Surprise Telsa Rival Emerges from China

A wild Tesla rival appeared! From nowhere, Chinese electronics company LeEco has unveiled its first electric car, designed to be a direct rival to Tesla Motors’ Model S electric sedan, while adding more self-driving and connectivity features

The vehicle, called the LeSEE (a name that gives me unpleasant flashbacks to Final Fantasy XIII), is only a concept car for the time being, but the ambitious company hopes it will help usher in an age of Chinese dominance in the electric car market, with a number of other local companies set to launch battery-powered cars in the next few years.

“When everyone is questioning us over our ability to develop a car like this and is laughing at us, we are still able to be here and show you this car […] I am so emotional,” said an excited Jia Yueting, co-founder and CEO of LeEco, at a launch event in Beijing on Wednesday (via Reuters).

Jia even claims that LeEco hopes to give its electric cars away for free one day, making its money back on ads delivered to the vehicles through its connectivity platform.

“Our cars’ pricing model will be similar to pricing models for cellphones and TV sets we sell today,” he said. “One day our cars will be free […] We are getting there some day.”

Video Released of Tesla Autopilot Avoiding a Collision!

It’s true that some drivers are still having a hard time placing their safety in the hands of an autopilot system, but judging from what we’ve seen in a recent video, it looks like Tesla’s autopilot is definitely capable of keeping a Model S and its driver safe. Model S driver Joshua Brown has recently posted a YouTube video that clearly shows how his car’s autopilot system managed to save him from a nasty collision with a large truck.

“I was driving down the interstate and you can see the boom lift truck in question on the left side of the screen on a joining interstate road. Once the roads merged, the truck tried to get to the exit ramp on the right and never saw my Tesla. I actually wasn’t watching that direction and Tessy (the name of my car) was on duty with autopilot engaged. I became aware of the danger when Tessy alerted me with the immediately take over warning chime and the car swerving to the right to avoid the side collision.”

Upon seeing the video, Elon Musk has decided to upload it to Twitter so more people can see exactly what the Model S is capable of. Tesla wants to implement similar autopilot features in the Model 3, which already enjoys more than 400,000 pre-orders. You can see the hero autopilot in action in the video below.

Apple Poaches Telsa’s Engineering VP

Apple, hard at work developing its own electric car – codenamed Project Titan, and rumoured to be undergoing R&D at a secret facility in Berlin, Germany – has poached Telsa Motors’ Vice President of Engineering Chris Porritt to work on a “special project”, according to Electrek. I wonder what that could be..?

The move follows reports that former Project Titan lead Steve Zadesky has left Apple, with Porritt appearing to be his natural replacement. Porritt’s CV includes a stint as Aston Martin’s Chief Engineer, a period during which he helped develop the One-77 supercar, V12 Zagato, and Aston Martin DB9 before leaving in 2013. Do you know who one of the biggest Aston Martin fanboys is? Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, who famously owns both a DB9 and a Vanquish.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has previously joked about his company’s employees moving to Apple, calling the company the “Tesla graveyard”.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

While much of the design work for the Apple Car is said to be handled from its Cupertino headquarters, the Berlin lab is handling the development side, while the vehicle is due to be built in Austria by automotive engineering outfit Magna Steyr. The car is expected to hit the market in either 2019 or 2020.

Carbon Nanotubes Can Self-Assemble Themselves at a Distance

Nanotechnology is part of a whole new stage of technology, the ability to create microscopic machines that can perform tasks such as replacing torn knee ligaments or as was previously found it could be used to double hard drives space. Part of nanotechnologies problems is that if it is damaged, you are talking about a tiny tear. Self-repairing technology can help with that, enabling machines and devices to not only protect themselves but also repair some of the damage that has been done to them, and researchers at Rice university have taken it a step further by letting carbon nanotubes self-assemble themselves all with just a little remote prompt.

The researchers at Rice university posted a video to YouTube that shows a series of carbon nanotubes gather together and assembles themselves into a wire. Remember when you broke your favourite pair of headphones because part of the cable broke but you could never tell what part? With this technology, you could simply place your headphones in a force field created by a Tesla coil and watch at it repairs itself.

Described by one of the scientists sons as “spider-man webs”, the video clearly shows that this technology could be used in creating self-building/repairing technology, similar to that found in the self-healing gel that Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas showed off a few months ago.

Faraday Future Pins Hope of Beating Tesla on “Extreme” Electric Supercar

A mysterious US-based, Chinese-backed electric car manufacturer has opened up to provide us with a glimpse of its future – a stunning new electric supercar, and an equally impressive new factory complex – as it attempts to position itself above Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors as the premier electric vehicle maker in the world.

