Tag Archives: tesla

Elon Musk Requires ‘FSD’ Demo For Every Prospective Tesla Buyer In North America



Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now requiring employees to install and show customers how to use the latest version of the company’s premium driver assistance system, which is marketed as “FSD” or Full Self-Driving, before completing a vehicle delivery in North America, CNBC reported.

“Going forward, it is mandatory in North America to install and activate FSD V12.3.1 and take customers on a short test ride before handing over the car,” Musk wrote in an email to staffers on Monday. “Almost no one actually realizes how well (supervised) FSD actually works. I know this will slow down the delivery process, but it is nonetheless a hard requirement.”

Bloomberg first reported on Musk’s email, which was also viewed by CNBC.

While all new Tesla vehicles have a standard driver assistance system installed called Autopilot, the company’s FSD option costs $199 per month for most customers in North America.

Tesla’s FSD system does not turn cars into autonomous vehicles. According to Tesla owners’ manuals, drivers must remain attentive to the road and ready to steer or brake at any time when using FSD or FSD Beta.

TechCrunch reported Tesla is about to start giving every customer in the U.S. a one-month trial of its $12,000 driver-assistance system, which it calls Full Self-Driving Beta, provided they have a car with the compatible hardware. The company is also reportedly mandating, at CEO Elon Musk’s request, that prospective buyers are given a demo of the software before they purchase a new Tesla.

The full-court press to promote FSD Beta software, an upgraded version of the Autopilot system that comes standard in all Tesla vehicles, is happening at an interesting moment for the company. It’s the end of the first quarter of 2024, and Tesla usually pulls out all the stops — including having executives help deliver cars to customers — to meet or beat its sales goals.

According to TechCrunch, tempting customers with a new incentive could be one way to boost sales, although it could backfire if prospective customers are turned off by Tesla adding extra steps to its usually streamlined buying process.

To enjoy Tesla’s FSD technology, you’d have to pay $12,000 to unlock it on top of what you paid for the car itself. It comes with all of the company’s Autopilot features, as well as the ability to use auto steer on city streets and to activate your vehicle’s capability to identify stop signs and traffic lights so it can automatically slow your vehicle to a stop on approach, Engadget reported

Still, $12,000 is a big chunk of money. If you’re on the fence about shelling out that much, Tesla might be hoping that the demonstration could give you the push you need to make you say yes.

In my opinion, I think it is likely that people who really want to buy a Tesla will attempt to come to come up with the money for the FSD beta software. That said, having to pay $12,000 on top of the Tesla itself, could be difficult for those unable to throw around that amount of money.


Tesla Says Data Breach Impacting 75,000 Employees Was An Insider Job



Tesla has said that insider wrongdoing was to blame for a data breach affecting more than 75,000 company employees, TechCrunch reported.

Tesla, the electric car maker owned by Elon Musk, said in a data breach notice filed with Maine’s attorney general that an investigation had found that two former employees leaked more than 75,000 individuals’ personal information to a foreign media company.

“The investigation revealed that two former Tesla employees misappropriated the information in violation of Tesla’s IT security and data protection policies and shared it with a media outlet,” Steven Elentukh, Tesla’s data privacy officer, wrote in the notice.

According to TechCrunch, this information includes personally identifying information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, employment-related records and Social Security numbers belonging to 75,735 current and former employees.

Tesla said two former employees had shared the data with German newspaper Handelsblatt. The outlet assured Tesla that it wouldn’t publish the information and that it is “legally prohibited from using it inappropriately,” according to the notice.

The publication obtained more than 23,000 internal documents, dubbed the “Tesla Files,” containing 100 gigabytes of confidential data. This included employees’ personal information, customer bank details, production secrets and customer complaints about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) features.

According to Handelsblatt, Musk’s Social Security number was also included in the leak.

The Verge reported that, according to a filing with the state of Maine’s attorney general office, Tesla’s data privacy officer Steven Elentukh, reported the breach as “insider wrongdoing,” leaking employee information including social security numbers.

