Catching up with Tesla Motors: Battery Armor, New Cars, and New York Sales!

model-s-blue-front2_960x640In light of Reddit banning Tesla related posts over the weekend, there were actually a couple interesting stories coming from the electric vehicle manufacturer.

New York!

Following the disappointing actions of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and they’re success at sneaking in a ban on Tesla sales, the Associated Press is reporting that Governor Cuomo has laid out the details for an agreement between New York and Tesla Motors. The state will be examining how to strengthen automobile franchise protections, but Tesla will be allowed to keep its five retail locations in the state to sell directly to consumers.

Tesla Model S Battery Armor!

Following a pair of “extremely uncommon” collisions resulting in battery damage which led to fires, Tesla is introducing new undercarriage armor capable of crushing cinder-blocks. It will add a small bit of weight to the car, but Tesla estimates it will only reduce the car’s range by .1%.


Starting with vehicles manufactured March 6th, this shield comes standard on new Model S sedans. For those of you lucky enough to own a Model S made before that time, Tesla will install the shield on your car free of charge. More info (and shield tests) on the Tesla Blog.

Lower Priced Tesla to Arrive in 2015?

This one is from the rumor mill, but we’re deeming it as “likely”, that a new Tesla sedan will debut in 2015, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk is blaming himself for some of the car’s delays. In an interview with Bloomberg Musk said “I really am quite insistent that the production version be superior to anything we’ve demonstrated before.” There’s little room for error here as this car, often called the Model X, will represent the largest push into mainstream consumer sales. There’s plenty to focus on, and we know that Musk is also pushing for self driving vehicles to hit roads in the next three years.


CBS Interviews Elon Musk: Tesla Model S completes cross country road trip in 76 hours

model-s-blue-front2_960x640This is a giant leap for EV’s!

Handily answering concerns about range and charge time, two Model S Tesla sedans have completed a cross country road trip starting in LA and arriving in New York a little more than three days later.

Tesla’s Supercharger stations quickly recharge or swap batteries on the Model S, making electric vehicles a more attractive solution for people who drive long distances. More Supercharger stations need to be built for the system to appeal across the country, but this is fantastic progress considering how non-existent the infrastructure for EV’s was even just a couple years ago.

Now hopefully I’ll NEVER have to field that inane question from people here in LA “B-b-b-but what if I suddenly and unexpectedly want to road trip to Vegas like I never do?”

Interview below.

Will Elon Musk Bring Android Apps to the Tesla Model S Dashboard Touchscreen?

model-s-interior1_960x640At a reception in Germany, Elon Musk spoke to a crowd about Tesla’s investment in the German market. Germany is very forward on renewable energy, alternative fuels, and they seem like a natural fit for the Tesla vibe. Especially considering that Germany was the second place market for the Tesla Roadster (behind the USA).

While answering questions about their corporate plans, Musk was asked about developing apps for the huge touchscreen built into the dash of the Tesla Sedan. The Model S currently uses a build of Linux, so porting Android apps over, or running them in an emulator, should be fairly easy to do, and he does specifically mention updating the car’s browser to chrome.

Elon actually takes the stage at 14:47 in this video, and you can skip to 37:20 to hear him answer the question about apps and Android.

I still have some ergonomic and safety reservations about an automobile control surface comprised mostly of a smooth featureless touchscreen, but at least I might not have to learn a new and unfamiliar  UI when I’m finally able to get my hands on a Tesla of my very own… Some day… It could happen… Sigh…

Tesla working towards self-driving cars by 2017

model-s-blue-front2_960x640Sign me up. I’m sold. I used to love hitting the open road, but after living in LA for a couple years I’m done. All the wasted time sitting in zombifying traffic I could be spending on ANYTHING ELSE. There’s no more romance for me. The car is no longer a gadget I cherish, but a necessary evil.

Unless of course I no longer had to drive it myself anymore.

The dream of science fiction robot taxis is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality, and geek sweetheart Tesla is getting into the game. Joining companies like Google, CEO Elon Musk is promising “auto-pilot” features on Tesla automobiles in 3-4 years. Color me stoked!

Four years is a tremendously fast time table to get functionality like this tested and refined for general use, but Musk has demonstrated a unique drive in getting ambitious projects off the ground, and we can always hope that at some point, rather than having multiple companies producing competing systems, they might at some point pool their resources to provide true standards to the public.

In addition to freeing me up to utilize my commute more effectively, this could also help to curb the problems we face with distracted driving. It’s a win-win all around.

(via Reuters)

See Elon Musk’s Iron Man style 3D modeling and printing lab.

SpaceX-LogoWhen Robert Downey Jr. retires from playing Tony Stark they should just follow Elon Musk around with cameras. A normal day for him is science fiction for the rest of us plebs.

Anywho, wouldn’t it be great if Iron Man’s garage were an actual real life thing. You move designs around by waving your hands through the air. You interact with models using advanced 3D optics, then have the ability to render and construct that design right there. Yeah. That’d be cool.

Well Musk and his engineers at SpaceX went and pretty much made it. Using tech like LEAP motion controllers and Oculus Rift goggles, designers are able to interact and manipulate models via gestures. Plus they can then build those models using 3D printers in the lab. It’s incredible stuff, and Elon “Man of the Future” Musk himself spends a couple minutes walking us through their advances.

All of these separate technologies are starting to come together, and it’s starting to look really cool.

(via TechCrunch)