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Tesla Model S

Tesla has launched the fastest car in the world

Tesla Model STesla has launched a new version of the Model S saloon that it claims is the fastest volume production car in the world.

Thanks to a bigger 100 kWh battery, the new Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode can accelerate from 0-60mph in a scant 2.5 seconds – placing it just behind the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder.

But as those two hypercars were both limited-production models and are also not actually in production anymore, the firm is grabbing the claim that its new Model S is the fastest-accelerating volume production car in the world… ever.

It’s not just about speed either. The larger battery pack extends the range to a hefty 380 miles on the official European NEDC drive cycle, supported by a 315-mile claimed range when tested to the stricter U.S. EPA cycle.

This makes it the world’s first EV to go beyond 300 miles and, thus, the longest-range production electric car yet launched. “By far,” adds Tesla.

The new battery pack, which costs $10,000 (£7,500) extra new or $20,000 (£15,000) for existing P90D Ludicrous owners to upgrade, is also available in the Model X SUV: that now does 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds.

Tesla chief Elon Musk has described the new battery pack as a “milestone”: the cell chemistry is the same and it takes up the same space as the existing battery, but is now able to store much more energy.

“The Tesla Model S P100D is now faster in a straight line than it would be if you dropped it out of a plane,” Musk retweeted.

Self-driving Tesla Model X rushes owner to hospital

Self-driving Tesla Model X rushes owner to hospital

Self-driving Tesla Model X rushes owner to hospital

A driver in the USA suffered a pulmonary embolism while he was driving his Tesla Model X – so he told the car’s autopilot feature to take him to the nearest hospital.

37-year-old Joshua Neally was driving home from his Missouri office in the SUV when he suffered a piercing pain in his stomach and chest.

Instead of calling for an ambulance, Neally, a lawyer, instructed the Tesla to use its Autopilot feature to navigate to a hospital emergency department.

The system is able to control braking, accelerating and steering for sections of motorways, but isn’t capable of driving through towns.

Neally’s Model X reportedly drove 20 miles towards a hospital emergency department, before he managed to take over and park the electric SUV.

Tesla Elon Musk

Tesla Master Plan part 2: solar, sharing, trucks, buses and better autonomy

Tesla Elon MuskTesla will launch a truck, a bus, a “beautiful” solar roof battery storage product, autonomous vehicles that are 10 times safer than normal cars and an app that will let you share your Tesla with others (and get paid for it).

The plans are detailed in Tesla founder Elon Musk’s second ‘master plan’, which he rolled out overnight to focus the company’s next decade.

It’s part of his ambition to accelerate the viability of sustainable energy “so that we can imagine far into the future and life is still good.

“It’s not some silly, hippy thing – it matters for everyone.” Because if we don’t achieve a sustainable energy economy, “we will run out of fossil fuels to burn and civilisation will collapse.”

Musk therefore has four far-reaching goals over and above the volume development of Tesla’s passenger cars (the mainstream Model 3 is still due in 2018).

On sustainability, Musk wants to develop a solar roof product that’s linked in with a battery storage system that will turn everyone into their own utility company. It will be simple to order, simple to install, have a simple utility contract and be linked to a simple smartphone app: a fully integrated energy generation and storage solution.

That is why, says Musk, Tesla has been joined up to one of his other companies, SolarCity.

But Musk also has big plans for Tesla motors.

More Tesla models

Tesla wants to make more vehicles. Musk reckons he has the passenger car segment covered – “a lower cost vehicle than the Model 3 is unlikely to be necessary” – and will broaden the lower end of the range with a better, smarter Tesla bus.

A Tesla bus would be smaller, smarter, comfier and autonomous: it would match acceleration and braking to other vehicles. It would take wheelchairs, strollers and bikes. There would be no centre aisle. It would take people all the way to their destination.

A big Tesla semi-trailer truck, promises Musk, would be cheaper to use, safer and “really fun to operate”. Both will be unveiled in 2017 (they’re under development now, confirmed Musk).

