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  1. Tesla has been fighting in various states to allow for direct sales of their vehicles. The most contentious being the state of Michigan which enacted a law in October 2014 banning automakers from selling vehicles directly to consumers. Tesla has been working hard to try and change the law by offering test drives and education to legislators, to no avail. Even the Federal Trade Commission has called on the state to rethink this law. But Michigan is sticking to its guns. So Tesla decided to do the unexpected, apply for a Michigan dealer license. The Detroit News reports the California electric vehicle builder submitted applications in November to the Michigan Secretary of State Office for a dealer license. Recently, Tesla sent in follow-up information to the office. Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodham tells the News that Tesla is applying for a 'Class A' dealership license, which allows it to sell new and used vehicles. The license requires the dealer to have a “repair facility as part of their business or have an established relationship with a licensed repair facility.” Woodham went on to explain the office is currently reviewing the paperwork and will have a decision in the next month or so. It is unclear who submitted the documents to the Secretary of State. Michigan Information & Research Service Inc., a news service based in Michigan's capital - Lansing - first reported the story. The service said Tesla could contract anyone - aside from itself - to set up a dealer. Tesla could even send a former employee to open a dealer where “in which it mandates the dealership look, act and do business exactly as the Tesla-run stores.” A Tesla spokesman tells AutoblogGreen, "As recently amended, current Michigan law prohibits Tesla from being able to license its own sales and service operations in the state. Submission of the application is intended to seek the Secretary of State's confirmation of this prohibition. Once confirmed, Tesla will review any options available to the Company to overturn this anti-consumer law." Along with Tesla's application, a 22-year old graduate of the University of Michigan has launched a petition to repeal the direct sales ban. Mick Yuille has formed a ballot committee called Eliminate (i) to force the Michigan legislature to act. If they don't, his proposal will go on the ballot for the people to decide. Yuille needs 252,000 signatures by June 1st for this happen. Source: The Detroit News, AutoblogGreen, Crain's Detroit Business
  2. Last year, the State of Michigan signed a bill that banned an automaker from doing direct sales. This meant an automaker like Tesla couldn't sell any of their vehicles in the state. The move was widely applauded by the likes of GM and the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. Tesla wasn't impressed by this and since then has been working on trying to change this. But it hasn't been going well. While the company has been trying to educate lawmakers and state officials, it seems everyone in the state doesn't want to bring up the debate. “There doesn’t seem to be much interest from not only the dealers, but manufacturers like GM that want to continue to shut us out of the market entirely,” said Jim Chen, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs to The Detroit News. “We’re an American company that is building cars in the United States that is using over 55 Michigan suppliers — that is spending over $120 million in parts and components from Michigan suppliers to build American-made cars. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to sell in Michigan?” Chen went on to say. Terry Burns, executive vice president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association says Tesla is welcomed to the state, but they have to go through dealers. “They’re an automotive manufacturer, and the Michigan law says that manufacturers need to use dealers in order to sell vehicles. That’s Michigan law. We would welcome Tesla here. But we would think that as with all the other businesses that come into Michigan, they would want to follow the law,” said Burns. Interestingly enough, the state senate introduced a bill back in April to allow direct sales of three-wheeled “autocycles” to consumers in Michigan. A key automaker who stands to benefit from this is Elio Motors. In response, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement that criticized the move. "Automobile manufacturers have an economic incentive to respond to consumer preferences by choosing the most effective distribution method for their vehicle brands," FTC officials wrote. Tesla plans to continue their lobbying efforts in the state. “We have the majority of next year to lobby, discuss and debate the merits of what we think is a co-existence of our business model in the state of Michigan," said Will Nicholas, Tesla’s government relations manager. Source: The Detroit News
  3. One thing you cannot call Elon Musk is a shrinking violet. The CEO of Tesla has taken to Twitter once again to defend the company. This time it deals with the results of Consumer Reports' annual reliability survey where the Model S, a vehicle which had earned the coveted Recommended rating, lost it this year due to a number of problems reported by owners. CR says the Model S likely to face a "worse-than-average" overall problem rate. Musk said in his tweets that problems outlined in CR's survey were because of early production models and that new models have these issues ironed out. Musk goes on to say "Most important, CR says 97% of owners expect their next car to be a Tesla (the acid test)." Source: Elon Musk Twitter, (2)
