Can You Spot What’s Different on This Tesla Roadster Prototype?
Tesla’s annual shareholder’s meeting had its share of surprises, but one of the biggest highlights from the event was the unveiling of a new prototype for the upcoming Tesla Roadster. The prototype was spotted at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, sitting alongside a Model 3, Model S, Model X, and a Tesla Semi prototype. Curiously, the Roadster was the only model that was cordoned off, suggesting that Tesla wasn’t keen on the idea of letting people get an up-close look at it.
Tesla Can’t Ramp Up Model 3 Production Until Elon Musk Gets All the Tooling From Germany
It’s the classic case of Tesla being Tesla. The electric car maker says that production of the Model 3 is on track to meet its first-quarter targets. The only problem is that the tools it needs to actually build the Model 3 are still not in its Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. They’re still 5,429 miles away in Dausfeld, Germany. It might seem like an easy problem to solve because Tesla could just have them shipped from Germany, it’s still a long distance to ship a lot of hardware that needs to be disassembled, shipped, and assembled once it hits its destination.
Elon Musk is Launching His 2008 Tesla Roadster into Space Today
What does a CEO of both an automaker and a rocketmaker do to cross-promote? Why launch a sports car into space. That’s exactly what Elon Musk is doing with his personal 2008 Tesla Roadster during today’s first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The rocket will launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, February 6 with its flight computer programmed for Mars. “[It’s a] red car for a red planet,” Musk tweeted back in December. The module atop the Falcon Heavy will then enter a hyperbolic orbit between Mars and the Sun, which it could theoretically maintain for a billion years. Better yet, the car’s radio will be playing Zarathustra, the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A mannequin affectionately named “Starman” will also be behind the wheel a wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is a huge milestone for SpaceX. While the Tesla Roadster is more of a silly payload, this trial launch will prove SpaceX has its math right. The Falcon Heavy is currently the largest and most powerful rocket in operation and is second only to NASA’s mighty Saturn V rocket used during the Apollo series in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Falcon Heavy is said to have a payload capacity of 70 tons – roughly 2.6 times that of NASA’s shuttle orbiter.
Like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon Heavy’s main stage will launch its payload toward space before separating and landing itself back on earth. The second stage will continue to run as it escapes earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Of course, Musk isn’t planning to send a fleet of Tesla vehicles into space, but rather has plans for manned missions to the Moon and then onto Mars.
The launch is scheduled to happen between 1:30 and 4:30 pm EST from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, the same one used for Apollo and Shuttle launches.
Tesla Employee Crashes Model 3, Charged with DUI After Run-in with a Deer
A Tesla employee found himself in hot water after crashing a Model 3 in California. Adding insult to injury, the man, identified as 38-year-old Colin Flynn, was also charged with DUI.
Flynn’s harrowing adventure occurred in the early morning of Saturday, January 13. According to police reports, the Tesla employee overshot a turn on a road in Morgan Hill, California, sending the car flying around 70 feet before crashing into the far bank of Coyote Creek.
Local police arrived shortly afterwards to find Flynn, unhurt from the crash. The Tesla told the police that the crash occurred after he swerved to avoid a deer, and not because he reeked of alcohol smell. The police asked him to take a breathalyzer test, and when he refused, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI and transported to the local precinct. Once there, Flynn also refused to have blood work done, as required by California law in cases like this. That discretion earned him a charge of obstruction. It wasn’t until officers obtained a search warrant that Flynn decided to cooperate.
As for the Model 3, the electric car was eventually removed from the creek after spending a few hours retrieving it. Authorities also advised all drivers to keep a lookout for the deer that supposedly caused Flynn to fly his Model 3 into the bank of a creek.
Most importantly, don’t drink and drive, folks.
Shocker: Tesla Misses Model 3 Goals; Delays Production Again
Tesla is no stranger to production woes as both the original Model S and the trendy Model X experienced major delays early on, so it comes as no surprise the automaker announced the budget-friendly Model 3’s production volume won’t be ramping up to the 5,000-unit-per-week goal until the second quarter of 2018. That goal was originally set for December of 2017, but production delays sacked those plans. Despite the delays, Tesla still delivered 1,550 Model 3s in Q4 of 2017.
Continue reading for more on Tesla’s production woes.
