‘Not Based on Facts’: California’s DMV Accuses Tesla of Lying About Its ‘Self-Driving’ Cars

‘Not Based on Facts’: California’s DMV Accuses Tesla of Lying About Its ‘Self-Driving’ Cars

The California Department of Motor Vehicles says Tesla isn’t able to deliver on some of its boldest promises.

The agency alleges the EV maker misled consumers about the capabilities of its drivers assistance systems in two complaints filed with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings in late July, reports the Los Angeles Times. Although unlikely, the complaints could cause the company to temporarily lose the licenses it needs to manufacture and sell vehicles in the Golden State.

In the pair of filings, the DMV’s lawyers accuse Tesla of suggesting that EVs equipped with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies can operate autonomously, even though they cannot. The agency, which registers motor vehicles and issues driver licenses in California, claims the automaker “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts” at least five times on its website between May 2021 and July of this year. There are currently no vehicles, made by Tesla or any other company, capable of full autonomous driving.

Tesla Model Y 


Tesla’s Autopilot technology is included as a feature on all of its EVs, while a premium FSD option is available for $12,000 up front or on a subscription basis for $199 per month, according to CNBC. FSD users with a high driver safety score, as determined by Tesla’s proprietary software, are able to participate in an exclusive beta program that lets them test out unfinished driver assistance features on public roads. The company says more than 100,000 drivers have already participated in the FSD beta, and that most of them are located in the US.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Robb Report on Monday. The company dissolved its media relations department in the fall of 2020, although a press email address for press inquires is listed on its website.

Tesla has two weeks to respond to the accusations, otherwise the DMV could make a default decision, according to CNBC. It remains to be seen what consequences, if any, the automaker will face, but the complaint mentions the possibility that it could lose licenses to make or sell vehicles in California. That would be a worst-case scenario, of course, and it is likely that any punitive actions taken against the company will less drastic.

In an About-Face, Tesla Has Sold 75% of Its Cryptocurrency Holdings for Nearly $1 Billion Cash

In an About-Face, Tesla Has Sold 75% of Its Cryptocurrency Holdings for Nearly $1 Billion Cash

Elon Musk’s relationship with cryptocurrency is as complicated as the rockets he sends into space.

In 2021, Tesla sank $1.5 billion into Bitcoin, stating to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the investment would allow the carmaker “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize our returns on cash.” Tesla soon accepted cryptocurrency as payment for its EVs, and the carmaker raked in a breathtaking billion-dollar gain on investment in a mere 45 days. 

The stake was ambitious, especially since Tesla already claimed more than $19 billion in cash and cash equivalents in hand just a few months earlier. But as is often the case, Musk seemed ahead of the curve—until he decided to re-write the rules once again. Citing cryptocurrency’s environmental unfriendliness, Tesla abruptly rebuked Bitcoin as payment just 49 days later. Bitcoin’s price went on to soar as high as $68,990, with Musk’s every move—from provocative tweets to Saturday Night Live appearances—nudging the currency’s value until it plummeted to as low as $17,800 in June of this year. 

Tesla & Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/YSswJmVZhP
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2021

Last week, Tesla raised eyebrows again by selling approximately 75 percent of its Bitcoin holdings, converting them into $936 million worth of good old-fashioned fiat currency. The move called out concerns over uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 shutdowns in China. But during a quarterly earnings call, Musk insisted that “We are certainly open to increasing our bitcoin holdings in the future, so this should not be taken as some verdict on bitcoin.” He has even hinted that SpaceX, like Tesla, may soon accept Dogecoin as payment for merch.
Musk’s seismic recalculations have stirred the pot among some of his most diehard believers, inspiring a backlash from some of his most loyal fans. As for Tesla and how it relates to the auto industry at large, Musk has—and will likely continue to—defy the tried and true. For the naysayers, consider that at any other moment in history, the richest men in the world had accumulated their wealth through equally ambitious but more orthodox means. (Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Carnegie, these movers and shakers innovated within the constraints of their expansive empires.)

However, as we hurtle further into the tumult of the 21st century, through pandemics, political instability and brave new currencies, it seems Musk’s methods of madness might very well continue to find him landing on all fours.

Carmakers Can’t Keep Up With Booming EV Sales as Supply Chains Falter

Carmakers Can’t Keep Up With Booming EV Sales as Supply Chains Falter

As fuel costs continue to rise, many drivers are considering ditching their gas-powered vehicles for electric forms of transportation. But supply chain disruptions are making the switch more difficult than expected. 

The electric car industry is the latest to feel the effects of the world’s current production constraints. Manufacturers such as Ford are seeing record levels of demand, but are now scrambling to source the appropriate materials—namely, lithium-ion batteries. As a result, Ford was forced to cut off reservations for its highly sought-after all-electric pickup with more than 200,000 reservation holders currently in line, according to reporting from Road & Track.

“We just don’t have the manufacturing capacity to match the demand,” Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science at Argonne National Laboratory, told the magazine. “And even if we had a magic wand, we don’t have the mines and materials to supply these things, so there’s a long-term materials challenge.”

The desire to purchase an EV wasn’t always the love affair it is today. Being better for the planet is one thing, but from a range or performance perspective, earlier EV models were limited. Over time, technological improvements have enabled these cars to go faster and farther. But without access to EV batteries, or more specifically, graphite, a material lithium-ion batteries rely on, none of this is possible.  
 But help is reportedly on the way. On May 2, The White House announced that it would direct $3.1 billion toward supporting electric vehicle production in the US—and the materials needed to make them. This funding, along with battery manufacturing practices modeled by Tesla, has companies thinking about how they can optimize their own battery operations. Ford, for example, is expected to add 60 gWh in North America by 2025, while GM, Toyota and Volkswagen are likely to follow suit.  

