Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'tesla'.

More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Site Related
    • News & Updates
    • Site / Forum Feedback
    • Member Introduction
  • News
    • General News
    • FileSharing News
    • Mobile News
    • Software News
    • Security & Privacy News
    • Technology News
  • Downloads
    • nsane.down
  • General Discussions & Support
    • Filesharing Chat
    • Security & Privacy Center
    • Software Chat
    • Mobile Mania
    • Technology Talk
    • Entertainment Exchange
    • Guides & Tutorials
  • Off-Topic Chat
    • The Chat Bar
    • Jokes & Funny Stuff
    • Polling Station

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...

Found 83 results

  1. Tesla has already started making cars again at its California factory While locked in a battle over whether it can legally reopen Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge Tesla began making cars again at its Fremont, California plant over the weekend despite an ongoing battle with local officials about whether it should remain closed during the pandemic, The Verge has learned. The company called back some of its workers and has completed around 200 cars Model Y and Model 3 vehicles, according to two current employees. This all happened as CEO Elon Musk threatened on Twitter to move Tesla’s operations out of state and sued the county over its stay-home order. Other workers are being told to report to work later this week, according to these employees, who were granted anonymity out of fear of retribution. News of the employees being called back was previously reported by Business Insider. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Alameda County’s Public Health Department declined to comment. Tesla’s Fremont factory has been closed since March 23rd, one week after Alameda County issued the initial stay-home order, and a few days after the governor of California issued a statewide version. The company had spent that intervening time trying to convince local officials that it should be allowed to keep making its electric cars because of Department of Homeland Security guidance that auto manufacturing is “national critical infrastructure.” Alameda County officials said on Saturday that they were “communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team on the ground in Fremont,” and that the company was engaged in “a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory.” But the county officials said they had still not reached an agreement with the company on whether it could reopen its factory. At the same time that the officials released their statement, Tesla sued the county over the stay-home order. Developing... Source: Tesla has already started making cars again at its California factory (The Verge)
  2. Tesla stock leaps after unexpected profit Tesla's cash reserves have grown to $8.1 billion. Enlarge / Tesla's Shanghai battery factory. Tesla 97 with 64 posters participating, including story author There were plenty of reasons to expect Tesla to show a loss in the first quarter of 2020. The quarter began with the expiration of the federal electric vehicle tax credit—at least for Tesla customers. It ended with the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic forcing lockdowns around the world. That dampened consumer demand for cars and forced Tesla to shut down its Fremont factory late in the quarter. Despite all of those challenges, Tesla says it made a small $16 million profit during the quarter. And that's on a GAAP basis, leaving little room for accounting trickery. Investors responded by bidding Tesla's stock up almost 10 percent in after-hours trading. One share is now worth around $875, the highest value since February. It was Tesla's third-straight profitable quarter. Tesla says it's also the first time the company has earned a profit in the first quarter, traditionally a weak quarter for the carmaker. Tesla is well positioned to weather the challenges of the coronavirus in the coming months. Thanks to a $2.3 billion fundraising round in February, the company's cash reserves are up to $8.1 billion. Tesla will also benefit from its status as an increasingly global company. While its primary factory in Fremont, California, is shut down, the company's Shanghai factory in China is active and expanding production. Tesla says it expects its Shanghai facility to produce 4,000 cars a week by the middle of 2020—adding about 200,000 vehicles to Tesla's annual production. That would be a substantial addition to the carmaker's manufacturing capacity; the company produced around 360,000 cars in 2019. Tesla says it is also about to break ground on a third major car factory near Berlin. The company says it's aiming to begin Model Y deliveries from the Berlin facility in the second quarter of 2021. While it didn't provide much detail, Tesla says its solar, residential battery, and utility-scale battery businesses are all doing well. Tesla says that it managed to produce 4 megawatts of solar roof tiles—enough for "up to 1,000 homes"—in a single week in Q1. Tesla says it has installed 100,000 residential Powerwalls and expects to soon build multiple utility-scale battery installations even larger than the record-breaking 129MWh system it installed in Australia in late 2017. Source: Tesla stock leaps after unexpected profit (Ars Technica)
  3. Tesla Autopilot could potentially start detecting traffic lights in the future Earlier this month, Tesla manufactured its 1,000,000th electric car. One of the most popular (and controversial) features in its cars is perhaps 'Autopilot'. Autopilot is already capable of spotting other cars and obstructions like traffic cones on the road. However, it now seems like it will be able to spot the state of traffic lights and act accordingly in a potential future update as well. A video posted on Twitter depicts a Tesla driving on the streets and stopping for a red light. The video shows how the Autopilot visualizes a red light with a red bar and reads "Stopped at traffic control". In the second half of the video before the car comes to a halt at yet another red light, the Autopilot interface displays toast messages that preemptively prompt the passengers about an upcoming stop. The messages begin with a figure of 500 ft in the video, but it's unclear if Autopilot can gauge a traffic light from even further out. Twitter via Engadget Source: Tesla Autopilot could potentially start detecting traffic lights in the future (Neowin)
  4. Tesla plans to retool solar panel factory to make Medtronic ventilators Medtronic CEO confirmed Wednesday that Tesla will make one of its ventilators. Enlarge / Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images 94 with 53 posters participating Tesla is planning to retool its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, to manufacture medical ventilators, CEO Elon Musk said in a Wednesday tweet. "Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible," Musk tweeted. "We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York." Tesla is making the ventilators in partnership with Medtronic. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak confirmed the relationship in a Wednesday interview with CNBC. "We're opening up with other partners who've come forward," Ishrak said. "Tesla is one that I think people have heard about. One of our ventilators will be made by them, and they're fast on track to try to make them." Ishrak added that "one of the products that we make, that is not our prime product right now, is one that is perfectly suitable at least in some of these instances, they will make." He said that Tesla would build its manufacturing capabilities "in parallel while we're focusing on the product that is our largest-volume product, which is the PB 980. We will do everything we can to help them." There are good reasons for Tesla to build ventilators based on an established design rather than trying to design a ventilator from scratch. Ventilators are complex machines. Because patient lives depend on them, high reliability is essential. And while the FDA has relaxed regulations for ventilator manufacturers, new designs would require FDA approval. That takes time—probably too much time given the rapid spread of the virus. Other car companies looking to aid with ventilator production have also partnered with established industry players. GM is working to support ventilator-maker Ventec, using its vast network of suppliers to help Ventec obtain parts that are in short supply. Ford is planning to help GE Health expand its ventilator output. Source: Tesla plans to retool solar panel factory to make Medtronic ventilators (Ars Technica)
