By on October 17, 2019

As the most-successful manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla is often at the forefront of new challenges relating to advanced automotive technologies. While the brunt of this has revolved around its software, mainly Autopilot, it’s also going to be among the first automakers to confront widespread battery recycling ⁠— something it’s already planning for at its Nevada Gigafactory.

Nothing last forever and, like every internal combustion vehicle, EVs have parts that go bad. Over the last six months, there’s been a growing number of reports of customers claiming their Teslas are bricking out like old phones. Displays are going dark, accessories are… inaccessible, and charging is often not an option. The culprit appears to be the embedded Multi-Media Controller (eMMC) embedded on MCUv1 units, which logs data using flash memory.

Apparently, Tesla is overworking these systems (at least on some models) to a point where they can’t take it anymore. It’s basically the same thing that would happen if you filled and wiped a USB drive hundreds of times everyday. One morning you’d plug it in and find that it’s no longer functional due to being burnt out from overuse.  (Read More…)

By on October 15, 2019

No one really expected electric pickup trucks to take off as a concept, save for the people developing them. While EVs still need to improve their maximum range to truly surpass combustion-reliant vehicles, modern examples perform much better than their predecessors. But battery size and vehicle weight remain important issues for the segment, making the idea of an electric work vehicle seem about as useful as an edible diaper.

Then the concepts started arriving, sucking far less than most of us expected. There were loads of new ideas, like interesting storage solutions and auxiliary power ports for tools — all stemming from electrification. What’s more is that the vehicle itself seems like it could benefit from the instant torque and lower center of gravity furnished by electric powertrains. Battery packs can also be made larger (improving range), as pickups have more areas to stash cells without intruding into the passenger compartment. Maybe this wasn’t a dumb idea after all.

Ford and General Motors have both confirmed the development of electric pickups, with the former currently running prototypes. Meanwhile, Rivian and Bollinger have already shown off their designs. EV darling Tesla had a truck it wanted to debut over the summer, but the model saw its release pushed back. Now, CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the vehicle will emerge next month.  (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2019

Tesla’s Model 3 became the best-selling car in the Netherlands last month, edging out the Volkswagen Polo. If you’re wondering how an electric automobile that goes for the domestic equivalent of $47,300 in Europe outsold VW’s $18,650 hatchback, take a look at the United States. Ford’s F-Series is always at the top of the charts here and, while it can be had for under $30,000, most have sticker prices nearly identical to the aforementioned Model 3.

Tesla also has the advantage of the Netherlands’ eagerness to adopt EVs, which has resulted in some heavy incentivizing. Honestly, if this author could bring himself to be surrounded by the Dutch on a daily basis, he’d be tempted by the parking perks alone.  (Read More…)

By on September 27, 2019

Tesla owners who purchased Full Self-Driving Capability or Enhanced Autopilot from the company will soon be able to enjoy new self-driving functions. Software Version 10.0 is officially out for the Model X, S, and 3 — adding new driver assistance features, navigation settings, multimedia libraries (music, movies, video games), security options, and a new karaoke mode.

Since the enhanced Autopilot features are the most notable by far, let’s begin there. Tesla’s new “Smart Summon” feature enables the vehicle to navigate through a parking lot sans driver, so long as the car is within sight. “It’s the perfect feature to use if you have an overflowing shopping cart, are dealing with a fussy child, or simply don’t want to walk to your car through the rain,” Tesla said in its Version 10 announcement.

However, the automaker noted that customers remain responsible for their vehicle’s actions and should be aware of the car and its surroundings at all times. If you didn’t purchase Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability, then there’s nothing to worry about. Smart Summon is only available if you’ve already bought into one of Tesla’s advanced driving suites. Version 10.0 does come with updates for everyone, though. (Read More…)

By on September 23, 2019

In the realm of electric vehicles, there’s always a major breakthrough in battery technology just over the horizon. Such an event would make the technology more viable, likely improving EV sales to a point of true competitiveness. But the reality is that battery advancements have been incremental, with no earth-shattering advancements to speak of. The chemistry continues to be improved and fine-tuned for automotive applications — gradually lowing charging times while improving overall capacity.

On a long enough timeline, this results in electric vehicles that easily embarrass their gasoline and diesel-dependent ancestors across the board. Unfortunately, we’re living in the present where EVs have shortcomings that frequently offset their greatest attributes.

One of the biggest hurdles is long-term battery life. While some modern-day EV battery packs can last roughly as long as the powertrain in any reputable internal-combustion car, they still degrade over time, becoming progressively less useful. New research has suggested the chemistry necessary for a million-mile, lithium-ion battery has been finalized.  (Read More…)

By on September 19, 2019

Tesla scored its first big win with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) this week after the group graced the 2019 Model 3 with its coveted Top Safety Pick+ award. “Vehicles with alternative powertrains have come into their own,” IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby said. “There’s no need to trade away safety for a lower carbon footprint when choosing a vehicle.”

The Audi e-Tron and hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo also qualified. But Tesla’s position as North America’s electric vehicle sales leader is held by a wide margin, making its crash-test results a tad more noteworthy.  (Read More…)

By on September 17, 2019

After Porsche’s Taycan secured its status as the fastest electric production vehicle ever to grace the Nürburgring, Tesla Motors was keen to steal the title. This evolving rivalry also resulted in Elon Musk tossing some light shade at the German manufacturer over its liberal use of the word “turbo.” What followed were some sedan-based lap records set by the American company at Laguna Seca, which was little more than a distraction from the main event while Tesla got its ducks in a row.

