Car Companies Are Copying One Thing Tesla Always Does Right

Auto manufacturers are entering an arms race of electrification, hawking concept EVs with increasingly luxurious cabins, self-driving driving assistance features, and gargantuan batteries capable of unnecessarily long driving distances. These defining features help brands stand out in a sea of compact crossover EVs, but one thing is common between them: the public charging experience sucks. At the Consumer Electronics Show 2023, some manufacturers announced plans to change that.

EV adoption is expected to grow to 29.5 percent of all new car sales in 2030, up from roughly 3.4 percent in 2021.

But explosive growth has a drawback – it creates more demand for the paltry public charging infrastructure available in most of the U.S. As a result, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis are angling to get ahead of the problem by developing their own charging networks tailored toward its customers.

Drivers arriving at broken public charging stations are an increasingly common story on social media. Although most EV owners refuel at their home, more apartment dwellers are opting for EVs despite not having a dedicated charging spot, and most drivers need to venture beyond their usual haunts once in a while and into areas where stations may be scarce. Worse, the few that are available may be broken when they get there.

These charging fails aren’t just bad for owners – they could become cautionary tales that sour future buyers on a technology into which automotive manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars. One way to protect that investment is to take control of the public charging experience.

Getting ahead of the curve not only works driving down the road…not a bad idea in business, as well.

Tesla’s Supercharger Network is a head start over ALL Competition

We know about the cars, rocket ships, and tunnels; Ludicrous, Twitter, and Grimes. But for all of Musk’s achievements, including putting Tesla on track to sell 1.4 million EVs globally in 2022, his most underrated breakthrough may be Tesla’s biggest modern edge: the Supercharger network.

“Without the Supercharger network, we wouldn’t be talking about Tesla today,” says Dan Ives, a Wall Street tech analyst and regular television commentator on Tesla and EVs. “It was the core DNA of their success, along with innovation and engineering. Now it’s the linchpin of their brand and their competitive moat against other automakers.”

Along with Tesla’s wizardly innovations in batteries, software, and controls, the sleek Superchargers pushed free DC electricity into the groundbreaking sedans at unheard-of speeds, courtesy of 90 kW of charging power.

“We knew we could charge at faster rates than had ever been done,” says Ali Javidan, a former Tesla engineer who led prototype R&D. “We knew road trips were a big deal, not just because of the family fantasy, but because that’s a decision-maker in car buying. So we started choosing our favorite corridors and putting in Superchargers.”

And that’s the difference that makes all the difference…between Tesla and their competition. Even though I’m an ancient retiree, that network will make a significant difference in whatever choices my wife and I will consider if and when we decide to move on from our hybrid Ford Maverick. [Which ain’t soon likely. This critter performs better than expected in ALL categories. AND generates her own electricity.]

Newest, quietest Trucks on the highway

The Semi is amongst the most anticipated Tesla vehicles, likely in second behind the next-gen Roadster, which is supposed to be able to fly temporarily thanks to SpaceX cold-gas thrusters. However, the Semi has been subjected to numerous delays due to battery shortages, as the Semi requires a vast number of EV cells due to its size. Tesla was ready to begin production in mid-2020 but eventually decided to wait after the demand for the company’s mass-market vehicles skyrocketed.

The delays have not stopped businesses from requesting the truck for their fleets, however. Tesla has orders from PepsiCo. and Karat Packaging, a manufacturer of environmentally friendly, disposable foodservice products.

Keep on rocking in the Free World! Still my favorite silly, constructive song.

Musk’s Cybertruck Canceled!

In what must be the most shocking news story of the year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed production of the long-awaited Cybertruck has been canceled. The reason? Ongoing development costs have far exceeded the original budget. The controversial-looking EV truck is no longer a viable business case. “Very sad to say we’ve made the tough decision to cancel our Cybertruck,” Musk wrote. “I know there will be plenty of disappointed customers and all pre-orders will be promptly refunded. The decision was made in the best interest of Tesla and its future.” …

Originally, Austin was tasked with building both the Cybertruck and Model Y, but demand for the Model 3 continues to rapidly increase. Furthermore, the Cybertruck’s delayed launch and behind-the-scenes issues would have resulted in a much higher price tag than initially announced…

Another reality we think might have factored into Tesla’s decision is that legacy OEMs like Ford and GM have beaten it to the EV truck market. The F-150 Lightning’s downright affordable starting price is something Tesla can no longer match. Tesla is also anxious to enter the delivery business with vans, a market segment analysts predict will explode by the decade’s end. A Tesla source later admitted that this entire article is utter nonsense.