  5. Tesla says it will shut down its Fremont factory—next Monday "Danger of panic far exceeds danger of corona," Elon Musk tweeted on Monday. Enlarge / Elon Musk. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images 184 with 97 posters participating Since Monday, Tesla has been under pressure from officials in Alameda County to shut down operations of its car factory in Fremont, California, to fight the spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, Tesla finally announced it would halt vehicle manufacturing in Fremont. "We have decided to temporarily suspend production at our factory in Fremont, from end of day March 23, which will allow an orderly shutdown," Tesla said in a post on its website. March 23 is next Monday—a full week after officials in seven Bay Area counties ordered non-essential businesses to close down. To make sure there was no confusion about Tesla's status, Alameda County tweeted on Tuesday that Tesla was not an essential business. But Tesla persisted. In recent weeks, Elon Musk has been a vocal skeptic of efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. "Danger of panic still far exceeds danger of corona," Musk tweeted on Monday. Earlier this week, Tesla claimed that it fell under a federal category of "national critical infrastructure" and hence was free to continue operating under federal law—even as automakers in Detroit announced they were suspending operations. Operating the Fremont factory for an extra week gives Tesla time to make a few thousand extra vehicles. It's also an extra week when coronavirus could spread among Tesla employees—though no coronavirus-afflicted workers have been identified so far. Tesla says that it will also suspend operations at its solar panel factory in New York. Tesla's battery factory in Nevada, dubbed the "Gigafactory," will continue operating, Tesla says. It will be costly for Tesla to have its Fremont factory sit idle while its workers shelter in place. Luckily, Tesla says, it had $6.3 billion in the bank at the start of the year—before the company raised another $2.3 billion from capital markets. That should be enough cash to keep Tesla in business even if the coronavirus forces it to leave its factory idle for months. Source: Tesla says it will shut down its Fremont factory—next Monday (Ars Technica)
  6. Elon Musk says Tesla and SpaceX could build ventilators However, the billionaire downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19. Enlarge / Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla, says that his companies could help fill the gap in the event of a ventilator shortage. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images 266 with 128 posters participating, including story author Updated: we removed a reference to the ventilator manufacturer suing the Italian 3D printer. As with previous epidemics that attack the lungs, one of the biggest worries about COVID-19 is that we simply won't have enough ventilators to treat critically ill patients. It's a valid concern, based on reports from Italy. The US government has confirmed that the nation has a stockpile of more than 10,000 ventilators, but President Trump also recently told Twitter that it should be the states' responsibility to buy these vital life-saving devices. Over the past few days, there have been growing calls to mobilize advanced manufacturing industries to meet this need, and on Wednesday night, Elon Musk replied to a fan on twitter that his companies "will make ventilators if there is a shortage." However, the rocket and electric car billionaire also used the social media platform to downplay the seriousness of the situation, despite increasingly scary predictions from public health experts that appear to have woken the US government from its complacency. Over in the UK, where there are fewer than 6,000 ventilators available to its National Health Service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already called for industrial mobilization. Companies including Rolls-Royce (the jet engine maker, not the car company), Airbus, and Jaguar Land Rover have been asked if they can help address the pending shortage, and blueprints have been sent to more than 60 firms, according to The Guardian. Meanwhile in Italy, supply chain issues and the lack of a critical part has seen at least one hospital turn to 3D printing to keep the machines running. Source: Elon Musk says Tesla and SpaceX could build ventilators (Ars Technica)
  7. Detroit automakers will reportedly shutter factories—but not Tesla News of two coronavirus cases among US autoworkers may have hastened shutdowns. Enlarge / A General Motors assembly line in Flint, Michigan, in 2019. Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images 133 with 85 posters participating, including story author The nation's "Big Three" automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler) will shut down their factories for at least two weeks, reports indicate. The Associated Press first broke the news, which was confirmed by The Wall Street Journal. The United Auto Workers union has been pushing for plant closures for days. The union has argued that continuing to manufacture cars during a pandemic puts US autoworkers' lives at risk. But as recently as Tuesday evening, carmakers and the UAW were still hashing out a plan to make automaking safer by limiting work hours and physically spreading out workers. Union leaders' hands may have been strengthened by news that two autoworkers—one with Fiat Chrysler, the other with Ford—had tested positive for coronavirus. A big concern here is that the new coronavirus is capable of asymptomatic spread. So if one person tests positive for coronavirus in a particular factory, there's a risk that other workers have caught the virus but haven't yet shown symptoms. Tesla: “conflicting guidance” Meanwhile, Tesla appears to be defying officials in Alameda County, California—the site of its only North American factory, in Fremont—who have ordered Tesla to stop operations. TechCrunch reports that a Wednesday email from the company's human resources department instructed employees to come to work. "We still do not have final word from the city, county, state and federal government on the status of our operations," the email said. "We have had conflicting guidance from different levels of government." In an email published Tuesday by Eletrek, Tesla's head of HR argued that Tesla didn't need to shut down because the company counts as National Critical Infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. The category "includes auto manufacturing and energy infrastructure," according to Tesla. "People need access to transportation and energy, and we are essential to providing it," the email said. Tesla evidently believes that its interpretation of this DHS guidance supersedes the instructions of Alameda County officials to shut down. It remains to be seen if Alameda County officials agree. Wall Street has been hammering the stocks of US carmakers. As I write this, Ford's stock is down 16 percent from Tuesday's close. GM is down 23 percent. And Tesla's stock is down by 16 percent. All of these losses are substantially larger than today's 8-percent decline in the broader stock market. Source: Detroit automakers will reportedly shutter factories—but not Tesla (Ars Technica)
  8. Tesla surprises everyone by delivering the Model Y ahead of schedule Model Y is built on the Model 3 platform, saving time and development costs. Enlarge / A Tesla Model Y. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images 169 with 93 posters participating Tesla isn't exactly known for hitting its own deadlines, but the company is apparently turning over a new leaf with the Model Y. When Tesla announced the new crossover vehicle last year, it projected the first deliveries in the fall of 2020. Spring hasn't even begun, yet Tesla says it is already shipping out the first Model Ys to customers—putting it a solid six months ahead of schedule. A key part of Tesla's strategy for the Model Y has been to share as much as possible from the Model 3. That saved Tesla from having to design the Model Y from scratch, and it also allowed the company to reuse major portions of the Model 3 manufacturing process. This strategy may explain how Tesla was able to get the Model Y to market so quickly. Tesla was supposed to follow a similar strategy with the Model X, the company's premium SUV released in 2015. The Model X was supposed to be a slight modification of the Model S, allowing for low development costs and a quick time to market. But Tesla added so many bells and whistles—most notably the Model X's fiendishly complex falcon-wing doors—that the Model X came in behind schedule and over budget. It was still a reasonably popular and successful vehicle, but it wasn't an easy way to monetize the Model S platform as Elon Musk had hoped it would be. This time, though, Tesla seems to be showing more discipline. The Model Y really does just look like a Model 3 with some extra height. It's not larded up with exotic new features that add cost and complexity. This could allow Tesla to tap into the substantial market for crossover vehicles, sell a lot of cars, and make a healthy profit along the way. As usual, Tesla is selling the more expensive—and profitable—variants of the Model Y first. Right now, the cheapest Model Y you can buy is a Long Range model that starts at $52,990. For an extra $8,000, you can get the high-end Performance model, which offers shorter 0-60 times and a higher top speed. However, if you were hoping to get a Tesla crossover for under $40,000, as Tesla originally advertised last year, you'll have to wait until next year when the low-end Standard Range model goes on sale. Source: Tesla surprises everyone by delivering the Model Y ahead of schedule (Ars Technica)
