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From The Editors Technology

Tesla Set to Launch Right-Hand Drive Version of Model 3 in the UK, Next Week

In a Thursday tweet (Apr 25), Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed his company’s plan to launch the RHD version of its latest and, relatively, more affordable electric vehicle, the Tesla Model 3, in the UK next week.

The UK order page goes live “around May 1 or 2,” followed shortly by Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong, while deliveries are expected to begin sometime in the latter half of 2019.

Also, if Musk’s tweet is anything to go by, the company is “hoping to cover all of Eastern Europe this year,” as well.

The billionaire entrepreneur did not offer any timelines, though; however, with his penchant for taking to Twitter at the drop of a hat, we can rest assured there’ll be more from him on that.

Meanwhile, keeping in mind Musk’s reputation of over-committing at times, there is always the possibility that the UK launch may not happen as early as he promises.

But again, with Electrek reporting that an RHD version of the Model 3 was spotted on the I-280 in California, last month, it appears his company is ready to meet the deadline, this time around.

As for pricing for the UK market, there hasn’t been a formal announcement, so far, but Musk did say last month that with country-specific taxes & import duties, we can expect a 25% hike on the US price of $35,000, which would mean a starting price of around £33,900 across the Atlantic.

It goes without saying, that with the UK launch and subsequent launches in other RHD countries, Tesla is looking to offset the loss of $702 million ($4.02 per share) it suffered in the first quarter of 2019 – largely, a consequence of low delivery numbers and issues with costs and pricing adjustments.

Although a loss was on the cards, nobody was expecting it to be as huge as it turned out to be, as Kelley Blue Book’s executive publisher Karl Brauer pointed out in an emailed statement, according to Tech Crunch.

“Everyone expected a first-quarter loss for Tesla, but nobody expected it to be this big,” he wrote. “What’s interesting is how there really isn’t a single, substantial factor driving this.”

According to Brauer, the contributing factors include tax rebate loss, increasing competition, and the saturation of the “initial rush” for the Model 3, not to mention competition from within from other Tesla alternatives.

However, he is hopeful that Tesla would somehow ride the tide and see this lean phase through.

“This is the new normal for Tesla,” he told Tech Crunch.

As for Musk, he’s happy to blame the 37 percent revenue loss in QI on the season, saying that people were disinclined to buying cars in winter.

Is he suggesting that all automakers experience a drop in sales revenue during the winter season? Or is it just Tesla cars they don’t like buying in winter?

Musk has, however, said that the company would change its production and delivery strategy to avoid a repeat of Q1.

“We don’t want a situation again like we had in Q1, where essentially, all the cars were arriving to customers worldwide, all at the same time,” Musk said.

“So it just makes sense to plan production according to demand moving forward,” he added.

As for the Model 3 variants being made available in the UK, your guess is as good as mine!

Will the company offer RHD versions of the two new Model 3 variants it announced last year?

In a series of tweets in mid-2018, Musk announced two new variants of the Model 3 – the dual-motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) Model 3 and the Performance version, which Musk said was capable of zero to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds

While the single motor rear-wheel-drive base model option remains, US buyers can opt for an upgraded version at an additional $5,000, which would not only give them AWD, but also an improved range of 310 miles and a zero to 60mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.

To put that in perspective, the base Model 3 has a maximum range of 220 miles and its stationary to sixty miles per hour time is 5.6 seconds.

The $78,000 Performance version is not only good enough to give the BMW M3 a run for its money – in terms of speed and handling – but it can also “beat anything in its class on the track,” claims Musk – a tall claim, indeed, considering the fact that the M3 is quite a gladiator in the sports sedan arena.

As mentioned, the Performance is capable of zero to sixty in a mere 3.5 seconds, in addition to having a top speed of 155 mph, with a maximum range of 310 miles on a fully juiced-up battery.

The two-motor configuration in the AWD Model 3, including Performance, is conceptualized along the lines of the Model S, with the front motor optimized for range and the one on the back built for power.

Musk claims the car is capable of safely taking you to your destination on any one engine, should the other break down.

If you don’t already know, the all-wheel-drive system in an electric vehicle works differently from that of a petrol or a diesel car where the front and back axles are mechanically connected via a driveshaft so that power is transferred from a single source to all four wheels.

Tesla makes the Model 3 an all-wheel drive by putting another motor up front to power the front wheels, which in effect means that the only connection between the two axles is the surface it drives on, referred to as “through-the-road” system.

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From The Editors Science

Space X’s Starman Roadster Goes Beyond Mars’ Orbit

Elon Musk’s personal cherry-red Tesla Roadster and its mannequin driver Starman – launched into space atop a Falcon Heavy rocket on February 6 this year – have, now, gone past the orbit of Mars.

“Starman’s current location. Next stop, the restaurant at the end of the universe,” read a November 3 Space X tweet, accompanied by a diagram showing the orbit of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars in relation to Starman and his electric car’s location as on November 2, 2018.

The illustration also shows the projected heliocentric orbit of the roadster and the spacesuit-clad Starman, expected to reach its farthest point on November 8, about 155 million miles (1.66 AU) away from the sun, before it loops back in its orbit.

