It looks like there is a lot of action going on at Tesla‘s giant Gigafactory.
The factory, which is located in Sparks, Nevada, is where Tesla is producing the battery cells for its electric cars and drivetrains for its Model 3, the company’s first mass-market electric car.
Tesla aims to ramp up production of its Model 3 to some 20,000 units per month by December and some 10,000 units per week in 2018, CEO Elon Musk has said.
But in order for the company to meet these lofty goals, it must also ramp up battery cell production.
That’s where the Gigafactory comes in.
New drone footage posted by YouTube user California Phantom last Thursday captures the factory’s massive size, but it also appears to show a lot of work happening at the factory. Scroll down for a closer look:
Tesla’s Gigafactory is located on a 3,000-acre lot of land in Sparks, Nevada.
And as you can see, the company needs that land not only for its giant factory, but also for parking so that it can accommodate its growing number of employees.
Construction at the factory has come a long way in just a few months. This shot of the factory’s roof was taken in December.
It doesn’t look like there’s been much more expansion of the main building externally since December, but the footage does appear to show a much busier atmosphere, suggesting there’s some expansion going on inside.
The Gigafactory will be more than five million square feet (including several floors) once it’s completed, and it will be capable of producing more battery cells than any other lithium ion battery factory in the world, Musk has said.
Check out more footage of the factory in the video below:
Elon Musk has teased a major new feature for Tesla vehicles via his Twitter account. The company is planning to switch to a profile-based system that would allow drivers to access their preferences from any vehicle in the world.
A Tesla owner tweeted Musk a question about the possibility of setting a different work location for separate drivers sharing the same car. The CEO responded with talk of a plan to move “all info and settings” to a cloud-based server, making them accessible from anywhere and any vehicle.
We are going to move all info and settings to the “cloud” (aka server) so any Tesla you drive in the world automatically adjusts to you
However, in this case, he stopped short of announcing when this functionality would be made available. Now, in the past, Musk has used Twitter to brief drivers on when new firmware updates would be distributed, so it’s likely that this information will be dispersed on twitter when the time is right.
In the last few years, electric vehicles (EVs) have come a long way, with carmakers like Tesla, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and many others developing efficient, sleek, new models. Currently, Tesla is leading the pack, launching both luxury and more affordable models that range from sedans to semi trucks. But other companies are hot on Tesla’s trail, eager to reveal their impressive, energy efficient models.
This past Friday, Mercedes-Maybach launched its new concept vehicle, the Vision 6 Cabriolet, at the 2017 Monterey Car Week in California. The concept car is a glamorous, luxury convertible that runs 100 percent on electricity.
Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG chief design officer, said in a Mercedes-Benz press release, “The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy. Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious haute couture interior help to create the ultimate experience.”
Future of EVs
The vehicle has 750 horsepower and can go more than 320 km (200 miles) on a single charge. This new model is a brilliant follow-up to the previous Vision 6 Coupe, which was unveiled last year. The new model has a boat tail end, and is almost 6 meters (20 feet) long, giving the car an appearance akin to a luxury yacht.
The Tesla Model 3 has an estimated demand of over half a million, and Elon Musk recently leaked information about the impressive long-range capacity of the vehicle. While Tesla is continuing to produce quality options, competition from more affordable and even equally luxurious models isn’t necessarily a bad thing for consumers. And with this luxurious option scoring high on performance, efficiency, comfort, and — most obviously — style, it gives a big boost to the future of EVs.
At this point, everyone has heard about Tesla, the company that specializes in electric cars, energy storage, and solar panels. Elon Musk, the CEO, is a respected figure in the tech world, and is paving the way for electric cars to enter the mainstream as part of an ambitious plan to save our environment. But what is the reality behind the headlines and the hype — is Tesla all it’s cracked up to be?
Tesla’s market capitalization reached $51 billion in April, and the company has now surpassed numerous other major manufacturers, including BMW, GM Motors, and Ford, despite all of those companies selling thousands more cars than Tesla and actually making a profit.
Numerous experts have reported on this discrepancy: Christopher Mims, a tech columnist at the Wall Street Journal, tweeted: “Tesla: delivered 76,000 cars last year, deeply in debt. Ford: 20x more revenue, billions in profits on millions of cars each year. And yet,” referring to Tesla passing Ford on market cap. Walt Mossberg, executive director of The Verge replied, agreeing with Mims, “I admire Tesla and @elonmusk, but this is the billionth example of why stock market valuations don’t reflect reality.”
Elon Musk himself stated, “I do believe this market cap is higher than we have any right to deserve,” in an interview with The Guardian. However, on Twitter, he pointed out that Tesla’s stock price represents possible future cash flow.
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson sums up the spectrum of where Tesla could go in the future, saying that the company is “either one of the greatest Ponzi schemes of all time or it’s gonna work out.” A Ponzi scheme is when investment is generated by false claims, and each round of investment pays the return for the previous generation.
David Einhorn, a Wall Street investor, sits on the skeptical end of this spectrum, comparing the enterprise to the “March 2000 dot-com bubble” in a conference call by saying, “while we don’t know exactly when the bubble will pop, it eventually will.” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in a research note that choosing the company is like taking the “blue pill” in The Matrix — it is not facing up to the company’s many problems.
Likewise, Adam Jonas, Morgan Stanley’s Tesla analyst, claimed in a research note in March that Tesla has the potential to become a key player in the future of transport. He wrote, “we think the Model 3 will feature hardware and software that provide a level of active safety that could significantly lead all other cars on sale today.”
Tesla Breaking Barriers
Whether Tesla is overhyped in terms of its market cap is still undecided. But what we do know is that, if nothing else, Tesla has broken barriers down in the electric vehicle and clean energy sectors, and for that it should be praised.
BMW Executive Ian Robertsontold Car and Driver that, “I’m very supportive of what Tesla has done. The world needs that sort of new competitor.” Whether or not it can live up to the hype concerning itself, it has created public interest for environmental solutions to our transport and energy needs — and encouraged other companies to do the same through the competition it has generated, driving them forward to better, greener, innovations.
Elon Musk’s explanation to Goalcast of what he hoped he could do with SpaceX — his space company — is the kernel of what he has achieved with Tesla. He said, “If we could just move the ball forward, even if we died, some other company could pick up the baton and keep moving it forward […] that would still do some good.” Tesla may remain unprofitable, it may crash in spite of its high market cap, but at the very least it has changed the playing field for the better.
In the same interview, Musk went on to state that, “there are just times when something is important enough, you believe in it enough, that you do it in spite of fear” and “if you just accept the probabilities, then that diminishes fear.” It is an attitude like this that Musk, and Tesla, should be lauded for, because it is belief in strong ideals that will drive us forward into a better future, rather than the clumsy and dangerous mechanisms of amassing profit.
When we cut through the speculation, the debate, and the verbiage we realize that charismatic, idealistic individuals who are willing to put their fortunes and reputations on the line are necessary, even if they may be valued incorrectly or overhyped. Elon Musk is one such individual; let us hope for many more. As Walter Lippman once said, “when all think alike, then no one is thinking.”
It’s no secret that Tesla has plans to build an electric semi-truck: the idea was floating around as early as September 2016. CEO and founder Elon Musk confirmed in April this year that an electric truck was indeed in the works, and a working prototype is expected to come out this September. Now, a leaked email exchange between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), seen by Reuters, reveal that the company is developing electric, self-driving semis that move in “platoons” trailing a lead vehicle.
The email conversations dated from May and June 2017 included Tesla and various representatives of the Nevada DMV discussing potential road trials for prototype semis — which could be the first such test run on the city’s roads for autonomous trucks without a person in the cab. In one of these exchanges, Tesla regulatory official Nasser Zamani wrote to DMV official April Sanborn about the agenda for a July 16 meeting.
“To insure we are on the same page, our primary goal is the ability to operate our prototype test trucks in a continuous manner across the state line and within the States of Nevada and California in a platooning and/or Autonomous mode without having a person in the vehicle,” Zamani wrote. Then, on July 10, Zamani asked the DMV for testing license terms. No particular date was mentioned, however, as to when this road testing would be.
Nevada DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez told Reuters that Tesla requested for a meeting with California officials on Wednesday “to talk about Tesla’s efforts with autonomous trucks,” as well as to introduce new staff.
There are also a number of Silicon Valley startups working on platooning technology for fleets of long-haul trucks. Among these is automated vehicle technology company Peloton, whose current work involves several truck makers including Volvo. Peloton considers platooning as an important precursor to autonomy when it comes to long-haul driverless trucks, in order to increase safety and efficiency.
With all these efforts, it seems that self-driving trucks are close to becoming a reality. Yet Tesla is unique in developing an all-electric version — and for good reason. One of the greatest challenges truck manufacturers and autonomous vehicle companies face is battery range limitations. Venkat Viswanathan, a lithium ion battery researcher from Carnegie Mellon, told Reuters that long-haul electric trucks aren’t commercially feasible yet. Such trucks would require huge batteries, he said, so the “cargo essentially becomes the battery.”
