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Tesla Under FBI Investigation For “Misstating” Model 3 Production Numbers

tesla model 3

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigation electric-vehicle-producer Tesla for possibly misstating information about Model 3’s production going back to early 2017. The FBI is probing documents to see whether Tesla was capable of producing the numbers announced by its CEO Elon Musk in 2017.

The report from The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources “familiar with the matter,” said that the criminal probe will involve comparing Musk’s pronouncements with the company’s manufacturing capability back in 2017. Specifically, the bureau wants to know if Musk made predictions and projections he knew the company wouldn’t be able to meet.

This news comes after a separate settlement of civil charges between the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Tesla and Musk. According to the same report, the FBI investigation has gained steam since then and has now asked former Tesla employees about the company’s production capability in 2017. The investigation is being headed by the US Attorney’s office in San Francisco.

Tesla Model 3’s production was launched in July 2017 but the company was only able to build 2,700 units in the whole year, including the 793 models it produced in the final week. It was only able to reach its goal of 5,000 units in June of this year but has since eased off that pace.

Bloomberg has its own Model 3 Tracker and it currently estimates that Tesla is building 4,562 units of Model 3 every week, bringing the total produced to 111,315 units.

In an email to Autoblog, Tesla admitted that the Justice Department requested documents pertaining to the public guidance for the Model 3 ramp. It did not specifically address the issue about the FBI probe. The statement said that the company has not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. The Justice Department did not request additional documents, too.

“Tesla’s philosophy has always been to set truthful targets — not sandbagged targets that we would definitely exceed and not unrealistic targets that we could never meet.”

And while Tesla gets criticized for the delay in reaching its goals, the statement reminded everyone that the company has completed some ambitious goals that most doubted.

 

Entry-Level Tesla Model 3 Gets a Cheaper Version

tesla model 3

The Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle is now being offered at a lower price, thanks to the introduction of a new cheaper variant.

According to CNN, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the announcement last week. The controversial boss of the American car brand said that the Model 3 will now start at $45,000. The cost is $4,000 below the prior introductory price of the auto.

The report noted that the electric range of the model is one of the determining factors of Tesla’s pricing. With that, the upcoming cheapest Model 3 will be offered with a 260-mile electric range on a fully-charged battery.

The long-range battery with 310 miles will be reserved for the more expensive trim of the EV priced at $54,000. The $49,000-worth version of the vehicle has the long-range battery with a rear-wheel-drive system but it is no longer available.

The automaker also revealed that there will be another Model 3 trim with a standard battery pack good for 200 miles. The car will be sold for $35,000 but it won’t be available in the market four to six months from now.

Those who will buy a Tesla vehicle before December 31 comes will get to enjoy a $7,500 tax credit. However, the deliveries of the new version of the Model 3 will only begin in six to ten weeks. Customers will still be eligible for a $3,750 credit though when they make their purchases from January 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019.

Despite the delayed rollout of the Model 3, Tesla assured their investors that they will realize their profits by the third and fourth quarters of this year.

Tesla Model 3 Gets Five-Star Rating From NHTSA

tesla model 3

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), acing its government safety evaluation. It got five stars overall and in every category it was tested on.

The NHTSA put the Tesla Model 3, a rear-wheel-drive model, through several tests: front driver side, front passenger side, side barrier (driver and rear passenger), side pole, and rollover crashes. Previous Tesla cars, the Model S and the Model X, were also rated five stars by the same agency.

On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not released a full rating for the Model 3, though it already got an “Acceptable” headlight score and the top score of “Superior” in front crash prevention. The Tesla Model 3 passed the tests due to its ability to avoid collision in both 12-mph and 25-mph examinations.

It’s no wonder that the Tesla Model 3 was able to pass the NHTSA tests as it is offering a number of advanced safety technologies, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Tesla has been suffering from a slew of bad press because of its inability to reach the production deadline of the Model 3. As it failed to meet its production targets, it also suffered greatly from building the Model 3 in an assembly line under a giant tent.

Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter revealed that the company has “gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell.” This was jokingly hinted earlier this week when Musk answered a tweet from Twitter handle @megangale, who posted a photo of several Teslas lined up at the Union Pacific Railroad in SLC.

On Twitter, @megangale said that one of her cars are parked at the Union Pacific Railroad. “I’ve been told I was getting delivery the 8th, then the 15th, then the 20th, then the 22nd, and now my delivery has been delayed indefinite. Please make this right.”

Musk then replied, “Sorry, we’ve gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell, but this problem is far more tractable. We’re making rapid progress. Should be solved shortly.”

Tesla Model S and X Will Receive Interior Refresh

model s and x

Tesla hasn’t been paying much attention to the Model S and the Model X because the company has been busy fast-tracking the production of the Model 3, the latest in its line of electric vehicles.

According to the images published by Electrek, however, the larger sedan and the SUV models are due for an interior refresh. This is great news for those who still want to spend their money on either a Model S or a Model X because they will be getting the same spartan interiors as the Model 3.

