By on December 1, 2020

While electric automobiles have numerous advantages over internal combustion vehicles, we’ve often wondered when their disadvantages would be offset to a point that would make sense to have them become the dominant mode of transportation. While there are multiple issues that have to be addressed, one of the largest involves finding a way to source the kind of energy needed for the world to recharge them on a regular basis.

An EV-dominated society likely means elevated energy prices and peak demand hours that could easily overtax national energy grids. Renewable energy sources may also prove insufficient in providing the kind of power necessary — potentially requiring countries to double down on plants reliant on coal, oil, and natural gas if nuclear facilities are not approved. Counter-productive takes like that are often downplayed, however, so industrial giants can continue proclaiming the technology as largely trouble-free.

But what happens when EV royalty starts making similar claims about our collective energy needs?

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By on November 25, 2020

Tesla is issuing head-to-head recalls covering about 9,500 vehicles over a roof trim that may separate from the car and some bolts connecting the front upper control arm to the steering knuckle that might need to be tightened. While both issues can lead to some disastrous results, the unsecured roof is the larger problem by far and may affect more vehicles than the initial report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — which only references 9,136 examples of the 2016 Tesla Model X — suggests.

Earlier this month, the footage was shared over Reddit showing a Chinese Model Y with a roof that also had a hard time staying put when exposed to highway speeds. While the official explanation from the manufacturer was that an authorized third-party shop may have failed to install a replacement glass roof effectively. There’s an investigation pending, though it’s curious to see the smaller crossover’s top popping off in a manner nearly identical to those stated in the American recall.  (Read More…)

By on November 17, 2020

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it would be upgrading a probe into almost 159,000 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles relating to touchscreen/memory issues that could result in a failure to comply with federal standards.

U.S. regulatory mandates stipulate that modern vehicles be required to have rear-camera displays to aid drivers traveling in reverse. The expanded investigation has tripled in size and now encompasses 2012-2018 model year Tesla Model S and 2016-2018 Model X vehicles, which may be eligible for a recall if the NHTSA sees fit.

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By on November 2, 2020

Honda Motor Co. will be accompanying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in pooling its emissions with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla in an attempt to adhere to CO2 limits mandated by the European Union. For 2020, the average emissions of all vehicles sold within the region must not exceed 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Companies failing to comply will be forced to pay the government sizable fines as it readies even higher targets for next year.

Over half of automakers planning to move product inside Europe next year are already assumed to fail however, resulting in a series of rushed hybrid/EV products, the obliteration of the diesel-powered passenger vehicles, and companies desperate to team up with the manufacturers that came in under the regulatory limits.

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By on October 23, 2020

Tesla is recalling some 30,000 imported Model S and Model X vehicles in China over claimed defects in the suspension. According to China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, cars manufactured between September 2013 and January 2018 suffered from two distinct issues, with some vehicles having both.

But, almost as quickly as the story was brought to our attention, Tesla announced the accusations were baseless and the recall was being forced by the Chinese government. The group that’s being recalled accounts for most of the American-made EVs shipped to China by the brand. Since Tesla started manufacturing in Shanghai in 2020, U.S. exports have slowed to a trickle. The automaker seemed to hint that there may be political reasons behind the decision but stopped short of saying it wouldn’t comply with Chinese regulators.

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By on October 22, 2020

Tesla continued to prove itself as the electric automaker par excellence by posting its fifth profitable quarter in a row on Wednesday. The California-based (for now) automaker reported a net income of $331 million and a 39 percent improvement in revenue to $8.8 billion.

Of course, a huge amount of that money came via regulatory credits Tesla sold to its rivals. By nature of being an EV manufacturer, the company was able to sell $397 million in environmental absolution while helping its own bottom line. Though third-quarter deliveries were quite strong as automotive revenue jumped 42 percent to $7.6 billion.

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By on October 6, 2020

Tesla Inc. has reportedly disbanded its U.S. media relations team in the United States, fitting since the only journalists that seem to have any direct contact with the company suffer from a condition where they unquestionably praise its products and business model. While access journalism appears to be on the rise in all industries, the automotive realm was relatively free of the phenomenon until fairly recently. Now its getting to a point where just finding someone in the PR department to respond to you within 48 hours is a minor miracle  and it makes little difference whether you’re one of the big boys or a smaller outfit, like ours.

While Tesla used to be wildly proactive in reaching out to authors, sometimes just to complain about articles, it’s been enacting radio silence for quite some time. Other automakers will at least provide you with a boilerplate corporate response  assuming they haven’t issued one already. But it has been complete static from Tesla for what feels like years, leaving the firm little reason to continue paying people whose sole responsibility was to totally ignore the media.

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By on October 2, 2020

On Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker was planning to enter the Indian market in 2021. “Next year for sure,” Musk said in a Twitter response that included a photograph of a T-shirt indicating that “India Wants/Loves Tesla.”

The original poster is probably correct in that assumption, too. While Indian vehicle prices average around the U.S. equivalent of $7,400, many models can be had for far cheaper. Vehicle ownership is also extremely limited, with only around 25 in 1,000 people able to afford one. But Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the nation had a plan to ensure 15 percent of all new vehicle sales were electric by 2023.