Perhaps this is an area where Tesla has an edge over its competitors, thanks to its experience with developing powerful batteries. In any case, with barely a month before the promised prototype, we can’t wait to see just what Musk’s electric autonomous semi could offer. If you’re driving through Nevada, keep an eye out — the road testing might soon follow afterwards.
Ikea has launched a range of solar panels and home battery packs in the UK. Partnering up with Solarcentury, the country’s leading provider of solar technology, the company hopes to simplify customers’ efforts to make their homes more eco-friendly.
While the systems cost thousands of British pounds, Ikea claims that they could cut owners’ electricity bill by up to 50 percent. An online tool can estimate the savings based on geographic location (postal code), based on measurements of the roof taken from satellite imagery.
While Ikea’s furniture is generally self-assembly, solar panels will be installed by experts. Interested parties can get a free quote, which is verified by a home survey before engineers install the hardware.
Solar power is becoming more and more accessible. Many expect Tesla’s solar roof to further expand the reach of the technology because of its cheaper price tag than current implementations, and its completely noninvasive appearance.
The big difference with Ikea is that, unlike Tesla, Ikea is a tried-and-true brand, and the convenience of its installation process will appeal to a lot of consumers. If its solar range proves to be popular in the UK, we might even expect to see the company expand the program to other countries.
Tesla hasn’t been shy about sharing their long-term goal of achieving level 5 autonomous driving.
Since October 2016, every electric vehicle the company has produced has been equipped with Autopilot 2.0 hardware, with the idea that it would eventually be made capable of fully autonomous driving through future software updates. That hardware package received one such software update in March (April outside North America), and now, Electrek is reporting that the hardware has gotten a tweak as well.
According to the site, Tesla is now shipping a new suite of Autopilot hardware with a more powerful iteration of their onboard computer. The fact that the Model 3 was equipped with a driver-facing camera was a tip-off that the vehicle’s hardware was unique, and according Electrek‘s sources, the Model 3’s onboard computer is also unlike the one released with the Model S or Model X.
Those sources told Electrek that the new Autopilot hardware suite is referred to as “HW 2.5” internally and that it has added computing power thanks to a secondary GPU. However, a Tesla spokesperson told Electrek differently.
While they did confirm that the new hardware suite exists and that all Model 3, Model X, and Model S vehicles ordered today now come with it, they claim the system does not merit the “2.5” moniker: “The internal name HW 2.5 is an overstatement, and instead it should be called something more like HW 2.1. This hardware set has some added computing and wiring redundancy, which very slightly improves reliability, but it does not have an additional Pascal GPU.”
The Road Ahead
Tesla appears to remain confident in their ability to eventually achieve level 5 autonomy even without the upgraded hardware.
“[We] still expect to achieve full self-driving capability with safety more than twice as good as the average human driver without making any hardware changes to HW 2.0,” the spokesperson told Electrek. “If this does not turn out to be the case, which we think is highly unlikely, we will upgrade customers to the 2.5 computer at no cost.”
Though some have doubts, Tesla is still certain they will achieve their goal of “driving from a parking lot in downtown LA to a parking lot in downtown NY without touching the controls by the end of the year.” With 2017 more than half over, the company only has a few months left to prove their critics wrong.
With respect to the release of the Tesla Model 3, Elon Musk has been playing his cards close to his chest. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently made public the electric vehicle’s EPA certification, which provided our first look at the highly anticipated EV’s specs, but Teslawas quick to note that the numbers from the EPA report do not fully represent the pack’s capacity.
However, we may finally have a definitive answer as sources present during a conference call hosted by Goldman Sachs have told Electrek’s Fred Lambertthat Elon Musk revealed the battery pack options for the vehicle during the call.
These sources say that customers will be able to choose between two battery options. The first will have a capacity of “just over 50 kWH,” equating to a range of about 354 kilometers (220 miles), while the second will have a capacity of roughly 75 kWH and a longer range of about 499 kilometers (310 miles).
Customers with access to Tesla’s new online design studio will notice that only the “long range” option is currently available, which puts the vehicle at a much higher sales price than the promised $35,000. Customers interested in the standard (cheaper) battery pack have the option to be put on a separate waiting list.
Last week was a busy one for Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk. On Friday, the first 30 Model 3 units were handed over to their excited new owners — though one of them was Musk himself. And, while Musk already said that the coming months would be a “production hell” for Tesla to meet the 500,000 demand for the Model 3, he’s since updated the figure to an annual demand of over 700,000 units.
Musk mentioned that the updated demand during a conference call on Monday, at an investors meeting hosted by Goldman Sachs, where Tesla discussed raising $1.5 million in bonds to fund production. During the event, two sources confirmed to Electrekthat Musk projects Model 3 demand to reach “700,000 units per year,” and could even go higher.
In order to meet this demand, Musk is considering moving Model S and Model X drive unit production from Tesla’s Fremont factory to the Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The former, which is already capable of producing 500,000 units per year, could then focus on just the Model 3.
A Growing Demand
Musk also updated the average sale price for the new electric sedan. Previously pegged at $35,000 to $42,000, Musk told the investors that it’s going to be priced closer to $45,000. At any rate, the Model 3 is going to be both costly and beneficial for Tesla. Production will be tedious and expensive, which is why Musk is asking for investors to dedicate funding. The high demand, however, will obviously increase Tesla’s revenue. Musk believes, without a doubt, that Tesla’s up to the task.
The Model 3 is here — at least a few of them. Tesla has released 30 of the estimated 500,000 vehicles that have been reserved. The overwhelming number of orders and last week’s fanfare at the release of the electronic, autonomous car are indicative of how highly Tesla’s product is revered by many.
However, a great product alone is not enough to guarantee a company’s success. So how is Tesla looking on other fronts?
Well, not super. For one thing, Tesla’s customer service does not seem to have been prepared for the challenges presented by the Model 3’s release. People who have tried to cancel their Model 3 reservations have reported that their refunds regularly take more than a month to arrive — some say they’re still waiting after three months.
This is a far cry from the “refunds can take up to three weeks depending on your country of delivery” Tesla had stated on their “Frequently Asked Questions” page, according to Wired – although Tesla seems to have removed this from their website.
Also, by Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s own estimations, the car marker is facing “six months of production hell” to release the targeted numbers of Model 3 vehicles. The difficulty in mass producing a vehicle with about 10,000 unique components is going to be extreme.
And the Model 3 is not the only production challenge Tesla must overcome — it also has at least four other vehicles in the works. The Model Y, a new Roadster, a pickup truck, and an autonomous semi-truck all have estimated release dates around 2019 — and each of these vehicles are ambitious and challenging in their own way.
For example, the Model Y will likely be built on an entirely new, more automated platform, and its design goals include increasing cargo space compared to the Model X while maintaining a similar range of at least 383 km (238 miles) per charge. All of this is on top of Elon Musk’s reported goal of producing one million of the vehicles at a lower price tag than the Model X by 2020.
A Long Journey Ahead
All of these projects will require an explosion in Tesla’s productivity compared to even last year, when it produced 83,922 vehicles. However, Tesla will likely be spending at least half of the time between now and then getting production of its Model 3 up to speed. Is the company likely to complete so many challenging projects in the space of a couple of years?
Probably not, if the recent stock market has been any indication. Despite the rave reviews of its latest offering, Tesla continues to be an unusually volatile automaker, which actually has some investors betting against its success in the coming week. While Friday’s release of the new vehicle gave Tesla’s stocks a boost, attaining a high of $339, the company’s value never regained the record high it reached in June. Additionally, Friday’s bump has since evaporated, with stocks falling and climbing again since.
These concerns also present themselves in the numbers for Wednesday’s second-quarter earnings report. While Tesla’s revenue increased, its earnings per share is still negative — in keeping with the company’s recent trend. In other words, Tesla is selling more cars, but its production costs and other financial burdens are lowering the company’s value.
What it all boils down to is that Musk really has his work cut out for him. Tesla has some great products, but to say its timeline for new vehicle production is a little overly ambitious is an understatement. Tesla’s first task will be to streamline production of the Model 3, its customer service support, and its associated infrastructure. The other projects will need to take second seat to this.
And Musk, just remember — we’ll all still be here until 2025. It’s OK if it takes you a few more years to get some of these projects done.
According to EPA estimates, Tesla’sModel S 75D should have a range of ~416 kilometers (259 miles) per charge under ideal driving conditions, while the Chevy Bolt should be able to last for ~383 kilometers (238 miles) on a single charge.
Now, these results don’t imply that the Model S is secretly a bad vehicle — in fact, it is very common for cars to perform below EPA estimates. These estimates are based on testing done in ideal conditions, but Consumer Reports’ test involved what’s called “mixed driving.” That means the vehicles were operating under slightly less than ideal conditions, which makes the Bolt’s performance even more surprising.
