Category: Tesla

May 9, 2019 Off

VW’s new electric hatchback receives 10,000 pre-orders in first 24 hours

By Jill T Frey

Volkswagen opened up pre-orders in Europe at a launch event Wednesday for a special edition of the first model in its new all-electric ID brand. Within 24 hours, the company received more than 10,000 registrations, a result that suggests growing demand for electric vehicles.

VW revealed Wednesday the name, some pricing and range specs for the first model in its multi-billion-dollar effort to produce and sell a portfolio of electric vehicles. This first model, known as the ID.3, is an electric hatchback that will be offered in three battery options, with ranges between 330 and up to 550 kilometers (205 miles to 341 miles) in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions.

Customer interest in the special edition “ID.3 1” — which will be limited to 30,000 vehicles — is “significantly exceeding the brand’s expectations, … Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Tesla’s Autopilot off course

By Jill T Frey

The White House has refused to exempt the “brain” of Tesla’s Autopilot technology from punitive import tariffs, a decision that could delay or disrupt the company’s self-driving ambitions, TechCrunch has learned.

At a special “autonomy day” event last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled advanced Autopilot 3.0 hardware, including a new custom chip intended to enable full self-driving (FSD) operation for all of its new vehicles. This hardware is now standard in all new Model 3, S and X vehicles. Customers pay an additional $6,000 for the software upgrade called FSD.

Tesla’s Autopilot off course

The self-driving hardware lives within the Autopilot ECU (or engine control unit), a module that Tesla describes as the “brain of the vehicle.” This module is assembled in Shanghai, China, by a company called Quanta Computer.

Tesla’s plans could be affected by a previously unreported decision last month by the White House not to grant Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Tesla bumps up its capital raise by $400 million, with Elon Musk taking an additional $15 million

By Jill T Frey

Tesla is going to raise an additional $400 million in its latest sale of stock, with co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk committing to buy an additional $15 million in shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The electric vehicle, energy storage and solar panel manufacturer said it will sell 3.1 million shares at $243 per share. The underwriters are jointly underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup . At the same time, the company said it would boost its convertible note offering by another $100 million.

Initially, Tesla was going to sell $2.3 billion in stock and warrants, but the new totals boost that number to $2.7 billion, with Elon Musk upping the ante of his own purchase as part of the revised deal.

The company said that Musk would boost his purchase from $10 million to $25 million as part of the sale of stock.… Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

Tesla is raising up to $1.5 billion through convertible note and share sale

By Jill T Frey

Tesla is raising up to $1.55 billion through the sale of notes and shares, according to a filing made by the EV maker today.

The document outlines that Tesla will sell up to $1.35 billion in convertible senior notes. The number could increase further: Tesla is giving underwriters the chance to buy a further $202.5 million for over-allotments. In share numbers, that’s an initial 2,723,198 shares that could expand to 3,131,677.

The notes are due in 2024 and, already, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk is committed to buying $10 million in the offering, that’s 41,896 shares.

Tesla’s stock price rose by five percent in pre-market at the time of writing, according to data from Yahoo Finance.

As is often the case in such offerings, the plans for the funds raised are fairly vague at this point.

“We intend to use the net proceeds from this convertible notes … Read the rest

April 27, 2019 Off

Some reassuring data for those worried unicorns are wrecking the Bay Area

By Jill T Frey

The San Francisco Bay Area is a global powerhouse at launching startups that go on to dominate their industries. For locals, this has long been a blessing and a curse.

On the bright side, the tech startup machine produces well-paid tech jobs and dollars flowing into local economies. On the flip side, it also exacerbates housing scarcity and sky-high living costs.

These issues were top-of-mind long before the unicorn boom: After all, tech giants from Intel to Google to Facebook have been scaling up in Northern California for over four decades. Lately however, the question of how many tech giants the region can sustainably support is getting fresh attention, … Read the rest

April 25, 2019 Off

Tesla to open up Model 3 orders in UK

By Jill T Frey

Tesla is poised to open up orders for the Model 3 in the U.K. by early May, as well as other markets that have right-hand drive vehicles, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk.