Tesla Model SX interior (1) Tesla Model SX interior (2)

We hope you certainly like how the Model 3 looks like in the cabin because that’s exactly how the interiors of the new Model S and Model X will look like. The images published show a horizontal touchscreen unit that replaces the vertical screen we have found endearing in the Model S and Model X from the beginning. The unit looks thinner than the Model 3’s screen with ultra-thin bezels. Since this was the latest intel we got from Tesla, it looks like the dashboard of the Model S and X will look better than the one in the Model 3.

Interior of the Model 3

Interior of the Model 3

The cockpit will also be similar to the Model 3 with its single-vent design and the center gauge cluster removed for a minimalist display readout.

The new spartan interior looks less luxurious than what we’ve come to love about the Model S and the Model X, which are both geared for the higher market than the Model 3. But the refresh will reportedly give both cars access to premium materials such as new seat cushions, additional front storage, and a wireless phone charger.

This latest move from Tesla is part of an effort to catch up with other premium brands that offer electric vehicles, too. The final designs are going to be released next year, so everything can still change and we might face a better interior upgrade for the Model S and X.

 

Tesla Model 3 Starts Offering “Summon” Feature

The Tesla Model S and the Model X have been enjoying the self-parking Summon feature for quite some time now. But finally, it has arrived in the Tesla Model 3, as announced by the company in a tweet.

Tesla said on Twitter, “Summon [is] now available in the Model 3.”

Apparently, news and press releases are not the venues where we’re going to learn new updates about Tesla. Everything’s on Twitter these days, so better stick with following Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

The Summon feature allows cars to park autonomously without anyone in the car. No one is also remotely controlling the car. This is a huge help when you need to park the car in a very tight space and very close to a wall or a pillar. Getting out of the car is not a problem anymore since you could simply stand and watch your car park itself. Neat, right?

If programmed to do so, the system can even open and close the garage door as it parks and powers down. It can be called out by the owner, too, making it far easier for the driver to get in the car after it has been parked in a tight space.

The tweet was a response to a video posted by Twitter handle @28delayslater, showing the Model 3 parking itself in a tight space in a home garage. The garage door also closed behind it. Mr. Musk replied to the video tweet, saying “Note, no one is in the car or controlling remotely. [The] Car is driving entirely by itself.”

Similar with other Tesla models, the Model 3 can add new features and upgrade existing ones through over-the-air software. Yes, that’s right. There’s no need to bring the car to a dealer and have the system installed. All you need is a pretty strong connection and you’re good to go. Interestingly, this move of downloading software over the air is being adopted by other automakers.

 

Take A Look At The Tesla Model 3 EV’s Debut In Beijing

tesla model 3 (3)

Tesla is giving Beijing a taste of its Model 3 as the latest EV vehicle from Elon Musk’s company made its debut at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. This came ahead of the official launch of the Tesla Model 3 in China and also before the company receives full authority to produce the vehicle in the market.

This is not the first Tesla Model 3 in the country, of course. Rich private citizens have already started importing the vehicle from the US, which is not recommended given the many different specifications in terms of wattage and outputs in the vehicle. We do know that US and China do not share the same power capacities and even format.

Still, the vehicle debuting at the Beijing Auto Show is the first one that Tesla itself brought to the Asian giant. But while Tesla is already introducing the vehicle to the Chinese market, it won’t be seen in dealerships until next year, when it will have its official launch.

Reportedly, Tesla Model 3 will be available as an import from the US first much like the Model S and Model X. Tesla is working on domestically manufacturing the vehicles to save on cost and reduce the final price of the vehicle. Practically, this is a good move both for Tesla and the Chinese market. Logistic costs and import fees could double the cost of a vehicle that is essential in helping Chinese commuters reduce their carbon footprint.

Currently, Tesla’s import duties is at 25%. This effectively limits the company’s demand in the world’s largest automotive market, though reports pointed out that Tesla’s presence has grown significantly. To keep growing (it has the lead in foreign electric car sales in China), Tesla has to somehow convince the Chinese government to allow it to produce the vehicle domestically.

Tesla Model 3 Gets Funded For Production

tesla model 3

Were you a bit worried that the much-awaited Tesla Model 3 won’t see production because of funding? The car business is quite an expensive one, and the production of the Model 3 was almost halted because of it.

But it looks like Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s plan to boost production to 500,000 units by the end of 2018 is now possible, thanks largely to investors’ faith and trust in the young entrepreneur. Unlike many products and concepts that are still looking and begging for investors, Musk was the only face needed for these big businessmen to trip over themselves to raise money for the Tesla Model 3.

Musk was simply seeking $1.5 billion last week, and he managed to raise $600,000 of that four hours after his announcement. Now, we heard reports that he was able to sell a half-million worth of Junk bonds to investors, which totaled to $1.8 billion, surpassing the initial amount he was seeking.

The investment is in the form of “eight-year unsecured bonds at a rate of 5.30 percent.” The investment is not without its risk, of course. Such investment yields bigger profit in the long run, but it’s also possible to lose your money when the company you invested your money in made some bad decisions along the way. Hopefully, we won’t see Musk do that.