Faraday Future, after the showing off its beautiful FFZero1 concept car earlier this year, has unveiled its new factory, which has begun construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, the same state as Telsa’s Gigafactory. The Apex Industrial Park – a 3-million square-foot facility, which will handle the manufacture the company’s series of as-yet-unknown electric car fleet – is due to be completed in 2018, backed by $335 million of incentives from the state of Nevada.

‘”Our aim is to complete a program that would normally take four years and do it in half the time, while still doing it right,” Dag Reckhorn, Faraday Future global manufacturing Vice President, told the Daily Mail.

“We are moving extremely quickly for a project of this size,” Reckhorn added. “We have received tremendous support from local government officials and the community, and look forward to making a significant, positive impact on the local economy.”

Faraday Future revealed its remarkable new concept car, the FFZero1, at CES 2016 back in January, where it earned comparisons to the Batmobile and was described by the company as “the most extreme iteration of what it can build.”

“To be like the Batmobile is not a bad thing right?’ Chief Designer Richard Kim said. ‘If Batman wants to drive this then tell him to come and talk to me.”

Kim revealed that its first production car is being road-tested and will be revealed “very soon”.

Tesla to Release Upgraded and Redesigned Model S

Tesla is committed to continually updating their cars and while this usually takes the form of small tweaks and over-the-air software updates. Now, as had been rumoured, Tesla plan to release a newly redesigned and upgraded version of the Model S saloon, which has been on the market for 4 years. This new version of the Model S advances its stylings both in and out in order to bring the popular sporty electric car into line with their newer Model X and Model 3 vehicles.

The starkest change to the Model S is the nose, which has been reshaped to look more like the blunt-nosed Model X as well as including new LED headlights. The interior of the vehicle was also subject to a number of changes, again mostly in the vein of the Model X. Firstly, Tesla’s HEPA-rated air filter that is used on the Model X now makes its appearance on the Model S, complete with the “bioweapon defense mode”. Also included is a new centre console unit as well as two new décor choices, Figured Ash Wood décor and Dark Ash Wood décor both of which are popular choices for the Model X and certainly look good on the Model S too.

Faster charging has also been enabled on the new Model S, the standard charging unit seeing an upgrade to 48 amps from the previous 40 amp charger. There is even an option to upgrade to a 72A “high amperage” charger, compared to the previous offerings of a 40A standard and 80A dual charger.

The price increase for this version of the Model S is surprisingly modest too, with the price looking to be as little as $6000 at the 90D tier. When you consider the upgrades that are rolled into this price that would previously cost more, such as the improved charger and improved centre console, the new Model S may, in fact, cost less than the old one equipped with some of the optional extras that are now standard.

It is great to see Tesla are capable of putting together such a feature-packed new version of the Model S while also working on development and production of their other vehicles. It also gives the older Model S a stronger place in the new Tesla lineup and may tempt some people who were unwilling to buy a car with a 4-year-old design into a purchase. These new vehicles will be going into production at Tesla’s Fremont factory from Tuesday, so if you want one, you may not have to wait long.

Tesla Autopilot Now Lets You Drive on Rainbow Road

Yesterday, Tesla CEO tweeted some unusual instructions for owners of Tesla vehicles that are equipped with the autopilot feature.

While this may be an effort to distract users from the recent issues found in a number of their Model X vehicles, the result of Musk’s instructions is certainly amusing.

Normally, when you put a Tesla Model S or Model X into autopilot mode, the instrument display switches over to show a car travelling down a road, which is used to indicate where the car believes it is on the current road or lane it is in as well as any cars it detects nearby. Typically, this road is just like any other, normal and gray, but after the latest software update activating Autopilot four times sequentially changes this into the far more exciting Rainbow Road of Mario Kart fame.

It’s not just Rainbow Road either, also included is the cowbell audio from the famous Saturday Night Live sketch that plays over the stereo. Thanks to Brian Stucki for sharing a clip of this feature in action.

https://vine.co/v/iTpji7QVpp5

Exactly what this “more cowbell” that Musk refers to is currently unknown, but Tesla’s car software containing easter eggs is nothing new. Afterall, the Model S has a James Bond Mode, which turns the representation of the car in on the in-car display into the submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.

Upgraded Tesla Model S Expected Next Week

It is the Model 3 that has been getting all the attention towards Tesla lately with its remarkable preorder figures continuing to balloon. It isn’t the only car that the California-based EV firm have been working on lately, with rumours beginning to show that they have also been looking to upgrade their existing sporty saloon, the Model S.

