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Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Elon Musk Not Happy About Trump's New Plan for Nasa

Earth’s atmosphere serves as the doorstep to the rest of the universe with an all-new frontier just waiting to be explored and discoveries waiting to be made. It’s been more than 40 years since any human (that we know of) has stepped foot on a celestial body other than the earth, and Elon Musk plans to send a manned mission to mars as early as 2022 via his prized SpaceX rockets that are, in fact, very promising. However, on the other side of the spectrum, President Trump signed legislation S. 442, which provides funding of $19.5 billion to NASA and a goal (or ultimatum) to get to Mars by 2033.

At face value, the funding and goal to get to Mars seems promising, as that means that NASA isn’t going to experience the same funding cuts as other science agencies in the mix. It looks so good, in fact, that Recode co-founder, Kara Swisher, tweeted to Musk saying “Somewhere @elonmusk is smiling.” As it turns out, though, Musk has a completely different view and isn’t really happy at all. See, Musk wanted added funding for the Mars mission, while in fact, this bill does nothing of the sorts. His replies on twitter say it all:

“ @Karaswisher I am not. (smiling) This bill changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing. Existing programs stay in place, and there is no added funding for Mars.” He continued in a second tweet, saying that maybe there will be a bill in the future that makes a difference, but this one isn’t it. And, he’s not the only expert who thinks that way either. Scott Pace, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, thinks it’s more of a vote for stability than it is a great leap forward.

Keep reading for the rest of the story

PostHeaderIcon Let's Hope That Tesla's Production Timetable For The Model 3 Doesn't Have "Delays" Written All Over It

The start of production of the Tesla Model 3 is all set to begin this July in a “limited” capacity, although according to InsideEVs, the first wave of models that roll off the production line are earmarked for Tesla’s employees and investors. While that allocation part isn’t entirely that big of a deal, the timetable for the car’s production is, especially if Tesla is serious about achieving its goals of producing 5,000 units per week by the fourth quarter of this year and 10,000 units per week sometime in 2018.

To its credit, Tesla has already started production trials for the car in anticipation of the massive volume it has to deal with once full-scale production commences. Tesla, after all, has more than 370,000 deposits to deal with, right?

For everyone’s sake then, let’s hope that the company’s production plans for the Model 3 are all ironed out. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is saying all the right things at the moment, even telling reporters recently that the ramp-up in the production of the Model 3 will happen slowly to give Tesla some form of breathing room to address potential bugs and issues.

That’s good to hear because history hasn’t been kind on Tesla’s production promises. Remember, both the Model S and Model X experienced massive production delays during their launch. The Model X, in particular, was delayed numerous times for a myriad of reasons, including issues with suppliers that ended with ugly lawsuits on both sides. Those delays pushed the launch of the Model X from its original launch timetable in the early part of 2014 all the way to the end of 2015. That’s almost two years, if you’re keeping score.

For the sake of the Model 3, which Tesla is promoting as the model that would signal the company’s entry into mainstream markets, delays of any sort would be devastating to the company. It’s not a premium model like the Model X that can be explained through automotive and legal jargons. This is a car that has almost 400,000 pre-orders attached to it, and you can be sure that a lot of those deposits will be canceled if Tesla suffers any delays in the production of the Model 3.

Let’s all hope that it doesn’t come to that then.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Driver Damages His Own Model S To Save Stranger's Life

Sometimes, heroism comes in the strangest of circumstances, and people who don’t consider themselves built in the mold of a Superman find themselves acting like one. Case in point: the 41-year old driver of a Tesla Model S who is hailed as a hero for intentionally causing damage to his pricey electric sedan, all in the name of saving the life of a total stranger.

According to German news outlet Muncher Merkur, the driver, named Manfred Kick, was on the German Autobahn when he chanced upon a Volkswagen Passat that was being driven erratically by its driver. The Passat even slammed into the guardrail a number of times. Curious to see what was going on, Kick pulled up alongside the Volkswagen only to notice that its driver was unconsciousness. From there, Kick sprung to action, accelerating his Model S and pulling in front of the Passat before slowly braking his car, making sure that the Passat could rest up against the rear bumper of his Model S until both cars came to a stop.