One of the biggest challenges that face the production of Tesla Model 3 is its dependency on Gigafactory to supply each and every battery—both the standard- and long-range model. Though there is no problem about bringing in profit from the manufacturing of the battery itself, even Musk admitted that he was worried about the lack of battery cells.

Only time will tell if there’s going to be a shortage of cells in the future. When that happens, Tesla might need to cut short its production of the long-range model of battery and stick with the standard-range model, which uses fewer cells.

Elon Musk Says Tesla Model 3 Performance Version Will Arrive Next Year

tesla model 3

Tesla finally handed over units of its Model 3 to those who had it reserved months ago. Although the production are only in small numbers, more are expected to come as the electric car manufacturer is ready to roll out performance versions of the Model 3 next year.

Tesla is gearing up to boost production of the Model 3 in the Long Range trim because a new version is expected to come out next year. The Model 3 has an estimated EPA of 310 miles range, which will probably increase significantly when the performance variant debuts next year.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk answered questions about the Tesla performance variant on Twitter. It can be recalled that Musk hinted last year that after the production of Model 3 went full swing, a performance version would be in the works.

He told Twitter user Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) that a performance variant will probably debut by the middle of next year. “Focus now is on getting out of Model 3 production hell. More version = deeper in hell,” Musk said.

The problem is that while Tesla is in the middle of producing the Model 3 according to the demands of the market, more pressure will be put on it once more variations of the car come out. For now, it’s the Long Range Model 3 that is available to the market. The base model of Tesla’s most affordable electric vehicle will be available this fall.

The base model is priced at an affordable tag of $35,000, and it has an EPA-estimated 220-mile range.

Tesla was the first company to prove to the auto industry that electric cars can be fun, too. Its Tesla Model S was the one who introduced dual-motor configuration, which led to the P100D. The performance variant of Model 3 will likely use a similar motor design, though it might not be as powerful as the P100D.

Tesla Ditches Model S 75 RWD

tesla model s 75

The introduction of the Tesla Model 3 means the American e-vehicle company is going to drop something off its lineup. Tesla has a history of reconfiguring the bottom end of its lineup whenever something is added on its top end. For the Model 3, the reconfiguration would hit the Model S 75 RWD.

Beginning this month, Tesla will deliver the first orders for Model 3, which means the discontinuation of the least expensive version of the Model S by the end of 2017. The Model S 75, which employs a rear-wheel-drive system, is currently being sold for $69,500.

Once Tesla pushes through with its plan to drop the Model S, the only remaining cheapest Model S would be the all-wheel-drive 75D, which is selling for $74,500. Generally, this move will increase the price gap between the Model 3, which starts at $35,000, and the Model S.

The S range would also turn into an AWD-only lineup with the Model 3 being the only Tesla available with a rear-wheel-drive system.

The gap further widens in terms of features, configurations, and even battery charging fees. Comparing the two vehicles, a Tesla document showed that the Model S has more than 1,500 configurations and several other premium features while the Model 3 has less than 100 possible configurations.

In addition, those who buy a Model S with a referral get free Supercharging for life while those who drive the Model 3 will have to pay every time they charge using Tesla’s network.

Of course, it sure do looks like the two sedans belong to different ends of the spectrum because of their completely different price range, features, and performance. The strategy of the company is glaring, though, for many: widen the gap and offer only the most efficient versions of the vehicles.

After all, it worked with Tesla in the past. Who would say it won’t work now?

Tesla Rolls Off First Model 3 As Mass Production Begins

tesla model 3 (1)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has given car enthusiasts and experts a glimpse of the very first production version of the Model 3, the company’s third production vehicle following Model S and Model X. Musk did well on his promise to start off mass production before the week ends as he tweeted earlier that Tesla plans to roll off 20,000 units by December 2017.

The Model 3 sits below the larger Model S, and is even more affordable with a suggested retail price of $35,000, excluding government incentives. The release of the Model 3 on Friday launched Tesla to a bigger market, where people are more interested to investing in electric cars, particularly the Tesla brand.

According to a tweet from Musk, the first Model 3, which he named SN1 (Serial Number 1), is completed and is on its way to the inspection board. “Production unit 1 of Model 3 is now built and going through final checkout. Pics soon.”

The first Model 3 was supposed to be reserved for Tesla board member Ira Ehrenpreis, who was the first to place a full deposit for the model. But instead of taking the car for himself, Ehrenpreis gave the first-slot rights to Musk as a 46th birthday gift.

Ehrenpreis will instead have the rights to the second production car, the Tesla CEO said in a tweet. Musk did not reveal any updates about the Model 3’s powertrain, but there should be more details in the coming weeks.

Customers to Get Their Hands on Model 3 by July 28

There is a huge demand for Model 3 and hundreds of thousands of people have already reserved for a unit, which will begin deliveries on July 28. By December 2017, Tesla plans to produce 20,000 units and 500,000 vehicles annually by next year.

Musk is confident that demand for the Model 3 will increase “exponentially” in the coming months.

Tesla Model 3 Photos

Here is a glimpse of the Tesla Model 3:

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