An impressive range doesn’t automatically make the Chevy Bolt the better vehicle, though. In fact, Consumer Reports still placed it second behind the Model S in their list of best electric vehicles due to factors like its charging time and uncomfortable seats. At a cost about half that of the Model S, though, the Bolt’s range victory will certainly make it an appealing choice for those on a tighter budget who are looking to go electric.
A Competitive Field
According to Engadget, the Chevy Bolt is “big enough to carry four full-size adults plus a week’s worth of groceries, while the vehicle itself retains the nimbleness and driving experience of a small vehicle.” As mentioned by Consumer Reports, the vehicle has its flaws, but it is all-electric and, perhaps most importantly, has an affordable price point.
While still widely recognized as producing superior vehicles in terms of performance, the massive price difference could be luring buyers away from Tesla’s models and toward cheaper but comparatively capable vehicles like the Bolt. Although Tesla’s Model 3 is the company’s most affordable vehicle to date, even it could end up being much pricier than initially expected if the available add-ons are taken into consideration.
With forthcoming offerings from Volkswagen and Volvo poised to make the affordable EV field even more competitive, Tesla will need to continue to make smart moves to stay on top — that overnight price reduction for the Model S and Model X was a good place to start.
Tesla has led the way in developing all-electric vehicles to meet a variety of needs and wants. Case in point: their Model X, the world’s first all-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV).
In an effort to make their high-performing vehicles more accessible, Tesla has, overnight, modified their online design studio to lower the price of the basic Model X as well as include more standard options for the performance versions of both the Model X and the Model S. This change comes in the midst of what Elon Musk has described as “production hell” for their Model 3.
The Model X 75D now costs $3,000 less than it did previously, starting at $79,500. The performance version of the vehicle, the Model X P100D, now starts at $145,000, while the Model S P100D starts at $140,000 — a difference of just $5,000.
The one thing that has prevented Tesla from being many customers’ top choice is, quite simply, the price. Tesla vehicles are not made to be the most affordable, and at their current price points, they are, for most people, completely inaccessible.
Additionally, as a recent range test by Consumer Reports shows, some performance aspects of these high-end vehicles are incredibly comparable to features in more affordable models.
While the new pricing for the Model X and Tesla’s performance vehicles might not be enough to make these vehicles accessible to everyone looking to purchase an electric vehicle, they could incentivize those on the fence to give Tesla a try. After all, if futuristic falcon wing doors are a must-have EV feature, you don’t have many other options.
2017 has been the year to set (and break) driving records with electric vehicles. The latest record-breaking event happened in Italy just last week. Tesla Owners Club Italia drove a Model S P100D for 1,078km (669.8 miles) on a single charge, breaking the long-distance record that had been in place since June. The previous record, from Belgium, was a mere 901.2km (560 miles). This makes the Tesla Owners Club Italia the first to drive a production EV more than 1,000km between charges.
Officially verified as the first production electric car to exceed 1000km on a single charge! Congratulations Tesla Owners Italia!! https://t.co/r8fFZIFEP2
This victory is in large part symbolic, because to break the record at this point it’s necessary to drive in a way you’d never want to duplicate in real life. Hypermiling, optimizing driving behaviors to maximize a charge, isn’t fun or efficient from a “getting somewhere” perspective. The team toured Salerno at a sluggish 40km/h (24.9MPH) without air conditioning on low rolling resistance tires, and used Autopilot to ensure they employed smooth driving techniques to get the most from the battery. In the end, the trip took 29 hours — 29 hours that were almost certainly exciting only for serious Tesla and/or EV fans.
However, the outcome should be exciting to everyone. Although EVs are not likely to achieve mileage like this anytime soon, the basic achievability shows how far the engineering and design of EVs has come. Tesla rates the range of the P100D at 337 miles (and the range jumps up when you drop the traveling speed below 65MPH). This rate reflects the reality of a vehicle needing to stop and go, negotiate turns and uneven terrain, and handle other issues encountered on the road — all of which shrink the range. However, the achievement reveals that EVs that are truly long-range really aren’t so far off in the future.
Tesla’s second-quarter earnings for 2017 are in. That means there’s also a bunch of updates and sneak-peaks inside the company’s world of innovation. These tidbits more often than not come from CEO and founder Elon Musk himself, and this time, he revealed an interesting detail about SpaceX.
Yes, that’s no typo. After some investors asked how innovation at SpaceX (which is also run by Musk) could be applied to Tesla, Musk recalled a particular instance when it actually happened. It’s not about rocket propulsion or anything of the sort, of course. Instead, Musk talked about how SpaceX helped fix a major issue in Tesla cars that resulted in saving eight hours of work per vehicle.
Jon McNeill, Tesla President of Global Sales and Services, supplied the details. “We had a challenge in service just over the past week where we needed to determine the quality of an object deep within our structure, an aluminum casting. That’s something that SpaceX knows how to do,” he said during the earnings call. “Our team reached out to the SpaceX team, the SpaceX team provided us with some ultrasonic sensors so we could quickly take corrective action.”
The Perks of Running Both
This was made possible because both SpaceX and Tesla are run by the same person. But just as much as this collaboration is about Musk, it’s due due to the kind of work being done by both companies. Each one’s determined to build better products — cars for Tesla and rockets for SpaceX. That determination makes it necessary, and even inevitable, for both to share research behind building their materials.
“This cross-fertilization of knowledge from the rocket and spacecraft industry to auto and back and forth I think has really been quite valuable,” Musk said during the call. It’s a shortcut, really. Tesla and SpaceX need not look far for support when it comes to the “high-volume manufacturing of something that has to be extremely reliable,” Musk said. The same can be seen in how Musk’s relatively newer tunnel-digging venture has been depending on SpaceX for its tunneling machine.
For Tesla and SpaceX, this combination of minds is obviously a benefit — one that could help ensure the quality of materials and products developed by both. It’s certainly not impossible for SpaceX’s rockets to run a similar autonomous system found in Tesla’s vehicles. Who knows?
One can argue that the differences are minimal, at best. However, now that Tesla has begun deliveries of their new Model 3 line, some are concerned the company won’t be able to meet the overwhelming demand for the electric vehicle (EV). Founder and CEO Elon Musk assured investors during an earnings call for the company’s second-quarter of 2017 on Wednesday that that will not be the case.
“What people should absolutely have zero concern about, and I mean zero, is that Tesla will achieve a 10,000 unit production week by the end of next year,” said Musk. “I think people should really not have any concerns that we won’t reach that outcome from a production rate.”
The CEO was referring to plans to ramp up Model 3 production by significant increments over the rest of this year, from 100 cars in August to more than 1,500 in September. That number is predicted to grow to 20,000 cars a month by December.
This is a surprisingly strong statement, Electrek reports, given that Musk has always tended to flavor predictions with phrases like “best guess” or “I might be wrong.” He has previously admitted that the next few months would be a “production hell” for Tesla, but he appears confident they will be able to deliver.
On an August 2 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said efforts to bring the forthcoming Model Y electric crossover vehicle to market sooner rather than later are underway. Part of those efforts include building the Model Y on a similar architecture as the new Model 3.
“Upon the council of my executive team to reel me back from the cliffs of insanity, the Model Y will, in fact, be using substantial carry over from Model 3 in order to bring it to market faster,” Musk said, according to The Verge.
Musk may still ditch the 12-volt battery architecture used in other Teslas to reduce the wiring requirements and pare down the production process. The Model Y is also likely to share certain features with other models, such as the falcon-wing doors of the Model X. However, the single vehicle architecture shared with the Model 3 will mean more automation, a simplified process, and lower costs.
Tesla needs the Model Y to be produced more quickly and easily if it wants to meet its 1 million cars delivered by 2020 goal. Previously, Musk said the Model Y wouldn’t be in production until late 2019 or early 2020 — so this development indicates the cars could go into production sooner.
In Q2, Tesla delivered 22,026 Model S and Model X vehicles, bringing the 2017 total to 47,077 so far.
On August 1, Jason Hughes, Twitter user @wk057 and , asked the internet if anyone else noticed that Model 3s appear to be equipped with driver-facing cameras. He then confirmed with sources that it’s a camera.
Later in the day, Electrek reported on the camera, after confirming with Tesla that the camera is there but inactive, and will only go active after future software updates. They also reported that the camera is not only focused on the driver but on the cabin as a whole. They speculate that this feature could become useful for Tesla’s future (hopeful) ride-sharing network. It could also prove to be a valuable safety feature, depending on how it is implemented. But, of course, there still exists the privacy issue of having cameras connected to a larger network situated inside of your private property staring right at you.
After markets close on Wednesday, Tesla will release its second-quarter (Q2) earnings report for 2017. Tesla’s usual practice has been to conduct a conference call and Q&A with the company’s management team and investors after releasing quarterly reports. This is the plan for tonight at 5:30 PM ET (2:30 PM PT).