Tim Stevens of CNET has reported that an updated version of the Model S could be making its debut as soon as next week according to sources at Tesla. The changes made to the Model S are said to include a number of new features to make it more “luxury” in order to compete with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. The changes will also bring the Model S up to date with some of the features included in the Model X and Model 3, including new seats, ventilation and adjustments to the nose both aesthetically and functionally with the headlights employing LEDs. Of course, with all of these positive changes, the price is set to reflect the higher quality of the car, but the sources were unable to state exactly how much the price would be raised for this new Model S.

Tesla themselves have remained tight-lipped about the revision, issuing the following statement regarding it:

We don’t comment on rumor or speculation about future releases. Tesla is constantly innovating and adding new features to our vehicles to perpetually improve Tesla vehicles for our existing and future customers. We price our vehicles consistently throughout the world which requires us to adjust pricing to foreign currency exchange rates. We have let customers know that some price changes will take effect in early April. We always encourage those interested in purchasing Model S to place their order so they can start enjoying the many benefits of Model S today.

More news regarding this updated Model S will be covered as it becomes available.

Tesla Model 3 Receives 325,000 Preorders in Just One Week

There was no doubt that the Tesla Model 3 was going to be a big hit after last week saw the newly announced electric vehicle receive 180,000 preorders in just 24 hours. One week on and Tesla has revealed that the preorders kept flowing in, with the number already having reached 325,000.

If all of the preorders are converted into sales when the Model 3 is released next year, Tesla is set to make around $14 billion from sales of the Model 3 alone which will make it the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever. Due to the required $1000 preorder deposit too, Tesla have already made $325 million just for the orders so far and although the deposit is refundable for those who change their mind, it should certainly keep Tesla going until the Model 3 makes it to market. In a tweet today, Musk revealed that despite the cap on preordering two Model 3’s for each person, only 5 percent of customers ordered two cars

Furthermore, the EV firm boasts that they got this huge amount of preorders without advertisement or paid endorsements with only the enthusiasm and passion of the Tesla team and the fans who believe in them and their vision having pushed them and the Model 3 to this level of popularity. In fact, Musk himself was shocked at the number of preorders, stating on Saturday that he expected only between a quarter and a half of the 235,000 preorders that had already been placed although now he expects that it could hit half a million before the second part of the reveal later in the year.

The Model 3’s enormous popularity could just be the stepping stone that electric vehicles need to go truly mainstream, a dream that I am sure Musk and many others share. For other manufacturers hoping to release their new electric offerings in the near future, the bar has certainly been set high by Tesla and the Model 3 is the success story that many will hope to match.

NVIDIA Unveil Tesla P100 GPU

GTC 2016: As part of NVIDIA’s GPU Tech Conference, Jen-Hsun unveiled the latest product in the Tesla family with the P100. Branded as the most advanced hyperscale datacentre GPU, it features 150 billion transistors and is based on the latest Pascal architecture.

Built on a 16nm FinFET process and featuring HBM2, this product is the latest in a whole host of new technologies from NVIDIA and should be the start of what we’re going to see across other NVIDIA products.

With AI and deep learning now at the forefront of NVIDIA’s thinking, the Tesla P100 GPU has been created to assist with making AI and deep learning among other tasks as fast as physically possible.

LG Producing Tesla Model 3’s Huge Touchscreen

With an incredible number of Model 3’s already preordered, Tesla is certainly going to need some help if they’re going to come close to filling the demand. According to Reuters, the first of the companies that may be on board to help get the Model 3 into production are LG, who will be making the huge 15-inch touchscreen information displays for the car.

This is a big deal for LG Display as with so many of the Model 3 already expected to be sold, the production of these displays should be a strong and stable source of income for the company, compared to typical consumer products such as TVs, monitors, and smartphones. Reuter’s anonymous source also stated that “LG Display is a sole supplier for the 15-plus inch centre display of Model 3”.  With no competition over the production of the Model 3’s display and its standardized nature, LG won’t have to work hard to stand out to do business, instead focusing on delivering a consistent and high-quality product.

There was no comment as to what prompted the move away from the unnamed provider of the displays used in the existing Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles, but having an established display firm such as LG on side can be nothing but a good thing for Tesla, who are banking their future on the success of the Model 3, which already seems to be paying off.

Tesla Have Taken $7.5 Billion Worth of Model 3 Preorders According to Elon Musk

Yesterday, Tesla unveiled their long-awaited affordable electric car, the Model 3. Tesla may have expected that there would be great interest in this new car for the masses, but the response to it has been enormous, with over 180,000 pre-orders being taken in the first 24 hours alone.

