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…)

By on April 1, 2019

As cars grow more dependent upon computer-controlled driving aids and automakers implement permanent internet connectivity, we’ve grown increasingly concerned with how automakers handle their customer’s data.

It sounds conspiratorial, but there’s a series of events to hang the tinfoil hat on. In 2017, General Motors announced it had successfully monitored the listening habits of 90,000 motorists in a study aimed at improving marketing insights. It also rejiggered OnStar and introduced the Marketplace app for seamless in-car purchasing options. Our take was that it was as impressive as it was ominous — and GM is only leading the charge into a what analysts believe will eventually become a multi-billion dollar industry.

Naturally, this led to privacy concerns over how automakers will protect customer data on future models. But we might want to start worrying about the cars we have now. A couple of white-hat hackers (those are the good ones) recently probed the internal computer networks of wrecked and salvaged Teslas and found a mother lode of personal information waiting inside. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

tesla model 3

Computer experts successfully broke a Tesla Model 3 at the “Pwn2Own” hacking event held recently in Vancouver. However, Tesla Motors isn’t biting its nails over someone finding vulnerabilities in its system, as it was privy to the plan. The automaker has operated a “bug bounty program” for the past 4 years, rewarding anyone who can pull it off — going so far as saying it wouldn’t void a vehicle’s warranty if a customer successfully hacked it in “good faith.” It even offered a maximum reward of $15,000 (USD) last year.

Meanwhile, the group that managed to break the Model 3 in Canada this month received more than a sack of cash from the automaker.  (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2019

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked the world to “please note” that prices on all Tesla inventory would rise by about 3 percent on April 1st. While it sounds like the setup to a particularly bland April Fool’s prank, Musk followed up by saying, “To be clear, this doesn’t affect Tesla website order prices. Existing inventory prices are currently slightly lower than on website. This will bring them in line,” which is only slightly funny.

The automaker is also scrapping its extended service plans, intended to provide annual maintenance on its vehicles. Considering how often Tesla adjusts pricing, this is the bigger story. But let’s give the money matters a little attention before making our deep dive into the company’s bold reliability claims (which is Tesla’s stated reason for the yearly maintenance program’s kiboshing).  (Read More…)

By on March 13, 2019

A recent report from Bloomberg frames Tesla CEO Elon Musk as quite the jerk in relation to his actions toward a former employee. This worker is the whistleblower who, last year, shared internal documents that suggested the company’s Nevada Gigafactory was blowing through raw materials at an alarming rate. Martin Tripp offered up information showing Tesla wasted $150 million in materials and accused the automaker of pursuing unsafe production procedures during its push to increase Model 3 volume.

Tripp, who tried briefly to maintain his anonymity, said he was concerned that Tesla was shipping cars that were potentially dangerous to consumers. However, Tesla quickly responded by suggesting the claims against it were ridiculous and the amount of waste cited in the report was an overstatement.

“As is expected with any new manufacturing process, we had high scrap rates earlier in the Model 3 ramp. This is something we planned for and is a normal part of a production ramp,” Tesla told Business Insider in 2018.

Following an intense Twitter rant from Elon Musk, the story died down. But the corporate task force charged with finding out who leaked the information would eventually lead to even more ridiculous claims.    (Read More…)

By on March 5, 2019

On Thursday, Tesla announced it will finally begin delivering the Model 3’s long-awaited base trim to the public through direct online sales. By eliminating storefronts, the automaker believes it can reduce costs — helping to get that pesky profit situation under control.

Unfortunately, reports have emerged that claim those employees had no idea their jobs were on the line. Meanwhile, the company’s share price took a hit in the wake of the announcement, causing its stock to drop significantly. Since last Thursday, more than $8 billion disappeared from Tesla’s market capitalization.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2019

tesla model 3

The $35,000 Model 3 is here. Fittingly, perhaps, it’s three years late.

Tesla has promised a $35,000 version of the Model 3 since announcing the car in 2016, but the company focused on more-expensive variants at first to help get the model off the ground without tanking the company in the process. It needed the large profit margins from the higher-priced Model 3 to help the company turn a profit for back-to-back quarters for the first time.