  4. After a long journey, Tesla has finally revealed the production version of the Model X crossover. Introduced at an event last night at the company's headquarters, CEO Elon Musk made his case as to why you want it. Musk began with safety as he states that the Model X is the first SUV that gets five stars in every crash test category. This is due to no gas engine in the front of the vehicle, and the heavy battery mounted so low in the vehicle which reduces the risk of a rollover. There is also a massive HEPA filter that is claimed to remove allergens, soot/smog, bacteria, and viruses down to just 0.01 microns. There is even a "Bioweapon Defense Mode" to protect occupants from whatever is out there in the world. The event also served as a place to talk about the points that were previously mentioned such as the Falcon doors which have a unique opening mechanism that allows them to open even in some of tightest spots. These doors also have a special sensor that can adjust how high the door opens based on the ceiling. Now the downside to these doors is you can't put anything the roof. Now Tesla has a special accessory hitch that can carry up to four bikes or six sets of skis. At the time being, the Model X will be offered in the 90D and P90D versions. The 90D will have an overall range of 257 Miles, while the P90D will have an overall range of 250 Miles. Other versions of the Model X are expected to be announced at a later time. Closing out the event, Musk delivered a half-dozen Model X Founders Series models, which came with a starting pricetag of $132,000 (not including the $7,500 tax credit). Source: Tesla Press Release is on Page 2 Safety First Tesla Architecture Built electric from the ground up, Model X is designed to be the safest car on the road. Our crash tests indicate that Model X will receive a 5 star safety rating in all categories, the first SUV to ever do so. Not needing a big gasoline engine under the hood, Model X has a large crumple zone to absorb the energy of a high-speed impact. The battery's location on the floor gives Model X an extremely low center of gravity, reducing the risk of rollover common in most SUVs. Aluminum pillars reinforced with steel rails protect occupants and the battery while improving roof stiffness. Active Safety Model X comes standard with automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Tesla makes the only standard AEB system that works at high speed. Every Model X carries a forward-looking camera, radar, and 360 degree sonar sensors to enable advanced autopilot features. Tesla's over-the-air software updates regularly improve the sophistication of these features, enabling increasingly capable safety and convenience features like Autosteer and Autopark, and bringing the Model X ever closer to autonomous operation. Breathe Easy Model X is the world's cleanest SUV on the inside, too. The front fascia is designed with a functional duct that pushes air through the first true HEPA filter system available in an automobile allowing medical-grade air to fill the cabin, no matter what is going on outside. Inside Model X Model X Falcon Wing doors offer unprecedented convenience, entry, and maneuverability for everyday life. They provide seamless ingress and egress into the second and third row. No longer do parents have to cantilever themselves to avoid hitting their child's head on the roof as they place them in a car seat. The double-hinged Falcon Wing doors open up then out, requiring only 30 cm of space on the side of the vehicle. Each door is equipped with capacitive, inductive, and sonar sensors to monitor surroundings and avoid contact with obstacles around the car, making it possible to park in tight spots. The industry's first auto presenting door automatically opens and closes as the driver approaches or exits Model X. Why should the driver ever need to touch the door? Monopost seats move independently, sliding and tilting forward and back. They allow passengers easy access to the third row and give them plenty of foot room when they sit down. See The windshield in Model X stretches up and over the front seat occupants. Second row passengers get a first row vantage point with an expansive view ahead, atop the falcon wing door, and beside them. The windshield's solar tint transition completes the modern and open feel. Listen Seventeen precisely positioned speakers bring concern hall like sound inside Model X. Touch The 17" center touchscreen seamlessly integrates media, navigation, communications, cabin control and vehicle data into one intuitive interface. Many functions are mirrored on the instrument panel and are voice-activated to focus the driver's attention on the road. Whether big or little, there's a place to store it in Model X. Side pockets, a center console and a blind holster for your iPhone. Fit everything Model X provides unprecedented space for passengers and cargo. With three rows of seats, a front and rear trunk, and room under the second row seats, there's ample room for people, luggage, and big things like surf boards and bikes. For even heavier cargo, Model X is the first electric vehicle with a 5,000 lb. tow capacity. Performance Agility and Speed At the heart of the vehicle is Tesla's proven electric powertrain, accelerating Model X from 0-60 in a staggering 3.2 seconds and hitting a top speed of 155 mph, all while producing zero emissions. Designed with Tesla's electric vehicle architecture, Model X's floor-mounted battery gives the vehicle a low center of gravity and ideal weight distribution for exhilarating performance and superior handling. Aerodynamics At 0.24, Model X has the lowest drag coefficient of any SUV in history. Model X comes standard with an active spoiler that automatically adjusts to three positions for maximum visibility and efficiency. Under 45 mph, the spoiler is positioned so the driver can see above and below it. At higher speeds the spoiler partially retracts for improved highway efficiency (+1.6%), and optimizes the vehicle's lift distribution. Model X is the only car with an active spoiler equipped with a center-high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL). All-wheel drive Dual motors digitally and independently control torque to the front and rear wheels to give Model X unparalleled control of traction while increasing performance and efficiency. Signature Model X comes with a 90 kWh battery providing customers a driving range of 250 miles on a single charge. By the numbers Range 250 miles for P90D Top Speed 155 miles per hour Zero-60 3.2 seconds for Ludicrous P90D 3.8 seconds for P90D Quarter Mile 11.7 seconds for Ludicrous P90D 12.2 seconds for P90D Motor Power 259 hp front, 503 hp rear Motor Torque 713 lb-ft combined 244 lb-ft/330 Nm front 479 lb-ft/600 Nm rear US MPGe 89 MPGe for P90D Weight 5,441 lbs. Drag Coefficient 0.24
