Covering the news often entails digging into the details of the latest developments in the cleantech space, which can often result in the broader theme of progress in the cleantech space getting lost. Reader and friend of CleanTechnica Dominic suggested that we write up a chronicle of news in the cleantech world to highlight not just the hottest stories of the day, but the broader themes playing out in the space. We planned to start trialling that. This article, though, is all about Tesla. What can we say — Tesla makes news.
Head to Head Charging Battle: Audi e-tron vs Tesla. Winner: Tesla (via Reddit)
In a Reddit post titled “The best advert for Tesla is my experience with the Audi e-tron,” a user wrote about his experience driving 260 miles in an Audi e-tron quattro 55, including a few attempts to use public DC fast charging. The test drive highlighted how simply having the same number of places to charge on a map as Tesla’s Supercharging network does not translate to a similar charging capability.
The redditor ran into stations with single outlets that were full as well as broken chargers, and ultimately yielded and gave kudos to Tesla for a well thought out charging network and charging density. It’s not just having a charging station, it’s about having enough charging stations, in the right locations, at the right charging speed.
(Further, Matt Joyce of Loup Ventures summarizes the other half of the problem in a nice little chart.)
Tesla Increases Referral Program Bonus 5-fold
The Tesla referral program has been a controversial part of the company strategy. It has allowed YouTubers, celebrities, and enthusiasts to win hundreds of thousands of dollars of prizes in just a few short months by getting others to use their referral link to purchase a Tesla. The company has since overhauled the program and, this week, launched an updated program that increases the bonus 5-fold.
The new program gives buyers using a referral link 5,000 miles of free Supercharging, but only through May 28th. At that point, not only do you lose the extra Supercharging miles, Full Self Driving will have gone up in price. Based on all the twittering action coming from Elon, FSD is expected to go up in price another $1,000 around May 10th. I don’t share my referral code often, but feel free to use it if you’re looking to buy a new Tesla or Tesla Solar system.
Tesla’s Advanced Summon Wows Onlookers, But Clearly Needs More Work (via Reddit)
Tesla’s Advanced Summon is the latest hot tech coming from Tesla. It allows owners to summon their vehicles from across the parking lot. This may be some of the first tech from Tesla that takes the car to the next level and makes it feel like it’s really from the future.
Advanced Summon is still in very limited release to a select set of Early Access Program users, but a new video popped up on YouTube that goes a bit deeper into the solution, including how the Tesla app works. It is fun to watch, if only just to see the people around the car doing a physical double-take as the car drives past them with nobody in the driver’s seat.
Tesla Kills The Competition (via Reddit)
The Tesla Model 3 hits at the sweet spot of the mid-sized luxury vehicle segment and also pulls many buyers up from a lower-priced vehicle segment into a Tesla. The mainstream media paints Tesla as a niche player, but in just the last few months, this has resulted in a significant shift from historical leaders like BMW’s 3 Series and the Toyota Prius. Further, the Tesla Model 3 has risen above them.
The Tesla Model 3 is crushing all competitors.
BMW 3-Series: US sales down 40% in 2019
Toyota Prius: US sales down 45% in 2019
Both cars are among the most popular trade-in vehicles for new Model 3 customers.
— Kevin Rooke (@kerooke) April 29, 2019
In 2019, US sales of the BMW 3 Series are down 40% and sales of the Toyota Prius are down 45%. The crazy part about that is that the $35,000 Standard Range Model 3 just came out. Factor in federal, state, and local rebates and it’s at or below the price of many cars that sell for $10,000+ less.
Increasingly, buyers are asking why they would pay more to own a Toyota, BMW, Acura, or Mercedes when they can have a Tesla with a lower environmental footprint, faster acceleration, and more fun in each drive for less money.
Tesla’s Navigate-on-Autopilot Navigates Toll Booths & Freeway Interchanges
Tesla’s Autopilot solution improves with every software update, but it is admittedly difficult to wrap your mind around each incremental update as part of the entire solution. A new video from the one and only Frunkpuppy (@28dayslater) shows the solution at work on a freeway-interchange-plus-tollbooth combination.
— 💎🐾Esteemed Earl of Frunkpuppy🐶 (@28delayslater) April 28, 2019
Niche scenarios like tollbooths are just one more piece of the puzzle for Tesla to solve as its neural network continues to add capability to drive in even more scenarios. The world is complex and so is the solution that must safely navigate it. In this case, Autopilot yet again handles the whole thing like a champ and zooms out the other side of the tollbooth, eager to gobble up more freeway miles.
Tesla Autopilot Accident Avoidance
Tesla’s Autopilot avoids accidents for drivers ever single day, making cars safer and lives easier. Frankly, even in the best of cases, getting into an accident is a pain in the ass — and Autopilot helps you to avoid that. Millenialgirlinamaterialworld (yes, awesome Twitter name) tweeted out that Autopilot just saved her from a major accident. We don’t get more details than that, but it’s just one more data point that supports Autopilot avoiding accidents and keeping its people safe.
Autopilot on #Tesla JUST saved me from being in a major accident. After my heart stops racing and I download the footage, I’ll post more.
— millennialgirlinamaterialworld🥑🍞 (@1millennialgirl) April 28, 2019
If you’re into Autopilot or autonomous driving more broadly, check out the CleanTech Talks episodes where CleanTechnica Director Zachary Shahan talked with ARK Invest’s Tasha Keeney about all things autonomous — here and here.
The Drifting Tesla Model S
Okay, so it isn’t cleantech, but it does look like a ton of fun. This Tesla Model S found a way to override the built-in traction control and get the car to break traction for some drifting fun. It looks a little awkward, as you might imagine, when driving a car that was programmed from the factory to be an absolute traction champ.
I think this Tesla autopilot is broken pic.twitter.com/wLtsDarpUX
— tesla lovers (@TeslasAreCool) April 27, 2019