Tesla Preparing to Launch ‘Uber-Style’ Mobility Services

Smart car manufacturer and one of the most prominent car innovators, Tesla motors are gearing up for their premium launch of their “Uber-Style” mobility services in the forthcoming year. The news comes fresh off Tesla’s website on self-driving capabilities of the new Models S vehicle that will roll out with fully autonomous features.

Although this service currently remains unnamed Tesla Network, the electric automaker is preparing to enter the field and ride-hailing services that were first introduced CEO Elon Musk in his master plan in July.

“Please note that using a self-driving Tesla for car-sharing and ride-hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year,” read the website’s disclaimer. The market potential for Tesla Network had interested Barclays analyst Brian Johnson enough to write about it in a note to investors quite interestingly. Although a Tesla Network could “excite the market” over its potential earnings stream, it was a costly proposition, he wrote.

“While we think ride-sharing/hailing is the future of mass-market mobility, we have some financial concerns with the idea of an OEM-owned fleet,” Johnson wrote.

Details of these have remained sparse and Tesla says that it will roll out the details on the “Tesla Network” that are to start off next year. Some of the details of these were first released in Elon Musk’s “This past July. Master Plan quote from Musk below:

 

“You will also be able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation, significantly offsetting and at times potentially exceeding the monthly loan or lease cost.

This dramatically lowers the true cost of ownership to the point where almost anyone could own a Tesla. Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving car is likely to be several times that of a car which is not.”

 

The Tesla Network apparently goes hand-in-hand with full self-driving at some point too. Musk envisions your car being put to use while your at work, or sleeping or doing something else that doesn’t require use of your own vehicle. Like plenty other automakers, Tesla has been planning on adding mobility services for some time. In Elon’s “Master Plan”, Part Deux” in July, Musk included a system in which a Tesla owner could add a car to a shared Tesla fleer using a simple mobile app.

For the owner of Tesla, it would offer and opportunity to generate income and lower the cost of ownership. In cities where car ownership is lower, Tesla would operate its own fleet, Musk wrote elaborately in his master plan.

Global growth in Uber’s ridership, along with its Pittsburgh self-driving car test project has brought a great deal of attention to the ride-hailing company. Alliances with Toyota and Volvo were formed this year, while potential partnerships with Google and Tesla appear to be fading away.

It’s an interesting fact that Google had invested $ 258 million in Uber as the technology giant explored mobility services that could fir with its self-driving car project. But in May, Google had begun testing a carpooling service that could take business away from ride-hailing leaders Uber and Lyft.

David Drummond, Google parent company Alphabet’s executive said in August that he resigned from Uber’s board because of the increasing competition between the companies, according to the Wall Street Journal. Uber had been using Google’s mapping software for its drivers, but recently began developing its own maps. Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick said that when Tesla’s vehicles become fully autonomous, he would be interested in buying every one of them. The comments had been relayed by a venture capitalist during a Silicon Valley awards dinner, and so far appear to have been more of a conversational topic than a business alliance.

 Bottom Line:

With the start of a new era, General Motors has been leading the way this year is mobility services through its investment in Uber’s competitor Lyft and through starting up its Maven car sharing division. Ford had also taken the opportunity to introduce Smart Mobility and announced acquisition of Chariot that happens to be an app-based, crowd-sourced shuttle company and collaboration with Motivate to launch Ford GoBike in San Francisco. An interesting fact is that mobility solutions have gone way beyond automakers could ever imagine. Around $ 27 billion dollars into the ride services sector have been invested in the past decade. Let’s wait for more mobility solutions worldwide.

 

Pioneers of Autonomous Cars

The field of driverless cars has been developing at an incredibly fast pace. Up until the early 2010’s, Google remained the sole proponent for fully autonomous cars. However, come CES 2014, BMW soon showcased their advancements in the field as well. As a result, other mainstream manufacturers soon jumped the bandwagon and have begun their in-house development of autonomous cars. We take a look at the current players playing an active role in bringing driverless cars to the general public.

