Category: Tesla

By on October 14, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla employees jockeying for scarce parking spaces outside the company’s Fremont, California assembly plant and Palo Alto headquarters could soon find it easier to locate a spot.

The electric automaker reportedly laid off hundreds of workers this week — a move that comes at an particularly stressful time for the company and its employees. At just 260 units, third-quarter production of the long-awaited Model 3 sedan fell far short of predictions, with CEO Elon Musk blaming production bottlenecks for the slow trickle of highly sought-after vehicles.

Meanwhile, the exact nature of the fired employees is the subject of some debate. Read More >

By on October 13, 2017

Tesla Model X

Tesla is issuing a voluntary recall of the Model X before the government can whip out its red pen. The company claims a small percentage of SUVs suffer from a manufacturing defect that could prevent the rear seats from locking into place securely.

The risk comes in the event of a crash, when the center row — and those occupying it — could become projectiles aimed squarely at the back of the driver’s seat. Read More >

By on October 11, 2017

tesla-model-3

Last week I showed you how some electric car “journalists” were reaping massive rewards for recommending Tesla over other electric cars. I also showed you how poorly they reacted to being found out. My coverage of Electrek’s Fred Lambert ended up being linked, referenced, or just flat-out copied in outlets as diverse as the WSJ and Zero Hedge.

As I had feared, however, most of the aforementioned media sources used my articles as stones on which to grind their ax, not mine. My concern was with the ever-more-permeable wall between automotive journalism and outright PR/promotion; theirs was with Tesla as an automaker and/or business entity. For me, this was a story about double dipping, but for them it was yet another example of reality distortion on the part of Elon Musk and his secretive cabal.

There are plenty of Tesla skeptics out there, including this site’s august founder, who once referred to Model S early ordering as a “Ponzi scheme,” and two former Editors-In-Chief of TTAC. I’m not one of them. Sure, I’m happy to admit that the company has a long history of playing fast and loose with the facts, and I’ll also freely stipulate the idea that Tesla as a whole is so entirely dependent on government subsidies as to be completely unviable without the steady drip of corporate welfare. What I want to suggest to you is that none of that matters, as conclusively proven by a series of trips I recently took to Western Europe and Northern California.

Read More >

By on October 7, 2017

tesla model 3

It’s been of week of bad PR and reports that should have Tesla investors tugging their collars and thinking twice, though in Teslaland these well-publicised issues only propel the automaker’s stock even higher.

The company’s electric big rig (aka the Tesla Semi), rumored to have a range of 200 to 300 miles, won’t see the light of day until November 16th, CEO Elon Musk claims. That’s two months after the initial reveal date, which was subsequently pushed back until late October.

The larger problem facing the company is the slow ramp-up of Model 3 production, which kicked off in July, but only resulted in only 220 deliveries by the end of September. The company forecasted 1,500 Model 3s in the month of September, with an expected production rate of 5,000 vehicles per week by the end of the year. Blame the slow trickle of cars on a “manufacturing bottleneck issue,” the company said in a statement.

As Musk attempts to soothe fears, a new report claims the automaker was hand-building parts away from the assembly line even as the high-tech facility was supposed to be cranking out Model 3s at a steady clip. Tesla is not happy about this report. Read More >

By on October 4, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Yesterday, we mentioned how Tesla was behind schedule with its everyman Model 3 — delivering only 220 units to the half-million reservation holders since the start of production in late July. While we knew it would get off to a slow start, CEO Elon Musk previously assured the public that production would increase exponentially through the end of the year by way of a “production hell” trial by fire.

Musk claimed there should be “zero concern” about Tesla achieving a production rate of 10,000 cars a week before the end of next year. But many wondered if that was even possible. Despite Tesla making serious strides to increase production volume this year, we remained dubious that the proposed numbers were even feasible for a fledgeling automaker.

As it turns out, they weren’t — and the company knew it.  Read More >

By on October 4, 2017

2011-audi-r8-42-spyder-shifter-photo-416617-s-1280x782Yesterday, Steph Willems penned a little Question of the Day about the manual transmission. In it, he asked what would have to occur to get you, the buying public, back into the manual transmission in a large-scale way.

As of this writing, it’s blowing up the comment counts as everyone lists the particulars of how they hem and haw over the manual transmission. Shifting a vehicle yourself is romanticized and desirable; a bygone art to be treasured and maintained for future generations of drivers.

Except when it isn’t. What would force you from a manual transmission vehicle for the rest of your days?

Read More >

By on October 3, 2017

tesla-model-3-1-610x407

While the venerable Tesla Model S and X reached more customers than ever before in the last quarter, the hotly anticipated and far cheaper Model 3 stumbled out of the gate.

In a quarterly statement released yesterday, Tesla says just 260 Model 3s made it off the Fremont, California assembly line between the launch of production in late July and the end of September. Of that number, 220 made it to customer driveways. That’s not encouraging news for investors, nor for the model’s roughly half-million reservation holders, some of whom were told at launch not to expect their vehicle until the end of next year. Read More >

By on September 27, 2017

eq concept mercedes-benz

Daimler has fired back after Telsa CEO Elon Musk returned to Twitter to speak his mind on the company’s decision to drop $1 billion into its Alabama plant. The investment is intended to aid production of a forthcoming electric SUV but, earlier this week, Musk said that wasn’t “a lot of money for a giant like Daimler/Mercedes. Wish they’d do more. Off by a zero.”

The following day, the Daimler responded over social media, suggesting Musk was “absolutely right” and pointed out that it’s actually investing over $10 billion, with only the first billion going into the assembly plant.