  9. Tesla just made its one millionth car It’s a red Model Y The one millionth vehicle was a red Tesla Model Y. Image: @elonmusk Tesla has produced one million electric cars, the company’s CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter. Musk made the announcement by sharing a picture of the car, a red Model Y, and congratulated the Tesla team on hitting the milestone. It’s a significant moment for an automaker that was only founded in 2003. Tesla released its first consumer car, the Roadster, back in 2008, meaning it’s taken a little over twelve years to hit this million-car milestone. However, it could end up hitting the two million mark a lot sooner based on current targets. In its January earnings report, the company said it hopes to ship over 500,000 cars worldwide in 2020. Established automakers like Toyota or the Volkswagen Group each produce over ten million vehicles a year. Nevertheless, Tesla’s milestone is a tremendous accomplishment for an automotive startup that only produces electric vehicles. The electric car company hit the milestone as it begins producing more of its cars outside of the US. At the end of last year it delivered its first cars manufactured at its Shanghai Gigafactory. Meanwhile, the company is also preparing the site for its fourth Gigafactory near Berlin in Germany, after a court ruled that its tree felling work could continue following a challenge from environmental groups. This month, Tesla is expected to start shipping its latest car, the Model Y, months ahead of its original “fall 2020” estimate. Meanwhile, the company’s Cybertruck is due to go into production in late 2021. Source: Tesla just made its one millionth car (The Verge)
  10. Cyber attack at Visser Precision, which builds custom parts for the aerospace and automotive industries, reveals sensitive company data. A company that provides custom parts to aerospace giants Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Boeing, has been the target of an attack by an emerging type of ransomware that can both encrypt files and exfiltrate data. Colorado-based Visser Precision said it was targeted by a “cyber incident” that involved the attacker accessing and stealing company data after a security researcher found some of the company’s stolen files leaked online. Visser makes what are called “precision” parts for several industries, including automotive and aeronautics, with some high-profile customers that typically require heavy security requirements due to the sensitive and competitive nature of their work. Brett Callow, a threat analyst at anti-malware security firm Emsisoft, discovered the documents—a series of nondisclosure agreements Visser has with companies including SpaceX, Tesla, Honeywell, General Dynamics and others–on a hacker website and began alerting news outlets, according to published reports in Forbes and TechCrunch. Attackers also tweeted in an account using the name “DoppelPaymer” that more files were on the way, alerting researchers that attackers likely used the DoppelPaymer ransomware in the attack, according to reports. DoppelPaymer is an emerging type of ransomware that not only locks companies out of their own computer systems by encrypting files—the hallmark of typical ransomware—but also can exfiltrate company data and use it as collateral. A February report by BleepingComputer noted that DoppelPaymer had shifted its tactics to include not just stealing a victim’s data, but also threatening targets to publish or sell their data if the victim did not pay the ransom. This new show of sophistication in ransomware makes the tough decision of whether to pay the hackers’ ransom even more difficult for companies, which typically are advised not to pay in such a scenario, said one security expert. “The evolution of ransomware from simply keeping data unusable, to that plus threatening to release it, is insidious in its premise,” Mike Jordan, vice president of research, Shared Assessments, said in an email to Threatpost. “Deciding whether to pay a ransomware extortionist always involves a financial calculus where you determine whether paying is cheaper than recovering the data on your own.” The new methods that malware like DoppelPaymer and Maze employ are raising the stakes for victims of ransomware and increases the potential for financial loss if sensitive or classified data is revealed by threat actors, he said. “If data is regulated, such as personal information, fines get introduced,” Jordan said. “And when the victim is a third party supplier of other companies, the potential loss of revenue from customers that lose faith in their ability to manage cybersecurity threats is also a particularly expensive variable.” Indeed, some of the companies that appear on the list of revealed documents, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell and General Dynamics, also have defense contracts with the federal government–which means they also deal in highly classified information. The threat of the release of this type of data definitely raises the stakes for Visser when considering whether to pay attackers, experts noted. Targeting customer contracts also was a clever tactic by the attackers, as it has the potential to cause long-term damage not only to Visser but the customers affected, Jordan observed. “Revealing confidentiality agreements threatens the possibility of revealing the contracts behind those agreements,” he said. “Revealing pricing puts the victim at a disadvantage to its competitors now and in the future, as they are still bound to those agreements, whereas competitors could undercut them. Additionally, revealing contracts put victims at risk of breaking confidentiality agreements, allowing customers to lawfully break favorable agreements.” Of the companies affected in the Visser attack, only officials at Lockheed Martin so far have publicly acknowledged that they are aware of the situation, according to reports. Source
  11. Tesla allowed to cut down trees for fourth gigafactory Earlier this week, it was announced that Tesla had been ordered to halt work on its gigafactory in Germany over environmental factors. A court has now said it can continue cutting down trees on forest land that it owns in order to build the new factory. Tesla had been ordered by a court to halt work clearing forest land for its new factory thanks to a legal challenge by the Green League. With today’s update, the court that oversees the region threw out the injunction meaning Tesla can continue to fell trees in the 910,000 square metre area (91 hectares). According to Berlin.de, which first reported the news, the court has said that the decision is final; making it difficult for environmentalists to do anything else about it. In a statement on its website, Tesla attempts to address concerns, saying: “We are committed to improving the natural environment near the factory and in the wider state of Brandenburg. We aim to replant an area three times the factory plot, with mixed trees native to their habitat and the potential to become an old growth forest, while working with environmental and other expert groups for the best possible outcome.” Once the factory is open in 2021, it will employ around 12,000 people and produce up to 500,000 cars per year. This will allow the firm to ship vehicles to European customers more easily and cheaply, those savings may be passed on to customers to make the vehicles more appealing. Tesla has used its Chinese gigafactory to get around U.S.-China tariffs that have been applied as a result of the ongoing trade war. Source: Tesla allowed to cut down trees for fourth gigafactory (Neowin)
  12. Tesla ordered by court to halt work on German gigafactory Tesla has been ordered by a court to halt work on its fourth gigafactory that’s set to be built in Germany. An alliance of environmentalists, called the Green League, won a court injunction yesterday against the firm which has been clearing forest land to make room for the new factory. The Green League said that it is a threat to local wildlife and water supplies. While the construction is on hold at the moment, work may resume soon as the injunction is only temporary and subject to more hearings that could take place as soon as this week. According to the BBC, the firm has been clearing 91 hectares of forest in Grünheide to make way for the factory. The electric car maker cannot say it wasn’t warned about protests because the only permission it has had from the German government was via the environment ministry which said the firm could begin site preparations “at its own risk”. While one could argue the case of hypocrisy against Tesla, a supposedly environmentally-friendly firm, for cutting down trees, it should be noted that Tesla does own the land that it’s working on. It purchased 300 hectares from the state of Brandenburg to build Gigafactory 4. Once the site opens in 2021, it will employ 12,000 people and produce up to 500,000 cars per year at the site. The court put out a statement after its decision to temporarily suspend work saying that: “It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding.” With a statement like that, it’s unclear where things will go next. Should Tesla’s Germany plans fall through, it could turn its attention to Texas. Source: BBC News Source: Tesla ordered by court to halt work on German gigafactory (Neowin) [ Earlier related news post by our friend @dufus ... https://www.nsaneforums.com/topic/362926-tesla-is-cutting-down-thousands-of-trees-to-put-up-its-german-gigafactory-4 ]