Now you’ll be able to buy multiple versions of a Standard Range trim. The base version of which will be available for $35,000 and have a 130-mph top speed and a range of 220 miles. Zero to sixty should take 5.6 seconds.  (Read More…)

By on January 28, 2019

Ever since Ford discontinued the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, it’s become much harder to watch out for cops. Initially, you just had to keep tabs on any Dodge Charger in dark paint, but that quickly evolved into drivers becoming suspicious of every monochrome Explorer, Taurus, Durango, Tahoe, or Fusion Hybrid on the road as law enforcement began adopting the models for official use.

A police department in Fremont, California has added a Tesla that list, garnering tons of media attention in the process. However, after looking into the story, it seems Fremont is only testing a single, second-hand Tesla Model S 85D it purchased a year ago to see if the model is fit for service. Considering this is the same city where Tesla manufactures the vehicle, one would think the Fremont Police could have worked out some kind of deal with the factory. However, what interests us — and probably the department — most is figuring whether or not the 2014 Model S can actually hack it beneath the thin blue line.  (Read More…)

By on December 17, 2018

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

Tesla’s Dallas-based leasing partner, MUSA Auto Finance, finds itself in a tough spot. Apparently, the business is having trouble keeping up with all the business the automaker is doing. Founded in 2016, MUSA joined up with Tesla in June of this year. However, it has reportedly been unable to finance new leases since October.

According to Automotive News, Tesla caused MUSA’s leasing volume to increase by a factor of six between August to September. As of December, MUSA dealer clients said lease approvals have yet to resume — leaving some dealer partners up a creek without a paddle and some customers without their car.  (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2018

Employees at Tesla’s solar-panel factory in Buffalo, New York, are launching a drive to unionize with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers. The campaign aims to unify about 300 production and maintenance employees at the the facility.  If it succeeds, it will be the first time the automaker has failed to stop its staff from organizing inside the U.S.

The EV manufacturers’ labor force wants the same thing we all want — more money. Many claim that Tesla offers unfair wages and believe collective bargaining is the only road to higher pay.  (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2018

The city of Shanghai claims Tesla could begin production in China in the second half of 2019, which would be an incredible achievement for the automaker. China is Tesla’s biggest market after the United States and assembling product within its borders would be a good way to avoid the nation’s aggressive tariffs on U.S autos, which currently stand at 40 percent.

However, the trade war between the two countries has also stifled sales — and not just for Tesla. China’s car market hasn’t been particularly robust this year and appears to be headed for the first major slump after nearly two decades of reliable growth. While President Trump has teased that the People’s Republic may be about to lower its automotive trade barriers with America, there’s no assurances coming from Asia. Regardless, setting up shop within China should be beneficial for Tesla’s bottom line and make it more competitive with Chinese EV brands like BYD and Nio.  (Read More…)

By on November 26, 2018

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the automaker was teetering on the edge of disaster earlier this year. “Tesla faced a really severe threat of death due to the Model 3 production ramp,” Musk told Axios during a video interview on HBO. “Essentially the company was bleeding money like crazy and just if we didn’t solve these problems in a very short period of time, we would die. And it was extremely difficult to solve them.”

Musk said Tesla was within “single-digit weeks” of an unrecoverable catastrophe. While we appreciate his present candor, the assertion doesn’t mesh with comments made earlier.

In fact, Elon was down on the automotive firm needing more funds every since it posted its 2011 financial results. “Tesla does not need to ever raise another funding round,” he said in response to a question on the company’s cash position back in February of 2012. “We may want to do so, but we are in a strong cash position, and we don’t need to.”  (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2018

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Hoping to simplify vehicle assembly, Tesla tweaked its online car configurator over the weekend, culling numerous options from both the Model S and X. This translates into a price bump for more-basic models and a few dollars saved on the higher trims, but less choice overall. The Model S ($78,000) and X 75D ($84,000) now cost a grand more and offer improved interiors, but the 100D units cost $500 less than before. Meanwhile, all trims play host to a slimmer options list.

It was an expected move, as the brand has previously limited options to grease the wheels of production. Elon Musk said the company would embrace further streamlining to “simplify the product offerings” last month, but it’s a little surprising how far the company went.  (Read More…)

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