Tesla’s first quarter 2017 update back in May featured an overall increase in production and revenue. “Vehicle production in Q1 increased by 64% compared to a year ago, which enabled us to set new quarterly records of 25,051 deliveries and $2.7 billion in GAAP revenue,” the report read. The trend was expected to continue for Q2, including the decline in earnings per share.
Speculations about the company’s Q2 results from various sources are generally the same: consensus in Wall Street, as well as figures from independent firms like financial estimates crowdsourcing website Estimize, and Zacks Investment Research are consistent. Tesla’s expected to report a growth in revenue of around $2.548 billion to $2.599 billion. The company’s revenue has been growing over the past four quarters, almost always beating expectations, according to Electrek.
Earnings per share, on the other hand, are going to be on the decline: current estimates predict a loss of around $2 per share. Wall Street predicts a $1.94 per share for the quarter, Estimize counts a $1.81 loss per share, while Zacks puts it at $2 per share. For those wondering about the difference between revenue and earnings, earnings are counted after all deductibles (such as production costs, taxes, etc.) have been considered. Revenue is the profit from products sold.
The loss per share comes from investing heavily on Model 3 production and a decline in deliveries for Q2. Tesla’s already reported a total of 22,000 deliveries from April to May, down from a Q1 total of 25,000. The company claims that despite the decrease, it’s able to hit the low-end of its mid-year delivery target of 47,000 to 50,000 vehicles.
Updates: Solar Products, the Model 3, & More
Speaking of production, this Q2 report would be a significant one for Tesla, as it’s going to be the last one before Model 3 production and sales will be counted. As such, delivery numbers are expected to go up before the end of the year as Tesla works towards fulfilling the large number of pre-orders for the Model 3. Less than a week since its release, the low-cost electric vehicle has been receiving favorable reviews.
Energy supplier Deepwater Wind hopes to team up with Tesla to provide clean power to the state of Massachusetts during peak times. Bloomberg reports that the company has proposed the building of an offshore wind farm with a 144-megawatt capability and a 40-megawatt storage capacity thanks to Powerpack commercial storage batteries. The batteries would store power collected during high generation times and save it for heavy use hours. This is how other facilities with Tesla Powerpack batteries work, such as the Kauai energy storage installation that went online earlier in 2017.
As the Tesla Model 3 launch was imminent, Jack Stewart of Wired wrote, “The arrival of Tesla’s Model 3 signals a new chapter in automotive history, one that erases 100-plus years of the gas engine and replaces it with technology, design, and performance hot enough to make electric vehicles more than aspirational — to make [electric vehicles (EVs)] inspirational.” But would it live up to its promise?
If you’re still feeling skeptical about Tesla’s Model 3, the reviewers definitely aren’t. Here’s what they have to say now that they’ve driven it.
Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. – Kim Reynolds
In a piece prefaced with, “The Tesla Model 3 is here, and it is the most important vehicle of the century. Yes, the hyperbole is necessary,” Kim Reynolds of Motor Trend raved: “If anybody was expecting a typical boring electric sedan here, nope.”
“Magic, I’m telling you. Magic. And this is the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive starting point. The already boggled mind boggles further at the mention of Dual Motor and Ludicrous,” Reynolds continued. “Have I ever driven a more startling small sedan? I haven’t. At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before […] [The] 2.0-liter Alfa Romeo Giulia […] feels like a wet sponge by comparison.”
Electrekis reporting that Tesla is preparing to begin fulfilling their Model 3 orders. Right now, employees who have priority reservations are being given access to an online configurator to help build their cars to a host of specifications.
One of the Model 3’s biggest selling points is its low price tag, relative to other electric vehicle options. However, the available specs on this round of shipments require customers to drop at least $48,000, a far cry from the starting price of the $35,000 base vehicle. This added cost covers the longer range battery, which can take the vehicle 499 km (310 miles) versus 354 km (220 miles) for $9,000. Other “Premium Upgrades” include a glass roof which accounts for the remaining $5,000. There is another option to wait for the cheaper features to be available if a customer decides thrift is more important than expedience.
Good news for those who like their Teslas cranked up to 11. Elon Musk has tweeted that a performance version of the Model 3 should be arriving about a year from now. The news came as the response to a recent tweet:
Probably middle of next year. Focus now is on getting out of Model 3 production hell. More versions = deeper in hell.
This latest response regarding a performance version of the Model 3 is not the first time Musk has mentioned the “production hell” surrounding the vehicle — he used the same phrase at a press briefing Friday night. Meeting the 500,000 unit annual production target for the Model 3, ensuring that the car has “mass appeal,” and piecing together the 10,000 individual components of the car are all contributing to the difficulty producing the highly anticipated vehicle.
While no specifics have been released explaining exactly what a performance version on the Model 3 would entail — beyond its faster speed than the standard model — several sources have made educated guesses.
Jalopnik predicts that the upgraded electric car would be “a dual motor car with all-wheel-drive, a sub-four-second 0-60 mph time, and a top speed not likely higher than around 155 mph,” while Electrek wrote that they expect it “to be equipped with a dual motor all-wheel-drive system, and if it turns out like the performance versions of the Model S and Model X, it should have as [sic] new high-power performance rear motor with higher amperage connection to the battery pack.”
Whatever the performance version may look like, the release of the Model 3 is already a phenomenal achievement. Since Tesla’s humble startup beginnings, the company has not only created a series of cars that are gorgeous, functional, and futuristic, they’ve also helped start an electric car revolution that will benefit the planet.
But, behind the grand designs, consumer interest, and seductive new cars is a real world question of how to reify his zero-emission transport dreams. Writing in the MIT technology review, James Temple has given a three part argument discussing Musk’s recent prediction that “in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States.”
An Awful Lot of Batteries
Temple’s first is an argument of scale. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, if half the vehicle demand in 2027 is for electric vehicles, this would come to around 9.1 million vehicles in America alone. In order to supply this demand, 546 gigawatt-hours’ worth of battery packs would have to be created annually if every vehicle ran on the 60 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery packs that the Model 3 uses.
The final and maximum capacity of the gigafatory will be 150 gigawatt-hours, meaning that four will have to made to meet demand. Given that the first one took six years to construct, the idea that four more will be created in the next decade is ludicrously optimistic.
A Matter of Taste
Second, Temple argues that the introduction of electric cars will be hampered by consumer tastes and the simple economics of supply and demand. Jeremy Michalek, director of the Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University, explained incisively to MIT that electric vehicles are “more expensive, they don’t drive as far, and it takes time to recharge.” Although the electric car has enthusiasts, “for mainstream consumers it’s still just an inferior product.”
While estimates vary, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that it won’t be until 2025 that electric vehicles achieve price and quality parity, which will provide a practical and economic reason for people to buy them rather than the current ideological one. Given that this is eight years away, and not everyone will want a new car at this point, Musk’s prediction of a decade again seems highly optimistic.
Polluting to Go Green
Finally, Temple picks up on the irony embedded in the introduction of electric vehicles — that they require emission-belching machines to introduce. Electric cars are often billed as better for the environment, but in order for them to be adopted, charging stations need to be a lot more common. Because there are no electric construction vehicles yet, creating the infrastructure is, in part, counterintuitive to the eventual aim.
Designing the Model 3 to meet pricing and production goals has been a nightmare, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk revealed during a press briefing Friday night.
“The major challenge we faced with the Model 3 is not really the product,” TechCrunch reported that Musk said at the briefing. “It’s going to be pretty great, but it’s going to be quite a challenge to produce this car.”
Musk went on to describe the “six months of production hell” Tesla is facing in order to meet its production target of rolling out 500,000 Model 3 vehicles per year – a goal that Musk hopes to meet within the next year or so.
To a greater degree than Tesla’s earlier vehicles, the Model 3 has been built for “mass appeal.” This has required “10,000 unique components in the car,” Musk emphasized. If the manufacturing of any of these parts is particularly cumbersome, it will slow the entire production line down.
To avoid this, Tesla engineers had to simplify some of the car’s components. Among other changes, “[w]e’ve intentionally gone for a very simple interior with a single screen,” Musk said at the briefing.
But one feature that the Model 3 does not cut corners on is autonomous driving. Musk said that the vehicle is equipped with the same sensor devices that are used in the Model S and Model X, and that Tesla plans to continue to build on this foundation.
Ultimately, the simpler design of the Model 3 has allowed Telsa to manufacture the vehicles at about 1/5 the cost of Model S cars. The affordable pricing will tap into a demand that not even the Model 3’s reservations have truly revealed yet, Musk postulated.
“If we did anything to even not put the brake on demand, it would go bananas,” Musk said according to TechCrunch reports.