  13. “I was just shaking”—new documents reveal details of fatal Tesla crash Autopilot didn't slow down in seconds before deadly Tesla crash. Enlarge / The trailer sheared off the roof of Jeremy Banner's car, killing him instantly. "It really looked like I had plenty of time to go across," an anguished Florida truck driver said in an interview transcript released by the National Transportation Safety Board this week. Unfortunately, he was wrong. Richard Wood was driving a semi truck on the morning of Friday, March 1, 2019. He pulled onto Florida's SR 7 from a driveway, intending to make a left turn. But as he crossed to the opposite lane, a Tesla Model 3 belonging to Jeremy Banner crashed into the side of the truck. Banner's Tesla went under Wood's trailer, shearing off the roof and killing Banner. The case attracted wide attention because Banner had engaged Tesla's Autopilot technology. Not only that, the circumstances of Banner's death were almost identical to the first Autopilot-related death in the United States: the death of Josh Brown in 2016. Brown was also killed when Autopilot failed to stop for a semi truck crossing in front of him on a Florida highway. The truck driver's interview transcript was one of many documents the NTSB released this week related to two fatal crashes involving Tesla's Autopilot. I hope to go through documents related to the other crash, Walter Huang's 2018 death, in the coming days. "That dude didn't make it" The documents about Banner's case provide a lot of new information about the circumstances of his death. Based on video footage, the NTSB estimates that the truck entered the roadway in front of Banner's car about 4.5 seconds before the crash. Banner was traveling at almost 70 miles per hour; the truck was traveling about 10 miles per hour. Neither vehicle slowed down or took other evasive actions during those 4.5 seconds. In fact, Wood says that initially he didn't even realize that a fatal crash had occurred. "I was going to take the left-hand lane and proceed on going north," Wood said in an interview with authorities last March. "It's a very busy intersection... It's one of them intersections where you wonder why there isn't a traffic light. But I've done it a dozen times. I clearly thought I had plenty of time." The crash happened just before the sun came up. Wood says he saw two pairs of headlights approaching, but believed they were far enough away that he could get across the intersection easily. "It was dark and the cars looked like they was back further than what they was," Wood said. Then Wood says he "felt a push against my trailer." He got out of his truck and "looked at my trailer and I seen debris stuck in the side of the trailer and it had a scuff mark down the side of the trailer." It was still dark, he said. "I thought I had been involved in a hit and run." In reality, the momentum of Banner's Model 3 carried the vehicle far down the road—apparently so far that Wood didn't see it when he got out of his truck. Wood says it was only a few minutes later, as he saw the lights of emergency vehicles in the distance, that he realized the awful truth. "This guy in this pickup truck come up and goes, 'Are you the guy that drives this tractor?' I said 'yeah.' And he goes, 'That dude didn't make it.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He goes, 'That guy—it sheared the whole roof off his car.'" It was only then, Wood says, that the reality of the situation fully hit him. "I went and got in the truck and I sit there until the cops got there because I was just shaking," he told authorities. No obvious distractions Driver distraction is frequently a factor in situations like this, but the NTSB hasn't identified any obvious factors impairing either driver. Wood says that he didn't use his cell phone during that morning's drive—a claim that seems to be backed up by cell phone records. He told investigators that he hasn't had a drop of alcohol since 2014. Nor did investigators find evidence Banner was impaired or distracted. "Phone records indicate that the Tesla driver was not engaged in a phone conversation and was not texting at the time of the crash," an NTSB investigator writes. "The records also indicate that the driver did not use his phone to text or call during the three mornings prior to the date of the crash." Data from Tesla indicates that Banner activated Autopilot's traffic-aware cruise control feature 12.3 seconds before the fatal crash. He then activated Tesla's Autosteer feature 9.9 seconds before impact. "Sensors in the Tesla did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel 7.7 seconds before the crash," the NTSB reports. It's a safe bet that Banner wasn't looking at the road ahead of the vehicle in the last few seconds of his life. If he had, he surely would have noticed a truck pulling out in front of his vehicle. Even if he couldn't have fully stopped his car in the 4.5 seconds the car was pulling in front of him, Banner certainly could have slowed the vehicle down. Yet telemetry shows that the vehicle didn't slow down at all—suggesting that neither Banner nor the Autopilot software realized that a crash was imminent. Investigations into the 2016 Josh Brown crash revealed that (as my colleague Jonathan Gitlin wrote) "The machine learning algorithms that underpin AEB systems have only been trained to recognize the rear of other vehicles, not profiles or other aspects." Meanwhile, some driver-assistance systems are designed to ignore stationary objects at high speeds, in part because radar-based systems have trouble distinguishing objects in the road from objects that are merely near the road. There have been multiple cases where Autopilot has steered Teslas into parked vehicles in broad daylight. It's not clear if these issues were a factor in Banner's death, but we may learn more when the NTSB publishes its final report. One thing driver-assistance systems can do is to force drivers to keep their eyes on the road. Cadillac's Super Cruise technology does just that, using a driver-facing camera to observe where a driver is looking. If Banner's Model 3 had had this feature, he might have noticed the truck crossing in front of his path and stopped in time to save his life. Source: “I was just shaking”—new documents reveal details of fatal Tesla crash (Ars Technica)
  14. Up and to the right — Tesla stock gains 20 percent for second day in a row Tesla's latest share price values the company at more than $170 billion. Enlarge Aurich Lawson / Duncan Hull / Getty The price of Tesla stock soared by 21 percent on Tuesday, rising above $940 for the first time. Tesla's value has more than doubled since the start of the year—and quadrupled since last September. What's driving the dramatic rise in Tesla's share price is not clear. Last week, Tesla reported solid but unspectacular profits of $105 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. A number of Wall Street analysts have upgraded their share price targets for Tesla in recent weeks, but Tesla's value is now far above most analysts' estimates. Tesla's latest share price values the company at more than $170 billion—a stunning figure given how few cars Tesla sells. Tesla delivered 367,500 vehicles in calendar year 2019. GM sold about 20 times as many cars last year, yet Wall Street currently values GM around $50 billion—a third of Tesla's market capitalization. Tesla is also worth more than Ford, Volkswagen, and a number of other major automakers. Factoring in the firms' debt changes the picture only modestly; Tesla is valued far more highly, relative to its sales or profits, than other automakers. The reason, of course, is that investors think Tesla is going to grow a lot faster than other carmakers—and possibly enjoy higher profit margins as well. Tesla currently commands a large share of the tiny market for electric cars. Tesla bulls are betting that the electric car market as a whole will grow rapidly, while Tesla will hold on to a significant share. That could easily lead to Tesla selling millions of cars annually before the end of the decade. Only time will tell if this bet is right. Meanwhile, the soaring stock has set Musk up to receive some generous stock options. Under a massive performance-based pay package negotiated in 2018, Musk is supposed to receive stock options representing 1 percent of Tesla shares if the company's market value rises above $100 billion—something it did last month. He'll get another 1 percent if the stock rises above $150 billion—a milestone it reached on Tuesday. Musk will only get his awards if the stock price stays high—specifically, the average stock price must be above these levels over a six-month period. Musk also has to hit specified revenue and profit targets, but the company has said it has already reached those milestones. The options have a strike price of $350 per share, so if Tesla's stock price stays above $900, the two stock option awards will have a combined value of more than $1 billion. Musk is also Tesla's largest shareholder, so his wealth has already grown by billions of dollars thanks to Tesla's rising share price. Forbes now estimates that Musk is worth more than $40 billion. Correction: This article inaccurately said that electric vehicle sales were down in 2019. Source: Tesla stock gains 20 percent for second day in a row (Ars Technica)
