Posts with «transportation» label

Tesla makes its controversial Full Self-Driving software cheaper by $4,000

Tesla has reduced the price of its Full Self-Driving software in the US and Canada. Per a post from the company on X, it now costs $8,000 in the US (or $11,000 for buyers in Canada) to add the so-called Full Self-Driving Capability. This is down from $12,000 ($16,000 CAD), according to Electrek, which also reports that Tesla has discontinued the $6,000 Enhanced Autopilot option. Current owners with that package can upgrade to FSD for $2,000.

Tesla’s driver assistance features have been under scrutiny from regulators for years, and despite the name, Full Self-Driving isn’t meant to fully take over for a human driver at this stage. On its website, Tesla notes that current FSD features “require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.” In March, the company reportedly introduced a mandate requiring its staff to give buyers a demonstration of FSD before they’re able to take home their new cars, so they can see what the software has to offer.

The latest price drop comes a few days after Tesla slashed the monthly cost of its subscription for FSD — which it has recently been referring to as Full Self-Driving (Supervised). The subscription, which previously cost $199/month, now goes for $99/month. Tesla also cut the starting prices of its Model Y, X and S vehicles this weekend by $2,000 each. Earlier this month, Tesla reported that its vehicle deliveries for Q1 2024 fell short of expectations, with an eight percent drop year-over-year.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tesla cuts Model Y, X and S prices in the US and says it’s ending the referral program

Another round of price cuts has shaved $2,000 off the starting prices of Tesla’s Model Y, Model X and Model S for buyers in the US. The company’s North America branch posted on X about the change Friday night, at the same time announcing that Tesla is ditching its referral program benefits in all markets. According to Tesla, the “current referral program benefits will end after April 30.”

Tesla’s Model Y now starts at $42,990 for the rear-wheel drive base model, $47,990 for the Model Y Long Range or $51,490 for the Model Y Performance. The base Model S has dropped to $72,990 while the Model S Plaid now starts at $87,990. The Model X starts at $77,990 (base) or $92,990 (Plaid). The changes come during a rocky few weeks for the company, which just issued a recall for Cybertrucks over possible issues with the accelerator pedal, reportedly laid off 10 percent of its employees and reported a decline in deliveries for the first quarter.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tesla is recalling Cybertrucks because their accelerator pedals could get stuck

Tesla has issued a recall for around 3,878 Cybertruck vehicles, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notice has revealed. Apparently, the cover of the truck's accelerator pedal could get dislodged and trapped by the interior rim. Based on videos going around showing the problem, a faulty accelerator cover could slide up due to excessive lubricant, jamming one end into a crevice while it's still also attached to the pedal itself. That means the vehicle could get stuck accelerating in full power even after the driver lifts their foot. 

Tesla said in the notice that it will replace and repair the pedals as needed free of charge. The automaker will send notices to owners of recalled Cybertrucks in June, but affected drivers who want their vehicles to be fixed as soon as possible can also call the company's customer service number at +1-877-798-3752. If asked for reference, they can say that the recall service number for their issue is SB-24-33-003.

Cybertruck buyers were recently informed that their deliveries had been delayed and were reportedly told that Tesla was going to issue a recall over a problem with the vehicle's accelerator. It followed an earnings call earlier this month, wherein the company revealed that it experienced its first year-over-year drop in deliveries since 2020. Tesla didn't share how many Cybertrucks it shipped exactly, but its shipments were down 20 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2023 and eight percent compared to the same period a year ago. A couple of weeks later, reports came out that the company is laying off more than 10 percent of its workforce to reduce costs and increase productivity. While all that information only came out over the past month, Tesla has been expecting a leaner year from the start, with Elon Musk previously warning shareholders that they will likely see "notably lower" sales growth for 2024. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Uber will start reminding passengers to wear their seat belt

Starting today, the Uber app will remind you to put on your seatbelt shortly after your ride starts. Passengers' tendency to not use a seat belt remains a significant concern, the ride-hailing service wrote in its announcement of the new safety feature, even though 50 percent of all vehicle crash deaths in the US in 2022 was caused by their non-usage. Now, your driver's phone will issue an audio reminder when you hop on, telling you to "Please use your seat belt for your safety." You'll also get a push notification on your phone at the same time that says: "Even on a short ride and seated in the back, use a seat belt for safety."

The company first started testing audio seat belt alerts in 2021 based on feedback from drivers. It said at the time that it believes the alerts will "increase seat belt use and help drivers ensure a safe environment while on a trip." This rollout makes it widely available in the US, UK, Taiwan, Latin America, as well as several countries in Africa. Uber intends to bring it to more territories in the future. 

The feature will only be enabled for your first five trips after the feature launches. Uber is likely hoping you'll get used to putting your seat belt on after those first five times, though it will send you a notification every 10th trip thereafter. The company also recently launched a new safety preferences section where you can find and automate the service's safety tools. From there, you can automatically switch on features like audio recording, PIN verification, RideCheck and Share My Trip. 