From there, Kick rushed to the Passat, climbed through the passenger door, and proceeded to give him first aid. It was then that another party hurried to the scene and called for emergency help. Once the fire department arrived on the scene, it determined that the unnamed driver of the Passat could have suffered a stroke while driving the car, rendering him unconscious.

But thanks to Kick’s quick thinking, the 47-year old Passat owner was taken to the hospital where, according to Muncher Merkur, he is now in stable condition.

Ironically enough, the police informed Kick that a preliminary investigation was opened against him as part of “procedure.” That said, it is unlikely that the Model S owner would be prosecuted as the local police department is considering giving him an award for his actions that ended with him saving a stranger’s life.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Begins Preparation Ahead Of Model 3 Production

Tesla has proven in the past that it’s capable of unorthodox measures to get certain work aspects done and apparently, it’s dipping into that well one more time after a Reuters report revealed that the electric car maker plans to shut down its production facility in California for a week beginning this month. The reason behind it? Prepare for production for the Model 3 sedan.

In some aspects, such a move isn’t that strange when you consider that other companies have done it in the past in one form or another. But Tesla is a different because it has little flexibility making “brief, planned” pauses in production for a period of time. But the automaker appears to have decided on the issue as it prepares to add capacity to its facility to accommodate the coming production of the Model 3.

A Tesla spokesman even confirmed to the news outlet about the plans, saying that “this will allow Tesla to begin Model 3 production later this year as planned and enable us to start the ramp towards 500,000 vehicles annually in 2018.”

Apparently, Tesla also plans to begin test-building the Model 3 later this month, which could be part of the reason why the facility is being shut down. The goal it seems is to gauge the capability of the production plant in Freemont, California to accommodate the massive spike in production volume that will inevitably happen once the Model 3 begins production. Remember, Tesla wasted little time shouting from the heavens last May that it had received more 370,000 refundable $1,000 deposits for the Model 3, highlighting the massive demand for the car that the company believes is its ticket in breaking into the mainstream auto scene.

The timetable set for the pilot production of the Model 3 also coincides with the company’s conference call with shareholders to report its fourth-quarter results. Apparently, Tesla wants to make a good impression in that conference call and positive news surrounding the upcoming production of the Model 3 could go a long way in appeasing its shareholders.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Driver Learns The Hard Way About The Importance Of Key Fobs

A Tesla Model S owner got stranded in Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas after intentionally leaving his car’s key fob at home, all because he wanted to try out Tesla’s new control app. Turns out, the smartphone feature that allows drivers to remotely monitor and control their Teslas without their keys only works as far as the smartphone has a signal. Ryan Negri found that out the hard way when he and his wife went for a drive without the key fob to test out the feature. Chalk this one up to an experiment gone bad.

As Negri himself told the tale in an Instagram post, he and his wife, Amy, tested the new feature by going on a quick drive to “take some photos of the freshly fallen mountain snow.” The whole experiment was running smoothly until Negri had to adjust “Mozy & Millie’s car bed” (most likely their dogs). Negri then went out of the car to do just that, but just as he was about to get back in, he found himself locked out of the car, unable to not only get back in, but just as important, to restart the car.

Apparently, Tesla’s keyless smartphone feature has one pretty important requirement for it to function properly: cellular signal. Since they were in the middle of the dessert, six miles away from home as Negri recounted, cell phone signal was about as scarce in the area he was in as a golden goose laying golden eggs. Fortunately, Negri’s wife Amy (the heroine of the story) took it upon herself to run two miles to get cellphone signal before calling a friend to hitch a ride back home to get the Tesla’s key fob.

