Tag: Tesla

By on April 12, 2019

tesla model 3

If you can find a Tesla store (that’s still open), and someone working in it, maybe you can buy … a Model 3 Standard Range.

Yes, the $35k car promised three years ago during the Model 3’s launch, and hyped to infinity in the months and years since, stands to become as shadowy and elusive as the A-Team. In yet another raft of changes to its Model 3 line announced Thursday night, the automaker ensured the Standard model’s status as a rare bird.

Offered by a company that’s moved to online ordering, the Standard model will not be available for ordering online. Hey, don’t be confused — there’s a solid explanation! (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Tesla’s lackluster first-quarter deliveries report did more than spook analysts and investors — it also provided the rationale for Panasonic to reevaluate its relationship with the automaker. Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review reports that the battery maker, which partnered with Tesla on the automaker’s Nevada Gigafactory 1, has grown cold feet.

The publication reports the two companies have frozen spending on the Nevada plant, culling plans for an expansion of battery production. Not only that, Panasonic has decided not to invest in Tesla’s Shanghai vehicle/battery production facility. (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2019

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

The torturous wait to learn if Tesla’s job cuts would come to their doorstep ended in April for dozens of members of the automaker’s sales team. As it embarks on a cost-saving plan, Tesla has let go numerous staff members and sought to close the bulk of its storefronts after moving the company’s buying process online. Last quarter’s grim deliveries report didn’t paint a rosy picture for the company, suggesting more cost-cutting to come.

According to Bloomberg, the axe fell in three U.S. cities last week. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2019

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

Treating Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission like a pair of squabbling kindergarteners, a federal judge handed down a message to both on Thursday. Basically, figure out your shit.

The two sides remain locked in a battle sparked by a true product of our time — tweets. The SEC claims Musk’s recent use of Twitter violates the conditions set out in the settlement reached between the regulator and Tesla last year, a settlement resulting from a lawsuit over … tweets.

“Put your reasonableness pants on,” Judge Alison Nathan told the two parties in a New York City federal court yesterday. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

Following a rocky first quarter of 2019, Tesla’s decidedly lackluster production and delivery report sent the automaker’s stock tumbling in pre-market trading.

Not only were analyst estimates missed, in some cases by a mile, production actually fell at Tesla’s Fremont, California assembly plant, sparking concern that demand is drying up for the company’s EV offerings. A dip back into the red — something CEO Elon Musk warned of, not long after predicting the opposite — seems unavoidable. (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 26, 2019

tesla-model-3

Few — if any — journalists cover Tesla with the same dogged determination as former TTAC managing editor Ed Niedermeyer, and he’s just shed light on a perplexing mystery: The case of the missing Standard Range Model 3.

We’re talking about the base, $35,000 Model 3 promised at the model’s launch three years ago. The vehicle Tesla finally opened orders for in February, apparently after working some magic that made the long-awaited variant’s appearance financially viable. It seems that not only are would-be owners still waiting, but Tesla is doing its damndest to sway them from the purchase. (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 19, 2019

Elon Musk + Tesla Model S Circa 2011

There’s no shortage of distractions coming out of Tesla to take the focus away from a smoldering legal battle between the automaker and its favorite foe, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC, however, isn’t easily led astray by retail store turmoil and the promise of a crossover with no home. The regulator has stepped up its efforts to see Tesla CEO Elon Musk held in contempt of court for violating an earlier settlement agreement. At the root of the two contempt orders, the latest filed on Monday, is the source of all evil in today’s world: social media.  (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

First, it faded from the automaker’s ordering page — a disappearance noted on Sunday. Introduced last October as a cheaper stepping stone to the Model 3 lifestyle (and a sort-of apology for the then-undelivered $35,000 Standard Range), Tesla’s Mid Range variant offered 260 miles of driving range, compared to the 310 miles available to Model 3 Long Range drivers.

With the Standard Range now available to order, the Mid Range apparently serves no purpose in the Tesla stable. (Read More…)

By on March 15, 2019

Image: Tesla

Perhaps to give journalists a taste of what it’s like to be a Tesla reservation holder, Tesla’s Model Y launch event, scheduled for 11 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, started late. When it did, CEO Elon Musk launched into a rundown of his company’s well-documented history.

There were a few admissions during his speech, including this telling statement:

“I really think the difficulty and value of manufacturing is underappreciated,” Musk said, echoing a sentiment hurled in his direction since the start of Model 3 production. “It’s relatively easy to make a prototype and extremely difficult to mass manufacture a vehicle reliably and at scale.” (Read More…)

By on March 14, 2019

With tonight’s splashy California reveal of the upcoming Model Y crossover, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes to achieve two things: positive press, and an avalanche of deposits. It would be a change from the past several weeks, in which an assembly line of undesirable headlines made it appear that a green monument was in danger of toppling.

While pricing and specs should be revealed tonight, J.D. Power thinks it knows what Tesla fans will pay. (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 12, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

If Tesla doesn’t exist anywhere on your shopping list, it’s easy to ignore the turmoil surrounding the automaker. If Tesla’s your employer, however, the past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride.

Retail employees, who, along with store managers and regional managers, learned of the automaker’s plan to divest itself of stores through media reports, claim they’re hanging by a thread, stripped of their commission and still in the dark. (Read More…)

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