By on March 8, 2016


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!

Iowa Tesla Model S

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.

Lada Coupe

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.

2016 Ford Mustang GT convertible

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.

Front Pedestrian Braking, a new active safety technology available on the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu and 2016 Cadillac CT6, is one of many safety features tested at General Motors' new Active Safety Test Area at the Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. Image: Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

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]

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54 Comments on “TTAC News Round-up: Tesla Range Rumors Fly, Lada Needs a Miracle, and Nissan Dreams Big...”

  • avatar

    John McCrea would be proud

    • 0 avatar

      Thumbs up to you.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford resurgence in Australia? Not very likely as they rely on a lot of imported sedans. Yes the Falcon has seen a resurgence, as a result of the 425hp six cylinder Barra, the chassis is strong, but dated. They also have and even more powerful V8.
      Ford Everest too expensive for what it is

  • avatar

    “Those same vehicles could then be driven into your workplace to power the office itself”

    Yeah but, why would I want to use my car (and wear out the battery) to give my workplace free energy? Unless they’re gonna pay for my car or give me a daily stipend, that’s a no go.

  • avatar

    I wonder how much Ford AUS growth is attributed to the soon-dead future of Holden/GM there.

    • 0 avatar

      Holden is going away? I thought it was just the Commodore.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford is ending local production too, and replacing the Falcon with a Mondeo/Fusion.

      • 0 avatar

        Mondeo, is selling like week old fish left in the sun.” the familiar Focus and Fiesta nameplates posted steep sales declines.”
        Ford’s best seller is now the Ranger, then a huge gap to the Falcon. Sprint version is a very desirable vehicle but too little too late for Ford.
        Other vehicles are marking time at the moment. New Everest SUV is over priced compared to similarly specced Toyota PRADO

      • 0 avatar

        Ah didn’t know that part.

        • 0 avatar

          Ending Falcon production will be disasterous for Ford Australia. They have had 11 years of declining sales a little up tick with some new models, but Falcon ending in 2016, will virtually kill the Company.(these days run from Detroit) Only time I have seen Ford advertisements on TV on a regular basis, not moving much metal though. It will become the ” Ford Ranger Company”

    • 0 avatar

      All local production will be affected by the collapse of the supply chain, that sustained Toyota, Holden and Ford

  • avatar

    Can’t wait to see how fatalities of pedestrians rise once all phones come equipped with VR capabilities.

  • avatar

    Lada’s lineup isn’t particularly endearing. The rebadged Datsun and a few homegrown models still enjoy the worst of reputations. The Niva is cool, still winning comparisons, but also hopelessly ancient.

    I’m not seeing a bright future in licensed copies. Lada’s concepts are hideous. A turnaround should happen with all the staff onboard, but that’s possibly the biggest challenge of all…

    • 0 avatar

      Apparently they had a lada redundancy.

    • 0 avatar

      Niva gonna happen. Lada things going wrong.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a classic example of a state-owned zombie corporation. The Russian government wont allow it to restructure in any meaningful way. Job cuts, or switching from Russian suppliers would just increase unemployment in a time when Russia is in a deep recession.

      Its not like their products are competitive in the developing world either. There are plenty of Chinese and used Japanese cars that can do better.

      Most likely Lada will continue to lose money and then be bailed out by the Russian government.

    • 0 avatar

      As far as licensed copies go, X-RAY looks fairly good, the question is if they can assemble it so it does not fall apart on a test drive. Lada VESTA appears to be basically world class… The problem is, it’s really not a Lada. It is built in Izhevsk, not at the main AutoVAZ plant in Togliatti.

  • avatar

    …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…

    In Puget Sound the stupidity of pedestrians is stunning. We have a serious issue with pedestrians wearing Little Johnny Invisible Pedestrian outfits. I get that a black hoodie makes a fashion statement and we are raining 200+ days a year, but on a rainy night, even on a lit street, the glare makes the pedestrian invisible. Never mind the number of people that just step out in front of moving cars, and ignore the don’t walk lights when they are flashing (once flashing you’re not supposed to start crossing the street). Never mind flashing you’ll see people all the time start to cross when the countdown is down to 2 or 1, and then run for their life when the light turns green. You know, waiting another 120 seconds for the cycle is just too much.

    In the ‘burbs we have a number of rail-to-trail projects that cross roads I drive on. They are excellent cross walks in the area with push button lights for caution, and high powered LED lights illuminating the walk ways. There are clear stop signs on the pedestrian/cyclist track. They’re suppose to stop, push the button, walk across. The lights start flashing within just a few seconds of the button push – my wife and walk the trail all the time. We are stunned as drivers how many people just ignore the crossing warning. They don’t stop, they don’t push the button, they just run across – cyclists are the WORST.

    This isn’t a defense against distracted drivers and those who turning right never bother to full stop, or those that roll their cars up into crosswalks. Plenty of @$$ hattery to go around, but the lack of common sense by pedestrians is mind blowing.

    • 0 avatar

      People cycle through Cambridge at night with no lights, or barely visible lights, in dark clothes… And people constantly cross the street against the light (and Mass law dictates the driver has to stop).

      • 0 avatar

        The bicyclists in Cambridge are frigging insane.

        I have the feeling I’ll eventually hit one at night. The more I drive, the closer the probability approaches 1.

    • 0 avatar

      Downtown Seattle is very bad with those people dressed in all black just walking across the street w/o stopping or looking. Or they’ll walk through at the middle of the block out between cars stopped going the other direction. Yes they have the right of way but I’d rather be wrong and alive than right and dead.

  • avatar

    Cannot get around it, Tesla still has a major range problem

  • avatar

    I was unaware the Lada brand ever had any shine to begin with!

  • avatar

    >>> Nearly three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur after dark, and a third of those killed had been drinking alcohol <<<

    The Freakonomics book (or the Superfreakonomics sequel) had a chapter on drunk pedestrians, stating that, statistically, it's safer for drunk people to drive than to walk! At least as far as the drunk person is concerned–probably not so good for everyone else.

  • avatar

    Nice Cake reference.

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