The fact that Musk is an ardent fan of Douglas Adam’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is evident from the second sentence in his company’s tweet, which clearly refers to the second book in the series – “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”

The Space X chief’s fondness for the great writer and the positive influence of the Hitchhiker’s Guide on his life go way back to his teen years, as he acknowledged in a 2013 interview with Fresh Dialogue host Alison van Diggelen.

Musk said he was “around 12 or 15” when was going through an “existential crisis” and trying to find answers to some of the harder questions about life when he happened to come across “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” a book that he referred to as “quite positive.”

The book “highlighted an important point which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer,” he told Diggelen.

“And if you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part. So, to the degree that we can better understand the universe, then we can better know what questions to ask,” he said.

He went on to add: “Then whatever the question is that most approximates: what’s the meaning of life? That’s the question we can ultimately get closer to understanding. And so I thought to the degree that we can expand the scope and scale of consciousness and knowledge, then that would be a good thing,”

In another interview in 2015, Musk once again expressed his admiration for Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide when he acknowledged that “Heart of Gold” from the five-book series was his favorite spaceship.

“The one that’s powered by the Improbability Drive,” he said. “It does the most unexpected things.”

One more proof of the billionaire entrepreneur’s love for the Hitchhiker’s Guide is the fact that the words “Don’t Panic!” that appeared on a cover of the book also featured on the entertainment display panel of Starman’s Roadster – what better tribute to the book and, indeed, the man responsible for it.

In what would turn out be another first for SpaceX, Musk had announced in December 2017 that future test flights of new rockets would carry a Tesla Roadster car, instead of the usual “concrete or steel blocks,” which he called boring.

In a December 22 Instagram post, Musk uploaded the image of the red car alongside a message captioned “A Red Car for the Red Planet.”

“Test flights of new rockets usually contain mass simulators in the form of concrete or steel blocks. That seemed extremely boring. Of course, anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel,” Musk’s post said, adding that the payload would be an “original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit.”

The fact that the Falcon Heavy’s mighty Merlins did give the Roadster enough thrust for it to beat Earth’s gravity, allowing it to go into a heliocentric orbit, went on to show to the world that Musk’s confidence was not ill-founded.

According to calculations by Czech and Canadian researchers, the car and its passenger have a good chance of continuing to remain in space for tens of millions of years before crashing back into Earth or Venus, reported BBC at the time.

The researchers gave the car a 6% probability of crashing into earth, a 2.5% chance of colliding with Venus and little or no chance of hitting either the Sun or Mars in the next million years or so.

“We perform N-body simulations to determine the fate of the object over the next several million years, under the relevant perturbations acting on the orbit,” said Hanno Rein (Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada), Daniel Tamayo (Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Planetary Sciences (CPS) and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA), and David Vokrouhlicky (professor at the Astronomical Institute, Charles University, Prague, in their analysis.

“The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth. The first close encounter with the Earth will occur in 2091,” they said.

“We estimate the probability of a collision with Earth and Venus over the next one million years to be 6% and 2.5%, respectively. We estimate the dynamical lifetime of the Tesla to be a few tens of millions of years,” their analysis also said.

Here are the upcoming key milestones of Starman Roadster as listed by Whereisroadster.com.

  • Far point from Sun on November 8, 2018, at a distance of 1.664 AU.
  • Far point from Earth on February 21, 2019, at a distance of 2.446 AU.
  • Close Approach of Sun on August 14, 2019, at a distance of 0.986 AU.
  • Close Approach of Mars on September 16, 2019, at a distance of 0.649 AU.
  • Far point from Earth on January 17, 2020, at a distance of 2.336 AU.
  • Far point from Sun on May 19, 2020, at a distance of 1.664 AU.
  • Close Approach of Mars on October 6, 2020, at a distance of 0.050 AU.
  • Close Approach of Earth on November 5, 2020, at a distance of 0.346 AU.
  • Close Approach of Sun on February 21, 2021, at a distance of 0.986 AU.
  • Close Approach of Earth on March 29, 2021, at a distance of 0.275 AU
  • Far point from Sun on May 19, 2020, at a distance of 1.664 AU
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From The Editors Technology

Boring is What He Does! Elon Musk Plans to Build Tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk is boring again!

No jibe intended there.

Despite the Tesla turmoil Musk finds himself in the midst of, his desire to keep surging ahead, seemingly, never diminishes.

Well, that’s what his Boring Company’s August 15 announcement, proposing to build an underground tunnel to the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, would apparently suggest.

The proposed high-speed, zero-emission, underground public transportation system, connecting Los Feliz, East Hollywood, or Rampart Village neighborhoods to Dodger Stadium, will transport baseball fans and concertgoers – and everybody else who wants to make the trip in just about 4 minutes at an outrageously affordable cost of about a dollar per ride per person.

And, by the way, the company is officially calling it Dugout Loop – kind of fits, doesn’t it?

The company says Dugout Loop is being built in an attempt to address LA’s traffic woes, to some extent.

It is intended to provide an environment-friendly economical public transport option to some 250,000 people who brave the LA traffic every year to get to their favorite game, or concert, happening at the home to the Los Angeles Dodgers – the city’s Major League Baseball franchise.

While that is a just a small percentage of the number of people who visit the stadium each year, the company says it’s a start and should “complement the existing public transportation systems and provide an all-electric and affordable option” to people headed that way.

