After yesterday's jaw-dropping spectacle from SpaceX, many are asking: what's the real reason Elon Musk chose to send a Tesla Roadster into outer space on his almighty Falcon Heavy rocket? The Atlantic attempted to answer that question and notes, "The decision to launch a Tesla into an orbit around the sun marks yet another shift in American spaceflight business."

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Above: Musk shows an image of the Tesla Roadster floating in space "over Australia" (Twitter: Elon Musk)

The Atlantic's Marina Koren explains that prior space-bound mementos were "the purview of governments" who deliberated "with a certain amount of seriousness about what it would say about the senders, what it would all mean." After all, what they decided to send "flying into the cosmos... ad astra" (to the stars) might someday be interpreted by someone else (maybe aliens?), somewhere out there in the universe.

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Above: Falcon Heavy starting her maiden voyage (Flickr: SpaceX)

The Falcon Heavy carried something radically different than the serious stuff from the rockets of the past — it carried Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster. What was the unique mission given to the Tesla? Koren explains that, "Musk told reporters in a teleconference Monday he expects the Tesla to coast comfortably in space for hundreds of millions of years."...
Elon Musk’s cautionary statements about uncontrolled experimentation with artificial intelligence (AI) have caused some to ridicule him as a fear-monger, and have given many in the mainstream press the idea that he is opposed to using AI, which is very far from the truth. In fact, AI is a major component of Tesla’s vehicle autonomy technology, and the company applies it in several other areas as well.

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Above: Elon Musk and a few of his iconic quotes (Instagram: mirame_casi_siempre)

It was only recently that Tesla publicly revealed that it is working on its own AI hardware. At the NIPS machine learning conference in December, Elon Musk announced that Tesla is “developing specialized AI hardware that we think will be the best in the world.” The company has offered few details, but it’s widely assumed that the main application will be processing the algorithms for Tesla’s Autopilot software.

As Bernard Marr reports in a recent article in Forbes, there’s little doubt that Tesla is way ahead of its potential rivals in the data-gathering department. Every Model S and X built with the Autopilot hardware suite, which was introduced in September 2014, has the potential to become self-driving, and all Tesla vehicles, Autopilot-enabled or not, continually gather data and send it to the cloud. The company has many more sensors on the roads than any of its Detroit or Silicon Valley rivals, and the number will mushroom when Model 3 production hits its stride.

Tesla is basically crowd-sourcing data not only from its vehicles, but from their drivers -internal sensors can pick up information about a driver’s hand placement on the instruments. The...
Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] has ignited a feeding frenzy in the automotive world. If you don't think legacy automakers are concerned about Tesla, consider this: according to the Wall Street Journal, one enterprising company is "selling data and technical insights to Tesla competitors — for upward of $500,000." Auto Evolution reports that "Tesla Model 3s heading to Germany look like lambs to the slaughterhouse," in an effort to rapidly reverse engineer the sought-after car.

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Above: Model 3 on display at Tesla's Boston store (Instagram: techiegeekmike)

It's no wonder — Tesla has ~450,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. Is this the beginning a sea change in the auto industry? Christian DeHaemer at Energy & Capital reminds us that, "In 2011, Morgan Stanley put out a 50-page investment note on Tesla with a price target of $70, up from the price at the time of $23.71. Obviously, it was a good call... The basic logic of the note was that in 1900, there were almost no cars in New York City. And 13 years later, there were almost no horses."

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Above: In just 13 years, the personal transportation sector had experienced a complete paradigm shift (Images: Energy & Capital)...
In this corner, the father of the Chevrolet Volt, an auto industry veteran who has held senior positions at Chrysler, Ford and BMW, an unlikely advocate for EVs - a cigar-chomping ex-Marine who has called climate change “a crock.” Bob Lutz!