Tesla Finally Gives Early Model 3 Owners a Radio and a Trip Odometer
The Tesla Model 3 has already been criticized for being pretty basic, but the biggest criticism it got was that there was no GM radio and no odometer – two basic features that have been around for decades in every car produced. Well, with standard over-the-air updates, Tesla has finally added a trip odometer and FM radio. Whether or not these were originally intended to be paid options in the future, or simply overlooked remains to be seen, and even sounds a little absurd to have to question, but they are now considered standard equipment, which makes the latest OTA and win-win. In addition to these two features, the OTA update also brings in new apps that providing information on energy consumption and tire pressure monitoring. And, it also gets the “easy entry and exit” feature found on the Tesla Model S and Model X.
Remember, current Model 3 owners are, for the most part, Tesla employees or “members of the family” that were able to purchase early examples in order to give near-immediate feedback, but customer deliveries are expected to kick off by the turn of the year. Customers who will receive initial deliveries in the coming weeks should expect somewhat routine updates that will continue to add features and software honing over the next year or so at the least.
Shocker! Elon Musk May Delay Tesla Model 3 Production
Elon Musk is, undeniably, a very busy and ambitious man. But, it comes at a cost. In this case, that cost is the reliability of his word when it comes to timetables. It almost seems as if every time we turn around Tesla is missing one of its targets, and now, that’s about to happen again. Not only did Elon Musk tweet that its semi-truck unveiling would be pushed back, but that the Model 3 was “deep in production hell.” You know what that means? It means you’re probably not going to get your Model 3 when the company said you would. When a customer asked Musk if he would get his Model 3 this year, Musk’s reply was a little sketchy: “December will be a big month, so probably, but it is impossible to be certain right now.”
The truth is, Tesla is in some hot water as far as Model 3 production goes. Musk had originally projected that Tesla would produce 1,500 examples of the Model 3 in the third quarter but fell far short, with official numbers stopping at 260. To add to that, of those 260, only 220 of them were actually delivered. Apparently, there is a huge bottleneck happening, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that some parts for the Model 3 were being made by hand back in September. Of course, this isn’t the only thing holding the company back, as Musk now has a deal with Puerto Rico to help bring power back to the island after it was ravaged by mother nature . As such, some sources have also been diverted to increasing Tesla battery production.
Keep reading to learn more
Tesla Thinks Model 3 Owners Don’t Listen to Music
In what can be called the grandest oversight in Tesla history, the new Model 3 has only a single source for listening to music – Slacker Radio. Customers are left without what most sane people would consider basic features. There’s no AM or FM radio, meaning no local radio stations or your favorite DJ. There is no Sirius XM connection, meaning no commercial-free music playable from coast to coast. Naturally, there’s no CD player, meaning your sweet mixed tape from 1999 won’t work. Worse yet, the Model 3’s built-in Bluetooth connectivity is limited to only phone calls and its available four USB ports are for charging only. Talk about awkward silence.
According to The Drive, Slacker Radio is currently the only method Model 3 owners have to listen to music. Slacker isn’t affiliated with or owned by Tesla – at least not publically. Users can choose a free subscription to Slacker or pay upwards of $10 per month for premium content. Worse still, Slacker is said to have only a quarter of the music library Spotify users enjoy. The Internet radio service streams to the Model 3 using cellular networks, which Tesla offers free for the first four years of ownership. After that, owners must cover that cost, too.
While The Drive says the Model 3’s radio situation “likely won’t be a dealbreaker for potential owners,” I have to disagree. Model 3 ownership is already a big step in a new direction for most, with a change in lifestyle and trip-planning already baked in. Add to that the extremely limited number of audio sources, and things could get shaky for someone on the fence about signing the dotted line.
What do you think? Would this news make you less likely to buy a Tesla Model 3? Do you love Slacker and couldn’t care less? Let us know in the comments below.
2018 Tesla Model 3
Say what you will about Tesla – the company’s ambition is undeniable. Founded in 2003, the California-based electric carmaker set out with the goal of overturning the auto industry status quo and hastening “the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” To that end, Tesla’s latest play (and arguably its more important) is called the Model 3. Framed as a more affordable alternative to the highly successful Model S full-size sedan and Model X SUV, there’s no shortage of excitement behind the more compact 3, and now, after countless rumors and practically unending speculation, the veil has been lifted. Following a massive live streaming event celebrating the handover of the first Model 3’s off the production line, it was revealed that buyers get two trim levels to pick from, with as much as 310 miles per charge and a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds for the range-topper.
But, as you might expect, there’s a whole lotta footnotes that go along with the above-mentioned specs. For starters, actually getting a Model 3 into your driveway is no simple endeavor. Following a brief pre-production reveal in April of 2016, an estimated 400,000 people plunked down $1,000 for a pre-order, and that means if you don’t have a spot in line, it’s gonna be a while. Then there’s the list of ultra-pricey extras that add significant weight to the bottom line. Simply put, the question remains – does the Model 3 live up to the hype? Read on to find out.