The Boring Company said:

“Initially, Dugout Loop will be limited to approximately 1,400 people (approximately 2.5% of Stadium capacity) per event.

“Based on City and community feedback, it could be possible to increase ridership per game to 2,800 per game or event (5% of Stadium capacity).

“Between games and events Dugout Loop would transport 250,000 people per year.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has welcomed the proposal, saying that the innovative idea “could help ease congestion on our roads and make our most iconic destinations more accessible to everyone.”

There are three possible originating points in the western terminus area – including Vermont/Sunset, Vermont/Santa Monica, and Vermont/Beverly stations – that the company says will be “evaluated in the review process,” before deciding on a winner.

Map of the proposed route
Map of the proposed route

The Boring Company says that the likelihood of the tunnel causing any disruptions in the Metro service is nonexistent, as the western terminus’ proximity to the Red Line is, in fact, being planned to “complement the Metro.”

“Dugout Loop does not have any Metro crossings and its western terminus will be close to the Red Line in order to complement the Metro,” said the Wednesday announcement.

“The Boring Company is coordinating with Metro on a regular basis to ensure project compatibility and utility, and will not begin construction until Metro has fully approved of the plan,” it added.

The 3.6-mile-long single-line tunnel between the stadium and the western terminus will run underneath public right-of-way or land belonging to or leased by The Boring Company, while the eastern terminus on the stadium side will be built on “privately owned property at or near the Dodger Stadium parking lot.”

The construction phase is expected to last for about 12-14 months, during which the company proposes to build the tunnel and two Loop Lifts – one each for the eastern and western terminuses – along with 6 ventilation shafts that would also serve as emergency exit points.

The shafts, which shouldn’t take longer than six weeks to complete, will be located on privately-owned property, alongside the alignment.

Concrete “shelves,” which the company plans to install once the tunnel is complete, will serve as the guideway for the electric skates that are capable of zipping through the tunnel at 125-150 miles per hour, carrying a payload of 8-16 passengers at a time.

Powered by multiple electric motors, the emission-free electric skates are fully stabilized autonomous vehicles, a feature that allows for increased safety as it eliminates the human error quotient and the possibility of a skate veering off-course.

Shelves inside the Dugout Loop tunnel will serve as the guideway for electric shelves
Shelves inside the Dugout Loop tunnel will serve as the guideway for electric shelves

The 14-foot-diameter tunnel will be dug at least two diameter lengths deep, with the top of the tunnel running some 30 feet and the bottom 44 feet below the surface of the ground, and may even go deeper to avoid existing underground infrastructure like utilities, bridge piles, pipelines, and the likes.

The electric skates will collect passengers from the surface level at the Dugout Loop terminuses and sink underground, down a Loop Lift consisting of an elevator or a ramp, to the level from where the 4-minute subterranean trip to and from the Dodgers Stadium will start.

Western terminus configuration
Western terminus configuration

Eastern terminus configuration
Eastern terminus configuration

“We were excited when The Boring Company came to us with this project,” Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chief Financial Officer, Tucker Kain, said in a statement.

“Whether it is flying overhead in an aerial transit system or bypassing traffic through an underground tunnel, we are always looking for innovative ways to make it easier for Dodgers fans to get to a game,” he said, going on to say that the franchise was “committed to working with our neighbors and fans as the project moves forward.”

Here are some more reactions on Twitter

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From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Clarifies Position on “Funding Secured” for Taking Tesla Private

Under fire from certain quarters for his tweeted announcement last week, about taking Tesla private, Elon Musk has responded with a rather lengthy blog-post entitled “Update on Taking Tesla Private”, in which he has tried to justify, at length, his position on the entire matter.

Before we discuss what he said in that August 13 update, let’s first do a quick recap of the events leading up to it.

Last Tuesday (August 7), the Tesla and Space X CEO announced his intention to take Tesla private at $420, tweeting confirmation that the requisite funding had been “secured.”

“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” said the tweeted message.

Explaining the “rationale” behind the announcement in an email addressed to Tesla employees, Musk wrote that the intended move, though not finalized, was “all about creating the environment for Tesla to operate best.”

He went on to justify his decision by detailing various financial aspects of taking the Palo Alto-based company private; how it would benefit the shareholders; what it would mean for Tesla employees; how it would augment performance; and so forth.

“Basically, I’m trying to accomplish an outcome where Tesla can operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible, and where there is as little change for all of our investors, including all of our employees, as possible,” he wrote.

“This proposal to go private would ultimately be finalized through a vote of our shareholders. If the process ends the way I expect it will, a private Tesla would ultimately be an enormous opportunity for all of us. Either way, the future is very bright and we’ll keep fighting to achieve our mission,” he concluded.

Apparently, the tweeted announcement didn’t go down well with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and reports suggest that the Federal body has initiated an inquiry, if not an investigation, about the legality of the announcement.

If the Commission’s findings reveal that Musk’s tweeted announcement was indeed in violation of any law/s pertaining to public limited companies, it may attract fines that could well go into hundreds of millions of dollars, or criminal charges, or, perhaps, both.

Not only did the tweet rub the SEC up the wrong way, it also attracted several lawsuits from disgruntled investors who feel that the announcement was made with mala fide intent, one of which was to manipulate share prices.

