Archive for the ‘Tesla’ Category

Waymo CEO dismisses Tesla self-driving plan: “This is not how it works”

January 22nd, 2021
Waymo CEO John Krafcik speaks in 2018.

Enlarge / Waymo CEO John Krafcik speaks in 2018. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Many Tesla fans view the electric carmaker as a world leader in self-driving technology. CEO Elon Musk himself has repeatedly claimed that the company is less than two years away from perfecting fully self-driving technology.

But in an interview with Germany's Manager magazine, Waymo CEO John Krafcik dismissed Tesla as a Waymo competitor and argued that Tesla's current strategy was unlikely to ever produce a fully self-driving system.

"For us, Tesla is not a competitor at all," Krafcik said. "We manufacture a completely autonomous driving system. Tesla is an automaker that is developing a really good driver assistance system."

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Tesla’s main self-driving rival isn’t Google—it’s Intel’s Mobileye

January 13th, 2021
A man at a podium smiles while holding up a palm-sized computer component.

Enlarge / Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua shows off a silicon photonics lidar chip slated for introduction in 2025. (credit: Mobileye)

One of the most underrated companies in the self-driving technology sector is Mobileye, an Israeli company that Intel purchased for $15 billion in 2017. Mobileye is the largest supplier of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that ship with today's cars. In a Monday interview at the virtual CES conference, Mobileye explained its strategy to stay on top as the industry shifts to fully self-driving vehicles.

Mobileye's self-driving strategy has a number of things in common with that of Tesla, the world's most valuable automaker. Like Tesla, Mobileye is aiming to gradually evolve its current driver-assistance technology into a fully self-driving system. So far, neither company has shipped products with the expensive lidar sensors used in many self-driving prototypes.

And like Tesla, Mobileye has access to a wealth of real-world driving data from its customers' cars. Tesla harvests data directly from Tesla customers. Mobileye has data-sharing agreements with six car companies—including Volkswagen, BMW, and Nissan—that ship Mobileye's cameras, chips, and software.

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Posted in Amnon Shashua, autopilot, cars, Intel, lidar, Mobileye, Tesla | Comments (0)

Elon Musk is the world’s richest person

January 7th, 2021
Elon Musk is the world’s richest person

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson vs Disney)

Elon Musk has become the world's richest man, surpassing previous record-holder Jeff Bezos, according to CNBC. Musk is now worth more than $180 billion.

Musk's rising wealth reflects the meteoric rise of Tesla's stock. The company's share price closed at $816 on Thursday, up almost 8 percent for the day. That share price values Tesla at almost $800 billion—several times more than any other car company.

CNBC says that Musk's rise to become the richest man in the world is the fastest in history. At the start of 2020, just over a year ago, Musk was worth only $27 billion. At the time, Tesla stock traded for less than $100 (adjusting for a 2020 stock split).

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Musk says Apple passed on Tesla acquisition three years ago

December 23rd, 2020
Robotic arms surround an incomplete sedan.

Enlarge / A Tesla Model 3 is seen in the general assembly line at the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, in July 2018. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A few years ago, Elon Musk tried to interest Apple CEO Tim Cook in buying Tesla, Musk said in a Tuesday tweet. "He refused to take the meeting," Musk added.

According to Musk, this occurred in the "darkest days of the Model 3 program"—most likely sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. Musk recently revealed that at one point early in the Model 3 manufacturing process, Tesla was "about a month" away from bankruptcy.

"The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time — from mid 2017 to mid 2019," Musk wrote in November. "Production & logistics hell."

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Posted in apple, cars, Elon Musk, model 3, Tesla, Tim Cook | Comments (0)

Battery prices have fallen 88 percent over the last decade

December 18th, 2020
Battery prices have fallen 88 percent over the last decade

Enlarge (credit: Eric Bangeman / Ars Technica)

The average cost of a lithium-ion battery pack fell to $137 per kWh in 2020, according to a new industry survey from BloombergNEF. That's an inflation-adjusted decline of 13 percent since 2019. The latest figures continue the astonishing progress in battery technology over the last decade, with pack prices declining 88 percent since 2010.

Large, affordable batteries will be essential to weaning the global economy off fossil fuels. Lithium-ion batteries are the key enabling technology for electric vehicles. They're also needed to smooth out the intermittent power generated by windmills and solar panels.

But until recently, batteries were simply too expensive for these applications to make financial sense without mandates and subsidies. Now, that calculus is becoming less and less true. BloombergNEF estimates that battery-pack prices will fall to $100 by 2024. That's roughly the level necessary for BEVs to be price-competitive with conventional cars without subsidies. Given that electric vehicles are cheap to charge and will likely require less maintenance than a conventional car, they will be an increasingly compelling option over the next decade.

