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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.”

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.”

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with their cars

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with cars

Tesla accused of banning owners from talking about faults with their cars

American safety regulators are looking into claims Tesla has forced owners to sign non-disclosure agreements over Model S suspension issues in exchange for out-of-warranty repairs.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating reports of a defect causing Model S suspension control arms to break and the driver to lose control of the car.

One member of the Tesla Motors Club forum reported that Tesla offered to go halves on repair costs for suspension issues if they signed a ‘goodwill’ agreement.

The agreement said: “You agree to keep confidential our provision of the Goodwill, the terms of this agreement and the incidents or claims leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill. In accepting the Goodwill, you hereby release and discharge Tesla and related persons or entities from any and all claims or damages arising out of or in any way connected with any claims or incidents leading or related to our provision of the Goodwill.

“You further agree that you will not commence, participate or voluntarily aid in any action at law or in equity or any legal proceeding against Tesla or related persons or entities based upon facts related to the claims or incidents leading to or related to this Goodwill.”

A NHTSA spokesman said that the agency learned of a ‘troublesome’ non-disclosure agreement over a repair issue that could have serious safety implications.

In a statement, the NHTSA said: “The agency immediately informed Tesla that any language implying that consumers should not contact the agency regarding safety concerns is unacceptable, and NHTSA expects Tesla to eliminate any such language.”

Tesla representatives have reportedly told the agency that it was not the company’s intention to dissuade owners from contacting NHTSA.

Motoring Research has contacted Tesla Motors UK to find out if any models in Europe have been affected – and whether owners have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements similar to those used in the US.

Tesla Model S

Tesla introduces gimmick-free car finance for Model S

Tesla Model STesla has announced its PCP-style HP finance packages for private buyers of the Tesla Model S in the UK – and its guaranteed resale values are amongst the best in the class.

The company promises 50% of the purchase price of a base 60kWh Model S after three years, plus 43% of all options (including the upgrade to the 85kWh battery pack).

That means, if you buy a new Tesla Model S through the scheme, you know you’ll be able to sell it for around half its value after 36 months.

A typical finance plan for the Tesla Model S through the company’s partner Alphera Financial Services, will involve a 15% down payment and an APR rate of 5.9%.

After three years, the customer can sell the car back to Tesla at an agreed price and pay off the HP contact, or keep hold of it and continue paying the finance.

Of course, payments are likely to be out of reach for the majority of us, with buyers expected to pay £820 a month in finance.

But Tesla points out that the typical Model S driver will save around £156 a month on fuel, as well as additional savings on road tax and London’s congestion charge.

So, in reality you’ll be paying around £650 a month for a car with few additional running costs. Worth it to be driving one of the coolest electric cars on sale?

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla's bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Tesla biohazard bubble

Tesla’s bioweapon promises to heal the world

Tesla biohazard bubble

“We then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defence Mode.” No, not an extract from a new Star Wars movie, but a statement from a press release focused on air pollution. OK, Tesla, you’ve got our attention. What’s the big deal?

The American electric car giant dreams of a cleaner future, which is why it has developed a new High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtration system, inspired by the air filtration systems you’ll find in hospitals, clean rooms and the space industry.

In short: Tesla’s HEPA is capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria and pollution before they enter the cabin, then scrubbing the air inside to eliminate any trace of these particles. Tesla claims the system is “hundreds of times” more efficient than the filters you’ll find in more everyday vehicles.

Wannabe superheroes: your new wheels are ready

In Tesla’s mind, the cabin of a Model S or Model X will be amongst the cleanest places on Earth, maintaining the best possible cabin air quality “no matter what is happening in the environment around them.” Wannabe superheroes engaged in a fight against biohazard threats – your new wheels are ready.

To test the system, Tesla put its cars through a number of real-world trials, including California freeways, smelly marshes, landfills, cow pastures and major Chinese cities. The aim was to ensure the system captured particulate matter, gaseous pollutants, bacteria, viruses, pollen and mould spores.

We’re not sure if Tesla has parked a Model X inside a teenager’s bedroom, but until it has, the system has not been subjected to the most toxic environment on planet Earth.