While requests for comments have so far gone unanswered by Tesla, SEC has declined to comment on the issue.

So, with our memories refreshed, we can now understand why Musk felt the need to give a detailed “Update on Taking Tesla Private,” wherein he explains the chain of events leading up to the announcement; why he said what he did; and what to expect going forward.

Musk is convinced that taking Tesla private is the way to go, not only in the interest of the company’s shareholders but also to enhance operational capabilities and advance the company’s “mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy.”

Defending his decision to go public about taking Tesla private, the charismatic CEO wants us to believe that it was the only way he could have “meaningful discussions” with the company’s “largest shareholders.”

However, not sharing the same information with the rest of the shareholders would have been kind of unethical; hence his decision to shout it out from the rooftop.

He then goes on to say that the announcement was made “as a potential bidder for Tesla” rather than anything else.

“To be clear, when I made the public announcement, just as with this blog post and all other discussions I have had on this topic, I am speaking for myself as a potential bidder for Tesla.”

Looking to diversify away from oil, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, known in the Kingdom as the Public Investment Fund, or PIF, has been in talks with the Tesla CEO about their interest in taking the company private, writes Musk in defense of his “funding secured” comment.

“Going back almost two years, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private,” he says in the blog-post

“They first met with me at the beginning of 2017 to express this interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil,” he goes on.

“They then held several additional meetings with me over the next year to reiterate this interest and to try to move forward with a going private transaction,” adding that the Saudi PIF “has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction.”

Having recently bought almost 5 percent of Tesla stock through the public markets, the Saudis wanted another meeting with the CEO, which Musk says took place on July 31.

“During the meeting, the Managing Director of the fund expressed regret that I had not moved forward previously on a going private transaction with them, and he strongly expressed his support for funding a going private transaction for Tesla at this time,” Musk writes.

Musk’s take from the meeting was that the Saudis were “eager to proceed” and that the Managing Director was the final deciding authority, leaving the meeting convinced that the deal was as good as sealed.

So, what he is basically saying is that the “funding secured” tweet was no pie in the sky.

“I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving. This is why I referred to “funding secured” in the August 7th announcement.”

Talks with the Managing Director is still ongoing, he says, adding that the PIF boss “has expressed support for proceeding subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals.”

“He has also asked for additional details on how the company would be taken private, including any required percentages and any regulatory requirements.”

Musk pledges complete transparency in so far as the “proposed nature and source of the funding to be used” are concerned, “before anyone is asked to decide on going private.”

“I continue to have discussions with the Saudi fund, and I also am having discussions with a number of other investors, which is something that I always planned to do since I would like for Tesla to continue to have a broad investor base. It is appropriate to complete those discussions before presenting a detailed proposal to an independent board committee.”

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From The Editors Technology

Tesla Celebrates Model 3 Production Milestone of 5000 Units Per Week

Tesla shares were up by as much as 6 percent following the company’s announcement today (July 2) that it had not only surpassed the production milestone of 5,000 Model 3 units, but also the Model S and Model X production targets, churning out a combined 7,000 vehicles in a week.

“We did it!!” Musk wrote in his email to Tesla employees, applauding their hard work and contribution in achieving what was considered almost impossible, as recently as a month, or so, ago.

“What an incredible job by an amazing team. Couldn’t be more proud to work with you. It is an honor,” he said.

“The level of dedication and creativity was mind-blowing. We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible,” he added.

The billionaire CEO of Tesla and Space X continued:

“The level of dedication and creativity was mind-blowing. We either found a way or, by will and inventiveness, created entirely new solutions that were thought impossible. Intense in tents. Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes.

Whatever. It worked. Not only did we factory gate over 5000 Model 3’s, but we also achieved the S & X production target for a combined 7000 vehicle week!”

Tesla’s initial plan of achieving the Model 3 target numbers in December 2017 did not come about, as the company, by its own admission, found itself mired in a “production hell,” managing a production rate of only 3,600 cars a week, way short of its intended goal.

Musk had attributed the Model 3 production hiccups to automation, a couple of months ago, admitting that humans were the answer to Tesla’s production woes.

When asked if robots were the reason behind the poor production numbers, Musk said, “Yes, they did … We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts … And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

The very next day, Tesla temporarily halted the Model 3 production in a bid to improve its production performance by enhancing automation and removing bottlenecks – a move which was in stark contrast to what Musk had said a day earlier about humans being the answer to production issues.

Not having met its last quarter target in 2017, Musk and company went full steam ahead to achieve its new goal of reaching the magical number of 5,000 Model 3s a week by the end of the second quarter this year, which ended yesterday and the result of all the sweat and sacrifice is there for the world to see.

.

Talking of sacrifices, Musk led by example through those difficult times, moving his office to the factory floor where he even celebrated his 47th birthday.

Well, all that is in the past now and the company has every reason to celebrate the commendable feat, something which was not considered possible even as recently as a month ago.

The second quarter of 2018 was what Tesla calls “the most productive quarter in Tesla history by far,” as the company managed to record a 55 percent jump in production from the previous quarter, rolling out a total of 53,339 vehicles during this period.

