• Tesla News Roundup For The Week of Jan 6, 2019

The biggest news was from the company’s latest Gigafactory 4 in Germany

There is always something new happening in the world of Tesla. This year, we won’t be seeing any new products from the company, but instead, they will be focusing on expanding their technology base. Tesla is rolling out numerous over-the-air updates that are keeping the Tesla owners and enthusiasts quite interested all the time. Not to mention, the products also remain fresh this way, thus giving Musk and his company some breathing room from developing new products. Here are the major updates from Tesla this week.

Tesla Gigafactory 4 To Manufacture The Model 3 As Well

Tesla chose Berlin, Germany as the hub for the Gigafactory 4 instead of Britain.

This announcement came from Elon Musk himself at the ’Golden Steering Wheel Award’ show held in 2019. Before this news came to light, the Gigafactory 3 in China was expected to handle the production for the Model 3 as well as the Model Y. However, we recently learned that the Berlin factory will handle the Model Y’s production. Tesla received approval from the country’s Ministry of Environment last week, and it looks like Tesla will be producing two cars there.

Tesla News Roundup For The Week of Jan 6, 2019 Exterior
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According to Teslarati, the American startup will also manufacture the Model 3 at Gigafactory 4. It aims to produce around 3,000 examples of the Model Y and Model 3 before ramping it up to almost 10,000 cars a week. The Gigafactory 4’s construction will begin within the next six months and Tesla plans to start producing from July 2021. If Tesla is as motivated and strictly time-bound as it was during the Shanghai factory’s construction, it will be able to complete this also within a year. Tesla has already posted 35 job vacancies for the key roles and will hire 3,000 employees to start off with.

Elon Musk To Come Up With A Solution To Save Cyclists

Everything There is to Know About Tesla's Elon Musk
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A twitter user told Musk to do something about cyclists getting knocked out by careless car occupants who open the doors without looking at the back. Although it seems like a one-off issue, this actually happens more often than you think and has become a serious cause of concern. Musk probably understands the depth of ‘Dooring, as it’s generally called, and replied: “Ok” to Burhan Halilov’s tweet that read, “Please consider a feature to look for bicyclist with the side cameras when car is parked and lock the door to prevent “dooring” if there is a bicycle approaching the blind spot. “Dooring” in large cities is major cause of injuries. Happened to me.”

Since Musk clearly stated that 2020 will be the year of technologies, we can expect this to be implemented soon as well. Tesla cars have side cameras anyway, so a “sound” warning to the occupants if there is anything in the blind spot, would be hugely beneficial. If Tesla does go with this approach, it can perhaps do it through a seamless, over-the-air update.

In-Cabin Camera – Boon or Bane?

A Model 3 owner and YouTuber, Tesla Raj, brought up the idea for the cabin’s interior-facing cameras to be used to record vehicle break-ins when the Sentry mode is activated.

As it turns out, Elon Musk approved it and has confirmed that an OTA update will enable the interior camera when sentry mode is activated.

When the cabin camera was first spotted in the Model 3, Musk said, “It’s there for when we start competing with Uber/Lyft & people allow their car to earn money for them as part of the Tesla shared autonomy fleet.” Tesla will also use this for the self-driving Robotaxis that will play a big role in shaping Tesla’s future. Although people seem to be pitching the idea themselves about the camera for safety purposes, Volvo’s idea on similar lines was quashed ruthlessly over a year back.

Volvo was planning to introduce new driver-focused in-car cameras as an option for select 2019 model-year vehicles. However, this wasn’t received well by the public, and U.K’s Car magazine straight-up called them spy cameras. Volvo is selling this idea as a type of safety system that monitors the driver and driver behavior. Based on what the camera sees, the car can then take steps to de-stress an agitated driver. Volvo mentioned another use for driver-facing cameras - facial recognition. With the driver in the car, the camera could identify the specific person and adjust vehicle settings accordingly, everything from seat and mirror positions to temperature preferences and app settings. Had the company pitched it as a safety feature, it wouldn’t have gotten criticized for it. Remember the movie Speed? Even in 1994, the driver-facing camera would have killed Annie and the other passengers had it not been for Jack spotting the camera!

Acceleration Boost Upgrade

The Model 3 Performance recently received an over-the-air update that enhanced the performance by five-percent.

Now, it’s time for an Acceleration Boost Upgrade. The difference is that this one is paid. A YouTuber, Quantrillous Montgomery, paid $2,000 for the Acceleration Boost Upgrade for his Model 3 Dual Motor AWD. According to the company, the 0-60 mph time was reduced from 4.4 seconds to 3.9 seconds. However, the owner managed to hit the mark in just 3.48 seconds (with a one-foot rollout)! He continued with the run and completed the quarter-mile sprint in 11.82 seconds.

As for the free OTA Model 3 Performance upgrade a couple of months back, it enhanced the car’s performance by five-percent. Many owners checked this out and all of them felt the increase in their 0-60 mph sprints. The company’s earlier 3.2 seconds claim was squashed by this update as owners were able to breach the three-second barrier. The Model 3 Performance comes with two motors, one attached to each axle, and boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 191 W/kg. Will Tesla release the paid upgrade for the Model 3 performance anytime in the future?

Tesla Model 3 As A Police Cruiser Is A Big Hit

The Bargersville, Indiana Police Department replaced one of their four Dodge Chargers with a Tesla Model 3 in August 2019 and it seems to be a crowd favorite.

Speaking to IndyStar, the Bargersville Police Chief Todd Bertram said, “I got a guy for speeding on (Indiana State Road) 37 and all he wanted to talk about was the Tesla,” He further added, “During that same traffic stop, somebody honks and a guy is hanging out of his window with a phone taking video,”.

The chief of police said that the switch was done to bring the overhead costs into control. The Department will save as much as $6,000 every year. He also said that the whirring motors help in raids and to sneak upon suspects as stealthily as possible. After seeing the loud cop cars in Dubai, this is a pleasant surprise.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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