Despite not knowing anything about the new car prior to the reveal, Tesla enthusiasts were queuing up at their dealerships around the US in order to be one of the first to pre-order the Model 3 and gain a favorable spot on the pre-order list. Even by the time that Musk had finished his presentation of the Model 3 at their Hawthorne facility, he announced that 115,000 preorders had already been placed that day, even though each one required a $1000 deposit.

After pre-orders had been made available for over 24 hours at US dealerships, Musk announced via Twitter that 180,000 Model 3 pre-orders had been taken by Tesla. According to Musk’s estimate of the car’s price, $35,000, that’s $7.5 billion worth of cars sold is just one day. The pre-orders show no sign of stopping either, with Musk continuing to tweet that the pre-order numbers had reached 198,000, growing the waiting list considerably.

This is a massive victory for Tesla and the electric car industry, which just shows how adoption for these types of cars is growing. Now, however, Tesla are under massive pressure to deliver on these orders, as 180,000 cars is no small amount, especially when the firm manufactured only 50,580 cars throughout 2015. Tesla claims that after production has been ramped up, they will be capable of delivering as many as 500,000 cars per year. Let’s hope that Tesla and Musk can make good on this figure, or they could be facing a lot of upset customers who may start to consider another competing electric vehicle, such as the Chevrolet Bolt.

Tesla Reveals Their Model 3 Electric Car

Technology companies love-making new toys, especially those that people have wanted for years. When it comes to technology, people have been looking forward to affordable electric vehicles, something which the company Tesla have been keen on creating. This may all come true with Tesla revealing their Model 3 electric car.

With their long-term plan always being that the high-end electric cars, like the Model S, were just a way to bring the technology to everyone at an affordable plan, it is safe to say with the Model 3 they are one step closer to the dream. At its debut event in Los Angeles, the Model 3 appears just like any other car. With a range of 215 miles, the Model 3 will give people access to electric vehicles for everyday drives, and with 0-60 in under six seconds and supercharging as standard the car already gives a wide range of options that make it stand out above electric vehicles before you get the $35,000 price tag.

While a little more expensive than the initial guesses at $25,000, the pre-orders of the Model 3 seems to have already caught people’s attention with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk stating the over 115,000 pre-orders have already been received. You may have to wait a year or two, with the delivery of the Model 3 not expected to begin until 2018, so a small wait until that new car of your dreams but just in time for testing on the new roads that could see your car charging as you drive.

Elon Musk And Talulah Riley to Divorce After Two and a Half Years

Elon Musk is known for a lot of things, from building the popular electric Tesla vehicles, co-founding Paypal and even banning those who are rude from buying his vehicles. It would seem however that amongst all this that has been given the public there have been private consequences, as a result we are sad to report that Elon Musk will separate from his wife after two and a half years together.

Wife Talulah Riley filed for divorce on the 21st March 2016, following up from an initial divorce filing that Musk filed in 2014 but later withdrew. All is not lost though as both parties say that the pair agreed to the divorce filing and that the action will be amicable.

In their statement, they revealed that they plan to remain friends and have been living separately for the past six months. The filing cites “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the divorce filing, but Riley will be requesting spousal support from Musk, a man who has five sons from a previous marriage but none with Riley.

This isn’t their first divorce, with the pair originally marrying in 2010 only to divorce in 2012. The pair remarried 18 months later, sadly to end again the marriage again this year.

We wish both Elon Musk and Talulah Riley the best in their futures, both professionally and personally.

Tesla Quietly Drops its 10kWh Powerwall

Elon Musk’s Tesla has quietly removed all mention of its 10kWh Powerwall home battery from its website and press kit, leaving the 6.4kWh model as the only version on sale, only a year after the pair were launched. Tesla has since admitted that the 10kWh iteration of the Powerwall has been discontinued.

“We have seen enormous interest in the Daily Powerwall worldwide,” Tesla told Greentech Media. “The Daily Powerwall supports daily use applications like solar self-consumption plus backup power applications, and can offer backup simply by modifying the way it is installed in a home. Due to the interest, we have decided to focus entirely on building and deploying the 7-kilowatt-hour Daily Powerwall at this time.”

Tesla’s 10kWh Powerwall, while a useful innovation, was significantly overpriced at $3,500, especially when compared with back-up generator options that can provide greater power output for around the same money.

“Even some of the deep cycling lead acid batteries offer 1,000 cycles and cost less than half of the $3,500 price tag for Tesla Powerwall,” Ravi Manghani, Senior Energy Storage Analyst at GTM Research, said. “For pure backup applications only providing 500 cycles, lead acid batteries or gensets are way more economical.”

