Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

Elon Musk’s latest defense: Tesla says my tweets were kosher

March 24th, 2019
Elon Musk.

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Elon Musk has filed another round of arguments in his month-long battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a February 19 tweet about Tesla's production goals.

As part of a September settlement, Musk promised to get sign-off from Tesla lawyers for any tweets that "contain, or reasonably could contain" material information—legal jargon for information that's significant for people trading Tesla's stock. The SEC argues that Musk's February tweet, stating that Tesla would produce "around 500k" vehicles in 2019, violated that requirement.

Musk disagrees. He argues that he was merely repeating Tesla's earlier production estimates. And he insists he was entitled to use his own judgment to determine the information was not material—and therefore didn't require pre-approval by Tesla's lawyers.

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Posted in cars, SEC, securities fraud, Tesla | Comments (0)

Good news for the 1,000mph car as Bloodhound gets a new owner

March 24th, 2019

At the end of 2018, things looked pretty bleak for the Bloodhound SSC land speed record project. Breaking a land speed record has never been easy, particularly if the goal is to clear 1,000mph (1,600km/h). You need a highly engineered car, a rigorous test program, and a suitable bit of land upon which to run it. Which in turn means somewhere very flat and remote enough for the neighbors not to mind, but convenient enough that you don't have to also build a bunch of new roads to get there. Bloodhound SSC found that at the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa. But by October 2018, the project entered into administration (a UK equivalent to bankruptcy) when it ran out of funding. By December, with no buyer found, it looked like the dream was over.

Earlier this week, that all changed. The effort—now called Bloodhound LSR—has a new backer, one Ian Warhurst, who bought the assets from the administrators at the end of last year. It's also got a new HQ; the car has moved from its former base in Bristol, England, to SGS Berkeley Green University Technical College (UTC) on the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park (also in England).

"Since buying Bloodhound from the administrators last December, the team and I have been overwhelmed by the passion and enthusiasm the public have shown for the project. Over the last decade, an incredible amount of hard graft has been invested in the project and it would be a tragedy to see it go to waste," Warhurst said in a statement. "Starting with a clean slate, it’s my ambition to let Bloodhound off the leash see just how fast this car can go. I’ve been reviewing the project and I’m confident there is a commercial business proposition to support it. I’ll provide robust financing to ensure there is cashflow to hit the high-speed testing deadlines we set ourselves."

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Posted in Bloodhound LSR, Bloodhound SSC, cars, land speed record | Comments (0)

Don’t buy a Mercedes-AMG GT R unless you plan on taking it to the track

March 24th, 2019

As a beginner or even intermediate musician, you do not hop up on stage with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie (were he still alive). If you're not confident in your ability to keep up with all the chord changes, where you are in the song's form, or the sheer tempo blowing by like a runaway train, it becomes a disaster. But overcoming intimidation and stretching one's self is part of musical growth. The Mercedes-AMG GT R is the automotive Dizzy Gillespie and taking the wheel is the equivalent of sitting in with him. The timid will run away. But then they'd never know how easy it could actually be to sit in with the jazz master.

With aggressive spoilers, a gaping and hungry toothed grille, huge tires and a pounding V8 engine, the AMG GT R glowers as you approach it, much like an imposing Gillespie might at an open jam session... until the music starts. If the GT R could bark or snarl, it would do that, too. Turns out, though, that the big attitude is largely show.

The AMG GT R does not start life as a normal GT or GT S model with additional boost shoveled on top. And you would be a certifiable lunatic to approach anything even half-way near its limits on public roads.

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Posted in cars, Mercedes-AMG GT R | Comments (0)

Local leaders cooling to Boring Company tunnel promises

March 24th, 2019
Boring company tunnel entrance

Enlarge / The Boring Company tunnel entrance with a Telsa on an elevator to lower it down to tunnel-level. (credit: The Boring Company)

Virginia state transit officials are telling The Boring Company "thanks but no thanks," at least for now. The Virginia Mercury reported yesterday that the state's chief of rail transportation, Michael McLaughlin, was not sufficiently impressed by his recent visit to Elon Musk's test tunnel in California to recommend that the state work with the startup.

"It's a car in a very small tunnel," McLaughlin reportedly told the state's Transportation Board public transit subcommittee this week. "If one day we decide it's feasible, we'll obviously come back to you," he added.

Virginia's Transportation Board has been contemplating billion-dollar upgrades to the state's more populated areas, but the promise of The Boring Company is opaque enough that officials are hesitant to engage with the company, even at the cut-rate prices that founder Musk has promised.

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Posted in Biz & IT, boring company, cars, Energy, Transportation, tunnels | Comments (0)

Tesla sues Zoox over manufacturing and logistics secrets

March 24th, 2019
A store front with Tesla's name on it

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday night, Tesla sued four former employees and the self-driving startup Zoox for misappropriation of trade secrets. No, you're not having driverless-car lawsuit déjà vu—you're just remembering the time last year when Waymo and Uber settled their own trade secrets case after four days of trial.

Tesla’s suit, filed in the Northern California federal district court, alleges that four of its former employees took proprietary information related to “warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations” when they left the electric automaker, and later, while working for Zoox, used that proprietary information to improve its technology and operations.

Tesla says the former employees—Scott Turner, Sydney Cooper, Christian Dement, and Craig Emigh—worked in product distribution and warehouse supervising. It alleges that they forwarded the trade secrets to their own personal email accounts or the accounts of other former Tesla employees. “You sly dog you …” Turner allegedly wrote in the body of an email he sent himself, attaching “confidential and proprietary Tesla receiving and inventory procedures, as well as internal schematics and line drawings of the physical layouts of certain Tesla warehouses,” the company's lawyers write in their complaint.