  5. German automakers are currently working on competitors to take on Tesla Model S. Case in point is Mercedes-Benz. In an interview with German publication auto motor und sport, Mercedes-Benz's development chief Thomas Weber said they are working on electric vehicle with a range of 400-500 kilometers (228-311 miles) that could be arriving 'soon'. Now this model would use Mercedes' modular platform, which means other models could use this new electric powertrain. This comes at an interesting time for Mercedes-Benz as the relationship between it and Tesla appears to be unraveling. Back in 2009, Mercedes' parent company, Diamler took a 9.1 percent stake in Tesla. The two would work together on some vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric drive. But last year, Tesla removed Diamler from its board. Afterwards, the German company sold off the rest of its shares in the electric car company. Source: auto motor und sport, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  6. Last week, Tesla announced some new updates for the Model S. The big news was the introduction of the optional 'Ludicrous' acceleration mode. This mode drops 0-60 from 3.1 to 2.8 seconds and can do the quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds. Tesla is able to do this via a new advanced smart fuse for the battery that allows an increase in the maximum amp throughout from 1,300 to 1,500 amps. This option will cost $10,000 for a new Model S P85D. But if you are the current owner of a P85D, you can get the Ludicrous package for $5,000 plus labor for the next six months. Also announced is a new 90-kWh battery pack option which adds 15 Miles to the overall range of the Model S P85D (275 to 300 Miles). Opting for the larger battery will cost around $3,000. Wrapping up the changes is the introduction of a new base Model S. The Model S 70 RWD only comes with one electric motor and will set you back around $70,000. Source: Tesla Press Release is on Page 2 THREE DOG DAY - 90 kWh battery pack option for $3k - 70 kWh rear drive Model S for $70k (effectively ~$50k after incentives & gas savings)- 2.8 sec 0 to 60 mph upgrade to "Ludicrous Mode" First, I should address something that might be on your mind, like: "Where the heck is the Model X and the Model 3!? You should really get on that." Don't worry, those remain our focus and good progress is being made on both. X is on track for first deliveries in two months and Model 3 in just over two years. Now, on to the awesome news of today. New buyers now have the option of upgrading the pack energy from 85 to 90 kWh, which provides up to 15 miles of additional range. This takes our current longest range model, the 85D to almost exactly 300 miles of highway range at 65mph. Existing owners can also purchase the pack upgrade, but I wouldn't recommend doing so unless your usage is on the edge of current range. On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year. Better to wait until you have more time on your existing pack and there is a larger accumulated pack energy difference. 70kWh for $70k We are now offering the 70kWh version of the Model S in the single motor version for $5k less than the dual motor, consistent with the price differential for the single and dual motor 85 kWh car. Importantly, enough options are now standard that you will have bought a great car even if you pick the base version. Various purchase incentives mean the actual net price is around $60k and annual gasoline and servicing savings are around $2k. These savings are captured immediately if you lease the car. Luuudicrous Mode While working on our goal of making the power train last a million miles, we came up with the idea for an advanced smart fuse for the battery. Instead of a standard fuse that just melts past a certain amperage, which means you aren't exactly sure when it will or won't melt or if it will arc when it does, we developed a fuse with its own electronics and a tiny lithium-ion battery. It constantly monitors current at the millisecond level and is pyro-actuated to cut power with extreme precision and certainty. That was combined with upgrading the main pack contractor to use inconel (a high temperature space-grade superalloy) instead of steel, so that it remains springy under the heat of heavy current. The net result is that we can safely increase max amp throughout from 1300 to 1500 Amps. If you don't know much about Amps, trust me this is a silly big number of Amps to be going through something the size of your little fingernail. What this results in is a 10% improvement in the 0 to 60 mph time to 2.8 secs and a quarter mile time of 10.9 secs. Time to 155 mph is improved even more, resulting in a 20% reduction. This option will cost $10k to new buyers. In appreciation of our existing P85D owners, the upgraded pack electronics will be offered for the next six months at only $5k plus installation labor. It is important to note that the battery pack size upgrade and the pack electronics upgrade are almost entirely independent. The first is about energy, which affects range, and the second is about power, which affects acceleration. There is of course one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next generation Roadster in 4 years: maximum plaid. MORE ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT Model S already offers the highest possible safety ratings, the longest range of any EV, and over-the-air updates that continuously make it better. The performance improvements we're announcing today demonstrate, yet again, that an electric car can soundly beat any gasoline car on efficiency and pure performance. Today's three new options give customers the ability to order the Model S for their lifestyle: 90kWh Battery Model S with maximum range. Available as an option on all 85kWh Model S, the new extended range option gives customers the ability to order a 90kWh battery. The upgrade increases range on all 85 kWh Model S by 5%. Ludicrous Speed Ludicrous Speed decreases the 0-60 mph time for Model S 10% to 2.8 seconds with a quarter mile time of 10.9 seconds. Time to 155 miles per hour is now 20% faster than a standard Model S Performance. Model S 70 In line with our mission to make our cars increasingly affordable, 70 RWD offers the best value of any Model S released to date, $5,000 less than the current lowest priced Model S with all the current standard equipment. Model S 70 RWD starts at $70,000. Here are a few examples of what a customer can now order: Model S P90D: truly Ludicrous performance; 0-60 in 2.8 sec with a quarter mile time of 10.9 seconds. Motor Power: 259 hp front, 503 hp rear, 253 miles range Model S 90D: the longest-range Model S ever produced, 90D travels up to 270 miles on a single charge. 417 hp Model S 70: 230 miles range, 0=60: 5.2, 328 hp
  7. With the Tesla Model X coming over the horizon, talk has begun about Tesla's next model, the Model 3. As we have reported previously, the Model 3 will be around the size of a BMW 3-Series, have a total range of 200 miles, and cost somewhere around $35,000. But the Wall Street Journal reports there is more to the Model 3. JB Straubel, Tesla’s chief technical officer said at conference in Washington D.C. this past week that the Model 3 will not only come in sedan, but a crossover when its launched in 2017 (hopefully). Straubel went onto say that Tesla is hard at work on other models - but didn't go into details about what is in the pipeline. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  8. An intrepid Redditor has snapped a photo of Tesla's Model X with its rear falcon wing door open, proof that engineers have cleared a major engineering hurdle. The poster, likely a contract engineer, shared his photo on the Reddit's r/spotted 'subreddit.' The account was deleted shortly after but the image remains. This news will allay fears that the Model X's ambitious rear doors would not see production. The 'falcon wing' door system is believed to have contributed to the crossover vehicle's delays, with engineers unsatisfied with the seal between the door and body. In a later comment, the poster added "The interior is beautiful and the power is comparable to the Model S. Put it to the floor and the the standard 55MPH speed limit is gone before you know it." The Palo Alto based electric automaker is expected to begin deliveries of its hotly anticipated crossover in September. Over 21,000 pre-orders for the vehicle have been placed. View attachment: rZJtcAD.jpg Reddit Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/spotted/comments/39o70v/spent_some_time_behind_the_wheel_of_a_tesla_model/ Sources: Reddit/Teslarati
  9. Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting in Mountain View, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company will begin rolling out their second model, the Model X, in the next three to four months. The model which was first shown in 2012 and was supposed to start production in 2014, has been hit with a number of delays and problems for various aspects. Musk said engineers are working on a number of parts of the Model X including the Falcon Wing doors just right before production models begin rolling off the line. “The Model X will be a better SUV than the Model S is a sedan,” said Musk. Source: Bloomberg
  10. Lone Star State lawmakers have reined in Tesla's hopes of selling to Texans. Two bills allowing the Palo Alto-based electric carmaker to open Tesla Store's have died in the state legislature, in the face of dealership opposition. Tesla's direct-sales approach has raised the ire of dealership associations nationwide, who worry this jeopardizes their decades-old sales model based on franchise laws. Similar laws are on the books in states such as Michigan, Arizona, West Virginia, and until recently, New Jersey. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk reportedly hired up to 20 lobbyists in Texas and made $150,000 in campaign contributions. Despite support from former governor Rick Perry, the bills were unable to overcome Texas' powerful dealership lobby, whose support of franchise laws in a state priding itself as a bastion of free-maket economics and limited red tape was deemed "very un-Texan" by Musk in a 2014 interview. The Texas Auto Dealers Association has spent over $278,000 lobbying against Tesla, with some individual dealership owners and groups contributing hundreds of thousands more. Texas is home to the country's second largest high-tech workforce and is the U.S.' largest technology manufacturing exporter. Tesla's absence among the likes of industry pioneers such as Dell and Texas Instruments is notable. The state competed for the brand's 'Gigafactory' but lost to Nevada. The state's legislature holds bi-yearly sessions, meaning Tesla will need to wait until 2017 for similar bills to be introduced, just in time for the Model 3's debut. Source: The Verge View attachment: Model_S_Press_WEB.jpg
  11. Tesla's hotly-anticipated Model X continues testing in California and Los Altos shutterbug hushypuppy has snapped half a dozen photos of the electric carmaker's crossover rolling down city streets. The company has yet to reveal photos of the production vehicle. The vehicle is vital to the Palo Alto-based carmaker's future. The twice delayed Tesla Model X has attracted over 21,000 pre-orders and is predicted to push Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares up 70%. Deliveries are expected to begin in Q3 2015. High definition photos can be viewed at VWVortex. Source: VWVortex; HybridCars.com
