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Tesla Gigafactory Delay Complicating Tesla’s Worsening Financial Woes

Maker likely to blow through at least a third of its cash.

by on Aug.09, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Barely two weeks after Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk led a tour of the company’s new Gigafactory, it turns out that battery plant is running both late and likely over budget – something that is expected to worsen an already troublesome financial situation for the battery-carmaker.

Intended to be the world’s largest lithium-ion plant, the Gigafactory is already set to begin partial operation, and Musk last week boasted of plans to eventually boost output far beyond the original plans. But Tesla now says it spent nearly $120 million to prep the facility during the first half of the year with costs for all of 2016 expected to balloon to $520 million.


That’s one reason the carmaker’s cash reserves are fast on the decline. In fact, Tesla said it will have to lay out $1.1 billion, or about a third of its cash, during just the third quarter of this year. And with plenty of work left both on the Gigafactory and on the development of the Model 3 sedan, the financial pressures on the company are expected to grow more severe –especially in light of its unexpectedly sharp second-quarter loss.


GM Reveals More About Supercruise

Semi-Autonomous tech delayed until late 2017.

by on Jul.25, 2016

GM will debut Supercruise on the Cadillac CT6.

Wary of the problems that appear to have caused the fatal crash of a Tesla Model S running in semi-autonomous mode, General Motors wants to take a bit more time before rolling out its own Supercruise system.

And that should allow GM to be much more confident that the technology will work as planned, said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ global product development chief. Among other things, once Supercruise makes its debut on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it will feature a retinal recognition system designed to make sure that a driver is paying attention to the road, even if their hands aren’t on the wheel.

Tech Talk!

The May 9th Tesla crash appears to have been the result of a system malfunction that failed to recognize when a truck turned in front of the Model S sedan. But there are also some indications the 40-year-old driver was distracted, possibly watching a video on a laptop computer, rather than acting as a human backup to the Autopilot system.


Tesla Aims to Improve Autopilot

“Top Secret Master Plan” to be revealed late Monday.

by on Jul.18, 2016

Tesla uses a "sensor fuson" blend of cameras and radar for its Autopilot system.

Tesla plans to update the Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system that has been linked to one fatal crash and possibly two other accidents, said the automaker’s CEO Elon Musk.

The South African-born entrepreneur also responded to concerns raised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which has launched an investigation into the crashes. NHTSA has also faulted Tesla for a non-disclosure agreement owners are required to sign, warning that it could hinder reporting of problems with Tesla vehicles.

News You Can Trust!

“There is no car company in the world that cares more about safety than Tesla and our track record reflects that,” the carmaker said in a blog post on its website.


Nissan Launches ProPilot At Awkward Moment

Japanese automaker opts for cautious approach as Tesla Autopilot comes under fire.

by on Jul.15, 2016

The new ProPilot system goes beyond active cruise control but is not hands-free.

With a goal of launching its first fully self-driving vehicle barely four years from now, Nissan is taking a first big step to get there with the launch of its new ProPilot system.

But the debut of the semi-autonomous technology comes at a potentially awkward moment, rival Tesla Motors taking serious heat for a series of crashes that may be linked to the U.S. maker’s similar Autopilot systems.

A Look at the Future!

It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Nissan officials put as much emphasis on the limits of ProPilot as they did on the new system’s capabilities during a preview at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan.


Tesla Cuts Price on Model X and Drops Buyback Guarantee

Moves follows cut in Model S price, shortfall in Q2 production and sales.

by on Jul.14, 2016

The Model X 60D cuts range to just over 200 miles but is $9.000 less than the 75D.

Struggling to build sales momentum, Tesla says it will launch a new, lower-priced version of its Model X crossover-utility vehicle. The automaker took a similar step to deliver a more affordable version of its Model S sedan last month.

The move follows news that Tesla had missed both its production and sales targets for the second quarter of 2016 – and as the automaker faces three separate investigations related to potential problems with its semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

We'll Keep You Charged Up!