  15. Nvidia’s next Tesla GPUs could be 75% faster – good news for future GeForce cards Big Red 200 supercomputer upgrade hints at equally big things for consumer GPUs (Image credit: TechRadar) Big Red 200, a new supercomputer at Indiana University, is now up and running, and later this year will be upgraded to make use of Nvidia’s next-gen GPUs, which will potentially be up to 75% faster than current Tesla graphics solutions. This is according to a report from The Next Platform, which spoke to Brad Wheeler, VP for IT and CIO at Indiana University, airing the claim that Nvidia’s next-gen Tesla graphics solutions – which will be deployed as a ‘phase two’ upgrade for Big Red 200 in the summer – will be around 70% to 75% faster than current offerings. That’s a huge leap in performance, of course, and while you might think that it’s not particularly relevant to the average PC user – with these being heavyweight GPUs in a massive supercomputer – remember that the technology Nvidia uses here could trickle down to its consumer GeForce offerings. And an (up to) 75% performance increase in Tesla lends more credence to the (admittedly fairly wild) previous rumor that has been floated, which contends that Nvidia’s next-gen GeForce graphics cards could benefit from a 50% performance uplift (albeit this could, potentially, only pertain to ray tracing scenarios – although this is all just up-in-the-air theorizing, of course). Speculation has it that Nvidia’s next-gen Tesla GPUs might be unveiled at the firm’s GPU Technology Conference in March (this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Ampere graphics cards will be revealed at GTC in San Jose – although other corners of the rumor mill seem to believe that this could mean a consumer GeForce card, rather than a data center offering). An unveiling at GTC in March might be ahead of a summer launch for the new heavyweight cards, which would line up with the proposed Big Red 200 upgrade time frame as mentioned. As ever, we have to treat any speculation with a great deal of caution, but nonetheless, this represents a potentially exciting glimpse of how powerful Nvidia’s next-gen graphics tech could be in terms of heavyweight computing – hinting at similar things for consumer GPUs. Epyc beast Big Red 200 is a Cray Shasta supercomputer, and it launched with 672 dual-socket nodes carrying AMD’s Epyc 7742 (2nd-gen server) 64-core processors. In the phase two upgrade, further Epyc chips will be added to the machine, along with the aforementioned next-gen Tesla GPUs. The University decided to take this two-stage deployment approach when it discovered that if it waited a bit longer, it could benefit from Nvidia’s next-gen products, rather than going with Nvidia V100 GPUs as was originally planned. With those V100 cards, Big Red 200 would have been capable of a peak performance level in the order of 5.9 petaflops, but using the newer GPUs, the supercomputer should instead see performance up to 8 petaflops. Source: Nvidia’s next Tesla GPUs could be 75% faster – good news for future GeForce cards (TechRadar)
  16. Tesla made $105 million profit in Q4 2019 after record deliveries Tesla shares soar in aftermarket trading as a result. Enlarge / Earlier in January, Tesla began delivering the first Chinese-made Model 3 battery electric vehicles. Xinhua/Ding Ting via Getty Images On Wednesday, Tesla released its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2019. For the final three months of the year, Tesla brought in $6.4 billion in automotive revenues, a 1 percent increase on Q4 2018. Total revenues for the company during the quarter were $7.4 billion, a 2 percent rise from the same period the year before. Total revenues for the year were $24.6 billion, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2018. Once generally accepted accounting principles were applied, that translates to a quarterly profit of $105 million, a 25-percent decline from Q4 2018. (Regulatory credits brought in $133 million in Q4 2019.) Free cash flow increased by 11 percent compared to the same time period the year before to just over $1 billion. The results come on the back of record deliveries of the Model 3 sedan. Between September and December of last year, the company built 86,958 Model 3s and delivered 92,620, a year-on-year increase of 42 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Tesla is also keeping less inventory on hand; globally, the company was at 11 days of sales for Q4 2019, a drop of 42 percent year on year. However, Tesla noted in a letter to investors that gross profits "were essentially flat" as volume growth and manufacturing efficiency and cost reductions were offset by a decrease in average sales price and more leased cars. Deliveries of the Models S and X continue to decline year on year, falling by 29 percent. 54MW of solar panels were installed in Q4 2019 (a drop of 26 percent year on year), and a hefty 530MWh of battery storage were deployed, a massive 136-percent increase compared to Q4 2018. Despite February's kerfuffle over closing stores, the company ends 2019 with 429 stores and service centers (an increase of 13 percent year on year). And there are more supercharger stations than ever before—1,821 compared to 1,421 at the end of 2018. What’s next? Tesla says it is ahead of schedule with the Model Y crossover. It says that the production ramp for this vehicle began at the Fremont, California, factory in January of this year and that deliveries will begin by the end of Q1 2020. In Shanghai, production of battery packs has begun ramping up. In 2020, Tesla says total vehicle deliveries "should comfortably exceed 500,000 units," but that production will outpace deliveries. The company also promises to grow solar and storage by 50 percent. Tesla also says it should be profitable going forward, although new model launches may affect that. All of this is extremely good news for CEO Elon Musk, who signed a lucrative new contract in 2018. The share price, which was already soaring, has now brought the company's market cap well above the $100 billion threshold. As long as annual revenues remain above $20 billion, he will be awarded another 1 percent of the company. Source: Tesla made $105 million profit in Q4 2019 after record deliveries (Ars Technica)
  17. How a $300 projector can fool Tesla’s Autopilot Semi-autonomous driving systems don't understand projected images. Enlarge / This image, taken from the interior of a Tesla Model X, shows a projected image of a car in front of the Model X. The inset in the bottom right, created by Nassi from the Model X's logs, shows the Model X detecting the projection as a real car. Ben Nassi Six months ago, Ben Nassi, a PhD student at Ben-Gurion University advised by Professor Yuval Elovici, carried off a set of successful spoofing attacks against a Mobileye 630 Pro Driver Assist System using inexpensive drones and battery-powered projectors. Since then, he has expanded the technique to experiment—also successfully—with confusing a Tesla Model X and will be presenting his findings at the Cybertech Israel conference in Tel Aviv. The spoofing attacks largely rely on the difference between human and AI image recognition. For the most part, the images Nassi and his team projected to troll the Tesla would not fool a typical human driver—in fact, some of the spoofing attacks were nearly steganographic, relying on the differences in perception not only to make spoofing attempts successful but also to hide them from human observers. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all 3 images. Nassi created a video outlining what he sees as the danger of these spoofing attacks, which he called "Phantom of the ADAS," and a small website offering the video, an abstract outlining his work, and the full reference paper itself. We don't necessarily agree with the spin Nassi puts on his work—for the most part, it looks to us like the Tesla responds pretty reasonably and well to these deliberate attempts to confuse its sensors. We do think this kind of work is important, however, as it demonstrates the need for defensive design of semi-autonomous driving systems. Nassi and his team's spoofing of the Model X was carried out with a human assistant holding a projector, due to drone laws in the country where the experiments were carried out. But the spoof could have also been carried out by drone, as his earlier spoofing attacks on a Mobileye driver-assistance system were. From a security perspective, the interesting angle here is that the attacker never has to be at the scene of the attack and doesn't need to leave any evidence behind—and the attacker doesn't need much technical expertise. A teenager with a $400 drone and a battery-powered projector could reasonably pull this off with no more know-how than "hey, it'd be hilarious to troll cars down at the highway, right?" The equipment doesn't need to be expensive or fancy—Nassi's team used several $200-$300 projectors successfully, one of which was rated for only 854x480 resolution and 100 lumens. This is the full "Phantom of the ADAS" video. The effect of projected lane markers on a Model X in Autopilot mode, at 2:02, are particularly interesting. Of course, nobody should be letting a Tesla drive itself unsupervised in the first place—Autopilot is a Level 2 Driver Assistance System, not the controller for a fully autonomous vehicle. Although Tesla did not respond to requests for comment on the record, the company's press kit describes Autopilot very clearly (emphasis ours): Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time. While Autopilot is designed to become more capable over time, in its current form, it is not a self-driving system, it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle, and it does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility. When used properly, Autopilot reduces a driver's overall workload, and the redundancy of eight external cameras, radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors provides an additional layer of safety that two eyes alone would not have. Even the name "Autopilot" itself isn't as inappropriate as many