  12. While Tesla is fighting for the right to sell vehicles direct to consumers in many states, the automaker will also be selling the Model S in new and temporary locations. Fortune reports that Tesla will be opening mobile container stores in various locations this summer with the first location being Santa Barbara, CA during the Memorial Day holiday. Why is Tesla doing this? They hope to lure in wealthy customers to a vehicle during their summer vacation. The mobile stores themselves are situated in two shipping containers and takes a few hours to setup. Once setup, the mobile stores look like the standard stores with a neutral gray and bright red paint scheme, along with a Model S. The next stop for Tesla's pop-up store is in the Hamptons. After that, Tesla is keeping quiet on that. Source: Fortune
  13. Tesla announced their second quarter results yesterday and the news wasn't great. The electric automaker posted a net loss of $293 million for the quarter. It also looks like Tesla might fall short of delivering 80,000 vehicles goal for this year. The quarter saw Tesla move 14,402 vehicles (9,764 Model S and 4,638 Model Xs). Add in the first quarter deliveries of 11,507 vehicles, and Tesla is very short of meeting this goal. "We are clearly disappointed with our delivery numbers," said Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler. It should be noted that 'almost half' of Q2's deliveries took place within the last four weeks of the quarter. "We were in production hell for the first six months of the year. Man, it was hell. And we managed to climb out of hell partway through June and now the production line is humming and our suppliers mostly have their $h! together," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a conference call with analysts. There was some good news for Tesla in the second quarter. The company posted $1.6 billion in revenue for the quarter. Source: Tesla, Reuters
  14. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued their preliminary report on the fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S in Autopilot mode and a semi-truck back in May. According to data that was downloaded from the Model S, the vehicle was traveling above the speed limit on the road (74 mph in 65) and that Autopilot was engaged. The speed helps explain how the Model S traveled around 347 feet after making the impact with the trailer - traveling 297 feet before hitting a utility pole, and then going another 50 feet after breaking it. The report doesn't have any analysis of the accident or a possible cause. NTSB says their investigators are still downloading data from the vehicle and looking at information from the scene of the crash. A final report is expected within the next 12 months. Car and Driver reached out for comment from both Tesla and Mobileye - the company that provides Tesla the chips that process the images being captured by Autopilot's cameras. Tesla didn't respond, but a blog post announcing the crash said: "neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." A spokesman for Mobileye told the magazine that their chips aren't designed to flag something like the scenario that played out in the crash. “The design of our system that we provide to Tesla was not . . . it’s not in the spec to make a decision to tell the vehicle to do anything based on that left turn, that lateral turn across the path. Certainly, that’s a situation where we would hope to be able to get to the point where the vehicle can handle that, but it’s not there yet,” said Dan Galves, a Mobileye spokesperson. It should be noted that hours before NTSB released their report, Mobileye announced that it would end its relationship with Tesla once their current contract runs out. The Wall Street Journal reports that disagreements between the two on how the technology was deployed and the fatal crash caused the separation. “I think in a partnership, we need to be there on all aspects of how the technology is being used, and not simply providing technology and not being in control of how it is being used,” said Mobileye Chief Technical Officer Amnon Shashua during a call with analysts. “It’s very important given this accident…that companies would be very transparent about the limitations” of autonomous driving systems, said Shashua. “It’s not enough to tell the driver to be alert but to tell the driver why.” Recently, Mobileye announced a partnership with BMW and Intel in an attempt to get autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021. Source: NTSB, 2, Car and Driver, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  15. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk teased last week of a new master plan that would be appearing early this week. But like the launch of one of their new vehicles, there was a bit of delay. Last night, the plan was unveiled. If you were hoping for some exciting announcements, then you'll be disappointed with this plan. One of the big parts of 'Master Plan, Part Deux' is to "the major forms of terrestrial transport." What this means is the company is working on developing a compact SUV and a and a "new kind of pickup truck." Musk also says early development work has begun on a Telsa-Semi (Musk's name, not ours) and methods of urban transportation. Musk goes on to talk about developing Tesla's semi-autonomous systems further. A lot of this will rely on utilizing fleet learning (i.e. Autopilot) to help speed up development to a fully autonomous system. The post says the world could be ready to accept autonomous vehicles after they've driven 6 billion collective miles. Using three million miles per day as an estimate, it could take up about 2,000 days (about 5.5 years). Musk stands behind the Autopilot, saying “deploying partial autonomy now, rather than waiting until some point in the future” because “when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves (sic) and it would therefore be morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.” Other bits of this master plan include, Setting up a car sharing service allowing owners to make some cash Creating solar-panel roofs with "seamlessly integrated battery storage." (Would involve the merger of Tesla and solar panel installer SolarCity) Source: Tesla
