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Tesla raises prices but keeps more stores open

Tesla store in Barcelona

Tesla is scaling back a drastic store closure programme, but will raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent worldwide.

Earlier this month, Elon Musk said some Tesla stores would close and jobs would be lost as the company moved towards an online-only sales model. The stores are to become galleries to guide the purchaser through the buying process, although some cars will be available for test drives.

However, Tesla says that its 1,000-mile/seven-day returns policy “should alleviate the need for most test drives”.

In a statement, Tesla said: “Over the past two weeks we have been closely evaluating every single Tesla retail location, and we have decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months.

“When we recently closed 10 percent of sales locations, we selected stores that didn’t invite the natural foot traffic our stores have always been designed for.”

The company went on to say that a further 20 percent of locations are under review, adding that some will remain open, while others will close. 

Price to rise 3 percent

Tesla store front

While this is good news for Tesla employees, prospective purchasers are facing a 3 percent price hike across the world.

“As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent on average worldwide. In other words, we will only close about half as many stores, but the cost savings are therefore only about half,” it said.

Potential owners have until 18 March 2019 to beat the price rise, but the increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of the Model 3, the Model S and Model X. The $35,000 Model 3 is unaffected.

The Model S costs from £72,000 in the UK, while the Model X weighs in at just over £80,000. 

 

Tesla Model 3: consumer watchdog withdraws its recommendation

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Respected American watchdog Consumer Reports has revoked its recommendation of the Tesla Model 3, following numerous complaints of sub-par build quality.

Viral social media threads and online ranting are one thing, criticism from an organisation like Consumer Reports is quite another. And Tesla’s Model 3 troubles have come to a head with this critical blow.

The company faced issues getting its entry-level electric car to market, both in terms of quality and speed of delivery. Although it was thought that such kinks had been ironed-out, Tesla’s troubles clearly aren’t over yet. As a result of the CR decision, its stock dropped 2.2 percent last Thursday.

Tesla Model 3: the issues

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Owners had reported everything from paint defects and poor quality trim, to windows cracking out of the blue in cold conditions and electronic glitches. Even the Consumer Reports test car got a crack in its rear glass during a cold snap.

The screens in the car’s cabin have been reported as freezing and ‘acting strangely’. “The touch screen would intermittently begin acting as if someone was touching it rapidly at many different points,” reported one Consumer Reports member. “This fault would cause music to play, volume to increase to maximum, and would rescale and pan the map in the navigation system.”

Suspension issues have also been reported, although these are largely exclusive to earlier 2017-build cars.

On the plus side, the actual driving systems have largely been reliable. Consumer Reports puts that down to the simplicity of electric powertrains versus conventional internal combustion engines.

Tesla’s response

Tesla Model 3 Consumer Reports reliability

Tesla was swift to respond to the Consumer Reports decision, saying that “significant improvements” had already been made to address the issues owners raised with the organisation.

“The vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data,” said a Tesla spokesperson.

Your Tesla will become dog-friendly and super secure overnight

Tesla dog mode sentry mode

Tesla’s latest over-the-air update gives you a dog-friendly mode and an opportunity to turn your car into a giant four-wheeled surveillance system.

Say what you want about Tesla, but one quantum-leap advancement that it has pioneered in the automotive industry that you simply cannot argue with is over-the-air updates. In the past, upgrading your car was a matter of buying parts and taking it into the shop or spannering it yourself.

In Tesla vehicles, new features can be added while you sleep, with simple internet-fed software installations. Dog and Sentry modes are the latest and they won’t be the last…

What is Tesla ‘Dog mode’?

Dog mode allows the driver to set a comfortable temperature for your four-legged companions for when he or she is out on an errand. That’s the bit that’s crucial to your pups. What’s crucial for concerned dog-loving passers-by is the enormous message displayed on the screen; “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry!”, with the temperature displayed even larger.

Such a good idea that addresses something that bothers a great many people.

What is Tesla’s ‘Sentry mode’?

On the company’s Twitter page, news of the Sentry mode is accompanied by the caption ‘Sentry Mode: Guarding Your Tesla’. That pretty well sums it up, and we’ve addressed it before when Elon Musk tweeted about the feature allowing the car to become its own dash cam. Nevertheless, here are a few more details that focus more on the anti-theft side of things.

Sentry mode uses the car’s various monitoring systems, including the cameras, to continuously examine the surrounding area when it’s left unattended.

If a ‘minimal threat’ – such as someone leaning on the car – is detected, the car goes into ‘alert’ state, where the screen shows a message warning that there are cameras recording.

