Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”

June 12th, 2019
A Tesla sedan on a city street charges at a charging station.

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Tesla held a shareholder meeting in Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday afternoon, and CEO Elon Musk addressed the audience on a number of issues facing the company before taking questions from shareholders.

Tesla had a complicated first half of the year. It achieved significant Model 3 delivery, but reportedly sluggish demand for the Model S and X has dragged the company down. Some analysts have turned bearish on Tesla after Musk promised profitable quarters going forward in Q4 2018 but then missed profitability badly in Q1 2019.

But Musk defended his company's health in his initial statement to the audience. He told shareholders "I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem... Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter... if not, it's going to be very close." Musk added that 90 percent of orders are coming from non-reservation customers.

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Posted in battery electric vehicles, cars, Energy, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla keeps a promise to early Full Self-Driving customers—sort of

June 5th, 2019
Elon Musk

Enlarge (credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Tesla customers who purchased the "Full Self-Driving" package prior to March 1 will soon get access to a new perk, the company told Ars Technica on Tuesday: priority access to new software releases. The move is an effort fulfill a commitment the company made in a March 1 blog post, though what Tesla is actually delivering isn't quite what Tesla promised.

The March post, titled "Upgrading to Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability," offered the owners of existing Tesla vehicles an opportunity to activate Tesla's driver-assistance packages at lower prices than Tesla had been charging previously.

This angered some existing customers—especially those who had prepaid for the "Full Self-Driving" package. People had paid thousands of dollars for this option in 2016, 2017, 2018, or early 2019. But by March 2019, they hadn't gotten anything for their money because the technology wasn't ready yet. Many were miffed that Tesla was now offering other customers a better deal on the same package, and they felt that Tesla should offer partial refunds to customers who paid the old, higher price.

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Posted in cars, Early Access Program, Elon Musk, full self-driving, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla sold greenhouse gas credits to Fiat and… GM?

June 3rd, 2019
Tesla sold greenhouse gas credits to Fiat and... GM?

(credit: Jeffrey Sauger / Chevrolet)

GM and Fiat Chrysler have reported that they purchased federal greenhouse gas emissions credits from Tesla, according to filings made to the state of Delaware and viewed by Bloomberg.

Both the US federal government and California offer automaker credits for selling zero-emissions vehicles. Those automakers can then sell those credits to automakers who exceed their pollution restrictions in a sort of cap-and-trade system that imposes extra cost on automakers not improving the fuel efficiency of their fleet.

Tesla has reported sales of its credits for years, but generally the buyers have been kept private. An exception to this occurred in April, when the Financial Times discovered a deal between Fiat Chrysler and Tesla that was reportedly worth hundreds of millions of euros. According to FT, Tesla had allowed Fiat to pool its European fleet with Tesla's in order to meet strict EU average fuel-economy emissions laws.

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Posted in cars, emissions, Energy, Federal, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla’s next big feature is… a port of Cuphead?

June 3rd, 2019
Screenshot from a video game that looks like a drunken hallucination.

Enlarge / Access to playable scenes like this are why I bought a Tesla and not a PS4. (credit: Studio MDHR)

After March's announcement that the hard-as-nails, retro-stylized platformer Cuphead was coming to the Nintendo Switch, we wondered what platform might be the next to see a port. Anything from iOS or PS4 to Linux or Google's upcoming Stadia seemed at least plausible.

We did not, however, think of the Tesla car line as the next Cuphead port platform. And yet here we are, listening as Elon Musk announced during a podcast interview this week that Cuphead is "working" on the car's central-console touchscreen.

Maja Moldenhauer from Cuphead developer Studio MDHR confirmed the work on the limited port to IGN's Ryan McCaffrey, saying Tesla only required that the game "play super, super clean" on the car's internal hardware. For this reason, the game will only work by plugging in a wired USB controller rather than allowing for controls directly on the touchscreen itself (or with the Tesla's steering-wheel buttons). And before you ask, the car has to be in park to play the game, a move that probably makes Tesla's lawyers very happy.

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Posted in Atari, cars, Gaming & Culture, studio mdhr, Tesla | Comments (0)

Consumer Reports: Latest Autopilot “far less competent than a human”

May 22nd, 2019
A Tesla Model 3.

Enlarge / A Tesla Model 3. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

In recent weeks, Tesla has been pushing out a new version of Autopilot with automatic lane-change capabilities to Model 3s—including one owned by Consumer Reports. So the group dispatched several drivers to highways around the group's car-testing center in Connecticut to test the feature. The results weren't good.

The "latest version of Tesla's automatic lane-changing feature is far less competent than a human driver," Consumer Reports declares.