The Maine filing includes a template letter by Elentukh written to send to affected employees in the state. It confirms that Handelsblatt, the German media outlet recipient of 100GB of Tesla’s data, had notified Tesla on May 10th that it had received confidential information.

According to The Verge, what Handelsblatt did let out was customer complaints about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD). It found that the automaker’s advanced driver-assistant system, which aims to achieve autonomous city driving capability, had 2,400 self-acceleration issues and more than 1,500 braking problems reported by customers. The occurrences spanned between 2015 and March 2022. Tesla demanded that Handelsblatt delete the data, according to the news outlet.

The Verge also reported that this isn’t the first time Tesla employees have mishandled internal data. In April, it was reported that workers viewed and shared private videos recorded by customers’ Teslas, which are made from the vehicles’ Sentry Mode security systems.

Personally, I think this entire situation is a gigantic mess. It appears that the two employees who sent personal information about the other employees to a German news site not only shouldn’t have done that, but also should face some kind of reprimand for what they did. The other sketchy part of this story is that some Tesla employees appear to enjoy spying on Tesla owners through videos the vehicle creates.


Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving” Beta Is Now Available



Teslarati reported that an increasing number of Tesla owners who purchased the Full Self-Driving suite for their vehicles have reported receiving access to FSD Beta. This was despite some of the owners claiming that their cars have garnered less than 100 Autopilot miles and that their Safety Score was less than 80.

According to Teslarati, some Tesla owners remarked that even vehicles that are not used much, or cars that have a safety score below 80, have received FSD Beta 10.69.3.1. This included a driver who regularly drives his race-spec Model 3 Performance on the track, and whose safety score is at a modest 62. A number of Tesla owners who bought FSD several years ago also reported receiving the update recently.

The Verge reported. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” Beta, which as been gradually rolling out over the past couple of years, is now available to anyone who’s paid for the feature in North America, CEO Elon Musk has announced.

Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you have bought this option. Congrats to Tesla Autopilot/AI team on achieving a major milestone!”

According to The Verge, the rollout of the beta software kicked off in 2020 with a small number of customers and has since gradually expanded to be available to around 160,000 drivers as of October this year. Getting access to the beta has typically required that drivers hit a minimum safety threshold with Tesla’s built-in Safety Score feature as well as logging 100 miles using the company’s advanced driver-assist feature Autopilot.

The Verge also reported that Tesla’s driver-assist technology, not to mention the company’s marketing of it, are facing heavy scrutiny from regulators. The US’s National Highway Traffic Administration is investigating incidents of Tesla vehicles crashing into stationary emergency vehicles while using Autopilot.

CNBC previously reported that the Department of Justice has launched an undisclosed probe of Tesla last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported that the California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of false advertising in its promotion of the company’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies. The agency alleges the electric-car maker misled customers with advertising language on its website describing Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies as more capable than they actually are.

Engadget reported that Tesla first promised to launch full self-driving features in 2018, but they only finally appeared in July 2021 to a small number of “expert and careful drivers.” It was released more widely in the version 9.0 beta, but testers were limited to an early access program. On the last FSD release, Tesla dropped the requirement for at least 100 Autopilot miles and an 80 safety score, and now anyone who wants it can have it.

In my opinion, any company facing that many probes by governmental regulators should be extremely wary about what it chooses to do. It appears that Elon Musk is more interested in starting the beta test than he is concerned about consumer safety. That’s unfortunate, and could potentially result in legal problems.


Tesla Stopped Accepting Bitcoin for Vehicle Purchases



In March of 2021, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that people could buy a Tesla with Bitcoin. Yesterday, Elon Musk changed his mind about that.

Elon Musk tweeted “Tesla & Bitcoin”, and included a screenshot of a statement:

Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using Bitcoin. We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel…

The statement continued: “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment. Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy. We are also looking at other cryptocurrencies that use <1% of Bitcoin’s energy/transaction.”

The Verge reported that Bitcoin uses up as much electricity as the Netherlands. CNBC reported in March that researchers at the University of Cambridge found that Bitcoin uses more electricity on an annual basis than the whole of Argentina.

