Palo Alto California Stories January 25, 2014

China is going to be big for Tesla according to CEO Elon Musk, who comes off a win in a Chinese court against a squatter who was trying to extort the automaker for its name. 

Tesla had resolved a trademark issue that had long prevented the company from using “Te Si La” – the Chinese name best known among Chinese consumers, which Tesla wanted to use in China. “We went to court and we won,” she said. “The court has given use right to use the name, which is why you see the Chinese name in our store now.” The name had been registered by a local businessman who had refused to give up the trademark. The U.S. company had started offering its popular Model S sedans in China, but with no Chinese language name.

We discussed the relatively low price earlier this week. Musk talked to Bloomberg on China:

Tesla’s billionaire co-founder and chief executive officer, will travel to China in late March to inaugurate the company’s entry there, he said in a phone interview.

For Tesla, “it could be as big as the U.S. market, maybe bigger. I don’t want to get overexcited about it,” Musk said yesterday. “Even without building there locally, it’s always going to be the second-biggest market after the U.S.”

After a rocky start ramping up Model S assembly in 2012, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla surprised analysts and investors this month when it said fourth-quarter deliveries were 20 percent above its target. Musk, 42, has pinned his goal of selling hundreds of thousands of electric autos annually to a global strategy in which China, Europe, Japan and other markets bolster its U.S. business.

If all goes well, Model S shipments to China can match U.S. sales by 2015, Musk said. “It’s not my firm prediction — it’s more like a low-fidelity guess.”

Expectations are high and Musk is certainly

Palo Alto California Stories November 6, 2013

I just got my 5.6 firmware update without calling Tesla. I was on 4.5.1 previously. It took about 20 minutes to install after a 2 minute shutdown procedure.  After the update I got the screen above.

I did have some trouble connecting to my home Wifi networks as you can see toward the end there.  I’m going to give it another try tomorrow, I wonder if it isn’t encryption problems. I also want to try a Verizon LTE Mifi.

I really love the updates to maps. Right away I can see the usefulness of the compass and directional UI.

I know 5.6 has been rolling out to Europeans for around a month but I don’t know many folks stateside that have it via OTA without it being pushed for issues.

Also, I hear this update reduces the vampire drain effect. That would be a big deal for me because I lose at least 5 miles per 24 hours unplugged.  expand full story

Palo Alto California Stories October 30, 2013

Mission seems like the Tesla of motorcycles as president Mark Seeger stops by with his groundbreaking halo product, the limited production RS superbike. Only 40 of these will be assembled by hand in the USA but clearly there is a market for these if things go well.

Perhaps the hardest part? Convincing motorcyclists that they don’t need to be obnoxiously loud.  expand full story

Tesla today officially announced the Springfield Oregon Supercharger had opened thereby allowing Tesla owners to travel the whole West Coast of the US without spending a penny.

I had called the thing a bit early last week but Tesla wasn’t ready to give it the green light until the Springfield OR station opened because the distance between the two previous Oregon stations “would be a little bit risky” for 60kWh owners.

The new station is a few blocks off the highway, contains 8 stalls and is open immediately.

Press release follows: expand full story

Palo Alto California Stories October 13, 2013

[twitter https://twitter.com/teslamotors/status/389440087324246016]

As predicted, Tesla did showcase its Model X SUV-Crossover at its Palo Alto Store today and it differed in a few ways from what we’d seen before.

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Perhaps most noticeably, the virtual side rear view windows which worked as cameras (pictured from Tesla’s web page, above) were replaced by Tesla Model S-lookalikes (below). That could indicate that Tesla isn’t going to get government clearance to do away with the side rear view mirrors. Or perhaps Tesla hasn’t yet gotten clearance and needed to put something legal on the road. The cameras were intended to reduce drag that would likely be lost with the added height of the Model X.

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Next, the steering wheel appears to have replaced the hardware buttons on the model S with iPod nano like 2-inch touch screens (these aren’t necessarily new, they have been in the Tesla Model X webpage for months). I have mixed emotions about this. The obvious advantage is that Tesla can change what’s on the screen giving them more UI control (especially good when global markets are considered). On the other hand, the steering wheel buttons are the one hardware button on the Model S that you can actually feel and navigate without your eyes, something that is key when driving a car.

Two pictures of the new display steering wheel and the website:

The big question: Can you really fit 7 adults in this thing comfortably? Tesla hasn’t changed the wheelbase nor the overall length of the vehicle so how do they make more room? From the first glance, it appears that those back seats aren’t going to have a lot of legroom.

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For kids, this is fine, but saying that 7 normal sized adults can fit in this thing seems a little bit of a …stretch. I really like the ‘jump seat’ model in the Model S which puts 2 kids rear facing seats in the back while leaving plenty of legroom for the now middle compartment.  This model seems to compromise the middle compartment to give room for forward facing rear seats.

Finally, no one saw that mystery app icon (far right, below) on the Model X website did they? It looks like a download option but I’m still not sure what this is for.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 10.39.13 AM

The Model X is supposed to go on sale in about one year with similar cost and configurations as the Model S.  expand full story

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