tiles. As for new products, the Model 3 electric vehicle is at the top of the list.

“After the Model 3, many other vehicle products will come, for which Tesla Grohmann will play a key role,” Musk wrote in his letter. “To name just a few, which have already publicly announced (there will be many more): We are developing Model Y (an affordable mid-range SUV), a heavy-duty semi-trailer, a pickup and the next generation of the roadster sports car.”

How ever the situation with Tesla Grohmann plays out, the next five years should confirm whether Musk or Tesla’s critics are right in their predictions about the company’s future.

The post Elon Musk: Tesla Could Be One of the Most Valuable Companies in the World in 5 Years appeared first on Futurism.

Risky Business

Tesla seems set on taking over the world, and after their most recent market surge, they might be on track to do it — that is, if the supposedly inflated financial bubble they’re in doesn’t, well, burst.

This month, Tesla’s market cap hit a value of $51 billion, which was higher than General Motor’s at the time and $15 billion higher than Tesla’s own value in 2016. While Elon Musk disagrees, in the eyes of many experts, the company is overvalued, perhaps dangerously so.


Tesla will undoubtedly, as any company does, face roadblocks in new design and innovation. While they will most likely continue to produce incredibly popular, inventive, and successful vehicle models, some say the overvalued bubble in which they currently reside is heading for bursting.

Innovation Is Key

For Tesla to keep up with its upward-trending market value, they will need to continue innovating at the tremendous rate that they have been.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

From designing the first autonomous semi truck to driving down the price of their electric vehicles (EVs), Tesla has been keeping pace with, and moving ahead of, customer requests and demands. However, with other EV options costing a fraction of a Tesla vehicle, the company will have to get even further ahead of the game in terms of innovation if they want to maintain their value.

Elon Musk and his team aren’t the only ones hoping for Tesla’s continued success. If Tesla were to go under or begin to fail financially, more than just a luxury car company would suffer — SpaceX, Neuralink, the Gigafactory, and more would be at risk of feeling the hit. The future of space travel and exploration, the advancement of alternative energy sources and usage, and the fight against climate change hang in the balance, so let’s all hope that this bubble doesn’t burst.

The post The Age of Elon: Can Tesla Really Take Over the World? appeared first on Futurism.

Driving Too Fast?

Tesla’s vehicles have had their fair share of accidents and crashes. While most of those involved in these reported accidents have survived, perhaps no one has ever been more thankful than the driver and passenger of a Model S that went over the edge of a cliff in California last week.

According to a report by Electrek, the Tesla driver was speeding along Grizzly Peak Boulevard, driving home towards Oakland Hills, when his Model S tumbled 150 meters (500 feet) down the side of a cliff. The driver and his passenger managed to crawl out of the upside down Model S “totally ok.”

The Tesla driver, who wished to remain anonymous, posted this on an online forum for Tesla owners and enthusiasts last Sunday: “Driving perhaps a tad too spirited, a deer appeared at a curve at the worst possible moment. I instinctively (mistakenly) swerved to avoid it and my car ended up over the edge. We tumbled perhaps 150-200 feet down a steep slope, ended up upside down.” It was only when his car was towed back up that they discovered they’d fallen 150 meters (500 feet) down, and not just 60 meters (200 feet).

Tesla Saving Lives

Amazingly, while the Model S was wrecked, the interior of the cabin “was totally intact. We climbed out with only bruises and muscle soreness,” the driver’s post related. “I don’t know how to compare this with other cars but it felt rock solid to me and I feel lucky to be alive because of my [Tesla].”

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

The report by Electrek noted that the large crumple zones in Tesla’s cars, which are due to not having an engine under its hood, was the lifesaving factor in this accident. While this is yet another testament to just how committed to safety Tesla is, CEO Elon Musk has promised to strengthen the company’s standards even more.

Aside from the physical build of Tesla vehicles, a bigger contributor to safety is the Autopilot system. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released earlier this year, improvements and updates to its autonomous driving software have cut down Tesla’s crash records by 40 percent. In one occasion, Autopilot’s life-saving abilities was even caught on camera. With the 8.1 update finally out, Autopilot is expected to have improved considerably.

As for the driver from last week’s crash, he’s already looking forward to hopping back inside another Tesla. “Once I get insurance worked out I’m sure I’ll be in another one,” he said in his post. He’s certainly learned his lesson, though. “Maybe I’ll be driving those mountain roads at night a bit more cautiously,” he added.

The post Tesla Driver and Passenger Survive a 500-Foot Tumble, Thanks to Safety Features in the Model S appeared first on Futurism.

Disruption Ahead

Last week, Elon Musk announced that the “seriously next-level” Tesla semi truck would be coming this September. In response, Piper Jaffray analyst Alex Potter published a note on April 18 indicating that he is downgrading truck makers Paccar and Cummins, partly because “their valuations already reflect cyclical optimism, but also because we think TSLA’s impending arrival could pressure valuations.”

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Potter’s vote of confidence in Tesla’s potential impact on transportation was met with incredulity from some in the auto making industry, as neither the Tesla Model 3 or its semi have launched yet. According to CNBC, Potter further clarified his position in a separate note strictly on Cummins:

“Cummins makes diesel engines, but companies like Tesla (among others) are aiming to supplant CMI’s products. These Silicon Valley disrupters are not confining their ambitions to sedans; instead, they have announced plans for electric semis, electric pickups, electric buses, and various other products that defy the preeminence of diesel engines. CMI enthusiasts will note that EVs won’t replace diesel trucks in the coming 2 years (not in a material way, at least) and we agree. But when/if electric drivetrains are proven viable in the first commercial vehicle segments, we think incumbents’ valuations could fall rapidly thereafter.”

Laugh All You Want

And in a separate note dealing solely with Paccar, Potter reportedly wrote,

“Tesla’s presence looms large; laugh all you want, but this trend cannot be ignored. In the automotive segment, Tesla and others have wrought substantial disruption, forcing incumbents to change their hiring practices, increase R&D spending, and ultimately, suffer lower multiples. PCAR may be less at risk than others — and it’s probably too early to start ringing alarm bells — but with the stock trading near the high-end of its historical valuation range, we wouldn’t be adding to positions.”

Although Potter acknowledged both that Tesla is not the first to produce an electric truck and that details about the truck remain unknown, he made it clear that he believes investors should consider Tesla’s disruptive potential in the market now. Potter forecast Tesla shares at $368 on Monday, April 10 — the highest price forecast it had ever received from an analyst at a major firm.

The post Expert Asserts That Tesla’s Electric Semi Will Totally Disrupt the Auto Industry appeared first on Futurism.

In the United States, transportation alone accounts for nearly 30 percent of global warming emissions. Cars and trucks, specifically, account for almost one-fifth of the total U.S. emissions, contributing around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for every gallon of gas.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Any serious effort to decrease global warming emissions and fight climate change, therefore, includes developing cleaner vehicles. One of the champions in this front is Tesla and its electric vehicle lineup. Now, Elon Musk’s innovative company is making their cheapest EV even cheaper.

Yesterday, Tesla announced a $5,000 decrease in the price of the Model S 75 and its all-wheel drive 75D variant — both powered by a 75kWh battery — putting their base prices at $69,500 and $74,500, respectively. At the same time, the drop in prices was accompanied by added freebies. Both Model S variants now have an automatic rear liftgate and a glass roof.

Other Tesla EV models also got some price adjustments, and the cost of upgrading to higher battery capacities dropped as well. The price changes come as the $35,000 Model 3 is expected to begin shipping this year.

Making EVs accessible to more people is a big part of Tesla’s fight against climate change. Putting more electric cars on the roads will surely cut CO2 emissions in the long run, and once regulations catch up with autonomous driving tech, Teslas will be saving the lives of both current drivers and future generations.

The post Elon Musk Just Made a Tesla Vehicle a Lot More Affordable appeared first on Futurism.

The Age of Electric Vehicles

While Tesla is the most recognized name in electric vehicles (EV), it isn’t the only one. Tesla’s pursuit of a cheaper, cleaner, and more sustainable form of transportation has a proven popularity. With this comes natural competition among electric automakers that leaves consumers and the Earth with a net positive.


Enter Lucid Motors, a California-based electric vehicle company that has developed a new electric car known as the Air. While the most affordable version of the Air is still more expensive than upcoming Model 3 at $52,500, Mashable’s Ray Wong says that the vehicle “has been billed by many as a Tesla “killer” that’s more high tech and luxurious than the Model S,” adding, “it felt more like being in a private jet or in a first-class plane cabin than in a road vehicle.” Even the former Chief Engineer on the Model S, Peter Rawlinson, agrees.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Rawlinson, the current Chief Technology Officer at Lucid Motors, says that the sculpted battery on the Air provides passengers with far more space than what any Tesla vehicle is able to provide. Some features of the $100,000 fully-loaded Air include: a 1,000 horsepower all-wheel drive twin-motor, a battery that lasts 400 miles, reclining backseats, and front seats that provide a massage. The basic Air will have a 400-horsepower rear-wheel drive single motor and a battery that lasts 240 miles. All models will allow drivers to activate level 4 or 5 autonomous driving, have touchscreens instead of an instrument panel, voice assistant/AI, and facial recognition.

The Benefits of EVs

While luxury cars have led the EV charge (pun intended), more options are gradually becoming available from many other automakers so that everyone can be a part of the electric vehicle solution.

As more choices become available, consumers have the opportunity to find an EV that falls in their price range while meeting their own personal standards. All EVs today do come with certain benefits, such as home recharging, low-cost operation, reduced emissions, and a very quiet, smooth ride. The vehicles could also save the United States billions of dollars in healthcare costs. As more consumers jump on the EV bandwagon, we will see costs go down while a greener thumbprint across the globe emerges.

The post When It Comes to Tech, Lucid Motors Seems to Have Tesla Beat appeared first on Futurism.

The Gigafactory

The Tesla Gigafactory produces lithium ion batteries, supporting the Tesla vehicles and providing low-cost batteries using alternative energy sources. And, in a recent video, CEO and founder Elon Musk was actually quoted as saying:

“We actually did the calculations to figure out what it would take to transition the whole world to sustainable energy. You’d need 100 Gigafactories.”

Leonardo DiCaprio met with Musk at the Gigafactory this past year to discuss renewable resources and the future of energy as it relates to climate change. Leo is no stranger to discussions about alternative energy and climate change. In fact, he recently used his first Oscar acceptance speech as an opportunity to discuss the grave realities of our changing climate and warming planet.

One main goal of the Gigafactory is to reach and maintain net zero energy. A leader in advancement and innovation, they claim that “By 2018, the Gigafactory will reach full capacity and produce more lithium ion batteries annually than were produced worldwide in 2013.” The Gigafactory also aims to continue to drive down the price of these batteries, financially incentivizing the use of alternative energy sources.

As Leo enters the factory, he is struck by the sleek efficiency, exclaiming, “Holy crap, that’s a good robot.” He and Musk continue on, with Musk emphasizing that “the sooner we can take action, the less harm will result,” in regards to man-made climate change.

Battery Life

As put simply by Musk in the video, “the sun doesn’t shine all the time, so you’ve got to store it in a battery.” And, if we are able to shift more completely towards alternative and renewable energy sources, Musk claims that, “you could avoid building electricity plants at all.”

When some people think about alternative energy, they think of outdated, bulky solar panels that lack efficiency and are a massive financial drain. However, alternative energy technology is far beyond that. As the realities of climate change set in, it is becoming more and more obvious that we cannot wait. We cannot go another ten years using fossil fuels at the rate that we currently do and not experience the effects.

