Sam is going to be driving Audi's first electric vehicle this week. Sam is also looking at Amazon's secure delivery service, which is being tested. Through a special lock, Amazon delivery will be able to deliver your packages when no one is home, by placing the package in the garage or into a locked car. Amazon will send a signal, that can open the garage or car door, and then drop off the package, locking it automatically behind them. Leo says that the next thing will be drone delivery, where it'll just drop the package into your yard.
Sam wants to talk about bringing digital voice assistants, like Amazon Echo, into your car. The idea here is to further the hands off experience to keep your hands on the wheel and not trying to do anything else. Sam says until recently, car computers have had weak processors, that caused having voice regognition a challenge. But now most cars have embedded voice assistants with limited vocabularies, and Amazon and Google are moving into the space, as is Apple with Apple CarPlay.
Leo rented a car with Android Auto while on vacation and he wasn't impressed. Sam test-drove a Ford EDGE with What Three Words navigation and said that the real key is to remember the words you need. But the system allows you to save your favourites. Leo wonders why What Three Words are so cryptic. Sam says it's because navigation can be specific to ten feet, not just a basic general location.
Sam joins Rich to talk about music factor interfaces for Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Rich got Apple Carplay updated in his car overnight and was thrilled. Sam says that Carplay and Android Auto are the best factory-based music systems. Rich said he had a check engine light go on in his car and he got an email from OnStar telling him what was wrong. Sam says that telemetry data is one of the cool things about the connected car experience, and it can even be predictive, where it warns you of a pending failure before it happens.
The newest TESLA coming is the TESLA Model Y. The plan will be that it available in about 18 months, in 2020, You can put down $2500 fully refundable deposit to reserve it when it launches. Sam says it's not really worth putting a deposit down becauase it really doesn't give you an advantage over anyone else to get the car when it comes out. The Model Y is a hatchback version of the Tesla Model 3, sharing about 70% of the same components.
Sam says that even with driverless cars, he's not sure it can still make any money. There's no networking effect. There's no loyalty or switching costs. So the only way to make it work is to have a lot of drivers and lower fares. Also, companies like Lyft and Uber have no real hard costs or assets. They don't own the cars, or have to maintain them or even pay for the gas. When you go driverless, suddenly you have to pay for cars and maintain them. Those are hard investments and will be in the billions at first.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the etiquette of charging an electric vehicle. Sam says that some EV users believe it's OK to park next to a charger, thereby making that charger unusable for hours. Tesla has addressed this issue by charging people after their car has been filled up. Users now get a 5 minute grace period. Leo says while that's true, if you're traveling and are parking at the airport, you don't really have a choice. While that's a special case, most EV owners are just using charging spots at the mall and other locations as parking spots.
Sam joins Leo in studio, and he says that while electric vehicles are getting more popular, it would still take 20-30 years to replace the entire fleet in the US. He drove to Eastside Studios in a KIA NIRO electrified vehicle. The NIRO Hybrid gets 50 mph, but you can get a plugin hybrid as well, which gets 27 miles on a charge. Or you can get a fully electric NIRO, which has a 239-mile range.
Next week, Sam will be test driving the new KIA Nero. It's an electrified vehicle, which is different from an electric vehicle. And there's also an electrified hybrid that offers some electric propulsion but isn't completely electric. That kind of propulsion varies. The Nero has an electric motor that runs alongside the engine, and one that charges the batteries and regenerative braking. But it still needs gas to power the main engine. A plugin hybrid has a larger battery and can drive about 15-40 miles, but once depleted, relies on gas.
This week's EV car news is that TESLA is shutting down all of their dealerships, in the hopes that reducing the overhead will translate into reducing the price tag on their vehicles. Now if you want to buy a Tesla, you can do it online and Tesla will deliver it to you. As for servicing, Tesla will likely have some service centers open in major areas, but they may also do a service at home program where they come to you to do any servicing. In other Tesla news, Elon Musk says that Tesla will have full self-driving by the end of the year.