Not surprisingly, Negri directed some of his ire towards Tesla for not having contingency plans in place to prevent incidents like the one he and his wife found themselves in. More importantly, though, he also promised to have the key fob with him every time he drives the Model S, as he should have in the first place.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Gets Shut Out In Missouri; Autopilot Features Now Back Live

Tesla’s issues with a number of U.S. states regarding the sales of its vehicles are well-documented. It’s had problems in New Jersey and Arizona in the past and it’s got a pending case in Utah that has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. Now the California-based electric car maker can add Missouri among its headaches after getting shut out on a license renewal for selling new vehicles in the state.

Tesla’s woes in Missouri stems from a lawsuit filed by the Missouri Auto Dealers Association back in 2015 against the state’s revenue department. The suit alleged that the Tesla’s unique direct-to-consumer sales model violated state laws. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green then ruled in MADA’s favor back in August 2016, calling for the Missouri Department of Revenue to not renew its motor vehicle dealer license since the company itself is the owner of the models it sells and not a franchisee.

According to Electrek, Tesla is planning to appeal the decision but after getting denied a motion to stay or temporarily halt the ruling in the course of the appeals process, the company is now being forced to shut sales operations of its stores in Kansas City and Universal City.

The decision is understandably frustrating for Tesla as it now faces the unenviable task of closing sales operations while the Court of Appeals decides on the issue. In the meantime though, it appears that the automaker has its hands tied on the matter and, as such, will be forced to make some very difficult decision regarding its employees in the state.

In more positive news, Tesla’s new Autopilot hardware system is about go live on a handful of Tesla models as the automaker has begun enabling some of the self-driving features that were disabled back in October. The installation of new equipment – cameras, sensors, and radar – that support fully autonomous driving was touted as one of the significant reasons behind the decision to shut down these features temporarily. But now that the first 1,000 Tesla models have been installed with the new hardware, the automaker has begun enabling features like Traffic Aware Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and Autosteer on these models.

The decision to start enabling these features is part of a long-arching plan by Tesla to slowly bring back the old features that were used in the previous-generation Autopilot system. “These features operate on a new hardware and software platform,” the company said in a statement. “Their rollout will be measured and cautious until we have generated confidence across several hundred million miles of real-world usage. Enhanced Autopilot will become better over time as this experience is gained and corner cases are addressed.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Is Tesla Bringing Back The Model That Started It All?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter account is a great follow, largely because he uses it as a tool to drop some pretty important information about the company. Remember that “big announcement” that turned out to be the next-generation Autopilot system? Well, Musk’s at it again when he replied to a question posed by Uber Design Manager Jelle Prins, who asked Musk if Tesla had plans to bring back the Tesla Roadster.

Musk’s reply? “Some years away, but yes.”

The revelation isn’t exactly “new” news because talk of a new Tesla Roadster has been inside the oven for quite some time. In fact, Tesla’s Nordic Countries manager Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen made similar comments back in May when he said that the Roadster will not only make a return, but it would also look “a little different, little faster, and little bigger” than the original model that was sold from 2008 to 2012.

Bardenfleth-Hansen’s comments were significant, but not as important as coming from the man that runs the whole company. With Musk essentially confirming that the Roadster will return, the speculation surrounding the car will undoubtedly pick up steam as more information about it becomes available.

For better or worse though, such information is unlikely to come soon, since, as Musk put it, the model is still “some years away.” In addition, talk of a Roadster wasn’t even included in Tesla’s second “Master Plan” that Musk outlined back in July 2016. Recent rumors about the new Roadster event pegged it for a 2019 debut so that’s still a full two years away.

A lot can happen in that time and while Musk’s comments are the clearest response we’ve had of the new Roadster’s status, additional details about it are obviously most welcome.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Stubborn Tesla Finally Meets Its Match in Norway

Tesla may be leading the way in advancing electrification and autonomous driving technology, but as braggadocios as the company has gotten in the eyes of a lot of people, it’s not immune to getting a dose of humble pie every once in a awhile. That’s what happened after the electric carmaker reached an out-of-court settlement with 126 Norwegian customers who filed a lawsuit against the company over misleading power outputs attributed to the Tesla Model S.

