Tesla cars will now monitor drivers who use Autopilot through in-car cameras, TechCrunch reports.
Tesla will activate the cameras, located above the rearview mirror, in Model 3 and Y cars to check that drivers are paying attention to the road while using Autopilot driver assist, it said in a message to drivers.
Last year, Tesla activated its cabin-facing cameras installed in its Model 3 and Y vehicles in a software update. The camera, if approved by the driver, would “help engineers develop safety features and enhancements in the future,” Tesla said in its release notes at the time.
Tesla has faced criticism over the safety of its self-driving features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened at least 27 investigations into Tesla car crashes, and Autopilot was involved in at least three fatal crashes since 2016, Reuters reported.
Tesla no longer intends to buy land to increase capacity at its Shanghai factory, Reuters reported.
Tesla also plans a general slowdown in China-based production despite soaring revenues in the country, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The electric-car maker was expected to bid on a plot of land next to its Shanghai factory, but did not make a bid, the sources said. The plot was about about half the size of its current 80-hectare facility, they said.
Tesla has never publicly said it wanted to buy the plot of land. The company told Reuters its Shanghai plant was “developing as planned.”
Tesla sells its China-made Model 3 cars in Europe, and had considered exporting to more markets including the US, sources said.
The company has now decided to slow down its China output due, in part, to an extra 25% tariff on China-made vehicles imported into the US introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2018, sources told Reuters.
The company made $3 billion in revenue in China in its first quarter, or 30% of its total revenue, but faces a potential regulatory clampdown from state authorities.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk made several bold predictions, trumpeted the power of clean energy, and bemoaned the difficulty of mass production during the electric-vehicle company’s first-quarter earnings call on Monday.
The self-proclaimed “Technoking of Tesla” also touched on vampires, USB cables, self-driving cars, energy taxes, and World War II, according to a transcript on Sentieo, a financial-research site.
Here are Musk’s 11 best quotes, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:
2. “There’s no question in my mind that with a pure-vision solution, we can make a car that is dramatically safer than the average person.” – asserting that a self-driving car, guided by multiple cameras that process images at superhuman speed, will be safer than a human-controlled car.
3. “Long term, people will think of Tesla as much as an AI robotics company as we are a car company, or an energy company.”
4. “I just love that they call it vampires.” – commenting on “vampire drain,” the term for electric batteries losing charge when not in use.
5. “You can actually power the entire United States with roughly a 100-mile grid of solar. It’s entirely possible to power all of Earth with a small percentage of Earth’s area.”
6. “Why don’t we do it? The energy basis of the earth is gigantic, super-mega-insanely gigantic. So you can’t just go and do 1 zillion terawatts overnight. You’ve got to build the production capacity for the battery cells, for the solar cells. You’ve got to put that into vehicles. You’ve got to put that into storage packs. You’ve got to put that into solar panels and Solarglass Roofs, and you’ve got to deploy all this stuff.”
7. “We should tax energy that we think is probably bad and support energy we think is probably good, just like cigarettes and alcohol, versus fruits and vegetables.”
8. “Prototypes are trivial, they’re child’s play. Production at large scale with higher liability and low cost – insanely difficult. Myself and many others at Tesla had to basically have several aneurysms to get this done.”
9. “What Tesla achieved on the automotive side was not to create an electric car. The truly profound thing on the car side is that Tesla was the first American car company to achieve volume production of a car in 100 years and not go bankrupt.”
10. “We’ve had production stop because of carpet in the trunk. We’ve had production stop because of a USB cable. At one point, for Model S, we literally raided every electronics store in the Bay Area. For a few days there, nobody could buy a USB cable in the Bay Area because we went and bought them all to put them in the car.” – describing how a shortage of one minor component out of 10,000 can halt production entirely.
11. “We’re talking millions of cars, a massive global supply chain, 50 countries, dozens of regulatory regimes. Solving those constraints and logistical problems makes World War II look trivial. I’m not kidding.”
The Model 3, its cheapest sedan, has been hit by the most price changes this year. In the latest change, Tesla raised the price of the Standard Range Plus from $37,990 to $38,490, and the Long Range AWD from $46,990 to $47,490. The Performance version had an even bigger increase, from $55,990 to $56,990.
The automaker also raised the price of its Model Y Long Range AWD from $49,990 to $50,490.
Electrek also noted that the Model 3 price hike was accompanied by a small design update, adding a new wooden door trim, which Tesla had already rolled out on Model 3 vehicles produced at its Shanghai, China Gigafactory.
A Tesla customer, Terry Oelschlaeger, told Insider’s Kate Duffy he was double-charged for a Tesla Model Y costing nearly $54,000 on March 25, and that a Tesla service center employee told him the error had affected “many” buyers.
The company has since refunded the customers, including Oelschlaeger, and offered them $200 in credit at its online store.
Tesla posted record sales in the first quarter of 2021 despite a worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips. It sold 184,800 vehicles in the first three months of 2021, and Wall Street now expects the electric-vehicle company to sell more than 800,000 cars this year.
The customers said they received the money back on their double charges on or before April 1, but that they also had to pay for overdraft fees from their large bills.
Elon Musk’s car company sent the overcharged customers an email, which they shared with CNBC, that apologized and gave them $200 in credit. Tesla said the credit must be used in a single transaction, would expire on January 30, 2022, and couldn’t be spent on Tesla Tequila.
Tesla didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Three California-based Tesla customers first shared their stories with CNBC in March. CNBC’s journalists reviewed their purchase agreements, correspondence with Tesla, and bank statements.
Clark Peterson, Tom Slattery, and Christopher T. Lee initially told CNBC they had purchased Teslas ranging from $37,000, the price of a Model 3 sedan, to $71,000, the cost of a Model Y crossover SUV with premium features.
