Ford teases competition for Tesla Y

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Ford is preparing to launch its first electric vehicle built to be electric from the ground up: a Mustang-inspired all-electric crossover, and now, the automaker is teasing it as a Tesla Model Y competitor.

Last year, Ford said that it was going ‘all-in’ on EVs following the ousting of CEO Mark Fields and appointment of Jim Hackett.

Hackett formed a new internal team, called ‘Team Edison’, to oversee electric car programs. He also shifted one-third of internal combustion engine investments to electric cars, but the company is still investing more in the former than the latter.

Ford confirmed that its first next-gen electric vehicle will be inspired by the Mustang.

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Ford teases Mustang-inspired electric SUV as Tesla Model Y competitor

Earlier this year, Ford released the first image of the vehicle — pictured above — and the Mustang-inspired all-electric crossover is expected to hit the market as soon as next year.

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Hacking a Tesla?

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Like all modern cars, Tesla is computer controlled. Unlike most modern cars, Tesla equips there cars with the latest in Automated Driving Technology, which is to say they believe their cars can drive themselves. For the most part, they seem to have succeeded in the self-driving part.

Of course, our minds instantly begin to ponder what happens if a hacker gets it. I mean in most cars you might be able to give it bad fuel economy or lock the doors. What happens when you hack an A.V.

Well, a couple of white hat hackers have given it a try and managed to turn on the windshield wipers. While that doesn’t sound like much it does shoot down the hope that Tesla somehow created a hack-proof car.

HOWEVER, the hackers, Tencent, were also able to take over control of the steering wheel and run it via a gamepad controller. They did this even though the autopilot feature wasn’t activated. Here’s a link to more details below.

Original Story Link

 

Best of the Web: Tesla pushes out update, increases range.

tesla-3984107_1920Tesla started remotely increasing the power output of all Model 3 vehicles through a software update over a year after starting production.

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When the US E.V. maker pushed out their new Model 3 with its shorter range and lower price they promised upgrades were in the works. The first of which pushed out for free via a remote software upgrade.

The automaker also promised to increase Model 3 range with a Long Range battery pack and rear-wheel-drive motor as well as a peak power increase for all Model 3’s.

Now Tesla is starting to roll out the peak power increase update – through its firmware version 2019.8.2.

In the release notes, Tesla writes about the Peak Power Increase:

“Your vehicle’s peak power has been increased by approximately 5%, improving acceleration and Performance.”

Tesla previously said that this increase in peak power output should result in an increase top speed to 162 mph for Model 3 Performance, but all Model 3 vehicles should feel a little more powerful.

Tesla reverses decision to close stores, raises prices instead!

tesla-2875852_1920(Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Inc said on Sunday it will raise prices of its high-end vehicles by about 3 percent on average as it plans to keep more retail stores open than planned.

Tesla said the worldwide price hikes will apply to the more expensive variants of Model 3, Model S and Model X, and there will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3.

The carmaker said potential buyers can place orders until March 18 at the old prices.

The move comes after Tesla said last month it was shifting all sales online to help lower prices by about 6 percent on average, allowing it to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than expected.

Cost savings from store closing will be only about half the expected amount as the company will close only half the number of stores planned, it said.

The carmaker said a few stores in high-visibility locations that were closed due to low throughput will be reopened with a smaller Tesla crew.

Tesla said the stores will carry fewer cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

(Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Gopakumar Warrier)

Best if the Web: drowning in announcements from Tesla?

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  • The Model Y launch announcement from Tesla comes days after the company cut prices on other models.
  • The vehicle could have strong demand, but it could also cannibalize demand

 

Original Story

Tesla‘s onslaught of announcements is starting to make analysts wonder if customers are losing interest in its cars.

CEO Elon Musk said Sunday that Tesla’s upcoming Model Y crossover vehicle will be unveiled on March 14. While it could be a great vehicle with high demand, RBC analyst Joseph Spak said the timing of the announcement raises concerns. Musk tweeted the news days after the company made considerable price cuts to its other models and said Tesla needs to close some showrooms and cut sales staff. It also spent nearly $1 billion paying off debt last week.

On Thursday, Tesla unveiled its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3, reduced prices on upgrades to its Autopilot automated driver assistance system and made significant price cuts to its Model S and Model X vehicles after saying it will only sell its vehicles online to lower costs. Its shares fell nearly 8 percent Friday and slid by another 3 percent in midday trading Monday.

Best of the Web: VW goes Electric!

