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Tesla’s AI Software May Go ‘Pure Vision’

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk says the company will eventually ditch technology like radar and lean into camera-based system to power features like Autopilot.

Musk made the comments on Twitter, noting that the company’s V9.0 version of its Full Self Driving software is almost ready for a public release.

Musks comments about a “pure vision” approach is somewhat controversial. Others in the self-driving space believe that cameras alone are not sufficient. For instance, Google’s Waymo develops a self-driving system that leverages lidar. 

Tesla currently uses a combination of vision and radar, but Musk believes vision will eventually beat out the hybrid approach. He says vision has more precision and it’s worth doubling down on that technology for the future.

Despite some dispute over the best approach, Tesla may license its self-driving software to other automakers. Musk said during Tesla’s Q4 2020 earnings call that the company has had “preliminary” discussions with potential partners.

“We’ve had some preliminary discussions about licensing Autopilot to other OEMs,” Musk said on the call. “This is something we’re more than happy to do.”

Musk noted that for such a partnership to take place, Tesla would need to further prove that Autopilot is safe in full self-driving mode. Musk said the proof could come by the end of the year.

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Tesla Bumps Price on Model 3, Model Y

Tesla has made its fourth pricing change this year for both the Model 3 and Model Y.

The automaker updated its website Friday to reveal a price hike for its two most popular vehicles – Model 3 and Model Y. The lower-priced Model 3 and Model Y accounted for 180,339 cars produced and 182,780 deliveries in Tesla’s record Q1 production report.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus price increased from $37,990 to $38,490; the Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD price increased from $46,990 to $47,490; and the Tesla Model 3 Performance price increased from $55,990 to $56,990

The Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD price increased from $49,990 to $50,490, while the Tesla Model Y Performance price stayed at $60,990.

Tesla also revealed some slight updates to the Model 3 interior. On new models, the Model 3 door trim matches the dashboard. 

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SpaceX Sends 60 More Starlink Satellites into Orbit

SpaceX successfully added Wednesday 60 Starlink satellites to its constellation created to beam internet service around the world.

The mission launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station here in Florida. It was the 24th Starlink mission to date and the 10th mission of 2021. 

SpaceX has now launched more than 1,300 Starlink satellites, which is already delivering service to a limited number of customers. SpaceX plans a larger rollout later this year.

The Falcon 9 used in the mission has now flown six times, including the Demo-2 mission carrying astronauts to the International Space Station and three Starlink missions.

The rocket also successfully landed on SpaceX’s droneship “Of Course I Still Love You.” SpaceX has now recovered a first stage booster 79 times.

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With 100 Stalls, California Supercharger Station to Be World’s Largest

The largest Tesla Supercharger station in the world is being planned for California.

The Harris Ranch Supercharger, strategically located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, currently has 18 stalls. Tesla plans to add 82 stalls for a total of 100. 

The site will best a 72-stall station in Shanghai that currently holds the title as world’s largest.

The plan the station was revealed in a Facebook post by the restaurant located on the site. The post from the Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant said:

We are excited to announce that Tesla has applied for the construction of the world’s largest Supercharger, which could consist of more than 100 stalls, and will be located right here at Harris Ranch in Coalinga, California.

The site will employ Tesla’s 250kW V3 Superchargers, which have helped cut the amount of time customers spend charging by an average of 50%.

Tesla is trying to rapidly expand its charging network, and also add amenities. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said last week that a Supercharger station with a 50’s diner is coming to Santa Monica, Calif.

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Select California Tesla Supercharger Stations Are Half Off At Night

This could help reduce Supercharger traffic and costly peak charging times.

Tesla Supercharger stations in California’s major metro areas are currently 50 percent off at night time. Tesla is likely doing this to help reduce traffic at busy Supercharger stations and to help control peak demand cost. 

According to Electrek, some Tesla owners in California have received the following notification: 

“Avoid the rush and save 50% on your charging fees before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. at all Superchargers in California’s major metro areas. For specific rates and eligible sites, tap the Supercharger map pin on your in-car touchscreen.”

Last year, we reported how Tesla put a temporary discount on select Supercharging stations in California. Tesla owners received the following message last year: 

“Planning to travel this weekend? Avoid the rush and charge for $0.09/kWh before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. at select California Superchargers on October 31 and November 1. This weekend, tap the Supercharger map pin from your in-car touchscreen to find a participating location or view charge rates.”

Tesla could be testing out different strategies on how to reduce Supercharger use during high energy demand hours. 

Tesla, or any charging network, prefers charging to happen during the hours of the day when electricity rates are lower. This saves the company money. Tesla wants to become less reliant on local power companies and has built energy storage units (Powerpacks) and solar panels at some Supercharger stations in order to try and reduce peak energy costs. 

Last year, Tesla celebrated the installation of its 20,000th Supercharging stall. The company has over 2,200 Supercharger station sites globally. China has over 700 Supercharger stations and Europe is right behind with over 600 stations. In the US, there are about 1,000 locations with over 10,000 stalls. 

Supercharging stations are also growing in size. A 62-stall Supercharger V3 site was just approved for Santa Monica, but Shanghai has the largest with 72 stalls. Also, Supercharger stations might become more entertaining soon. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently announced how he wants Supercharger stations to have a “50’s diner & 100 best movie clips playing too.”   

Source: Electrek

This article originally appeared on Inside EVs.

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GM Announces Chevy Silverado With 400 Miles of Range

General Motors announced Tuesday plans to build an all-electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup, one of the most popular full-size models on the market. The automaker said the pickup will have a range of more than 400 miles on a full charge.

The truck will be built at the company’s Factory ZERO assembly plant in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan.

GM didn’t offer any more specs on the pickup other than “retail and fleet versions will offer customers a variety of options and are expected to be in high demand.”

GM is making an aggressive push into electric vehicles, planning 30 new EVs by 2025. The company previously announced a $2.2 billion investment in a plant to produce the vehicles. One of the first will be the GMC Hummer EV pickup followed by the Hummer EV SUV. First deliveries of the Hummer EV are expected later this year.

“The vehicles coming from Factory Zero will change the world, and how the world views electric vehicles,” GM President Mark Reuss said in a release. “The GMC Hummer EV SUV joins its stablemate in the realm of true supertrucks, and Chevrolet will take everything Chevy’s loyal truck buyers love about Silverado — and more — and put it into an electric pickup that will delight retail and commercial customers alike.”

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