For those who don’t remember, 126 owners of the Model S in Norway took issue with Tesla’s claims that the Model S P85D delivers a total of 691 horsepower, 467 horses of which is delivered from its rear motor and another 224 ponies coming from its front motor, bringing the total to a “combined” 691 horsepower. Apparently, those Norwegian owners took Tesla up to task for what they asserted as false claims of the total power of the car as they were led to believe that the combined output to 691 ponies could be delivered by the Model S when the truth is it can’t deliver on the promise.

In any event, the case was due to start in court yesterday, until lawyers from both sides told the Oslo District Court in a joint letter that they had decided to withdraw the case after striking a settlement deal. The case, according to Reuters, has since been resolved after Tesla agreed to pay each car owner of the Model S P85D 65,000 Norwegian crowns, or around $7,700 based on current exchange rates.

The settled amount is around half of what each Model S P85D owner was seeking, but it’s still a little more than the $6,000 that the country’s Consumer Disputes Commission asked Tesla to pay to the aggravated owners back in July 2016.

With the case now settled, both sides are likely hoping that the worst is over and Norway can return to being one of the biggest European markets of Tesla. The country has always been one of the world’s top markets for electric cars, but data culled by lobby group Road Traffic Information Council (OFV) indicated that registration of new Tesla cars in Norway dropped by 24 percent in the first 11 months of 2016 compared to the same time period a year ago.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Software 8.1 Coming In A Few Weeks Will Unlock Enhanced Autopilot

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has finally pinned down a date for the arrival of the 8.1 version of the automaker’s “Enhanced Autopilot” software suite, replying to a tweet from a new Tesla Model S owner and saying the new software will go live in “about three weeks” and that its features will be rolled out “incrementally in monthly releases.”

Musk’s response is not as specific as we’d like it to be, but it does fit into the company’s previous statement that the autonomous functions to the new system would only be enabled as soon as the new Autopilot hardware has been validated and calibrated through real-world driving by owners of the Model S and Model X. The automaker’s “Tesla Vision” system is expected to enhance the car’s autonomous driving features and leading to it being capable of Level 5 full autonomous driving by 2018.

To get there, Tesla, according to Musk, will be making monthly updates to the system to add new features into the mix and restore old features like lane keep assist, self-parking, active cruise control, and self-parking. All these features were disabled when Tesla introduced Autopilot 2.0 last month, saying that it was done to “further calibrate the system.”

Now that these features are expected to return in the coming weeks, the clock now starts for Tesla to see through its goal of taking Autopilot 2.0 to levels that its predecessor couldn’t attain. The electric carmaker has never been the type to shy away from setting lofty goals for itself and it did so during Autopilot 2.0’s “surprise” announcement last October when it laid out a timetable to get Tesla models built in 2016 to advance to level 3 autonomy in the coming months, before moving on to level 4 autonomy and then to level 5 autonomy in two years’ time.

That said, these updates are still “subject to regulatory approval” so that’s another angle that owners of the Tesla Model S and Model X should pay attention to once the first wave of Autopilot 2.0’s software updates goes live.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Announces New Autopilot System With Full Self-Driving Capabilities

After more than a week of frenzied speculation, Tesla’s “unannounced” product launch finally took place, and lo and behold, the electric car maker pulled the curtains to reveal the launch of its new Autopilot 2.0 hardware suite. In other words, it was what a lot of people, including some here at TopSpeed, had anticipated – albeit with the added caveat that nobody expected Tesla to jump straight into level 5 autonomy when the hardware is fully operational by 2018.

That’s really the big news here. Level 5 autonomy means that Tesla’s future lineup of vehicles, including the Model 3, will be able to drive by themselves without any sort of physical driving aid from the drivers. Long night at the office and you just want to sleep on the way home? Cars with level 5 autonomy can do help you there. Want to catch up on Mr. Robot on your streaming devices? Go right ahead. Your Teslas will get you where you need to go without you even having to glance up to look at the road.