Included in that figure are 28,578 Model 3 sedans – that’s three times the Model 3s produced in the first quarter – and a combined total of 24,761 Model S and Model X cars.

A total of 40,740 vehicles were delivered in this past quarter, including 18,440 Model 3, 10,930 Model S, and 11,370 Model X cars, which according to Wall Street estimates fell short of expectations.

While the second-quarter delivery data is not very encouraging, as far as analysts and investors are concerned, what’s boosting the Tesla shares is the Model 3 numbers.

It remains to be seen if Musk and his Tesla crusaders can maintain the punishing pace of the last quarter to achieve the CEO’s key goal of making the company cash flow positive in the remaining half of 2018, “despite negative pressures from a weaker [U.S. dollar] and likely higher tariffs for vehicles imported into China as well as components procured from China.”

Becoming cash flow positive is a critical step toward Tesla’s profitability, considering the company has recorded just two profitable quarters since it went public eight years ago.

Tesla is now looking to work its way up to producing 6,000 Model 3 units a week, sometime by late August.

In May, amid all the production chaos Musk was having to contend with, he announced two new variants of the Model 3 – the dual-motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) Model 3, as well as the Performance version, which Musk said is capable of zero to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds.

While the single motor rear-wheel-drive base model option remains, you can opt for an upgraded version at an additional $5,000, which will not only give you AWD, but also an improved range of 310 miles and a zero to 60mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.

To put that in perspective, the base Model 3 has a maximum range of 220 miles and its stationary to sixty miles per hour time is 5.6 seconds.

The $78,000 Performance version of the Model 3 is not only set to give the BMW M3 a run for its money – in terms of speed and handling – but is good enough to “beat anything in its class on the track,” claimed Musk, which is, indeed, a tall claim to make, considering the fact that the M3 is quite a gladiator in the sports sedan arena.

One thing is for sure, though; the Model 3 is not going to be the fastest car out of the Tesla stable, as the Model S P100D can do zero to sixty miles per hour in a snappy 2.5 seconds, while the $200,000 Tesla Roadster promises the same acceleration in a snappier 1.9 seconds, but we’ll have to wait for that, as production is yet to start.

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From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Reveals Tesla Model 3 Variants, Including the $78,000 “Performance”

In a series of tweets, Tesla supremo Elon Musk yesterday announced two new variants of the Model 3 – the dual-motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) Model 3 as well as the Performance version, which Musk said is capable of zero to 60mph in just 3.5 seconds.

While the single motor rear-wheel-drive base model option remains, you can opt for an upgraded version at an additional $5,000, which will not only give you AWD, but also an improved range of 310 miles and a zero to 60mph time of 4.5 seconds, with a top speed of 140mph.

To put that in perspective, the base Model 3 has a maximum range of 220 miles and its stationary to sixty miles per hour time is 5.6 seconds.

The $78,000 Performance version of the Model 3 is not only set to give the BMW M3 a run for its money – in terms of speed and handling – but is good enough to “beat anything in its class on the track,” claims Musk, which is, indeed, a tall claim to make, considering the fact that the M3 is quite a gladiator in the sports sedan arena.

And, as mentioned at the outset, the Performance Model 3 is capable of zero to sixty in a mere 3.5 seconds, in addition to having a top speed of 155 mph, with a maximum range of 310 miles on a fully juiced-up battery.

Now, the two-motor configuration in the AWD Model 3, including Performance, is conceptualized along the lines of the Model S, with the front motor optimized for range and the one on the back built for power.

Musk says that the car is capable of safely taking you to your destination on any one engine, should the other break down.

If you don’t already know, the all-wheel-drive system in an electric vehicle works differently from that of a petrol or a diesel car where the front and back axles are mechanically connected via a driveshaft so that power is transferred from a single source to all four wheels.

Tesla makes the Model 3 an all-wheel drive by putting another motor up front to power the front wheels, which in effect means that the only connection between the two axles is the surface it drives on, which is known as a “through-the-road” system.

Addressing a doubt about the front and back motor types used on the Performance Model 3, the Tesla boss clarified that the front motor is an AC induction version while the one at the back is a “switched reluctance, partial permanent magnet” motor.

Apparently, what Musk is saying is that the Performance variant will likely have the same rear motor as the one on the current single-motor rear-wheel-drive model.

He also confirmed that both motors will get Silicon Carbide inverters and that the Performance version will have carbon fiber spoiler, 20” Performance wheels, and black & white interior.

One thing is for sure, though; the Model 3 is not going to be the fastest car out of the Tesla stable, as the Model S P100D can do zero to sixty miles per hour in a snappy 2.5 seconds, while the $200,000 Tesla Roadster promises the same acceleration in a snappier 1.9 seconds, but we’ll have to wait for that, as production is yet to start.

Talking about production, well, that’s where Tesla has had some major issues in recent times, failing to meet deadlines time and again, managing to produce only 3,600 cars a week, on average, for a total of under 30,000 Model 3 cars, per Bloomberg estimates.

Musk attributed the Model 3 production hiccups to overdependence on automation, last month, admitting that humans were the answer to Tesla’s production woes.