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In January, Volkswagen teased a new electric dune buggy, a modern reinterpretation of the classic American dune buggies that were first created in the 1960s. Now, the battery-powered buggy is making its global debut this week at the Geneva Motor Show, and it has a name: the I.D. Buggy, placing it alongside the automaker’s other I.D.-branded vehicles that are meant to represent VW’s all-electric future.

Link to Original Story

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For VW, the buggy is meant to show off the versatility of its MEB, or “Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten,” which is German for “modular electric drive matrix.” The company is betting big on its MEB platform, which will serve as the basis for the 10 million electric cars it wants to sell.

Also known as beach buggies and sand rails, dune buggies became wildly popular in the 1960s with the launch of the Meyers Manx, produced by California surfer and entrepreneur Bruce Meyers. Debuting in 1964, Meyers came up with the idea of lifting the body off the original Volkswagen Beetle and replacing it with a fiberglass, open-topped shell, making a few other modifications that would let it operate on sand dunes, as well as public roads.

DB2019AU00319Volkswagen estimates that as many as 250,000 of the original Beetles were modified into dune buggies and other unique models by the 1980s. Meyers himself relaunched his company in 2000.

All buggies from the 1960s featured a high degree of modular variability. The I.D. Buggy is no different. According to VW, it’s a pure two-seater that can be converted to seat four. Another electric motor can be added to the front axle to make four-wheel drive possible. In fact, the upper body can be completely detached from the MEB chassis, opening up a world of possibilities for third-party manufacturers as the original Meyers Manx kit did for the first buggies.

The paint job, which VW describes as “fern green,” is reminiscent of the automaker’s Day-Glo yellow microbus concept, the I.D. Buzz, which it first revealed in 2017. This makes sense considering all are members of VW’s I.D. Family, a new generation of connected, autonomous electric vehicles. Other members include the Vizzion, a 400-mile range, 75 kWh-motor sedan, and the Crozz, a self-driving crossover SUV.

Best of the Web: Volvo to compete with Tesla model 3

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(CNN Business)Polestar, a plug-in performance car brand that was spun off from Volvo, revealed its first all-electric car Wednesday. The Polestar 2 will be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3.

The base price for the Polestar 2 will be around 40,000 euros, the equivalent of about $45,000. That’s roughly the starting price of a Tesla Model 3 today. Like Tesla, though, Polestar will produce more expensive versions of its car first. The Launch Edition of the Polestar 2, which will be made during the first 12 months of production, will cost about 60,000 euros, the equivalent of about $68,000.

Production will begin in early 2020 in China, home of Geely Holding Group, Volvo’s parent company and Polestar’s co-owner.

Volkswagen Wants to Be the Biggest Electric Car Company

Kicker VW electric

Volkswagen has more long-term goals in mind. Years ago, VW announced that it planned to become the largest automaker in the world, but since the company is already doing so well, that goal isn’t lofty enough. Detroit News has reported that Volkswagen is also angling to become the world’s largest maker of electric cars as well.

Now that’s a challenge worthy of German engineering. First of all, VW is lagging behind a host of other top automakers when it comes to the electric niche—it’s such a competitive field with the Nissan Leaf, steadfast Prius and even the drama-covered Tesla topping the popularity contest.

Lessons Learned

VW might not be topping the e-charts now, but the manufacturing giant does learn from past mistakes. Initially, all hopes were on fuel-efficient diesel machines and that makes sense. After all, Volkswagen is a European company and diesels get a lot of love there—but not so much in the US. However, while the company focused on diesel, the rest of the world got smart and realized: Fossil fuel has a shelf life, electric cars are easier and more comfortable, and electric technology like battery tech is evolving at an incredible speed.

Some estimate that electric vehicles will completely take over in the next 50 years, but it could happen even faster. In other words, VW has some catching up to do but brings a smattering of experience to the table. Fans are already itching for the new electronic VW Golf and the new e-up! got plenty of love at early shows.

The Big Questions

There’s no doubt that VW can deliver, but the question is: When? And are they actually going to sell? Will even devout VW fans sway to the competition? Only time will tell, but it’s not too late for Volkswagen to catch up with (and overtake) the competition. Right now, e-vehicles are anyone’s game and Tesla may be proving that too much too fast causes burnout (sometimes literally).

It’s likely that e-cars will be hitting the dealerships in abundance over the next year, and enthusiasts are keeping their eyes peeled for reviews and performance results. Would you be interested in taking an electric Volkswagen for a spin, or do you prefer the classics? They say there’s a top for every pot, and there might just be an electric car for every driver. Whether or not it happens to be a VW remains up in the air until test drives become available.

