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.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch A Success; Tesla Roadster And Starman Begin Their Journey
Earlier this afternoon, as a multitude of anxious space exploration fans watched with bated breath, the Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. With all 27 individual Merlin engines lit, the trio of boosters providing more than 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy became the world’s most powerful rocket currently in service, officially launching us into a second Space Age.
Once the first stage was complete, the spent rockets were jettisoned and aimed back at Earth. Moments later, the two side boosters successfully touched down simultaneously on the ground in Florida. The third booster was supposed to land on a drone ship out in the Atlantic, but as it approached, the camera feed cut out due to the extreme vibrations. It’s not yet known if it landed successfully or not, but it’s believed to have crashed into the ocean.
The reusable rockets were designed to make space flight less expensive in the long run. Each Falcon Heavy launch is expected cost around $90 million, while similar flights from government organizations like NASA could cost upwards of $1 billion.
Most importantly though, the Falcon Heavy successfully delivered its payload into orbit. Strapped to the tip of the Falcon Heavy was a first-generation Tesla Roadster (painted in red, or course), complete with “Starman” strapped in at the wheel (Starman being a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit). On the Roadster’s primary infotainment screen were the words “Don’t Panic!”, a reference to Douglas Adam’s classic novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
The goal is to get the Roadster and its Starman passenger into an orbit around the sun that’ll take it by Mars, with the intention being to eventually launch a manned mission to the Red Planet. This successful test launch is the first big step towards that goal. But before it slingshots through the solar system, the Roadster will need to pass through the radiation-filled Van Allen belts, after which there will be a final burn to send Starman towards our planetary neighbor.
Since the launch, social media has been filled with breathtaking imagery, including several shots taken live from the space-traveling drop-top. Make sure to check out the live feed of Starman on YouTube.
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.
Elon Musk Demonstrates Falcon Heavy Launch With Tesla Roadster And Starman Payload
We here at TopSpeed are getting stoked for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and this latest animation is just fanning the flames. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off at 1:30 EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Powered by 27 individual Merlin first-stage rockets doling out a combined 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy will be carrying a payload consisting of a first-gen Tesla Roadster, plus “Starman,” a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit, in the driver’s seat.
At about 3-and-a-half minutes in length, the video is an animation that walks us through each stage of the mission, from initial takeoff, to the booster recovery, to the final sendoff for the payload, all of which is set to the audio backdrop of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All very fitting, considering the endgame is a manned mission to the Red Planet some time in the future. The Roadster will be set on a heliocentric orbit that’ll take it between the Earth and Mars, possibly laying the groundwork for a future Martian colony supply line. While typically these sorts of test missions involve simple weights, the addition of a red sports drop-top manned by a dummy adds a certain artistic quality to it, don’t you think?
SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Tomorrow With Starman At The Helm Of Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster
The final countdown is now imminent. Following a successful static test, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is now cleared for the real thing, with liftoff scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The payload will include a deep-red first-gen Tesla Roadster with “Starman” strapped into the driver’s seat.
Continue reading for the full story.
You Can Rent A Tesla In Minneapolis For Super Bowl Week
Normally, if you wanna drive around in a new Tesla for a little while, you gotta have a trusting friend with one already parked in his or her driveway. Now, one rental company in Minnesota is offering folks a shot at experiencing a Tesla first-hand by renting them out during Super Bowl week.
Continue reading for the full story.
An AWD Version of the Tesla Model 3 Could Break Cover in Spring 2018
An all-wheel-drive Tesla Model 3 has been in the cards for some time. We all know it’s coming; we just don’t know when it’s coming. Turns out, it could arrive sooner than we thought because Tesla appears to be rolling out the dual-motor all-wheel drive Model 3 as early as the Spring of 2018. Unless your calendars are acting up, the dual-motor Model 3 could arrive as early as March 2018 or as late as June 2018.
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.
Bait & Switch: Tesla Swaps Model 3 Headliner from Alcantara to Textile
Tesla has found itself in the middle of a new controversy, though the issue has nothing to do with its autonomous driving technology going awry. The issue at hand revolves around the Model 3’s headliner and the material that’s being used on it. Apparently, some owners who have taken delivery of their Model 3’s were surprised to see that the headliner in their cars was covered by weaved textile as opposed to Alcantara.
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.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket to Launch for the First Time in December; Could Carry Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster Into Space
Back in July, we announced the new that Elon Musk might shoot off SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket for the first time before the turn of the year. Come December 1st and Musk has tweeted that the rocket will, indeed, launch soon, but it won’t be until next month, or as of the date of that post, sometime in January of 2018. That goes beyond the “this year” timeframe but is quite exciting considering the number of times that Falcon Heavy has been delayed in the past. According to Musk, it will have double the thrust of the next largest rocket and the launch is “guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another.” Not long after that, Musk tweeted what seems to be a joke, saying “Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars Orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.”