Google

One of the earliest advocates for autonomous driving technology, tech giant Google has been tweaking and testing its driverless car for a few years now. Prior to its current in-house developed super mini, Google made use of existing cars such as Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX450h and retrofitted each of them with sensors, cameras and specialized hardware to allow for autonomous capabilities.

The Google driverless car
The Google driverless car

Soon after, Google developed its very own bespoke car to continue with its experiments and showcase what its fully production ready car might look like. The Google car is a small hatch with a neutral color paint job. Unlike other manufacturers that provide a manual override in the form of a steering wheel and conventional pedals, Google’s driverless car features nothing of the sort. A sign of complete confidence from the maker in its abilities. The car features no distinct features save for two ‘eyes’ and a ‘nose’. The main purpose of the car’s “cutesy” design is to disarm the general public.

The car make’s use of a dizzying array of sensors and cameras to map the road ahead. The on-board computer then processes this information with pre-existing map data to create an inch perfect replica of its immediate surroundings. Some computation is even performed on remote server locations. Each Google car is fitted with sensor equipment worth over $150,000.

BMW

Although Google may have been one of the first endorsers of driverless vehicles, recent reports suggest that the tech supergiant is not leading horse of this race. Mainstream manufacturers such as BMW may have a higher probability of launching a fully autonomous car for commercial purposes. Unlike the Google car that focused primary on city driving, BMW’s initiative proved a bit more entertaining. The self-driving car in its most advanced avatar was showcased at CES 2014 in the form of a live demo. The Bavarian car maker managed to develop a system that mapped a certain race track and “learnt” the quickest possible routes. Similar to Google’s self-driving car, BMW’s autonomous 2 Series and 6 Series were fitted with a host of sensors that generate a 3D map of the car’s surroundings.

BMW's ultimate "drifting" machine
BMW’s ultimate “drifting” machine

Tesla

Tesla’s entry into the autonomous vehicle industry was rather unexpected. Unlike other manufacturers that advertised the upcoming technology, Elon Musk quietly added an autopilot mode for the Model S in a recent update that allowed near complete autonomous driving. However, human intervention is required from time to time. However, with the addition of the feature, Tesla has officially joined the race.

Tesla Model S P85D
The new Tesla Model S models come with auto pilot

Ford

Ford has had a late start in the autonomous vehicle segment. Ford and one other South Korean car maker are the only two manufacturers on this list that cater to a wider spectrum of car buyers. With Ford’s entry this year, we may see small instances of autonomous driving technologies such as fully driverless parking and retrieval in budget cars such as the Fiesta or Taurus.

Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon
Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon

Kia

South Korean car maker Kia is the other budget manufacturer to begin testing its autonomous vehicular technology. Although Ford’s and Kia’s development phases have only just begun, 2016 provides far more resources and information regarding autonomous driving technology than all the previous years. As such, the manufacturers are now able to work with more than what most car makers began with.

Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai's ownership
Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai’s ownership

Audi

Audi is one of the only manufacturers on this list to have actually released its autonomous fleet to the media. As part of an event, a few journalists were offered a ride from Las Vegas to CES 2015. An interesting feature of Audi’s system is the inclusion of two cameras that constantly monitor the driver’s eyes. Should the driver close his eyes, the car begins beeping loudly and comes to a complete halt following which the car switches its hazard lights on.

Audi's fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES
Audi’s fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES

As with most new technologies, the latent complications and ethical dilemmas of various scenarios are yet to be fully explored. Similar to the internet, Einstein’s mass-energy equation and programming, autonomous vehicles are also susceptible to misuse. As such, fears of the public are not unfounded. However, one must progress and the only direction is forwards.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive VS Tesla Model S P85D

Front three quarter viewof SLS AMG E-Drive

Among the various gearheads who are into the high end fuel guzzling machines there is another emerging division in automobiles these aficionados might take notice of. This relatively new market is the electric versions of cars that can almost compete with their petrol counterparts. Many automobile manufacturers are realizing this is a division of cars that is untapped with huge potential to become mainstream. Another beneficial aspect to these electric cars is that they are environment friendly and leave a minute carbon footprint retaining the performance that is expected out of these vehicles. A common misconception is that these cars cannot keep up with their petrol counterparts at all but with the constantly developing technologies, they have a chance.