Updated 08/23/2017: We added a series of new images taken during the 2017 Monterey Car Week.
Continue reading to learn more about the Tesla Model 3.
Tesla Model 3 Production Funded as Investors Beg Elon Musk to Take Their Money
The car business is an expensive one, and moving things in the right condition can be quite costly. As such, Tesla was in a bit of a bind when it came to funding Model 3 production – something that could have thrown a monkey wrench into Elon’s whole plan to ramp up production to 500,000 units by the end of 2018. But, when it comes to money, people quite literally trip over their own feet in a rush to fund the pockets of one of the world’s elite and most interesting businessmen. So intensely, as a matter of fact, that it took him just four hours last week to raise nearly $600,000 of the $1.5 billion he was seeking. It’s only been a week since WonderBoy sold more than a half-million worth of Junk bonds to investors, and now we’re seeing word that Tesla’s fearless leader has managed to hit his goal, and even surpass it, securing a total of $1.8 billion in “eight-year unsecured bonds at a rate of 5.30 percent.”
So, at this point, everything looks to be moving full steam ahead for Tesla, thanks to its huge influx of cash. One has to commend Musk for being able to raise so much so quickly. But, it’s not without its risk. If things happen to go south, investors could take a huge blow. That’s the thing about buying up debt – it offers high yields in the long run, but it’s also possible to lose your ass too if things don’t work out as they should. Of course, this also means one thing – Tesla’s Model 3 production may not be plagued by delays and setbacks. But, it’s still possible. Keep reading to find out why.
Tesla Model 3 Battery Specs, Cost per Battery, and Profitability Projections
Not even a week ago, I brought you the news about a leaked EPA document that give us some figures for the long-range Tesla Model 3 – with the most important figures being the 3,937-pound curb weight and a meager 258 horsepower. These figures allowed us to determine that the long-range model likely had an 80-kWh battery. I later speculated that the standard model would use somewhere between a 50- or 60-kWh battery. Well, in a call with Goldman Sachs for the bondholders that bit onto Musk’s money-raising bait it was confirmed by the big (or little?) guy himself that the standard model gets a battery that is “just over 50 kWh” while the long-range version comes with a 75 kWh battery – turns out that my math and speculation was pretty spot on. Bully for me.
But, that’s not even the most important part – what’s important is that Elon Musk is expecting to see a 25-percent gross margin on each Model 3 Tesla sells. That’s a huge figure when we’re talking about a $35,000 car, but the pivotal deciding factor is the price of each battery that goes into this little EVs. During his call with Goldman Sachs, Musk refused to disclose the cost of each battery but claims that it is cheaper than the competition, and at one point it was said to be less than $190 per kWH. So, how does Musk plan to make so much money of the Model 3? Well, he seems to believe that battery cost could be below $100 per kWh by the end of the decade and even lower in the years to follow. What do these batteries really cost? We can’t say for sure yet, but we have an idea, so let’s do some math.
EPA Documents Show that the Tesla Model 3 is not a Powerful Vehicle
The Model 3 has finally entered production and the first 30 orders we fulfilled at a special handover event in Australia just a little over a week ago. During the handover event, we learned some new things about the Model 3 and Tesla as a whole. Production of the Model 3 is set to ramp up significantly over the next year, but what was more important were the specs that we received. The Model 3 starts out at $35,000 and offers up a Tesla-estimated range of 220 miles. It can hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and tops out at 130 mph. If you opt for the long-range model, you’ll get 310 miles along with the ability to hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 140 mph. And, those specs sound great and all, but our man Elon doesn’t exactly like to disclose all information up front, which means we were left with at least a few questions. We had no idea about system power output or even how much the car weighs. And, while we still haven’t gotten word from WonderBoy Musk or Tesla, the EPA has gotten its hands on an example of the Model 3 and issued a report that gives us some fresh info.
There’s really not much, but the EPA did test the long-range model, so we’re talking about a cost of at least $44,000. Reading the EPA report kind of feels like reading a different language at times, but if you dig through the report, more specifically on page four, you’ll find that the long-range model offers up just 258 horsepower. That means that the standard model probably offers a bit less. So, how is it still able to hit 60 mph so quickly? Well, you can credit the 3,837-pound curb weight. That, and the fact that the electric motor is a direct drive unit and it can deliver near-instantaneous torque. It may be able to beat out a lot of cars rated at the same output, but this baby won’t be beating any sports cars anytime soon. To put this into perspective a bit, the Model S tips the scale at 4,647 pounds, so the Model 3 is upward of 1,000-pounds lighter. We still don’t know for sure what size battery the Model 3 is toting around, but if you do the math, it should come out to be about an 80-kWh battery pack. That means the standard-range model likely makes use of a 50 or 60-kWh battery. And, for those of you who want to call out that the Model 3 should only support a 75-kWh battery, that figure was usable capacity, not maximum capacity, so be nice in the comments section. ;)
With all of this being said, we’ve obtained a PDF version of the EPA report that you can review for yourself. It has been embedded below. Is there anything important you can spot that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments section.