The 10kWh Powerwall also failed to reap the benefits of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program due its size, which meant that it did not meet the requisite five cycles-per-week threshold.

“In current discussions on SGIP program overhaul, it is very likely that stronger performance requirements may get added, which will make a 10-kilowatt-hour/500 cycles product outright ineligible (if cycled only once a week), or last only 2 years (if cycled every weekday for about 500 cycles over 2 years),” Manghani added. “In short, the market’s expectation is that for a $3,500 price tag, the product needs to have more than just 500 cycles (i.e., only backup capabilities).”

 

Tesla Explains How to Reserve a Model 3

Tesla’s new Model 3 may be about to debut in only a few months, at an event scheduled to be held at the company’s Hawthorne, California facility. Any hopeful owners of Tesla’s newest offering will have a long wait ahead of them, though, as the car is only currently expected to be on roads by late 2017. The ordering process won’t be easy either, as Tesla announced in a recently published blog post.

Reservations for the Model 3 will be opening on March 31st in Tesla stores, which matches the date of the debut event for the car. They will also be available online starting at 8:30 PM PT, which is around the time the reveal will be made. The catch is, that to pre-order a Model 3, you’ll have to pay $1000 upfront to even get your name on the waiting list. Considering the car itself is set to cost $35,000, this is a lot of money, but for diehards who want a Model 3 as early as possible, it may be a price you have to pay considering Tesla still haven’t cleared their reservations for the Model X. Tesla states that the best way to stand a chance of getting a good spot on the waiting list is to visit Tesla stores in person, as when reservations finally go live online, many will have already pre-ordered.

Unfortunately, the Model 3 won’t be available everywhere initially either. Initially, the car will be available on the West Coast of the US, before moving east. After the US rollout is complete, versions will be made available for those in Europe, APAC, and right-hand-drive markets at later dates. Tesla “recognize that everyone wants to get their Model 3 as quickly as possible. Our overarching goal is to maximize total customer happiness within the bounds of what is physically possible.”

More news on the Model 3 itself will be available following the reveal next Thursday.

Tesla Model S to Feature in New All-Electric Racing Series

This week, Electric GT Holdings has announced the Electric GT World Series will be starting in 2017, with the company hoping to have 10 teams on the grid for its first season. Each team will be fielding 20 cars across 7 races during this opening season, and as a GT will only allow the teams to use production cars that are available for road use. As a result, all 20 cars will be the same: The Tesla Model S.

The version of the Model S that the teams will be using is specifically a near-production version of the now-discontinued Tesla Model S P85+. Compared to newer models of the popular electric sports car, the P85+was very much performance-designed. Packing 310 kilowatts of power and 443 pound-feet of torque, all delivered through one rear-wheel driving motor which was able to get from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds. The rear-wheel drive Model S was chosen over the all-wheel drive models as they would be less complex to maintain by the teams. The batteries in these vehicles also put Formula E cars to shame, able to carry a whopping 85 kWh compared to the 28 kWh of Formula E. Obviously under race conditions, the cars won’t maintain the 250 mile range claimed by Tesla on the road, but it should certainly allow them to compete on longer, faster tracks than those used for Formula E which mostly uses street circuits.

As far as modifications go, the teams will be running a mostly stock version of the P85+, with adjustments to some key places to be implemented in order to make them better in the race. The brakes and aerodynamics are being tweaked to improve grip and deceleration, while the suspension, brake cooling and steering will be strengthened, on top of a general weight reduction. Everything else under the hood will remain unchanged from the stock specification.

Electric GT Holdings is yet to announce a race calendar for the 2017 season, however, plans are already in place for the season to start in Europe, before moving on to North America and Asia. The tracks are, hopefully, to include a number of world-class circuits including Barcelona-Catalunya, Donnington Park, Nürburgring and hopefully many more famous motorsport locations.

Super-Charged P100D Tesla Plans Discovered in Firmware Update

Tesla enthusiast and self-proclaimed white hat hacker Jason Hughes has been doing some digging, taking apart the latest Tesla firmware update that was sent his own Tesla P85D, and it looks like he’s uncovered a secret!

The Model S currently comes in three variants, but it seems Elon Musk has a fourth model in the pipeline, and it’s going to be powerful! Jason claims to have spotted files pointing towards a 100kWh car, which is quite a bump from the current 70 and 90kWh models available. With the available models being named the 70D, 90D and the P90D, it would be safe to assume that a new 100kWh model would be called the P100D.

The information was discovered in Firmware Update 7.1 and while he could have release the information immediately, he decided to tease Elon a little bit first with the following tweet as well as some forum posts. Followed up later the next day with “You guys are great. Fun to get home and find people have cracked some SHA256 I posted. Nice work.”