According to a recent article on CNBC, when Elon Musk made his announcement, the value of the whole cryptocurrency market stood at around $2.43 trillion (according to data from coinmarketcap.com). A few hours later, the market capitalization had dropped to around $2.06 trillion “wiping off around $365.85 billion”.

Personally, I think it is a very good thing that Tesla stopped selling vehicles for Bitcoin. There are other companies that make electric vehicles that a person can purchase for more conventional currency (such as the U.S.dollar). Bitcoin is terrible for the environment, and I am happy that Tesla is no longer accepting it.


You Can Now Buy a Tesla with Bitcoin



Elon Musk, the “Technoking of Tesla”, used Twitter to post some information that people who love cryptocurrency will probably enjoy. His tweet said: “You can now buy a Tesla with Bitcoin.” In a second tweet wrote: “Pay by Bitcoin capability available outside US later this year.”

CNBC reported that Tesla revealed last month that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and that it would soon start accepting the world’s most popular cryptocurrency as a form of payment. According to CNBC, Tesla’s electric vehicles typically cost between $37,990 and $124,000 before tax.

Tesla’s image as an environmentally-friendly car company sits at odds with the bitcoin network’s colossal carbon footprint. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that it uses more electricity on an annual basis than the whole of Argentina. A 2018 paper published in Nature, arguably the most prestigious academic journal in the world, found that bitcoin emissions alone could push global warming above 2 degrees Celsius.

The Verge reported that according to Tesla’s bitcoin payment terms and conditions, its cars will continue to be priced in US dollars, and customers who choose to will pay the equivalent value in bitcoin. According to The Verge, Tesla estimates that a $100 deposit paid today equals 0.00183659BTC, for example.

Gizmodo pointed out something that was not explained by either Elon Musk or Tesla. Will Tesla price its cars based upon the number of bitcoins or paid for the fiat conversion of the time? If Tesla starts charging, for example, one bitcoin for a car, that will be the equivalent of roughly $56,000 today, but could be much higher or lower tomorrow.

Personally, I think bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency, are a gamble. The price can rapidly fluctuate based on unpredictable circumstances. It can be said that real currency can also do that. The difference is that the U.S. dollar has value because a society of people have agreed to treat it as though it has value. There is no such agreement connected to cryptocurrency.


Self-Driving Cars May Be Here Sooner than you Think



Tesla logoThe self-driving car. It’s the dream of daily commuters and crosstown drivers alike. What would you do with all of the time you could save by not having to pay attention to the road during your trip to work? Or how about those occasions when you just don’t have time to drive the kids to the mall (again)? Self-driving cars have made a lot of news over the last few years with much of the focus being placed on Google’s autonomous automobile research. But high-end electric car manufacturer Tesla may have lapped Google in the self-driving car race.

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla just announced that his company will be introducing autonomous vehicle technology as early as this summer. What’s even more remarkable is that these futuristic features won’t come by way of hardware retrofits. But rather, Tesla Model S sedans will gain autonomy thru a software update. The new software will allow these vehicles to operate in a hands-free “autopilot” mode which will initially only be available on major roads such as highways.

Other car manufacturers have already implemented some limited self-driving features in their own cars. But even in automatic mode, those vehicles still require a driver’s hands to be placed on the steering wheels. The Model S is likely to be the first truly self-driving car on American roads.

And while it is a serious accomplishment for Tesla, don’t run out to the nearest Model S dealer just yet. There is still much debate and speculation as to whether or not self-driving cars are even street legal in most parts of the country. Still, there is some good news for Model S owners who don’t want to wait for the government to work out the legalese around self-driving cars. On private property, Model S owners will be able to summon their cars using a smartphone app. Also, these cars will be able to park themselves in a driveway or inside a garage.

And even tho the dream of autonomous driving is now closer than ever, the base model for a Tesla Model S sedan will set you back just shy of $70,000. So if you were really hoping to impress your friends by showing off your car that can park itself in the garage, you may want to start saving up now and/or take out a second mortgage.