All of those things are what Tesla’s promising with Level 5 autonomy and while it’s going to take some time to get the hardware fully equipped to perform those functions, the important thing is that the foundation (Autopilot 2.0) is on its way. Tesla’s Model S and Model X units will receive the hardware moving forward and once the Model 3 is released, it too will be equipped with the same equipment. It’s worth noting too, based on previous reports, that Tesla has already made plans to fit the new equipment into Model S and Model X units that were in production before today’s announcements. Those models already had the mounting hardware and wiring to accommodate the equipment when it becomes ready and available.

So where does this leave is in the short term? Well, Tesla says that tech still isn’t ready to maximize its full potential. That will happen by 2018. In the meantime, the company will continue to “further calibrate the system,” which essentially disables certain features already attributed to the current Autopilot system already on the road. This is an important piece of information that Tesla owners should heed because abilities like automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding, and active cruise control will be disabled until Tesla brings them back up live through over-the-air-updates.

Slowly, but surely, these OTA updates will allow the Autopilot 2.0 system in Tesla models built in 2016 to advance to level 3 autonomy in the coming months, before moving on to level 4 autonomy and then to level 5 autonomy in two years’ time.

Not too bad for an “unannounced” product launch, but we have to admit, we’re a little salty that we didn’t at least get more information about the Model 3.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model 3's First Year Of Production Is Sold Out

Elon Musk’s Twitter account has been a go-to source for breaking news recently, and the Tesla CEO once again took less than 140 characters to announce (somewhat indirectly) that the Model 3’s first year of production has sold out. The company’s founder revealed the enlightening information while responding to an article shared by Fortune Magazine saying that new rounds of reservations for the Model 3 aren’t expected to be reopened for another two years.

The news marks the first time that Musk or anybody from Tesla has commented about the Model 3’s production status since May when the automaker confirmed that it had received more than 370,000 reservations for the entry-level model. Tesla has been quiet on that front since, but with Musk’s tweet, we at least get a good idea on the timetable for reservations on the car to re-open.

Tesla is still targeting a mid-2017 date to begin production of the car with a goal of getting the first wave of models delivered later in the year. At its current rate, the automaker is still in the process of ramping up its production capacity to accommodate all the Model 3 orders that have arrived. It’s only expected to deliver around 80,000 units in 2016, which is a big improvement from the 50,000 units it delivered in 2015. That number is expected to go up again in 2017 onwards as the company gears up to start production of the Model 3. The goal, according to Fortune, is to have manufacturing capabilities to produce around 500,000 models, many of which are likely going to be the Model 3.

In the meantime, those who have made the $1,000 refundable deposit on the car will have to continue to wait for their names to be called and those looking to join the long queue for the Model 3 will have to wait a little while longer to get in line.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla's Big Announcement "Needs Refinement;" Delayed by Two Days

The speculation surrounding Tesla’s “unexpected” product launch will have to wait a few more days because according to CEO Elon Musk himself, the “product” still needs “a few more days of refinement.” So the launch has now been moved to Wednesday, October 19, 2016, giving us two more days to wait with baited breath on what Tesla has up its sleeves.

The delay is obviously a bummer because a lot of people have circled today in their calendars as a big day for Tesla. The electric car maker might possibly be disappointed too that it couldn’t live up to its earlier promise. But considering how significant this product launch is shaping up to be, waiting for Tesla another two days to iron out whatever kinks this product has should be worth the wait.

Here’s the thing though. The speculation surrounding what Tesla plans to launch may have been made clearer by Musk including the word “refinement” in his tweet earlier today. Refining something in two days is difficult if we’re talking about something big on the physical and tangible side. It’s unlikely that these refinements are for an actual car, so that potentially rules out the possibility of seeing the production version of the Model 3 or the early iteration of the Model Y.