Autonomy

The controversial Tesla Autopilot function is being deployed now despite some arguing it’s not ready and thus not safe. Musk says Tesla is doing it now because “when used correctly, it is already significantly safer than a person driving by themselves.”

Boldly, he claims it would be “morally reprehensible to delay release simply for fear of bad press or some mercantile calculation of legal liability.”

At the moment, Tesla Autopilot is officially in the beta stage. As part of Musk’s master plan, that beta tag will one day be removed – that will be when it is “approximately 10 times safer than the US vehicle average”.

So there you go: Tesla wants to make cars 10 times safer than normal cars, and fully roll them out in the next 10 years.

Sharing

Musk wants to “enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it”. This will be dependent on true self-driving being approved by regulators: then, Tesla will let you add your car to a Tesla shared fleet via the smartphone app and have it make money for you.

“Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.”

What’s more, Tesla will also take on cab operators and Uber: where there’s lots of demand for self-driving taxis, “Tesla will operate its own fleet enduring you can always hail a ride from us no matter where you are”.

Musk revealed his new master plan as part of a fascinating blog post on the company’s website (which is now under tesla.com rather than teslamotors.com…). The scope and ambition of it is enormous. Read it in full and let us know what else you think Musk may be planning to do…

Tesla Master Plan part 1

Musk reminded us of his first master plan, devised a decade ago. He said it “wasn’t all that complicated” and consisted of:

  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car
  4. Provide solar power

The last point he stressed: “no kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years”.

Explaining the first master plan, he said he started off with point 1 because “it was all I could afford to do with what I made from Paypal”. He admitted he thought the chances of success were low, hence starting with his cash rather than someone else’s.

“Starting a car company is idiotic and an electric car company is idiocy squared.”

Tesla

Ecotricity Tesla complaint rejected by ASA

TeslaThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint made by green electricity supplier Ecotricity over claims Tesla made in a print advert.

Published in October 2015, the advert for the Tesla Model S made two claims that Ecotricity felt were misleading:

  • ‘The World’s Fastest Charging Station’
  • ‘Over the five year average length of car ownership, that’s approximately £6,000 in petrol savings’

Ecotricity felt it was not fully clear how the firm formulated its claims and felt the advert was thus misleading.

However, in its ruling, the ASA accepted that “in the context of advertising about the Tesla Model S, consumers would understand the claim “the World’s Fastest Charging Station” to mean that Tesla Superchargers were the fastest at charging currently available compatible EVs”.

It thus did not break codes for misleading advertising, exaggeration and substantiation.

Ecotricity challenges Tesla

For the second claim, Ecotricity challenged some of the figures used in the savings calculation – Tesla’s assumption that the Superchargers would be used 10% of the time, the cost of electricity and the price of petrol.

In response, Tesla told the ASA its own ‘connected car’ figures showed the percentage of electricity delivered to its cars via Superchargers was 11%; it rounded it down to 10% for the calculation. The electricity cost was based on an European Commission report which included an estimated price of electricity in the UK.

The fuel cost, of £1.17 per litre, was a monthly average between October 2014 and February 2015.

Interestingly, Tesla also based the comparable fuel economy figure of 39.2mpg on that of the BMW 535i – a car it considered had “significantly higher fuel economy than other luxury vehicles closer to the Telsa Model S price point and performance”.

It believes the comparison figure is actually thus conservative, and the saving would be even more impressive had it used figures from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Porsche Panamera or BMW 7 Series…

tesla.com

Why has Telsa dropped ‘motors’ from its web address?

tesla.comTesla has unexpectedly changed its web address from teslamotors.com to tesla.com – despite the firm still officially being called Telsa Motors Inc.

The change occurred on Monday 18 July and now all url hits for teslamotors.com are automatically redirected to tesla.com, reports Reuters.

