Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

Elon Musk promises big new Tesla Autopilot upgrade, but is it legal?

December 10th, 2018
Big googly eyes have photoshopped onto the windshield of a Tesla sedan.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk is famous for the use of his Twitter feed, where he often engages with his almost 24 million followers. Sometimes it gets him in trouble—as with the case of the infamous "420" tweet that landed both him and Tesla with $20 million in fines. Sometimes it gets him dates, as was the case with a bizarre theory involving an artificial intelligence that some people believe will one day torture digital replicas of people who knew about the intelligence but failed to help usher it into existence. (Yes, really.) And sometimes, Musk just uses Twitter to tell the world what his engineers have cooking.

On Sunday evening, a few hours before appearing on 60 Minutes, Musk engaged in the last of these. First, he just wanted to remind owners of the most recent Tesla vehicle about the most recent update, Navigate on Autopilot:

But then came more momentous news:

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Elon Musk makes mockery of SEC settlement in 60 Minutes interview

December 10th, 2018
Elon Musk makes mockery of SEC settlement in 60 Minutes interview

Enlarge (credit: CBS)

If anyone thought that Elon Musk had turned over a new leaf following a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over illegally manipulating Tesla's stock price, think again. On Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes interviewed the Tesla CEO, which gave Musk an opportunity to let the world know exactly what he thinks about SEC. Spoiler alert: not much.

As you may recall, this all started in August, when Musk took to Twitter to tell his 23.6 million followers that he had secured funding to return Tesla to private ownership via way of an oblique drug reference.

Despite adding "Funding secured," it turned out there was in fact no such possibility. The resulting yo-yo effect on Tesla's stock price led to a deluge of complaints with the SEC from investors both short and long who lost money as a result, and it caused us to question whether or not Musk's presence at Tesla was actually a good thing for the company.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Policy, Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla, Twitter | Comments (0)

It took seven miles to pull over a Tesla with a seemingly asleep driver

December 1st, 2018
The Tesla Model S.

The Tesla Model S. (credit: Wolfram Burner)

The California Highway Patrol on Friday pulled over a Tesla Model S that was traveling down the road—but whose driver appeared to be asleep at the wheel. The vehicle was traveling southbound on Highway 101 in Palo Alto.

Officers said that they were unable to get the man's attention.

"One of the officers basically ended up going in front of the vehicle and basically tried to slow it down," a California Highway Patrol spokesman told KCBS radio. The process took about seven minutes, and the car traveled for about seven miles before coming to a stop.

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Posted in autopilot, DUI, Policy, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla has a problem with racism in its factory—so do many of its rivals

November 30th, 2018
Robotics arms install the front seats to a Model 3 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

Enlarge / Robotics arms install the front seats to a Model 3 at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

At least six black former Tesla employees have told The New York Times that they suffered from racial harassment while working at the company. Three racial discrimination lawsuits have been filed against Tesla since early last year.

One man, DeWitt Lambert, shared a video in which an unidentified man walks around Tesla's factory floor and—addressing Lambert—threatens to "cut you up … so everybody can have a piece of you, n*****."

In a lengthy statement to Ars Technica, Tesla faulted the Times for extrapolating from "a very small number of claims" to paint Tesla in an unflattering light.

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Posted in cars, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, honda, Tesla | Comments (0)

South Australia is fueling energy storage investment

November 27th, 2018
Man assembling Sonnen batteries

Enlarge / An employee working for the manufacturer of solar batteries, Sonnen GmbH, in the Bavarian village of Wildpoldsried in southern Germany is pictured on July 5, 2016. (credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

In September, South Australia confirmed a plan to set up an AU$100 million (USD $72 million) fund to help households purchase home energy storage batteries. Households could receive subsidies of up to AU$6,000 (USD $4,300) on a purchase of a battery that would store electricity either from a solar-panel system or from the South Australian grid. The electricity could then be used during an emergency or a blackout.

After a year as the home of the world's largest grid-tied battery (built by Tesla), South Australia is becoming a hub for battery investment.

Other, non-Tesla battery makers are taking note. This week, German battery maker Sonnen started producing batteries at an old GM Holden factory in Elizabeth, South Australia. Sonnen has long experience in the home energy storage market, deploying batteries for German households before Tesla announced its Powerwall. Now, it intends to use its Elizabeth factory to produce batteries not only for South Australians who hope to take advantage of the government's new subsidies but also to ship home storage batteries to other places in the Asia market, according to PV Magazine.