  16. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into a fatal crash dealing with Tesla's Autopilot system. In a statement given to Reuters, NHTSA said the driver of a 2015 Tesla Model S was killed while the vehicle was in the Autopilot mode. The crash took place on May 7th in Williston, Florida when a tractor-trailer was making a left turn across a divided highway. Tesla in a lengthy blog post said: "neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." The Model S drove underneath the trailer with the bottom making contact with the windshield. The Verge reports the driver was 40-year old Joshua Brown who filmed various videos of his Model S. One of the videos on his YouTube channel showed his Model avoiding an accident with a bucket truck. NHTSA's investigation will look the design and performance of the Model S and its various components, including Autopilot. It should be noted this is standard practice for NHTSA to investigate any crash where the vehicle's system could be at fault. Tesla's blog post says this is first known fatality in over 130 million miles since Autopilot was turned on. Autopilot has been a source of controversy since Tesla rolled it out last year. Numerous videos of Model S owners filming themselves in dangerous situations and sometimes showing the system not working caused Tesla to make some drastic changes. These included limiting the types of road the system could be turned on and making checks to see if there was someone sitting in the driver's seat. Tesla has said time and time again that Autopilot is a beta feature and that the driver needed to pay attention. "Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert," Tesla said in their post. "It is important to note that Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it. " Nevertheless, this crash puts autonomous technologies and Tesla under some intense scrutiny. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News, Reuters, Tesla, The Verge
  17. Recently if you wanted the cheapest version of the Tesla Model S, you had to get the Model S 70 which started at $71,500. But today, Tesla has announced a new low-cost version of the Model S. The new Model S 60 starts at $66,000 (before federal and state incentives) and offers a maximum range of 210 miles. If you're wondering why this sounds somewhat familiar, that is because Tesla offered the Model S 60 up until last year when the 70 took its place. Aside from the lower price, the 60 can be equipped with all-wheel drive (the 60D which starts at $71,000). Interestingly, the Model S 60 doesn't have a 60 kWh battery pack. Instead, it is a 75 kWh battery pack that are capped by software to pretend to be smaller. You can unlock the full capacity of the battery via a software update, but it will cost you $9,000 (along with a $500 service fee). Source: Tesla Press Release is on Page 2 As you know, Model S is designed to be a great car for every lifestyle, and we continue to make it even better. Last month we introduced design updates to Model S, and through continual software updates we've made Model S faster, smarter, safer and more enjoyable to drive. It's part of Tesla's relentless commitment to making its products better. With these improvements, we've heard from a number of people who would like to buy a Model S, but can more easily afford it only at a lower price point. To respond to these requests, on Thursday June 9 we're introducing two new variants of Model S – Model S 60 and 60D, offering a compelling feature set and a great value at a new low price. The new Model S 60 delivers more than 200 miles of range, a top speed of 130 mph and zero-to-60 acceleration in 5.5 seconds, starting at $66,000. The all-wheel drive option brings even more range and performance, beginning at $71,000. And every Tesla comes equipped with active safety features and Autopilot hardware. Keep in mind that when comparing the price of any electric vehicle to an internal combustion vehicle, it's important to compare not just the out-of-pocket price, but also the effective cost of ownership. Factoring in annual fuel savings which typically ranges between $1,000 and $1,500, as well as available tax incentives, the effective cost of owning Model S 60 comes to about $50k. And there are other advantages to owning a Tesla that add up over time, including: Less maintenance – Tesla vehicles don't require regular maintenance like oil changes, fuel filters or smog checks. And our four-year/50,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty and eight-year/infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty come standard with Model S. Ample charging options – for most Tesla owners, home charging provides plenty of range for daily travel, and with an EPA range of over 200 miles, that's still the case for Model S 60 and 60D. For long distance travel, there are many convenient Supercharger and Destination Charging locations throughout our network. New features via free software updates – as with every Model S, the 60 and 60D will receive free over-the-air software updates that add functionality and continue to improve the driving experience for years to come. To provide customers even more flexibility over time, Model S 60 and 60D owners may later choose to upgrade their vehicles to a 75kWh battery with a software update, should they want to add to their car's battery capacity in the future.