More car news on Motoring Research

The news organisation is now speculating whether a potential company name change is part of Telsa chief Elon Musk’s mysterious ‘second masterplan’, which he tweeted the formation of last week.

Musk’s latest tweet suggests the plan is finally coming together: it was meant to be announced last week but is likely to be revealed imminently.

Reuters says that Apple changed its name from Apple Computer Inc to simply Apple Inc in 2007 – just before it revealed the iPhone.

Tesla only acquired the rights to the tesla.com domain earlier this year; it has already changed its storage battery division over from teslaenergy.com to tesla.com/energy.

tesla.com

Why has Telsa dropped 'motors' from its web address?

tesla.comTesla has unexpectedly changed its web address from teslamotors.com to tesla.com – despite the firm still officially being called Telsa Motors Inc.

The change occurred on Monday 18 July and now all url hits for teslamotors.com are automatically redirected to tesla.com, reports Reuters.

More car news on Motoring Research

The news organisation is now speculating whether a potential company name change is part of Telsa chief Elon Musk’s mysterious ‘second masterplan’, which he tweeted the formation of last week.

Musk’s latest tweet suggests the plan is finally coming together: it was meant to be announced last week but is likely to be revealed imminently.

Reuters says that Apple changed its name from Apple Computer Inc to simply Apple Inc in 2007 – just before it revealed the iPhone.

Tesla only acquired the rights to the tesla.com domain earlier this year; it has already changed its storage battery division over from teslaenergy.com to tesla.com/energy.

Tesla announces £64,100 entry-level Model X 60D

Tesla announces £64,100 entry-level Model X 60D

Tesla announces £64,100 entry-level Model X 60D

Looking for an affordable way to own the latest ‘must-have’ Tesla but can’t wait for the Model 3, set to be launched next year? Putting the now-getting-on Model S to one side for a moment, you can now buy a Model X 60D for £64,100.

In a short message sent out to the media this morning, Tesla revealed that its all-electric SUV is now available for around £8,000 less than the previous entry-level model. It comes after Tesla boss Elon Musk teased his ‘top secret masterplan’, expected to be revealed later in the week.

> More car news on Motoring Research

So how does the 60D differ from the full-fat models? You get the same powertrain but a smaller battery. That means it’ll still hit 0-60mph in 6.0 seconds flat, and it can reach the dizzying heights of 130mph. But the official estimated range is just 220 miles – that’s 39 miles less than the £71,900 Model X 75D and 83 miles less than the £82,400 90D.

There’s some debate around whether it actually is a smaller battery, or just a software update to limit the range and give Tesla a reason to offer the Model X for less money. Whatever the truth, it means you can buy a Model X SUV for the same price as a ‘twin-engine’ Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid.

In a statement, Tesla said: “Following on the success of Model S 60 and 60D, and in order to bring the benefits of Tesla ownership to even more people, today we’re introducing Model X 60D at a starting price of £64,100 – giving customers the flexibility to choose the Tesla model, price point and range that best fits their lifestyle.

“Our versatile product platform and efficient manufacturing processes make it possible to seamlessly extend these types of compelling offerings to customers.”

The announcement will add fire to speculation that Tesla is struggling to sell cars as hype around the brand dies down and quality issues emerge.

The internet is ridiculing Elon Musk after he teased a ‘top secret masterplan’

The internet is taunting Elon Musk after he teased ‘top secret masterplan’

The internet is ridiculing Elon Musk after he teased a ‘top secret masterplan’

No other car manufacturer CEO could get away with tweeting that he’s ‘working on a top secret masterplan’ – especially in the wake of a series of bad publicity for the firm, including coming bottom in a mystery shopper survey, and an investigation for a crash involving one of its autonomous cars.

But that’s what Tesla’s Elon Musk has done – and the response has been largely positive, with its shares rising by more than 4% following the tweet.

On the world wide web, however, there’s always someone on hand to poke fun. Here are some of the funniest responses to Musk’s tweet.