Two car makers are taking this market very seriously and have created two machines that have a formidable chance to stand out among the many cars that are available. German automaker Mercedes-Benz have come into action with their electric car the SLS AMG Electric Drive which is an electric version of their own 6.2L V8 petrol SLS. The Electric Drive version is a limited edition variant that claims to be one of the fastest electric production cars that are available right now. Another American car maker that challenges the SLS AMG Electric Drive is Tesla’s Model P85D an all wheel drive variant of the original Model S.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive Engine: The SLS AMG E-Drive is powered by four independent synchronous motors each churning out  185bhp and 184lb ft of torque for a total of 740bhp. Each motor weighs in at about 45kgs and has a rev count of 13,000 rpm. Taking all this into account, this is one of the most powerful model that Mercedes-Benz has ever developed. The battery that carries out all this is a liquid cooled 400 lithium-ion battery and weighs 548 kg. Utilizing the power of these components, the SLS AMG E-Drive hits 100km/h in around 3.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 250kph. This car is  just 0.3 seconds slower than Mercedes-Benz’s own SLS AMG Black series which is a very impressive feat. 

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Drive engine view
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Drive battery

Exterior: Mercedes-Benz are known for their intricate, appealing body designs for their cars. The SLS AMG Electric is paid the same attention and detailing work as expected. There are no extreme changes done to the design as it retains the unique SLS AMG guise. The body’s frame is made of ultra light carbon fiber and connected to an aluminium space. The front grille also possesses the honeycomb design with the Mercedes badge plastered on it and the air intakes which are next to it receive the same body paint as the rest of the car. The SLS AMG comes in a few color variants, two new colors that are exclusive to the E-Drive version are a distinct hue of glossy blue,  that is shown in the photos, and a matte neon known as electric beam.

Front three quarter viewof SLS AMG E-Drive
Mercedes-Benz glossy blue color variant

Interior: The interiors of the E-Drive also maintains the exclusive design from the internal combustion counterparts. The interiors comprises of lush upholstery that is expected and has new rotary switch labeled as AMG Drive Unit by Mercedes used to select the three transmission modes. The modes that are included are the Controlled Efficiency, Sport and Sport plus modes. With each having varied performance levels from the motors, which in turn changes the accelerator pedal response and top speeds. In addition to this it also includes the AMG media system with neat little additions such as engine performance and a lap time’s feature for those racing enthusiasts out there.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Drive interior
The interiors of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Drive

Tesla Model S P85D Engine: This beast houses a dual motor engine which stands for the D in the P85D, that retains the high power rear drive unit from the older P85, while a brand new front drive motor boosts the overall power by about 50% resulting in an increase in acceleration and top speed. It consists of a 85kwh battery with lithium-ion cells like the SLS AMG. The P85D propels itself with the electric motor that generates 691 hp; that is a combination of 221 hp from the new front motor and 470 hp rear motor making the P85D one of the fastest sedans in the world. It can achieve a insanely fast top speed of 250kph and hits 100km/h in 3.2 seconds.

Exterior: The P85D’s design is relatively simplistic but still includes that classy, elegant but mean look that will appeal to most car buyers. It’s body is designed from carbon fiber which always helps in the weight reduction. The headlights are angled and the front grille is wide with Tesla’s badge on it. The rear tail lights are also sleek and are distinct. The P85D model also has optional carbon fiber spoiler that improves stability at high speeds and Brembo red brake calipers.