Whether you’re interested in electric vehicles or not, you have to admit these inter-automotive squabbles make the entire happening a lot more interesting. While cars themselves can be exciting, the corporate environment that facilitates their production is usually much less so. There’s also a chance that this type of good-natured clashing might result in a more competitive spirit — something we definitely would not mind seeing more of.  Read More >

By on September 19, 2017

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Before joining the gang at TTAC, I was freelancing, and a lot of my work centered around electric vehicles. Which means I was reading and writing a lot about Tesla, especially during that time a few months ago when the small California-based automaker somehow became the most valuable automaker in the world, at least from Wall Street’s perspective, based solely on its potential.

Some of my work took me into the depths of the pro-Tesla blogosphere. While these sites can serve as valuable sources for news about the company, they also have an unabashed pro-Tesla stance. Objective, they (mostly) ain’t.

And that’s okay – while many, if not most, media outlets default towards being as objective as possible, there’s no rule stating that your blog or outlet has to be objective. It’s okay for HuffPo to be leftist and National Review to lean right. And so it is with outlets that cover Tesla – no one expects Teslarati to be critical of the brand.

It’s one thing to have pro-Tesla blogs, of course, but another to be unable to even talk about the brand without dividing into two tribes – the fanboys who think Tesla is the best company ever and can do no wrong (as it disrupts the industry and solves every one of the world’s problems), and the “haters” who think that Tesla is doomed to fail any day now and it’s a minor miracle the company has lasted this long.

Read More >

By on September 12, 2017

Tesla AutoPilot cruise control

According to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, the “operational limitations” of Tesla’s Autopilot system played “major role” in a highly publicized crash in May of 2016 that resulted in the death of a Model S driver.

On Tuesday, the NTSB cited the incident as a perfect storm of driver error and Tesla’s Autopilot design, which led to an over-reliance on the system’s semi-autonomous features. After a meeting lasting nearly three hours, the agency’s board determined probable cause of the accident was a combination of a semi truck driver failing to yield the right-of-way, the Tesla driver’s unwillingness to retake the wheel, and Tesla’s own system — which may have set the framework for the accident.  Read More >

By on September 11, 2017

tesla model 3

Until now, Tesla’s growing network of Supercharger stations was generally aimed at the long-distance crowd. If a (very) premium-priced sedan can’t make the five-hour trip to your sister’s house for Thanksgiving, well, second thoughts might crop up about that purchase.

To accomplish the goal of Tesla proliferation, much of the automaker’s fast-charge network sprouted up in locales convenient for travellers. Places like Holiday Inn Express parking lots, restaurants, visitor centers, and Macadoodles Fine Wine & Spirits in Springfield, Missouri. In the Midwest, hungry travellers can hop off the Interstate and charge up at Meijer while shopping for juice boxes and potato wedges.

However, logic (and infrastructure) states that the majority of Tesla buyers, current and future, live in large cities and don’t leave town all that often. They’re also more likely live in condos with garages free of any plug-in points. Tesla’s latest round of Supercharger construction takes this into account, dropping the fast-charge stations directly where those urbanites inevitably show up once a week. Read More >

By on September 8, 2017

Image: North America Map, Drive Electric Week Events

Since 2011, National Drive Electric Week has taken place in venues across the United States, some Canadian locations, and at select international venues. This year, it runs from Saturday, September 9th through Sunday, September 17th.

There are 262 event locations for 2017, so there’s probably an event not far away, assuming you’re electrically inclined.

Read More >

By on September 1, 2017

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

The National Labor Relations Board has filed an official complaint against Tesla Motors, saying the company violated workers’ rights by suppressing their efforts to unionize.

While automakers hoping to keep employees from joining a union is nothing new, the NLRB’s issue focuses around an obligatory confidentiality agreement that may have prohibited them from openly discussing their working conditions and safety concerns at the company’s facility in Fremont, California. The agency also investigated allegations from the workers that Tesla intimidated and harassed them, which would be a violation of workers’ rights under federal labor law.

Meanwhile, Tesla has decided not to take any of this sitting down. The electric automaker has issued a scathing response to the complaint by giving the United Auto Workers a piece of its mind.
Read More >

By on August 30, 2017

Tesla Model X

August saw Tesla Motors slashing prices on practically everything that wasn’t the Model 3. The automaker has a history of endless shifting trims and pricing, and the most recent round of changes focused entirely on top-spec versions of the Model S and Model X. Earlier this month, base-model MSRPs received a haircut.

Assumedly, the automaker wants to move its existing inventory while production of the Model 3 progresses towards the coveted 500,000-units-per-year mark. Yet that ambitious goal is still miles away.

Tesla has been hesitant when it comes to providing sales figures and, while it has begun releasing delivery numbers on a quarterly basis, making monthly estimations is extremely difficult. The automaker said it hit its target of 47,000 units for the first half of 2017 but also referenced a “severe production shortfall” that hindered sales during the second quarter. It plans to make up the difference through the rest of the year and the pricing shift is likely to play a factor.

How much are you saving, exactly, if you buy a Tesla now? Read More >

By on August 25, 2017

tesla-semi-teaser

Tesla Motors will be dabbling in the commercial freight industry when it unveils its electric semi-trailer next month. But, with news of it only possessing a 200- to 300-mile range between charges, dabbling may be a best-case-scenario. Diesel-powered rigs traditionally run in excess of 1,300 miles between stops, even though they also go through hundreds of gallons of fuel in the process. And it’s all that burned fuel that makes the concept of an electric tractor-trailer so appetizing to the trucking industry.

However, the EV prototype “long-hauler” won’t be fit for cross-country trips due to its limited range — meaning the inevitable Smokey and the Bandit remake probably isn’t going to have the Bandit or Snowman driving Teslas.  Read More >

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