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Above: Bob Lutz and Elon Musk make an appearance together in the film, Revenge of the Electric Car (Image: Autoblog)

In the other corner, the mastermind of PayPal, SolarCity and SpaceX, the archetypal Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who wants to electrify transportation and save Planet Earth - and if that doesn’t work, he’ll take us to Mars to start over. Elon Musk!

Back in the day, Bob Lutz was a champion of Tesla and Musk, citing the Roadster as a major inspiration for the Volt, and saying that he would “always owe them a debt of gratitude for having kind of broken the ice.” After Lutz left GM, he founded Via Motors, which set out to build plug-in hybrid vans and pickup trucks for commercial fleets, but has had a difficult time finding its market. The 85-year-old Lutz has written extensively about the auto industry. For whatever reason, he has evolved into a harsh critic of EVs, and especially Tesla. In 2016, he compared Musk to the leader of a religious cult. (Musk responded on Twitter, saying, “Dear cult members, I love you.”)

Lutz launched his latest salvo against the California upstarts at a forum sponsored by a provider of insurance for collectible cars, suggesting that collectors...
“To the more established brands, it is a young upstart company with performance claims that seem unreasonably optimistic. Instead of being rooted in reality, its new sporty two-door appears to be little more than the expressed will of a mercurial leader. There are already rumors of potential bankruptcy. Surely, this is hubris run amok.”

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Above: Elon Musk and Tesla's second generation of their two-door Roadster sports car (Image: Rolling Stone via Tesla)

The automaker in question? Honda in the late 1960s. Fifty years later, Tesla and Elon Musk are the objects of great admiration, but also constant targets of criticism. In a recent article in The Globe and Mail, Brendan McAleer tells a fascinating story of a young company with a charismatic leader, which finally found great success by tempering its expansive dreams with a dose of reality.

In the sixties, Honda and its founder, Soichiro Honda, faced attacks very similar to those being launched at Tesla today. Mr. Honda’s pride and joy was the Honda 1300, aka the Coupe 9. It was an innovative, forward-looking little car, with an air-cooled four-cylinder engine, independent suspension and excellent fuel efficiency.

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Above: The iconic Soichiro Honda celebrates the first H1300 car off the production line (Image: Honda)

The problem was Soichiro Honda himself, who apparently couldn’t resist the urge to keep...
A common misconception is that electric cars are more expensive than their internal combustion engine equivalents. When looking at the total cost of ownership, this just isn't the case. Furthermore, Forbes reports: "Electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as their gasoline-powered counterparts, according to a study of fuel costs released Thursday by the University of Michigan."

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Instagram: learntesla

What were the numbers? It's reported that, "The average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117, according to the study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute."

That said, costs can vary dramatically from state to state skewing the results. However, the study notes that: "in no state is it cheaper to fuel up on gasoline," compared to charging an electric car.

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Instagram: learntesla

In fact, in some states the results are especially compelling. For instance, "The difference is greatest in Washington state, where gasoline will cost that average motorist $1,338 [per year], compared to $372 to charge up."

In addition, there are other cost savings that come with electric vehicle ownership...
Lots of reviews discuss Model 3—its performance and driving attributes, its interior and exterior design, the basic functionality achieved through the landscape display and a myriad of other features. In fact, here at EVANNEX, we’ve done one of those with a very early vehicle.

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Above: There it is... my midnight silver Model 3 delivery at Tesla's service center in Dania Beach, Florida (Photo: EVANNEX)

I’ve now been driving my Model 3, one of the first in South Florida, for about a week, and I’d like to share some of my observations about the car, without repeating what those of you who follow the vehicle already know from earlier reviews.

First, the big picture—Model 3 is a truly transformational vehicle. It provides high performance, long range, and a premium aesthetic at a broadly affordable price. But you already knew that. Let me talk about what you may not know—the good things and the things that might need some improvement.

Now, full disclosure—many of the early owners of Model 3 have been past owners of Model S or Model X. I’m one of those people. I’ve had over five years of driving experience with Model S and almost two with Model X. Many of my observations naturally lead to comparisons between S, X and 3. I’ll save most of that for another post.