The Model 3 order page will go live May 1 or 2 in the U.K., followed by Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Tesla’s U.K. web page says “deliveries in right-hand drive markets will begin in the second half of 2019.”

The first Model 3 vehicles were handed over to U.S. customers beginning in July 2017 at a splashy event at its factory in Fremont, Calif. Those first vehicles went to Tesla employees and deliveries limped along for months due to production bottlenecks. Deliveries began in earnest in 2018.

The expansion into more right-hand drive markets … Read the rest

April 24, 2019 Off

Tesla plans to launch an insurance product ‘in about a month’

By Jill T Frey

Tesla is developing an insurance product, which could be launched in about a month, CEO Elon Musk said during a call with analysts Wednesday following its first-quarter earnings report.

“It will be much more compelling than anything else out there,” he said.

Musk didn’t provide further details on what the insurance product might look like, but it will most certainly place value on its Autopilot system, an advanced driver assistance system that is considered one of the most robust and at times, most controversial, in the industry.

Musk later added that Tesla already shares information with insurance companies about Autopilot. The information is meant to help reduce insurance rates.

“As we launch our own insurance product next month, we will certainly incorporate that information into the insurance rates,” Musk said.

Tesla has an “information arbitrage opportunity,” Musk said. The company is able to capture driving data, giving the company direct … Read the rest

April 24, 2019 Off

Despite declines for the quarter, Tesla is bullish on its overall energy business

By Jill T Frey

Even as its solar business declined in step with its overall earnings, Tesla is bullish on the prospects for the energy side of its business over the course of the year.

The energy business is an unheralded part of Tesla — overshadowed by its headline-grabbing (and much larger) auto exploits — that chief executive Elon Musk thinks will generate an increasing share of revenue for the company over time.

Revenues from its solar power and energy storage business fell by 13 percent from the fourth quarter 2018 and 21 percent from a year ago period, down to $324.7 million from $371.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 and $410 million in the year ago quarter.

Solar energy deployments fell from 73 megawatts to 47 megawatts from the fourth to the first quarter, the company said. Those figures were offset by … Read the rest

April 22, 2019 Off

Tesla vaunts creation of ‘the best chip in the world’ for self-driving

By Jill T Frey

At its “Autonomy Day” today, Tesla detailed the new custom chip that will be running the self-driving software in its vehicles. Elon Musk rather peremptorily called it “the best chip in the world…objectively.” That might be a stretch, but it certainly should get the job done.

Called for now the “full self-driving computer,” or FSD Computer, it is a high-performance, special-purpose chip built (by Samsung, in Texas) solely with autonomy and safety in mind. Whether and how it actually outperforms its competitors is not a simple question and we will have to wait for more data and closer analysis to say more.

Former Apple chip engineer Pete Bannon went over the FSDC’s specs, and while the numbers may be important to software engineers working with the platform, what’s more important at a higher level is meeting various requirements specific to self-driving tasks.

Perhaps the most obvious feature catering to AVs … Read the rest

April 22, 2019 Off

Tesla’s full self-driving computer is now in all new cars and a next-gen chip is already ‘halfway done’

By Jill T Frey

The Tesla computer, a new custom chip designed to enable full self-driving capabilities, is now in all new Model 3, X and S vehicles, CEO Elon Musk said during the company’s Autonomy Day.

Tesla switched over from Nvidia’s Drive platform to its own custom chip for the Model S and X about a month ago and for the Model 3 about 10 days ago, Musk said.

“All cars being produced all have the hardware necessary — computer and otherwise — for full self-driving,” Musk said. “All you need to do is improve the software.”

Work is also already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this current chip was completed “maybe one and half, two years ago.” Tesla is now about halfway through the design of the next-generation chip.

Musk wanted to focus the talk on the current chip, but he later added that the next-generation one … Read the rest