It suffice to say that 2018 was not the most stellar year for Tesla. 2019 alone has Tesla all roughed up, starting with the SEC filing Elon Musk for contempt, announcing and retracting announcements, and foreseeing a not so profitable first quarter.
CEO Elon Musk isn’t new with clashes with the SEC, but it’s starting to take its toll. In his motion against the SEC filing, he said that the proposal to have him held in contempt, caused Tesla’s stock price to go down 3.4 percent.
Moreover, the public and investors are in shambles with Tesla’s on-again and off-again announcements. Earlier in February, the company announced to shut down most of its physical stores to support the $35,000 Model 3 but later on said that it would keep stores open although will raise prices on its other vehicles, instead.
The electric car company hopes to reignite interest and trust in the company’s line of electric vehicles to get it up and running again. Especially now that pre-orders of the Model 3 is, finally, well on its way in terms of production, but significantly the demand for it is fading.
On the other hand, the Sports Utility Vehicle or the SUV market is booming. People seem to want bigger and buffer cars compared to conventional 4-seater passenger cars. As of January, SUVs and crossovers made up 45% of sales in the United States; on average more than two out of three vehicles sold were SUVs.
Car companies are taking note and designing their big rig vehicles to meet customer demands. Last year alone, the Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, and Honda CR-V lead last year’s 4th quarter sales.
Moreover, Jeep sold 20 percent more vehicles in the US than it did three years ago. The company claims that it can even double their profits by 2022.
With the success and attention SUVs are attracting, Tesla can’t help but to want a slice.
Tesla introduced to the public their long-awaited Model Y last Thursday night and reactions aren’t what the company was hoping for. Analysts are saying that the brand new Model Y was “underwhelming,” and that they’re “not surprised.”
Although, Tesla already has an SUV in its line, the Model X, but priced at the more high-end luxury side at a whopping $100,000. Even with prices that high, it only accounted for 15% of Tesla’s sales in the fourth quarter.
Tesla’s stock is down 10% since February and hoped that the unveiling of the Model Y would turn things around. However, it did precisely the opposite. The electric car maker’s stock fell by about 4 percent in intraday trading, further straining shares that are down by more than 16 percent and have lost roughly $7.4 billion in market value so far this year. The company is currently valued at about $48.1 billion.
As of the moment, the Model Y will cost between $39,000 to $60,000 depending on the extras and is about 10 percent bigger than Tesla’s Model 3. It, in fact, has seven seats which we did not see coming as it’s only 10% bigger than the Model 3. The seven-seater feature is seen on the Model X. Moreover, the Model Y has a panoramic glass roof and 66 cubic feet of cargo space.
But, as critics say, Tesla needed to innovate more if they wanted the Model Y to improve their stocks. However, unlike 11 years ago, when Tesla started mass producing electric cars, a lot of car companies have joined the bandwagon and are creating their versions of electric vehicles–Sedans, SUVs, and crossovers.
China, one of Musk’s most desired markets, have at least 48 electric SUVs available in their market according to Autohome. Even though Tesla has stationed a Gigafactory in China, it’s still vague how the company’s future will pan out.
Moreover, the current pricing of Tesla vehicles in China are significantly more expensive than when you purchase it in the US. As of the moment, it’s faith still dangles on it’s Shanghai Gigafactory, hoping to cut prices enough and make Tesla more accessible to the Chinese market.
With all that’s said, with how the public and analysts describe the Model Y, it won’t be Tesla’s saving grace. But, hopes are still high, as the company aims to resolve past issues regarding production and delivery issues that stifled the company’s growth and the public’s favor.
Then again, it would have been wiser if Tesla followed initial advice not to have pursued the mass population and worked with niche markets that allowed it to grow.
Public Transportation Is A Growing Harassment Case
If there’s one thing recent reports can tell you, it’s that public transportation does not exclude women from being molested, abused, or harassed. In Japan, the problem is so bad that women have resulted in seeking the aid of an application to save them from harassers.
In the age of technology and growing consciousness, people ought to believe that others would act appropriately in public transportation — provide a safe place for women along with the idea that there are dozens of other people crammed in a small place lending their eyes and ears. However, others arrogantly and blatantly disregard the idea and let their libido take the best of them.
In Japan, women have to be constantly aware and consciously avoid instances with men who repeatedly gropes and molests them while en routing to their destinations aboard train cars. The Japanese calls the situation chikan — an illegal act the Japanese government has been actively trying to prevent but continues to persist.
“The chikan issue didn’t make headlines until 1988 when a woman on the Midosuji Line in Osaka saw a man groping a girl and told him to stop. Angered, the man intensified his attack and then he and another man dragged the girl off the train, took her to a construction site and raped her. No one stopped them. […] She says that what people took away from the story was that it was better to say nothing,” says The Japan Times.