This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tesla halts Cybertruck deliveries due to 'unexpected delay'

Tesla has halted Cybertruck deliveries, telling owners that there has been an "unexpected delay regarding the preparation of your vehicle," Carbuzz has reported. One buyer on the Cybertruck Owners Club said he was told that Tesla issued a recall over a problem with the accelerator. 

"We have just been informed of an unexpected delay regarding the preparation of your vehicle. We need to cancel your delivery appointment on Sunday and we will reach out again when we're able to get you back on the schedule," Tesla wrote to another client. "We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to hosting your Cybertruck delivery soon!"

One owner posted a TikTok showing what might be the potential issue. Due to a problem with excessive lubricant on the accelerator pedal, the cover can loosen and slide toward the front, jamming into a gap in the floorboard. That effectively causes the accelerator to fully engage, creating an obviously dangerous situation. However, Tesla has not confirmed the exact reason for the delay or recall. 

Tesla said deliveries should resume on April 20 (yep), but the situation might create a ripple effect that slows later deliveries as well. The vehicle, which finally went into production late last year after numerous delays, has seen other complaints from buyers, too. Those include a lack of visibility, offroading difficulties, potential danger to occupants due to a lack of crumple zones, issues with the CCS adapter, lower range than expected, discoloration of the stainless steel body panels and more. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Mercedes’ new EQS looks a lot more like an S-Class

Mercedes-Benz has released a preview of its 2025 EQS electric vehicle model that comes with a new grille design featuring chrome slats against a deep black background along with a standing star on its hood. With just those changes, the upcoming EQS more clearly resembles Benz's S-Class vehicles, its counterpart in the automaker's non-EV lineup, than its predecessor does. In addition to the more traditional Benz look and upgrades that make its seats more comfortable, the 2025 EQS will also come with a larger battery. 

Its new battery has a larger usable capacity of 118 kWh, compared to the older model's 108.4 kWh. Of course, the higher the kWh, the longer an EV's range is — the first EQS had an EPA-estimated 350 mile-range, so expect Mercedes to announce a longer range than that. The 2025 EQS will feature new regenerative braking software that the automaker says can recover more energy for use, as well. That will also contribute to a longer range, lesser use of the car's brake discs and a better pedal feel. 

The automaker hasn't announced how much the model would cost yet, but prices will likely start at $100,000-plus when it arrives at US dealerships later this year. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Cruise's robotaxis return to Arizona roads

Cruise will start re-deploying its autonomous vehicles after a major upheaval last year that led to a pause in its operations, the loss of its CEO and the dismissal of a big chunk of its workforce, including several executives. In a blog post on its website, the GM subsidiary said it's resuming its manual driving activities in order to gather road information and create maps for its autonomous vehicles. The first fleet of Cruise vehicles to go out on the road again will be deployed in Phoenix, Arizona, though the company plans to expand to other cities as it continues to "engage with officials and community leaders."

If you'll recall, Cruise suspended all its driverless operations a few weeks after an incident in California, wherein one of its robotaxis ran over and dragged a pedestrian who was hurled onto its path after being hit by another vehicle. Both the California DMV and the California Public Utilities Commission revoked its licenses to operate in the state due to that incident and other safety-related issues. By November last year, Cruise also suspended manned robotaxi rides as part of an expanded safety probe conducted by an independent consulting firm. 

Kyle Vogt, the company's co-founder and CEO, resigned shortly after that. The company also dismissed nine key executives following an allegation by authorities that Cruise withheld a video showing the victim in the California incident pinned underneath its vehicle. In December, the robotaxi-maker laid off 24 percent of its workforce, which was around 900 personnel. The Intercept also reported last year that it saw internal safety assessment materials concluding that Cruise's vehicles had problems recognizing children. 

Cruise said in its post that it's been conducting testing on closed courses over the past few months as it works on rebuilding trust. All the robotaxis heading to Phoenix will be human-driven vehicles without autonomous systems engaged. Its ultimate goal, of course, is to deploy fully driverless vehicles again, but the company didn't say if it has a target date and didn't share a timeline if it does have one. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tesla settles lawsuit over fatal Model X crash that killed an Apple engineer

Back in 2019, the family of Apple engineer Wei Lun Huang (aka Walter Huang) sued Tesla a year after he was killed when his Model X crashed into a median in Mountain View while Autopilot was engaged. That case is officially closed, now that the automaker has settled the lawsuit on the very day jury selection was supposed to take place. According to CNBC and The New York Times, Tesla's lawyers asked the court to seal the settlement agreement so that the exact amount the company paid wouldn't be made public. The company didn't want "other potential claimants (or the plaintiffs' bar) [to] perceive the settlement amount as evidence of Tesla's potential liability for losses, which may have a chilling effect on settlement opportunity in subsequent cases."

