Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

Is a 200-300 mile range enough for Tesla to break into electric trucking?

August 26th, 2017

Enlarge / From the bureau of Transportation Statistics: “Long-haul freight truck traffic in the United States is concentrated on major routes connecting population centers, ports, border crossings, and other major hubs of activity. Except for Route 99 in California and a few toll roads and border connections, most of the heaviest traveled routes are on the Interstate System.” (credit: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration)

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Tesla is building electric semis with ranges of 200-300 miles. Tesla has said it will make all details about the semis public at an announcement in September.

Ars reached out to the company to confirm the report, and a spokesperson responded with a statement saying: “Tesla’s policy is to always decline to comment on speculation, whether true or untrue, as doing so would be silly.”

So if the report is true, would a truck with a range of 200-300 miles be enough to win entry into the freight trucking market? Possibly. A 2013 report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado notes that “trucks dominate the market today for freight shipments under 500 miles, which account for almost 80 percent of all domestic freight tonnage.” Freight that needs to travel 500 miles or more tends to be transported by rail, waterways, or pipeline, at least if you’re counting by tonnage (the Bureau of Transportation Statistics counts oil and gas pipeline deliveries as freight).

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Posted in cars, electric, semis, Tesla, trucks | Comments (0)

Report: Tesla is bleeding talent from its Autopilot division

August 25th, 2017

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Self-driving cars are coming, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been pushing his engineers hard to make sure that Tesla stays on the cutting edge. Indeed, in October 2016 he promised that the latest version of the Model S and Model X—cars with Tesla’s new “Hardware 2” suite of cameras and radar—would become capable of full self-driving in the future, with just a software update.

But according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, some Tesla engineers are skeptical that Tesla can keep this promise any time soon. Disagreement about deadlines—as well as “design and marketing decisions”—is causing turmoil inside the company.

“In recent months,” the Journal reports, the Autopilot team “has lost at least 10 engineers and four top managers.” That included the director of the Autopilot team, “who lasted less than six months before leaving in June.”

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Posted in autonomous cars, cars, Mobileye, Tesla | Comments (0)

Hyundai looks to build a >300-mile-range electric car

August 17th, 2017

Enlarge / Signage for an electric car charging booth is displayed at Federation Square car park in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, April 28, 2017. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

On Thursday, Hyundai said that it intends to produce a long-range electric vehicle by 2021 that will be capable of traveling 310 miles on a charge. That vehicle, a luxury Genesis sedan, will follow an electric version of the Kona sport utility vehicle that the Korean automaker hopes to release in the first half of next year. The electric Kona should have a range of 243 miles, Reuters noted.

Along with affiliate company Kia, Hyundai announced eight electric cars and two fuel-cell vehicles coming to market in the near future—a significant jump in the number of electric vehicles (EVs) that the company has planned to bring to market in years prior. Hyundai, like Toyota, has boosted the fuel cell vehicle for years. Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen as fuel and emit water as a byproduct. But the compressed hydrogen that runs fuel cell vehicles is hard to store and hard to transport, so it has been slow reaching the market, although fuel cell vehicles do have the advantage of being fast to refuel, unlike electric vehicle batteries.

Toyota has also recently shown signs that it’s pouring more resources into mass-producing a long-range electric car as well. In July, an article in The Wall Street Journal noted that the Japanese automaker was working on building a battery with a solid electrolyte that would go into production in 2022. With Tesla and Chevrolet rolling out moderately priced EVs with long-range capabilities, other automakers known for moderately priced cars seem to be ready to get in the ring as well.

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Posted in cars, Chevrolet, electric, hyundai, Tesla, Toyota | Comments (0)

Reuters: Tesla looking to start testing autonomous semi in “platoon” formation

August 9th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in April that the company is working on pushing a long-haul electric semi truck to market, which is set to be formally revealed in September. Now, Reuters has viewed e-mail correspondence between Tesla and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles that indicate that the company has discussed testing semi trucks on the state’s roads.

The Reuters report also mentioned that the semis would be outfitted with autonomous functions, so they could traverse the nation’s highways without a driver in the front seat. The e-mails seemed to indicate that Tesla’s semis would “platoon,” that is, drive in a formation such that a number of trucks could follow a lead vehicle. It’s unclear whether the lead vehicle would have a driver, or operate autonomously with a person in the front seat to monitor safety.

The idea of “platooning” autonomous semis is an old one. More than a year ago, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment held an autonomous truck platooning demo that involved automakers such as DAF Trucks, Daimler, IVECO, MAN, Scania, and Volvo. The advantages of platooning is that it’s theoretically safer—if the lead truck slows down, the rest automatically follow. It also offers most of the trucks decreased wind resistance, which could help increase an EV semi’s range—a major concern given the weight freight companies load semis with. Of course, there are social ramifications too. Platooning reduces the number of drivers that a shipping company would have to employ.

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Posted in autonomy, battery, Biz & IT, cars, electric, semi, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla lost $401 million from revenues of $2.7 billion in Q2 2017

August 2nd, 2017

Enlarge / The Tesla Model 3. (credit: Tesla)

On Wednesday afternoon, Tesla released its Q2 2017 financial results: a loss of $401 million from total revenues of $2.7 billion over the three months up until June 30th. That’s more or less the same performance as the company reported for Q1 2017, but it does show a 49 percent jump in revenue and 53 percent jump in vehicle deliveries compared to the same period in 2016. Depending upon whether Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP) were used, the net loss to shareholders was $2.04 per share (GAAP), or $1.33 per share (non-GAAP). It ended the period with $3 billion in cash.

