Is Tesla planning a Model S update that squeaks past 300 miles of range?
That, a savior is needed at Lada’s parent company, Nissan wants your future car to be everything, Ford goes all in down under, and pedestrians and cars are meeting frequently … after the break!
Is Tesla going the distance? Is it going for speed? Are EV drivers all alone in a time of need?
An exercise in decoding from a Tesla Model S hacker suggests Tesla’s Model S could be getting a battery capacity boost and a new model name addition.
Jason Hughes, who has been hacking the operating system of a junkyard Model S, sent a very nerdy and technical tweet to Tesla owner Elon Musk on March 4, claiming to know his “secret,” reports Electrek (via Green Car Reports):
While the tweet may look like gibberish to some, coders will recognize how to decode what appears to be a hashed hexadecimal string. (Full disclosure: We’re taking Hughes’ word for it.)
The answer is that the string translates to “P100D,” presumably indicating a future 100-kWh battery pack for the Model S.
If the new battery is something Tesla is indeed planning, official word might come at the March 31 event where Musk plans to reveal the lower-priced Model 3.
Given the range of the Model S 90D, a 100-kWh battery could propel a Tesla past the 300 mile mark, and could potentially offer performance topping the P90D in a dual-motor offering.
New winds blowing in Russia
Russia needs someone to save its largest automaker and bring the shine back to its Lada brand.
Former General Motors purchasing chief Bo Andersson has stepped down (or been forced out) at AvtoVAZ after becoming the money-losing automaker’s first Western CEO in 2013, according to Automotive News:
But AvtoVAZ’s record loss last year and opposition within Russia to Andersson’s job cuts and his cull of inefficient suppliers meant that pressure for the former Swedish army officer to step down became too much to withstand for Carlos Ghosn, chairman of AvtoVAZ and CEO of its majority owner Renault-Nissan. Andersson will step down and his successor will be announced on March 15.
Before joining AvtoVAZ, Andersson, 60, had turned around the money losing Russian bus and truck maker GAZ by laying off half the workforce, killing unprofitable vehicle lines and winning contract manufacturing contracts from General Motors and Volkswagen.
Andersson’s first year on the job involved cutting 17,000 staff, a measure that earned him a bodyguard for personal protection and likely a number of caustic Russian nicknames. His successor, who will have their work cut out for them, will be named on March 15.
Leafs! Leafs everywhere!
A limitless utopia awaits all of us, but only Nissan can make it happen.
That’s the gist of a new video released by Nissan, in which a massive fleet of electric cars serve as autonomous rolling batteries,
paving greening the way for a better future, reports Business Insider:
At night, the cars would locate a connected parking space that is capable of charging the car’s battery wirelessly. When its battery is fully recharged, it would find an alternate parking space so that another vehicle could use that charging bay.
Then, in the morning, the car could basically be plugged into your house so that it and the grid could draw energy straight from your car.
Those same vehicles could then be driven into your workplace to power the office itself, Nissan suggests. Yes, you’ll still have to work in Utopia.
Turnaround down under for Ford?
Much like the Aboriginal rite of passage, Ford Australia has spent its time wandering in the wilderness and might be on its way home.
After posting declining sales for over a decade, the builder of the Falcon and Ute has seen sales rise 17.2 percent in 2016 and could be on the brink of a brand resurgence, Car Advice reports:
Vitally, the turnaround is happening thanks not just to incremental volume gains from brand new model lines, the Everest SUV and sold-out-for-2016 Mustang sports car, but good growth from various existing brand staples such as the Mondeo, Kuga and Ranger.
Ford Australia delivered 12,160 vehicles in January-February, up from 10,379 over the same period in 2015. This upward growth puts Ford on track to arrest an 11-year annual sales decline in Australia.
While a host of models not available to North American consumers are leading the sales charge, the familiar Focus and Fiesta nameplates posted steep sales declines.
Mean streets getting meaner
Pedestrians are being mowed down like bowling pins on league night, but the cause of the spike in U.S. human-vehicle collisions is murky.
Pedestrian deaths rose 10 percent in 2015, and could be partially attributed to lower gas prices and increased cell phone use, according to an Associated Press report:
Total traffic deaths, which had been trending downward for the past decade, were also up an estimated 8 percent last year. But pedestrian fatalities have been rising since 2005, and now account for 15 percent of total traffic deaths. The last time pedestrian deaths accounted for that large a share of traffic deaths was 25 years ago.
Nearly three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur after dark, and a third of those killed had been drinking alcohol, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. By comparison, about 15 percent of motorists involved in those crashes had a blood alcohol content at the legal limit or higher.
More cars on road (thanks to low gas prices), coupled with increased cell phone use among pedestrians and drivers, can be attributed for much of the rise in deaths.
However, the design of larger vehicles, such as transit buses, could play a role in some of these fatalities. The Amalgamated Transit Union said one death occurs every 10 days due to human-bus collisions, and many can be traced to the vision-blocking design of bus front pillars.
[Image: Mustang, Ford Motor Company; Pedestrian, Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors]