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Tesla Back in Consumer Reports’ Good Graces

Models S, X rewarded for return of auto-braking.

by on May.24, 2017

Tesla temporarily disabled auto-braking when it revised its hardware before finish a software upgrade.

After slamming the automaker for some serious concerns over safety, Consumer Reports has upgraded two of Tesla’s battery-electric vehicles.

The non-profit publication slammed both the Tesla Models S and X last month when it discovered the recently updated EVs did not have working automatic emergency braking, or AEB, systems – something that was offered on the older versions of the electric sedan and SUV. Using over-the-air updates, however, Tesla has activated that technology on the newer models.

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“It’s uncommon for a newer vehicle to be less capable than an older vehicle, especially when it comes to safety,” said CR’s director of automotive testing, Jake Fisher.

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Musk Predicts Tesla Will Build 100K Model S, X in 2017

As financial losses grow, production and revenues climb faster.

by on May.04, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts and reporters that the company will build more than 100,000 Model S and X units this year.

Tesla Motors’ losses increased by 40% during the first quarter, but Elon Musk, the company’s founder and CEO, hailed the fact that sales, revenue and production growth outpaced those losses: production was up by about 65% from last year’s first quarter to 25,000 vehicles and revenue doubled to $2.7 billion.

The Silicon Valley battery-carmaker reported a loss of $1.33 a share, significantly worse than the 81 to 83-cent loss various tracking firms had Wall Street trackers predicting. The company has turned a quarterly profit – using non-standard accounting – only twice since it went public.

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While Musk was quick to point out what is going right, it didn’t necessarily sway the investor community, which he has come to rely on in recent months. (more…)

Tesla Reports Bigger 1Q Loss Than Expected

But production hits record; revenues beat forecast.

by on May.03, 2017

Investors continue to drive up Tesla shares, betting on the success of the upcoming Model 3.

Despite record production and deliveries – and a surging stock price – Tesla managed to disappoint on Wednesday by reporting a bigger loss than analysts had been forecasting – though revenues for the first quarter of 2017 did manage to beat expectations.

The Silicon Valley battery-carmaker reported a loss of $1.33 a share, significantly worse than the 81 to 83-cent loss various tracking firms had Wall Street trackers predicting. The company has turned a quarterly profit – using non-standard accounting – only twice since it went public.

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The news wasn’t entirely disappointing. Tesla’s revenues for the January-through-March quarter came in at $2.70 billion, about $90 million above expectations. Production, the company said, was up by 64%, year-over-year. And Tesla previously had reported that it delivered 25,051 vehicles during the quarter, an all-time record, with a target of 50,000 battery-cars for the first half.

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Elon Musk Lays Out “Boring” Plans for Ground, Space Travel

In Ted TalkIn Ted Talk, entrepreneur lays out plans for urban high-speed tunnel network., entrepreneur lays out plans for urban high-speed tunnel network.

by on May.01, 2017

The Boring Company would drill a network of tunnels across Los Angeles.

Few people would ever accuse Elon Musk of being boring. He is, after all, the founder of both Tesla and SpaceX, two companies determined to change the way we travel, both on the ground and in the air.

But Musk is apparently determined to be boring – or, more accurately, he is intent on getting into the boring business, his latest venture aimed at digging tunnels under Los Angeles and, perhaps, other cities where surface-level roads are so clogged that traffic often grinds to a halt.

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What started out as a seeming joke is apparently no laughing matter for the South African-born entrepreneur. During a TED Talk last Friday, Musk outlined his plan to build a network of tunnels under L.A., some of them permitting 30 layers of vehicles to travel at speeds of up to 130 mph. The network could also include a path for Musk’s other revolutionary transportation concept, the Hyperloop.

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Grohmann Quits Tesla After Feud With CEO Musk

Leaves after disagreement over handling of previous customers.

by on Apr.27, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk lost another top executive, Klaus Grohmann, after the two disagreed about how to handle Grohmann's now former customers.

As Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to play whack-a-mole trying to eliminate potential roadblocks to getting the EV maker’s mainstream model, the Model 3, into production on schedule, there have been a few glitches.

The most recent being departure of Klaus Grohmann, who left last month after a clash with Musk. Grohmann was leading the company’s efforts to improve the “machines that build the machines” at Tesla.

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The pair disagreed over Musk’s insistence on shedding long-time customers – and competitors to Tesla – from Grohmann’s company, which Tesla had acquired in November, according to Reuters. The carmaker wanted all of its new engineering subsidiary’s resources focused on bringing the Model 3 to market on time, with high quality and in large numbers: 500,000 units annually by 2018. (more…)

Consumer Reports Takes Another Swipe at Tesla Model S

Electric sedan downgraded over lack of emergency auto-braking.

by on Apr.26, 2017

Tesla says its Model S has standard Emergency Auto Braking, but it isn't active on some vehicles.

The influential Consumer Reports magazine has again downgraded Tesla’s Model S sedan, this time due to a lack of an important safety feature that was supposed to be included as standard equipment.

CR has downgraded Tesla products on several occasions, though past moves focused on quality concerns. This time, the magazine said, the Model S produced over the last six months did not have a working emergency auto-braking, or AEB, system, apparently because of a problem with software that was supposed to control an updated version of the AEB hardware introduced in October 2016.

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It’s the latest in a series of problems involving Tesla’s high-tech safety technology. Last week, Tesla was hit with a lawsuit claiming that its optional, semi-autonomous Autopilot system is “unusable and demonstrably dangerous.” Days later, the battery-carmaker announced a recall covering a parking brake problem affecting 53,000 vehicles.

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Tesla on Top, Now Most Valuable U.S. Automaker

"It's one of the strangest things I have ever seen."

by on Apr.10, 2017

Tesla CEO Musk can now afford a shirt with sleeves, as his stock soars to a new record.

Tesla is the new king-of-the-hill, after a week giving chase to long-time industry leader General Motors, the Silicon Valley upstart wound up narrowly squeaking into the lead, a nearly $51 billion market capitalization running just ahead of GM’s as trading on the New York Stock Exchange closed Monday afternoon.

Tesla had seemed poised for more than a week to take the lead, having already nudged past Ford Motor Co. earlier in the month. But Monday brought the Wall Street equivalent of a close horse race, GM and Tesla trading the lead almost by the hour. Finally, as the bell range, the EV maker had a closing stock price of $312.39, a $9.85 gain for the day, leaving it valued at $50.95 billion, while GM closed up $0.26 a share, at $33.97, with a market cap of $50.89 billion.

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The surge in Tesla’s market performance comes at a critical time for the Silicon Valley automaker, which little more than a month ago had warned its finances were “on the edge” as it continued its costly investment in the launch of the new Model 3. The midsize electric vehicle, Tesla’s first priced by the mainstream, is set to go into production in July.

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Tesla Sets Q1 Production, Sales Records

Despite analysts' caution, investors continuing driving up shares.

by on Apr.03, 2017

Tesla has been launching non-traditional showrooms and displays, like this one at a Nordstrom's.

Tesla got a jump on the rest of the auto industry, reporting late Sunday that it set new production and delivery records for the first quarter of the year.

That comes as particular good news for the Silicon Valley manufacturer of electric vehicles, Tesla stretching its finances as it prepares for the launch of the all-new Model 3 sedan later this year. Sales had slumped during the final quarter of 2017 due to a mix of production snags, including the shift to a new version of the maker’s Autopilot system.

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Tesla was forced to return to Wall Street late in the January-March quarter, raising about $1.4 billion in a new stock offering. Investors responded positively, despite CEO Elon Musk’s warning that the maker’s finances were “getting very close to the edge.”

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Will the Tesla Model 3 Be the Safest Car Ever?

New battery-sedan could prevent 90% of accidents, says analyst.

by on Mar.24, 2017

Tesla promises to launch Model 3 production in July, with retail sales following later in 2017,

Tesla has promised that its upcoming Model 3 will be loaded with a variety of high-tech features, including the latest version of the maker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system. And now, automotive analysts from Morgan Stanley are predicting the sedan will be the safest car ever made.

With “a supercomputer in every car,” they estimate in a new report that the new Model 3 will be 10 times safer than existing vehicles – or 90% less likely to be the cause of either vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-pedestrian fatal crashes. But that actually could disrupt both the conventional new and used car markets, Morgan Stanley is forecasting.

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“Look for an acceleration of the market’s awareness of the obsolescence of used cars and an acceleration of insurance company awareness to reprice premiums,” the report suggests.

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Despite Ongoing Quality Issues, Tesla Owners Bond with Their Cars

“Owners see themselves as pioneers.”

by on Mar.21, 2017

Despite endemic quality problems, Power finds strong emotional attachment to Tesla products.

Tesla owners could be accused of having a love/hate relationship with their vehicles. The maker’s Models S and X have repeatedly been slammed for serious quality issues, yet owners retain a strong emotional bond to those battery-electric vehicles, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

But the question is whether those buying the next generation of Tesla products, starting with the Model 3 sedan set to go into production in July, will be nearly as forgiving. Moving into the mainstream carries significant risks, according to various analysts.

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“Tesla owners see themselves as pioneers who enjoy being early adopters of new technology,” said Kathleen Rizk, director of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power. “Spending $100,000 or more on a vehicle that has so many problems usually would have a dramatically negative effect on sales and brand perception. Right now, though, Tesla seems immune from such disenchanted customers.”

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