On the other hand, refining something of a smaller physical scale like the hardware for the new Autopilot 2.0 system now makes more sense because it’s easier to handle and work on compared to making sweeping changes on an actual car.

So does this mean that Tesla’s big reveal for Wednesday is now the Autopilot 2.0? We’re not going to get any confirmation until the actual launch, but from the way it looks, the next-generation version of Autopilot may now have the inside track.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Jobs In Technology Are So Competitive, One Company Is Offering A Tesla Model 3 To Recruits

If you’re gonna make it in the tech world, then you’ve gotta surround yourself with the best people possible. But the tech elites out there don’t come cheap, and finding the right incentives to draw them in can be a challenge. One company in Seattle has the right idea – offering to park one of the most in-demand automobiles in the country right in their driveway. Of course, I’m talking about the Tesla Model 3.

That’s the strategy taken by Axon, a division of Taser, which develops, manufactures, and distributes products like electrical weapons and body-worn cameras for law enforcement.

According to a report from the Seattle Times, Axon is offering to purchase the $35,000 all-electric sedan for candidates in select positions, such as web developers and engineers. After working for 90 days at Axon, new hires can sign up for the car waiting list. Existing employees can also secure a spot on the waiting list by referring three employees for select roles.

Tesla revealed the Model 3 sedan on March 31, 2016, amid a flurry of interest. A week after unveiling the Model 3, Tesla accumulated well over 300,000 pre-orders. Deliveries are expected to commence towards the end of next year.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Is Tesla Preparing To Unveil The Model Y?

There’s been a lot of talk about Tesla’s upcoming product unveiling next week and speculation is growing that the electric car maker is preparing to debut a new model, specifically the Model Y. While there’s still no confirmation from Tesla about which product it plans to unveil, the sentiment is that it’s going to be the small crossover that will officially kickstart the company’s second “Master Plan” vision that CEO Elon Musk outlined back in July 2016.

The unexpected launch of the Model Y would certainly come as a surprise, but it isn’t too much of a shock given that Tesla has already confirmed plans to build it at some point. Details are still scarce surrounding the crossover but it is expected to be based on the Model 3’s architecture and will carry some styling similarities with the bigger Model X, minus the latter’s controversial falcon doors.

Other than these bits and pieces of rumored details, Tesla has plenty of information to share next week about the crossover, if it does end up being the subject of the company’s hastily organized (or is it?) product launch. That said, it’s also possible that the company could go a totally different direction and possibly reveal more information about the Model 3, or it could launch a new hardware version of its Autopilot system.

Whatever the case may be, there’s going to be a lot of people who’ll be keeping tabs on the product launch as it happens. That includes us, of course.

Note: Tesla Model X shown above.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon This Tesla Roadster Prototype Could Be Yours For $1 Million

Valued at more than $4 billion, Tesla Motors is among the 100 most valuable brands in the world as of 2016. This spectacular achievement is the result of the success the company had with the Model S and Model X, but it’s also due to the massive investments the company made to create innovative technology that made owning an electric car a much simpler experience. With Tesla experiencing its greatest period yet, some owners are now trying to make a few extra bucks off the company’s increasingly popular name. Specifically, someone listed an early Tesla Roadster prototype on eBay for no less than $1 million.

The vehicle in question was built in 2008 and based on its VIN, is the 32nd Roadster ever made. This makes it one of approximately 33 prototypes built, some of which were destroyed for crash testing. Not only rare, the electric drop-top also features the early gear shift knob not found on most production model and it’s in tip-top condition, with just 18,100 miles on the clock.

Now with its third owner, the Roadster is registered in California and it’s in perfect working condition with a battery range of about 160 miles. The owner claims to have detailed service records, including documentation from when the power module replaced by Tesla’s service center, and says that this specific model was originally used as a marketing vehicle. The car comes with a hard top, soft top, portable charger, and 240V wall charger.