On Friday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a special event to hand over the keys for Tesla’s new Model 3 to the EV’s first 30 customers. The very first Model 3 owner was Musk himself, of course — then, the next 29 ultimately went to Tesla employees (who made up 10,000 of the 500,000 supposed preorders).
The event marked an exciting moment for Tesla and, no doubt, those 29 new owners, who had deposited $1,000 to reserve one of the company’s first mass-market EVs. Everyone else on the list still has a bit of a wait before they’ll have keys in hand: the rate of production for the Model 3’s is to be 100 cars built by August, ultimately building up to 1,500 cars by September. Also, before buyers are guaranteed a unit, they have to configure the vehicle online before they can place an order. Tesla plans to produce 20,000 Model 3s per month by September.
If you’re wondering what the hype over the Model 3 is all about, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not just going to be another new electric car; it’s anticipated to be one of the world’s cheapest EVs. “The Model 3 is far more than just another car,” Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at AutoTrader, told The Verge. “If successful, it would mark a breakthrough for electric vehicles and would be promising in terms of the proliferation of the technology.”
The Model 3 signals a change in the air, perhaps heralding an end to the era of the combustion engine. It’s expected help to increase adoption of EVs — since several countries are already firming up policies to eliminate petrol and diesel vehicles in favor of cleaner alternatives. The average passenger vehicle releases some 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and replacing these with 500,000 EVs would be a major step in clean energy adoption. Further, energy stored in EVs could also be used to power microgrids.
The Model 3 also comes with an autonomous driving system — another technology that’s set to revolutionize transportation. So, it’s not just going to make EVs more accessible, it’s also putting self-driving cars within reach of the general public. That’s important, as some research has indicated that autonomous vehicles could significantly lower the number of car-related deaths caused by human error — which is roughly 40,000 every year in the case of the U.S. alone.
Consumer Reports and Tesla have been at odds quite a bit in the past few years. In October of 2015, Tesla stocks fell when Consumer Reportscalled the cars unreliable. Then again this year, Tesla’s stock fell after Consumer Reports downgraded the Model S because the second generation Autopilot hardware’s Automatic Emergency Braking wasn’t enabled at highway speeds.
Tesla’s big party for the Model 3 kicks off on Friday.
The electric automaker will reveal the production version of its long-awaited sedan to the first 30 customers who ordered one at a handover party. Tesla will then kick Model 3 production into high gear with the goal of producing 1,500 sedans in September and 20,000 cars in December.
We decided to take a look back at just how far Tesla cars have progressed, and within just the last year there’s been a lot of change. Scroll down for a closer look.
Tesla garnered a lot of attention in 2008 when it released its very first electric car — the wildly sexy Tesla Roadster.
The Roadster Sport boasted a range of 245 miles and could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Its base price in 2008 was $98,000, according to Car and Driver.
Tesla sold more than 2,400 Roadsters across 30 countries, the company wrote on its webpage.
In 2012, Tesla released its Model S — the first luxury electric sedan on the market.
But the car was pricey at $106,900 before federal tax exemptions.
In late 2014, Tesla released two dual motor all-wheel drive configurations for the Model S, the world’s first dual electric motor car.
It was also the first time Tesla made Autopilot, its semi-autonomous package, standard on every car. The car came in three versions — the 60D, 85D and the top-of-the-line P85D. Above you see the P85D.
The P85D could reach a top speed of 155 mph and could accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, outperforming the McLaren F1 supercar, Tesla wrote on its blog at the time.
The P85D had a range of about 285 miles and cost $71,200 MSRP, according to Car and Driver. But that model was discontinued in February 2016.
Tesla offered three new versions of the Model S in early 2015, the 70D, 90D, and P90D. At the time, the P90D was coveted for its Ludicrous mode.
The P90D could go from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds while driving in Ludicrous mode. When it first came out, people went bananas for the new feature. It also had a range of 253 miles and could reach a top speed of 155 mph.
At the time, the Model S started at around $68,000.
Tesla introduced its Model X with its stylish falcon wings to the world in September 2015.
Like the Model S, the Model X comes in three different versions. At the time, the vehicle started at $74,000 before tax incentives.
The highest performance version at the time of its release was the P90D. It came with a range of 250 miles and could reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds in ludicrous mode and had a top speed of 155 mph.
Tesla rolled out its 7.1 software update at the beginning of 2016 — giving the Model S and Model X several cool new semi-autonomous features.
The software update offers safety features like automatic braking, lane switching, and blind-spot warnings. The cars also gained the ability to autosteer without a center divider, self-parallel park, and manage speed using traffic-aware cruise control.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the new update was giving drivers the power to summon their cars at the click of a button — it’s like a personal, robotic valet. At the time of its release, the Autopilot package cost an extra $2,500.
Since the 7.1 software release, Autopilot has gotten another massive upgrade. Cars built after October 2016 are equipped with a suite of new hardware that advances Autopilot’s capabilities.
The software hasn’t been fully released yet, but it will eventually allow cars to match their speed to traffic conditions, automatically change lanes without driver input, merge on and off highways, and park itself. It will also be able to maneuver around objects in a more complex environment than it could before when you summon it.
The software costs $5,000 at the time of purchase. Tesla says the hardware will also support full, self-driving capabilities, which will cost an additional $8,000 at the time of purchase.
The Model S and Model X got a major battery upgrade to extend their ranges.
In August 2016, Musk announced the new 100-kilowatt-hour battery upgrade for the Model S and Model X cars that have Ludicrous modes last August.
The new battery option extends the range of the Model S to 315 miles per charge, making it the first electric car on the market to exceed 300 miles of range. The new battery option also extends the range of the Model X with Ludicrous mode to 289 miles.
The upgrade also enables the Model S P100D Ludicrous to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds, making it the world’s third-fastest production car. The larger battery pack also makes the Model X the world’s quickest SUV with the ability to accelerate to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
But the upgrade isn’t cheap — those who already own the car can upgrade for $20,000. If you don’t own it yet, it will tack an extra $10,000 on the price.
All of these releases have led up to Tesla’s biggest car launch yet: The Model 3. the sedan was first unveiled in March 2016 and it got almost 325,000 pre-orders.
The Model 3 will start at $35,000 without federal tax exemptions, making it a huge competitor in the EV market. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds and will boast a range of at least 215 miles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that these are baseline specs Tesla hopes to exceed.
We got a glimpse of a pre-production version of Tesla’s Model 3 on Interstate 680 in the San Francisco Bay Area last week.
The Model 3 has a very smooth and restrained design, which is the handiwork of Tesla’s chief designer, Franz von Holzhausen. The sedan has a more subtle rear haunch than the Model S and a continuous glass roof that starts at the windshield and run through the rear spoiler.
We’ll get to see more soon!
Tesla has a lot more in the works. The automaker is working on an electric truck and another SUV that would be dubbed Model Y.
In November 2016, Elon Musk said that the upcoming Tesla Model 3 would incorporate the technology of the new solar roof. However, on July 15 at the National Governors Association meeting, Musk squelched the idea in his remarks. When asked about the solar roof, he indicated that he would “scrap that idea” which requires some very complicated engineering. He explained:
I really thought about this. I pushed my team. Is there some way we can do it on the car? Technically, if you have some sort of transformer-like thing that will pop out of the trunk like a hardtop convertible that ratchets solar panels over the car. . .and provided you are in the sun, that would be enough to generate 20 to 30 miles a day of electricity. It’s a difficult way to do it.
During a talk at the National Governors Association on Saturday, Elon Musk shared a bold prediction for the future of personal transportation. Not only does he believe that half the cars produced in the United States just 10 years from now will be electric, he thinks almost all cars produced by then will be autonomous.
“In 10 years, half of all production will be EV,” he told the governors. “I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous in 10 years, almost all. It will be rare to find one that is not, in 10 years.”
While EVs and autonomous cars will comprise a bulk of new vehicles, however, that doesn’t mean they will be the majority on the roads. “New vehicle production is only about five percent of the size of the vehicle fleet,” Musk explained, and because a car or truck can last for 15 to 20 years, it will take some time for the old to be replaced by the new. “Even when new vehicle production switches over to electric or autonomous…that still means the vast majority of the fleet is not,” he noted.
Musk estimated that we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we see a significant change in the types of vehicles on the road, but two decades from now, he expects an overwhelming portion of vehicles to be electric and fully autonomous.
The shift won’t be limited to cars and trucks, either. He predicts that eventually “all transport will go fully electric” with the exception of spacecraft.
Musk is at the forefront of this driverless and electric revolution. Tesla recently began production on their Model 3, which is poised to make electric vehicles more affordable, and the company’s cars have been breaking EV industry records for hypermiling and cannonball runs.
Tesla’s progress has spurred their competitors into action, with other industry leaders like Volvo making the decision to go all electric. If the trend continues, Musk’s predictions could prove true and we could be just a few short years from entering the age of electric, autonomous vehicles.