Tesla Sentry Mode

‘Alarm’ state activates when there’s an attempted break-in or a similar greater threat. This includes activating the alarm, upping the brightness of the centre screen and playing music at full volume. The owner will also be alerted via the app and a video recording (beginning 10 minutes before the threat occurs) will be downloadable via a pre-inserted memory stick.

The feature needs to be activated every time the owner wants it running. Model 3 gets it first, with post-August 2017 Model S and X models following shortly thereafter.

Elon Musk: Teslas could soon be protected by ‘Sentry Mode’

Tesla Sentry Mode

A 360-degree camera will be coming to Tesla cars in the near future. Elon Musk calls it ‘Sentry Mode’ and it should remove the need for a dash cam.

An irritated Twitter user whose Tesla had suffered a dent within range of the rear-facing camera Tweeted Mr Musk directly, saying there should be a feature that utilises the car’s plethora of cameras and sensors for surveillance.

In typical Musk style, he responded with the public announcement that ‘Tesla Sentry Mode’ is coming – just the feature this aggrieved customer was looking for.

According to the Tweet, the feature will be ‘coming soon’ to all cars with Enhanced Autopilot. This is a feature customers have to pay extra for, but Musk clarified that it will be rolling out to all cars with the most recent ‘AP2+’ hardware.

You don’t, therefore, necessarily have to have bought Enhanced Autopilot, your car just needs to be new enough to have had the option – i.e. October 2016 onwards.

It certainly seems like a common-sense offering. We wouldn’t be surprised if in-built dash cam functions become the norm on most new cars in future.

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Elon Musk will give £700,000 to the person who can hack a Tesla

Tesla Model 3 delivery eventA total of £700,000 ($900,000) is up for grabs for one very skilled hacker who can delve into the computer systems of a Tesla Model 3. Each of the systems carries its own reward for the successful hacker: £700k is the overall total Musk has offered. 

It is all part of Pwn2Own’s hacking competition, now in its 13th year. In previous competitions, conventional tech like computers, phones, browsers and so on, have been the target. Now in this new age of autonomous electric cars, the Tesla makes for a very topical target in 2019.

Hack a Tesla

The prizes for various systems are as follows: $30,000 for infotainment access and $50,000 for a targeted denial of service (locking out owner) attack. Bluetooth and wifi systems access will win a hacker a $60,000 prize. Hacking of the app or key fob or indeed the communications system in the car’s electronics will win a hacker $100,000.

The top $250,000 is up for grabs for those who can get into the car’s autonomous systems. These challenges, among others, add up to a near million-dollar prize.

Tesla Model 3

As electronic systems and computers in cars get ever more sophisticated and take over more and more of the way a car works, car hacking becomes more and more of a risk.

So far, that’s one controversy that Tesla has thus far dodged – its cars seem to be secure as can be. In the UK, modern keyless entry systems and other such computer trickery has put cars at risk from thieves.

Manufacturers are increasingly focused on digitally defending against unauthorised access (stealing) as well as, even more terrifyingly, unauthorised takeover when on the road. Dangling the carrot and tempting the world’s brightest to put their best hacking skills forward ought to provide an intriguing insight indeed for Musk and the Tesla engineers…

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Meet the 840hp Tesla-powered Mustang

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

Aviar Motors is combining classic muscle car style with electric eco-friendly performance. Its new R67 is an all-wheel-drive Mustang EV.

Where do we begin? It has two electric motors, one per axle, connected to a 100kwh battery – all very similar to those used in P100 Teslas.

That makes it 4WD and means this ultimate ‘restomod’ for the zero-emissions age will hit 62mph in 2.2 seconds and top out at 155mph. On top of that, it’ll travel 315 miles on a single charge. We don’t think even an original Shelby GT500 will manage that on a tank of fuel.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

The car, yet to be built, will use an alloy chassis with carbon fibre bodywork to keep weight low – around one tonne, impressively. If you’re worried about an old legend getting sullied by electric power, don’t worry. These are all-new rather than based on an existing car.

The exterior is highly faithful to the original pony car’s design. There are, however, telltale signs that this is no traditional ‘60s muscle hero. An active rear spoiler is perfectly flush with the style of the original bodywork. Spot the Tesla door handles, too.

LED lights, chrome strip detailing and slimmer exterior mirrors are also added, along with bigger wheels and brakes.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

Where you definitely suspect something’s up is on the inside. Gone is the traditional 1960s style, with a 17-inch screen adorning the centre console. There is a whiff of the original style with the double-hump dash, though, along with the circular vents. 