Tesla introduced its Navigate on Autopilot feature a few months ago, but at first, it would ask the driver to confirm lane changes. More recently Tesla has given drivers the option to have Autopilot initiate lane changes without confirmation. But CR's reviewers argue that feature isn't ready for prime time.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Consumer Reports, Navigate on Autopilot, Tesla | Comments (0)

Thanks Autopilot: Cops stop Tesla whose driver appears asleep and drunk

May 18th, 2019
Thanks Autopilot: Cops stop Tesla whose driver appears asleep and drunk

Enlarge (credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Police in the Netherlands on Thursday arrested a Tesla driver who had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel while driving down the highway. A Dutch police agency reported the arrest on Instagram.

A 50-year-old man was spotted driving close to the car ahead of him on the A27 road. "When we came alongside, the driver appeared to have fallen asleep," the police said.

Police signaled for the driver to pull over, but he didn't seem to notice. Eventually, the officers managed to wake the driver up using a siren, the Instagram post says. Police administered a blood alcohol test and found the driver to be under the influence of alcohol. (The Instagram post cites a BAC level of 340ug /l, which—if my math is right—is a BAC of 0.34 percent in American units.)

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Netherlands, Tesla | Comments (0)

Autopilot was active when a Tesla crashed into a truck, killing driver

May 16th, 2019
Autopilot was active when a Tesla crashed into a truck, killing driver

Enlarge (credit: National Transportation Safety Board)

A Tesla Model 3 had Autopilot active in the seconds before it crashed into a semi truck in March, killing the driver, the National Transportation Safety Board reported on Thursday.

Jeremy Banner was driving his Model 3 on a divided four-lane highway in Palm Beach County, Florida. As the car approached a driveway, a semi truck pulled out in front of the car, making a left-hand turn from the driveway to the opposite travel lanes.

The Tesla was moving at 68mph (110km/h) and slid under the truck's trailer. The trailer sheared off the top of the car, killing Banner. The vehicle continued down the road for another 1,600 feet (500m) before coming to a rest in the median.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Elon Musk, Jeremy Banner, model 3, Tesla | Comments (0)

$2.34 billion fundraise gives Tesla much-needed breathing room

May 3rd, 2019
Man in T-shirt and sunglasses waves at crowd before speaking into microphone.

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2018. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Strong investor appetite for Tesla's stocks and bonds has allowed the company to raise more money than it had original anticipated, Tesla disclosed in Friday financial filings. As we reported yesterday, the electric vehicle maker was planning to sell a mix of debt and equity worth at least $2 billion.

In a Friday filing, Tesla said it had actually raised $2.34 billion in an underwriting deal spearheaded by Goldman Sachs. Tesla sold shares worth $737 million and convertible notes worth $1.6 billion. Underwriters will have the option to buy an additional $350 million in stock and debt over the next month.

In recent months, skeptics have argued that Tesla's debt-laden balance sheet and disappointing financial results would make it difficult for the company to raise more money. But this week's results laid those concerns to rest.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, fundraising, Tesla, Wall Street | Comments (0)

With cash dwindling, Tesla seeks to raise $2 billion in debt and equity

May 2nd, 2019
Elon Musk holds court in a leather bomber jacket.

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: Chris Saucedo/Getty Images for SXSW)

For the last year, Elon Musk has insisted that Tesla can reach sustained profitability without raising additional cash from investors. But the company is now tacitly admitting that it was wrong, filing papers to raise another $2 billion by selling a mix of debt and equity.

Tesla is seeking to raise money just a few days after reporting an unexpectedly large loss in the first quarter of 2019. That release showed Tesla with dwindling cash in the bank—from $3.7 billion at the start of the year to $2.2 billion on March 31.

The lower cash balance primarily reflected one-time events—paying off a $920 million loan and having a bunch of cars in transit to customers at the end of the quarter. Still, having only $2.2 billion in the bank is a precarious situation for a company that has been known to lose more than $700 million in a single quarter.

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Posted in cars, debt, Elon Musk, equity, fundraising, shares, Tesla | Comments (0)

Family sues Tesla over deadly 2018 Autopilot crash

May 1st, 2019
The charred remains of Walter Huang's Tesla Model X.

Enlarge / The charred remains of Walter Huang's Tesla Model X. (credit: S. Engleman / NTSB)

The family of deceased Model X customer Walter Huang has sued Tesla and the state of California in state court, the family's attorneys announced on Wednesday.

"Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers," family attorney Mark Fong said. He says the family wants to make sure that other drivers don't suffer Huang's fate.

Huang died in March 2018 while traveling on a freeway in Mountain View, Calif. He had Autopilot engaged as his Model X approached a point where an exit lane diverged on the left-hand side of the road. His Tesla struck a concrete barrier dividing the two lanes, and he died from his injuries.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, lawsuits, model x, Tesla, Walter Huang | Comments (0)