In Nürburg, Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S set the highly impressive time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds in August. The following month, Tesla starting running the Model S. This week, reports coming in from Germany claim the American manufacturer set an unofficial time of 7 minutes and 23 seconds. But there are issues with Tesla’s record-breaking run.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

Tesla has resurrected its plan to provide free, unlimited access to its supercharger stations for the automaker’s customers. While the company frequently rejiggers its product offerings, this one still came out of left field. CEO Elon Musk called the plan unsustainable when the company officially eliminated it in 2018.

However, with the manufacturer seeing increasing sales volume from the Model 3, its premium models are falling by the wayside. Tesla reported 95,200 deliveries in the second quarter, the vast majority being the Model 3. While the company managed to generate $6.3 billion in revenue in the second quarter from those transactions, weaker Q1 volumes took a bite out of its share price and it still lost money through both periods. But it lost a couple hundred million less in Q2 thanks to the uptick in sales.  (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2019

Careful not to skip any opportunity to build hype for his auto brand, Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that Tesla customers would soon be able to stream YouTube and Netflix videos from the comfort of their car’s interior. While it goes without saying, the CEO added that the feature would only be available while the vehicle is stopped until “full self-driving is approved by regulators” — as if that was the singular issue holding up autonomous vehicles.

The resulting comment thread led to a gaggle of other revelations. According to Musk, Tesla’s new pickup is slated to unveil in 2 to 3 months “maybe” and software version 10 is just around the corner.

Version 10 is claimed to come out as early as next month, incorporating games, new infotainment features (like text-message reading), improved Autopilot functionalities via FSD, better traffic light and stop sign recognition, and Tesla’s Smart Summon. However, Musk noted that some of these features will require the usage of the company’s paid premium connectivity package.  (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2019

When Elon Musk announced Tesla was developing a new Roadster, he promised us the moon. When released, the car is supposed to yield a 0-to-60 time of just 1.9 seconds and possess an all-electric range over 620 miles, thanks to its sizable, 200-kWh battery pack. As if that wasn’t ambitious enough, he spent last week outlining an optional SpaceX package that includes “cold-air thrusters” that might allow the vehicle to fly.

Then he said he was serious.

As you know, flying cars are bullshit. The closest we’ve come after decades of work are road-going airplanes. But Musk asserted over Twitter that some variants of the Roaster would fly or, at the very least, be able to hover. This has to be a joke, right?  (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2019

After posting a stinker of a first quarter, Tesla entered into a training montage and managed record-setting production output in Q2 — helping nudge its all-important share price back in the right direction.

Now, internal documents have shown the automaker is trying to position itself to further boost production at its California factory and might even bring some new staff on board. Question the legitimacy of this “leak” if you must, but that won’t change Tesla’s ultimate goal of more volume and happier investors in Q3.  (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2019

It’s Elon Musk’s birthday today, so we’ve decided to wish him well and say congratulations on Tesla Motors convincing the U.S. Commerce Department to waive the 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum so it can build more battery cells at the company’s Nevada Gigafactory. However, what would birthday well-wishing be without the all-important pinch to grow an inch?

Another Model 3 has been hacked, this time without the manufacturer’s blessing. We’re equating it to a mild goosing. Regulus Cyber, a company specializing in digital security, decided to give the Tesla (and a Model S) a shakedown by seeing if they could fool the car’s navigational equipment and upset/confuse Autopilot to the point of failure.

Let’s see how they did.  (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2019

During Tesla’s most-recent shareholders meeting, Elon Musk said the company’s pickup should be arriving this fall — adding that we would probably see it near the end of the summer if everything goes according to plan. Apparently disinterested in waiting another two months, robotics enthusiast and self-professed EV fan Simone Giertz decided to fabricate her own using a Tesla Model 3 as a starting point.

Giertz, who runs a YouTube channel focused on quirky building projects, claimed the home-brewed pickup’s relation to the sedan was one of necessity. She only chose the Model 3 because it possessed a steel chassis and was cheaper to risk ruining than a Model S would have been.  (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2019

General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have reportedly reached an agreement to purchase federal greenhouse gas credits from Tesla. While it’s common knowledge that the electric carmaker has raked in revenue by selling credits for years, disclosures with the State of Delaware help paint a clearer picture.

Apparently, GM filed to buy credits from Tesla earlier this year while FCA bought them on several occasions in 2016, 2018, and again earlier this year. Considering FCA’s American lineup, we’re not exactly quivering with disbelief. CEO Mike Manley could show up at a press conference, light a pool of gasoline on fire, and suggest it was Dodge’s new corporate model before we’d raise an eyebrow.

As unsurprising as FCA’s inability to adhere to present-day pollution mandates happens to be, there is a story here. The rising demand for greenhouse gas credits is changing the industry in some rather interesting ways.  (Read More…)

By on April 22, 2019

Elon Musk

Tesla celebrated “Autonomy Day” on Monday, broadcasting a web presentation to investors touting its self-driving strategy — part of CEO Elon Musk’s attempt to prove that the manufacturer’s longstanding commitment to the technology will bear fruit. While the mood was undercut by news of one of its vehicles spontaneously combusting in a Shanghai parking garage, the company stayed the course, focusing on autonomy instead of electrification.

Still, it wasn’t the fire that had investors seeking comfort. Tesla’s promise of fully self-driving vehicles is years old, with Musk initially pegging 2018 as the target date. That didn’t happen, with 2018 turning out to be the year the company faced elevated scrutiny over the effectiveness of its Autopilot system after a series of high-profile crashes.  (Read More…)

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