I don’t have to tell you this whole thing needs a pinch or fist full of salt, but it’s certainly believable that some information to a future car would be held within the firmware. Tesla would likely use their cars firmware to test future models and we’ve seen similar leaks in the past for graphics cards and other bits of tech.

“There are quite a few things that are in the firmware that I’m not prepared to share publicly. Just like the P100D has been in there for months with my lips mostly sealed.” said Hughes.

However, Tesla rolled back an update, perhaps to remove the files or tighten up the encryption keys on the files unlocked, and potentially other parts of the system that used the same keys, who knows. Either way, Elon seems to be playing it cool right now, so we’ll have to wait and see.

 

Tesla Can Sell Direct-To-Consumers With Indiana Bill Amendment

Tesla is probably the world’s most known electric cars, with everything from everyday vehicles to supercars, all powered by electricity without a drop of petrol in their engines. Tesla is unique though in that they sell directly to customers, skipping out middlemen and offering its models and services without any additional costs. This very practice is the backbone of Tesla’s sales, and it has received criticism in some states in the U.S. where dealers have been less than pleased with the model. In a recent battle with the state of Indiana, Tesla once again comes out on top as they can continue to sell direct-to-consumers.

The recent battle focuses on an amendment to a bill that would make it illegal for any manufacturers to sell cars directly to a consumer, an amendment which has now been removed from the bill in question. Tesla stated that rival company GM, who released an elective vehicle that would complete with the Model 3, pushed the bill through the state legislature, a move that would have effectively crippled Tesla’s current model for selling its cars. A spokesman for GM even stated that they supported the amendment and that “All industry participants should operate under the same rules and requirements on fundamental issues that govern how we sell, service, and market our products”.

Tesla is obviously happy about the removal of the amendment saying that their store at Keystone will “remain open indefinitely”. While happy, you have to argue, who does it benefit other than the resellers and dealers when a company can’t provide you with the equipment directly?

Tesla Pick up Tesla.com Domain

Often the simplest domain names are the best and unfortunately for Elon Musk, Tesla Motors has had to settle for the teslamotors.com domain instead of the more highly prized tesla.com. The tesla.com domain has been held since 1992 by a Nicola Tesla fan, Stu Grossman, however, it has remained largely unused for the last 24 years. Now a Tesla spokeswoman has confirmed that the electric car company has taken over the domain, with tesla.com now redirecting to the existing teslamotors.com.

It is unclear what prompted the acquisition of the domain after settling for the use of the Teslamotors.com domain for so long. The domain issue was raised by Elon Musk during the launch of Tesla Motors’ Tesla Energy wing when asked if he had plans to rebrand the company to simply ‘Tesla’ to match its new scope. With this solved, a Tesla rename could be coming up as well as giving Tesla a better grasp on the web for both their electric car business and battery units, as well as whatever Musk may have planned for the company’s future.

What caused Grossman to give up the Tesla domain is currently unknown. According to Bloomberg, John Berryhill, an attorney in Pennsylvania who represented Grossman in a past dispute with Tesla Industries Inc stated that Grossman had bought the domain for personal use due to his affinity for the inventor Tesla. Berryhill said that “Grossman had been approached by many people about giving up the name.” He went on to surmise that Tesla Motors’ acquisition of the tesla.com domain name was part of a voluntary arrangement between the two parties.

Whether it was due to a voluntary arrangement or a lapse in occupancy of the domain by Grossman, the tesla.com domain undoubtedly belongs to Tesla Motors now. This occupation of the tesla.com domain could kick-start a rebrand of the Tesla Motors company and allow them to expand their web presence beyond just cars, whether that expansion will include Musk’s desired electric VTOL remains to be seen.

Elon Musks Hyperloop Construction Delayed

Everyone travels these days, be it for work or to see family and friends, we live in a world where going from A to B is as casual as breathing. You can fly or catch trains, drive or even hire a taxi with your phone, but there are still other ways. With the addition of  electric streetcars coming to New York, the next revolution to travel is set to be the Hyperloop.

The Hyperloop is a new train system that will use a vacuum tube to help trains reach speeds of over 700mph. Recently they announced that construction had been started with the completion date set for public access in 2018 on its test track. That was until recently when Tech Insider revealed that there may be a delay to that timeline.

In an email sent to the Student teams that are working on the pods that will shoot down the track, SpaceX (the company responsible for the Hyperloop) could have the final part of the competition, to see which pod would be best chosen for the project, happening in August (or even later). In the email, SpaceX stated,

“Our best guess for Competition Weekend is early-to-mid August, but this could move in either direction (based on construction and post-construction testing)”

With the original date set for June, the delay is minor if it still happens in August, but if is delayed even further behind then the 2018 opening gets more and more like a pipe dream with each week.

