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Tesla Cars Will Add Auto-Park Feature, Musk Tweets

Vehicles will be able to go hunting for a spot without a driver.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.01, 2018

All Tesla Model 3 sedans and newer Models S and X will be able to download the software.

Tired of circling around a parking lot looking for an open spot, perhaps missing a meeting while you wait? Or perhaps you want to don’t want to have to traipse back in snow or rain?

Tesla plans to solve those problems with a series of update that CEO Elon Musk said will start rolling out within six weeks for owners of recently built versions of its products. Upgrading the existing version of Tesla’s “Summon” auto-park feature, it will let a driver get out of their vehicle and then send it off to find a valid parking spot all on its own.

Park Yourself Here!

Noting it will simply require an over-the-air software upgrade,” Musk tweeted on Halloween eve that the new feature “will work on all cars made in past 2 years.”

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Musk Looks Beyond Model 3 Problems, But Creates Some Headaches in the Process

CEO talks future product, factories – but still sends stock plunging.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.03, 2018

Forget those earnings numbers. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was far more interested in talking about future products, the next-gen Roadster shown here.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is not one to suffer fools – or critics – lightly, as he proved during a 75-minute teleconference call following the release of the automaker’s first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday evening.

The South African-born executive attempted to put a positive spin on what was Tesla’s worst-ever quarterly deficit, promising future earnings while also revealing plans for new factories, new products and a new, fully hands-free version of the Autopilot system. But Musk also offered a harsh assessment of some of the reporters on the earnings call, while repeatedly cutting off analysts looking for long-term financial projections that he dismissed as “boring.”

Tesla News!

“These questions are so dry, they’re killing me,” he interjected before dismissing one analyst’s questions. Musk later shifted his disdain to reporters, at one point suggesting that by questioning the safety of Tesla’s current, semi-autonomous version of Autopilot, reporters might convince drivers to turn it off “and then die.”

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Despite Record Loss, Investors See Silver Lining Pockets in Tesla’s Q1 Earnings

Revenues beat expectation, loss narrower than forecast – but troubles remain.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.02, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken to sleeping at the Fremont plant hoping to drive improvements in quality and production levels.

Tesla managed to beat Wall Street expectation on Wednesday, even as it reported the biggest loss in the company’s history.

But revenues exceeded expectations and the loss was actually less than anticipated, while the Silicon Valley automaker noted that production of the critical Model 3 battery-sedan reached 2,270 in the week prior to a temporary shutdown of the Fremont, California assembly plant last month. That’s up from barely 2,000 at the end of the first quarter.

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“The thing I’m most excited about is the rapid increase in output,” said Musk during a Wednesday afternoon conference call with analysts and reporters. “Production is improving dramatically, exponentially, in fact.”

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Wall Street Waiting for Tesla Earnings as Automaker Burns Through Cash

The big question: will Tesla need a new cash infusion?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.01, 2018

Tesla is losing about $6,500 a minute - or about as much as a Model 3 costs in the time it takes to read this story.

Whether you’re someone who sees the glass as half-full or half-empty, there’s plenty to ponder as Tesla prepares to reveal its first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

The California battery-carmaker saw a big surge in production of its critical new Model 3 during the January to March period – but still fell 20% short of its target. Nonetheless, that was expected to have pushed revenues up 16.5% during the quarter, to $3.14 billion, according to Zacks Consensus Estimates. But with the automaker struggling to get things running smoothly at its Fremont, California assembly plant, quarterly earnings are expected to plunge 153.4%, year-over-year, with Tesla running a per-share deficit of $3.37.

Beyond the Headlines!

Short-sellers seem to be the ones with the biggest smiles these days, as Tesla’s worsening cash burn problem leaves investors wary and worried that the carmaker may soon have to beg Wall Street for money to keep its operations going.

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Tesla Model 3: How Can Such a Good Car Be So Bad

Teardown of battery-electric vehicle reveals many surprises.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.25, 2018

"You can see the gaps from the moon" on the body of a Tesla Model 3, according to Sandy Munro.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, think of it as two tales of a car, suggests Sandy Munro, head of the suburban Detroit competitive analysis firm, Munro and Associates. How can such a breakthrough vehicle also have so many problems, he asks, during a lengthy look at what’s under the skin of the Tesla Model 3.

Over the years, Munro’s firm has vivisected hundreds of automobiles, including a number of new battery-electric vehicles, such as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV. But few teardowns, he suggested, have been more eye-opening than Tesla’s first mainstream offering. In terms of its battery-based drivetrain technology, the Model 3 readily sets a benchmark, but it’s another matter entirely with many of the things an owner more readily sees, including a body with massive quality and fit-and-finish problems.