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
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Solar cells are more efficient than ever. In fact, inspired by photosynthesis, researchers recently combined the principles of quantum physics and biology to drastically improve current solar capabilities. Solar cells are no longer even necessary to capture solar energy, as scientists have created a synthetic leaf that does just that, while converting carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide.

There is no question: alternative energy is the future. We will not progress without it, and, as recent advancements have shown, it is becoming a more possible and powerful option with each passing day. If Musk is right, and these low-cost, green batteries could help to support a future where alternative energy is the majority, then his Gigafactory could be one of many steps in the right direction.

The post Elon Musk: 100 Tesla Gigafactories Could Power the Entire World appeared first on Futurism.

Word just came straight from Elon Musk himself: Tesla will unveil the production version of the Model 3 in July.

It will be the third and final part of the unveiling for the highly anticipated mass market Tesla vehicle, and this is the first time the Tesla CEO has announced a definitive month for its arrival. His announcement came as a reply to an inquiry made on Twitter.


Demand for Tesla’s mass market model has been unprecedented. The Model 3 is priced at $35,000 before tax incentives and will have a range of at least 346 kilometers (215 miles) per charge. Right now, around 400,000 people have signed up for pre-order, prompting Tesla to set ambitious production targets.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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According to the company, they are planning to produce 500,000 cars annually by 2018 and reach one million by 2020. To date, Tesla has only been able to produce 76,000 vehicles since 2016. But given that the Model 3 is actually easier to produce than any of their higher-end models, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Tesla to achieve this objective.

The Model 3’s arrival in the market will also be a milestone in the mass adoption of autonomous electric vehicles. Once they’re fully integrated into our society, electric self-driving cars will not only help Musk in his pursuit of a fully sustainable world, but also significantly improve road safety.

The post Elon Musk Finally Announced a Release Date for the Model 3 appeared first on Futurism.

Keep On Trucking

Today, Elon Musk officially confirmed that a “seriously next level” Tesla semi-truck is coming this September. He also praised the Tesla team for doing an “amazing job,” and he mentioned a convertible roadster and a pickup truck that should be to market in just 18 to 24 months.

This development is really no surprise to many, as rumors and speculations have long suggested that Tesla trucks were on the way. Still, the confirmation reveals that Musk is serious about disrupting the transportation industry.

It’s easy to see why he’d be feeling pretty proud of the Tesla team at this point. They company is now the most valuable automaker in the U.S.. But keep in mind, the comparison only goes so far, as Tesla is not just an automaker. Rather, it’s a one-stop shop for sustainable energy and innovation.


A New Energy Age

The work they do at the “gigafactory” goes beyond designing cars. The company is working on energy storage with the Tesla Powerwall. They are working on solar roofs with Panasonic. And this is just the beginning. As explained in their mission statement:

The gigafactory will also produce battery packs intended for use in stationary storage, helping to improve robustness of the electrical grid, reduce energy costs for businesses and residences, and provide a backup supply of power.

In short,  Musk’s vision is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. As a result, all of Tesla’s efforts are focused on developing the company to innovate new ways to produce and use renewable energy.

To that end, Musk has identified semi trucks as a critical focal point for safety and energy, and rightly so. Heavy-duty semi trucks that are electric will reduce environmental costs while increasing safety—especially with new AI technologies on board.

The post Elon Musk Just Said That Tesla’s Making An Electric 18-Wheeler and Pickup Truck appeared first on Futurism.

Billionaire Elon Musk has invested much of his time in companies that progress humanity towards a sustainable energy future. His work in SpaceX, SolarCity, and chiefly Tesla, has proven how well-intentioned initiatives can thrive in the economy, especially in light of an upcoming launch.

The excitement surrounding Tesla’s upcoming Model 3 isn’t just shaking up social media, it’s also dramatically hitting the U.S. Stock Markets. The environmentally friendly automaker has been gearing up for its next launch strategically, by offering risk-reduced public stock in the company.

All that effort looks as though it is paying off. Tesla skyrocketed towards the top of the auto industry as determined by market cap, making numbers comparable to General Motors (GM). On Monday morning, Tesla briefly surpassed GM’s market with $51 billion, $2 billion more than GM’s at the time. However, Tesla quickly lost its edge, and as of Tuesday morning the two companies were essentially neck-and-neck at around $51 billion, with GM slightly ahead.

Tesla’s shares have risen considerably since last December, with shares increasing by over 40 percent to today’s value of $306.69 per share.  However, holding Tesla up against other car manufacturers is not really a one-to-one comparison, as Tesla does much more than just manufacture and sell cars. Tesla’s numbers also look especially good because some of the largest automakers in the industry, such as GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, have felt stagnated sales in their first quarter.

While Tesla has its fingers in a number of pots, it likely owes much of its current success to the model 3.

The post Tesla Surged Past GM to Become the Most Valued Automaker in America appeared first on Futurism.

Apple: A Bit Lost

Elon Musk is the unstoppable innovation juggernaut of our time. He has taken us to space, and is single-handedly leading us into a new age in energy. However his company, Tesla, is plagued by issues related to capital. Conversely, Apple is a powerhouse of stability. Their sales are steady, probably because they continually pour out the same tired products that (they know) people are willing to buy. They also don’t take risks. Ever.

This is why Apple should buy Tesla and make Elon Musk the CEO—Apple lacks innovation and growth, and Tesla lacks cash and financial stability. To understand this rationale you only need to turn to Apple’s stock.

Apple has tremendously priced stock, thanks to the success of the iPhone, iPad, and to a lesser extent, the Apple Watch. This gives the company an amazingly high budget to work with. The choice that they now face is how to best invest that budget. To this end, what Apple needs is to produce something new and inventive, which it hasn’t done in a very long time.

Who says Apple doesn’t innovate anymore? Well, almost everyone. Just Google search, “Apple is no longer innovative.” On the first page alone you get this:


The Observer: “Last week, Apple unveiled iPhone 7 — or, rather, the company’s Twitter account accidentally leaked the release video before CEO Tim Cook could make the announcement. It’s no big deal because iPhone 7’s most noteworthy upgrades are that it comes in black, is water resistant and no longer has a headphone jack. Nothing earth-shaking.”


The Conversation (John Rice, Professor of Management, University of New England and Nigel Martin, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University): “Not only is Apple suffering from a major lack of hardware innovation but it’s also being outdone in software and online, where apps reign supreme. It quite possibly signals the company’s eventual demise.”


Dezeen: “Has Apple lost its touch? Dezeen readers are unconvinced by the tech giant’s latest product announcements and feel the company has lost its way. This special edition of our regular comments update looks at reactions to its controversial new wireless headphones (pictured), updated Apple Watch and the iPhone 7.”


Forbes: “[Like] previous years we have grown to accept that the polish and style of delivery masks a growing problem at Cupertino: Apple has run out of juice.”


CNBC: “’There’s no real world shocking innovation happening anymore from Apple,’ the fellow at Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, told ‘Closing Bell.’ ‘It was nine years ago that the iPhone came out … since then it’s been giving us bigger screens and smaller screens … and we go along,’ he noted, before adding that Apple’s series imitates Netflix.”


Even friendlies will agree that Apple is much stronger when it comes to customer experience and selling its own ecosystem than it is at generating new products. But just keeping your existing customers happy isn’t enough. Perhaps most telling is the fact that Apple is losing out to other companies in contests that it started. For example, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Survey, customers like Microsoft’s Surface tablets more than iPads.

Tesla: Dynamism is Costly

Meanwhile, Tesla is amazingly innovative, transforming our society in a number of sectors, all united by a future-facing commitment to clean energy and better design. The company makes cars, energy storage systems, solar roofs—and they likely won’t stop there. It seems like every few months, they come out with a new major R&D announcement. This is because Tesla places an enormous emphasis on new ideas, and although not all of them work, enough of them do that investors are inspired to buy Tesla.

Musk’s company is also growing at a staggering rate, but it is also unstable – vacillating between stocks that surge and plummet (and all the while, they are hemorrhaging cash). When you search “Tesla losing money,” you get a slightly more mixed result:


Forbes wants you to know that, although Tesla is, in fact, losing money, people like its CEO.


CNBC: “Wall Street sees Tesla, not classic companies like Ford, as the future of cars. Tesla is aiming to be the Apple of the car business.”


MarketWatch: “But even the average investor can tell the difference between a profitable and unprofitable company, and Tesla is definitely the latter.”

Several outlets reveal just how much Tesla has fluctuated over the years in relation to its sales and figures. Particularly telling is the conversation regarding how much money the company loses on every car it sells.


Reuters: “It’s crunch time for Tesla Motors. The Silicon Valley automaker is losing more than $4,000 on every Model S electric sedan it sells, using its reckoning of operating losses, and it burned $359 million in cash last quarter in a bull market for luxury vehicles.”

And a few other notable examples from Seeking Alpha and Investopedia showcase that the debate is still raging:

Why Apple Should Buy Tesla and Make Elon Musk CEO


Of course, saying that Tesla has money problems raises some (rather fair) questions. Case in point, if Tesla is losing so much money, why is their stock still worth so much? Just this past week, Elon Musk responded to critics that called Tesla “overvalued,” pointing out that its value is based not only on cash flow, but also on the innovation consumers see in its products.

In other words, investors see the work that Tesla does as being highly relevant in the future. They feel confident that it will hold its value and grow. But that’s betting on the future, and it doesn’t help Tesla achieve stability today.

The Blend

Apple will find itself in an increasingly precarious position unless it chooses another course. The company has benefitted from Samsung’s woes (what with all the phones exploding and catching fire), but that isn’t going to last. Samsung may, and very likely will, recover. The company unveiled a new smartphone at the end of March, for example, and similar ventures indicate that it is working hard to rectify its current, troubled reputation. Thus, Apple will soon (once again) find itself going head-to-head with competitors that are just as capable of turning out devices with the most notable “new” feature being that they come in a new color.

Imagine you’re one of the best and brightest new minds, and you’re graduating from the best engineering and science programs in existence. You can write your own ticket. Would you rather work on never-before-seen breakthroughs in technology or endless iterations of the same products?

No one is called to create the latest version of the same passable earbuds; that’s not a calling. It’s just a job. Transforming the way people think about storing solar power? Creating entirely new ways to produce enough power to get off-grid? Disrupting the automobile industry? Those are callings.

If Apple buys Tesla, Apple will be able to attract the kind of talent they want (and need) to regain their place at the forefront of new technologies.

Tesla and Elon Musk have already seen that the future demands diversified product lines. This seems rather obvious, as we can’t predict what will happen in the world of tomorrow: what we will want and need, or how new generations of people will think, live, work, and play. The longer Apple stays within its narrow computer/tablet/smartphone lanes, the tougher it will be to break free and diversify.

Alright, so one final question: why does Musk have to be the one who runs this mega technology machine? Because Tim Cook is a careful, strategic, incremental manager of assets focused on protecting what’s there and coaxing slow growth. That’s what he does, and he’s extremely skilled at that. However, that’s not what’s called for in this pairing. And while that kind of strategic management might provide a very useful counterpoint to Musk’s style of leadership, it seems unlikely that both would stick around.

Of course, it is very unlikely that Cook will step down (very unlikely). Yet, in all probability, the only way Elon Musk would even dream about accepting this offer is if he is offered the CEO position. As a result, the only way that this proposition is truly feasible is if Apple’s Board goes after this option and, essentially, pushes Tim Cook out. It’s an interesting idea—one that could be very beneficial for both companies—but don’t hold your breath.

The post Why Apple Should Buy Tesla and Make Elon Musk CEO appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla Dominates Energy

Last weekend, Tesla updated their website’s “Energy” section to release images of their new low-profile solar panels made by Panasonic. Tesla has been making news with their increased focus on green-energy innovations, and this fresh take on solar panels for preexisting homes and other buildings gives more people the option to go off-grid.

