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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.

Breaking News!

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 Doubling Up Number of Superchargers

EV maker planning to have 10,000 chargers by end of 2018.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Tesla says this is going to become a more common sight in 2017 as it plans to build another 5,000 Supercharging stations.

Tesla’s all charged up about the pending introduction of the Model 3 later this summer and to prove it, apparently, they’re making sure that more Tesla owners than ever will be able to charge up while driving America’s highways and byways.

The EV maker has more than 5,400 Supercharger stations worldwide and plans to nearly double that to 10,000 units by the end of 2017. In North America, the company pledged to increase the number of super chargers by 150%, including adding 1,00 0 Superchargers in California.

Tech News!

“As Tesla prepares for our first mass-market vehicle and continues to increase our Model S and Model X fleet, we’re making charging an even greater priority,” the company noted in its corporate blog. (more…)

Tesla CEO Musk Flies to Germany to Help Avert Strike

EV maker’s founder appeals to workers, bolsters compensation.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk went to Germany to speak with workers at the company's engineering subsidiary to avert a strike.

Ensuring the introduction of the Model 3 on time this summer must be important to Tesla CEO Elon Musk — he’s flown to Germany to speak directly with employees at the company’s engineering subsidiary in hopes of heading off a strike that could make it impossible to meet the car’s deadline this summer.

While Tesla’s hourly workers in the U.S. are non-union, the 700 employees of Tesla Grohmann Automation belong to IG Metall. The workers have two primary concerns: salaries and layoffs.

Tech News!

According to Electrek, the workers are unhappy that they are paid 30% less than the union scale calls for. Tesla’s offered a nearly $300 a month bump in pay, although that would still leave them a bit short of their target number. (more…)

Tesla Recalling 53,000 Vehicles Due to Brake Problem

EV maker repairing Model S and Model X cars.

by on Apr.20, 2017

The Model X part of a large recall of Model X and S cars due to a brake problem.

Tesla is riding a streak of bad news. The California-based EV maker announced a recall of 53,000 of its Model S and Model X cars due to an issue with the parking brake.

It’s the largest recall in the young company’s history.

News You Can Trust!

The total may not seem so large compared to recent actions by other automakers, but the company only produced about 83,000 vehicles in 2016. (more…)

Tesla Facing New Lawsuit Over Autopilot

Three owners claim they paid for “unusable and demonstrably dangerous” system.

by on Apr.20, 2017

Tesla is being sued by three owners claiming that the $5,000 Autopilot option is dangerous and doesn't function as described.

Like Tesla itself, the battery-carmaker’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system has had its ups-and-downs. For many customers, it has been a key reason to purchase a Model S or X, but it has also been linked to a handful of crashes, including one in which a former Navy SEAL was killed last May.

Now, Tesla is finding itself facing a potential class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of three customers who say that Autopilot, designed to take control of the vehicle while driving on well-marked, limited-access highways, doesn’t live up to its billing as safe and reliable, declaring the $5,000 option “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.”

Beyond the Headlines!

“When consumers received these pricey vehicles, it became clear that Tesla’s marketing was all smoke and mirrors,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Seattle’s Hagens Berman, which has been an aggressive practitioner of plaintiff law in recent auto safety cases. “And Tesla knew when it made these promises that it didn’t have the capabilities to follow through on its deal. It knowingly deceived tens of thousands who put their faith in these cars and in Tesla.” (more…)

Tesla Bracing for Possible Union Strike in Germany

Stoppage could impact Model 3 production schedule.

by on Apr.18, 2017

Tesla will pause production at its plant in Fremont, California, to prep for the Model 3, but could a union strike in Germany halt production even longer?

For months on end, analysts and investors have been wringing their hands over Tesla’s ability to deliver its mass-market Model 3 sedan on schedule and it large numbers. The company raised additional money and spent time assuring all was well.

And now it may not be due to a factor many hadn’t even contemplated: a union strike. In the U.S., Tesla’s hourly employees are non-union, although it is a top target of the UAW; however, the EV maker bought a German automation company last fall, Grohmann Automation Engineering, and its hourly workers are union and they may be the monkey wrench.

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German employees are represented by IG Metall, and the representatives of the powerful union are unhappy with the wages Tesla is paying the employees at its new subsidiary, Tesla Grohmann Automation in Prüm near Germany’s western border with Belgium. (more…)

Tesla Adding Pickup, Semi-Truck

Other models reportedly on the way after Model 3.

by on Apr.13, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the EV maker will rollout a new semi-truck this fall.

Following up on earlier tweets indicating several new battery vehicles were under development, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company was planning to introduce a new semi-truck in September, with an electric pickup truck to follow in about 18 to 24 months.

The big truck was first hinted at last July, when Musk unveiled his “Master Plan, Part Deux.” He had previously expressed interest in a pickup several years ago, about the same time Tesla began searching for a site for its Gigafactory battery plant.

Inside News!

“Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September,” Musk said on Thursday, the tweet adding, “Team has done an amazing job. Seriously next level.” (more…)

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.

News You Can Trust!

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 Tops GM, Could End Day as Most Valuable Automaker

EV maker continues to defy gravity.

by on Apr.10, 2017

Tesla's stock price appears to be all charged up as it rose another $10 in early trading, pushing the company's valuation past that of General Motors.

It could be a race to the finish – or at least the closing bell on Monday trading.

With Tesla’s stock price up as much as $10 a share during the New York Stock Exchange’s morning session, the automaker briefly surged ahead of rival General Motors to become the country’s most valuable carmaker based on market capitalization.

Stay Plugged In!

With GM also in positive territory, however, it remains to be seen whether the upstart or the established automaker will wear the crown at the end of the day. Tesla has been in striking distance since last week when it surged past Ford Motor Co. to become the number two maker by value. (more…)

Tesla Poised to Become America’s Most Valuable Automaker

Stock run-up pushes carmaker just a hair short of toppling GM.

by on Apr.04, 2017

Tesla's market valuation is streaking toward the $50 billion mark, passing Ford and approaching GM.

As trading wrapped up on Wall Street Tuesday, Silicon Valley automaker Tesla stopped just short of two major milestones: a market capitalization of $50 billion and bragging rights as America’s most value company by market capitalization.

Tesla shares have been on a tear this past week, despite continuing losses – and dire warnings by some key analysts. The bull run appears to be driven by strong first quarter sales and the revelation that Chinese financial powerhouse Tencent Holdings has taken a 5% stake in the company.

Inside News!

Tesla’s stock rise counters the weak reception traditional automakers, notably General Motors and Ford have gotten lately. Both have tumbled sharply since the beginning of the year, despite management efforts to make them more attractive to investors. (more…)