Did Elon Musk Trick Us into Believing the Tesla Model 3 is Affordable?
Ever since Elon Musk told the world about his intentions of making the Model 3, he has marketed it and boasted it as an affordable mass-market vehicle, even claiming that it would be a car just about anyone could get into. It was a long time coming, but on July 28th, the first Model 3s were delivered in a big handover party in Australia. Tesla’s main homepage also live streamed the festivities. As part of that handover party, we finally got the long-awaited word on specifications as well as official pricing. Now, at a glance, the Model 3 does look pretty affordable – it’s an EV sedan that in base form will cost you $35,000 and offer a range of 220 miles. That’s not bad, and it’s on par with cars like the Nissan Leaf and pretty close to the Chevy Bolt EV. No big deal, right? Well, there is, because the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EV both have more amenities inside without such a bland look, and the options for the Model 3 could make it quite the expensive little car.
So, let’s talk about that a little more. At $35,000 you get the most basic vehicle ever to be labeled as an entry-level model. This thing has no instrument cluster, no head-up display, and no real character inside. Of course, that 15-inch display provides all of the information you might need and controls all major functions of the interior, but it’s basic. The cabin is only attractive because it’s different, and to be honest, it even looks a little cheap. But hey; it’s a cheap EV, so that’s to be expected. You’re not going to get wood trim, a personal chauffeur, and a gorgeous blonde to go along with the car with a price tag like that. If you’re buying a $120,000 Porsche, then maybe you should negotiate for some extras. The question is, how many people will really settle for the base model? Would you really want to, knowing you only get 220 miles of range? I mean, let’s get real, it doesn’t even come with Tesla’s biggest selling point: Enhanced AutoPilot. So, is it affordable? Well, keep reading to see for yourself.
Tesla Model 3 Has Easter Eggs Galore
Elon Musk may not be the most personable guy in the world, but the man still knows how to have some fun along the way to becoming one of the most influential minds of this generation. Tesla owners will likely attest to this as they’re front and center on all the Easter eggs that Musk and his people at the company have released over the years. The recent launch of the Model 3 brought the conversation of these Easter eggs back to the forefront, and while they don’t really move the needle in terms of making Teslas more attractive in the consumer’s eye, they’re still fun little quirks that add to the appeal of these electric cars.
Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of different Easter eggs from Tesla, some cooler and more fun than others. The Model 3 appears to be no different now that we’re seeing the bag of eggs it has at its disposal. One particularly cool Easter egg, albeit a useless one in the grand scheme of things, is the ability of the navigation system to show a map of Mars and turn the Model 3 on the screen into the Mars Curiosity rover. This particular easter egg can be accessed by pressing and holding the “About Your Tesla” section of the infotainment screen until a second screen pops up. It’s worth mentioning that this second screen actually has a menu of Easter eggs to choose from, including the familiar "Rainbow Road" and a new one called "More Cowbell." Yes, that cowbell. Apparently, Elon Musk has a fever... and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL! Oh, there’s also a sketchpad for drawing and writing notes, you know, while driving.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
The Tesla Model 3 Is Designed For Fully Autonomous Operation, So Where Are The Robo Chauffeurs?
Tesla is finally rolling out the Model 3, kicking off production with a “handover” party wherein company CEO and star boy extraordinaire Elon Musk gave us the skinny on the new sedan’s specs. In addition to learning about important numbers like range per charge and 0-to-60 mph times (310 miles and 5.1 seconds respectively for the top-trim Long Range model), Musk let slip this little nugget regarding Tesla’s self-driving aspirations: “Every Tesla being produced right now – the Model 3, the Model S, the Model X – has all the hardware necessary for full autonomy.” That means visual cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and a whole lot of computing power as well. However, the Model 3 still requires a human pilot in the driver’s seat, so what gives?
The answer can be found buried deep in the Model 3 press release, following a $3,000 price tag for the Full Self-Driving Capability package: “This feature is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary by jurisdiction.” Read on for a translation of what that really means, and a prediction of when your car will ferry you around sans inputs.
Continue reading for the full story.