During the quarter, Tesla produced 25,708 Model S and Model X electric vehicles and delivered 22,026 of them to customers. Sales of zero-emissions tax credits brought in another $100 million, and the company’s energy generation and storage activities saw a big increase, bringing in $287 million (compared to $214 million for Q1 2017 and just $3.9 million for Q2 2016). The company’s operating expenses actually decreased compared to Q1 2017, despite spending almost $48 million more on research and development.

In its earnings statement, Tesla revealed that it has been averaging 1,800 Model 3 reservations a day since the handover of the first production cars on July 28th. First deliveries to non-Tesla employees will begin in Q4 this year. Tesla says that production of the Model 3 will be limited by the slowest part of its supply chain and manufacturing process, but the company is confident it can build “just over 1,500 vehicles in Q3.” Output of the new EV is predicted to rise to 5,000 per week by the end of 2017. CEO Elon Musk told an earnings call that “what we have ahead of us is an incredibly difficult production ramp. But I’m very confident we can reach a rate of 10,000 vehicles per week by the end of next year.”

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Posted in Biz & IT, cars, Elon Musk, model 3, Tesla | Comments (0)

Pared-down electric experience: Driving one of the first Model 3s off the line

July 29th, 2017

Tesla

FREMONT, CA—On Friday at Tesla’s factory, Ars got behind the wheel of one of the first Tesla Model 3s off the factory line. It was a quick, 5-minute guided drive around the factory, but it gave a quick impression of what may be Tesla’s most important car.

After all, Tesla has been working up to the launch of the Model 3 for years. CEO Elon Musk’s dream has been to build an affordably-priced electric vehicle for mass production, and he’s consistently framed the the Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X  as luxury vehicles destined to subsidize a lower-priced electric car for the masses.

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Posted in cars, Chevrolet Bolt, model 3, model s, model x, Tesla | Comments (0)

Elon Musk says Tesla Model 3 production starts imminently

July 3rd, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

God bless Elon Musk’s twitter feed. Free of embargo (and occasionally filter), it’s a snapshot into the mind of this driven billionaire and the companies he runs. And thanks to some late Sunday night (or early Monday morning) Twitter action, we now know that Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle is just about to go into production. The fact that the car is, if anything, slightly ahead of schedule should serve as a rebuttal to those who have criticized Musk for an inability to meet deadlines.

Musk says that production volume will grow exponentially, raising the frightening thought of having to abandon what’s left of Planet Earth once all its raw materials have been used to turn into electric cars:

More seriously though, production needs to ramp up quickly to deal with the huge backlog of orders already on hand:

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Posted in Cars Technica, Tesla, tesla model 3 | Comments (0)

Elon Musk says “hardware 2” Teslas will get better self-driving software in June

May 22nd, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday night to let the world know that a revised version of the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot software would arrive on compatible cars next month.

The release will be for the most recent versions of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, built from October 2016 onwards. Earlier Teslas—known as HW1 or “hardware 1” vehicles—used sensors and algorithms from Mobileye (like many other semi-autonomous cars).

However, following a fatal crash in May 2016 that garnered a lot of media attention, the relationship between Tesla and Mobileye broke down and the former decided to develop its own sensor suite and software. (An NHTSA investigation into the crash revealed that the car’s software was not to blame for the accident and that virtually every automatic emergency braking system would also have failed to activate given the specific circumstances of the crash.)

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Posted in Cars Technica, Tesla | Comments (0)

Musk talks Model 3 preparation and gives Model Y hints in financial call

May 4th, 2017

Enlarge / The Tesla Model S. (credit: Tesla)

Tesla posted record revenues of $2.7 billion in the first quarter of 2017, thanks to record auto deliveries. But the company ultimately lost $330 million in the quarter. The market, however, seems forgiving of these losses, showing only a 2.5 percent drop at the time of this writing. The electric vehicle company’s letter to investors primarily focused on the development and impending production of the Model 3, and it may be that investors are willing to wait to see how the more modestly-priced electric vehicle turns out.

The investor letter noted that Tesla is on-track to begin production of the Model 3 in July, after which it expects to churn out “5,000 vehicles per week at some point in 2017, and… 10,000 vehicles per week at some point in 2018.”

The letter also noted that Tesla foresaw some branding issues with the Model 3. “One of our challenges will be to eliminate any misperception about the differences between Model S and Model 3,” the letter noted. “We have seen a belief among some that Model 3 is the newest and more advanced generation of Model S. This is not correct. Model S will always have more range, more acceleration, more power, more passenger cargo room, more displays (two), and more customization choices, and Model S, X, and 3 will all have equivalent Autopilot functionality. We will continue to clearly communicate these distinctions to avoid any misperceptions.”

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Posted in Cars Technica, earnings, financial, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla’s electric semi will be revealed in September, CEO says

April 13th, 2017

Tesla wants to turn internal combustion trucks electric. (credit: Mark Goebel)

Last year, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk wrote an updated version of his 2006 “Master Plan” that predicated the growth of the electric vehicle company. The “Master Plan Part Deux” detailed the company’s ambitions to build a Tesla Semi, which Musk said at the time “should be ready for unveiling next year.”

Now, right on time, Musk tweeted out an update this afternoon: “Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September. Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.”

The CEO added in subsequent replies that the next-generation Roadster would be a convertible and that details on a Tesla pickup truck would be revealed in “18 to 24 months.” Ars reached out to Tesla, which said there were no other details to share at this time besides what was in Musk’s tweets.

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Posted in cars, Cars Technica, Energy, semis, Tesla, trucks | Comments (0)