When asked if robots were the reason behind the slowing down of production, Musk said, “ Yes, they did … We had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts … And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”

The very next day, Tesla temporarily halted the Model 3 production in a bid to improve its production performance by enhancing automation and removing bottlenecks – a move which was in stark contrast to what Musk had said a day earlier about humans being the answer to production issues.

“These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates,” a Tesla spokesperson said about the temporary suspension of work.

Before that, in February, there was a similar four-day stoppage in production, with the same reason given for the temporary suspension.

However, in spite of the oft-written-about production problems, Tesla is “quite likely” to roll out more than 500 Model 3s every day of this week, according to a leaked Musk email to Tesla employees, reports Electrek – the electric car blog.

At that rate, the company would be hitting a healthy production rate of 3,500 Model 3s every week, but still quite some distance away from its original target production rate of 5,000 cars a week by the quarter.

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From The Editors Technology

Tesla Semis Carry Cargo of Batteries from Gigafactory 1 to Tesla Car Factory in Fremont, CA

Guess who Tesla Semi’s first customer is!

Believe it or not, it’s Tesla itself!

Tesla’s new all-electric semi truck prototypes rolled out of the company’s Gigafactory 1 in Storey County, Nevada, on its first production cargo run to Tesla’s car manufacturing facility in Fremont, California.

Two Tesla Semis, fitted with full-sized trailers laden with batteries, are expected to make the 240-mile trip in less than five hours, starting the short haul from an altitude of 4,400 feet, steadily climbing to 7,200 feet to the I-80 and Donner Summit intersection, before beginning its descent down to sea level.

This actually means that a round trip between the two points would fall just under the projected 500-mile range of the semi.

The ever-enthusiastic Musk took to social media on Wednesday to share images of the two Semis leaving the Nevada facility en route to the Fremont factory.

“First production cargo trip of the Tesla Semi heavy-duty truck, carrying battery packs from the Gigafactory in the Nevada mountains to the car factory in California,” read Musk’s accompanying message.

While Musk may choose to call it a production trip, the fact remains that the futuristic looking semi will go under production sometime in 2019, and, logically, it looks like deliveries won’t be happening before we’re well into 2020 – at the earliest.

That said, the Nevada-California test run should give the company valuable insight to the semi’s capability to handle real-world road situations, including sudden vehicular movements, stop signs, sharp bends, sudden braking etc., thereby enabling Tesla to iron out glitches, if any, and expedite production, considering the good number of pre-orders it has already secured.

Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi in November last year at the company’s Hawthorne facility in California, promising 500 miles on a single charge with the potential of doing one million miles of breakdown-free runs.

Although the futuristic looking semi will go under production sometime in 2019, as already mentioned, Walmart pre-ordered 15 of them to add to its fleet of 6,000 conventional trucks. The retail giant plans to employ 5 of these semis for its US operations while the remaining 10 are intended for the company’s Canadian routes.

“We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” Walmart had said in a statement at the time.

“We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”

However, Tesla had declined to comment on specific customer orders.

And it wasn’t just Walmart that went on a pre-order spree; Arkansas-based JB Hunt Transport Services said in a statement that the company had booked “multiple” Tesla semis.

JB Hunt’s President and CEO John Roberts had said, “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology.”

Furthermore, Michigan-based supermarket chain Meijer told BLOOMBERG at the Hawthorne event that it had advanced $5,000 to Tesla for each of the four semis it had ordered.

Some of the other companies to have placed pre-orders for the semi are Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Noway’s Posten Norge, DHL, UPS, Sysco, Ryder and Asko.

While analysts were apprehensive about the vehicle’s competitiveness against traditional heavy-duty trucks in so far as the cost per mile is concerned, Musk had pledged $1.26 per- mile operation costs on a 100-mile route for each of its semis, as opposed to $1.51 incurred by a diesel truck. Great economics for truckers, one has to say!

The main idea behind all-electric long-haul vehicles is to have a more telling impact on greenhouse gas emissions since conventional diesel freight trucks are particularly hazardous to the environment because of its toxic emissions.

Jimmy O’Dea from the Union of Concerned Scientists says, “Heavy-duty vehicles make up a small fraction of the vehicles on the road, but a large fraction of their emissions.”

To put this in perspective, heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses) make up 7 percent of total vehicles in the state of California but account for 20 percent of transportation-related emissions and one-third of all Nitrogen Oxide, or NOx, emissions that are highly reactive gases, formed when fuel burns at high temperatures – one of the major causes of respiratory diseases, including asthma.

From the outside, the Tesla Semi is all about aerodynamics, which is so important when we talk about fuel efficiency, whether you’re trying to get the most out of a gallon of diesel or get the maximum distance from a single charge on an electric vehicle.

Because there is no space-consuming bulky engine, transmission, after-treatment system or differentials to contend with and work around, the nose of the vehicle has been kept almost flat without much protrusion. This allows for the driver’s seat, which is in the center of the cab much like the McLaren F1 sports car, to be set far forward. And that, in turn, has made it possible for Tesla to accommodate a secondary seat behind the captain’s seat.

There is enough head space within the cab to allow even well over 6-foot-tall people to stand upright.

The cab is equipped with two 15-inch touch-screens, either side of the pilot seat, to assist the driver in navigation, blind side monitoring, and more. Additionally, there are two extensions on the steering giving access to other functions.