people assume—at least, not if one understands the reality of modern aviation and maritime autopilot systems in the first place. Wikipedia references the FAA's Advanced Avionics Handbook when it defines autopilots as "systems that do not replace human operators, [but] instead assist them in controlling the vehicle." On the first page of the Advanced Avionics Handbook's chapter on automated flight control, it states: "In addition to learning how to use the autopilot, you must also learn when to use it and when not to use it." Within these constraints, even the worst of the responses demonstrated in Nassi's video—that of the Model X swerving to follow fake lane markers on the road—doesn't seem so bad. In fact, that clip demonstrates exactly what should happen: the owner of the Model X—concerned about what the heck his or her expensive car might do—hit the brakes and took control manually after Autopilot went in an unsafe direction. The problem is, there's good reason to believe that far too many drivers don't believe they really need to pay attention. A 2019 survey demonstrated that nearly half of the drivers polled believed it was safe to take their hands off the wheel while Autopilot is on, and six percent even thought it was OK to take a nap. More recently, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called for Tesla to improve the clarity of its marketing and documentation, and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang went hands-free in a campaign ad—just as Elon Musk did before him, in a 2018 60 Minutes segment. The time may have come to consider legislation about drones and projectors specifically, in much the same way laser pointers were regulated after they became popular and cheap. Some of the techniques used in the spoofing attacks carried out here could also confuse human drivers. And although human drivers are at least theoretically available, alert, and ready to take over for any confused AI system today, that won't be the case forever. It would be a good idea to start work on regulations prohibiting spoofing of vehicle sensors before we no longer have humans backing them up. Source: How a $300 projector can fool Tesla’s Autopilot (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  18. Tesla needs to fix Autopilot safety flaws, demands Senator Markey It should be renamed and fitted with a real driver-monitoring system, he says. Enlarge / Tesla says that Autopilot users should always keep both hands on the steering wheel. CBS On Friday, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called on Tesla to adopt "common sense recommendations" in its Autopilot driver assist to "guarantee the safety of its technology." Specifically, he's asking the automaker to stop implying that the system is capable of self-driving and also asks Tesla to fit a proper driver-monitoring system. The senator began his investigation into the company's driver-assist package following multiple reports of drivers circumventing the cars' rudimentary safety controls. From the senator's website: Autopilot is a flawed system, but I believe its dangers can be overcome... I have been proud to work with Tesla on advancing cleaner, more sustainable transportation technologies. But these achievements should not come at the expense of safety. That's why I'm calling on Tesla to use its resources and expertise to better protect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and all other users of the road. I urge Tesla to adopt my common sense recommendations for fixing Autopilot, which include rebranding and remarketing the system to reduce misuse, as well as building backup driver monitoring tools that will make sure no one falls asleep at the wheel. Tesla can and must do more to guarantee the safety of its technology. This is not the first time that the name Autopilot has come under fire. In 2016, the German transport minister told the company "to no longer use the misleading term for the driver-assistance system of the car." In 2018, two US consumer safety groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to address Autopilot's "deceptive and misleading" branding. In 2019, we discovered that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the company to stop making "misleading statements" when it comes to safety, and the company repeatedly made claims about the safety of Autopilot that were not supported by fact. (The data showed that Autosteer—a component of the Autopilot suite of assists—actually increased crashes by 59 percent.) A survey conducted in 2019 showed that nearly 50 percent of drivers thought Autopilot was safe to use hands-free. Tesla has repeatedly stated that drivers have to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, although the company's CEO famously flouted this advice in a lengthy interview shown on CBS' 60 Minutes in 2018. In a December 2019 letter to Sen. Markey, Tesla wrote that it believes "that many of these videos are fake and intended to capture media attention." Markey's second safety request is for Tesla to fit its vehicles with an effective driver-monitoring system (DMS). He's not alone—in 2019, in response to yet another video of someone asleep in the driver's seat of a moving Tesla, my colleague Tim Lee laid out a case for why a steering wheel torque sensor is inadequate compared to a proper DMS like the kind used by Cadillac or Subaru, which use eye-tracking cameras to ensure the driver has their attention on the road ahead. This is not the first time that Markey has turned his attention to new car technology. In 2015, his office released a report on the lack of security measures to prevent connected cars from being hacked. Tesla did not respond when contacted by Ars for its comment on Sen. Markey's requests. Source: Tesla needs to fix Autopilot safety flaws, demands Senator Markey (Ars Technica)
  19. Tesla has issued a statement denying recent claims that some of its electric vehicles have accelerated unexpectedly. The issue, the company says, is a familiar one: accidentally pressing the accelerator. The company says that its explanation is backed up by data from cars, explaining how the sensors in its vehicles help work to prevent these types of accidents; in some cases, even preventing ones that would result from accidentally hitting the accelerator. Last week, the NHTSA revealed that it has received a petition from a Tesla vehicle owner who seeks an investigation into claims that some Tesla EVs may experience ‘unintended acceleration.’ Reports of this alleged issue vary, with some saying it happened while pulling into a parking space, a garage, and — in one case — supposedly happening when there wasn’t a driver in the vehicle. In a statement published on Monday, Tesla directly said that there is “no ‘unintended acceleration’ in” its vehicles. The company goes on to claim that “this petition is completely false and was brought on by a Tesla short-seller.” The company says that it investigates every report it gets from a driver claiming that their car ‘accelerated contrary to their input.’ In every case in which there is vehicle data available, according to Tesla, its investigation finds that ‘the car operated as designed.’ Put simply, Tesla says that its cars will only accelerate if the driver tells it to. Beyond that, the company explains that it put two independent sensors on the Model S/X/3 accelerators and that any error will cause the system to cut off the motor torque. Beyond that, hitting the brake pedal in a Tesla will stop the car even if the accelerator is also pressed. Furthermore, Tesla explains, its Autopilot sensor suite can help the car determine whether the driver has accidentally pressed the accelerator in order to cut off the motor torque and help prevent an accident. source
  20. Tesla is now worth more than Ford and GM—combined Elon Musk will be eligible for a big stock award if shares rise above $553. Enlarge / Elon Musk celebrates the opening of a new Tesla factory in Shanghai, China. Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images Less than a month after Tesla's stock first rose above $400, the company's shares have now soared past $500 per share. As I write this, one share of Tesla stock is worth $516, which means the company as a whole is worth more than $93 billion. The latest rally was sparked by a new report from Colin Rusch, an analyst at the Wall Street firm of Oppenheimer & Co. He revised his Tesla price target upward from $385 to $612. But more fundamentally, the rising stock price reflects the fact that, after a couple years of near-constant chaos, the company seems to finally be executing smoothly. Tesla delivered 112,000 cars in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 367,500 for the full year. Both were new records for the company; Tesla barely achieved its goal to deliver at least 360,000 cars for the year. And the company is poised for continued growth. Tesla opened its new factory in China earlier this month, just a year after breaking ground on the new facility. The electric carmaker plans to build a third major car factory in Germany. Tesla's rising stock price has put Elon Musk within striking distance of winning the first of 12 performance-based stock grants he negotiated in his 2018 compensation package. To win an award of 1 percent of the company's stock—worth around $1 billion—Musk must pass two milestones. First, Tesla stock must be worth more than $100 billion—it's $93 billion now. Second, Tesla must hit specified targets for revenues and