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Posted in battery, Biz & IT, Energy, home battery, science, Sonnen, South Australia, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair—he’ll stay CEO

November 8th, 2018
Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair—he’ll stay CEO

Enlarge (credit: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla has announced a new chair of its board of directors: Robyn Denholm. The move is part of the deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims that CEO Elon Musk misled investors. The deal required Musk to not serve as chairman for three years. Elon Musk will remain as CEO.

Denholm, who has served on Tesla’s board since 2014, will leave her role as CFO of Telstra, the Australian telecom giant, in six months.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, Robyn Denholm, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla battery will power unusual community storage project in Western Australia

November 7th, 2018

A community storage pilot project using Tesla batteries went live this week in Western Australia, three months ahead of schedule. The 105KW/420KWh pooled storage will act as a sort of locker for excess power produced by homes with solar panels.

The project is an unusual one because it pools battery capacity for homes with solar panels. It was funded by energy company Synergy and government-owned Western Power, which sought 52 customers with solar panels on their homes as participants. The 52 shares of the project were snapped up in two weeks, far more quickly than expected, which accelerated the project's timeline.

Participants will each be allotted 8kWh of storage, which they will "fill" with excess power created by their rooftop solar panels during the day. (This is in theory, of course. Solar-generated electricity can flow back onto the grid, but there's no guarantee that the battery will be charged with solar-generated electrons.) In the evening, customers will "be able to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during peak time without having to outlay upfront costs for a behind-the-meter battery storage system," says a press release from the government of Western Australia.

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Posted in battery, Biz & IT, cars, Storage, Tesla | Comments (0)

Musk: new Tesla summon feature will “follow you like a pet”

November 1st, 2018
Elon Musk in Adelaide, Australia in 2017.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in Adelaide, Australia in 2017. (credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Elon Musk took to Twitter late on Wednesday night to tout Tesla's forthcoming "advanced summon" feature, which he says is due out in about six weeks.

"Car will drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet if you hold down summon button on Tesla app," Musk tweeted.

In another tweet, Musk said that "you’ll be able to drive it from your phone remotely like a big RC car"—though only if the car is within the line of sight.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Elon Musk, Summon, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla’s profitable quarter didn’t translate for Panasonic

October 31st, 2018
A Tesla with Panasonic batteries

Enlarge / Visitors inspect a Tesla Co. Model X electric automobile, fitted with Panasonic batteries, on the Panasonic Corp. exhibition stand at the IFA Consumer electronics show in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In the third quarter of 2018, Panasonic lost $65 million in the branch of the business that makes battery cells to power Tesla's electric vehicles, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company said it had to add production and hire workers more quickly than expected as Tesla aggressively ramped up to producing 4,300 Model 3 vehicles a week.

In September, the head of Panasonic's Automotive Division said that the company was on track to complete three new production lines at Tesla's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, by the end of the year. That would bring the total number of battery-cell-producing lines at the Gigafactory up to 13.

The Model 3 ramp up that ate into Panasonic's bottom line didn't have the same effect on Tesla, which posted its first profitable quarter in several quarters last week. It shares soared.

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Posted in cars, Energy, Finance, gigafactory, panasonic, Tesla | Comments (0)

The ex-SolarCity employee who sued Tesla has quite a litigious past

October 31st, 2018
Workers secure solar panels to a rooftop during a SolarCity Corp. residential installation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, February 8, 2016.

Enlarge / Workers secure solar panels to a rooftop during a SolarCity Corp. residential installation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Monday, February 8, 2016. (credit: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In July 2018, Andrew Staples and two other former employees at the Tesla-owned SolarCity, sued the solar power company, alleging age discrimination, sexual harassment, and anti-LGBT slurs. The charges were dramatic—and Staples is seeking serious compensation. (The case was moved to private arbitration in late August.)

An Ars investigation revealed that Staples has been involved in numerous lawsuits. In addition, his former company and his long-faded non-profit collectively owe more than $660,000 across 13 outstanding wage claims filed in California by people who used to work for him.

One of Staples' accusers is Margie Palmer, who worked for Staples' non-profit in 2011. She told Ars she was only paid a couple of times during her employment. In 2012, she won a wage claim and a civil judgement against the foundation for $9,309.09—but she hasn't collected on that judgment yet. In fact, Palmer says she's lost all hope of ever collecting a penny.

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Posted in a. latham staples, andrew latham staples, andrew staples, Features, latham staples, Policy, SolarCity, Tesla | Comments (0)