A former banking executive from North Carolina, who wanted to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, also told CNBC he was charged twice for a new Model Y costing about $54,000.
These buyers all authorized the payment of their brand-new electric vehicles through ACH direct debit, but the next day found that the money had been taken from their account twice, meaning in total they had spent between $74,000 and $142,000 on the cars.
Now they’ve been refunded, they said Tesla customer service needs to improve.
Peterson told CNBC: “While happy to have the whole situation sorted, I still feel that the response time was inadequate. It took days before Tesla had any kind of response, and they were holding our significant funds the whole time. And it took them five minutes to take those funds from our account.”
Another Tesla customer, Terry Oelschlaeger, told Insider he was also double-charged for a Tesla Model Y costing $53,993.70 on March 25. He shared his bank statement with Insider, showing a duplicate charge for a new car.
Oelschlaeger said he phoned the company three times to complain and drove to a Tesla service center in California, where an employee told him the error had impacted “many” buyers.
The company told him the refund would arrive in his bank account in one to three business days. He eventually received a payment in full from Tesla on March 31.
Investors continued to dump Tesla on Tuesday, dragging shares to their lowest level since late December.
The automaker sank as much as 12.2% after markets opened. The drop is set to extend a three-day losing streak for Tesla stock that intensified at the start of the week. The Wednesday-to-Monday losses have seen Tesla’s total market cap drop by $80 billion and led CEO Elon Musk to relinquish his title of the world’s wealthiest person.
Tesla traded at a record high of $900 just one month ago as extreme bullishness toward the company’s growth fueled massive gains. Valuation concerns cut into the rally and saw shares waver around $850 through much of February.
Shares closed 9% lower on Monday after the company reportedly halted new orders for the lowest-price version of its Model Y crossover. Musk clarified in a Monday tweet that the model was still available “off menu,” adding he doesn’t think the vehicle’s range “meets the Tesla standard of excellence.”
The move came less than a week after Tesla slashed the variant’s price to $39,990 from $41,990. The automaker also lowered prices for longer-range Model Y versions and its Model 3 sedan.
The price adjustments are “all a poker move” meant to stoke demand for Model Y and Model 3 in China, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told Insider in an email. Ives has repeatedly deemed China a “linchpin” for Tesla’s continued growth.
The decline was also driven by Musk’s warning of elevated cryptocurrency prices. The CEO took to Twitter on Saturday to caution that bitcoin and Ether prices “do seem high” following the tokens’ recent rallies. Bitcoin surged to record highs earlier in February after Tesla announced it purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency as a reserve asset.
Musk’s comments contributed to a sharp reversal of the token’s gains. Bitcoin sank below $45,000 on Tuesday, placing the cryptocurrency on track for its biggest single-day loss since March 2020.
Investors are now “starting to tie bitcoin and Tesla at the hip,” Wedbush’s Ives said in a Tuesday note. While the automaker’s investment initially garnered a $1 billion return, the cryptocurrency’s sell-off has pushed some shareholders to sell, he added.
Tesla closed at $714.50 per share on Monday, up 2.8% year-to-date. The company has 25 “buy” ratings, 47 “hold” ratings, and 20 “sell” ratings from analysts.
Ford’s Mustang Mach-E impressed media reviewers as it hit showrooms, and now Wall Street analysts are similarly enamored with the new electric vehicle.
A team at JPMorgan recently took the vehicle for a spin, less than a month after Insider’s own Matt Debord said the car was one of the most exciting he’s ever driven, “and walked away thoroughly impressed.”
“Its design is unique and we believe will appeal to many buyers, particularly as relates to its Mustang-esque styling cues, including sinewy sheet metal, trademark tail lights with sequential signaling, and a rakish side profile more emblematic of a sports coupe than a utility vehicle,” the team, lead by Ryan Brinkman, said in a note to clients.
“On the road,” they continued, “it was fun and exciting to drive.”
But the analysts stopped short of making a direct comparison to Tesla’s Model Y, seemingly the most direct competitor on the market today.
“We do not aim to argue that one vehicle is necessarily superior to the other (many consumers will continue to prefer the Model Y’s greater availability of semi-autonomous driving features and Tesla brand, while others will be attracted to the Mach-E’s styling and availability of a $7,500 federal tax credit),” they said.
Rather, the issue for Tesla investors may be simply that Ford’s stock has more room to run. Not only has the name been range-bound for some time, falling about 4% last year, compared to Tesla’s meteoric – and often puzzling – rise in 2020.
“We see three negative implications for Tesla valuation,”
“(1) a growing number of compelling offerings will increasingly compete with Tesla for battery electric sales and share (of course while also growing the overall pie);
“(2) the sales of these offerings will place downward pressure on the demand from other automakers for Tesla’s valuable Zero Emission Vehicle credits; and – most importantly –
“(3) as single-digit P/E automakers increasingly roll out similarly attractive battery electric models, we believe it will call into question the perceived paradigm shifting nature of Tesla’s vehicles and business model and, in turn, its industry unique valuation.”
JPMorgan remains Wall Street’s most skeptical shop when it comes to Tesla, pegging the company’s value at $105 – or about an eighth of where it was trading Friday.
“There is no graceful way to put this other than to say we got TSLA’s stock completely wrong,” RBC said.
And as far as the future of Ford goes, both JPMorgan and RBC think there’s plenty of room for the stock – and the Mustang Mach-E – to run.
“While we do not expect Ford to rival Tesla for number of battery electric vehicles sold (although Volkswagen, with a $99 billion cap, may),” JPMorgan said, “we do expect investors to increasingly take seriously its competitiveness in this area.”