Elon Musk announces another price hike for “full self-driving” package

Elon Musk announces another price hike for “full self-driving” package

Enlarge / A Tesla Model 3. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

On August 16, Tesla will begin charging an additional $1,000 for the “full self-driving” upgrade, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Tuesday. The option currently costs $6,000. It’s the latest in a series of price changes for a package whose main function—”full self-driving”—is still largely aspirational.

The price hike reflects Musk’s view that Tesla is less than 18 months away from delivering full self-driving technology to customers and that this capability will drastically increase the value of Tesla vehicles.

“That’s approximately date when we expect Enhanced Summon to be in wide release,” Musk explained. “It will be magical.”

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Tesla cuts prices and simplifies its product line

Tesla cuts prices and simplifies its product line

Enlarge / A Model S at a Tesla showroom on March 1, 2019 in California. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Tesla implemented across-the-board price cuts for its vehicles on Monday, making most versions of the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 more affordable. At the same time, Tesla eliminated the most affordable versions of the Model S and Model X, called Standard Range, from its product lineup.

The price of the Long Range Model S (now the cheapest Model S) dropped from $85,000 to $79,990. The Standard Range Model S cost $75,000 before it was discontinued.

The price of the high-end Model S Performance model actually increased from $96,000 to $99,990. However, that reflects the fact that “Ludicrous Mode” is now included as a standard feature for the Performance model. Previously, “Ludicrous Mode” was a $20,000 upgrade on top of the Performance model’s $96,000 base price.

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“Close to 10%” of Autopilot software team reportedly departs after shakeup

“Close to 10%” of Autopilot software team reportedly departs after shakeup

Enlarge / Elon Musk. (credit: DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla has always been a turbulent place to work, and that has been especially true of Tesla’s Autopilot team. Between 2016 and 2018, Tesla lost three Autopilot chiefs in a period of 18 months, with a number of lower-level Autopilot managers and engineers leaving as well.

The Information’s Amir Efrati reports that Tesla has suffered a fresh wave of Autopilot departures.

“At least 11 members of the software team, or close to 10% of the total group, including some longtime members, departed in the past few months,” Efrati writes. “These departures follow Mr. Musk’s removal of the Autopilot group’s leader Stuart Bowers around the start of May.”

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Elon Musk puts kibosh on hopes of refreshed Model S and X vehicles

Elon Musk puts kibosh on hopes of refreshed Model S and X vehicles

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In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Elon Musk revealed that the much hoped-for updates to Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV are not in fact going to happen. Replying to a fan on Twitter, Musk told him that there are no changes planned to either vehicle beyond the minor tweaks that Tesla implements every so often.

For months, the Tesla fan community has been speculating that a radical new interior—perhaps similar to the minimalist Model 3—was planned for the Model S, which first launched in 2012. But Musk specifically disabused

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Tesla delivered a record number of cars in the second quarter

Tesla delivered a record number of cars in the second quarter

Enlarge / Tesla cars on a delivery truck in 2018. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Image)

Tesla beat its own previous record—and Wall Street’s expectations—by delivering 95,200 cars in the second quarter of 2019. That’s a big jump from the first quarter, when Tesla delivered a disappointing 63,000 vehicles. And it’s modestly higher than Tesla’s previous record of 90,700 vehicles delivered in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Wall Street reacted positively to the news, sending Tesla’s stock price up 6 percent in after-hours trading.

Tesla reported producing a solid 87,048 vehicles in the second quarter—up from 77,100 vehicles produced in the first quarter and up slightly from 86,555 vehicles produced in Q4 2018.

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Report: Tesla working on battery-cell R&D to loosen ties with Panasonic

Report: Tesla working on battery-cell R&D to loosen ties with Panasonic

Enlarge / A Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile sits connected to a charger inside a Tesla store in Munich, Germany, on Monday, March 30, 2015. (credit: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

According to a report today from CNBC, Tesla is working on research and development of battery cells in a lab near its manufacturing facility in Fremont, Calif. Five anonymous current and former employees said the R&D is focused on “designing and prototyping advanced lithium-ion battery cells,” as well as systems that could help the company produce cells at high volume.