These panels use invisible mounting hardware and integrated front skirts to blend into your roof seamlessly for a cleaner, more streamlined look. This understated system was originally created by Zep Solar, which was acquired by SolarCity before Tesla acquired the whole package. Zep co-founder Daniel Flanigan now leads an engineering team at Tesla as Senior Director of Solar Systems Product Design.

Via Tesla
Credit: Tesla

The panels are also designed to integrate with the Tesla battery unit, the Powerwall, to create a sustainable energy ecosystem, which means that power from the panels can be stored for nighttime use. The Powerwall system also allows homes with these panels — as well as other Tesla solar tiles — to potentially be the only homes with power during grid outages. Production of these Panasonic modules, which “exceed industry standards for durability and lifespan,” is scheduled for this summer.

One Stop Power Shop

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
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This is just the latest piece of the Tesla’s one-stop-shop plan for all sustainable energy needs. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also been making international news by offering to solve energy outages for entire countries, and several world leaders are taking that offer seriously. The company leads the world in electronic cars — and has even been named the most valuable car manufacturer in the U.S.

Tesla’s car, the Model 3, will also incorporate solar tech. It will likely come with a solar roof option coupled with its Panasonic batteries.

The post Tesla Just Unveiled Its Newest Solar Panels appeared first on Futurism.

Preparations for Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicle production are well under way, and one of the most recent development comes from an Austrian cable company. The company — which has not been named publicly as of yet — will be supplying aluminum cabling for the Model 3, according to a report from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation.

As part of a business deal worth as much as $5.4 million (5 million Euros), Tesla ordered 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) of “shielded aluminum cables” which will be used to connect the Model 3’s electric motor to an onboard battery pack. The cables are expected to be delivered to Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, Nevada, where the Model 3’s electric motors and gear boxes will be manufactured.

The deal was a result of “intensive development and sales activities,” according to the Austrian company’s Facebook page. This is the company’s first dealing with Tesla, though they are no stranger to working with car manufacturers: they’ve struck previous deals with Ford and Chrysler.

Smaller and Lighter

The Model 3 will be the latest addition to Tesla’s line up of EVs. It’s expected to be smaller and lighter than previous models, assets that the aluminum cabling supports. Supposedly, these Austrian-made cables are lighter than traditional cabling materials, and not to mention cheaper — so their addition isn’t expected to upset the vehicle’s $35,000 starting price.

All of the existing features of Tesla vehicles — including autonomous driving and supercharging — are expected to be incorporated to the Model 3. It will also have Tesla’s solar roof technology, produced by sister-company SolarCity. Although the base model will have a battery pack of under 60 kWh tops, higher-end models are expected to have battery power for a 482-kilometer (300-mile) range.

Production for the Model 3 is slated to begin this July. With the Model 3, Tesla wants to make EVs more affordable, and therefore available to a larger market, which is all part of their mission to usher in a sustainable age of clean energy by removing fossil fuels on the road.

The post Tesla Orders a Staggering 3,000 Kilometers Worth of Cable in $5.4 Million Deal appeared first on Futurism.

The most valuable US automaker isn’t a car company.

The post Tesla Is One Step Closer to Becoming a Power Company appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla v. Ford

Tesla’s stock went up almost 6 percent this week — an all-time high for the automaker — after it reported strong sales for its Model S and Model X vehicles. Concurrently, competing automaker Ford — one of the consistently leading automakers in the world — saw shares dip to 3 percent at the end of a weak first quarter. As a result, Tesla’s market value is now at $48 billion compared to Ford’s $45 billion — making Tesla the most valuable U.S. automaker according to stock market standards.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Tesla overtaking Ford’s stock market value is a remarkable achievement, especially since Tesla was only founded in 2003. Ford, on the other hand, is a 114-year-old company. Another major U.S. automobile manufacturer, General Motors (GM), is also well over 100 years old and is valued at around $50.8 billion — a benchmark Tesla could be fast-approaching.

It could be argued that Tesla’s strong numbers are largely being driven by the company’s potential. This year, Tesla is preparing for the launch of its $35,000 Model 3 electric vehicle (EV). Demand for the new model is strong–and with consistent reports ensuring the company’s timely delivery of the product.

More Than An Automaker

It’s also worth noting that despite Tesla’s unprecedented success in the automotive industry, the company is actually a lot more than than an car manufacturer. That being said, comparing Tesla to companies that only concern themselves with vehicles “apples to apples” might be a little misleading. The work they do at the “gigafactory” goes beyond designing cars — even electric ones.

As explained in their mission statement:

The gigafactory will also produce battery packs intended for use in stationary storage, helping to improve robustness of the electrical grid, reduce energy costs for businesses and residences, and provide a backup supply of power.

Following CEO Elon Musk’s vision, the goal is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. To that end, all their efforts are focused on developing the company to further achieve — by leaps and bounds, it seems — a strong focus on energy innovation, technology, and design.

The post Tesla Is Now the Most Valuable U.S. Automaker, but It’s More Than Just a Car Company appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, isn’t a bad place to work in. For starters, the factory, which some people dub “Gigfactory 1,” is huge. Plus, you get to contribute to making the world a better place by building green batteries and cars. Well, if that sounds like your kind of job, then there might just be an opening for you.

Panasonic is hosting a hiring event on Wednesday, April 5, for people interested in working at the Gigafactory. It’ll be held at the Regional Public Safety Training Center, located at 5190 Spectrum Blvd. in Reno, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

According to Panasonic, Tesla is looking to hire around 2,000 people to build batteries for its $35,000 Model 3 vehicle. Open positions include material handler, production operator, maintenance technician, and shift lead.

Tesla has slated the Model 3 to be in production by the middle of this year, and parts of it — including the batteries — will be manufactured in the Gigafactory. Apart from bringing in that many jobs, the Model 3 production will also pour an investment of about $350 million into the state of Nevada.

The post Panasonic Is Hiring Thousands to Work at Tesla’s Gigafactory appeared first on Futurism.

Designed for Autonomy

When a car is intended to function autonomously, it doesn’t need a heads-up display. That’s what Elon Musk thinks, anyway.

When asked by James Locke on Twitter how the highly anticipated Tesla Model 3 will handle the instrument cluster information such as vehicle speed, Musk replied with an analogy:


While Musk makes a solid point, removing the heads-up display only makes sense on the premise that the car will be used exclusively in self-driving mode. However, even if the Model 3 is actually capable of Level 3, 4, or 5 driving, the car is scheduled to hit the market in the second half of 2017. It’s doubtful that the regulatory boards responsible for granting approval for high-level, fully autonomous driving will be ready to do so by that time.

In short, some sort of display of the car’s metrics is still necessary, and Musk assured the Twitterverse that it will have one.


Betting on Self-Driving

This information about the Model 3’s display isn’t the only sign that Tesla is betting big on self-driving tech, regardless of where regulations currently stand. The company has been continuously pushing out updates of its Autopilot software and has announced plans to make a fully autonomous drive from Los Angeles to New York City by the end of the year.

Laws and Ethics for Autonomous Cars
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Autonomous driving isn’t simply a matter of convenience, however. Experts have asserted that Tesla’s Autopilot system makes its cars 10 times safer than the average vehicle on the road, with the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

At this point, Tesla appears to be right on track when it comes to delivery and production targets for its vehicles. It already delivered more than 25,000 in the first quarter of 2017, bringing its goal of 50,000 vehicle deliveries for the first half of 2017 well within reach.

With a 69 percent increase over the same period last year, Q1 of 2017 was the best quarter on record for the company, and its numbers are expected to continue rising as the Model 3 release approaches. 2017 really is shaping up to be the year of Tesla.

The post Elon Musk: The Model 3 Will Have an Entirely Unique Display System appeared first on Futurism.

Value: Past Versus Future

On Twitter today, Elon Musk responded to critics who were skeptical of Tesla’s hot streak in the stock market. The Wall Street Journal tweet that began the debate noted that Tesla passed up Ford by market cap. Christopher Mims, a tech columnist at the WSJ, took this opportunity to comment:


Walt Mossberg, executive editor for The Verge, responded to Mims with a tweet of his own:


Twitter user ForIn2020 then responded to both critics, eliciting agreement from Musk himself:



Betting on the Future

The Twitter debate brings up two important points. The first is exactly what Musk noted. In a free market, value isn’t focused on the past. To do so would not only limit innovation, it would be foolhardy.

Value is based on what investors can see happening in the future. Past performance plays a part in that, but so do many other factors. It’s one of the reasons the stock market is risky. Not only can you not control what other investors will do, you also can never be sure what anything will actually end up being worth when you make an investment.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

The second point is this: Ford is just a car company. Tesla is a technology and energy innovation company that creates solar roofs, electric cars, power storage solutions, and other breakthroughs. The company even changed its name from Tesla Motors Inc. to simply Tesla Inc. earlier this year to make this distinction clear.

That focus on widespread energy innovation is why Tesla is poised to reach its ambitious target goal of delivering 47,000 to 50,000 vehicles in the first half of 2017 and why the Powerwall is going to come standard in all new Arden homes in Australia. The Tesla “one stop shop” model for sustainable energy is only going to become more relevant as non-renewable sources of energy get more expensive and eventually completely fall out of favor.

It’s easy to understand why investors see a high earnings future for Tesla. Failing to see that the company is going to continue to shape the future is perhaps short-sighted. Failing to understand how the market values companies is a bit more mystifying. Either way, Tesla and its investors are going to be laughing all the way to the bank — whatever form “the bank” takes a few decades from now.

The post Elon Musk Responds to Criticism, Says Tesla is Not “Overvalued” appeared first on Futurism.

A Renewable Package for the Home

An Australian company, home builder Arden Homes, is partnering with Bradford Solar and Tesla to give their houses a renewable twist. The company has announced that the Tesla Powerwall will now be “a standard inclusion in every Arden home,” as part of offering the Bradford Solar ChargePack. Bradford Solar is a solar installer and a certified reseller of Tesla Powerwall.

“The energy that is created can be used to power your appliances, fed back into the grid or stored for later use,” according to Arden. “At the heart of your Bradford Solar ChargePack is Tesla Powerwall, a [rechargeable] lithium-ion battery that charges using electricity from your solar panels.”

Prior to Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, both companies had been working with home builders to incorporate products such as the Powerwall into home designs.


An Innovative Solution

Tesla’s Powerwall is part of a product lineup that builds a sustainable renewable energy ecosystem directly into homes. It’s “designed to store energy at a residential level for self-consumption of solar power generation, emergency backup power, load shifting and other applications,” according to Tesla.

The idea is to have a battery that can store energy generated by sources like solar panel or even by Tesla’s electric vehicles. This stored power can then be used when needed, like after the sun has set or in the event of a power outtage. Tesla notes that it “can extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar.”

The Powerwall also helps homeowners cut down their electric bills by much as 92 percent “by charging during low rate periods when demand for electricity is lower and discharging during more expensive rate periods when electricity demand is higher.”

It’s a truly advantageous setup in a country like Australia, which has the world’s highest penetration of rooftop solar per capita: 15 percent of households in the country are using solar. That’s roughly 1.5 million homes that can benefit from a truly renewable energy source.

The post A Company Just Announced That Tesla Will Be Included in All of Their Homes appeared first on Futurism.

Keeping It Up

Tesla has proven yet again that its share of the electric car market is no joke. According to the company’s earnings report for the first quarter (Q1) of 2017, it delivered approximately 13,450 Model S sedans and around 11,550 Model X sport utility vehicles. That total of more than 25,000 deliveries to date brings Tesla closer to hitting its goal of delivering 47,000 to 50,000 vehicles in the first half of 2017.