Tesla has paid a great deal of attention to safety as well. Onboard sensors monitor jack-knifing and fishtailing and make adjustments by managing power to the individual wheels. A reinforced battery will prevent it from exploding or catching fire in the event of an accident, while a strengthened windshield has been incorporated to stop it from cracking.

Similar to Tesla’s electric passenger vehicles, the Tesla semi has also been fitted with an Autopilot system that allows advanced control features to the driver with its array of sensors, cameras, radar, and software. It gives some level of autonomy to the vehicle which can adjust speeds according to traffic conditions, stay within a particular lane, and even change lanes without the need of driver-intervention.

“This is no mere ‘truck.’ It will transform into a giant robot, fight aliens, and makes one hell of a latte,” is what Elon Musk had teased with prior to the Tesla semi’s November launch.

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From The Editors Technology

Tesla to Provide Free Charging Stations to Office Buildings under a New “Workplace Charging” Program

Tesla introduces yet another charging program called “Workplace Charging,” adding to its range of existing programs, including the Supercharger network, Urban Superchargers, and the Destination Charging network.

Under the new program announced on Thursday, Tesla proposes to provide free brand-specific Tesla charging points at workplace parking lots, which appears to be a really handy option, particularly for Tesla owners who live in apartment blocks and don’t have access to a garage at night.

The EV giant said that it would engage building owners/managers to set up the charging infrastructure in their parking areas absolutely free. The electricity cost, however, will have to be taken care of by the building owners/management.

This is how the company described the new program in its Thursday statement.

“As Tesla’s fleet continues to grow, it is more important than ever for our customers to be able to easily charge their cars where they park. The most convenient way to charge is to plug in overnight at home, and for most people, this is all that is needed. For others, such as those who live in an apartment, Tesla is introducing its new Workplace Charging program. Charging at work is simple and convenient, just plug in and your car is charged by the time you’re done for the day.

For qualified employers or commercial property managers who choose to provide an EV charging option, Tesla will review, donate their Tesla Wall Connectors and provide installation assistance. Energy costs will be the responsibility of the property,” the statement added.”

Tesla did not divulge any information on how much it is looking to invest in the workplace program, nor has it revealed the identities of the companies that have already enrolled for the free infrastructure.

The workplace program is somewhat similar to the company’s Destination Charging network, which covers establishments such as hotels, restaurants, and resorts where Tesla has installed free chargers, specific to its brand, for the customers of these businesses.

Needless to say, the cost of electricity is the responsibility of the concerned establishment.

The dissimilarity, however, lies in the fact that the Workplace Charging stations will not show up on Tesla’s onboard navigation system, as they are meant for a specific set of users who work or live in the buildings covered under this scheme and not for the general public, as is the case with Destination Charging network.

Business owners interested in providing free charging facility to their employees can apply for the new program on the company’s official website (https://www.tesla.com/charging-partners#apply).

While it may seem to be a magnanimous move on the part of Tesla, it must be mentioned that the company will surely benefit from it in the long run.

Potential customers who have so far held themselves back from purchasing a Tesla EV simply because they do not have a garage at home are likely to come into the Tesla scheme of things.

Tesla owners who do have access to a garage will also benefit from the Workplace Charging program by choosing to charge their EVs at the workplace, instead of their own garage, to save on energy costs.

Also, the workplace charging stations will be Tesla-specific and cater to all Tesla models, but not to other EVs.

According to Tesla, the rate of charge will depend on the available infrastructure and are likely to vary from location to location.

That said, the 240-volt “Level 2” wall chargers – the same units that people have in their personal garages – are capable enough to juice up a battery pack to capacity in a matter of a few hours.

However, they are nowhere near the company’s Superchargers that can top up a battery pack in just 75 minutes, while a 30-minute charge at one of these stations can give an additional 170 miles.

Tesla’s Supercharger network of 480-volt DC fast-charging stations, which the company began work on back in 2012, is designed for the long-distance traveler and is compatible with all its EVs, including the Model S, 3, and X.

Today, the network encompasses some 7,500 chargers at 1,045 stations.

In December 2016, the company started imposing monetary penalties on Tesla owners who indulged in hogging the superchargers by exceeding the five-minute limit of keeping their cars parked at a charging space.

“We designed the Supercharger network to enable a seamless, enjoyable road trip experience. Therefore, we understand that it can be frustrating to arrive at a station only to discover fully charged Tesla cars occupying all the spots. To create a better experience for all owners, we’re introducing a fleet-wide idle fee that aims to increase Supercharger availability,” Tesla wrote in a blog post back then.

The blog spoke about Tesla’s vision for the future when cars would be able to move out autonomously once the charge was complete thereby “enhancing network efficiency and the customer experience even further.”

“For every additional minute a car remains connected to the Supercharger, it will incur a $0.40 idle fee. If the car is moved within 5 minutes, the fee is waived. To be clear, this change is purely about increasing customer happiness and we hope to never make any money from it.” The blog said.

Then in 2017, the company took another step to further improve the functioning of its Supercharger network by disallowing commercial, ride-sharing, taxicab and government vehicles from using Superchargers.