Elon Musk Claims The Tesla Roadster Can Go From 0 to 60 Mph in 1.9 Seconds?
Elon Musk is no stranger to making bombastic claims. This is the same man who once said that autonomous driving technology was at our fingertips. He’s also the same man who said that civilian space travel is possible and traveling at supersonic speeds inside a pressure-sealed tube is the future of public transportation. Don’t look now, but Musk is at it again with a new proclamation that has everyone in the auto industry buzzing. According to him, the new Tesla Roadster, which is scheduled to debut in 2020, is capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, becoming the first production car in history to reach that mark in less than two seconds.
Tesla Customer Gets a Model 3 Owner’s Manual from Tesla Roadside Assistance
These days, it’s not uncommon for documents, images, or just about anything else pertaining to a new car to leak ahead of its debut. Sometimes it’s clearly at the hands of an Automaker (think the Jeep JL leaks or the Lamborghini Urus Leak from the other day), and other times it’s because some idiot behind a computer isn’t paying attention. In the case of the Model 3 owner’s manual, which we’ve yet to see in its entirety until now, it’s most likely the latter. What started out as a call to roadside assistance resulted in a member of the Tesla 3 Owner’s Club on Facebook getting a full, seemly official PDF version of the owner’s manual. And, it details everything from start to finish, including the new bi-directional thumb buttons, exterior mirror adjustments, Autopilot (just a copy and paste from other manuals,) hub cab (what we know as “aero caps”) removal and installation, and even motor information.
That’s right, even motor information is included, which tells us that the Model 3’s motor runs at a nominal voltage of 370 Volts with a maximum current of 800 Amps. Maximum motor speed is 17,900 rpm, while motor power is pegged at 165 kW or 221 horsepower. This is nothing new, of course, but what is new is the maximum wheel torque output – a mind-blowing 3,700 Nm or 2,725.980 pound-feet. Of course, that’s the glory of electric motors and electric vehicles in general – all of that gut-wrenching, near instantaneous torque on demand. And, even the Model 3 has plenty of that.
Of course, having enough torque stop the rotation of the earth is one thing, but it should be noted that as of the time of the manual’s publication, towing wasn’t permitted. So, while it could tow a skyscraper from one side of NYC to the other with all of that torque, it’s not a good idea to try right now. Then again, the manual says that it “currently” doesn’t support towing, which means it could, in the future, honor Musk’s previous promise that it would be able to. Finally, the manual confirms that the battery pack has a rated capacity of 75 kWh, which is exactly what we were expecting after previous leaks of EPA documents.
Check out the owner’s manual for yourself below – if you’re a reservation holder or just a curious reader, there’s plenty of material there to help you get familiar with the mini Model S.
The Tesla Roadster Looks like a Blurry Version of the Honda NSX
When the new Aston Martin Vantage came out, I criticized the brand for producing a car that looked like a serious rip off of the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Now, as I was looking over the news from the past week, I see that there’s another look-alike out there, and this time, it looks like Tesla decided to copy the Honda NSX and slap a Tesla Roadster badge on it. Now, it isn’t a blatant and condemning rip-off, and maybe not even as bad as the Vantage vs. MX-5 copying scheme, but it’s pretty bad. I would say the Roadster looks like a blurry version of the NSX – almost like cars in 128-bit video games used to look compared to their real-life counterparts. Don’t believe me? Check out the quick comparison below.
Is Tesla Working on a Flying Version of the Roadster?
Tesla just unveiled the next-generation Roadster and the preliminary (still theoretical) performance figures are downright shocking. From 0 to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds and a top speed of over 250 mph to a range of at least 600 miles, the second-generation Roadster will move the electric car (and the entire automobile industry for that matter) into a whole new era. Assuming it will live up Elon Musk’s claims, that is! But things got even more interested over the weekend when Musk tweeted that the crazy numbers above are for the base model, with an upgrade to take things up a notch.
"Should clarify that this is the base model performance. There will be a special option package that takes it to the next level," he said. Holy molly. What does that even mean? Will the Roadster get even quicker that 1.9 seconds to 60 mph? Will the range increase to 700 or 800 miles on a single charge? Are we getting some sort of track-spec model? Is Elon Musk on drugs or something?
But wait, there’s more. On Sunday, Must tweeted again, now saying that the special performance upgrade could enable the Roadster to fly "short hops." I kid you not; these are his words: "Not saying the next-gen Roadster special upgrade package *will* definitely enable it to fly short hops, but maybe... Certainly possible. Just a question of safety. Rocket tech applied to a car opens up revolutionary possibilities."
Is Musk Serious about This?
Continue reading for the full story.
Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate
Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.
It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.
Continue reading for the full story.