Tesla to launch ridesharing app, with Tesla’s Driver Insurance

While Uber and Lyft have been dominating the ridesharing industry and revolutionizing urban mobility, they’re likely to meet a new top competitor in Tesla. 

The company has had its own ridesharing app in the works for some time. Uber and Lyft are at a disadvantage, as neither of them has made a profit.

Much of this has been attributed to how they’ve relied heavily on venture capital and IPO filings to stay afloat which has put them in a bind.

A loss of $1 billion like Uber took in 2019 will take its toll.Uber’s profit margins have been a point of increasing concern for investors. The company collects fares from each ride to pay off its revenue and operating costs, but the amount it earns doesn’t even cover that expense.

Therefore, Uber has continued to lose money every quarter since their IPO in 2017. The debate over whether the Transportation Network Companies (TNC) will remain unprofitable or could be a booming new industry of the future continues.

A new competitor with something greater to offer entering the picture could change all of that. This has led many to keep their eyes on Tesla to see how it performs because of its advancements. While talk of an autonomous driving network is on the horizon, Tesla is set to launch their ridesharing app with drivers.

Because of this, the company will be able to utilize one of its latest services — a car insurance program. Drivers for the Tesla network will be covered directly through the company.

It is believed that a human-driven ridesharing app will give Tesla multiple advantages over the competition, especially when it comes to financial and insurance efficiency.

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Tesla has activated its in-car camera to monitor drivers using Autopilot


By Kirsten Korosec

Tesla has enabled the in-car camera in its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to monitor drivers when its Autopilot advanced driver assistance system is being used.

In a software update, Tesla indicated the “cabin camera above the rearview mirror can now detect and alert driver inattentiveness while Autopilot is engaged.” Notably, Tesla has a closed loop system for the data, meaning imagery captured by the camera does not leave the car. The system cannot save or transit information unless data sharing is enabled, according to Tesla. The firmware update was cited by a number of Tesla owners, industry watchers and bloggers who are active on Twitter.

Tesla has faced criticism for not activating a driver monitoring system within the vehicle even as evidence mounted that owners were misusing the system. Owners have posted dozens of videos on YouTube and TikTok abusing the Autopilot system — some of whom have filmed themselves sitting in the backseat as the vehicle drives along the highway. Several fatal crashes involving Tesla vehicles that had Autopilot engaged has put more pressure on the company to act.

Until now, Tesla has not used the camera installed in its vehicles and instead relied on sensors in the steering wheel that measured torque — a method that is supposed to require the driver to keep their hands on the wheel. Drivers have documented and shared on social media how to trick the sensors into thinking a human is holding the wheel.

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Tesla wants to make every home a distributed power plant


Aria Alamalhodaei

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to turn every home into a distributed power plant that would generate, store and even deliver energy back into the electricity grid, all using the company’s products.

While the company has been selling solar and energy storage products for years, a new company policy to only sell solar coupled with the energy storage products, along with Musk’s comments Monday, reveal a strategy that aims to scale these businesses by appealing to utilities.

“This is a prosperous future both for Tesla and for the utilities,” he said. “If this is not done, the utilities will fail to serve their customers. They won’t be able to do it,” Musk said during an investor call, noting the rolling blackouts in California last summer and the more recent grid failure in Texas as evidence that grid reliability has become a bigger concern.

Last week, the company changed its website to prevent customers from only buying solar or its Powerwall energy storage product and instead required purchasing a system. Musk later announced the move in a tweet, stating “solar power will feed exclusively to Powerwall” and that “Powerwall will interface only between utility meter and house main breaker panel, enabling super simple install and seamless whole house backup during utility dropouts.”

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Elon Musk wants the upcoming Tesla Roadster to hover

By Trevor Mogg

Tesla boss Elon Musk revealed a couple of years ago that he wants to stick some rocket thrusters on the second-generation Roadster as part of a special “SpaceX package” when the electric sports car launches in 2022.

And now he says he wants it to hover, too.

Chatting with Joe Rogan in a podcast released this week, Musk said that his team of crack engineers is currently trying to work out how the Tesla Roadster can be made to hover “without, you know, killing people.”

“I thought, maybe we could make it hover, but not too high,” Musk told Rogan during the chat. “So maybe it could hover, like, a meter above the ground, or something. So if you plummet, you blow out the suspension but you’re not going to die.”

He added that he thought his team could add a thruster “where the license plate flips down, James Bond-style, and there’d be a rocket thruster behind it that gives you three tons of thrust.”

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THE TESLA SEMI’S ECONOMICAL ADVANTAGE IS FRIGHTENINGLY UNDERESTIMATED

By Simon Alvarez

The Tesla Semi has its own fair share of critics, and even today, some notable voices such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believe that the Class 8 all-electric truck is not feasible. When one looks at the currently available information about the upcoming vehicle, however, one would see that the Tesla Semi is vastly underestimated. 

One of the key criticisms surrounding the Tesla Semi is its weight, which skeptics would claim is far too much to be economically viable. Tesla has not shared any specifics surrounding the Semi’s weight, though the company did note that the vehicle consumes less than 2 kWh per mile. As noted by the OBF in a YouTube video, this would translate to the Semi likely having a battery that’s roughly around 600 kWh to 1,000 kWh, depending on whether the vehicle features a 300 or 500-mile range. 