Volkswagen chief strategist Thomas Sedran announced at the Automobil Forum that the I.D. Concept will sell for $7,000 to $8,000 less than Tesla’s model. Aside from competitive pricing, the I.D. Concept was designed to compete with the Tesla Model 3 across the board. The price cutting strategy is one of the company’s more traditional competitive moves in a battle that has, at times, strayed into the unorthodox. According to Electrek, last year before unveiling the concept, VW misrepresented the Model s’ NEDC-rated range in a presentation designed to favorably compare the VW concept electric vehicle (EV).
At this point, it appears that the all-electric hatchback from VW will be available to compete with the Model 3 in the U.S., but not for more than a year after the Model 3 hits the market. Meanwhile, the concept vehicle — which is about the size of the VW Golf — will be part of the company’s more focused EV efforts in the EU and China. Its crossover model made its debut in Shanghai in April.
While Tesla may see the VW model as a potential competitor, its marketing strategies are more centered on converting drivers of gas-powered cars to EVs. However, if VW follows through with its plan to offer 30 all-electric or hybrid models by 2025, it seems likely that it will remain a competitor for Tesla — and everyone else.
Faraday Future, the California startup that set out to dethrone Tesla in the electric-car business with ambitious plans to build a self-driving, 1,000-horsepower entertainment hub on wheels, is officially in trouble.
The company, at least for now, is abandoning one of its cornerstone projects, a 1-million-square-foot assembly plant in North Las Vegas, it announced on Monday. Business Insider has also learned that the company is significantly pulling back on its operations at its Los Angeles-area headquarters amid a deepening cash crunch.
“We are in a precarious situation right now,” a senior-level Faraday Future employee told Business Insider. “The generous funding we had in the past is no longer here.”
The developments represent a big change in Faraday’s public posture. Though reports of cash shortages and internal strife have circulated for months, the company had continued to insist that it was on track to build the Nevada plant — itself a scaled-down version of a planned 3-million-square-foot facility — and that its electric SUV was on track to hit the market by the end of 2018.
Though it still doesn’t have a production-ready car, Faraday has frequently sought to grab public attention with high-profile presentations and bold claims about the capability of its technology.
Monday’s news is an acknowledgment that things aren’t going as well as the company had hoped. It also suggests that efforts to raise new funding, to ease dependence on its Chinese billionaire backer, failed — at least for now.
“We at Faraday Future are significantly shifting our business strategy to position the company as the leader in user-ship personal mobility — a vehicle usage model that reimagines the way users access mobility,” Faraday Future said Monday in a statement.
“As a result of this shift in direction, we are in the process of identifying a manufacturing facility that presents a faster path to start-of-production and aligns with future strategic options.
“Accordingly, we have decided to put a hold on our factory at the APEX site in North Las Vegas. As the land owner, we remain committed to the buildout of the APEX site for long-term vehicle manufacturing and firmly believe North Las Vegas is an ideal place for us to be.”
Current Faraday employees told Business Insider the company would search for an existing facility in either California or Nevada rather than build its own factory at the North Las Vegas site, which they said would require $80 million to $100 million the company did not have.
Day-to-day operations at Faraday’s Gardena, California, headquarters will continue, but these people said some belt-tightening was required. No layoffs are planned in the near term, but a dearth of financial resources means the development of the company’s FF91 electric SUV is expected to slow down as well.
Who’s Paying for Faraday?
Faraday relies heavily on its owner, Jia Yueting, the founder of the Beijing-based tech giant LeEco, which is having cash-flow problems of its own.
Trading in Leshi was suspended in April for a restructuring review — one of several suspensions for the stock in the past 12 months.
Faraday’s recently hired chief financial officer, Stefan Krause, had set out to corral new investors for Faraday in recent weeks to stave off fallout from Jia’s cash crisis. Krause told Business Insider in a May interview that he had hoped to round up $1 billion in a series A round of funding. His worldwide blitz took him to the Middle East, London, Germany, China, and back to the US to speak with roughly 35 investors — mostly private individuals — to fund a two-year plan designed to get Faraday’s factory off the ground and move the FF91 closer to production.
Faraday employees with knowledge of the talks told Business Insider the endeavor was unsuccessful because of the uncertainty surrounding Jia and LeEco.
“The noise around him really makes it difficult to find investors right now,” one senior-level employee said of Jia. “There’s a lot of interest — the story sells very well — but his situation makes them all stand on the sidelines and they’re not really willing to provide the money.”
Expanding Too Quickly, Setting off Alarms
Jia, who goes by the nickname YT, has personally backed Faraday since the company was founded in 2014, but the blows the billionaire’s financial portfolio has taken in the past year have created problems throughout his sprawling empire.
LeEco sought to expand rapidly in the US last year, opening new offices in San Jose, California, with plans for a larger campus to be built on some 50 acres the company bought from Yahoo. LeEco also planned to buy the TV-maker Vizio for $2 billion. Separately, Faraday bought 900 acres of land in North Las Vegas for its inaugural factory and made deals with the San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo to secure property for a second facility.
All of those plans were canceled. LeEco sold off the Yahoo property less than a year after the purchase, laid off 70% of its US workforce, and dropped the $2 billion Vizio deal. Construction was halted at Faraday’s North Las Vegas site before any foundation was laid, and suppliers began suing Faraday over unpaid bills.
More than $2 billion in fresh investment from a Chinese real-estate business late last year did little to slow LeEco’s bleeding, and several high-profile executives left Faraday in a hurry. A handful of Faraday’s suppliers sued the company for millions, claiming they were not paid. And creditors occupied LeEco’s Beijing offices for a week in June, demanding payment.
Jia acknowledged last fall that LeEco expanded too quickly and required more cash than the company anticipated. Jia wrote a public plea for leniency on China’s biggest social-media site, Weibo, last week, promising to repay his debts while also saying he would throw all of his energy into his electric-car business.
“Please give LeEco some time, please give LeEco car some time,” Jia wrote. “We will pay back creditors, suppliers and any other debts.” Jia told stakeholders that his empire’s financial troubles were “more severe than we expected” and said the company “made some mistakes” in allocating its funds.
He promised to dive headfirst into the car business with Faraday Future, but critics have said the capital-intensive endeavor is what caused his troubles.
Faraday’s Fight to Survive
Krause said Faraday would search for an existing facility to build its FF91 self-driving cars once they were ready for production. For the Deutsche Bank and BMW veteran, the rationale is straightforward: An operational factory is the key to new investor cash.
“Some of them would like to see a factory and would like to see us moving a little bit further down the road,” Krause told Business Insider in a phone interview last week. “We will secure an existing facility that we can lease or buy at a low cost and then bring in our equipment and be faster to market with the FF91,” Krause said, adding that Faraday had already purchased some of the equipment for the factory that was planned for North Las Vegas.
But the startup still faces a dire outlook in the short term. The company is slowing down development of the FF91, which has been undergoing beta testing for months. Faraday has sought to keep some positive buzz going, participating last month in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, where it beat a Tesla Model S P90D in a 12-mile high-altitude race in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Still, publicity stunts have done little to deflect the real concern that Faraday’s days may be numbered. The company says that, while it no longer has access to generous funding through Jia, it is still able to cover payroll for its roughly 1,000 employees. Faraday executives declined to clarify what the company spent to maintain staffing and routine operations.
Exhibiting the same kind of dogged determination of its owner, Faraday Future insists it will push forward. Jia has other financial holdings in the US, including some real estate, which could be liquidated for cash. And the acreage Faraday owns in North Las Vegas could also be sold to replenish its reserves.
It is unclear how long Faraday can hobble into the future with its visions of immersive self-driving, electric transport, but, at least for now, the company remains intent to fight a while longer.
The company’s impact on the solar industry extends to the individual level as well. Weeks after the company’s solar roof tiles went on sale in May, news broke that they would be out of stock well into 2018 due to demand exceeding supply. This is with good reason — Tesla’s solar roofs are cheaper than traditional solar panels, more aesthetically pleasing, and come with an “infinity warranty.”
More than simply building a better solar panel, however, Tesla is changing what it means to have a solar-powered home thanks to their revolutionary battery technology. “One of the game-changing events is going to be when battery technology becomes widely available for homeowners,” Sistine Solar co-founder Senthil Balasubramanian tells Futurism. “Tesla is getting closer and closer to that.”
A Powerful Battery
Traditionally, homes with solar panels are still connected to the electrical grid. Any extra electricity generated when the Sun is shining is sold to the utility company to power neighboring homes, and when the solar energy system isn’t producing electricity (for example, at night or when the weather is inclement), the homeowner simply draws power from their utility company.
These wall-mountable home batteries integrate seamlessly with Tesla’s solar roofs, giving users the ability to bank any surplus electricity generated by their system and use that energy instead of relying on the utility company when the Sun isn’t shining.