The ad will expire Monday, October 17, unless someone actually pays one million bucks. The “Make Offer” button suggests that the owner is willing to negotiate.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon RemetzCar Builds World's First Tesla Model S Hearse

One of the funny things about popular cars is that they often get turned into something completely new. Hand something stock to the right set of hands, and the first step is usually a convertible – just chop off the top, add some water-resistant fabric in case it rains, and call it day. The next step is usually a limo – cut it in half, add some extra sheet metal, and voila, you’re free to roam in an expanded rear seat. After that, you start getting into the weird stuff. Enter the Tesla Model S Hearse.

Just in time for Halloween, RemetzCar has unveiled what’s believed to be the first-ever Tesla-based Hearse.

According to RemetzCar’s website, the Netherlands-based automaker first started by removing the all-electric vehicle’s battery pack, which runs the length of the floor. Then, the lightweight body was cut in half, and an extra 80 cm (approximately 31.5 inches) was added in between. After piecing it all together and reinstalling the battery in the floor, the whole thing measures out at 227 inches (nearly 19 feet).

In addition to the increase in length, RemetzCar also added a high roof area in the stern, with glass siding that actually follows the angle of the stock Model S roofline. That’s sure to keep it somewhat aerodynamic – no point in wasting precious electricity on the way to the graveyard.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Three Brothers From Austria are Doing EV's the Right Way and Tesla Should be Worried

Time and time again entrepreneurs and small startups have been the driving force between some of the world’s best and biggest companies. Want proof? Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Google, and even Amazon all started with a small crew working from some garage. In fact, Amazon got started by negotiating and signing its first contracts at a Barnes & Noble. Now another small startup is unfolding in Austria, and it has the solution to building battery packs that not even your boy Elon Musk over at Tesla has been able to come up with.

The company’s name is Kreisel Electric GmbH, it’s ran by three brothers, and is headquartered in a three-bay garage in the small Austrian town. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the company recently got a lot of publicity for the electric conversion it did to the new Porsche Panamera that was able to outshine Tesla’s Model S in some regards. But, that’s not the only thing that’s drawing the company attention. It has a unique and patented process of building lithium-ion battery packs that gives them an edge. By using laser-welding and thermal cooling, the lithium-ion cells are completely preserved throughout the production process.

Because of this, the battery packs that the company makes can push a car farther and faster than anything any automaker, including Tesla, has made to date. So far, the company has been supplying battery packs and electric drivetrains to manufacturers, designs lithium-battery production lines for OE manufacturers, and is creating prototypes for “top-tier carmakers.” While we don’t know much about who Kreisel is selling to, Automotive News reports that the company is fielding as many as 20 inquiries about its products per day, with automakers like BMW, McLaren, and Volkswagen expressing interest as well.

Just recently, Kreisel announced its first major order from VDL, a Netherland-based company that wants as many as 2,000 electric powertrains and battery packs for its fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. When asked by Automotive News why VDL chose to go with Kreisel, Erik Henneken – VDL’s Business Manager – said, “We have chosen Kreisel because they have developed a very nice battery with some patented characteristics better than Tesla. Kreisel is dynamic startup yet very professional in what they do. They grow rapidly but remain in control.”

The guys over at Kreisel obviously seem to have a pretty good handle on what they are doing and expect to sell as many as 50 million battery cells or more in the next year alone. It just broke ground on a 68,000 square-foot battery factory that will have a capacity of 800 megawatt-hours per year. That factory will be built using money earned from sales, not investments from outside sources.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Model S Crashes Into Florida Gym

Another day, another crash involving a Tesla Model S. This latest episode took place in late August in Lighthouse Point, Florida where a Model S abruptly accelerated as it was parking, causing it smash through a front window of a local gym. Fortunately, the nobody was injured from the crash, which the driver blames on the car accelerating by itself. Tesla has since reviewed the vehicle’s logs remotely and to no one’s surprise, it placed the blame on the driver accidentally pressing the gas pedal.