earnings—for example, $20 billion in annual revenue. Tesla said in an October regulatory filing that the company has already hit this $20 billion revenue figure. That clears the way for Musk to collect his stock award if Tesla's share price rises above $553 in the coming months. Why Wall Street is so bullish about Tesla Tesla is now by far the most valuable car company in America. As I write this on Monday afternoon, Tesla's market capitalization is $93 billion, compared to $50 billion for General Motors and $37 billion for Ford. That's especially remarkable because GM sold around 20 times as many cars as Tesla in 2019, while Ford sold more than six times as many. So what explains Tesla's astronomical stock price? You can never be sure what Wall Street is thinking, but two factors likely contribute to investor bullishness about Tesla. One is growth. The global car market overall is pretty saturated, but many experts expect electric vehicles to be a growth market over the next decade. Governments around the world have created incentives for people to buy electric vehicles. Meanwhile, battery costs have been falling rapidly over the last decade and are expected to continue falling in the 2020s. That should mean falling electric car prices, which should expand the market for electric vehicles in the coming years. And while most major carmakers are working on their own electric vehicles, Tesla's rivals have struggled to design vehicles that can capture the public imagination the way Tesla's cars do. The Model 3 was by far the most popular all-electric car in the United States in 2019, with substantial sales overseas as well. If Tesla can maintain its share of the electric vehicle market as the overall electric car market grows, Tesla could wind up being one of the world's leading automakers. The other factor that could justify Tesla's high valuation is the potential for high margins. Right now, Tesla is not an especially profitable company. But things could improve dramatically over time. Declining battery prices will improve Tesla's margins. As a young and inexperienced carmaker, Tesla may have greater room to improve the efficiency of its manufacturing. At the same time, Tesla has something no other carmaker can match: a loyal, enthusiastic, and growing customer base. Like Apple I'm not the first person to compare Tesla to Apple, but I think the comparison makes sense. Apple only has 15 to 20 percent of the global smartphone market, well below Google's Android. But the distinctiveness of the iPhone platform combined with the loyalty of the Apple customer base means that Apple can charge a premium for the iPhone. As a result, Apple's share of smartphone industry profits is much larger than its share of unit shipments or revenue. We don't know what the electric car marketplace will look like a decade from now. But it's not hard to imagine that marketplace evolving in a similar direction, with Tesla becoming the Apple of transportation. People will be willing to pay a few thousand dollars extra for the prestige and unique features of a Tesla—just as they're willing to pay a few hundred extra dollars for an iPhone. And in the ruthlessly competitive car industry, even a small difference in price can translate into a big difference in profits. Source: Tesla is now worth more than Ford and GM—combined (Ars Technica)
  21. Elon Musk: ‘Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real’ ‘Well don’t just stand there staring, hop in’ Elon Musk says that Tesla cars will “soon” be able to talk to nearby pedestrians. In a tweet announcing the functionality, the CEO shared a short clip of a Model 3 driving past while its speaker plays a clip saying “Well don’t just stand there staring, hop in.” In his Tweet, Musk says, “Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real.” We already knew that Tesla has begun adding external speakers to its cars in order to comply with new safety regulations that require electric cars to produce artificial noise. Now it seems these speakers could be used for much more. In a follow-up tweet, Musk indicated that the newly-announced functionality could work with the car’s existing sentry mode alarm system which already uses the car’s internal sound system to deter would-be thieves. Alternatively, he said that you could just have your car fart in people’s general direction. The specific audio message played in the clip brings to mind Musk’s master plan of eventually having all of Tesla’s cars operate as an autonomous taxi fleet, earning money for their owners when they’re not driving them. In an autonomous state, with no driver to invite passengers into the taxi, the car itself could be left to tell people to “hop in.” Musk’s tweet says to expect the new functionality “soon,” but you might want to take this promise with a pinch of salt. The CEO previously said that Tesla’s “customized horn and movement sounds” were coming “soon” back in October and they’re still yet to arrive, and we’re still waiting to see a Tesla complete the autonomous Los Angeles to New York journey that was promised back in 2016 (the plans were put on hold in 2018). Source: Elon Musk: ‘Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real’ (The Verge)
  22. Tesla gets $1.29 billion loan from Chinese banks for its Shanghai car plant Tesla has announced that it has secured $1.29 billion (9 billion yuan) from Chinese banks to assist with construction and production at its Shanghai factory. The China-based Gigafactory 3 will be crucial to Tesla’s operations in the country, where 3,000 Model 3 vehicles will be produced weekly for sale in the biggest electric car market on the planet. With the new factory, Tesla will also be able to sidestep tariffs that are appearing due to the U.S.-China trade war. The firms lending the money to Tesla include China Construction Bank Corp, Agricultural Bank of China, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. Aside from the 9 billion yuan loan, Tesla has also signed agreements for an unsecured revolving loan facility of up to 2.25 billion yuan, which will also be spent on the new Gigafactory 3. According to Reuters, Tesla may also use some of the loan to pay off 3.5 billion yuan in debt that is due for repayment by March 4, 2020. This will leave just under 8 billion yuan to invest in work at the factory. According to Tesla’s Q3 2019 report, Gigafactory 3 was built in 10 months and is ready for production. The firm said that the factory was around 65% less expensive to build than its Model 3 production system in the U.S. Source: Tesla gets $1.29 billion loan from Chinese banks for its Shanghai car plant (Neowin)
  23. Electric truck startup Rivian raises $1.3 billion more to challenge Tesla Rivian has raised almost $3 billion in 2019 as it prepares to begin production. Enlarge / The R1T interior. Rivian Electric truck startup Rivian has raised another $1.3 billion from investors, the company announced on Monday. Rivian had already announced three fundraising rounds this year worth more than $1.5 billion in total. A number of companies have tried to follow in Tesla's footsteps in recent years, and some of them have struggled. At this point, Rivian looks like one of the most credible entrants in the electric vehicle business. We declared Rivian's truck the best of the New York Auto Show in April and named Rivian itself the star of the show. Rivian's truck, the R1T, starts at $69,000 (before a $7,500 federal tax credit for American customers). Rivian says its trucks can accelerate from 0 to 60mph in under three seconds. The entry-level truck has a 105kWh battery that will offer 230 miles (370km) of range, while the most expensive model has a 180kWh battery with 400 miles (640km) of range. Rivian needs to raise billions of dollars because automobile manufacturing is an extremely expensive business. Tesla, for example, has raised more than $20 billion in equity and debt financing over the last decade. Rivian wants to start selling at least three different vehicle designs—a pickup truck, an SUV, and a delivery van for Amazon—over the next two years. For comparison, Tesla has launched three new vehicles over the last decade. The latest fundraising round was led by T. Rowe Price. Amazon, Ford, and Blackrock also participated. Amazon led the year's first Rivian investment round, which yielded $700 million, back in February, and Ford invested $500 million in April. Cox Automotive invested $350 million in Rivian in September. Rivian considers Amazon, Ford, and Cox to be strategic partners. Ford has agreed to build a battery-electric pickup truck based on Rivian's technology. Amazon ordered 100,000 delivery vans from Rivian in September. Cox has experience in fleet logistics and automotive retail operations; Rivian hopes that Cox can help deliver an excellent experience to customers needing service and support. Source: Electric truck startup Rivian raises $1.3 billion more to challenge Tesla (Ars Technica)
  24. Karlston

    How Tesla proved the haters wrong