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Posted in cars, Policy, self-driving, Tesla, Zoox | Comments (0)

Fast and fun, but flawed: The Acura RDX reviewed

March 22nd, 2019
The 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD Advance.

Enlarge / The 2019 Acura RDX SH-AWD Advance. (credit: BradleyWarren Photography)

Like anything else, an automobile can evoke mixed feelings. This is especially true for the 2019 Acura RDX, which marks the third generation of Acura's midsize SUV. The luxury automaker offers a pair of SUVs, and the RDX is the first to get a makeover. This is a good thing, because the previous generation of Acura SUVs and crossovers feel dated compared to those from the likes of BMW, Audi, and Volvo. With the RDX, Acura has largely succeeded in making a stylish vehicle that is genuinely fun to drive. At the same time, it has the feeling of a new, first-generation Apple product with unexpected bugs hitting at strange times.

Driving the current generation of Acuras, Infintis, and Lexuses (Acurae, Infiniti, et Lexi?) has largely left me feeling cold. By and large, they are fine SUVs, but for a few thousand dollars more, European carmakers offer a better all-around experience—especially with the infotainment and driver-assist features. The Acura RDX really has the potential to change that. It's the first vehicle from one of the Japanese-owned luxury carmakers that I felt could hold its own against a BMW X3, Volvo XC60, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, or Audi Q5—at least until the bugs started popping up.

The RDX is the smaller of Acura's two SUVs, and this year's refresh sees a number of substantive changes from the second-generation model. Gone is the 3.5-liter V6, replaced by the de rigeur 2.0L, direct-injected, inline-four twin-turbo engine common to compact crossovers. In the case of the RDX, it translates to 272hp (200kW) at 6,500rpm—trailing only the Stelvio from the previous paragraph—and 280lb-ft (380Nm) of torque at anywhere from 1,600rpm to 4,500rpm. Acura accomplishes this in part with a mono scroll IHI turbocharger with a small-diameter and low-inertia turbine, which enables the turbo to build boost at lower RPMs. For the driver, that translates into quick throttle response at most speeds.

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Posted in acura, cars, Crossover, RDX, SUV | Comments (0)

Dashcam video shows Tesla steering toward lane divider—again

March 22nd, 2019
Dashcam video shows Tesla steering toward lane divider—again

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

The afternoon commute of Reddit user Beastpilot—who requested that we not use his real name—takes him past a stretch of Seattle-area freeway with a carpool lane exit on the left. Last year, in early April, the Tesla driver noticed that Autopilot on his Model X would sometimes pull to the left as the car approached the lane divider—seemingly treating the space between the diverging lanes as a lane of its own.

This was particularly alarming, because just days earlier, Tesla owner Walter Huang had died in a fiery crash after Autopilot steered his Model X into a concrete lane divider in a very similar junction in Mountain View, California.

Beastpilot made several attempts to notify Tesla of the problem but says he never got a response. Weeks later, Tesla pushed out an update that seemed to fix the problem.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, safety, Tesla, Walter Huang | Comments (0)

Musk defense “borders on the ridiculous,” SEC tells court

March 19th, 2019
Elon Musk

Enlarge (credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The Securities and Exchange Commission heaped scorn on Elon Musk and his legal arguments in a Monday legal filing. The agency is asking New York federal Judge Alison Nathan to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting a projection of 2019 vehicle output without first getting the tweet approved by Tesla's lawyers.

Musk has been battling the SEC since last August, when he tweeted that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private. That turned out to be untrue, and it's illegal to publish inaccurate information that has the potential to move markets. Under the terms of a September deal, Musk paid a $20 million fine and gave up his role as the chairman of Tesla's board (Tesla paid an additional $20 million).

Musk also promised to have Tesla lawyers review future tweets that could contain information that is "material"—that is, significant enough to affect the price of Tesla's stock.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Funding secured, SEC | Comments (0)

Report: Trump “would never get in a self-driving car”

March 18th, 2019
President Donald Trump, as seen on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia.

Enlarge / President Donald Trump, as seen on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. (credit: Pool Photo/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao, has worked hard to avoid placing regulatory barriers in the way of self-driving cars. But Chao's boss is a driverless car skeptic, Axios reports.

One Axios source had a conversation with Trump in 2017 where he mentioned owning a Tesla with Autopilot technology. According to the source, Trump "was like, 'Yeah that's cool but I would never get in a self-driving car... I don't trust some computer to drive me around.'"

On another occasion, Trump reportedly said, "Can you imagine, you're sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can't stop the f---ing thing?"

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At a quick Los Angeles event, Tesla announces the 300-mile-range Model Y

March 15th, 2019

Tonight in Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a prototype version of the Model Y, the fourth mass-produced vehicle that the electric car maker will bring to market. The vehicle, as expected, will be a larger, SUV-version of the Model 3, much like the Model X was the larger, SUV-version of the Model S.

Musk revealed very few details about the upcoming car, but a few key figures stuck out: the 300-mile, long-range version of the vehicle will go into production in Fall 2020 with an MSRP of $47,000. The 230-mile, standard version will cost $37,000 and go into production in Spring 2021, according to Musk. The Y will seat seven people with 66 cubic feet of storage space.

The vehicle will also have the option of a dual-motor all wheel drive option and a performance option, at an additional cost.

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Posted in battery electric vehicles, cars, Elon Musk, model 3, model y, Tesla | Comments (0)