Tesla noted that these numbers could vary by up to 5 percent as they “only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct.” By the end of Q1, some 4,650 more vehicles were in transit to customers. Those will be counted under Q2 deliveries.

Image credit: Tesla
Image credit: Tesla

According to NASDAQ, this is the highest Q1 on record for Tesla, and it’s about a 69 percent increase over the same period in 2016. In terms of first-quarter production, Tesla built about 25,418 vehicles, which is another quarterly record for the company.

These numbers are good for Tesla, and the company expects to grow even more substantially as its lower-priced Model 3 draws closer to release. For now, its two existing vehicle models are doing fairly well in the market, and they may indeed help CEO Elon Musk hit his goals of delivering 200,000 cars by the end of 2017 and 500,000 by the end of 2018. For the latter target, the Model 3’s 200,000 pre-orders should make a significant contribution.

An Industry Leader

Building Tesla was no easy task for Musk, who was often met with skepticism over his famously optimistic goals. Over the years, he has repeatedly proven critics wrong, while simultaneously surprising Tesla enthusiasts. Though originally created as a vehicle manufacturer, Tesla has since grown into something greater — it’s become a renewable energy powerhouse.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

“Tesla is not just an automotive company; it’s an energy innovation company,” according to its website. “Tesla Energy is a critical step in this mission to enable zero emission power generation.”

To that end, Tesla has built an ecosystem of energy products that include not just vehicles but also a home-battery system, the Powerwall, and a commercial energy storage system, the Powerpack. The company is also transforming energy on a utility-wide scale with an advanced microgrid model that combines its batteries with solar energy. That system has been tested to power an entire island.

Tesla is currently gearing up to roll out its solar roof shingles, a product of the company’s acquisition of SolarCity late in 2016. “We would be the world’s only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products to our customers,” Musk said during the SolarCity acquisition offer announcement, and now they are.

Indeed, Tesla is no longer just a car maker. It’s become a leader in the renewable energy industry, working to putting an end to the use of fossil fuels, one car, roof, or battery at a time.

The post Tesla Just Smashed Through Another Record-Breaking Milestone appeared first on Futurism.

Where Tesla Sees the Future

Earlier this year, Tesla Motors changed their name to Tesla Inc. — a move that signified the company’s intent to accelerate the advent of sustainable energy.

Instead of focusing on just one aspect of ensuring a sustainable future, Tesla wants to ensure that it is able to make broad solutions available to the public. It has determined that transitioning to renewable energy and technology is the best way to accomplish this.

A big part of this grand plan is anchored on the company’s acquisition of the solar energy company SolarCity. Tesla’s purchase will allow it to provide its customers with more comprehensive services, said Kurt Kelty, senior director of Battery Technology at Tesla, who spoke at the International Battery Seminar after the company won Innovator of the Year. He said that his vision was that Tesla customers would be able to have Tesla’s electronic vehicles (EVs) in their garage, Tesla’s solar panels on their roofs, and Tesla’s batteries powering their devices.

Tesla Aims to Be A “One-Stop Shop” for All of Your Sustainable Energy Needs
Credit: TecHome Builder

“You have solar, battery pack, the EV, and you’ve got all the controls on your cell phone,” Kelty said at the seminar. “This is the kind of future we see for [your] house.”

Kelty explained that Tesla’s energy storage solution makes the brand a “one-stop shop… it’s all a well-integrated system and it just makes it that much easier for the customer to use.”

Elon Musk’s Grand Plan

Tesla Inc. CEO, Elon Musk has always been very vocal about his grand plan to usher in a sustainable future. And Tesla’s pioneering legacy in car manufacturing is now lending itself to the development of Tesla’s energy storage technology — the Powerwalls and Powerpacks. Kelty described the rise of additional applications of these micro-grids in Hawaii and California.

“There are a lot of applications for the Powerpack that we’re just starting to explore,” Kelty said at the seminar. “We’re just starting to penetrate the market now, and the market potential is absolutely huge.”

Renewable Energy Sources Of The Future [Infographic]
Click to View Full Infographic

And with the goal of becoming an integrated, “one-stop shop” for clean energy needs, the Gigafactory is also consistently trying to lower battery cost, making renewable and sustainable energy more accessible to the public. In addition, Tesla is monitoring their batteries’ usage to gain real time data that will ultimately lead to further advances in battery technology.

Should Tesla’s products be successful, they could allow the U.S. to not only lower its dependence on fossil fuels, thereby reducing its carbon footprint, but also cut down its usage of electricity as a whole by making energy storage more efficient. And, as the U.S. government contemplates cutting environmental programs from the budget, it may be more important than ever for private companies like Tesla to step up to the plate to address climate change.

The post Tesla Aims to Be A “One-Stop Shop” for All of Your Sustainable Energy Needs appeared first on Futurism.

As Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced over Twitter last week, the long-awaited 8.1 update for Tesla Autopilot 2.0 is now out. For now, the update is available only for Tesla vehicles in North America, but it’s expected to roll out worldwide in the next couple of days.

The 8.1 software update comes as part of Tesla’s goal to develop fully autonomous, (SAE Level 5) vehicles. In general, the update will enable and improve driver-assistance features in Autopilot 2.0 vehicles.

Autonomous Car Forecasts: When Will They Actually Be on Our Roads?
Click to View Full Infographic

Autosteer, which Tesla says uses “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control to maintain the car’s speed in relation to surrounding traffic,” is getting a boost in speed. Previously limited to 88 km/h (55 mph), it can now work at speeds up to 128 km/h (80 mph).

Other updates in 8.1 are features previously available only to Autopilot 1.0 vehicles, such as Auto Lane Change, Autopark, and Summon. The first works with Autosteer and prompts Tesla vehicles to change lanes following a simple engagement of the turn signal. The latter two features maneuver the vehicle into a parking spot and let a driver retrieve their Tesla within a radius of 39 feet using just a mobile app or the vehicle’s key, respectively.

Update 8.1 also has a host of other minor enhancements for both 1.0 and 2.0 cars. In total, it’s a package that puts Tesla’s self-driving cars another step ahead of everybody else.

The post Autopilot 2.0: Tesla’s Long-Awaited 8.1 Update Is Officially Out appeared first on Futurism.

The Gigafactory

Tesla is making some major moves with its massive Gigafactory in Nevada. The approximately 455,225 square meter (4.9 million square feet) operational space is inching closer to completion. The space is already being used to manufacture Powerpack 3 and Powerwall 2 battery units. It will soon also start churning out Tesla Model 3 vehicles.

Thanks to a powerline project taking place near the factory, we now have an update on the progress of the its construction from an aerial photo provided by NM Group. The last look we had was taken at the beginning of the year and showed a partially incomplete exterior. The new photo appears to show a completed structure.

Here is a side by side view of the progress, thus far.

NM Group

Renewably Powering Renewables

While the factory is helping to create products that promote and allow the proliferation of renewable energy, it is going to be doing so with sustainability in mind. Tesla is hoping to power the factory using “100 percent sustainable energy.” The roof will be outfitted with a 70 MW solar array and additional solar panels will be constructed on the ground.

Further, powering the factory isn’t the only place where Tesla is focusing on sustainability. The factory’s water will come from a closed-loop water supply system. According to Tesla, “Gigafactory’s closed-loop water supply system uses six different treatment systems to efficiently re-circulate about 1.5 million liters of water, representing an 80% reduction in fresh water usage compared with standard processes.” They are also working on a state-of-the-art climate control system to save even more energy.

By 2020, the plant is expected to reach full production with 150 GWh of battery pack output. This would go a long way to making the world much safer by providing the means to store renewable energy.

The post New Photos Show Construction on Tesla’s Gigafactory is Nearly Complete appeared first on Futurism.

The Road to a Driverless Future

A car that could drive itself used to be solely the stuff of science fiction. Now, it’s become a reality thanks to companies like Tesla.

Elon Musk’s company is continuously improving its autonomous driving systemAutopilot, which it describes as “an increasingly capable suite of safety and convenience features that make personal transportation safer and more enjoyable.”

Autonomous Car Forecasts: When Will They Actually Be on Our Roads?
Click to View Full Infographic

Since September 2014, when it was first added to every Tesla vehicle, Autopilot’s hardware and software have been inching closer and closer to Level 5 autonomy, a level that requires zero interaction from a human driver. The system’s features, which now include Autosteer, Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, and Summon (that one lets you call your Tesla car via a mobile app), are products of Tesla’s Autopilot software learning from the behavior of human drivers.

The company rolled out enhanced Autopilot features earlier this year, and the highly anticipated 8.1 software update for its hardware 2 platform is expected to arrived this week. Clearly, Tesla’s Autopilot is increasingly becoming a more advanced, more capable, and safer alternative to human drivers. So what does that mean for the rest of the auto industry?

Is Tesla the Future of Cars?

In a recent interview on CNBC’s Power LunchAdam Jonas, the resident Tesla analyst from Morgan Stanley, explained just how much of an impact the autonomous cars of Tesla will have in the near future. One point he made was that Tesla’s autonomous cars will lead to a faster rate of technological obsolescence for the other vehicles available today.

“Our work on used car value is focused on the technological obsolescence of the 250 million cars on US roads today – $2 trillion worth of cars. Tesla’s cars can get better because they can learn,” Jonas said. “They put in that equipment so that the vehicle five years from now is much more superhuman and much better than the one that is just learning and watching right now. Our used car thesis is that in a five-year period, we are running scenarios of used car value being off by as much as 50 percent.”

Tesla is also changing the economics of electric cars, or, as Jonas put it, the “economics of electrification.” He explained that, while the electric car market in the United States still has plenty of room for expansion, ridesharing will be a game changer for the tech.

“We think the electric cars for private use really are for human driving pleasure for wealthier individuals. That’s why it’s so important that in the shared model where you’re not driving 10,000 miles a year, but 50,000 or 100,000 miles in a fleet operation, then the economics of electrification you can get that payback period under three years,” Jonas said. “That’s the game changer — shared.”

Vehicle safety is also a factor, as car accidents in the U.S. surged to 40,000 in 2016. “It seems like the only thing progressing faster than the pace of machine learning is the pace human unlearning,” Jonas said. “We’re getting dumber faster than the cars are getting smarter.” Tesla’s quickly advancing self-driving car tech could be the perfect way to stop that trend from leading to any more deaths on the road.

The post Expert Says Tesla Will Make All Other Cars Obsolete appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla recently beat the Motor Trend all-time world record for acceleration. The Model S P100D was able to go from 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 2.28 seconds. Still, that may not be good enough for CEO Elon Musk. He recently hinted at an upcoming new model of Roadster within the next few years.

The original Tesla Roadster. Photo credit: theregeneration/Flickr

Reports are saying that the new model could be coming as soon as 2019. Tesla’s Nordic Countries Manager Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen said that the new car “…will look a little different, a little faster and a little bigger.”

When released in 2008, the first Roadster was Tesla’s crowning jewel. Unfortunately, the vehicle had a fair share of problems, including constant breakdowns and gear sticking that was later attributed by Musk in 2016 to “unsafe” chassis design. The design was improved and the car has since enjoyed a worldwide fanbase.

The new model of Roadster could improve on all the successes of the previous model. A bigger, faster, more powerful electric vehicle could help push the electric car revolution to entirely new levels.

The post Elon Musk Says Tesla is Building a Next-Gen Roadster appeared first on Futurism.

It’s been a busy day for Elon Musk on Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has been actively replying to tweets, answering questions about the latest developments for his multiple companies. So far, Musk has given updates on the Tesla Model 3, his Boring Company, and now, Tesla’s solar roofs.