Right now, one Powerwall 2 battery can store 14 kWh of energy, a little less than half of what the average person in the U.S. uses daily, according to Business Insider. As many as 10 batteries can be used on one system to increase the storage capacity, but even with a maxed-out system, a homeowner would still be at risk of being without power if they were hit with a week of inclement weather. Additionally, while a homeowner could save money in the long run with a Powerwall system, the upfront cost is steep — $5,500 per Powerwall 2, plus installation fees.
Tesla is determined to bring this cost down and make their battery technology more widely available. They recently teamed up with Panasonic to begin mass-producing battery cells at their Nevada Gigafactory, which should help to lower costs. Additionally, the research team developing Tesla’s next-generation of battery cells found a way to double their lifetime four years ahead of schedule. This means that a one-time Powerwall 2 purchase could lead to decades of energy storage.
A Brighter Future
The impact of affordable, long-lasting, high-capacity battery technology will dramatically influence the future of solar power, according to Balasubramanian, who predicts that Americans will appreciate the low-cost and freedom afforded by Tesla’s all-in-one home energy system.
“All of the projections that we are making [about solar adoption] are based on status quo, which is solar pumping electricity into the grid. The moment people can go off grid anywhere in the country, that massively changes the equation,” he asserts.
The impact of widespread solar energy adoption will extend far beyond saving people money on their energy bill. Already, the solar industry is a major job creator, adding 50,000 new positions to the U.S. economy in 2016 — a rate 17 times faster than the rest of the economy. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, if even 27 percent of the nation’s energy demand was met by solar by 2050, we could reduce water scarcity, prevent hundreds of billions of dollars of carbon-related damage to the environment, and dramatically lower healthcare costs.
As Balasubramanian notes, however, we won’t have to wait until 2050 to enjoy the benefits of a solar-powered future if Tesla has anything to say about it: “If three to five years from now, Tesla’s battery technology is widely available for every homeowner, everything could happen significantly sooner.”
Tesla just released a new video revealing how they plan to expand and improve their automotive services, giving car maintenance a special Tesla twist.
The company’s electric vehicles will feature over-the-air software updates and remote diagnostic features, which, according to the video, will be able to identify 90 percent of vehicle issues.
Tesla is also making it easier for customers to get help from humans by employing mobile technicians who will be able to take the shop to the car instead of vice versa. Additionally, if a car does need to be brought in for repairs or maintenance, drivers can make appointments through a feature in the vehicle itself.
Tesla is committing to streamlining the service center experience, promising that services will be four times faster than conventional repair shops.
Tesla’s decision to build 100 more optimized service centers is part of a wider strategy to create the infrastructure necessary to fully integrate electric, autonomous vehicles into our future. We may have a few more years before we reach that goal, but the wait for Tesla’s update service system won’t be that long. According to Elon Musk, the vision of Tesla service revealed in the video represents “the very near future, not, like, the far away future.”
Tesla has a bunch of lofty goals for the next few years — and all of them rely on its massive battery plant known as the Gigafactory.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always been forthcoming about the size of the Gigafactory. He has said it will be the world’s largest building by footprint — big enough to fit 100 Boeing 747 jets. But from the ground, it can be difficult to appreciate the sheer size of the facility, which stretches 5.5 million square feet.
Instagram user Eva Kaplan, however, was apparently able to capture the magnitude of the Gigafactory while on a flight traveling to Reno, Nevada.
From the photos, it’s easy to see why Musk has called the building an “alien dreadnought.”
Tesla did not immediately confirm the veracity of the images to Business Insider, but the building in Kaplann’s photos appears to be identical to prior images we’ve seen of the plant.
A Key Role
The Gigafactory will play a key role in helping Tesla meet its lofty goal of producing 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018, a five-fold production increase. The electric car maker is producing its lithium-ion batteries at the plant as part of a partnership with Panasonic.
The $6 billion plant doesn’t only supply the batteries for the Model S, Model X, and newly released Model 3 vehicles. It also supports Tesla’s growing energy division, which develops the company’s at-home battery, the Powerwall, and commercial battery, the Powerpack.
Tesla will aim to sell more Powerwall batteries now that it has entered the solar business with the launch of its solar roof product. The company acquired solar panel installer SolarCity in a deal worth $2.1 billion in November.
But Tesla is also making strides with its Powerpack projects — Tesla announced last Friday that it will build the world’s largest battery in Australia. The Powerpack system will store energy from a wind farm in South Australia to power up to 50,000 homes.
But Tesla is far from the only company making a big investment in battery production.
Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, broke ground on its second battery plant in Germany in May, which will begin production in 2018. Chinese companies are also set to bury Tesla when it comes to battery production in 2021, Bloomberg reported.
Two friends, Jordan Hart and Bradly D’Souza, have beaten the previous record for the fastest transcontinental run in an electric vehicle by more than three hours. Using a Tesla Model S, they traveled from Redondo Beach, California, to New York City in just 51 hours and 47 minutes. The previous record was 55 hours.
The duo achieved the feat through a combination of bullishness and optimal driving strategies, only stopping to eat once and selectively ignoring the vehicle’s recommendations. “I believe that our knowledge of the limitations and willingness to push the boundaries whenever possible is what made the largest difference,” D’Souza told The Verge.
A post shared by Jordan Hart (@record4freedom) on Jul 6, 2017 at 8:58am PDT
Despite some hardware obstacles, like their Tesla Model S 85D being less efficient than the Model S used by the previous record holders, the pair endured no environmental hardships. As Hart explained, “We hit essentially zero traffic jams, only [four] minutes of inclement weather, and arrived in NYC on a holiday to find the streets almost empty/devoid of traffic.”
This represents a victory for not only the two Tesla owners, who were doing the run to raise awareness of human trafficking, but also for Tesla specifically and the electric car market in general. It illustrates the capabilities of EV technology and will potentially speed up the acceptance of EVs into the mainstream.
Fastest transcontinental run isn’t the only EV record to be broken recently. Steven Peeters and Joeri Cools broke the hypermiling record for a Tesla, achieving a whopping 901.2 kilometers (~560 miles) on a single charge, and the Nio EP9 broke the record for fastest speed of an electric vehicle, getting to a dizzying 312 km/h (194 mph). The age of impressive electric vehicles is well and truly upon us.
Jaguar is releasing its Model X competitor in 2018 — and the vehicle is absolutely gorgeous.
The SUV will be Jaguar’s very first electric car. Jaguar is smart to start with an SUV at a time where US consumers are consistently opting for more space.
The move puts Jaguar in direct competition with Tesla’s Model X, which has also experienced strong demand. In fact, Tesla sold roughly the same number of Model X SUVs (11,550) as Model S sedans (13,450) in the first quarter.
Here’s what you need to know about Jaguar’s very first electric car:
Behold: Jaguar’s I-PACE, a five-seat SUV. Here it looks somewhat similar to Tesla’s Model X.
See what I mean?
The I-PACE is a preview of Jaguar’s electric, five-seat production car coming in 2018. That production car will be Jaguar’s first ever battery-powered vehicle. The brand new red I-PACE debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
The car features a “cab-forward design.” Jaguar was able to execute this design because the car doesn’t need an engine upfront. Jaguar said in a statement that taking a cab-forward design approach frees up room in the interior to make it more spacious.
The I-PACE’s design is why many will consider the vehicle a crossover SUV. It has a compact body and is fairly low to the ground for a traditional SUV, but it still seats five while offering plenty of cargo space.
The Jaguar I-PACE has the same suspension system as the F-PACE, which Business Insider’s Matt DeBord called “the most beautiful SUV on planet Earth” in 2015.Jaguar has admitted the design it chose is unique in that sense.
“The I-PACE Concept is, however, something altogether new: not a traditional sports car, saloon or SUV and absolutely not a traditional Jaguar,” the automaker wrote in a press statement.
The car comes with a 90 kWh battery pack that powers two, 200 hp electric motors sitting over each axle.
Jaguar claims the car has a range of 220 miles, allowing it to compete most closely with the Model X 75D that offers 237 miles of range and starts at $85,500.
There’s no word on how much the Jaguar electric SUV will cost yet, so it’s hard to really compare it to the competition just yet. But Joe Eberhardt, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover North America, said in a Business Insider interview it will be comparable to luxury offerings from brands like Porsche.
As Business Insider’s Benjamin Zhang pointed out, that means you’re looking at an asking price north of $50,000, which, again, not to beat a dead horse, really places it as a competitor with the luxury Model X in both offerings and price.
Jaguar said the car will offer 400 hp and 516 lb./ft. of torque, allowing it to accelerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds. That outpaces the Model X 75D and 90D, which can accelerate to 60 mph in 6 seconds and 4.8 seconds, respectively.
The I-PACE comes with a rear spoiler and a full-length panoramic sunroof.
Using a 50 kW DC rapid charger, it will charge the car in two hours.