Currently, Tesla has a partnership with Panasonic to make the battery cells it uses in its cars and stationary batteries. That relationship extends out to Tesla’s Buffalo, NY-based solar panel factory, which Tesla also co-owns with Panasonic. But recently, the fraternity between the two companies seems to be wearing thin.

In September of last year,

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Claims of Tesla hack wide of the mark—we dig into GNSS hacking

Claims of Tesla hack wide of the mark—we dig into GNSS hacking

On Wednesday of this week, an Israeli firm called Regulus Cyber issued a press release stating that “spoofing attacks on the Tesla GNSS (GPS) receiver could easily be carried out wirelessly and remotely.” In the firm’s demonstration attack on a Model 3, “the car reacted as if the exit was just 500 feet away—abruptly slowing down, activating the right turn signal, and making a sharp turn off the main road,” according to Regulus. “The driver immediately took manual control but couldn’t stop the car from leaving the road.”

Tesla’s official response could best be described as “brusque.”

So, a company most of us haven’t heard of tells us that it’s demonstrated disturbing vulnerabilities in Tesla. Tesla, in effect, says said company is just looking for a buck and there’s no problem, but it doesn’t really provide any details. Where does the truth lie? That question necessitates a look at the

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Survey: Autopilot name causes people to overestimate Tesla capabilities

Survey: Autopilot name causes people to overestimate Tesla capabilities

Enlarge (credit: IIHS)

Does the name “Autopilot” cause people to overestimate the abilities of Tesla’s driver-assistance technology? It’s a question that comes up in the Ars comments almost every time we write about the feature.

Critics warn that some customers will assume something called “Autopilot” is fully self-driving. Tesla’s defenders counter by pointing out that autopilot capabilities in planes aren’t fully autonomous. Pilots still have to monitor their operation and intervene if they have a problem, and Tesla’s Autopilot system is no different.

A new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety brings some valuable hard data to this debate. The group asked drivers questions about the capabilities of five advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). They identified the products only by their brand name—”Autopilot,” “Traffic Jam Assist,” “Super Cruise,” etc. Survey participants were not told which carmaker made each product, and they did not learn the capabilities of the

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People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway

People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway

Enlarge / Reddit user MiloWee uploaded a video of this allegedly sleeping Tesla driver. (credit: MiloWee / Reddit)

In the last week, two different people have captured video of Tesla vehicles traveling down a freeway with an apparently sleeping driver behind the wheel.

Both incidents happened in California. Last week, local television stations in Los Angeles aired footage from viewer Shawn Miladinovich of a Tesla vehicle driving on LA’s 405 freeway. The driver “was just fully sleeping, eyes were shut, hands nowhere near the steering wheel,” said Miladinovich, who was a passenger in a nearby car, in an interview with NBC Channel 4.

Miladinovich said he saw the vehicle twice, about 30 minutes apart, as both cars traveled along the 405 freeway. The driver appeared to be asleep both times. He wrote down the vehicle’s license plate number and called the information in to 911, but the California Highway

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At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”

At Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk assures “there is not a demand problem”

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Tesla held a shareholder meeting in Mountain View, Calif., on Tuesday afternoon, and CEO Elon Musk addressed the audience on a number of issues facing the company before taking questions from shareholders.

Tesla had a complicated first half of the year. It achieved significant Model 3 delivery, but reportedly sluggish demand for the Model S and X has dragged the company down. Some analysts have turned bearish on Tesla after Musk promised profitable quarters going forward in Q4 2018 but then missed profitability badly in Q1 2019.

But Musk defended his company’s health in his initial statement to the audience. He told shareholders “I want to be clear that there is not a demand problem… Sales have far exceeded production, and production has been pretty good. We have a decent shot at a record quarter… if not, it’s going to be very close.”

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