When asked about an arrival date for Tesla’s new solar roof shingles, Musk replied that the company would begin accepting orders in April. With production of these solar tiles expected to kick off this summer at the Tesla Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, opening up for orders in April makes sense.

The Tesla Revolution [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Tesla’s solar roof tiles, courtesy of Musk’s newly acquired renewable energy company SolarCity, are expected to be tougher than regular shingles, but cost less. Tesla has previously revealed plans for four different styles for their solar tiles, but production will begin with just one type. New styles will be added gradually every few months, if all goes according to plan.

With its solar roof tiles and Powerwall 2, Tesla is creating a sustainable energy ecosystem for the home. It’s a revolutionary idea. Making renewable energy available to every home could go a long way toward reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, which would do a world of good in the global fight against climate change.

The post Elon Musk Says Solar Roofs Will Be Available for Purchase in April appeared first on Futurism.

The future of driving is autonomous, and companies like Tesla have been pushing hard to get us to that future. The goal is to build a car with Level 5 autonomy — one that requires zero interaction from a human driver — as outlined in the SAE International’s J3016.

Autonomous Car Forecasts: When Will They Actually Be on Our Roads?
Click to View Full Infographic

For Tesla, efforts to reach this goal include refinements and updates to their Autopilot software. Recently, the company has been aggressively pushing these updates, which include improvements in navigation capabilities and road-safety features. The 8.1 update for Tesla’s hardware 2 platform is expected to roll out this coming week.

These improvements to the autonomous systems of Tesla vehicles are timely, as the Model 3 moves closer to production. In a note sent to Tesla clients on March 23, Morgan Stanley’s Tesla analyst Adam Jonas lauded the capabilities of Tesla’s autonomous driving systems.

Superhuman Assist

Among other things, Jonas had this to say about it:

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 and could, if the company achieves its goal, be an order of magnitude (i.e. 10x) safer than the average car on the road. According to nearly every OEM we talk to, safety is the number 1 determinant of car purchases. Look for safety to be the “ah-hah!” moment for this car due to launch this year.

Indeed, autonomous cars are expected to save lives in the future, as previous reports have indicated. In the United States alone, the adoption of self-driving vehicles could translate into more than 300,000 saved lives per decade. In the case of Tesla’s vehicles, a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that improvements in the Autopilot system have reduced car crashes by 40 percent.

Car manufacturers still have some ways to go, of course, before actual Level 5 autonomy is achieved. Jonas made that clear in his note: “We are talking about automated driving (not fully autonomous driving) where the driver has a legal obligation to keep hands on the wheel at all times. The driver is still human…but with a ‘superhuman’ assist.”

The post Expert Says Tesla Cars Give Users “Superhuman” Abilities appeared first on Futurism.

Everyone is waiting for Tesla’s Model 3, and it seems that some amazing progress is being made at the company. This morning, Elon Musk tweeted out a video showing the “first drive of a release candidate version of Model 3.”

But don’t get too excited. As we previously reported, Tesla is gunning to release the vehicle this year, but it should be noted that the company has a long history of product delays, which means there could be a chance that the release will be pushed back. Nevertheless,  Musk has gone on record as saying that the Model 3 requires a simpler manufacturing process, which should make it easier to ensure quality control for its production.

You can see it in action in the video below:


This tweet prompted a slew of questions from Musk’s followers, which resulted in some important clarifications from the Tesla CEO. Musk asserted that the more affordable $35,000 Model 3 isn’t the “next version” of a Tesla. People refer to it “like iPhone 2 vs 3;” however, Musk says, “this is not true.”

The Model 3, according to Musk, is actually just a smaller, more affordable version of the $70k Model S, with less range, power, and fewer features. This sounds like a bit of a letdown, but it really isn’t. Notably, the affordability is key to the whole project, as it means making renewable energy available to the masses—not just the wealthy elite.

The more advanced Model S, says Musk, “will always be the fastest Tesla until next gen Roadster, which is a few years away.”


Musk also said that the Model 3 will have the option for dual engines, but customers will have to wait about “6-9 months.” With this timeline, Tesla can minimize “configuration complexity to keep the production ramp on schedule.”

While Tesla had some major setbacks last year, the company has since improved their Autopilot software system, hitting a 40 percent reduction in crashes. But Musk wants to push these advancements even further. As Tesla works on achieving Level 4 automation—truly autonomous cars—the company will continually improve on the Autopilot system, and Musk has set a goal of a staggering 90 percent reduction in crashes by the time the software fully matures.

The post Elon Musk Just Unveiled The First Release Candidate Version of The Model 3 appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s higher end P100D model of the Tesla Model S just set a new quarter-mile record, making it the fastest street-legal electric vehicle on the road today.

In a video posted by Drag Times, two Model S P100Ds were tested. One without a few key features — like a sunroof — making it 300 pounds lighter, versus the fully outfitted version. In both races, Drag Times race the Model S alongside a Camaro ZL1 and a BMW 550i. Tesla’s electric sedan broke the record for speed in 4-door production cars. The heavier model clocked in at 10.875 seconds for a quarter-mile, while the lighter version came in 10.723 seconds.

That record-breaking achievement didn’t last though: on the same day, in a separate test conducted in Oregon, these already impressive speeds were broken by a month-old 2017 Tesla Model S P100D — which came in at 10.638. It should be noted that no changes were made to the vehicle: it was tested with its original interior, stock wheels, and tires.

This speed was achieved through Tesla’s Ludicrous+ mode, part of its latest software upgrade for the vehicles. It’s expected that the Model SP100D will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds — a feat which is worthy of being chalked up to a functionality with “ludicrous” in the title.

The post A Tesla Just Broke a World Record for Speed Twice in One Day appeared first on Futurism.

Back in July 2016, Tesla noted that owners of the company’s EVs had driven a combined total of more than 2 billion miles. In an effort to speed up the journey to three billion miles (while simultaneously “showcas[ing] the uncompromised capabilities of Model S and Model X”), the company launched its Electric Road Trip.

A good number of Tesla owners participated in the three-month-long RSVP event during which they had to reach a series of destinations all over the world marked by Tesla charging stations. By the time the event ended in October 2016, the target was reached. Just two months later, Tesla reached three-and-a-half billion miles.

Now, more than eight months after the road trip kicked off, Tesla has hit another milestone. The company’s fleet of electric vehicles all over the world have now collectively covered more than four billion miles of road — and counting!

Image credit: Tesla, screenshot
Image credit: Tesla, screenshot

The Road Ahead

When Tesla first launched its EVs and started laying down its network of charging stations, the company was met with a lot of skepticism. In 2014, someone even went out of his way to do his own electric road trip and found the whole thing impractical.

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

Now, times have changed. The EV market has grown exponentially, with about 773,600 units sold worldwide in 2016. That’s a 42 percent increase over 2015’s numbers. Other vehicle manufacturers are developing their own lineups of electric cars, but Tesla is still dominating the market. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked the company as number eight worldwide in its 2017 auto brand report, making it the highest-ranked American brand on the list, and that’s not just amongst EV manufacturers.

But more than just billions of miles, Tesla and EVs are bringing us closer to a cleaner future powered by sustainable energy. As CEO Elon Musk himself mentioned in Tesla’s “Master Plan Part Deux,” “The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.”

The post Elon Musk’s Company Just Smashed Through a Major Milestone appeared first on Futurism.

Tesla’s Risk Reducing Public Offering

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Tesla Model 3 launch for quite some time now. From 200,000 pre-orders in the first thirty-six hours of the announcement to its $35,000 price tag, the Tesla Model 3 is already exceeding expectations. In anticipation of the launch, Tesla has set out to raise the funds it will need ahead of time.

They plan to raise $1.15 billion, which would be the culmination of $250 million in common stock and $750 million in convertible senior notes, available from their 968,993 available shares. Elon Musk actually plans on buying 96,900 shares himself, valued at $25 million according to the public offering price. Tesla wants to use the proceeds to strengthen the company’s financial situation overall, and reduce risk in the Model 3’s production.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank Securities are currently leading the stock offering. With such big name investors, Musk is confident that not only is Tesla leading the Model 3 launch with initial capital raised for production, but that production and launch will likely be carried off with less risk.

The Tesla Model 3

Tesla prototypes have already been cruising through the streets of California since February 25 — the $35,000 sedan is being tested ahead of its launch later this year. The all-electric vehicle has a 215-mile range per charge and a 0 to 60 time of six seconds. As for autonomous driving, the Model 3 will have Tesla autopilot 2.0, inching Tesla closer to its goal of full autonomy by the end of 2018.

All eyes are currently on Tesla as they unveil the next generation of vehicles that marries energy and efficiency for everyone. And with full autonomy on the horizon, you might soon be able to set your destination — and take a quick nap.

The post Now’s Your Chance To Buy Stock in Tesla appeared first on Futurism.

The world’s largest solar storage facility is up and running.

The post Tesla’s 55,000 Solar Panel Farm Will Change Kauai appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk’s Pledge

For Elon Musk, Australia’s energy crisis is nothing that can’t be sorted by installing 100 to 300 megawatts of battery storage. Granted, he doesn’t have the storage set up just yet, but since he has been given the go signal to start building it, Musk is confident that his team can complete it in just 100 days.

Storms in across Australia caused serious damage to infrastructure and a series of blackouts throughout the continent. This prompted energy companies to raise their rates to meet demand for electricity in the region. After Musk’s cousin, Lyndon Rive, suggested the battery storage as a solution for South Australia, Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO of Atlassian, asked for more information.


Cannon-Brookes tweeted Rive and Musk if he was serious about the offer — to which Musk replied that not only was he serious, he was going to do it in the time frame he suggested or it’s free. On Cannon-Brookes’ end, he asked the Tesla CEO for seven days to “sort out politics and funding.”

For anyone who doubts that Tesla can complete the project in time, note that Tesla took on a similar project last year in California. The project was only slightly smaller in scale than the one being planned for South Australia, and yet the 80-MW farm intended to provide grid scale power in response to the state’s power shortages was completed in just 90 days.

Around the World

Musk’s Twitter promise was applauded by many Australians, including the country’s Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull, who thanked the Tesla CEO after an in-depth discussion about how energy storage can continue to deliver affordable and reliable electricity. It also caught the attention of other countries who are in the midst of dealing with their own energy crisis.

Several Twitter users from Ukraine asked Musk to bring a similar project to their country and inquired as to how much it would cost, to which Musk offered the same figure he quoted for the Australia — $250 per kWh to produce over 100 MWh. Musk’s reply prompted Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to discuss the project in further detail.


Meanwhile, in New Zealand, co-founder of agricultural technology firm Acuris Systems Matthew Warner asked Musk if he could visit the country, implying interest for a similar storage project.

Given the interest that world leaders are starting to show for Tesla’s energy storage technology, it certainly seems like Musk’s vision of a future anchored on sustainable and renewable energy sources is definitely within reach.

The post World Leaders Are Asking Elon Musk to Solve Their Energy Crises appeared first on Futurism.

Car enthusiasts have been known to use vinyl wraps to make sure their vehicles stand out from the rest. Thus far, we’ve seen super cool galaxy prints and intense chrome finishes, but for one Tesla owner, it was all about making his Model S look like nothing else on the road.

*2* This is the Coolest Tesla You’ve Ever Seen Yet

“I’ve always loved the car — but there’s a lot of them on the road because it’s a very popular brand of car. I’ve always wanted to do something to make mine my own and stand out a little bit,” owner Burnie Burns said in a video blog.

Burns is the cofounder of the Rooster Teeth production studio in Austin, Texas, and the creator of its flagship series, “Red vs. Blue.” He decided he wanted to use cel-shading to make his Tesla Model S P90D look like a flat, 2D-cartoon version of the real deal.

