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Having seen the videos of Tesla's Model S launch over the weekend and seening the team in action delivering the first 10 Model S sedans to buyers I can only conclude Tesla as a whole has done an excellent job. Many, if not all, visitors to the delivery who got a chance to take the Model S for a spin were eager to put this car to their personal test and the world famous 'Tesla Grin' was omni present if I look at the videos and all the reviews.
The keys for the Model S (resembling a miniature Model S) being handed to Elon Musk
In all enthusiasm some people got a bit carried away; being able to drive with rocket-like acceleration is not something an astronaut can do everyday, let alone us back here on earth. Tesla noticed this as well and will therefore change two things in future testing event, all to make it more safer for Tesla employees and their clients. It may sound a bit patronizing and I'm sure it will upset a few people, but I can only support these changes: Safety First. There is no point in protecting the environment, but putting the lives of others, or kids at risk.
If you get the chance to visit one of these events, please do so and prepare for the ride of your life! Thank you Tesla!
Inside Tesla - 06.26.12 | Blog | Tesla Motors
1. We had more than a handful of drivers this past weekend who disregarded specific directions from their Tesla co-pilot and created uncomfortable situations for their passengers in the back seat. Model S handled every challenge thrown at it and in every case delivered beyond expectations. However, that does not make this type of driving okay when it could potentially impact others, both in the car and along the test drive route. It is unfortunate that I have to do so, but in all test drive cars going forward, we are limiting the top speed of our cars to 75 miles per hour to insure the safety of our employees, back seat passengers and other drivers on the road. We are not in any way restricting acceleration capabilities of the cars. When all is said and done, this will only impact about two to three percent of test drives, but I’d rather have you upset with me for limiting top speed during test drives, than have me visiting you in the hospital. It’s as simple as that. Thank you for understanding.
2. I know this second change may also make me a bit unpopular, but moving forward, while we welcome children of any age to attend the event with you, we are enforcing a minimum age requirement of 8 years old for children riding along during test drives. The reason for this is very, very specific. The loading and unloading area at the beginning and end of each test drive is very, very active with cars entering and leaving almost every minute throughout the day. I personally attended the event both days this past weekend, and saw three instances where a small child got away from their parents in the loading/unloading area and walked towards other cars. Our staff was able to immediately retrieve them and get them safely back to their parents, but in all three instances, I was personally very concerned. We have all sorts of fun things for younger children to do, and have a dedicated space with a movie playing and coloring books where we will watch your kids for you during your test drive, but only children 8 years and older will be allowed to enter the loading and unloading area during future events. The well being of your family is more important to me than winning your approval on this issue.
Tesla. They make a great electric vehicle, have another one up next year and have their technology invading other manufacturers cars as well. So how are they doing? Between finishing their Roadster production, focus on the Model S and having sold the entire 2012 production already, they are more and more becoming major player and lead by example. Though referencing to a unicorn while talking about the Model S and a financial loss still, how are they still a success story, or are they simply losing it? Stopping the Roadster
The carbon fiber body for the Tesla Roadster comes from Lotus and due to Lotus retooling their assembly line, they will stop the production of the Elise, hence making it impossible for Tesla to keep making their Roadsters.
For Tesla this can still be a good thing, as they can now allocate all their resources to producing the Model S and ensuring their next success. There is already word out that the Roadster is not over yet; in 2014 there might be an updated version of the Roadster as we know it, so for those of you who still wanted to get a Roadster but could not get their hands on one, there might be an option later on.
Model S and the unicorn
Recently Elon Musk revealed the Model S to a selected audience; the people who put down the down payment earlier on to order their Model S. The most striking of this presentation was not so much all the great technical details shown off on stage, or seeing Elon be so energetic talking about which he is so passionate. The little story that popped in about the unicorn is.
Link to Vimeo on Presentation, see 3m50s
Apparently a man who was not so convinced about the electric vehicle told Elon that a good, practical electric car is like a unicorn, a myth. So Elon told the audience that they could now go and buy this 'unicorn'. I must admit, I like his style.
Financial results - From 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, from loss to profit in...?
As quick as the Roadster accelerates from standstill, the financial results of Tesla have not been profitable yet since their beginning. Setting up a car company requires vast amounts of money and time to get started, but looking at the pre-orders of the Model S, Elon recently told on Bloomberg that he expects Tesla to be profitable in 2013.
I think it might be even sooner, but who knows. The Model S is not the only income for Tesla, they have quite a few big partnerships with for example Toyota and Daimler to supply the Tesla drive train technology. The Toyota RAV 4EV will feature Tesla technology and the Mercedes A-Class and the Daimler Smart car also sport a nice Tesla battery pack. This invading the vehicles of the 'competition' if you will, will also be profitable to Tesla. Like the old stickers of Pentium, but this time it will be 'Tesla Inside'.
So a lot of development around Tesla lately and a positive outlook for the future. The stopping of Lotus with their Elise is actually a nice opportunity for Tesla, the Model S is Sold out (I always thought that S was for Sedan and not Sold Out) and with the combined income from the Model S and the 'Tesla Inside' activities I think Tesla has proven its right to be here. Especially with such results delivered already, those are just really great cars! Now where is that local unicorn shop...
Society as we know it would seize to exist without communication. Communication happens between people, but lately a lot of developments also open up the possibilities to communicate with your electric vehicle, or even talk to it! So what's the deal and is it any good? A first example here comes from Apple, which recently launched Siri for it's operating system. Though it is limited to the mobile platform iOS for now, many anticipate it will find its way to the computers as well. What it does is allow users to talk to their devices and give commands, dictate or ask questions. Examples are 'Call John', 'Where is the nearest restaurant?' or dictation of messages and notes. The other way around works also, users can ask Siri to read out messages for them, or instructions. Quite convenient for recipe instructions, or having stories being told to children. Though it is still in what Apple calls a 'beta' stage, it works remarkably well. A lot is expected from this development as Apple will likely improve it and integrate it into every device with their logo on it.
The next example comes from Ford, which has recently launched their 'Sync' technology. This allows basically the same 'Talk to your device'-services, though the device is in this case your car. Instructions are more geared toward vehicle use for obvious reasons. Perhaps the car in Knightrider is just around the corner?
So what tasks can you delegate to your car by talking to it? Or is it just a nice way to pass time and go all philosophical behind the wheel, discussing the meaning of life, etc.? Examples I can think of are associated with the GPS to show your current location and plot the course to a destination: i.e. "Plot the shortest route to home". Or having your car park itself on command (while you go out and pay the meter for example). Or controlling the cruise control; "maintain this speed". Opening doors would be convenient when you have your hands full and can't reach for your keys; "Open the trunk".
Also a myriad of entertainment options come to mind, also inspired by the demonstration of Elon Musk where he shows off the Model S. You ask the car to play music, either by radio station of band name. But this could also be used to call people, setup messages (look at Apple's Siri), or read out messages or other texts for the driver.
All in all these are really great and inspiring developments which are likely to be pushed even further. The main aim will always have to be that such a function is of help or assistance to drivers. Having such speech technology that distracts the driver from its main task and responsibility is not a path forward. Though paired with autonomous driving vehicles, who knows. Can you say: "Turbo boost!"