Tesla recalls 90,000 cars because of a single report of a front seat belt not being properly connected. Tesla was alerted to the seat belt issue by a customer in Europe two weeks ago and has since inspected 3,000 vehicles and its assembly process.
Tesla recently found a Model S in Europe with a front seat belt that was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner. This vehicle was not involved in a crash and there were no injuries. However, in the event of a crash, a seat belt in this condition would not provide full protection.
Tesla launches a beta version of Autopilot, which will be available on Thursday. All vehicles from September 2014 will be given the feature. Vehicles will rely on four major sensor systems. Ultrasonic sensors that tell the computer what’s around a 16-ft perimeter of the car; a forward-facing camera that helps determine where the lanes are and what cars are ahead of it, and which can also read speed signs; forward radar that’s used to detect fast-moving objects and which can see through rain, fog, and dust, as well as pulling from GPS and high-precision digital maps. Musk says it’s very important that people “exercise caution” and that they keep their hands on the wheel.
I don’t think that we have anything to worry about with cars driving themselves. They’re not going to take over the world…Each driver is a trainer in how the autopilot should work.
Musk launches the Model X SUV. The car can seat seven, has rear upward-opening “falcon” doors, and with the “ludicrous” option can reach 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds. The car also has a “bioweapon defense mode,” an advanced HEPA air filter that will clean any viruses out of the air. The car also has the best safety ratings of any SUV, a result of its low center of gravity and lack of a traditional engine. The Model X 90D costs $132,000, with a range of 257 miles and 0-60 of about 3.7 seconds; the P90D runs $142,000, 250 miles and 3.2-second acceleration.
If there’s ever a bioweapon attack, the safest place is your car. There’s actually a ‘bioweapon defense mode’ right there in the HVAC. We figure you shouldn’t have to think if you’re in an emergency.
Tesla announces that the Model X will be launched on September, 29, in Fremont, California
Musk announces “Ludicrous Speed,” a $10,000 upgrade for the P85D Model S. The upgrade improves 0-60 time by 10 percent, to 2.8 seconds, with a quarter-mile sprint dropping to 10.9 seconds. The top speed increases to 155 miles per hour, 20 percent faster than on a standard P85D. The Model X will also have Ludicrous Speed as an option, but because that vehicle is 10 percent heavier than the S it will be slower.
Tesla announces its plans to become one of America’s leading employers of military veterans. Tesla’s workforce is increasing rapidly as it expands production of its Model S, prepares its launch of the Model X crossover SUV and enters new overseas markets. The company now has more than 6,000 employees, and of those, 300 — or roughly 5 percent — are veterans, including its logistics director, former Navy officer Adam Plumpton. An additional 600 veteran candidates are in the hiring pipeline. The Company says:
We want to be known throughout the veteran community as a great place to work.Veterans are a great source of talent for Tesla, and we’re going after it.
Tesla makes its technology patents freely available to the public and promises not to sue anyone who uses the patent in good faith. The company, which has hundreds of issued patents and hundreds more pending, will continue to apply for future patents to protect itself from those others take out for the same technology. In a blog post, CEO Elon Musk explains:
Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.
We believe that…applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.
At the annual Tesla general shareholders meeting Musk announces that he plans to stay on as CEO for four or five years, or at least through volume production of Gen 3, the mass market, $35,000-a-year car.
No one is a CEO forever. Eventually they carry you out.
Musk takes over as Tesla CEO and announces that the company will put its Model S sedan on hold, close the facility working on some of the sedan’s engineering, and lay off a number of people. The company will focus on the Roadster and powertrains. In a blog post, he blames the economy:
These are extraordinary times. The global financial system has gone through the worst crisis since the Great Depression, and the effects are only beginning to wind their way through every facet of the economy. It’s not an understatement to say that nearly every business will be impacted by what has unfolded in the past weeks, and this is true for Silicon Valley as well.
Elon Musk leads the Series A investment round of $7.5 million and becomes the company’s chairman. He says:
As you know, the initial product of Tesla Motors is a high performance electric sports car called the Tesla Roadster. However, some readers may not be aware of the fact that our long term plan is to build a wide range of models, including affordably priced family cars. This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.