To that end, he turned to Rooster Teeth’s designers to create a custom wrap for the car. He then got the wrap printed by Graphics Guys sign-printing company in Austin. The result is arguably the coolest Tesla you’ve probably ever laid eyes on.

With the $35,000 Model 3 slated for release later this year, we can expect to see more Teslas hitting the roads. Perhaps some of those new owners will follow Burns’ lead and give their vehicles an entirely unique look, just like the epic-looking electric cars below:

electric vehicles nio sxsw conference
Image Credit: NIO
This Is the Most Beautiful Tesla You’ll Probably Ever See
Image Credit: Renault
This Is the Most Beautiful Tesla You’ll Probably Ever See
Image Credit: Uniti

The post This Is the Most Beautiful Tesla You’ll Probably Ever See appeared first on Futurism.

Ahead of the much-anticipated Tesla Model 3 launch later this year, a prototype for the carmaker’s $35,000 sedan was spotted cruising around California streets.

A video of the vehicle in motion was posted online by Unplugged Performance, a Tesla-centric mod shop located near Tesla’s Design Studio in Hawthorne, California. According to the Unplugged team, the vehicle appeared to be conducting test runs around Jack Northrop Avenue, which is where the Model 3 did its test rides when it was first unveiled in 2016.

Pilot production for the Model 3 only began in February, which means that the Model 3 in the video was likely hand-built specifically for the unveiling held in March 2016. Model 3 battery cell production is set to begin in the second quarter of this year, implying that sightings of Model 3 test units will become more common later in 2017 as production continues to ramp up.

While Tesla is gunning to release the vehicle this year, it should be noted that the company has a long history of product delays, which means there could be a chance the release will be pushed. Nevertheless, Elon Musk has gone on record as saying that the Model 3 requires a simpler manufacturing process, which should make it easier to ensure quality control for its production.

The post Watch This New Video of a Tesla Model 3 in Action appeared first on Futurism.

Update 8.1 for Autopilot 2.0

2017 has already been a busy year for Tesla, which has been focused on bringing its latest Autopilot system to parity with the features of its first generation system. Earlier this year, the company began rolling out an enhanced version of its Autopilot software. That version include a number of new features, such as traffic aware cruise control, a forward collision warning, and an Autosteer beta version.

Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has revealed in a tweet that the long-awaited Update 8.1, which promises to be the next big step for all Tesla owners, will be available in “10 days or so.” Musk added that the 8.1 update is dependent on the improvements made with Autopilot 2.0 — “full speed autosteer test results,” to be exact.

Get Ready. Elon Musk Says a Tesla Update is Coming in 10 Days.

What’s in 8.1?

Tesla has recently been pushing for updates on vehicles that are equipped with its advanced Hardware 2 platform, and all these updates are geared toward making Tesla’s vehicles capable of fully autonomous driving, which the company hopes to achieve by the end of 2017. Version 17.7.2 of its Autopilot firmware was released last month, and it introduced autonomous parallel parking. Two weeks ago, the company rolled out Version 17.9.3, which raised the speed limit for autonomous driving on undivided roads from approximately 80 to 88 km/h (50 to 55 mph).

Previously, it was believed that 8.1’s updates would just be Autopilot 2.0 improvements geared toward first generation parity. However, many of those updates have been pushed in iterations of 8.0. So, what can be expected from 8.1?

Get Ready. Elon Musk Says a Tesla Update is Coming in 10 Days.

Some believe that it could contain the full-speed update lacking in Version 17.9.3. However, Tesla is still attempting to make those features work safely via its very own image processing system, Tesla-Vision. Other possible updates included in 8.1 would be the new Linux kernel as an upgrade to Tesla’s operating system. That would introduce several improvements to the UI of the control hub of Tesla vehicles — the 17-inch touchscreen in the central consoles of its Model S and Model X cars. It would also introduce a more usable internet browser.

Whatever 8.1 has to offer, it’s sure to continue moving Tesla (and the rest of the world) forward on the path to a future of fully autonomous transportation.

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Solar Power Soars

Renewable energy sources, especially solar, have been booming. According to a report compiled by SolarPower Europe, the world doubled its solar capacity to 305 gigawatts in 2016, with the United States and China leading this global trend.

China is the largest solar energy producer in the world, and in 2016, its solar capacity increased by twice as much as it had in 2015. Overall, the country produced 77.42 gigawatts of solar energy to generate 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of power. Meanwhile, the U.S. nearly doubled its own yearly increase, from 7.3 GW added in 2015 to 14 GW added in 2016, with some states showing remarkable growth. For instance, New York increased its solar power use by more than 800 percent.

Other world leaders include India, which recently became home to the largest solar farm in the world. Although the EU experienced cutbacks in solar adoption incentives, solar capacity in the U.K. increased by 29 percent in 2016, with German capacity growing by 21 percent and French capacity increasing by 8.3 percent.

One of the biggest reasons for this growth is a notable global drop in the costs associated with solar. According to The Climate Council, solar prices worldwide have dropped by 58 percent over the past five years. However, despite these amazing gains, the ability to store solar energy for use when the Sun isn’t out remains a problem. Now, Tesla is going to try to tackle that issue with a solar plant in Kauai, Hawaii.

Clean Power, Steady Sourcing

Islands like Kauai are ideal for solar-generated power — at least until nightfall, as which point fossil fuel-powered generators kick on. Tesla is hoping to keep those generators from humming all night with a massive new solar farm and energy storage plant. The Kauai plant, commissioned by the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC), includes a 13 megawatt SolarCity solar farm and a 52 megawatt-hour battery installation. KIUC and Tesla project an annual savings of 1.6 million gallons of fossil fuels.

*4* Tesla’s Kauai Solar Plant Generates, Stores, And Sells Energy

One of the downfalls of most sources of renewable energy is that they are reliant on the natural world and, therefore, intermittent. Both solar and wind power generation, for example, often peak during times of lower demand, like midday. This problem motivated Tesla to create its Powerpack, a huge battery that stores electricity during daylight hours when the supply is ample and discharges it when the Sun goes down and demand increases.

Interestingly, KIUC didn’t buy the battery system and solar panels from Tesla. Instead, the utility company agreed to a 20-year contract with Tesla to buy solar-generated power for 13.9 cents per kilowatt hour. Tesla has now moved into the business of generating and selling power, and this new partnership is unlikely to be an isolated incident. According to a Tesla statement, the company plans to “work with energy providers around the world seeking to overcome barriers in the way of building a sustainable, renewable energy grid of their own.”

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Powered by the Sun

Panasonic just unveiled an improved solar panel to power cars. The panel will be used for the first solar roof model of the Toyota Prius, the Prius Prime, which is slated for release this year. The new product, called HIT™ Photovoltaic Module for Automobile, will reportedly allow the Prius Prime to be powered by a 180 W solar module, which will recharge the car’s powertrain battery in addition to its 12 V battery. Previous attempts by Toyota to create a solar roof model had managed to generate a mere 50 W — only enough to power vehicle’s fans for air conditioning.

Credit: Electrek
Credit: Electrek

According to Toyota, the addition of the solar panel will increase the Prius’ efficiency by up to 10 percent. In ideal conditions, the battery will add 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of electric range.

The solar outfitted Prius is still unavailable in the US since the material used for the solar panels have yet to pass US crash tests. But the manufacturer is already working on a solution.

Solar Powered Teslas

Not to be left behind, Elon Musk has announced that the Tesla Model 3 will also likely feature this solar roof option. This isn’t surprising, given that Panasonic has been providing solar and battery cells to the car manufacturer.

As Tesla works toward improving their electric vehicles’ performance and reliability, the company’s researchers are also gunning for sophisticated and advanced features such as Autopilot. Tesla hopes to achieve Level 5 autonomy by the end of the year. The company is also poised to enter the ride-sharing market with its own fleet of self-driving cars.

Tesla has shown its commitment to ushering in a new era in energy, both on and off the road, thanks to their recent innovations and initiatives geared towards solar power and energy storage. Now that Toyota is joining in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, we can only hope that other car manufacturers will begin making the switch as well.

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Breakthrough Cost

Part of Elon Musk’s grand plan of making the world a greener place and addressing the damage caused by climate change is ensuring that people have access to renewable technology. This means both introducing the technology and bringing the cost down so that people can actually have viable alternatives to traditional, carbon-emitting sources.


Tesla’s Gigafactory was a big part of this plan. Once the factory became operational, Tesla was gunning to reduce their battery cost by 30 percent. Now, a recent announcement from the company hints that it might be possible to bring it down even more. In a promotional video displayed in some stores, it seems that the factory was able to achieve a “35 percent reduction in battery cost.”

No numbers have been officially released, but given the small bits of information that have gradually come out to the public, it seems that Tesla is definitely getting closer to that $35,000 price tag that the company is targeting for its Model 3.

Affordable Technology

Since 2001, battery cost for electric vehicles (EVs) has been reduced by 80 percent. Even so, the current cost of today’s long-range EVs is still not very affordable for most people. To be able to bring down the overall cost, the price of battery cells and packs must significantly be lowered.

Early in 2016, Tesla said that price point was already below $190/kWh, prior to the Gigafactory starting production. With the factory now up and running, and the Tesla/Panasonic partnership already starting production for the 2170 battery cell, they could be able pull down the cost to $125/kWh.

The goal would be to reach $100/kWh. At this rate, EVs will be on par with gas-powered vehicles — and chances are, people will be more likely to adopt the renewable technology if they can do so without having to spend more money.

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On The List

Every year, Consumer Reports releases its auto brand report. And every year, European and Asian car manufacturers tend to dominate the top 10. This year, however, an American brand has earned a spot near the top: Tesla.


On the 2017 edition of Consumer Report’s prestigious list, Tesla ranks eighth. This marks the first time Tesla has made the list at all, and it managed to beat out all other American car brands thanks to its improved reliability and high level of owner satisfaction. The company was also recognized for having the highest road test score.

While Consumer Reports has cited Tesla’s Model S sedan as the best car they have ever road tested, the vehicle’s reliability was an issue. This led to the publication withdrawing its “recommended” rating for the car back in 2015, but after updates by Tesla, the rating was reinstated in 2016. That same year, the publication reviewed the Model X SUV, again commending its performance but noting it was disappointed by the vehicle’s functionality and reliability.

Beyond Vehicles

Tesla’s innovation in the transportation industry is not only setting new records for quality and performance, it’s also making it possible for more people to invest in cars that are better for the environment. However, everyone knows by now that Tesla’s game plan isn’t just centered on perfecting the technology behind its electric vehicles (EVs). The company’s cars are part and parcel of a larger vision with a strong focus on sustainability.

Tesla’s investments in renewable energy and partnerships forged with like-minded companies since speaks volumes about where the Elon Musk-led brand is headed. Since 2015, Tesla has been invested in energy with the production of the Powerwall and Powerpack, both of which continue to see growth and application across various scales, from residential installations to industrial. Last year, the company added solar roofs to its repertoire, and they hope to seamlessly integrate those with their battery storage system.

As Musk himself has said, “The point of all this was, and remains, accelerating the advent of sustainable energy, so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.”

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The next generation of transportation is here: autonomous cars. And this innovation isn’t exclusively available within the ranks of Tesla — it can also be found in the humble guise of a Honda Civic parked on the campus of the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

A University of Nebraska senior, Brevan Jorgenson, shelled out a mere $700 for open source software that he used to turn his vehicle into a self-driving car. Jorgenson was an early beta-tester for the, an ultimately unsuccessful company that had hoped to make autonomous driving affordable and easy to apply to any car. While fortune did not side with, it seems to have smiled upon Jorgenson, who was able to utilize what he knew to let his car drive itself on the freeway.