That sounded insanely ambitious to our years when we first heard it in 2018, especially considering India’s original plan called for the same number by 2030 and seemed similarly unrealistic. Central planning rarely goes as mapped but it’s all the rage in most nations now that it can be tied to progressive looking environmental reforms.

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By on July 23, 2020

Tesla is accusing Rivian Automotive of poaching its employees and lifting trade secrets in a recent complaint filed in San Jose, CA. Founded in 2009 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology alum R.J. Scaringe, Rivian has made inroads with the automotive sector and established partnerships with entities like Amazon and Ford Motor Company (we think).

While its home base is presently TBD, as the company considers shifting more of its staff to the West Coast, its mission has remained consistent  manufacture all-electric SUVs and pickups so they can wash over North America.

Rivian is one of those “Tesla killers” you keep hearing about before they suddenly blip out of existence, but it has enough weight behind it to potentially offer real competition in the future it plays its cards right. Tesla is just worried that some of those cards might not belong to Rivian.

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By on July 15, 2020

If you happen to find yourself running a section of this country and would like an automaker to build a factory there, we’ve got a couple of tips to help improve your odds. It might be unfair to call them tips, however, as they’re common knowledge and realistically the only way to get a business to settle on your land. Step One involves promising as much money and as little regulation as possible. Step Two involves waiting for their response.

Hoping to beat out Oklahoma as the home of Tesla’s Cybertruck, Texas is attempting to dazzle the electric automaker with the tax breaks it knew the company wanted. All the automaker has to do is spend over a billion dollars to build its facility in Travis County.  (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

With the automotive industry seeing losses across the board, most investors could do nothing but watch in horror as sales reports showed the post-lockdown recovery had not yet begun. But there was a faction that ignored the carnage taking place around them and continued to pump money into their preferred auto brand until it became the most valuable automaker in the world.

While it’s a sin for you not to know, we are obviously discussing Tesla Motors — the infallible, gleaming beacon of modern-day motoring.

The firm officially surpassed mega-giant Toyota on Wednesday, with shares trading as high as $1,228 before tapering off in the evening with a market cap of around $220 billion.  (Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday it has launched an investigation into Tesla’s Model S. Frequent complaints have arisen of the vehicle’s media control unit going on the fritz and knocking out the vehicle’s touchscreen.

We’ve seen several outlets minimize the issue by suggesting gaps in Tesla’s Autopilot should be seen as more pressing. Apparently, many see potentially faulty touchscreens as small potatoes. But we can’t agree; not when they happen to operate the brunt of the car’s auxiliary functions, and we’ve heard reports of this very problem for years. If you need a refresher course, we covered the matter extensively in the fall of 2019. The gist is that the embedded Multi-Media Controller (eMMC) on MCUv1 units seem to be overworked. Constantly logging data is tough on the system, and this setup didn’t appear to be capable of handling the high load, resulting in flash-memory wear.  (Read More…)

By on June 1, 2020

A Tesla Model 3 became one with an overturned box truck in Taiwan on Monday, raising another red flag for advanced driver-assist features. Since we routinely crap upon driving aids — which never seem to work when and how you need them — we’ll keep this one under 650 words. Fortunately, our task has been made easier by preliminary reports lacking much information and a sizable language barrier.

The incident took place on Taiwan’s National Highway 1 near the Zhongshan High Chiayi Water Section, with the car allegedly operating in Autopilot mode. Video footage shows the Model 3 keeping to the leftmost lane with ample time to stop for the overturned delivery vehicle. There’s even a person standing in the road (likely the truck’s driver), flagging cars to warn them of the giant obstacle. The Tesla, however, failed to notice any of that until it was too late and ended up going through the trailer’s roof.  (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2020

Tesla shareholders are scheduled to vote in July on whether or not the brand should start advertising product like every other automaker on the planet. It’s something the board and CEO Elon Musk have long resisted, and not without good reason. As a car brand, Tesla probably enjoys more free publicity than anyone else.

Musk has effectively mastered social media. He knows what buttons to press to earn more attention, and his one-man campaign has helped the company get where it is today more than the slickest ad copy could have hoped to.

Tesla also managed to spin this into a strength against would-be critics. Anytime someone laughs at the brand for not spending on traditional marketing, its acolytes point to the Musk talking point that cash is better used for development — a claim that holds some real weight, thanks to the brand having some of the most desirable electric vehicles on the market. But Tesla’s mystique won’t last forever, and it won’t be able to count on Elon Musk’s upper echelon Twitter game indefinitely.   (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2020

On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his company’s full self-driving (FSD) suite stands to become more expensive starting in July. Intended to serve as the prerequisite hardware for truly autonomous functionality once the software is ready, it’s proven a pricey way to get into brand’s more advance driver assistance features. Of course, the company sells it as a way to buy into complete vehicular autonomy — something that has yet to be realized anywhere in the industry — and has so far failed to deliver on that front.

Luckily for Tesla, the company remains on the bleeding edge of available automotive technologies while continuing to improve the basic fit and finish of its products. As no one else is delivering self-driving vehicles, the Californian EV manufacturer can get away with making certain claims about FSD — like how it’s inching closer to figuring out how to navigate a car through an urban environment.

Musk actually signaled that new features would be coming to the suite earlier this year, noting incoming price increases through 2020. Starting July 1st, FSD becomes an $8,000 option (tacking on a grand to the current price) and may eventually become a subscription model.  (Read More…)

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