Japan badly needs a win with fuel cells

Diplomacy war game TeslaMondoAnd so Japan will subsidize Toyota’s FCV to the tune of $30k in some areas despite the fact that Japan already carries the world’s biggest debt burden. TeslaMondo has already covered the undulating international war game between FCVs and EVs, with Japan heavily arming its home players Toyota and presumably Honda, while Tesla is looking to form a battery alliance with Nissan, BMW and Mahindra using the bait of easy patent-sharing. Will Korea up its ante for Hyundai and its FCV program in response to this maneuver by Japan? We’ll see. Norway is all-Tesla. And back home, Fremont, CA is setting up a tech battle station around Tesla we speak.

This is war.

So far, Tesla is still a technological outlier — not where it wants to be. It would benefit from comrades. TeslaMondo’s pie charts show the potential benefits of a more robust EV segment. It’s lonely on the front lines of battle, especially now that the Japanese government has essentially printed Musk’s face on an international most-wanted poster. On the other hand, Tesla has the most-wanted product — an exciting, rebellious, aspirational product — and a viable infrastructure when you include the favored home-fueling option that FCVs will never enjoy. And, and, and — let’s not forget Tesla’s tie-in with the fast-growing solar industry that eventually will make the EV energy footprint so clean that hydrogen will smell dirtier than Clinton’s peeper by comparison.

Bloomberg quote TeslaMondo

Pulled this quote from Bloomberg

Toyota is circulating a marketing video for its fuel cell vehicle, and even hired a Rent-A-Musk to narrate it. But the smart money is on Tesla. Fool cell buyers and their money are soon parted. Except for the “soon” part. This is shaping up to be a protracted world war and a clear winner may not emerge during our lifetime.

The clear loser, however, will be the ICE and its heavy metal soundtrack we’ve loved since childhood. Sniff sniff.  The revolution will be very quiet. Only a fool would deny that.

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Factory prepping for mystery machine

Mystery Machine TeslaMondoModel X is a mystery because nobody except Tesla knows what it will look like. Any other car company would have floated several renderings, concepts, prototypes, what-ifs, howz about this — then gauged public feedback, and then whittled to a final version before tooling up to build it. Tesla seems to have fast-forwarded right to the tooling part in a beautifully gross display of self-confidence. Zoinks!

So what will the Model X look like? Will we have to wait until the assembly line spits one out the door? Seems that way. We’ve seen only an in-house rendering on Tesla’s website, and a prototype from years ago. But Elon took a mulligan on the original design, causing a delay. The production versioMannequin X TeslaMondon is going to buckle our knees and require us to have our jaws surgically reattached to our skulls, to liberally paraphrase Musk. Who dares doubt him, given his track record of delivering the goods even when the goods seem too good to be deliverable? So then, isn’t it time to at least pull back the wrapping paper for a teaser shot of the Mannequin X? Yes, that’s what this site is calling it, thanks to translation folly.

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Model S ubiquity in Norway. Man!

How popular is the Model S in Norway? Here’s a man-in-the-street observation for ya. Click image for video.

Telsas in Norway TeslaMondo

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News tidbit casserole

Tesla News CasseroleChina — Seems Tesla will adapt to China’s fledgling charging network as part of its Chinese assimilation. Good news, but details are skimpy. Like a lot of material in Want China Times, this article leaves the reader wanting.

England — The UK is weighing the Model S as municipal transport, as governments try to go green in ways other than collecting taxes. Perhaps the upcoming long-wheelbase version with the larger back seat could be utilized as executive limos. And bodyguards could sit in the rear-facing child seats. Short bodyguards.

Sci-fi — The FBI thinks autonomous cars could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Elon Musk says artificial intelligence could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Car-hacking could become a dangerous sport for the wrong people. And so, putting this all together in a B-movie scenario, we could one day see disgruntled robots remotely hijack a fleet of English municipal Teslas, put them into a reckless autopilot mode that pays no heed to pedestrians, and force the British Secret Intelligence Service to respond with its own fleet of autonomous Teslas in a high-stakes game of Robot Wars. And at the conclusion, Tesla would see a fresh order for more Model S’s.

 

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Earnings announcement coming July 31

Apollo 15 TeslaMondoTesla has cleverly timed the announcement to coincide with George Washington’s issuance of the first-ever patent. It happened July 31, 1790. A guy named Samuel Hopkins invented a novel way of producing potash, the country’s first industrial chemical. It was used for various things from soap to gunpowder. Tesla, as you know, is a big supporter of patents.

And on July 31, 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts test-drove an electric car on the moon. That was the first time anyone drove a car on another planet. The Tesla Roadster was still a few months away from production, you know, so this wins the electric-car kudos by a nose.

Also, Tesla has a concert scheduled for that same date, and in California to boot. The earnings announcement will probably follow the encore. Tesla rock band TeslaMondo

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SyScan Hack Olympics winner declared

odel S hacked TeslaMondoA university has just repeated a hack already reported here (and doubted here) a couple days back, and won a $10k prize at the SyScan security conference in Beijing. The hack commandeers the Tesla user app and causes some relatively innocuous car behavior such as horn-honking and moonroof-opening. Tesla has been notified and doubtless will sew this up on the quick.