In recent years, Japan has implemented measures such as stricter legislation on anti-sexual harassment laws, more CCTVs in train stations, and providing women-only trains cars — a band-aid solution that Japan implemented for almost two decades now.
A number of countries adopted the same policies with intentions to address the problem. Women-only train carriages have also been implemented in other countries like India, Brazil, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico. However, recent proposals to introduce them in the U.K. met with objections, with critics saying such a measure fails to tackle the problem at its root.
In contrast with Japan’s rich history of patriarchal regimes, it has allowed a consciousness ruled by misogyny — making it difficult to police and control men’s indecent behavior towards women.
The Japan Times reported that “less than 10 percent of train groping victims actually report their attacks. The reasons are various, but mainly have to do with the fear of not being believed or of arriving late to work. Meanwhile, underground groups of chikan trade tips on the internet about the best times and places to partake of their pastime.”
In return, Japanese women are also looking to technology to alleviate their worries by at least a fraction. The Digi Police app enables victims of groping to activate a voice shouting “Stop it!” at ear-piercing volume or bring up a full-screen message reading, “There is a molester. Please help” that they can show to other passengers.
Digi Police has been downloaded more than 237,000 times since it was introduced three years ago – an “unusually high figure” for a public-service app, according to police.
“Thanks to its popularity, the number [of downloads] is increasing by about 10,000 every month,” said police official Keiko Toyamine.
Toyamine said victims were often reluctant to call for help, but the app’s SOS message allows them to alert other passengers while staying silent.
The Tokyo metropolitan police department recorded almost 900 cases of groping and other forms of harassment on trains and subways in the capital in 2017.
Notably, Japan is not the only country facing these kinds of issues. Women all over the world — both from developing and developed countries — constantly have to use public transportation with their heads over their shoulders at all times.
A Reuters survey of 16 major cities worldwide found that women in Latin American cities suffered the highest rates of harassment, with about 6 in 10 women physically harassed on transport systems.
Bogota, the capital of Colombia, was the most dangerous city examined in the Reuters survey, with women saying they were scared to use transport after dark. In Mexico City, 64 percent of women said they’d been groped or physically harassed on public transportation.
Research shows, this is a global phenomenon. In a 2009 survey in Delhi, India, 95 percent of women said their mobility was limited by fear of harassment in public places. And in a Kenyan study from Women’s Empowerment Link, states that more than 50 percent of the 381 women interviewed said they had experienced gender-based harm while using public transportation.
Neither women-only train cars nor increased CCTV will not stop men from misbehaving — the threat of imprisonment also does not help. Educating men how and why their actions are wrong are what experts say to be the best solution to the problem. However, when people choose to stay silent in harassment issues, it’s only bound to make absolving the problem harder.
Ferrari’s Fastest Car: SF90 Stradale
There’s still a relatively large portion of the population who isn’t convinced with what electric cars can bring to the table. Part of that reason comes from the misconception that electric cars are slow, fussy, and expensive. The first two are false — but the third is arguable.
Notably, electric cars are faster and smarter than conventional diesel-burning vehicles. Electric cars are faster in a sense that petrol or diesel engines require more driving time to reach their peak potential in terms of speed. Specifically, conventional engines need to rev up or reach a certain point to reach maximum torque or horsepower.
Electric cars, on the other hand, doesn’t require its battery-powered engines to burn through the gas to reach peak speed. In fact, these vehicles can reach promised speeds in a matter of seconds.
However, the misconception may be driven by Tesla — the leading electric car manufacturer — who initially introduced its electric vehicles on a mass scale available to anyone who wants one. As a circumstance for technology in its early stages, it was expensive for an everyday car. The Tesla S includes features where it can go from 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds. However, Tesla has improved pricing and speeds since then. Additionally, other car brands have developed their own at even faster speeds.
Today, hypercars like Ferrari and Porsche use sophisticated and high-torque electric motors to fulfill the demand for speed. Moreover, Ferrari just announced a new electric car to its production line, the Ferrari SF90 Stardale.
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale has a 3.9-liter V8 engine and three electric motors that, together, can produce as much as 986 horsepower. The SF90 will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in a little over two seconds and reach a top speed of 211 mph, making the SF90 its most powerful production car yet.
Two of the motors drive the car’s front wheels while the third is attached to the gasoline engine mounted behind the seats. It also has an eight-speed transmission similar to that in a Formula 1 racecar.
SF90 is an electric plug-in hybrid. Meaning, it can run both on battery or gas, or a combination of both. Also, this is the first electric vehicle from the Ferrari brand that’s a plug-in electric, similar to full-electric cars from Tesla.
The car can be driven in full electric mode for up to 15 miles and can go as fast as 84 mph. Moreover, SF90 will typically operate as a hybrid — relying on both the gasoline engine and electric motors.