    How Tesla proved the haters wrong The 2020s could be even better for Tesla than the 2010s. Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images On Thursday, Tesla stock rose above $400 for the first time in the company's history. The record price caps a year—and a decade—when Tesla proved its doubters wrong. At the start of 2010, Tesla had produced fewer than 1,000 units of the high-priced Roadster. The Model S was years away. The firm's finances were still precarious, having narrowly escaped bankruptcy in the final days of 2008. Few would have guessed that Tesla was poised to become a major automaker. Indeed, over the last decade, people repeatedly predicted that the company would run out of money and be unable to raise more. They doubted that Tesla could deliver new car models on time—or at all. They said that quality problems and missed deadlines would sour customers on the Tesla brand. But Tesla has proved these critics wrong. It's true that the company has repeatedly missed deadlines and has sometimes shipped cars with quality problems. But those setbacks have had little impact on its customers' enthusiasm for the company. Compelling features like instant acceleration, over-the-air software updates, and Tesla's vast supercharger network have been enough to convince hundreds of thousands of fans to overlook the company's flaws and open their wallets. As the 2010s draw to a close, Tesla may be in its strongest position ever. The company recently began production at its second major car factory in Shanghai, and it has begun work on its third car factory near Berlin. Tesla made a small profit in the most recent quarter despite falling government subsidies. Tesla still faces plenty of challenges. The company is supposed to start shipping three new vehicles—the Model Y SUV, the Semi, the New Roadster—just in 2020. That doesn't seem like a realistic timetable for a company that has launched only three new vehicles in the last decade and has never launched a vehicle on time. But Tesla does eventually ship its products. And so far, customers have always loved them. Rumors of Tesla’s bankruptcy were greatly exaggerated Car manufacturing is a hugely capital-intensive business. Tesla has had to raise billions of dollars as it shifted from selling a niche sports car at the start of the decade to selling the mass-market Model 3 in recent years. Meanwhile, the company's stock soared from a 2010 IPO price of $17 to more than $100 in late 2013 to more than $400 today. That has made Tesla a favorite target of short sellers—investors who try to make money by betting a stock will go down. "It's an overpriced car company," said Jim Chanos, a short seller who made his name predicting the demise of Enron, in an October 2015 interview. At the time, Tesla's stock was selling for around $220. Yet Tesla continued to borrow heavily as it developed the Model X and then the Model 3. And despite the negative cashflow, the company's stock kept going up. Pessimism about Tesla's financial viability may have reached its peak in April 2018, when Bloomberg published a feature called "Tesla doesn't burn fuel, it burns cash." The article was accompanied by a crude animation of Tesla head honcho Elon Musk throwing a stream of dollar bills into a pair of flamethrowers. At that point, Tesla was burning more than a billion dollars in cash every quarter as it ramped up production of the Model 3. People wondered if Tesla—which had only seen a handful of quarters with positive cashflow since its 2010 IPO—was on the verge of bankruptcy. This was also the time period when Musk tweeted that he had "funding secured" for a deal to take Tesla private at $420 per share—something that turned out not to be true and got him in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Around this same time, people started to compile long lists of senior Tesla executives who had left the company in recent months. One September 2018 tally from CNBC counted 41 executives who had quit since the start of the year. All of which caused many people to suspect that Tesla was in serious financial trouble. But that turned out to be untrue. Tesla turned a profit in both the third and fourth quarters of 2018. Tesla lost money again in the first two quarters of 2019, but Wall Street was unconcerned. Tesla had no trouble raising an extra $2 billion in a May 2019 stock sale. That fundraising round helped to put Tesla on a firm financial footing going into 2020. Why I’m bullish about Tesla in the 2020s Enlarge Critics have focused on Tesla's negative cash flow over the last decade—but many seem to miss the larger picture. Car companies have to spend billions of dollars in design and factory construction costs before the first car comes off the assembly line. That's exactly what we've seen for each of Tesla's last three vehicle launches: big losses in the months before the start of manufacturing, turning to modest profits once volume production is underway. Of course, skeptics (including my colleague Jonathan Gitlin) point out that there's a ton of red ink on this chart and comparatively modest profits. And Tesla has juiced its profits by selling zero-emission tax credits to other automakers—a revenue source it may not be able to rely on in the future. Still, Tesla's losses are largely a reflection of the company's rapid growth. If the company had decided to rest on its laurels after launching the Model S, it likely could have enjoyed years of small but steady profits selling that vehicle. Similarly, if Tesla hadn't launched the Model 3, the Model S and X would have generated healthy profits over the last five years. It's Tesla's decision to start production on a new car as soon as the old one starts turning a profit that has produced a decade of almost continuous losses. Not only that, but Tesla has been shifting from low-volume cars to high-volume ones. High-volume cars have much higher up-front capital costs. So it's not surprising that Tesla's Model S and Model X profits got drowned in a sea of red ink from the ramp-up of Model 3 manufacturing. But there's a method to the madness here. While a mass-market car like the Model 3 has higher upfront costs and lower margins, it also has potential for big profits thanks to economies of scale. The Model 3 is cheap enough that millions of people can afford to buy them. And if they do, Tesla will easily make a healthy return on the billions of dollars it spent setting up its Model 3 factory. Falling battery costs and a strong brand bode well for the 2020s Early Tesla cars were expensive because the company wanted to offer ranges comparable to conventional gasoline-powered cars. That took a lot of batteries, and batteries were expensive. But battery prices have been falling, and they are likely to continue falling. The research company BloombergNEF published its annual report on battery prices earlier this month. In 2010, batteries cost more than $1,100 per kWh. That figure fell to $373 by 2015 and $156 in 2019. The Model 3 ships with between 54kWh and 75kWh of battery capacity, which means that Tesla is likely spending $8,000 to $10,000 on batteries for every Model 3 it sells. BloombergNEF estimates that battery prices will fall below $100 per kWh by 2023. If that happens, it will slash thousands of dollars off of Tesla's manufacturing costs for every vehicle. That will lead to a big improvement in Tesla's profit margins without Tesla having to make any other improvements to either its cars or manufacturing processes. The obvious rejoinder is that other carmakers are working on battery-powered vehicles of their own and will enjoy the same savings. But Tesla's scale and years of experience may give the company a sustainable advantage here. Tesla may enjoy a sustainable advantage in other areas, too. No other company offers a charging solution comparable to Tesla's supercharging network. Tesla regularly pushes new software updates out to its vehicles that deliver better performance and new features. No other car company has really mastered this technique. Tesla has also refined its motors over time to squeeze out a bit more power and range from a given amount of battery power. Those innovations may not be easy for rivals to replicate. And then there's the customer-loyalty factor. Tesla ownership has a cachet that no other car company has been able to match. Even if other car makers can duplicate most of the technical features of Tesla vehicles, a fair number of people may still be willing to pay a premium so they can say they own a Tesla. The oft-cited analogy to Apple seems apt here. The prestige of the Apple brand, combined with dozens of small refinements to the design of the iPhone and its software, is enough to induce consumers to pay a substantial premium. That premium has endured even though Android phone makers have succeeded in duplicating—and in some cases exceeding—the iPhone's technical capabilities. Tesla vehicles may benefit from a similar halo effect for years to come. Source: How Tesla proved the haters wrong (Ars Technica)
  25. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. auto safety agency said Friday it will investigate a 12th Tesla crash that may be tied to the vehicle’s advanced Autopilot driver assistance system after a Tesla Model 3 rear-ended a parked police car in Connecticut on Saturday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration special crash investigation program will investigate the Dec. 7 crash of a 2018 Tesla Model 3 on Interstate 95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, the agency confirmed. Autopilot has been engaged in at least three fatal U.S. Tesla crashes since 2016. The agency’s special crash investigation team has inspected 12 crashes involving Tesla vehicles where it was believed Autopilot was engaged at the time of the incident. To date, the agency has completed reports on two of them: a 2016 fatal crash in Florida in which Autopilot was engaged and a prior crash where Autopilot was ruled out as a factor. Source
  • Create New...