Tesla confirmed shortly after the accident that Autopilot was switched on at the time of the crash, but it also insisted that Huang had time to react and had an unobstructed view of the divider. In a statement to the press, the company insisted that the driver was at fault and that the only way for the accident to have occurred was if Huang "was not paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings to do so." In the lawsuit, Huang's lawyers pointed to Autopilot marketing materials from Tesla suggesting that its cars are safe enough to use on the road without drivers having to keep their hands on the wheel at all times. We took the image above from a video on Tesla's Autopilot page, showing a driver with their hands on their lap. 

The incident became big enough to attract the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which conducted an investigation and found that Huang previously reported that the car steered away from the highway on prior trips. In fact, his family said that he used to complain about his car swerving towards the exact barrier he crashed into and had even reported it to the Tesla dealership, which couldn't replicate the issue. The agency also concluded that Tesla's collision warning system didn't alert the driver and that its emergency braking system didn't activate as it should have when the car started making its way toward the barrier. 

That said, the NTSB discovered, as well, that Huang was running a mobile game on his phone at the time of the accident. It just couldn't determine whether the phone was in his hands when the crash occurred. The Times said Tesla was preparing to show proof to the court that Huang was playing a game when he crashed, which his lawyers denied. Regardless of who's truly at fault, a trial would've called renewed attention to the safety of Tesla's driver assistance system. Settling puts an end to the case a few months before the company unveils its own robotaxi on August 8.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Tesla is reportedly focusing on robotaxis over its planned budget EV

Tesla has scrapped plans to make an affordable electric vehicle (EV), according to Reuters. CEO Elon Musk said as recently as January that he was “optimistic” the low-cost EV would arrive in the second half of 2025. The automaker will instead reportedly “go all in” on robotaxis, which Musk has described as the future of transportation.

The canceled entry-level EV project — often called “Model 2” — was reportedly codenamed “Redwood.” The automaker had predicted a weekly production volume of 10,000 vehicles, and Musk said, “We’ll be sleeping on the line” to make it a reality. He had previously claimed Tesla was working on two new EV models expected to sell up to five million units annually.

For nearly two decades, the CEO has described his long-term goal as using luxury vehicles to build Tesla’s brand before using those profits to fund budget models. “When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car,” Musk wrote in a 2006 “Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan” memo. In the following years, he often echoed those sentiments to customers and investors.

The cancellation would leave the $39,000 and up Model 3 sedan as Tesla’s cheapest vehicle. The scrapped budget model was expected to start at around $25,000.

Reuters’ sources told the outlet they were told about the cancellation in a late February meeting “attended by scores of employees.” The publication says it reviewed internal Tesla messages about the pivot, including one advising staff to hold off on telling suppliers “about program cancellation.” Other messages allegedly told staffers that “suppliers should halt all further activities related to H422/NV91,” referring to the budget model’s external and internal codenames.

Musk posted on X (Twitter) on Friday, “Reuters is lying (again)” in response to the story — without listing any points of contention.

Tesla has its work cut out for it. Not only has EV demand slowed in the US, but competition in China is fierce, with the fast-growing BYD leading the country’s entry-level market. The Chinese automaker said earlier this month that its sales increased 13 percent year over year. Meanwhile, Tesla said on Tuesday that its deliveries dropped eight percent annually while falling 20 percent from the previous quarter.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Ford delays some electric vehicles, renews focus on hybrids

Ford just announced some delays for electric vehicles, including the long-awaited three-row SUV. The car was supposed to come out next year but has now been delayed until 2027, with the company suggesting it will use the extra time to “take advantage of emerging battery technology.” Ford says it’ll be making moves to “mitigate the impact the launch delay will have on” the Canadian workforce.

The next-generation electric pickup, codenamed “T3,” is also being delayed from late 2025 to 2026. It’s being built at the Tennessee Electric Vehicle Center assembly plant at the company’s BlueOval City complex, though Ford says it's just now installing stamping equipment that will produce the sheet metal for the truck.

Alongside these announcements, the company has revealed a new push for hybrid vehicles. It has stated it plans on offering hybrid powertrains across the entire Ford Blue lineup by 2030. Despite the aforementioned delays and the pivot toward hybrid vehicles, Ford says it remains committed to EVs and that it's continuing construction of battery plants in Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky.

However, it’s no secret that the EV market is not quite as robust as companies once hoped it would be. Maybe it’s the high price of entry, the spotty charging infrastructure or the fact that some EVs do not qualify for the federal tax break. Heck, maybe consumers are simply turned off by a certain CEO who shall not be named

In any event, the slowdown is real, though perhaps a bit overstated. Ford experienced a decline in EV sales of 11 percent in January, but the company says it bounced back and that sales have increased by 86 percent throughout the entire first quarter when compared to last year. However, the company's EV offerings lost $4.7 billion in 2023.

“We are committed to scaling a profitable EV business", said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. To that end, the company announced last year that it would be delaying or canceling $12 billion in planned spending on electric vehicles. It’s unclear how today’s announcements will impact Ford's plans to ramp up production to 600,000 EVs per year. In any event, customers can now use Tesla Superchargers in the US and Canada, which should help assuage some of those infrastructure concerns.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at