Test Driving a Tesla



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Imagine if the government had bailed out the horse-drawn carriage business in 1910. How much longer would it have been before the personal transportation industry advanced to the point that everyone could have an automobile? Perhaps the government shouldn’t have bailed out conventional gasoline-powered cars. Maybe it’s time to let the evolution of the automobile take another step forward. Telsa is leading the way for this new horizon and if you ever get a chance to drive one, you’ll quickly learn that you’ll never want to drive a gas vehicle again.

During a recent trip to San Francisco, I spent a day with some friends who were shopping for a new car. We went to dealer after dealer, studying prices and shapes and colors and of course gas mileage. We saw some pretty nice cars. And of course they wanted something affordable and reasonable, but not hideous or unsafe. At the end of the day they went home and I stopped at ONE more place – the Tesla dealership in Burlingame.  I asked to take a test drive and the friendly staff set me up in the Tesla Model S P85, which is the top of the three-car line-up in the Telsa fleet.

First of all, I’m not really a car guy. But that doesn’t matter. There were so many moments while driving this thing, where I found myself saying, “This is just so cool.”

The company is owned by Elon Musk, who also owns Space X, and this makes perfect sense when you climb aboard this space rocket of a car. As the salesman approached the car, it started automatically, sensing the key in his pocket. The door handles which were flush against the door, popped out and I couldn’t help but feel like they really wanted to make something efficient and powerful but, as I mentioned, really cool too.

The first thing I noticed when I sat down in the cockpit of this future car, was the massive 17” touch screen in the middle console. This is your control panel for music, navigation, internet, backup camera and phone.  No more dinking around with your tiny smart phone for that Pandora app, or Google map, this beast of a monitor makes access to these things extremely simple. One of the most important features the computer brings up, are all the Tesla Supercharger stations across the country and even the world. It shows how many are currently in existence but also how many are scheduled to be in place in the next year – which is considerably a lot more. Charging is free at any Tesla shop, and they’re currently spaced out appropriately across the US, so in theory, you could drive across the country for free. The car can also be charged at other non-Tesla chargers but a fee may be required.

After a quick lesson in where all the knobs and buttons were and a demo of the control panel screen, we were off. This car has power. Lots of power. A little acceleration goes a long way, and when you want to slow down (which ideally, you don’t) just letting up on the pedal slows the car down to a point where you may not even need to use the brake. This regenerative braking system is by design to save power. The amount the car slows down when not accelerating, can be adjusted via the control panel as per the driver’s preference.  The P85 is stocked with an 85 kWh battery giving it a range of 265 miles per charge. The 85 has the same battery while the base model 60 has a 60 kWh battery giving it a range of 208 miles per charge.

One of the next things I noticed was how smooth it was, but also how SILENT it was. Even when I was encouraged to give it a little more acceleration, there was no sound. The P85 can do 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. I’m not sure I got it to that on the side roads but it made merging into traffic on the freeway, feel just fantastic. I was told the test car is limited to a mere 80 mph cap but if I had my own, I could get it to 130 mph. In Bay Area traffic, good luck getting anywhere at those speeds. But speaking of traffic – which tends to be a lot of stop and go – the Tesla will give your ankle a break from going back and forth on pedals, thanks to the regenerative braking.

During the drive we hit a rather bumpy road. I immediately noticed that this was no problem at all for the car, and this is due to its Smart Air Suspension. The system automatically adjusts and levels itself out as needed. This system can also be accessed through the control panel to raise or lower the rest of the vehicle if needed for an incline, snow driving or loading/unloading.

The tech of the Tesla S is state-of-the art. And the price tag reflects that. You’re looking at somewhere around $70k for this baby, but it IS a luxury vehicle. A very, very cool luxury vehicle. But if you feel like getting one, all you have to do is head over to teslamotors.com and build yourself a custom car. There is currently somewhere around a three-month wait on the S.

I found myself wanting to drive fast but was also conflicted as I didn’t want to be done with it too quickly either. After driving this car, I really felt like I was getting into a horse-drawn carriage when I finally had to return to my boring old gasoline car. Maybe it’s time to let those “analog” cars die and embrace the future of electric vehicles. If the future is Tesla, you’re going to love it.