Tesla’s Summon Feature is Being Revised for Extra Safety

Tesla has been hard at work perfecting the Model S, and one of the newest and most impressive additions allows drivers to park and retrieve their vehicles without actually sitting behind the wheel. Dubbed Summon, the feature is certainly practical, but sources suggest that it’s not exactly without its flaws, as a publication has recently noted a few safety-related issues. The problem is that Summon was designed to work using the Tesla smartphone app or through the car’s key fob, which means that the user can’t actually stop the car immediately in the event of an emergency, such as they keys or the smartphone being dropped by accident.

Furthermore, if the user would choose to exit the smartphone app on an iPhone 6s while the car was in motion, the vehicle would actually keep moving. It’s true that Tesla has implemented a series of fail-safes such as sensors that can detect obstacles, not to mention that the car stops immediately if someone touches one of its door handles. However, since the possibility of an accident still exists, the company has decided to revise the Summon feature and restrict its use to the smartphone app exclusively, which means that the key fob will only be able to stop the car but not drive it. For improved safety, Model S owners will have to keep their finger on the screen in order to keep the car moving, which eliminates the possibility of an accident if the device is dropped.

Tesla’s Model 3 Pricing Could Start From $25,000

Tesla Motors is an American automotive company which designs and manufactures a wide range of desirable electric cars. The company’s CEO, Elon Musk is hoping to bring electrics cars to the mainstream market with affordable pricing. Granted, this is probably going to be some time off, but at least that ambition is there for the future. So far, Tesla has released the Roadster, Model S, Model X and scheduled to launch the Model 3 in March this year. There’s been a great deal of media discussion regarding its price point and if the vehicle will face any hefty delays. In an interview with Bloomberg, Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn confirmed the price and said:

“We can confirm it’s $35,000 before incentives,”

Brooklyn also dismissed rumours that the Model 3 would miss its launch target and proclaimed:

“The Model 3 is on time, and everyone is going to learn more about it at the end of March,”

“That’s when we’ve committed to talking about it and giving a really great update, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

According to analysis by Salim Morsy of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Americans are willing to spend an average of $31,000 on a new car. While tax incentives vary between each state, any early adopters who purchase a model 3 can receive $7,500 federal income tax credit, bringing the price down to a maximum of $27,500. Please note, this only applies to the first 250,000 owners. On another note, certain states provide additional incentives to encourage motorists to adopt environmentally friendly electric cars. For example, residents in Colorado receive an additional $6000 in credit. Morsy predicts that the price drop to under $31,000 would increase the Tesla 3’s market by a staggering 50%!

However, some experts are concerned that the vehicle will miss its launch date, and might not arrive in large numbers until 2018. The problem here is the financial incentives could expire before consumers have a chance to purchase the vehicle. Hopefully, the production line runs smoothly and motorists can pick up the Tesla 3 for as little as $25,000.

Elon Musk “Tempted” to Build Electric VTOL Jet

Not content with his fleet of Tesla electric cars, his astronautics startup SpaceX, and his attempts to revolutionise public transport with Hyperloop, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed that he is “tempted” to build an electric vertical-take off and landing (VTOL) jet plane.

“I’ve been thinking about the vertical-take off and landing electric jet a bit more,” Musk said at a recent Hyperloop event, International Business Times reports. “I think I have something that might close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it.”

While the audience initially responded with disbelieving laughter, the statement was met with cheers and applause once it was clear that Musk was being serious. Though, it did prompt a question: “How do you convince people that your ideas aren’t crazy?”

“In starting SpaceX, they definitely thought I was crazy,” Musk replied. “One of my best friends compiled a long video of rockets crashing and made me watch the whole thing. Other friends involved in a rocket startup said it was a terrible idea, and I thought we had a really tiny chance of succeeding anyway, like 10%… and it was very close [to failure] but I think, ultimately, seeing is believing… that’s what convinces people.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab2VVp1GfmA

Musk has voiced his desire to build an electric VTOL jet before. “I do like the idea of an electric aircraft company,” he told Marketplace in 2015. “I do think one could do a pretty cool supersonic, vertical-take off and landing electric jet. That would be really fun.”

Apple Watch Summons Tesla Model S

Automated cars are all good and fancy, like the Google car, but there are some times when you just want to grab the wheel and drive. So why not enjoy the best of both worlds? If you are lucky enough to own a Tesla Model S you can, and now thanks to an app developer you can even do it from an apple watch.