That said, Tesla did park a Model X inside a large bubble (which sounds like a teenager’s mind), at which point it closed the falcon doors and activated the Bioweapon Defence Mode. Cutting to the chase, in less than two minutes, Tesla claims the HEPA filtration system had scrubbed the air inside the car, bringing pollution levels from extremely dangerous to undetectable levels.

The people involved in the test were even able to remove their gas masks and breathe in the previously heavily-polluted air.

Heal the world… make it a better place

To quote Tesla: “You can literally survive a military-grade bio attack by sitting in your car.”

Literally. Try doing that in a Toyota Avensis.

But far from being selfish, Tesla goes on to claim that Model X and Model S drivers will be able to vacuum clean the air outside the vehicle, improving the environment for all.

To quote Michael Jackson: “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race.”

Altogether now…

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

In a move that is most un-Tesla, the American car brand has released these pictures of its mid-life facelift for the Model S – and revealed that new interior trims will be available, featuring wood.

Yes, the interior will come with two new interior finishes – called Figured Ash Wood and Dark Ash Wood. Outside, the new Model S gets a grille-less front-end (just how will it look with a number plate?), as per the Model X and Model 3.

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

These pictures were leaked yesterday – Tesla responded by sneaking them onto its own press website and claimed that was its intention all along. As such, information is on the scarce side, but we do know the Model S will be getting yet more clever tech. Because Tesla.

This includes the ‘bioweapons defence mode’ which, unfortunately, isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds. It’s essentially a fancy air filtration system which, Tesla says, is 100 times more effective than a regular cabin filter at removing particulate exhaust pollution as well as allergens, bacteria and contaminants.

Facelifted Tesla Model S: less grille and more wood

What could be exciting to existing owners is the faster charge time. Although the electric motor remains unchanged, the standard charger has been upgraded from 40A to 48A, meaning charging from Tesla’s Supercharger network will be even quicker.

Prices will start at £53,800 (post Government grant) for the entry-level 70D model, and American websites are speculating on a range-topping P100D model on its way. That’s yet to be confirmed – but the rest of the facelifted range is on sale now.

Tesla Model 3

Traffic to Tesla's website surges 798% as Model 3 is revealed

Tesla Model 3

The hype around Tesla’s affordable electric car has been massive in recent weeks – and figures revealed today show that traffic on the firm’s website attracted an incredible seven million visits over the three days around the Model 3’s unveiling.

Reservations for the Model 3 opened on March 31, with traffic increasing by 798% the following day. US visits jumped from 220,000 on March 31 to a peak of 1.9 million on 1 April.

To put that into context, the data (revealed by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb) shows that Ford’s website received 358,000 US visits on 1 April, followed by Toyota (320,000) and 130,000 for Nissan.

Potential customers could register their interest in the $35,000 (£25,000) Model 3 by leaving a deposit of $1,000 (or £1,000 in the UK) online. Within 24 hours, 115,000 orders had been received – rising to 325,000 within the first week.

Nearly half (48%) of visitors to Tesla’s website during this period were from the US, followed by Canada (6.64%) and the UK (5.58%).

Tesla Model 3

Traffic to Tesla’s website surges 798% as Model 3 is revealed

Tesla Model 3

The hype around Tesla’s affordable electric car has been massive in recent weeks – and figures revealed today show that traffic on the firm’s website attracted an incredible seven million visits over the three days around the Model 3’s unveiling.

Reservations for the Model 3 opened on March 31, with traffic increasing by 798% the following day. US visits jumped from 220,000 on March 31 to a peak of 1.9 million on 1 April.

To put that into context, the data (revealed by digital market intelligence firm SimilarWeb) shows that Ford’s website received 358,000 US visits on 1 April, followed by Toyota (320,000) and 130,000 for Nissan.

Potential customers could register their interest in the $35,000 (£25,000) Model 3 by leaving a deposit of $1,000 (or £1,000 in the UK) online. Within 24 hours, 115,000 orders had been received – rising to 325,000 within the first week.

Nearly half (48%) of visitors to Tesla’s website during this period were from the US, followed by Canada (6.64%) and the UK (5.58%).