Cars, EVs and Alternative Fuel, Hybrids, International News, Tesla Motors

China-made Tesla Model 3 gets NEV subsidies – report


American electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla has said that it has secured subsidies for the China-built Model 3 under the country’s New Energy Vehicle (NEV) programme, Reuters reported. Two variants of the Model 3 are listed for the NEV subsidy programme, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The Shanghai facility will be Tesla’s first outside the United States.

Tesla aims to produce more than 1,000 vehicles a week from its Shanghai production plant, with the aim of delivering the China-made cars before the coming Chinese New Year at the end of January. Here, the factory’s annual capacity in its first phase is expected to reach 250,000 vehicles or 4,800 vehicles per week, of which 150,000 are earmarked to be of the Model 3.

The American EV maker first arrived at a preliminary agreement with the Chinese government to build its global plant in Shanghai in July last year, and Tesla agreed 12 months later to pay China 2.23 billion yuan (RM1.33 billion) in annual tax for the construction of the Gigafactory on the outskirts of Shanghai.

Leasing terms as laid out by the Shanghai government stated that Tesla must begin generating the annual tax revenues at the end of 2023 or risk losing the land, which Tesla bought for US$2 billion (RM8.26 billion) in 2018. Prices for the China-built Model 3 starts at 355,800 yuan (RM210,370), and Bloomberg reported that buyers will get up to 25,000 yuan (RM14,781) in subsidies from the government.

The Tesla Model 3 was most recently rumoured to gain an even higher-performance variant, courtesy of a Track Mode Package hinted at by a leaked page from a Tesla parts catalog featuring the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyre. At present, the Model 3 comprises the entry-level Standard Plus with 400 km of range, the Long Range AWD with 500 km of range, and the Performance, also with 500 km of range.

GALLERY: Tesla Model 3

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Cars, International News, Tesla Motors

Tesla’s forthcoming infotainment system to provide “the most amount of fun you can have in a car” – Musk


Tesla has just revealed that it plans to take a big swing at conventional in-car entertainment systems. On the company’s most recent earnings call, billionaire founder Elon Musk told reporters that his goal is to create an infotainment system that “provides the most amount of fun you can have in a car,” reports CNBC.

Just two months ago, Tesla released an infotainment system update called Software Version 10.0, which introduced a number of software optimisation and improvements, as well as a more streamlined Application Launcher. There is also Tesla Entertainment which includes Spotify and ‘Caraoke’ mode, as well as stream TV shows and videos via Tesla Theater. One can also play cupped with a USB controller.

In fact, owners of the Model 3, Model X and Model S can now connect their Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube accounts to the centre console, although as a safety measure, these streaming apps can only be used when the car is parked.

During the earnings call, Musk threw a shade at other car companies, saying “the goal for the infotainment system is to say what’s the most amount of fun you can have in a car. I don’t think other car companies really think about it that way. It’s not just some sort of transport utility device with no soul and no character.”

When Ford launched the Mustang Mach-E, Musk congratulated the Blue Oval for its efforts in making sustainable, zero-emissions cars. That aside, the Mach-E gets a massive 15.5-inch portrait-style SYNC 4 touchscreen display with cloud-based connectivity and voice control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as over-the-air software updates that enable future introduction of applications.

Ford’s chief engineer – Gary Jablonski – who worked on the system said “SYNC 4 is really a cellphone on wheels now. Connectivity technologies in vehicles are an important part of the purchase decision, for some customers even more important than the horsepower or fuel economy.”

The 15.5-inch SYNC 4 infotainment system in the Mustang Mach-E

With the industry moving towards self-driving cars, more emphasis is being put on the development of in-car entertainment systems. General Motors recently said it will include an advanced Google Android system and in-car Google Assistant, citing strong consumer demand as the driving force behind the decision. Car owners want the car’s infotainment system to match the phone they hold in their hands. GM will also introduce Amazon’s Alexa into its cars soon.

“As self-driving cars come closer to reality, the inside of an automobile is going to be much more of an entertainment opportunity,” Musk explained. Currently, Tesla develops its own in-car entertainment systems, while other automakers employ third-party platforms. This allows Tesla to have more control over its cars as a platform for other services, such as Netflix.

Edmunds’ content strategist, Will Kaufman, said “if you can make your vehicle a platform for other services and for other companies, there’s a lot of money for you.” In other words, car manufacturers may be able to monetise their in-car entertainment systems in the future. Any tech heads would know the shortcomings of this, but that’s a rabbit hole worth visiting another day. So, what do you think of this?

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Cars, International News, Tesla Motors

Tesla Cybertruck unveiled – space-age design electric pick-up with 800 km range, 0-96 km/h in 2.9 seconds


Tesla has unveiled its all-electric pick-up truck, the styling of which can be described as visionary. The Cybertruck, as it’s called, is nothing like its type designation suggests, looking like something right at home in a sci-fi movie or a Bertone design book from the ’70s.

If the looks suggest that the imposing vehicle is ready for Armageddon, the specifications agree – the Cybertruck features what the company says is an impenetrable exo-skeleton, with every component designed for superior strength and endurance.

The list is led by an Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin, and even the glass is armoured – Tesla claims that the ultra-strong glass and polymer-layered composite that is used is able to absorb and redirect impact force for improved performance and damage tolerance. The material however, didn’t fare too well during the launch event, cracking when a metal ball was thrown at it (Elon Musk said that this shortcoming will be fixed).

Fragile glass aside, the rest of the numbers continue the might parade. The Cybertruck has an operating range of more than 800 km (500 miles) on a single charge in the most efficient examples, with base versions managing more than 400 km.

It can also haul up to 1,590 kg (or 3,500 lbs) in payload and has a towing capacity of 6,350 kg (14,000 lbs) to boot. Of course, the Cybertruck is also fast, capable of doing the sprint from standstill to 96 km/h (60 mph) in just 2.9 seconds, which is supercar territory.

Design features include an adaptive, self-leveling air suspension that’s also adjustable – the system can raise and lower the vehicle by 100 mm (four inches) in either direction for easy access, especially to the vault, the description given to the 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage secured by a tonneau cover that the automaker says is strong enough to stand on. Hope it’s sturdier than the glass.

Inside, the cabin seats six comfortably, with additional storage under the second-row seats. Kit includes an advanced 17-inch central touchscreen with an all-new customized user interface, as well as on-board power and compressed air, useful for those camping expeditions owners may take with the truck.

The Cybertruck will come in three variants, Single Motor Rear-Wheel Drive, Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive, and Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive. In the US, pricing will start from US$39,900 (RM166,360) for the Single Motor, while that for the Dual Motor begins from US$49,500 (RM206,400). The Tri-Motor tops the list at US$69,900 (RM291,500), and ticking the self-driving option will add another US$7,000 (RM29,200) to the price tag.

The company says that the first customer deliveries of the Cybertruck will begin in late 2021, with production of the Tri Motor AWD version expected to begin in late 2022.

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