Credit: MIT

But is this up to code? Is Jorgenson required to adhere to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations on self-driving cars? After all, it was because of all the NHTSA requirements that decided to call it quits.

Well, luckily for Jorgenson, these regulations only apply to companies that distribute and sell self-driving cars. Consumers, on the other hand, have far more liberty for upgrading their vehicles to enter the new era of self-driving vehicles. The only stipulation is that insurance will not cover anything related to self-driving, thereby holding consumers culpable for any potential damage. Drive — or simply ride — safely!

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His incredible innovations have completely changed our world.

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Rising From the Shadows


For much of the 20th century, Telsa was simply the last name of a brilliant man who died penniless after living much of his life in the shadow of successful rival Thomas Edison. Now, the name is synonymous with innovation, excitement, and the future thanks primarily to the efforts of another brilliant man: Elon Musk.

Under the Tesla moniker, Musk and a group of Silicon Valley engineers set out in 2003 to prove to the world the benefits of electric cars. Five years later, they released their first model, and since then, the company has become the poster child for sustainability. With Musk at the helm, Tesla has expanded its focus from simply building the best electric car to paving the way for autonomous vehicles, solar power, and so much more.

Here are seven ways Tesla is changing, well, everything:

Building Better Electric Vehicles

You can’t talk about Tesla without talking about electric vehicles. The company’s very first model, the Tesla Roadster, was the first mass-produced, all-electric car to travel more than 320 kilometers (200 miles) on a single charge and the first highway legal one to use lithium-ion battery cells. It’s only gotten better from there.

Tesla’s Model S was the first fully electric sedan, and it earned the distinction of being the best selling plug-in electric car in the world in 2015 and 2016. Their forthcoming Model 3 is expected to put even more Teslas on the road, racking up hundreds of thousands of preorders shortly after it was announced. Even Tesla’s charging stations are better than the competition — its Supercharger network features more than 5,000 of the fastest charging stations in the world, giving Tesla drivers the ability to get back on the road quicker than any other electric vehicle.

Not only are their electric vehicles outperforming other EVs in terms of sales, driving range, and charging times, Teslas are outperforming their gas-guzzling counterparts in some ways, too. Just recently, the Model S P100D earned the distinction of being the fastest production car by accelerating from 0 to 97 km/h (0 to 60 mph) in 2.28 seconds. That’s the fastest production car, period — not just the fastest electric vehicle.

The company is building some of the highest-tech cars on the road, receiving top safety ratings, and even pushing the envelope with style (just check out those falcon wing doors on the Model X). That these cars are better for the environment ends up feeling like a really, really great bonus.

Photo Credit: Tesla
Photo Credit: Tesla

Increasing Vehicle Autonomy

By now, you’ve likely heard the statistic that 94 percent of vehicle collisions are caused by human error, resulting in thousands of deaths every year. No company has been making greater strides toward removing the human element from driving than Tesla.

Since 2014, Autopilot hardware has been included as a standard feature in all Teslas, and the company frequently bests its competitors in terms of self-driving capabilities. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently classifies Tesla’s Autopilot as a Level 2 automated system. However, the company is already testing Level 3/4 software in some of its fleet, with plans to reach Level 5 (full autonomy) by the end of 2017 following frequent over-the-air updates to its software to gather data and work out any kinks.

While legislation will need some time to catch up with the tech, Tesla’s self-driving transportation will be ready when it does.

Rethinking Ridesharing

A mere half-decade after the first Uber app was downloaded, ridesharing is already proving to be a major disruptor in the transportation market. This billion-dollar industry is poised to put taxi drivers out of business, so they couldn’t be happy to hear that Tesla plans to enter the market as well, but with an autonomous twist.

Sure, Lyft and Uber are already testing out autonomous vehicles for ridesharing purposes. However, their one-off, city-specific autonomy tests can’t compete with Tesla’s ability to make frequent adjustments to its Autopilot software thanks to the number of equipped vehicles already on the road. The company expects to reach Level 5 autonomy by the end of 2017,  and once that happens, it’s looking to launch the Tesla Network.

This fleet of self-driving Teslas could be summoned via an app just like you would an Uber or Lyft driver, but if you’re going to take a chance on a driverless taxi, why wouldn’t you want it to be one from Tesla, the company at the forefront of the self-driving revolution? The benefits extend to Tesla owners as well, as the Network would give them a built-in way to monetize their new vehicles. “This would be something that would be a significant offset on the cost of ownership for a car,” Musk told Techcrunch back in August.

Making Solar Energy Sexy

Not content to simply reshape our roads, Tesla is also bringing residential energy into the future through its acquisition of SolarCity last year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, solar is the most abundant source of energy on Earth, and demand for it in the U.S. has never been higher. With costs continuing to drop and the technology becoming more efficient, one of the few remaining hurdles to mainstream adoption is literally surface level — some people just don’t like how solar panels look.

Compared to traditional solar panels, Tesla and SolarCity’s are attractive and available in multiple styles, ranging from slate to Tuscan, to help the energy-generating devices seamlessly blend into existing architecture. If you don’t want to worry about matching solar panels to your existing tile, though, Tesla also gives you the ability to have an entire solar roof. Either option is sure to remove “eyesore” from the vocabulary of any solar naysayers.

“I think there’s quite a radical difference between having solar panels on your roof that actually make your house look better versus ones that do not,” said Musk in a conference call. “I think it’s going to be a night-and-day difference.”

Designing Superior Batteries

Tesla’s attractive take on the traditional solar tile isn’t the only thing helping propel the company forward in the residential energy market. Its cutting-edge Powerwall and Powerpack energy storage systems are making those tiles worthwhile.

Introduced in October 2016, the Powerwall 2 system includes a 14 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and it can be mounted on a wall or the ground, indoors or outdoor, adding to the aesthetic flexibility of Tesla’s residential solar energy systems. One Powerwall can store enough energy to power an entire two bedroom home for a whole day, and it can even be used in homes without a solar energy system, pulling energy from the electric grid when rates are lower and saving it for use during times with higher rates or a power outage.

While the Powerwall is designed for residential homes, the Powerpack system was created with utility and commercial vendors in mind. Each Powerpack contains 16 battery pods, and it can be used as a standalone system or combined with solar. The latest version, Powerpack 2, features the highest efficiency, highest power density utility-scale inverter available at the lowest cost. Telsa already built a massive 80 MWh Powerpack station for Southern California Edison and has plans for a number of other major collaborations in the near future.

If all goes according to Tesla’s plan, your home or business may never be without power again.

Creating 21st Century Jobs

Beyond making big money for its investors, some of whom expect the company to cross into the trillion dollar range in the next decade, Tesla is doing its part to share the wealth by creating much-needed jobs at home and abroad.

Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada employs hundreds of workers, and last month the company announced it would be adding 550 more jobs to that total by bringing production of its Model 3 motors to Nevada. Add to that an estimated total investment of $5 billion in the state, and you can see why several European countries are vying for the opportunity to host the next Gigafactory.

As of last year, Tesla only had 14,000 employees worldwide. When you consider that Musk believes the Nevada Gigafactory alone could end up employing 10,000 people, you get an idea of its growth trajectory and how it could be majorly responsible for training people in the clean energy industries of the future while keeping many jobs Stateside.

Leading By Example

Perhaps more than anything else, Tesla is changing the world by showing us that changing the world is possible. Musk is the closest thing the real world has to Tony Stark, and his work with Tesla is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s using his Boring Company to decrease traffic congestion by building a tunnel below the streets of Los Angeles, he’s revolutionizing space travel through SpaceX, and he’s even inspired the world to reimagine mass transit with his Hyperloop vision.

Musk has proven that a single person can still have a huge impact on the world around them. At a time when “big business” is often seen as the Goliath out to exploit the Davids of the world, Tesla is a welcome exception. It’s a multi-billion dollar company that seems more interested in building a better future than satisfying shareholders, and for that, we are grateful.

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Tesla’s latest earnings report is out, and all in all, things are looking up for the company. It reported better earnings for 2016’s fourth fiscal quarter (Q4), with a 73 percent increase from the same quarter in 2015.


Tesla also reported record-high car orders for both the Model S and Model X. Part of this success may have to do with a new way of selling electric cars that Tesla has been quietly trying out in Asia. Jon McNeill, president of sales and services at Tesla, said during the fourth-quarter earnings call that they want to bundle insurance and maintenance into future pricing for their cars.

“It takes into account not only the Autopilot safety features but also the maintenance cost of the car,” he said according to Business Insider. “It’s our vision in the future we could offer a single price for the car, maintenance, and insurance.”

A Vision of the Future?

According to Tesla’s Q4 earnings report, all vehicles in production “have the hardware necessary for full self-driving.” Advances like this, together with Tesla’s latest improvements in its Autopilot software, are securing the future of self-driving vehicles, and now, the company is also changing the car insurance landscape. According to a report from Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, as self-driving cars get better and decrease the number of accidents on the roads, insurance premiums are expected to drop.

Tesla’s bundle pricing is meant to adapt to that future, and it adds another unique selling point for the company, whose car sales don’t follow the usual heavy-on-maintenance pricing models of other car manufacturers. “If we find that the insurance providers are not matching the insurance proportionate to the risk of the car then if we need to we will in-source it,” CEO Elon Musk said during the earnings call. “But I think we’ll find that insurance providers do adjust the insurance cost proportionate to the risk of a Tesla.”

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From its incorporation of solar glass technology to its affordable $35,000 price tag, the Tesla Model 3 has been making headlines since it was announced. In the 36 hours following that announcement, Tesla secured over 270,000 preorders for the vehicle, but what’s even more exciting is the fact that this highly anticipated zero-emission car may actually arrive on time.

electric cars

According to a letter to investors, the Model 3 is expected to begin production in July, and deliveries will begin later in 2017. Tesla is already building prototypes of the vehicle, and the company has noted that production will begin at 5,000 vehicles per week and slowly ramp up to 10,000 vehicles per week in 2018.

With that said, Tesla’s Gigafactory will be booming. With 550 new hires and an additional $350 million investment, the Nevada factory will produce the electric motors and gear boxes for the newest and most affordable Tesla, while other parts will be manufactured in California.

Tesla’s most recent rollout, the Model S, costs around $70,000, so the Model 3 will be just what the company needs to finally be able to compete with other affordable electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, which sit within a similar price range of the Model 3.

All we have to do now is count the seconds until the second half of 2017.

The post Tesla Is on Track to Deliver Us Into the Next Age in Energy appeared first on Futurism.

The Powerwall

Imagine living in a four-bedroom house with a large array of appliances that are driven by a whole lot of electricity. After adding up the costs to power your home in previous years, you find that you’d been spending approximately $2,289 annually. But a year ago you installed one of Tesla’s new Powerwalls, a rechargeable lithium ion battery that you’ve combined with a 5kWp solar array, SolarEdge inverter, and Reposit monitoring system. When totaling the electricity consumption costs for this year, you see that the bill dropped to a mere $178.71.


This story belongs to Nick Pfitzner, the first Australian to install a Tesla Powerwall in his home. A year after installation, he was able to see a 92 percent annual savings, with his quarterly bill decreasing from $572 in 2015 to $45 in 2016. He even received a $50 credit one quarter as the system’s unused electricity can be sold back to the grid.

“The system will power whatever the house needs first as a priority, then it will fill the battery as a second priority and then anything over it will export,” Pfitzner explained in an interview with Choice. “The aim is to try and export about three times of what I import because my electricity cost is about three times [as much].”

The entirety of Pfitzner’s solar system cost him $16,790 up front, which he believes he can pay off within eight years.