I have no idea when that last sentence was stuck in. Obviously an add-on because of Tesla leaks, it still explains nothing, adds nothing to the decision. I suggest commenting over at the article using the link above. Lots of folks already there.

Butts in seats sell cars

Tesla has long believed in the butts-in-seats theory of selling cars: get someone behind the wheel and they will fall in love. In the early days of the company, journalists were given the Model S or X for long weekends, and drive events were held for potential customers. Word of mouth was key: existing customers became brand ambassadors, giving rides and evangelizing Tesla to family members and friends.

Monday’s deal with Hertz is the biggest butts-in-seats move of them all. The rental car company will buy 100,000 Tesla cars — mostly Model 3s — by the end of 2022. Starting in November and through the end of the year, Tesla rentals will be rolling out to cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, New Orleans and Tulsa.

Until now, it’s been very hard to rent a purely electric car at an airport. When I flew to Baltimore this past summer, the most fuel-efficient car I could reserve was a Toyota Prius. The Hertz deal represents a sea change in giving consumers more options.

You’ll be able to rent a Tesla for $299/week…insured. And, BTW, Hertz says Uber drivers will be eligible to rent them.

Find personal data from your old car on eBay

[An amateur] researcher, who described himself as a “Tesla tinkerer that’s curious about how things work,” recently gained access to 13 Tesla MCUs — short for media control units — that were removed from electric vehicles during repairs and refurbishments. Each one of the devices stored a trove of sensitive information despite being retired. Examples included phone books from connected cell phones, call logs containing hundreds of entries, recent calendar entries, Spotify and W-Fi passwords stored in plaintext, locations for home, work, and all places navigated to, and session cookies that allowed access to Netflix and YouTube (and attached Gmail accounts)…

“It looks like some service center employees sell intact units on the side instead of returning them…the researcher said in an interview. “I know some people running salvage yards that say that’s one source of units they have for sale.”…

[His] discovery reveals a risk posed not just to Tesla owners but drivers of virtually any vehicle that has onboard devices that store personal data or provide remote tracking. A man who rented Ford vehicles from Enterprise Rent-a-Car reported having the ability to remotely start, stop, lock, and unlock the vehicles long after he returned them not just once, but a second time four months after the first. As is the case with Tesla MCUs that make it back onto the market, the failure of rental companies to mandate that employees fully wipe infotainment systems of all previous customers’ data represents a safety and privacy risk that could easily be avoided.

I know you can’t selectively destroy recording systems in a car you’re selling or trading-in; but, at a minimum you should do a factory reset. I’m not a fanatic about privacy (yet); but, I see no reason to skip utilizing the procedures built-in to maintain some level of security.

Tesla uses the cars they sell…like computers

Volkswagen CEO Hebert Diess has admitted that Tesla has a significant lead when it comes to software and its use in its self-driving program, according to leaked internal communications.

Tesla pioneered over-the-air software updates in the auto industry.

At first, it was touted more as a smartphone-like feature that enables your car to have a better user experience over time.

However, Tesla’s use of over-the-air software updates has evolved, and it is also now at the center of the automaker’s effort to achieve a fully self-driving system.

But what is of greater concern for VW’s CEO is Tesla’s use of software in its Autopilot program:

“What worries me the most is the capabilities in the assistance systems. 500,000 Teslas function as a neural network that continuously collects data and provides the customer a new driving experience every 14 days with improved properties. No other automobile manufacturer can do that today.”

No shit, Sherlock. At least, Hebert Diess recognizes the qualitative change wrought by Elon Musk. He’s brought motor vehicle production into the realm of digital management. He built-in a feedback loop providing information using conduits every competitor should be using to update their products. And using them to provide frequent, near-live data…if not live. Built into the vehicle operating system.