Moreover, the SF90 will have all the digital displays in front of the driver where the gauges and other information, like navigation, are all shown together, CNN reports.
All navigational and other tools needed to prompt the vehicle of any action would be controlled through touch-sensitive buttons on its steering wheel, which also extends to the dashboard immediate to the driver that include functions for climate control and mirror adjustments.
As usual for a Ferrari, there are no separate stalks for the windshield wipers or headlight controls. In general, the SF90 is designed so that the driver has to move his or her hands from the steering wheel as little as possible, according to Ferrari.
Also, quite interestingly, the SF90 will also introduce new features like a head-up display that projects information onto the windshield in front of the driver.
The SF90 will be Ferrari’s new top-of-the-line “production car.” In Ferrari’s terms, a production car is not one of those unique one-off cars costing millions of dollars made for selected clients. It is also not, like the LaFerrari models, a limited-edition vehicle of which only a few hundred will ever be made. Instead, it is part of the brand’s regular lineup.
As for how SF90 compares to other electric hypercars, it still not the fastest with Vanda Dendrobium ranks 5th on the list — where it can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a ridiculous 2.7 seconds and the top speed figure is above 320 km/h. On the other end, the fastest electric hypercar’s from Rimac C_Two, which accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 1.85 seconds and a top speed of 413 km/h.
USPS Is Testing Self-driving Trucks
Autonomous driving is coming faster than we expected and it’set to make waves in the automotive industry.
The era of self-driving vehicles is closing in on society faster than we know it. The idea that seemed decades away from reality is, in actuality much closer than anticipated as companies from left and right are continuously trying to one-up one another to be the first in the emerging industry.
Autonomous driving has been an idea that started to be part of conversations in mainstream media when Tesla began to roll out its vehicles with autonomous driving features, although not completely but in small bits like automated parking and the like.
May 21, the United States Postal Service (USPS) decided to implement the idea of using automated self-driving trucks to conduct deliveries and transport. USPS partnered with a self-driving trucking company named TuSimple to haul its mail as part of a two-week test of the startup’s autonomous technology.
TuSimple will carry the mail on five round trips between the USPS’s Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, distribution centers, which is a stretch of more than 1,000 miles where each is totaling more than 2,100 miles of driving.
The first round of tests began Tuesday, where the autonomous driving company started to deliver letters and packages moving between Phoenix and Dallas on customized Peterbilt trucks with TuSimple’s technology.
Moreover, this will be USPS’ first time to contract an autonomous driving company to haul its deliveries since the postal service launched a competition among other autonomous driving companies last 2016.
The years-long competition was meant to address two issues. One of which was to replace USPS’ old delivery trucks and the other was to mitigate financial costs.
Annually, the Postal Service spends more than $4 billion on highway trucking services through outside contractors. The increasing numbers on driver shortage also aren’t helping as driver demand quickly increases fees. By eliminating drivers out of the equation, USPS could save millions of dollars.
TuSimple will most likely be the first (if not the last) for the Postal Service since this will only be a test whether or not the autonomous driving company would be the right fit and work in the long run.
The test wouldn’t be able to drive autonomously just yet. It will be accompanied by a driver and an engineer to monitor the technology.
“This pilot is just one of many ways the Postal Service is innovating and investing in its future,” the USPS said in a press release that cited the possibility of using “a future class of vehicles” to improve service, reduce emissions and save money.
“When the vehicle can operate truly driverless, it will be much more efficient,” said Chuck Price, chief product officer at TuSimple. “We think we complete a coast-to-coast run in two days, where today it takes five.”
TuSimple is marketing the idea of a truck that can travel and deliver payloads without the need for rests and stops, unlike the conventional human driver. From a perspective, this innovation could cut costs and time that could help make companies earn more.
TuSimple has raised $178 million with Nvidia and Chinese company Sina as its backers, through its testing in Arizona. As of January, it had 11 trucks on the road, where it has carried cargo for 12 different companies as part of its testing and make a profit out of the costly development process.
Like Tesla, it is eyeing to make the technology possible through developing a vision-based autonomous system. As of the moment, TuSimple’s trucks are equipped with nine cameras that it’s heavily reliant on to detect cars, pedestrians, and other obstacles.
Moreover, TuSimple’s Class 8 semi-trucks are level 4 under the guidelines penned by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), meaning they’re capable of full autonomy in controlled (and often geofenced) highways and local streets.
“It is exciting to think that before many people will ride in a robo-taxi, their mail and packages may be carried in a self-driving truck,” said president, founder, and chief technology officer of TuSimple Dr. Xiaodi Hou. “Performing for the USPS on this pilot in this particular commercial corridor gives us specific use cases to help us validate our system, and expedite the technological development and commercialization progress.”
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