TeslaMondo considers this a solid performance review for Tesla security wiz Kristin Paget. The world’s best hackers cannot control the car’s movements, as they’ve done with other marques.

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Hack Olympics kick off tomorrow

Hacker princess TeslaMondo

Holly Marshall, the original hacker princess, manipulating the weather in the Land of the Lost with AUTOEXEC.BAT.

You’ve gotta wonder what Kristin Paget thinks of this SyScan security conference that begins tomorrow in Beijing. An entire ring of this year’s SyScan circus is devoted to hacking into a Model S, for a prize of $10,000. Paget’s name doesn’t ring a bell? She’s the security expert that Tesla hired away from Apple earlier this year. In short, it’s her job to make the car hack-proof. So this could be construed as her first performance review, on a world stage. Or perhaps Paget and Tesla are kind of “in” on this contest. Hackers learn from hackers in a virtuous cycle.

But wait — Forbes says the contest is over already. A Chinese Internet security firm has already remotely commandeered the a Model S and caused all sorts of kooky behavior in the car. Want proof that this really happened? Good luck. Clicking through the links will yield nothing to hang your hat on. Think Bigfoot footage.

TeslaMondo has already covered hacking in depth.

 

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An old problem, still unsolved

We have traction control systems that prevent unwanted wheelspin. We have proximity sonar that warns us about surrounding objects. We have “smart stop” systems that cut the throttle when we press throttle and brake simultaneously. We have cameras that put eyes on the back of our heads. We have cross-traffic alerts that warn about things passing behind us when we’re backing up. We have blind spot monitors that tell us when a car is hiding beside us. We have stability systems that adjust throttle and brake to negate understeer and oversteer. We have adaptive cruise control systems that slow us down if we’re getting too close to other cars. We have lane-keep assist that prevents us from drifting on the highway. We have pre-collision systems that prepare us for impact.

So why can’t we prevent this?

Tesla crash TeslaMondoWhy can’t we combine some of the above technologies to detect an imminent crash and either apply the brakes, turn the wheel or both? There is no scenario in which we want to crash into anything, so overriding driver intent is no issue here. But for those who insist that driver intent remain sacrosanct, an override button could ensure happiness for all.

So-called “sudden unintended acceleration,” a conspicuously American problem in recent decades despite worldwide use of the same products, is probably as old as the horseless carriage itself. No, older than that. Horses are guilty as hell. The frustrating thing is, most SUA events happen at parking lot speeds during the pedal dance between throttle and brake. That means they are predominantly low-speed accidents. That means it wouldn’t take much to stop the car and save the day. Gentlemen, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic car. Tesla Motors will build that car. Better than it was before. Better*. Stronger**. Faster***. And oops-proof, at least when it comes to the oldest oops in auto history.

 

* Done

** Done

*** Done

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This means something. Or not.

Close Encounters TeslaMondoGigafactory speculation is shifting a bit from “Where will Tesla break ground?” to “Has Tesla already broken ground, those sly dogs?” TeslaMondo reader Walt Parkman has raised that possibility in the “About” section, after pressing the same red button in a Tesla forum too. Seems he’s been snooping around Sparks, NV, immediately adjacent to Reno. Lots of earth is getting pushed at 2641 Portofino Drive, at Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Ok, big deal. Except the site is heavily guarded. Ok, big deal. Except one of the “guards” is calling it “Project Tiger.” Ok, big deal. Except Tesla has fallen silent about site selection lately.

TOO silent . . .

“This means something,” we might mutter to ourselves if we study our mashed potatoes too closely. It means the company is keeping us in suspense with this “choosing sites” ruse while it’s already bulldozing on the sly, hiding the preliminary stage of a huge factory project in plain sight while we naively expect an announcement first and bulldozing second. Surely if meddlers like Mr. Parkman get too close to “Project Tiger,” Tesla will follow the Close Encounters of the Third Kind plot line and arrange a cover story with local officials to evacuate the area. A gas leak hoax, perhaps. Is a Martian rendezvous coming soon? Will TeslaMondo’s banner image — Musk anointed b2641 Portofino Dr., TeslaMondoy Martians — really take place? Or will Mr. Parkman be the lucky one to board the mother ship, a reward for sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong?

Or is “Project Tiger” really just “Project Pepperoni”? One commenter here says the permit for 2641 Portofino Drive was pulled by a pizza company for a new factory. Why can’t anyone just go to the horse’s mouth, Sparks City Hall, and find out who is behind the project? Well, the entity might be anonymous at this stage of construction. As this article points out, permits for mere site-clearing can be requested and granted without naming a company at all. No-name bulldozing avoids some NIMBY agita from locals and who knows what other red tape. There’s something to be said for discretion.

And there’s something to be said fDanny the Shining TeslaMondoor minding one’s own business. In The Shining, Danny was warned to stay away from room 237. Maybe Mr. Parkman should get on his Big Wheel and pedal away from 2641 Portofino Drive — and straight to City Hall to rule out this pizza factory thing.

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