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“It’s the best of (cars) and the worst of (cars),” Munro said, during a special meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association held at his Auburn Hills facility. “Some stuff gets a six, on a scale of one to five, others a one.”

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Despite Problems, Musk Promises Tesla Profit in Second Half of 2018

Stock up, but not everyone convinced.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.13, 2018

CEO Elon Musk shown exiting the back seat of a Model 3 at its debut. Musk still needs to dig out of trouble caused by Model 3 delays.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Tesla, the battery-electric automaker again missing production targets, being accused of improperly firing nearly 1,000 factory workers and being scolded by federal safety regulators for its role in investigating a fatal crash involving its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

But that has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of CEO Elon Musk. After earlier this week suggesting Model 3 production isn’t delayed but in a “time shift,” the South African-born exec on Friday tweeted a promise that Tesla will be both profitable and produce positive cash flow by the second half of this year.

Promises, Promises!

Musk’s latest tweet came in response to a harsh Twitter post by British news magazine The Economist, which warned Tesla would need to raise more cash this year. “The Economist used to be boring,” Musk responded, “but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.”

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Tesla Again Misses Production Target for Model 3

Output up, still 20% short of goal, according to Musk e-mail.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Apr.02, 2018

Tesla is finally ramping up Model 3 production but still has a long way to go to meet targets.

Tesla shares took another 5% tumble on Monday after reports surfaced that the automaker once again missed its production targets for the much-delayed Model 3 battery-sedan.

Delays in the roll-out have hammered Tesla’s balance sheet, with some analysts expecting the California carmaker to have to go back for another fundraising round. It didn’t help to have Elon Musk post an April Fool’s Day joke indicating the automaker would be declaring bankruptcy.

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In an e-mal sent to Tesla workers on Monday, Musk said production of the Model 3 had reached the 2,000 per week mark at the end of the first quarter, but that is still short of the 2,500 target Tesla had projected back around the beginning of the year, and it is even more substantially behind the original target Tesla had laid out when Model 3 production began in July 2017.

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Volvo Relaunching Polestar as “Electrified High Performance” Company

Polestar joins growing list of dedicated electric spin-offs.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.22, 2017

Going forward, the Polestar logo will stand alone, without a Volvo badge.

Volvo has become the latest automaker to set up a separate operation focused specifically on electric vehicles, in this case, putting the emphasis on “high performance” models.

The move appears to position its Polestar division to challenge the new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand, which is set to launch at least seven electric vehicles by 2022, and BMW i, as well as upstart battery-carmakers like Tesla, Faraday Future and Lucid. The announcement does not appear to preclude Volvo’s ability to produce less performance-oriented electric vehicles under its own badge.

Electrifying News!

Purchased by Volvo in 2015, Polestar will now operate as a standalone company with a new management team. That includes Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Gooding, who had been Volvo’s communications chief, and new Chief Executive Officer Thomas Ingenlath, who had been Volvo’s global design director.

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Tesla’s Musk Says “No Choice” But to Quit Trump Panel if US Quits Paris Climate Accord

President promises decision “over the next few days.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on May.31, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Pres. Donald Trump. Musk sits on three White House economic councils.

Faced with the growing likelihood Pres. Donald Trump will pull the United States out of the Paris climate chance agreement binding the country to cut production of CO2 and other global warming gases, Tesla CEO and environmental champion Elon Musk said he will have “no choice” but to quit three separate White House economic advisory councils.

Musk would be the latest transportation industry leader to leave the Trump panels, following the move by Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick earlier this year.

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The Tesla CEO had previously said he was “cautiously optimistic” he could influence Trump to remain committed to the Paris treaty, despite other actions critics said were anti-environmental. But on Wednesday, in response to a question posed by a Twitter follower, Musk replied that he would “have no choice but to depart [the] councils” if, as now expected, Trump pulled out on Paris.

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Lucid Air Pushes Price, Range, Performance into Stratosphere

400 miles per charge, 0-60 in 2.5 seconds...for $160,000.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.16, 2016

The Lucid Air will be one of the world's fastest automobiles, the company promises.

It’s getting to the point where you can’t tell the new battery-car start-ups without a scorecard, California-based Lucid Motors the latest to charge onto the field.

Where a growing number of new and more established entrants into the EV market plan to target the mainstream, Lucid Motors is going after the extreme luxury segment with the Lucid Air sedan it unveiled this week, a vehicle that company officials are likening to “a private jet on four wheels.”

Get Charged Up!

It’s nearly as fast, the 1,000-horsepower battery-electric vehicle set to launch from 0 to 60 in as little as 2.5 seconds – or even faster than a Tesla Model S in Ludicrous Mode. The Lucid Air also boasts about 25% more range than the new Model S P90d, as much as 400 miles per charge. And, at $160,000 for a fully loaded version, it will be a fair bit more expensive than a top-end Tesla.

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