Allen Wong created the app for the apple watch allowing you to see information about your Tesla car. With charging speed, position and temperature amongst the things you could see, keeping track of your car wasn’t difficult, but with its latest update (released Wednesday) you even have access to the new “summon” feature.

The summon feature enables Tesla owners to do just that to their car, ordering it to come to you. In the video below, you can see Mark Schey use the feature to start the car while simultaneously open the garage door. After the door is fully opened the car reverses out before closing the garage door, leaving your car in your driveway as you step out the front door.

With the ability to help save precious minutes on a busy morning the summon feature can be seen as both practical and a gimmick, transferring that from a keyfob to a different piece of technology like an Apple Watch raises questions about if it’s needed and if it could be misused by other people.

Elon Musk Bans Venture Capitalist from Buying Tesla Model X over Blog Post

A venture capital investor has been banned from buying a Tesla Model X by company CEO Elon Musk. Stewart Alsop, who has a history with Musk, wrote a post on Medium entitled “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself,” in which he detailed how he and others had been invited to an event to showcase the Model X electric car, which was slated to begin at 7pm.

Every member of the crowd had paid a $5,000 deposit on a pre-order for the Model X, and was expecting to be given a test drive of the electric vehicle. After being made to wait close to two hours for Musk to show up – sans apology – Stewart was given a token to determine his place in the queue for his test drive: no. 1344. After calculating that he would have to wait until about 2am for his go in Model X, Stewart chose to go home, instead writing his critical blog post.

“You should have apologized right then, but you didn’t,” Stewart wrote. “You have our email addresses, since we’re all the people who put a $5,000 deposit on your new Model X. When I was invited to the launch event, I was excited to hear that I could drive to the factory and see and touch a new Model X, even if I’ll have to wait another 3–4 months to actually get mine.”

Instead of apologising, though, Musk threw his toys out of the pram and banned Stewart from ever purchasing a Tesla Model X. In a follow-up Medium post, entitled “Banned by Tesla!“, Stewart revealed: “Dear @ElonMusk: Thank you for reaching out to me. I heard from our phone conversation that you feel that my post, “Dear @ElonMusk: You should be ashamed of yourself”, was a personal attack on you. I also hear that you are not comfortable having me own a Tesla car and have cancelled my order for a Tesla Model X.”

“It’s funny because I wasn’t acting in my old role as a press pundit critiquing companies and their executives. I have done that a lot over the last 30+ years and am used to having CEOs of companies get upset with me,” Stewart continued. “In this case, I was actually just a customer who felt he had been ignored at an event designed for customers and ripped off the odd post about that event.”

It seems that Stewart and Musk aren’t entirely strangers, though; the pair were involved in discussions over PayPal funding back in 1999, according to Techly, a deal Stewart chose to walk away from.

Musk appeared pretty apathetic over the whole affair, tweeting:

Elon Musk Says Hyperloop “Is Really Going to happen”

SpaceX just staged a 3-day event at the Texas A&M University, where the pioneering space company brought together teams of engineering students from around the world to compete for a chance to have their pod designs built and tested on SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop transportation system. Musk himself even made a surprise appearance on stage during the event, where he was met with whoops, cheers and clapping from the crowd who may not have been expecting the chance to meet their inspirational icon.

“I’m starting to think that this is really going to happen,” said Musk as he took the stage, with many of the teams in attendance holding their hands up in groups in the hopes of drawing the SpaceX founder’s attention during his Q&A session. Musk going on to say, “the work that you guys are doing is going to blow people’s minds.”

The rest of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition Design weekend went on to pit over 1000 student teams from 120 colleges and 3 high-schools worldwide against each other in the design competition. This stage of the competition intended to create a shortlist of at least 22 teams, which may be invited to the Californian headquarters of SpaceX this summer to build and test their designs. Judges from Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla companies as well as university professors were in attendance to judge the teams’ 20-minute pitches and grill them with 10 minutes of questions on their designs. The contest challenged the students, not just as engineers, but also their business and marketing skills with many presenting business cards, prototype models and high-quality marketing videos, making the contest a good chance for enterprising engineers to network with their peers.

By the end of the weekend, the team from Massachusets Institute of Technology were deemed the winners, with the Delft University of Technology from the Netherlands finishing second and University of Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and the University of California filling the rest of the top 5.

It is always great to see Elon Musk continuing to engage with rising engineering stars and his positive effects on the field. It really pays off too, with both Tesla and SpaceX already performing feats beyond many of their rivals and with the Hyperloop on the horizon, Musk’s legacy will only continue to grow.