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Posted in batteries, BloombergNEF, cars, science, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla Cybertruck Hot Wheels toy ships late—just like real Tesla cars

December 17th, 2020
A stock photo has been photoshopped to show a man holding an entire truck in his two hands.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty / Tesla)

Customers who were hoping to put a radio-controlled Hot Wheels Cybertruck under the Christmas tree will be disappointed this holiday season. Mattel has begun telling customers that the hotly anticipated toy won't ship in time for Christmas due to "unexpected challenges," according to Bloomberg. Mattel is now aiming to ship them by May 1.

Mattel unveiled the toy in February, offering two versions: a 1/64 scale model for $20 and a 1/10 scale model for $400. The larger model, which is slated to have working headlights and taillights, sold out within hours. The smaller model is now sold out as well.

This will be a familiar story for many customers who have preordered Tesla's full-sized vehicles. The Model S and Model X both shipped long after their original launch dates. The Model 3 shipped in 2017 as originally promised but did not reach significant volume until 2018.

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Tesla plans to raise another $5 billion as value soars above $600 billion

December 8th, 2020
A photoshopped image of Elon Musk emerging from an enormous pile of money.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Duncan Hull / Getty)

Tesla is planning to raise another $5 billion from Wall Street, the company announced in a Tuesday morning filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It will be the company's third round of fundraising this year and will bring its 2020 fundraising to $12 billion.

It's a good time for Tesla to raise money because Tesla's stock price hit a record high of $640 on Tuesday—a more than seven-fold increase since the start of 2020. Tesla's market capitalization is now around $600 billion, which means that Tesla's existing shareholders will give up less than 1 percent of their stake from the stock sale.

Still, investors didn't seem thrilled at the news, with Tesla's share price down a little more than 1 percent in morning trading.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, fundraising, model 3, Tesla | Comments (0)

This Arizona college student has taken over 60 driverless Waymo rides

December 7th, 2020
Joel Johnson with a driverless Waymo vehicle.

Enlarge / Joel Johnson with a driverless Waymo vehicle. (credit: Joel Johnson)

Waymo has long kept details about its industry-leading self-driving technology under wraps. The company has done millions of miles of testing in Arizona and California—including thousands of driverless miles with no one behind the wheel. But until last month, almost everyone who experienced those driverless rides was bound by a strict non-disclosure agreement.

In October, Waymo finally pulled back the curtain on its driverless technology. Today customers near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler can hail a fully driverless taxi. They can record rides, publish videos, and talk to reporters about their experiences.

One young Arizonan in particular has leapt at the chance to document the real-world performance of Waymo's driverless taxis. Joel Johnson is an Arizona State University student who is taking a break from college during the pandemic. He lives near Waymo's service territory and has been using some of his free time to put Waymo's driverless taxis through their paces. He says he has taken more than 60 driverless rides in the two months since Waymo opened driverless service up to the public. He has posted more than a dozen videos.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Chandler, Joel Johnson, self driving cars, Tesla, waymo, Waymo One | Comments (0)

S&P 500 adds Tesla, sending stock price soaring

November 17th, 2020
S&P 500 adds Tesla, sending stock price soaring

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson vs Disney)

Tesla will finally be added to the S&P 500 Index, the committee responsible for the index announced after markets closed on Monday. The change will take effect on December 21.

Tesla's stock price jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday. As I write this just before noon on Tuesday, Tesla's stock has given back some of those gains and is up about 7 percent from Thursday's close.

People have trillions of dollars in index funds that track the S&P 500 index. This means that when a stock is added to the S&P 500, fund managers have to add it to their portfolios, pushing up the stock price.

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Posted in cars, Elon Musk, S&P 500, Tesla | Comments (0)

After 12,523 replacements, Feds investigate Tesla Media Control Unit failures

November 17th, 2020
The Telsa logo superimposed on top of a white brick wall

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images/Jonathan Gitlin)

Is one of Tesla's infotainment systems defective by design? That's a question the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to answer. It has started an engineering analysis after hundreds of customer complaints of bricked systems resulted in a preliminary investigation in June.

NHTSA thinks it knows what the problem is: an 8GB eMMC NAND flash memory chip—an SD card in other words—with a finite number of write cycles, fitted to its Media Control Unit. The MCU regularly writes logs to this chip and, within three or four years, reaches the lifetime number of cycles. At this point the touchscreen dies, taking with it functions like the car's backup camera, the ability to defog the windows, and also the audible alerts and chimes for the driver aids and turn signals.

After the regulator's Office of Defects Investigation received 537 complaints, it asked Tesla if it knew of any more problems with the Nvidia Tegra 3-based system, which is fitted to approximately 158,000 Models S (2012-2018) and X (2016-2018). Tesla did, handing over 2,399 complaints and field reports, 7,777 warranty claims, and 4,746 non-warranty claims.

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Posted in cars, infotainment, NAND flash storage, NHTSA, recall, Tesla | Comments (0)