  18. One of the key benefits of owning a Telsa is having access to the various Supercharger stations around U.S. for free. But if you're one of the 300,000-plus buyers for the Model 3, you'll have to pay to have your vehicle charged at the station. “Free Supercharging fundamentally has a cost,” said Telsa CEO Elon Musk at the company's annual shareholders meeting yesterday. "The obvious thing to do is decouple that from the cost of the Model 3. So it will still be very cheap, and far cheaper than gasoline, to drive long-distance with the Model 3, but it will not be free long distance for life unless you purchase that package.” That package in question would give Model 3 owners the previlage of charging for free at Supercharger stations like owners of the Model S and X. Bloomberg says Musk didn't provide any more details of this package. A key benefit of the Supercharger station is how fast it can charge up a Tesla vehicle. Within 30 minutes, the station will charge the battery back up to provide a range of 170 miles. Source: Bloomberg
  19. The latest way Tesla has been trying to get around states that ban direct sales (Michigan for example) is to apply for a dealer license. But this plan appears to not be working. Automotive News reports that North Carolina's Division of Motor Vehicles has rejected Telsa's application to attain a second dealership license and said the automaker must go through a third-party dealership group. The ruling states that Tesla didn't meet the specific requirements to become exempt from a state law prohibiting manufacturers from owning dealers. Tesla already has one store in North Carolina in Releigh and was hoping open a new store at their service center in Matthews (suburb of Charlotte). The DMV order signed by signed by Administrative Hearing Officer Larry Greene, said there are “at least three independent dealers” in the market that would be able to own and operate a Tesla dealership “in a manner consistent with the public interest.” The news gets slightly worse for Tesla. Earlier this month, The Detroit News got their hands on documents between the state of Michigan and Tesla ranging from 2014 to early 2016 detailing the saga of Tesla trying to sell vehicles in the state. The most recent development saw the Secretary of State’s office requesting Tesla to provide proof that it is a franchised dealer. If not, the state will not rule on the applications. Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams in an email said this it’s “an explicit requirement in state law.” Tesla doesn't see it that way. “We don’t harm any franchised dealers by selling directly; we have no relationships with any franchised dealers we would be unfairly competing against. Unlike if General Motors opened up their own store-owned dealership across the street from a franchised dealer that they gave rights to,” said Todd Maron, Tesla's general counsel. We highly recommend checking out The Detroit News piece to get the full picture of this mess. It is becoming very clear the only way for this to be settled once and for all is for it to go to the courts. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News
  20. During their first quarter presentation, Tesla announced that it would be accelerating plans to produce 500,000 vehicles from 2020 to 2018. This in part due to the demand for the recently announced Model 3. This is an ambitious goal to say in the least and one that could haunt Tesla if they don't meet. Already, they might have hit a roadblock. Reuters reports that Tesla hasn't finalized the design of its new Model 3. During a call with analysts last week, CEO Elon Musk said design is still being worked on. Musk also said it would take another six to nine weeks for various engineering decisions to be finalized. No reason was given as to why Tesla hasn't finalized the design yet. This affects a number of key parts to getting the Model 3 to production such as the design for parts, finding suppliers, and plans for manufacturing. “We may experience delays in realizing our projected timelines and cost and volume targets for the production, launch, and ramp of our Model 3 vehicle,” the company wrote in an SEC filing. "Finalizing the design work, and lining up the suppliers and launching in one and a half years seems not possible," said Barclays analyst Brian Johnson. Source: Reuters, Car & Driver
  21. Despite posting $1.1 billion in revenues for the first quarter ($1.6 billion under non generally accepted accounting principles - GAAP), Tesla reported a net loss of $282 million for the quarter. Compared to the last quarter, Tesla made less in revenue, but the loss was slightly less. Tesla credits this to a careful watching of its spending. Tesla notes that its cash on hand - $1.4 billion - "does not include any meaningful cash flow from Model 3 reservations," but a fair chunk of that reservation money was used to repay back a $430 million credit line. This isn't the big news as it lines up with what analysts were expecting. It was Tesla's announcement of moving its timeline to produce 500,000 vehicles a year from 2020 to 2018. “Increasing production fivefold over the next two years will be challenging and will likely require some additional capital, but this is our goal and we will be working hard to achieve it,” Musk said in a letter to shareholders. This is most likely due to the strong demand for the Model 3 which at the time of this writing has 400,000 reservations. Tesla also reiterated plans to produce 80 to 90,000 vehicles for 2016. In the first quarter, Tesla built 15,510 vehicles - 12,851 Model S sedans and 2,659 Model X crossovers. The latter model has been having a number of issues from windshield suffering from 'double vision' distortion to the falcon doors not closing. When asked about the quality issues during the call with analysts, Musk said he has a sleeping bag near the production line that he uses “quite frequently.” We're assuming that he is watching the production line to see if there are any issues coming up. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Autoblog, Tesla
