About the Author

Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for electrek.co since 2016.

You can contact him at jamie@electrek.co

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Today

After a couple chaotic weeks of price and option changes from Tesla, another one went into effect today.  This time, it was about the recently-unveiled Model Y, which received a $1,000 price increase across the vehicle line.

CEO Elon Musk also announced on twitter that prices on inventory cars will increase ~3% after the end of this quarter, to keep them in line with the recent price increase (which was really just a partial reversal of last month’s price drop).

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March 23

Tesla is continuing to improve Autopilot’s abilities in both documented and undocumented ways.  Just recently the system has gained two new capabilities: detecting stop lights and detecting lane change intention from other cars.

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March 22

There have been a dizzying amount of price and option changes over the course of the last few weeks, with something changing pretty much every day.  And today is no different.  One day after Tesla raised prices across its lineup (as expected after a change in retail strategy), Tesla has also dropped the base “Standard Range” battery pack from the Model S line.

This happens just three weeks after adding the smaller Model S battery option in the first place.

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March 20

We’re back to China again after just two weeks, for a race on a brand-new track along the seaside in the resort city of Sanya, on the southernmost tip of the country.

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March 15

Last night we saw our first glimpse of the upcoming Tesla Model Y at Tesla’s Design Studio in Hawthorne California.

The reveal was similar to other Tesla events in the past.  Press, Tesla employees and faithful customers collected in the old Northrop hanger next to the Hawthorne airport to see a new vehicle.  The lights were dim and red, the food was present but perhaps a little underwhelming, and the event didn’t quite start on time.

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March 14

On Friday, March 15, thousands of protests are planned across the globe with young people skipping school to protest against environmental inaction by their governments.  This event is being organized by Fridays for Future globally and by US Youth Climate Strike in the US.

While the Global Climate Strike’s main day of protest is this Friday, March 15th, many protests are scheduled to continue occurring weekly or monthly (you can find them color-coded by frequency on this map).  Global youth intend to broadcast their exhortation to climate action to the people in charge of our planet’s future, until governments act in a suitably strong manner to fix this urgent problem.

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In the upcoming James Bond movie, Bond will swap out his V8 for the upcoming, limited-edition, all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E, according to a report in British tabloid The Sun.

The decision was apparently pushed for by the film’s new director, Cory Joji Fukunaga, who is apparently quite the “tree-hugger.”

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March 13

In a bid to save €5.9 billion and raise their operating margin to 6%, VW will cut 5,000-7,000 jobs by 2023.  These job cuts will mostly be a result of offering early retirement to longtime employees, rather than layoffs.  The comments on this change in strategy were made at VW’s annual media conference in Wolfsburg.

As part of this announcement, VW laid out a plan for its future.  The company will boost their software engineering department significantly in the coming years, hiring 2,000 new employees in software and electronics.

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March 11

After a chaotic week of decisions on the future of their retail sales model, Tesla seems to have come to a final decision about their Tesla stores.  The company just posted an update to their blog stating that they will seek a much less disruptive version of their change in strategy, instead closing about 10-30% of locations.

As a result, the price drops associated with these store closures will be partially reversed.  Vehicle prices across the line will increase by a few percent, except for the newly-released $35,000 Model 3, which will remain at that same price.  These price increases will happen on March 18th, so current prices are valid for anyone who orders in the next week.

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March 7

The next Formula E race is this Sunday, along the Hong Kong waterline at the Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit.

This is the first of two race weekends in China this year, the next being scheduled two weekends from now on March 23rd in Sanya, the southernmost point in the country.

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March 4

Along with several other changes in the last few days, one thing Tesla has done is completely reworked how “Enhanced Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” are differentiated.  Features for both of the systems have been shifted around, and FSD, which for a few months wasn’t even available on the cars, is back and available for purchase.

But one of the changes is that Tesla is offering Model 3 owners who already bought the car, but who didn’t previously purchase Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-driving, a discount to purchase the software unlock for either of those systems.

The problem with this is that these systems were originally billed as increasing in price if ordered after delivery, rather than decreasing.  Now, early buyers who took Tesla at their word, and paid full price for these systems, are being left out of the price drops, and will end up having paid more than people who buy it now.

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March 1

Nissan has just announced pricing for their upcoming 62kWh Leaf Plus model, which will be available in the US starting later this month.

The starting price comes in just around the expected level, at $36,550.  The Leaf SV Plus will be $38,510, and the top trim, the Leaf SL Plus, is priced at $42,550.

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February 28

In addition to today’s announcement of the standard $35,000 Model 3, Tesla has also described a significant shift in their sales strategy.  Tesla will now focus primarily on online sales, with only a few physical locations in high-traffic areas, functioning as “Tesla information centers.”

This will be accompanied by the closing of “many” stores and a “reduction in retail headcount” (layoffs), though Tesla did not specify how many as a percent or in real numbers.

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February 25

Last week we were invited to San Diego to drive the new Nissan Leaf Plus, the updated version of the Leaf with a new 62kWh battery pack, which will start sales in March.  We spent the day driving it all through the county on a variety of roads, and came away impressed if not surprised by this iteration on an already-solid package.

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February 21

Rivian has filed for a patent to expand the energy capacity of its upcoming R1T electric pickup truck through a novel auxiliary battery which can be added to the truck’s bed after manufacture.

The patent was filed last year, published last month and today is marked as “pending” by the US patent office.

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February 14

The next Formula E race is this Saturday, at the classic racing circuit Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the heart of Mexico City.

Before I spoil the results of the last Formula E race with our race recap, the race is available in full on Formula E’s YouTube page.  Head on over to watch it if you’re so inclined.

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January 30

During Tesla’s Q4 2018 investor conference call today, CEO Elon Musk stated that Tesla’s much-anticipated pickup truck may be ready for an unveil “this summer.”

Recently Musk stated that Tesla “might” unveil the prototype this coming year, but in today’s call, he seemed slightly more certain that an unveil could happen this summer.  But don’t buy your plane tickets yet, because nothing has actually been announced.

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Tesla’s Q4 2018 earnings letter just came out, and among the news were several updates on Model 3 production.

The most important tidbits are that Tesla is targeting 10,000/week production rate by the end of the year, that labor hours per vehicle decreased sequentially by 20% in the last quarter, and that Model 3 production for the Chinese market should start by the end of this year.

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Today, Shell announced the acquisition of Greenlots, an EV charging solutions company based in Los Angeles.

Greenlots will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the oil giant’s “Shell New Energies US LLC,” an arm of the company which focuses on finding business opportunities in low-carbon energy sources.

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January 24

Formula E hits the track again this Saturday, January 26th in Santiago, Chile, just two weeks after the last race in a racing series historically more accustomed to month-long breaks between races.

Before we start talking about the last race, I’d encourage any who are interested to watch the full race over on Formula E’s YouTube channel.  It seems to be available for free in (all?) regions. Consensus is that it was an exceptionally good race, one of the best Formula E has produced yet.

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