Tesla has just announced a new, even faster version of its Model S electric vehicle; the P100D. The new P100D is capable of going from 0-60mph in just 2.5 seconds, with Tesla adding its the third-fastest production car ever. The only ones that beat it are the Ferrari LaFerrari, which costs a huge $1.4 million, and the Porsche 918 Spyder, which costs $845,000.
Tesla's new P100D starts at only $135,000 and it's quicker than a huge list of expensive cars, something that most people wouldn't have thought was possible a few years ago. The new P100D has a range of 315 miles, up from the 294 miles on the 90kWh battery, an increase of around 7%. The new Model X P100D is capable of 289 miles, up from 250 miles on the previous Model X P90D. The larger battery will be made available exclusively for the all-wheel drive model with the Ludicrous Mode option.
There are small changes and improvements with the P100D, including some upgrades made to the wiring harness and other small differences, but the drivetrain remains the same. The new 100kWh battery uses the same cell technology, but Tesla executives have teased the advancements in the battery pack technology being a leap in itself. Tesla CTO JB Straubel explains: "It's a pretty big change in the battery module and pack technology. It's a complete redo on the cooling architecture".
Tesla is in the headlines again with another Model S owner experiencing an Autopilot hiccup, where Model S owner Mark Molthan enabling Autopilot on the highway in "ideal weather conditions", reports BGR - but during a bend in the road, the Model S didn't adjust for the turn, slamming into a guard rail.
Bloomberg reported that Molthan said in the seconds leading up to the crash, he reached into his glove compartment to get a piece of cloth to clean his dash - you know, as you do when the car is in autonomous mode, you can do stuff. With the Autopilot mode enabled, you're meant to have your hands close to the wheel in case of emergencies - but this was just a few seconds. Also, you'd think that having Autopilot enabled, it would've been able to detect a simple turn - and it didn't, imagine if that was another car or a guard rail next to a cliff.
Molthan said: "I used Autopilot all the time on that stretch of the highway, but now I feel like this is extremely dangerous. It gives you a false sense of security. I'm not ready to be a test pilot. It missed the curve and drove straight into the guardrail. The car didn't stop - it actually continued to accelerate after the first impact into the guardrail".
Ford has announced plans to have a fully autonomous car on the road by 2021, which will be used in a ride sharing service. Ford CEO Mark Fields said that autonomous cars will be just as important to Ford as the assembly line. The company says there will be no steering wheel, no gas or brake pedals will be found in the fully autonomous car.
Fields said: "We're designing the first generation of autonomous vehicles specifically for ride sharing and ride hailing", and elaborated during the event "today we're no longer just an auto company, we're also a mobility company." Ford isn't putting all of its focus into autonomous cars, with its regular vehicles still being manufactured and sold, instead the company is seeing the value in the future of autonomous cars and is deciding to put large resources into it.
Ford CTO Raj Nair said that instead of the company overthinking the smaller steps into autonomous technology and instead head first, "We abandoned the stepping stones of driver assist technologies and decided to take the full leap to fully autonomous," explains Nair. He added that Ford will have three times its development fleet by the end of the year, from 10 to 30 vehicles, to 90 vehicles in the next year.
Nair said that it will be a few years before Ford's autonomous ride sharing service goes live, and a few years after that the fully autonomous vehicles will go up for sale. Ford has a five-year plan that sees fully autonomous cars on the road, something the company started work on four years ago. Ford's Vice President of Research adn Advanced Engeering, Ken Washington, said: "We've been at this for a long time and it gradually became apparent to us that the stepping stone approach was not going to work". Will Ford work with other companies on its ride sharing service? Fields added: "We may do things on our own. We may partner with others".
Tesla is continuing to shake up with world, with rumors that longer distance travel isn't too far away with its Model S and Model X electric vehicles.
Dutch regulators have recently approved 100D and P100D versions of the Model S and Model X, teasing that a 100kWh power pack might be here very soon. This could mean the Model S might soon be capable of 380 miles per charge, while the Model X should reach over 300 miles on a single charge.