Tesla’s Grip on the World

Tesla has a vision for future powered by clean energy, and the Powerwall is just part of that vision. Tesla’s Gigafactory 1, which manufactures the Powerwall as well as Tesla’s battery cells and Powerpacks, is a major part of that vision and a driving force behind the company’s progress in making sustainable energy technologies cheaper and more widely available to the public.

But Tesla’s other initiatives can’t go unnoticed. Last year, Tesla partnered with SolarCity to produce their Solar Roof Tiles, which should be completed within the year. These solar tiles convert sunlight into energy that can be used immediately or stored within the Powerwall. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has suggested that the tech could be used in the development of solar-powered cars.

Credit: Tesla

Musk has also begun a project that he half-jokingly named “The Boring Company,” the goal of which is to reduce traffic congestion by boring underground tunnels in densely populated cities. These tunnels could be used as a secondary route for transportation, and as Musk said, “better tunneling tech improves everything: road, subway, Hyperloop.”

But you really can’t talk about Tesla without mentioning the company’s roots: electric cars. Tesla’s Model S plans to reach a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) per single charge sometime this year, and by 2020, the range could increase to 1,199 kilometers (745 miles).

Given all of the projects Tesla has in the works, it almost seems farfetched to imagine that the company could accomplish them all. But Elon Musk’s vision for the future is shared by many, and this support will only serve to help the company. Globally, our consumption of fossil fuels won’t slow down until we speed up the production of renewable energy technologies, so with Tesla and other like-minded companies leading the way, we can forge a path to a future of clean energy.

The post Tesla Has Reduced Electricity Costs for Homeowners by 92% appeared first on Futurism.

Not a Scalable Solution

As far as the future of our roadways is concerned, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO isn’t placing his bets on flying cars. For someone who’s into bold and disruptive technology, Elon Musk’s stance on flying cars appears to be a contradiction — more so since his proposed solution to congested traffic seems crazier. “Obviously, I like flying things,” Musk told Bloomberg’s Max Chafkin. “But it’s difficult to imagine the flying car becoming a scalable solution.”

A future with flying cars has long been the subject of science fiction . That’s why, a number of companies are hard at work trying to make it a reality. Among these, aerospace giant Airbus seems to be taking the lead, and they want their autonomous flying vehicles in the skies (and on the roads) by the end of this year. Google co-founder Larry Page is also working on his own flying car with the elusive startup Zee.Aero. Even the concept of drone-like cars is being explored.

Even Uber wants its own fleet of flying cars, leveraging on vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology, and they already have plans that include the infrastructure needed to make it work.

This is close to flying a Tesla could get. Image credit: Tesla
Image Credit: Tesla

Firmly on the Ground

Despite all this development, Musk is convinced that flying cars won’t ease traffic on the ground, and he may have a point. Especially since a lot of flying car models are opting for VTOL versions, they won’t really be cars, in the strictest sense. Additionally, other models in development still need runway-like space to take off.


For Musk, Silicon Valley’s obsession with flying cars won’t be great for city travel. Flying cars, he explained, would need to generate considerable downward force to keep them flying. That translates to a lot of noise and wind for those on the ground. There’s also the probability of debris falling in the case of mid-air fender-benders. “If somebody doesn’t maintain their flying car, it could drop a hubcap and guillotine you,” he said. “Your anxiety level will not decrease as a result of things that weigh a lot buzzing around your head.”

And Musk would rather keep his head, thank you very much, even if it means boring a whole underground.

The post Elon Musk: Flying Cars Are Definitely Not the Future of Transport appeared first on Futurism.

Elon Musk has made another bold prediction about the future of self-driving cars. In a conversation held at the World Government Summit in Dubai, the Tesla CEO stated that nearly all new cars would be self-driving within the next ten years.


Musk predicts that the first level four autonomous cars from Tesla will arrive by the end of this year. He views this arrival as a paradigm shift for the automobile industry:

“There are about 2 billion cars in the world and the total annual production capacity is about 100 million cars, which makes sense since the average life of a car before being totally scrapped is about 20-25 years.” This means that the shift to driverless cars won’t be immediate, but “the point for which we see autonomy appear will not be the point when we see a massive impact on people because it will take a lot of time to make enough autonomous vehicles to disrupt. That disruption will take place for about 20 years.”

Musk also mentioned how the supercomputer used to control Tesla’s vehicles, the NVIDIA Drive PX 2, can reach level five autonomy. NVIDIA thinks that level 4-5 autonomy would only be possible with two supercomputers, but even so, Musk stated that the computers could easily be upgraded to rise the occasion.

We won’t have to wait long to see how his predictions will play out.

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A Trillion Dollar Future

Famous buy-and-hold billionaire Ron Baron is excited for the future of Tesla, one of his company Baron Capital’s long-standing holdings. Speaking during a taping of CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday, Baron claimed he is confident that great things are coming for and from Tesla in the next 13 years.

“I think that in 2020 we’re going to make from present prices about four times our money. I think in 2025 we can make another triple, and in 2030 it can be another triple,” Baron said. The billionaire investor added, “We have brought shares of Tesla, about 1.6 million shares over a 3½-year period of time. Our average cost is about $208 a share.”

Tesla, which didn’t always enjoy such a favorable standing amongst investors, is certainly on the rise. A contributing factor was the move to acquire solar energy company SolarCity in November. The $2 billion investment made a lot of sense, Baron said, as it all comes down to the power grid’s capacity.

“Forty percent of the electricity in the United States is used by single-family houses. If you put a [Tesla] car in the garage, that car uses 30 percent of the electricity of the house,” he argued. “In order to sell the [electric] cars, you have to … have an increase in power.”

The Tesla Way


Last year, while the SolarCity acquisition was underway, Tesla’s CEO and founder Elon Musk made the same predictions about the company’s valuation. He saw that a combined automative, power storage, and power generation company would lead to a $1 trillion market capitalization. Baron is saying the same things today.

Tesla is proof that there is money to be made in the renewable energy business. Its secret? A solid pairing of technologies that build a self-sustaining power ecosystem.

With SolarCity, Tesla is looking to reshape the power grid of the future. It has already built a microgrid that successfully powers an entire island using purely renewable sources. It is also working with Southern California Edison (SCE) on the world’s largest energy storage project, with plans to install 20 MW (80 MWh) Powerpack systems at the Mira Loma substation. Tesla has several other projects in development for this year and new deals in the works in various countries. Right now, the future looks bright for Tesla, which will lead to a cleaner future for the world.

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In an amazing Autobahn maneuver on Monday, Tesla Model S driver Manfred Kick saved the life of 50-year-old man who lost consciousness behind the wheel. The unconscious driver was in a VW Passat station wagon, which the Tesla driver noticed was swerving on the busy road, according to the Munich fire services report.


After alerting the appropriate authorities, Kick slowed his car in front of the station wagon, allowing the Passat to crash into him from behind. He kept his foot on the brakes, forcing both vehicles to a controlled stop. Kick’s courage and concern for a fellow driver earned him praise from the authorities and the media, as well as a congratulatory tweet from Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk himself: “Congrats to the Tesla owner who sacrificed damage to his own car to bring a car with an unconscious driver safely to a stop!”

Now, it looks like the driver will be getting more than just accolades. Musk has said that Tesla will shoulder the cost of repairs for Kick’s Model S. Police estimated the damages for the accident to total around €10,000 ($10,600 USD). Musk also said that Tesla will expedite the repairs for Kick’s €70,000 ($74,686 USD) Model S, a surely welcome turn of events considering Teslas can take significant time to repair in certain markets. All proof that not all good deeds go unnoticed.

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Tesla is now in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The electric vehicle manufacturer and sustainable technology innovator has brought its charging, service, and support infrastructures, as well as autonomous models to Dubai. The country’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) ordered 200 Model S sedans and Model X SUVs with ‘fully-self-driving-capability’ from Tesla.

The deal was formalized Monday between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Mattar Al Tayer, the UAE’s Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.

In a statement, Al Tayer said:

This agreement is in implementation of the directives His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the world’s smartest city, and the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative. It is also part of the Dubai Smart Autonomous Mobility Strategy aimed at transforming 25 [percent] of total journeys in Dubai into autonomous journeys by 2030. The agreement also reflects RTA’s efforts towards providing driverless transportation solutions through undertaking technological tests of autonomous transit means.

Image credits: RTA
Image Credit: RTA

Tesla expects to begin delivery of the vehicles by July of this year.

The RTA will be the one oversee regulation of the vehicles in Dubai. The self-driving capable vehicles will be added to the Dubai Taxi Corporation’s limousine fleet. Studies have shown that autonomous vehicles can actually save lives, so far reducing Tesla crashes by up to 40 percent. Some suggest that driverless cars could save an estimated 32,000 lives per year. And as soon as Tesla rolls out its improved autopilot self-driving software, Dubai expects the usual regulatory approvals to come with ease. Perhaps this wave of autonomous vehicles in Dubai will lead to safer future roadways.

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The Governments of the Future

Every year since 2013, the world’s most powerful leaders and forward-thinking innovators have gathered in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates for the World Government Summit, an event dedicated to helping mold the governments of the future. Attendees work together to identify potential problems and then determine ways that today’s technology can be used to alleviate those challenges.

Past events have featured such speakers as U.S. President Barack Obama and World Economic Forum Founder Professor Klaus Schwab, and this year, everyone’s favorite tech visionary Elon Musk leant his expertise to the proceedings.

In a plenary session appropriately titled “A Conversation with Elon Musk,” the Tesla CEO spoke on everything from sustainability and electric cars to Mars colonization and the dangers of artificial super-intelligences (and the brain implants that may very well save humanity).

While talking about the future of transportation, Musk reiterated his previous claim that a universal basic income (UBI) may be necessary to counter widespread job loss due to vehicle automation, which he sees becoming the norm in the next decade or two. “The single largest employer of people is driving in various forms…” he claimed. “Twenty years is a short period of time to have something like 12-15 percent of the workforce be unemployed.”

Musk also spoke on the potential challenges of such a system:

I think universal basic income will be necessary, but the much harder challenge is: How will people then have meaning? A lot of people derive meaning from their employment. If you’re not needed, what is the meaning? Do you feel useless? That is a much harder problem to deal with. How do we ensure the future is a future that we want, that we still like?

Musk reiterated some of his previously shared beliefs on the dangers of AI during the Summit, as well. “I think we need to be very careful in how we adopt artificial intelligence and that we make sure that researchers don’t get carried away,” he stated. “Sometimes what will happen is a scientist will get so engrossed in their work that they don’t really realize the ramifications of what they’re doing.”

Thankfully, Musk also shared some thoughts on how we could mitigate those dangers. “I do think there is a path to having some sort of merger of biological intelligence and machine intelligence,” he said, which would solve the problem of us losing control over these AIs.

Teslas In Dubai

The speaking engagement at the Summit wasn’t Musk’s only reason for being in Dubai — he was also in the city for the official launch of Tesla in the UAE. The launch will bring a Tesla pop-up shop to Dubai Mall, as well as a major monetary investment in the area.

“We expect to invest tens of millions of dollars in the UAE for charging, service, and support infrastructures,” said Musk. “By next year, you’ll be able to travel anywhere in the GCC with an electric vehicle.”

While Musk seemed confident enough to make that short-term prediction, he was sure to say during his speech at the Summit that forecasts about the distant future are highly unlikely to pan out just how we expect. “Any predictions we can make today about what the future will be like in 50 years will be wrong,” he insisted.

Of course, if anyone is in a position to make an educated guess, it’s Elon Musk.

The post Here’s What Elon Musk Thinks About Brain Implants, AI, And Basic Income appeared first on Futurism.

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