Sam joins Leo to talk about the upcoming final report about a Tesla Autopilot crash that killed its driver. Tesla blamed the driver, an employee, and there is evidence he was playing a game on his phone and not paying attention. The NTSB agreed but said there was plenty of blame to go around. The NTSB said that Tesla shares part of the blame because the automaker did not incorporate active driver monitor systems that they recommended after the last fatal crash.
Sam joins Leo to talk about the latest over the air updates by Tesla. Tesla recently removed auto drive from a used car bought by a user, which caught a ton of bad press. Tesla's position was that the upgrade was attached to the driver, not the car itself. But eventually, they relented and gave the new owner back the advanced feature. This is why Sam advises people to buy an electric vehicle based on what it can do today, not what it may do down the road because new features will likely be required to pay a fee to enable.
A used car dealer bought a used Tesla directly from the carmaker, with autopilot and a host of other features. He then passed the car along to a customer who wanted the autopilot feature. Tesla turned it off, saying that the customer didn't pay Tesla for the feature. Leo says that is the realm we are in now, companies can disable features and hold them hostage until the new owner pays up.
Sam joins Leo to talk about CES and what we can expect to see with car technology. Automakers and suppliers have been coming to CES since 2007 when Ford Sync was announced during the Microsoft Keynote. Then GM did a Keynote the year after.
This week, Elon Musk announced the angular CyberTruck, for $39,000, due in 2022. Leo says that while Elon thinks out of the box, you have to take it with a grain of salt. Leo says it's a crazy design that looks like the Army would buy it. And there was a mishap with the so-called
"bulletproof" glass, which promptly shattered when tested. But Leo likes Elon Musk because he throws his hat over the wall and believes there's no limit to his imagination. And Leo respects that.
Sam joins Leo to talk about being careful with the heat about leaving a pet or child in the car. Even for a few minutes, it could cause irreparable harm from heatstroke. Some car manufacturers are now detecting if someone is left in the car and will alert you to check the back seat. Leo likes that. Tesla also has a "dog mode" which will run the air conditioning if someone or a pet is in the car and will also put an alert on the screen so that people won't break windows.
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.
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.
This week's topic is high capacity chargers for electric vehicles. Battery range and charging are the biggest challenges facing EVs. Where are the charging stations? Sam says that navigation systems often have charging stations built into the route your driving, and based on your EV, they will also draw a circle around the usable range of your electric vehicle before you need to get a charge. But Sam says that it costs a lot of money to install high capacity, high power charging stations, especially in rural areas. The Tesla Supercharger is coming with 120KW charging capacity.
April has been a bad month for self driving cars, as both a driver and pedestrian have died from accidents. Leo says that California is giving Google a permit for a self driving car called WayMo, which will have no safety driver. The irony isn't lost on Leo, and while he believes that self driving cars are better than human control, they're never going to be 100%. There's more testing that needs to be done and they should have a safety driver until the bugs are ironed out.