Which to Pick?

If you’re interested in a VW, take a peek at the e-Golf. The Golf is a Volkswagen legend, arguably one of the most popular, beloved and easily spotted VW on the roads. The compact car re-defined hatchback and has been a staple in the VW lineup since 1974. It’s undergone numerous transformations during the past few decades (it used to be the Rabbit and Caribe) and proudly touts a number of awards. Winner of World Car of the Year, runner up for European Car of the Year, and named numerous times on Car and Driver’s annual 10 Best list, drivers are truly getting a steal when they choose the Golf which has an MSRP price starting under $20,000. Where else can you get German engineering for such an affordable price tag than with the Golf?

Now in the seventh generation, Golf models include the A7 and Typ5G, both of which have been available since 2012. Situated on a MQB platform, the newest Golfs have close ties to the Audi A3. The seventh generation debuted at the Paris Motor Show to great aplomb. The Golf VII is a little larger than the Mk6, but seemingly magically lighter (depending on which engine you choose). With the GTI, drivers get 217 bhp in a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. However, drivers can also choose the Golf TSI (inclusive of the GTI), Golf TDI (inclusive of the GTD), and Golf TGI. Select from a diesel engine, natural gas engine, or even the e-Golf which is powered via electricity.

Want something in the middle? The Golf GTE is a hybrid plug-in, perfect for both daily commutes and long, summer road trips through Utah’s stunning parks and forests. Different models come with different features. Choose from 15- or 17-inch alloy rims, steel or black grills, and different shades of tinted glass. A full-floor console with storage, fade-to-off interior lighting, and air filtration make any trip more enjoyable.

The Golf, no matter the model, has proven to be a great match for all types of drivers. A little sporty, a lot convenient, and with style to spare, going with a Golf is a sure thing (and thousands of “Golfers” can’t be wrong).

 

Best of the Web: cheaper model 3 for Tesla?

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Elon Musk just sent this memo to employees about the cheaper Model 3 and store closures

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees on Thursday night explaining the company’s decision to reduce headcount in its sales and marketing divisions.
  • The memo comes after the company announced it is finally launching its long-awaited standard Model 3 starting at $35,000.
  • As part of the announcement, Tesla said it would be moving all of its sales exclusively online.

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Original Memo Below

Last month, I noted in my email that the fundamental issue Tesla must overcome is that our products remain too expensive for most people. We know there are many people who want to buy Model 3, but simply can’t afford to do so.

That is why we’re excited to announce today that we are now offering the standard Model 3 at $35,000. This is a significant milestone for Tesla, the culmination of years of hard work by employees across the company, and something of which you should all be very proud. You can read the details of the announcement on our blog: LINK HERE

In addition, we are also making the decision to shift all sales worldwide to online only.

Last year, 78% of all Model 3 orders were placed online, rather than in a store, and 82% of customers bought their Model 3 without ever having taken a test drive. Customers can now buy a Tesla in North America via their phone in about 1 minute, and that capability will soon be extended worldwide. We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla without a test drive. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Customers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases online, and that is especially true for Tesla — which is a testament to the products we make.

As a result, over the next few months, we will be winding down many of our stores and significantly reducing our spend on sales and marketing, which will help make the price changes we’ve announced today possible. Shifting all sales online combined with other ongoing cost efficiency will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point.

A small number of stores in high-traffic locations will remain as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers. At the same time, we will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system and manufacturing, and I expect that headcount to grow next year.

Unfortunately, this means that some jobs will be impacted or transitioned to other areas of the business. This is a hard decision, but it necessary to make our cars more affordable. Our sales team has fought on the front lines of advancing our mission and has been our connection to hundreds of thousands of customers along the way. I want to express my sincere gratitude for all that you’ve done.

Kn the coming weeks, we will be evaluating all of our sales and marketing organization to understand where there are operation efficiencies, and how best to support the transition to online sales while also continuing to deliver a truly awesome and education Tesla buying experience.

We’ll be sharing more information on this transition soon.

Thank you,
Elon

Best of the Web: Musk Hints at Model 3 under $35K

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New York (CNN) Tesla has long promised a pared-down version of its Model 3 sedan that would be $35,000.

The electric car company announced Thursday, more than a year after Tesla began delivering Model 3s, that price point is finally available — but CEO Elon Musk said the company will have to close stores and lay off workers in order to make it financially sustainable to produce the cheaper car.

The Model 3 is “excruciatingly difficult” to make at the reduced price, Musk told reporters on a conference call.

The base model will have 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130mph, the company said in a blog post.