  22. Fiat Chrysler Automobile's CEO Sergio Marchionne is someone who speaks his mind - for better or worse. Speaking with Automotive News Europe, Marchionne expressed his skepticism on the recently unveiled Tesla Model 3, specifically on how they can make a profit. "I'm am not surprised by the high number of reservations but you have then to build and deliver them and also be profitable," Marchionne said. The Model 3 is Tesla entry into the mass-market EV segment with a $35,000 pricetag. At the moment, reservations for the new model are nearing 400,000. Marchionne doesn't see how Tesla could make money on it. But Marchionne went on to say if Tesla's Elon Musk "can show me that the car will be profitable at that price, I will copy the formula, add the Italian design flair and get it to the market within 12 months." Considering this is the same person who railed against EVs for years, it is a bit of a shock. Asked if he thinks the company is arriving late to the EV party, Marchionne said: “better late than sorry.” Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
  23. Today, Telsa pulled the covers off the updated Model S. The biggest change for the Model S is the removal of the front grille. It has been replaced with a similar fascia to the Model X and recently announced Model 3 - front panel and LED headlights. Inside, the Model S gets HEPA air-filtration system first introduced on the Model X as an option. This system according to Tesla is said to remove up to "99.97 percent of particulate exhaust pollution and effectively all allergens, bacteria, and other contaminants from cabin air." Tesla has also swapped the 40-amp onboard charger to a 48-amp one that will reduce recharging times. All of these updates means the Tesla Model S has a higher pricetag. The Model S now begins at $71,500 for the base 70 kW Model S, an increase of $1,500. Source: Tesla
  24. Tesla has been fighting tooth and nail to sell their vehicles direct to consumers in the U.S. But six states - Arizona, Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia - have banned direct sales. Tesla is trying to change this with a combination of new legislation, applying for dealer licenses, and other items. However, Tesla is ready to take this issue to federal court with an interesting legal argument. The Wall Street Journal reports that Tesla's legal staff has been looking into a 2013 federal appeals court ruling in New Orleans dealing with coffins. What?! The case dealt with the St. Joseph Abbey in Louisiana trying to sell monk-made coffins to help alleviate a shortage due to Hurricane Katrina. But the state had laws that restricted coffin sales to those who were licensed by the Louisiana Board of Funeral Directors. The court sided with the abbey saying they could sell the coffins without having a funeral directors license. “It is widely accepted that laws that have a protectionist motivation or effect are not proper. Tesla is committed to not being foreclosed from operating in the states it desires to operate in, and all options are on the table,” said Todd Maron, Tesla’s chief counsel. But could this argument work? Northwestern University law professor John McGinnis says it could. Using this case could shine a spotlight on how laws affect the sale of certain items such as cars. “Until now, these decisions have been in niche areas of the economy. With Tesla behind it, it would go into something as economically important as the structure of the industry for retailing cars,” said McGinnis. The timing is what intrigues us the most. Tomorrow night, Tesla will be revealing the Model 3 - their mass-market car. Reservations for this new model will also open. Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  25. Lu Guanqiu is the chairman and founder of China's Wanxiang Group Corp., which happens to be the new owner of Fisker Automotive. In a interview with Bloomberg, Lu says the company will be making significant investments into the troubled automaker. "“I’ll put every cent that Wanxiang earns into making electric vehicles. I’ll burn as much cash as it takes to succeed, or until Wanxiang goes bust.” That's saying something in the least. But the question is when will we see Fisker vehicles coming off the production line? "The road is still very long. We want to concentrate for now on manufacturing in the US. If I don't succeed, my son will continue with it. If he doesn't make it, my grandson will," said Lu. The plan at the moment is for production of the Karma to come back online, followed by the introduction of new models. Source: Bloomberg

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