So, let’s begin …

Charging Speed. The first time I tried to charge Model 3 in my garage, I was surprised to learn that Model 3 charging using the new Tesla Universal Mobile Charging Cable (UMC) is limited to a maximum of 32 amps. That means that charging on a 240V 40-amp, NEMA 14-50 outlet will get you about 22 – 24 miles of range per hour of charging. That’s not great, but it’ll be absolutely fine for overnight charging....
The Tesla Model X has been winning some impressive awards and accolades lately. But is the all-electric SUV really the ultimate unicorn — a futuristic family car for the fashionista? Nedahl Stelio attempted to answer this question when she recently reviewed the Tesla Model X for fashion magazine Marie Claire.

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Above: Luxury meets practicality in the Tesla Model X (Instagram: teslamarksthespot)

Stelio writes, "Is this the most luxurious electric car ever? The Tesla Model X is a beautiful car to drive. It’s smooth, silent and let's not forget, fast... [but] is it possible there is a superfast car that also actually works for families, so you don’t feel like you’re in a ‘mum’ car? Yes. This is it."

After spending "one glorious, glorious week" in a Tesla Model X 100D, Stelio describes, "luxurious, buttery leather seats, a giant multimedia touchscreen that controls every feature on the car, automatically opening doors, and [software] updates to the car that automatically download to the system, as though it’s a mobile phone. It’s seriously clever and really what we should all be driving in 2018."


Above: Nedahl Stelio reviews the Tesla Model X; Note: Pricing shown here is for the purchase of a Model X in Australia (Above: Marie Claire)

But what's it like to drive one? Stelio explains, "Like you’re driving a cloud. It’s smooth, it’s silent, it’s light....
The story of Tesla is a fascinating one by any measure: a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs get together to start a car company, a feat that business-school professors have been using as the definition of economic impossibility for decades, and after only a few years they build a company that rivals the Big Three, and a car that earns every accolade the industry has to offer. Of course, there are several near-death experiences along the way to hold our interest.

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Above: Elon Musk stands in front of a Model S rolling off the production line at Tesla's factory (Image: InsideEVs)

This stranger-than-fiction story has been told in various videos and one full-length book, and pieces of it have been told in thousands of print and online articles. For those who prefer a quick, easy-to-digest format, Global Energy Metals has summarized the Tesla story in a large infographic, which comes to us courtesy of Visual Capitalist.

The Tesla saga began with the low-volume Roadster, but the startup became “a real company” with its 2010 initial public stock offering (IPO), which raised some $226 million in capital and started what was to be a stomach-churning roller-coaster ride of growth.

Tesla was the first American car company to make an IPO since Ford went public in 1956.

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Above: Tesla's original Roadster (Instagram:...
It’s an open secret that Big Auto’s electrification efforts are mainly for the benefit of government regulators and the media. Even as they announce impressive-sounding investments in technology, and new plug-in models to be launched years down the road, they invest next to nothing in marketing their existing EVs, and their lobbyists work diligently behind the scenes to water down the regulations that are forcing them to build electrified models.

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Above: Gas-powered SUVs continue to be highlighted by Big Auto at the industry's car shows (Image: Business Insider)

Nowhere is this hypocrisy more obvious than at the big auto industry trade shows, where the spotlights shine on ever-bigger and more powerful gas engines, and the booth bunnies pose with ever-more monstrous SUVs. The plug-in vehicles are there too, but most of them are off in a corner, except for a few spaceship-like “concept cars” that everyone can make fun of.

Enrique Dans, a Professor of Innovation at IE Business School, wrote a piece a year ago bemoaning this state of affairs. In “The automobile industry is stuck in a dead end,” Dans described his dismay after attending the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and seeing how the industry’s idea of innovation continued to center on more horsepower and whizzier infotainment systems.

Strangely enough, no automaker was interested in paying for Professor Dans to attend this year’s NAIAS. However, as he writes in...
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