We don't know when Tesla will unveil its new 100D variants, or what type of money we're looking at for the beefed up battery. If and when Tesla unveil the new vehicles, we can expect longer trips across countries on a single charge, which is great.
Tesla's autonomous driving technology continues to improve, but as with all new things that are ahead of their time, the media dives into full panic mode when something goes wrong. But what about when something goes right?
Joshua Neally from Branson, Missouri was driving his Model X electric car when the Autopilot feature helped him get to a hospital without crashing his car, or worse. Slate reports: "Neally was about 5 miles out of Springfield, near a set of interchanges just beginning to clog with merging vehicles, when he felt something coil and stiffen in his abdomen. At first he thought it was a pulled muscle. But the pain forked upward from his stomach, he said, until it felt like "a steel pole through my chest." When it refused to subside, Neally remembers calling his wife and agreeing through gasps that he should probably go to the emergency room".
When Neally experienced the pain, he was quick to react by enabling the Model X's Autopilot technology, which helped him get through the heavy traffic. Tesla's autonomous driving technology only works on highways for now, so Neally needed to drive the shorter distance to the hospital, while Autopilot handled over 20 miles of highway driving.
Tesla founder Elon Musk has said that the company is working on some exciting stuff in its autonomous technology sector, with Musk saying: "Full autonomy is going to come a lot faster than anyone thinks it will. And what we've got coming is going to blow people's minds. I mean, it blows my mind".
The company has increased the production of electric vehicles to 2000 per week, with the company making 14,402 vehicles in Q2 2016, an increase of 43% over the same three-month period of 2015. Around 2/3 of those vehicles were the Model S vehicles, while 4638 of those sales were the higher-end Model X SUV models. For the whole of 2016, Tesla has made 18,345 electric vehicles, short of their 20,000 goal by the first half of the year.
Tesla's upcoming Model 3 is planned to hit the production line on July 1, 2017 but it might get pushed back a few weeks or a month through issues with suppliers.
Tesla has committed to its plans of being the world leader in electric vehicle and battery technology, and has now increased that power by acquiring Solar City for $2.6 billion.
The new merged business will sell solar panels, Powerwall batteries that store the collected energy from the sun, and the electric cars like the Model S. Elon Musk did promise in his "Master Plan Part Deus" two weeks ago that we would see an "end-to-end clean energy" solution - doing what no other companies are doing right now.
Solar City recently said it will introduce an "integrated solar and storage offering", and a new solar product that is "focused on the 5 million new roofs installed each year in the US". Musk has said that any merger wouldn't cause issues for its plans on the Model 3 EV and Gigafactory, with the latter just opening recently.
When you hear the name Tesla you don't exactly think drag racing, but Autocar did, and so decided to pit the Tesla Model S P85D against supercar McLaren 650S. It's not exactly a fair fight: the latter is more than twice the price, and the Tesla has the advantage on the wet track, but nonetheless, it makes for a good watch.
As you can see, the Tesla puts up a good fight, proving it has more speed than it has any right to, or more than you might think it would, at least, thanks in part to its electric motor and extremely high 0-60 acceleration. The McLaren is no slouch either, boasting 641bhp, a lighter body, and launch control.
7-Eleven has just delivered its first package of goods with a drone, in the first FAA-approved drone delivery taking place in Reno, Nevada earlier this month.
On July 11, Flirtey flew an autonomous drone a mile from a 7-Eleven to a private home in Reno, with the delivery including a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee, candy, and Slurpees - awesome, huh? The goods were packaged into two containers, which were flown separately. When they arrived, each contained was lowered to the ground by the drone, and then the homeowners grabbed the goods.
The drone flew autonomously to the Reno home, using the on-board GPS to navigate. Flirtey chose a store to delivery from, surveying consumers within a one-mile radius to see if they wanted to be part of the initial drone delivery program.
Golf is not exactly the most action-packed or cool sport, but it could get moreso soon, as pro player Bubba Watson has partnered with eyewear company Oakley to develop a jetpack designed for flying around the green. The primary goal is to shorten the time between play, but also get the lay of the land better with the broader perspective a jetpack affords.
The problem of course is now we just want to see jetpack races, jetpack basketball, jetpack MMA, etc. instead.