But while potential buyers will now be able to purchase a Tesla Model X 60D for $74,000, or $9,000 less than the old base battery-electric SUV, Tesla is doing away with the guaranteed buyback program that covered the Model S sedan, assuring owners they would get at least 50% of the purchase price back after three years.


SEC Launches Probe; Tesla Blamed for 3rd Autopilot Crash

Troubles mounting for California battery-carmaker.

by on Jul.12, 2016

Joshua Brown, 40, said his Tesla Autopilot system had prevented an earlier crash before his death in Florida on May 7.

Things are heating up for Tesla Motors, the battery-carmaker finding itself blamed for a third crash using its Autopilot system, even as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly begins an investigation into Tesla’s delayed public disclosure of the first crash.

That May 7 accident led to the death of a 40-year-old former Navy Seal but while Tesla did disclose the situation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nine days later, the company took nearly two months to make a public announcement. It waited until after a $2 billion stock offering, CEO Elon Musk later tweeting that the crash was “not material to the value of Tesla.”

Beyond the Headlines!

Whether that’s accurate could be up to the SEC to decide. Meanwhile, some other critics are calling for an investigation of Tesla’s plan to purchase SolarCity, a deal that has raised flags for some because of CEO Musk’s personal ties to the solar panel maker.


Musk Promises New “Top Secret Tesla Masterplan”

New vehicle lines could be in the works.

by on Jul.11, 2016

Tesla CEO Elon Musk could take the company in a variety of new directions, if past is prelude.

Facing a series of challenges that could determine the long-term success of the California battery-car manufacturers, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has dropped a big hint about the company’s future.

The South African-born entrepreneur issued a tweet on Sunday revealing that he is “Working on Top Secret Tesla Masterplan, Part 2. Hoping to publish later this week.” Fond of social media, Musk has frequently used Twitter, the Tesla blog and other outlets to announce company strategy.

Electrifying News!

The timing could be significant for Tesla. The carmaker is facing a series of challenges and concerns right now, including the controversial takeover of SolarCity Corp., and a pair of crashes that may be linked to the semi-autonomous Autopilot system used on the Tesla Models S and X battery-electric vehicles.


Tesla Production Up, But Sales Fall Short of Goal

Investigation ramps up into fatal Model S Autopilot crash.

by on Jul.05, 2016

The Model X accounted for barely a third of Tesla's second-quarter production.

While the U.S. new car market is clearly slowing down after a spectacular rebound from the Great Recession, Tesla Motors continues to boost sales at a double-digit pace – but still managed to fall short of expectations.

Tesla says it delivered 14,370 vehicles during the second quarter, but that was 15% less than the 17,000 the battery carmaker had predicted as recently as May. While Tesla had been hoping to roughly split production between the Model S sedan and newer Model X battery SUV, volume was still weighted more than two-to-one towards the electric sedan, apparently reflecting ongoing quality and production problems with the utility vehicle.

Beyond the Headlines!

News of the weak market performance comes at an inopportune time for Tesla. The maker is facing an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the fatal crash of a Model S being driven in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. There has been growing concern about the system, with numerous reports of it being misused by owners.


Three Tesla Employees Killed in Air Crash

Small plane owned by company employee crashes in Northern CA neighborhood.

by on Feb.17, 2010

Three employees of Tesla Motors, which produces the 2-seat Roadster, shown here, were killed in a Palo Alto small plane crash.

A small plane owned by a senior engineer with the maverick electric automaker, Tesla Motors, has crashed into a Northern California neighborhood killing three company employees.

The crash scattered debris in a Palo Alto community, igniting fires.  But there have been no reports of injuries on the ground.

The twin-engine Cessna 310 had just taken off from Palo Alto Airport, near Tesla headquarters, when it struck power lines obscured by thick fog, according to observers at the scene.  All three aboard were reported dead at the scene and Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, confirmed to the Associated Press that all were employees.

Your Trusted Source!

While full identities were not immediately available, the doomed plane was owned by Air Unique, of Santa Clara, California.  In turn, that firm was owned by Doug Bourn, a senior Tesla engineer.  Initial reports said he was believed to be piloting the Cessna, though that has not been confirmed.