It comes with a lot more toys than a classic Mustang. Or, for that matter, any Mustang ever built. Expect a version of Tesla Autopilot, cameras, parking sensors, traction and stability control, climate control and voice control in the cabin. It’ll even get Bluetooth and wi-fi.

It really is the best of modern tech, infused with the best of classic style.

Aviar R67 Electric Tesla Mustang

But what about V8 noise? Apparently, it’ll play a GT500 V8 rumble for passers-by, just so they know where it is. 

As for when you can buy one – all you can do is enquire at the moment. Aviar says there’s a six-month build time and that price will be on request. Here’s hoping it actually happens.

It might even help make Ford’s future plans to build a hybrid Mustang more acceptable… 

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Elon Musk 80 hours a week

Elon Musk thinks people should work 16 hours a day

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has said you need to work 80 hours a week to “change the world”

Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk says the UK Tesla Model 3 is due in mid-2019

Tesla Model 3Tesla buyers in the United Kingdom could expect their Model 3s to start arriving as soon as mid-2019, according to Elon Musk on Twitter.

It seems Musk’s Twitter has become our best source on Tesla news of late… and this time, it’s positive news for Brits, particularly those who have placed a £1,000 deposit and have been waiting patiently for news. 

Many claims were made about this car when it was revealed, and some inevitably are yet to be delivered. A $35,000 base car and mainstream availability in other markets continue to elude us. However, a new mid-level car was revealed last week, with the promise of the base car soon to follow.

Now, Elon Musk has confirmed right-hand drive Model 3s are on their way to the UK and Australia. We reckon the quality control issues ought to be in hand by then, too. Once an entry-level Model 3 lands on a UK driveway, the Model 3 should be a fully resolved and matured, mainstream production car.

Tesla has even posted a $311million profit recently, prompting a pleasing share price rise for the company. It’ll make even more if it can get some right-hand drive Model 3s into the hands of UK and Australian customers in the not-too-distant future…

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Tesla Model 3

Elon Musk has introduced a new, cheaper Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Tesla has introduced a new, more affordable version of the Model 3. Or, we should say, Elon Musk has introduced it. The Tesla CEO tweeted yesterday, telling his followers about a mid-range version of Tesla’s crossover EV.

The new model costs from $45,000 (£34,550) in the US and offers 260 miles of range. Incidentally, it uses the same battery pack as the 310-mile-range model, only with fewer cells.

Performance is down, too. While the long-range car will do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and a 145mph top speed, the new one needs 5.6 seconds and tops out at 125mph.

The Model 3 has already brought a mixture of success and criticism for the company. While it’s selling very well, Tesla has struggled to keep up in terms of production, quality and delivery. The £26,900 ($35,000) introductory model is yet to reach showrooms, too, with a debut planned for 2019.

This mid-range Model 3, it seems, is intended to serve as a stop-gap. Nevertheless, Tesla ownership is now $10,000 closer for many American buyers.

It could well turn out to be the sweet spot in the range, offering the best mileage for your money. 

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Tesla History

How remote updates will make your Tesla better overnight

Tesla update

One of the many innovations Tesla has propagated in its short and action-packed lifetime is over-the-air updates. In other words, the ability to fix or improve its cars without physically touching them.

The car you climb out of one evening could have new and improved technology when you get back in the following morning. And Tesla’s latest update actually helps its cars get better over time.

Software Version 9.0 will be rolling out to all Teslas imminently. “Tesla owners will be waking up to a car that is smarter, safer and more intuitive than ever before,” says the company.

We’ll be sure to ask our friend with a Model 3 just how effective the update is. In the meantime, here are the highlights.

What’s new in Tesla Software Version 9.0?

Tesla update

  • Phone integration – the relationship between your car and your mobile phone is about to become more intricate. As well as initiating software updates remotely, you can send map destinations to the car’s navigation system.
  • Dash cam – You can now record 10 minutes of footage from onboard cameras (featured on cars built after August 2017).
  • Full 360-degree view – Eight cameras around the car will now help with data for Autopilot autonomous driving systems, which used to rely purely on ultrasonic sensors.
  • Atari games – Classic Atari arcade games now feature as ‘easter eggs’. “If you find them, your car becomes a game console”. OK then…

Say what you want about Tesla, it has always been a market disruptor – one that’s given every single established car manufacturer food for thought.

While the ‘Ludicrous’ pace and the electric drivetrains grab headlines, the exceptional connectivity of these cars is what will keep them competitive. It’s innovation we can’t wait to see spreading to other cars.

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