Tesla Model S P85D
Tesla Model S P85D

Interior: Tesla is a company that innovates constantly and pushes it’s boundaries. The p85D is no exception to this with the company adding a brand new Autopilot system which introduces an autonomous capability to their lineup of cars. The autopilot mode uses a camera that is mounted atop the windshield and ultrasonic sonar sensors that detects obstacles and also has a self-parking feature. The instrument cluster is a LCD display that indicates the basic functions speed, charge level etc. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, stated during the unveiling of the P85D a new mode will be added to the existing Normal and Sport modes. This new addition is the Insane mode which unleashes the entire power of the P85D’s engine achieving increased acceleration time and a very high top speed.

Final Thoughts: Each of these electric motor powered cars have pros and cons that  help in deciding which of these would best suit buyers that are looking into these cars. The SLS AMG E-Drive starts at a cool 535,869 US dollars and the Tesla Model S P85D comes in at a much more affordable price at 120,170 US dollars. Based on the prices of these two cars the Tesla seems like a clear choice, but for the elite they would look at the SLS AMG E-Drive too which is a very formidable car. The common factor between these two are the electric engine that leaves a negligible carbon footprint while maintaining the performance that is expected from these vehicles, and the usage of electric motors in cars is inevitable in the years to come.

Tesla – an Electrifying Performer!!!

 

Tesla Motors was launched in July 2003. The founders, Marc Tarpenning & Martin Ebhaed’s first effort, to show the world what electric cars are capable of and hence developed the Tesla Roadster.

Less than a year later, Elon Musk entered with a large wad of cash. BTW who is this Elon Musk ? He is the co-founder of Space X, Paypal and zip 2. E-Bay bought Paypal giving Musk 165 million to play with. This he used to fund Space X, the commercial space exploration company, and Tesla Motors. Musk, earlier the Chairman and the largest investor had to take some really hard decisions to safeguard his investment and for his ideas to survive. Over time, Musk took over as CEO.

tesla-model-3

The Tesla Roadster was the first electric car to combine performance of a sports car and a never before seen range in an electric car of over 200 miles per charge. The Roadster was based on a Lotus Elise and had a 0-97 kmh time on a mind blowing 3.9 seconds. The amalgamation of performance that could shame the Ferrari’s with an amazing range that was never before seen in an electric car was a real game changer. The roadster sold at $110000 – Expensive, yes. But this was to prove to the world what an electric car can do. Lotus may have made the chassis specially for Tesla but the power-train and battery pack came from the experts at Tesla.

Tesla_Roadster_Japanese_display

Yesterday, Elon Musk Announced that the 2600 roadster owners can now upgrade to a battery pack which will give them a jaw dropping 400 mile range.

Now obviously Tesla cannot keep selling very few models for “Hundred Thousand Dollar a Car” to sustain….

So here comes in the Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan!  Their ultimate plan was to build a wide range of models including affordable family cars. Not to forget, Musk put in most of his personal money into this company at a time when electric cars just didn’t seem practical.

So why start off with an expensive and high performance sports car? Why not start working on building an affordable design from day one? A handful of high speed electric cars are not going to help reduce emissions. Developing new technology means putting in that money for research and development. This cost has to be pushed to the consumer. That’s just how any company works. So by targeting people with the spending power and then slowly entering the volume markets, you will make the company sustainable.

Next in line – the Tesla Model S!

A selling price of close to $90,000 a car

When Tesla showcased the model S in March 2009 it promised to change the electric car market. Three months later, the US Department of Energy gives a $465 Million Loan. They Kept a $ 100 million aside and the rest goes into retrofitting a manufacturing facility in Fremont, California which was a defunct joint venture of Toyota and GM.

A year Later, in June 2009, the company goes public.

Flash forward by three years. The model S is launched. Year 2012 they sold over 2600 units. Tesla set a target of 21,000 units for 2013 and shattered this target by selling a little under 22,500 units.

The game changing Tesla Model S.