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From The Editors Technology

Tesla’s New Electric Semi Truck May Well Be the Game Changer for the Freight Trucking Industry

On Thursday, Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new all-electric semi truck at the company’s Hawthorne, California, facility. The imposing behemoth can travel 500 miles on a single charge and, if the Tesla CEO is to be believed, the truck can potentially give 1 million miles of breakdown-free run.

Although the futuristic looking semi will go under production sometime in 2019, Wall Mart has reportedly pre-ordered 15 of them to add to its fleet of 6,000 conventional trucks. The retail giant plans to employ 5 of these semis for its US operations while the remaining 10 are intended for the company’s Canadian routes.

“We have a long history of testing new technology – including alternative-fuel trucks – and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” Walmart said in a statement. “We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”

Tesla, meanwhile, has declined to comment on specific customer orders.

And it’s not only Walmart that’s on a pre-order spree; Arkansas-based JB Hunt Transport Services has said in a statement that the company has booked “multiple” Tesla semis.

JB Hunt’s President and CEO John Roberts said, “We believe electric trucks will be most beneficial on local and dray routes, and we look forward to utilizing this new, sustainable technology.”

Furthermore, Michigan-based supermarket chain Meijer told BLOOMBERG at the Hawthorne event on Thursday that it had advanced $5,000 to Tesla for each of the four semis it has ordered.

While analysts are apprehensive about the vehicle’s competitiveness against traditional heavy-duty trucks in so far as the cost per mile is concerned, Musk has pledged $1.26 per- mile operation costs on a 100-mile route for each of its semi, as opposed to $1.51 incurred by a diesel truck. Great economics for truckers, one has to say.

The main idea behind all-electric long-haul vehicles is to have a more telling impact on greenhouse gas emissions since conventional diesel freight trucks are particularly hazardous to the environment because of its toxic emissions.

Jimmy O’Dea from the Union of Concerned Scientists says, “Heavy-duty vehicles make up a small fraction of the vehicles on the road, but a large fraction of their emissions.”

To put this in perspective, heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses) make up 7 percent of total vehicles in the state of California but account for 20 percent of transportation-related emissions and one-third of all Nitrogen Oxide or NOx emissions that are highly reactive gases, formed when fuel burns at high temperatures – one of the major causes of respiratory diseases, including asthma.

From the outside, the Tesla semi is all about aerodynamics, which is so important when we talk about fuel efficiency, whether you’re trying to get the most out of a gallon of diesel or get the maximum distance from a single charge on an electric vehicle.

Because there is no space-consuming bulky engine, transmission, after-treatment system or differentials to contend with and work around, the nose of the vehicle has been kept almost flat without much protrusion. This allows for the driver’s seat, which is in the center of the cab much like the McLaren F1 sports car, to be set far forward. And that, in turn, has made it possible for Tesla to accommodate a secondary seat behind the captain’s seat.

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There is enough head space within the cab to allow even well over 6-foot-tall people to stand upright.

The cab is equipped with two 15-inch touch-screens, either side of the pilot seat, to assist the driver in navigation, blind side monitoring, and more. Additionally, there are two extensions on the steering giving access to other functions.

Tesla has paid a great deal of attention to safety as well. Onboard sensors monitor jack-knifing and fishtailing and make adjustments by managing power to the individual wheels. A reinforced battery will prevent it from exploding or catching fire in the event of an accident while a strengthened windshield has been incorporated to stop it from cracking.

Similar to Tesla’s electric passenger vehicles, the Tesla semi has also been outfitted with an Autopilot system that allows advanced control features to the driver with its array of sensors, cameras, radar, and software. It gives some level of autonomy to the vehicle which can adjust speeds according to traffic conditions, stay within a particular lane, and even change lanes without the need of driver-intervention.

“This is no mere ‘truck.’ It will transform into a giant robot, fight aliens, and makes one hell of a latte,” is what Elon Musk had teased with prior to the Tesla semi’s Thursday launch.

Categories
From The Editors Technology

Elon Musk Gets His Tunnel-Boring Machine at SpaceX

Elon Musk CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX recently launched yet another startup: the Boring Company.

Elon Musk has been teasing his tunneling project since he first tweeted the idea when he was stuck in Los Angeles traffic.

On Thursday, an all-white tunnel-boring machine appeared outside SpaceX’s Hawthorne headquarters. Sections of a tunnel-boring machine are being worked on in a parking lot along Crenshaw Blvd. across the street. SpaceX employee posted a picture on Instagram, which was later removed from his account.

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Elon Musk at TED Conference, 2017 – gave the first look at the underground tunnels his new company, The Boring Company, is shooting to develop in the future.

Musk said that they plan to go down to about 50 feet into that hole in the parking lot before starting to dig horizontally in order not to disrupt any gas or sewage line. There, they will be able to experiment with new digging technologies build on the current boring machine.

The cars will remain on a platform called a car “skate” in the tunnel, which will take it through at up to 130 miles per hour. Musk says he’s shooting to have many layers of tunnels.

“There’s no real limit to how many levels of tunnels you can have,” he said. “The deepest mines are much deeper than the tallest buildings are tall.”

“We have a pet snail named Gary,” he said. “Gary is capable of currently going 14 times faster than a tunnel boring machine. We want to beat Gary. He’s not a patient little fellow, that will be a victory. Victory will be beating the snail.”