Musk’s original masterplan was published in August 2006 and outlined how he intended to make a ‘low-cost family car’ that would be more eco-friendly than petrol-based alternatives.

This was revealed as the Tesla Model 3 earlier this year. More than 400,000 deposits have since been placed for the car worldwide.

Rumours suggest Musk’s new masterplan could evolve around a Tesla mobility service – similar to Ford’s plans announced at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

Others are suggesting it could involve creating an electric truck to rival America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-Series pick-up truck.

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

A man has died after his Tesla crashed while on autopilot

The driver of a Tesla Model S in Florida has been killed after the part self-driving car failed to spot a lorry and tried to drive underneath its trailer.

The man, named in other outlets as Joshua Brown of Ohio, was using the car’s Autopilot feature. This uses cameras and sensors to monitor traffic and allow autonomous driving on motorways and highways.

We ‘drive’ Tesla’s driverless car on UK roads
Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with cars

In a statement, Tesla said: “What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.

“The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.

“Had the Model S impacted the front or rear of the trailer, even at high speed, its advanced crash safety system would likely have prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.”

Some speculation has suggested the driver may have been watching a film when he was involved in a crash.

The firm described the ex-Navy SEAL as ‘a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community’, and previously he’d uploaded numerous dashcam videos from his Model S.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into the crash and will conclude whether the Autopilot system was at fault.

Tesla has responded by saying the technology is new, still in the beta phase and should be only be used as an ‘assist feature’, with the driver keeping their hands on the wheel at all times.

The firm added: “This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles.”

It could be a serious blow to the development of autonomous technology.

Tesla hits out at 'preposterous' claims owners are forced to keep quiet about faults

Tesla: claims owners are forced to keep quiet about faults are ‘preposterious’

Tesla hits out at 'preposterous' claims owners are forced to keep quiet about faults

Tesla has issued a statement hitting back at claims it made owners sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for carrying out urgent out-of-warranty safety repairs.

Initial reports suggested the manufacturer was being investigated by the US National Highway  Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over a ‘troublesome’ agreement which some claimed prevented owners from reporting faults to authorities.

But Tesla has said that isn’t true. In a blog post, the manufacturer said: “NHTSA has not opened any investigation nor has it even started a “preliminary evaluation,” which is the lowest form of formal investigatory work that it does.

“On April 20th, as part of what it has told us it considers “routine screening,” NHTSA informally asked us to provide information about our suspensions. On April 30th, we provided all relevant information to NHTSA. NHTSA has since told us that we have cooperated fully and that no further information is needed.

“Neither before nor after this information was provided has NHTSA identified any safety issue with Tesla’s suspensions. This can be confirmed with NHTSA.”

In the post, titled ‘A grain of salt’, Tesla also addressed the suspension issue which is believed to have led to the controversy.

It said: “With respect to the car that is discussed in the blog post that led to yesterday’s news, the suspension ball joint experienced very abnormal rust. We haven’t seen this on any other car, suggesting a very unusual use case.

“The car had over 70,000 miles on it and its owner lives down such a long dirt road that it required two tow trucks to retrieve the car. (One to get the car to the highway and one to get it from the highway to the service center.) When we got the car, it was caked in dirt.”

The outspoken statement went on to describe the non-disclosure claims as ‘preposterous’ – and pinned the speculation on an individual blogger called Edward Niedermayer.

“It is worth noting that the blogger who fabricated this issue, which then caused negative and incorrect news to be written about Tesla by reputable institutions, is Edward Niedermayer,” the statement said.

“This is the same gentle soul who previously wrote a blog titled ‘Tesla Death Watch’, which starting on May 19, 2008 was counting the days until Tesla’s death. It has now been 2,944 days. We just checked our pulse and, much to his chagrin, appear to be alive. It is probably wise to take Mr Niedermayer’s words with at least a small grain of salt.”