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Tesla’s $25,000 electric car could be coming sooner than we though

Fred Lambert 

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TESLA’S $25,000 ELECTRIC CAR

Tesla’s recently announced $25,000 electric car could be coming sooner than we thought, according to newly unveiled documents about Gigafactory Shanghai.

When talking about what Tesla’s new battery cell and “structural battery pack” architecture could enable at Battery Day last year, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be making a $25,000 electric car.

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Tesla’s Autopilot Full Self-Driving Completes Round Trip From San Francisco to Los Angeles PRACTICALLY WITHOUT ANY HUMAN INTERVENTION.

By Jeff Yeung

Footage has surfaced showing a TeslaModel 3 making a round trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles using its Autopilot Full Self-Driving mode.

The video came from YouTube user Whole Mars Catalog, whose entire channel appears to be dedicated to testing Tesla’s Autopilot FSD functionality. According to the channel, the drive was made possible via the latest Beta version of Tesla’s software, and the entire round trip was completed with close to no human intervention at all, except for one scenario where debris had shot up from the road after the car in front passed over it and so the driver had to take control immediately for just one second.

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Elon Musk pushes Tesla to have more in-car gaming in preparation for self-driving future

Fred Lambert 

Is he getting ahead of himself?

Last weekend, Tesla started pushing a new software update that Musk had been hyping as ‘fire’ over the last few weeks.

The update ended up consisting of a few user interface changes and the main new features were 3 new in-car video games and a new ‘Boombox’ feature to play custom sounds through external speakers.

Musk followed up the update with several comments regarding in-car video games and entertainment, which he sees as “critical” when achieving autonomous driving:

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Elon Musk would consider having Tesla acquire a legacy automaker

Kirsten Korosec

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SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk speaks in front of Crew Dragon cleanroom at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019.

SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk speaks in front of Crew Dragon cleanroom at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019.Elon Musk would consider leveraging Tesla’s mega $554 billion market cap to buy a legacy automaker, but only if it was on friendly terms, the billionaire entrepreneur said Tuesday in a wide-ranging interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner.

Musk, who received an award Tuesday from the media giant, discussed his various interests and businesses, notably SpaceX and Tesla, both of which he leads.

Döpfner noted that Tesla’s valuation far exceeds the market cap of incumbent automakers like BMW, Daimler and VW, which along with others in the industry once dismissed Musk’s ability to make electric vehicles mainstream. When asked if it would be a serious option to buy one of the legacy automakers, Musk said it was possible, but only under certain conditions.

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Tesla truck with 1,000 kilometre-range: Tesla Semi out to prove Bill Gates wrong

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Bill Gates may have his doubts about battery powering heavy vehicles but Elon Musk is claiming Tesla Semi may eventually boast of a four-figure range.

Elon Musk recently highlighted that the upcoming Tesla Semi truck will work towards establishing an on-road range of around 1,000 kilometres, a claim – if proven true – that could contradict Bill Gates’ opinion of heavy battery-powered vehicles being rather unfeasible. The massive per-charge range on the Tesla Semi may be made possible by making use of in-house batteries being developed by the EV-maker.

Musk has been vocal about the range capabilities of its 36,000-kilo capacity vehicle with the initial figure pegged between 480 and 800 kilometres. This figure was ramped up to around 960 kilometres but now, the Tesla CEO is claiming that a 1,000 kilometre-range is also possible and that that could make the Semi a winner in long-haul journeys. “If you want, for long-range trucking, you can take the range up to, we think, easily 800 km, and we see a path over time to 1,000 km range for an heavy duty truck,” he was quoted as saying by Electrek.

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Tesla opens world’s largest Supercharger station

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It is located between two of Tesla’s biggest markets.

Tesla has been quickly expanding its Supercharger network lately and it just reached another milestone by opening the world’s new largest Supercharger station.

Tesla’s fleet is growing at a fast pace and the automaker is adding more electric vehicles to the road than any other automaker.

At the same time, the company is trying to keep up its infrastructure, like service centers, mobile service fleet, and charging infrastructure in order to support its growing fleet.

Tesla’s charging infrastructure mainly consists of the Supercharger network, arguably one of the company’s greatest assets.

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Tesla battery researcher shows new test results pointing to batteries lasting over 2 million miles

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A Tesla battery researcher showed updated test results pointing to batteries lasting over 15,000 cycles or the equivalent of over 2 million miles (3.5 million km) in an electric car.

Last year, we reported on Jeff Dahn and his lab, who is under contract to do battery research for Tesla, releasing a paper that shows how the latest Li-ion battery technology can produce batteries that would last 1 million miles in electric vehicles.

In a new presentation, Dahn discussed updated test results from this new battery, which he hopes becomes the new standard Li-ion battery against which new battery technologies benchmark themselves.

The scientist, who is widely recognized as a pioneer in Li-ion batteries, referenced our article from last year about their paper and said that it sparked a massive interest in this new battery chemistry and battery longevity.

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