Bro-e3zCEAADFr-

Sold in two states of tune, one 60 and another 85 kW-h batteries that power a 310 kW motor. ( Note : this is electric car territory, bhp in not a preferred unit of power measurement )

The motor(The size of a Watermelon) drives the rear wheel and the battery pack sits in a neat bed like structure below the chassis. This gives the car a perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

tesla_model_s_battery_13

This give the Model S some amazing interior space including 2 huge boots. The rear boot has optional folding seats making a total seating capacity to seven. The front Trunk which has been aptly named frunk can house a full grown man. I’m Serious. Check the video below !

The Model S has the ride quality of a sedan and the responsiveness and agility of a sports car.

Because it runs off electricity, there is no lag in the power delivery. A push of the throttle will accelerate you to 97kmh in 5.6 seconds. You have all the power on the word GO!

Features of the Model S

Active Air Suspension

Air suspension systems do provide the best comfort. The system in the Model S goes a step further. At high speeds, the car hunkers down. Making it highly aerodynamic giving it performance and range. What about tricky road situations? Open up the large touchscreen and adjust the height to ‘Rise Above the Problem’.

Key Fob & Vehicle Dynamics.

download

The key is a mini Model S model. It features a mini model S model that you touch and squeeze to activate various parts of the car. The car senses the presence of the key and unlocks itself. The door handles don’t present themselves until you tap on them. They sit flush with the car body. All this to reduce unwanted drag increasing the efficiency of the vehicle. These small but many design considerations makes the model S one of the “Slipperiest Cars on Road“.

Charging the Model S.

The model S charges at a rate of 100km per hour at a standard home socket. This is really impressive but what is really amazing is Tesla’s Super Charging Network. A charge of 50% of full capacity in just 20 minutes!

Walk into the station, drop your model S for a charge, grab a hot cup of coffee and something to munch and bam! You’re ready to move along. The supercharging stations are planned to seamlessly connect the eastern to western coast in the US. Similar plans to cover Europe too! The range problem? Solved!

The Red Indicates Completed Superchargers and the Cones indicate the ones under construction.
The Red Indicates Completed Superchargers and the Cones indicate the ones under construction.

The Control Center

On the inside, there are almost no buttons. Everything, literally everything is controlled by a humongous 17″ touchscreen.

tesla_model_s_13_in1

Stream music from the internet radio, or a device connected from one of the two USB ports or Bluetooth.

Control your lights, doors, locks, temperature control, maps, navigation, rear view camera, sunroof, vehicle setup and config. It this wasn’t enough, you can browse the internet too!

Safety:

If a petrol powered vehicle catches fire it’s just another normal day. No one bats an eye. In 2013, two model S’s were involved in an accident and caught fire. However, the on-board security systems kept the occupants safe. This certainly did get Tesla some bad publicity. The chances of a fire in a gasoline powered catching fire is 1 in 8000 vehicles and Tesla’s figure 5 times less!

To counter this problem, an Over – the – Air update (No i’m not talking about your mobile phone) upgraded the cars software to increase the car’s ground clearance at highway speeds. All while the owner was sound asleep and had no idea that his car was being made safe without even going to the service center. To be double sure, Tesla retrofitted all existing model S’s with a triple under-body shield, free of charge.

The track record still remains. Zero deaths or permanent & serious injuries. There is no safer car on the road than a Tesla.

Remember the Tesla Master Plan? 

The next step has been announced! 

Taking on the BMW 3 series, a $35000 sedan the Model 3 is coming. A good half the price of the model S and expected to launch in 2017.

2017 seems so far away? Oh wait, 2015 will see the Tesla Model X, a complete electric crossover, 4 wheel drive and the best part – the falcon doors!

Tesla_Model_X_Geneva_2012_trimmed

All this aside. I want to give you the biggest news that shook the entire world. Tesla has patents to their electric car designs and They have released all their patents for the world to use for FREE !

The wall of patents have been pulled down and replaced by this.

Bottom Line:

Such a bold move only to make the world a better place to live in. All the conspiracy theorists can keep away!

Visit Tesla motors webiste: http://www.teslamotors.com