The accident is similar to a previous incident that occurred in California back. In that case, the driver also claimed that his Model X accelerated by itself, causing it to crash into a building. Tesla also blamed that crash to driver error after also reviewing the Model X’s vehicle logs.

The incident in Florida is the latest in a string of high profile crashes involving Tesla vehicles. A surveillance video from inside the gym captured the horrific accident. Halfway through the two-minute the video, the Model S appears in the video where it’s about to reverse into an available parking slot. Then in an instant, it accelerates straight into the front glass window of the gym, resulting in heavy damages to both the car and the property.

What’s worth noting is that had the accident occurred 40 seconds earlier, it could have taken a woman who looked to either be an employee of the gym or its actual owner. That’s about the only silver lining that happened in this crash and it’s going to be interesting how this incident is resolved.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Launches Updated Autopilot System

Tesla has been hard at work refining its AutoPilot system after a number of AutoPilot-related accidents brought the automaker under fire. In August, we told you about AutoPilot 2.0 that would include new hardware and new software programming to the Model S, Model X, and Model 3. (art174111) Then a couple of weeks later, Tesla announced an update that brought new safety restrictions to the system to help prevent drivers from becoming distracted while AutoPilot was engaged. Now, Tesla has announced yet another software update that focused around how the system sees the world using the built in Radar system found in each Tesla vehicle.

Every Tesla vehicle built since 2014 has had a radar system as standard equipment, but until now, that system has been secondary to the primary camera and image processing system. See, radar has limitations as it sees some things differently than we do. For instance, anything that is metallic – like a chrome bumper – can throw the system off. Something like the bottom of a beer can lying in the road can look much larger to a radar system. This obviously poses problems with the radar system being used as a primary system, but Tesla has found a workaround.

This newest update, dubbed Software 8.0, will use the radar system to take snapshots 10 times per second to create a 3D picture. By comparing these shots with one another, along with the car’s velocity and expected path, the system can determine whether or not something is a real obstacle and the probability of a collision. Furthermore, fleet learning comes into play as well. When a Tesla approaches an overpass with road signs, the system often sees this as something in the road. To tackle this, the system will take note of the potential obstacle and the driver’s reaction. This information is then sent to the cloud where it is compiled and analyzed. After so many passes, a certain area can be whitelisted as safe so that every Tesla vehicle driving through the area with AutoPilot engaged knows that the overpass is an overpass and not a truck in the road or some other obstacle. It should be noted that this part of the system will function whether AutoPilot is engaged or not.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Charging more for Autopilot Feature

You have to give Tesla some credit. In the face of all the scrutiny surrounding its Autopilot feature, the EV car manufacturer still understands that it’s in the business game and that game is all about making money. So while the company’s announcement of a new 100 kWh battery pack for the Model S and Model X P100D variants understandably grabbed the headlines, Tesla managed to also increase the price of the Autopilot feature from right under our noses.

Whereas the price for the Autopilot system amounted to $2,500 before or $3,000 to be enabled after delivery of the car, Tesla has increased the number to $3,000 and $3,500, respectively. Apparently, the price increase isn’t because of the new sensors that Tesla is reportedly adding for the second-gen version of the system. According to Electrek, a Tesla spokesperson referred to the price increase as nothing more than a “better reflection” of the system’s actual value.

Whether that is the case or not, the timing of the increase is curious given the rash of negative publicity that has been attributed to the Autopilot system. One would think that Tesla would try to keep a low profile on the feature until it sorts out the quirks, thus having a better justification for a price increase. But the company opted to do it now. Similar features aren’t exactly popping up everywhere these days so while the field is still relatively barren compared to what it’s going to be in a few years, a $500 increase isn’t that big of a deal for customers who have spent or are willing to spend north of $60,000 on either a Model S or a Model X.

Skeptics can criticize all they want; at the end of the day, Tesla is still in the money-making business and this 20-percent increase in the price of the Autopilot feature should be a good source of extra revenues for Elon Musk and company. Now about making the system safer for its drivers…

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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