The interior itself is striking. The seats are made of fine Windsor leather that matches the light color palette used inside.
The cockpit comes with two touchscreens on the center console.
The traditional driver’s instrument was also replaced with a virtual screen that can be controlled using buttons on the steering wheel. The buttons offer haptic feedback when in use.
Here’s another shot of the cockpit, which was finished with dark walnut veneers.
It’s easy to see the attention to detail, from the stitching on the seats…
… To the seamless integration of metal and wood…
… To Jaguar’s personal engraving etched with laser on the instrument panel’s wood surface.
From what we know about the car so far, it seems Jaguar’s car has the potential to be a real contender in the electric car space when it arrives in 2018.
After teasing that the Tesla Model 3 was headed to production last week, Elon Musk tweeted out a photo of SN1 on Saturday night. Earlier this month, Musk tweeted that the Model 3 was headed to production after passing the last round of regulatory requirements with flying colors. The Model 3 serial number 1 (SN1) was slated to roll off the production line on Friday, and based on Musk’s photos it looks like that goal was met. In terms of customer’s expectations, if the photos of the sleek new Tesla are any indication, they’ve likely not just been met, but exceeded.
The most anticipated Tesla model yet, the Model 3 will be the most affordable electric vehicle to date. By the end of the July, at least 30 Tesla customers will have theirs in hand: Musk indicated in earlier tweets that the first 30 preorders would be fulfilled at a party on the 28th of this month.
For the other 400,000-some people who preordered (and anyone else hoping to snag one for $35,000), Tesla’s aiming to produce 20,000 Model 3’s each month by December — a goal they’ll reach gradually, starting with 100 produced by August, then 1,500 by September. While it might seem like an ambitious timeline, it’s hardly the most ambitious a company of Musk’s has undertaken. And with the help of the legion of robots at the Tesla Gigafactory (where the Model 3 batteries are being manufactured), the Model 3’s rollout will no doubt continue right on — if not ahead of — schedule.
On July 3, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the Model 3 had successfully hurdled through the final regulatory requirements for production, two weeks ahead of schedule. He had hoped that would make it possible for SN1 to reach the finish line of production today (Friday).
Suen’s photos show some of Tesla’s “alien dreadnaught” Kuka robots installed on a second platform. Previously, Tesla purchased more than 400 of these robots for the Model 3 assembly line. Model 3 production has taken up work not just in Fremont, but also in Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 where the battery cells, packs, and drive units are being made.Image credit: Chris Suen/Instagram
Tesla aims to launch 20,000 Model 3 units per month by December, according to Musk. It’s a gradual build up, starting with 100 cars by August to about 1,500 by September. The ramped up pace of production is necessary to cope up with the huge number of pre-order’s Tesla’s received for the Model 3, set to be the company’s most affordable electric vehicle yet.
Tesla seems to be growing its roots down under. Earlier this month, the company landed a deal with Transgrid to supply New South Wales homes with energy via its Powerpacks, and now, Tesla has been selected after a competitive bidding process to build a Powerpack system to work in tandem with the Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown, South Australia.
Tesla will provide the entire energy storage system for the wind farm via a 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system. The Powerpack will be charged using the energy generated by the wind farm, which is owned by French renewable energy provider Neoen. It’s expected to make South Australia’s power grid more reliable by delivering energy during peak hours.
“Upon completion by December 2017, this system will be the largest lithium-ion battery storage project in the world and will provide enough power for more than 30,000 homes,” according to Tesla’s press release. That’s roughly the same number of homes affected by a state-wide blackout in South Australia back in September, which left 1.7 million people without electricity.
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is, of course, excited about the deal. In a tweet, Musk proudly announced that the Hornsdale Powerpack system would be the world’s highest power battery system.
This will be the highest power battery system in the world by a factor of 3. Australia rocks!! https://t.co/c1DD7xtC90
But Musk isn’t the only one excited about the project. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill expects that this “extraordinary collaboration” will stabilize the state’s energy system, as well as lower the price of electricity: “Battery storage is the future of our national energy market, and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space.”
He expects that the serial number 1 (SN1) for Tesla’s electric vehicle will be finished by the end of this week. Musk also said in a second tweet that the “handover party” for the first 30 Model 3 customers will take place on the 28th of this month.
Musk was clearly pleased to make the announcement, and he’d done the legwork ahead of potential questions, too. He also shared on Twitter just how many Model 3s are expected to be rolled out by the end of 2017. Continuing on in his Twitter thread, the Tesla CEO said that they expect 100 cars by August and over 1,500 by September. By December, Tesla hopes to be producing 20,000 Model 3s per month.
Looks like we can reach 20,000 Model 3 cars per month in Dec
If you’ve been waiting for more details about the Tesla Model 3 launch, you’ll want to stay tuned this Sunday, July 2. Late last night, Elon Musk responded to a Twitter user’s query about the exact release date of the latest Tesla model:
In the past, both Tesla as a company and Musk personally have stated that deliveries of the Model 3 will begin in July. Obviously, once the new models are in circulation, the final details will no longer be rumor, but verified fact. For instance, fans are waiting to see whether there will be a solar roof or windshield, and how much the car’s final look will resemble leaked photos of prototypes.
Only the most hardcore Tesla loyalists and employees will be driving Model 3s from the first production run, but the plan has been for production to scale up by September. Sunday may also be when we find out what the configuration process looks like — although Musk has already said it will be limited. In order to limit complexity and achieve an economy of scale, Model 3 buyers will probably choose their car’s color and the size of its wheels.
Nissan is trying to return its all-electric Leaf to its former state of glory.
The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car, but that’s largely been a product of it being a very early, affordable contender in the electric vehicle space. The Leaf, which can drive 107 miles on a single charge, has lately been eclipsed by incumbents like the Chevy Bolt, a $37,495 car with 238 miles of range.
As Tesla prepares to officially launch its mass-market Model 3 in July, Nissan’s Leaf is set to get more competition.
But Nissan is gearing up for a fair fight: the automaker will attempt to challenge Tesla’s Autopilot by installing its ProPILOT Assist in the 2018 Leaf, which is expected to drive 200 miles on a single charge.
ProPILOT allows vehicles to drive autonomously on highways by keeping the car in a single lane even when the road curves. The system will also automatically brake if it detects an obstacle in front of it.
ProPILOT, which is essentially adaptive cruise control, is not as sophisticated as Tesla Autopilot, which offers active cruise control, forward collision warning, autosteer, and automatic parallel parking.
By the end of the year, Autopilot will be able to handle even more complex tasks, like automatic lane changes and the ability to merge on and off highways.
But Nissan has big plans for its ProPILOT technology, saying it will support level 4 autonomous driving by 2020. That means the cars can handle any driving scenario without relying on a driver.
Nissan first installed its ProPILOT technology in its Serena minivans in Japan last August. As part of its ramp-up efforts, Nissan said last year that ProPILOT will allow cars to automatically change lanes by 2018.
A Nissan spokesperson declined to say whether the 2018 Leaf will come with the automatic lane change feature, but said the automaker is still committed to its 2020 timeline.
If not next year, Nissan will need to add features like automatic lane change soon if it wants to compete with Tesla.
New photos of the Tesla Model 3 — the most anticipated electric car of the decade, if not all time — have been leaked by You You Xue, who claimed on Reddit that Xue came across the new model randomly in San Matteo, and “jumped straight out of the car and started snapping photos!” The car is due to be launched sometime this year.
Tesla has been extremely secretive about the project, going as far as to camouflage and cover the vehicle in every road test it has conducted to date.
The photos show us the interior of Tesla’s upcoming vehicle, including its dashboard with a 43-cm (17-inch) display, the steering wheel, charging ports, and wheels.
At this point, 2017 looks to be the year of Elon Musk, who is pushing the boundaries of almost any industry he enters: from space rockets, to solar panels, to autonomous vehicles — the sky seems to be the limit for the modern technological prophet.
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 Reuterspicked 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 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.
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.”
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.
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 Recodethat 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
A 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In discussions with the government of India requesting temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built
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.
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.
That would an interesting target. Would, of course, only count if capable of doing so right off the production line with street legal tires.
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.
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.
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 EMotion: World’s most advanced EV. 400 mile + range, 9 min fast charging, autonomous & connected. Very proud of what we are creating! pic.twitter.com/7xWneZwMaT
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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 BBCpoints 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.
This move directly opposes previous statements made by Elon Musk regarding flying cars. In an interview with Bloombergearlier 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Image 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
Once fully incorporated, these longer-lasting batteries will no doubt be a huge incentive for anyone thinking about buying a Tesla product.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Tesla solar glass roof orders open this afternoon. I think it will be great. More in about 10 hours …
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 “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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 forumshow 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Got to sit in and poke around the ridiculously spacious and high-tech Lucid Air electric car. Really ??? pic.twitter.com/b9NrWNHL3U
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 autonomouselectric 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.
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.
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.