With battery and raw material scarcities, exceedingly long wait times for electric vehicles have become a real concern for manufacturers who ultimately have no other choice but to hope that consumers will hold out. 

EVs May Have Reached a Tipping Point, as Registrations Rise by 60% in Early 2022

EVs May Have Reached a Tipping Point, as Registrations Rise by 60% in Early 2022

The EV’s moment may have finally arrived in the US.

Registrations for battery-powered cars, SUVs and trucks climbed by 60 percent through the first months of 2022, reports Car and Driver. Even more impressively, this has occurred while sales are slumping across the rest of the auto industry.
Registrations of EVs reached 158,689 in the US through the first quarter of 2022, according to a new study from credit reporting company Experian. The jump in sales comes at a time when overall automobile sales are down 18 percent. Because of this, the EV share of the automobile market has now reached 4.6 percent, a new high in the US.

2022 F-150 Lightning Pro 


Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer leading the way in EV registrations is Tesla. Elon Musk’s brand doesn’t release sales numbers, but Experian calculates that 113,882 of its vehicles have been registered through the first three months of the year. That means that nearly 72 percent of EVs sold in the US are made by the brand, which is actually an increase compared to last year.
The boom in EV sales and registrations isn’t just helping Tesla, though. Kia saw registrations rise by over 80 percent (to 8,450), Ford by 91 percent (7,407) and Hyundai by 300 percent (6,964), according to Car and Driver. All have released new EVs over the past year with more, like Ford’s much anticipated F-150 Lightning, to come this year and beyond.
Of course, EVs the still have a long way to go to catch up to their combustion engine counterparts—especially when compared to other countries. A 4.6 percent market share (Cox Automotive puts that number even higher at 5.2 percent) may be the new high watermark for EVs in America, but that figure is dwarfed by the 86 percent of sales that EVs make up in Norway, as one example. Still, with the monstrous GMC Hummer EV now on dealership lots—and the F-150 Lightning and even a battery-powered Chevrolet Corvette on the way—that gap is bound to shrink in the years to come.

Watch: You Can Now Take a Drone Tour of Tesla’s New Berlin Gigafactory

Watch: You Can Now Take a Drone Tour of Tesla’s New Berlin Gigafactory

After an eight-month delay, Tesla finally opened the new Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg last month. Now you can take a tour inside—virtually anyway.

The marque has just released a video of the the monolithic German plant via a new FPV drone. As the acronym suggests, the FPV drone provides a unique, first-person view of Elon Musk’s $5 billion factory and the EV manufacturing that occurs within.

Piloted by Ferdinand Wolf of Skynamic, the drone starts off outside showcasing hundreds of finished Model Ys, before entering the Gigafactory to demonstrate how the car is made. Throughout the three-minute clip, viewers will witness the massive machinery in action as hoods, doors and other parts come to fruition. The tour concludes with a shot of a long line of completed Model Ys. (To recap, the fully electric, mid-size SUV promises a range of 320 miles and will set you back around $60,000.)

The new Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg spans 1.2 square miles. 

Twitter/Elon Musk

The first European hub for the firm opened officially on March 22, with the first 30 Model Ys rolling off the line the same day. The Gigafactory, which is expected to employ some 12,000 workers, will eventually churn out 500,000 Model Ys each year. It will also produce millions of batteries annually at a rate that exceeds all other plants in Germany, according to the automaker.
Closer to home, Musk held a “Cyber Rodeo” on Thursday to mark the official start of production at Tesla’s new Giga Texas plant in Austin. The Tesla CEO says this will be the country’s biggest factory by size and will also be the highest-volume US auto plant when fully ramped up.
According to Musk, Giga Texas, which marks Tesla’s fourth assembly plant, will produce at least 500,000 vehicles annually from 2023. The factory will initially focus on the Model Y, before commencing production on the long-awaited Cybertruck next year. A new version of the Roadster sports car and the Tesla Semi is also in the pipeline.
There’s no tour of Giga Texas yet, but you can check out the Cyber Rodeo in full below:
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Elon Musk Says Tesla Will Start Selling the Cybertruck Next Year

Elon Musk Says Tesla Will Start Selling the Cybertruck Next Year

Tesla Cybertruck reservation holders rejoice—your all-electric pickup will be here next year.

Tech titan Elon Musk promised as much during the “Cyber Rodeo” grand opening of the EV maker’s new headquarters outside Austin, Texas on Thursday night. He also said that 2023 could see the debut of a couple of other anticipated Tesla vehicles as well.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that the Cybertruck, which was originally supposed to be available last year, would arrive in 2023. In a call with investors in January, Musk said the battery-powered truck would “most likely” go into production early next year. Thursday’s comments, however, were far more definitive.

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“We can’t wait to build [the Cybertruck] here,” the company’s CEO, who was wearing aviator sunglasses and a black cowboy hat, said during the live-streamed event. “Sorry for the delay. It’s been an intense couple of years. But we’re going to have this for you next year, and it’s going to be great.”
Musk, who was joined on stage by a hulking Cybertruck prototype and Tesla design chief Franz von Holzhausen, did not give any explanation for the delay. He did call the vehicle the brand’s “magnum opus” and said that it won’t have door handles because it “just knows that it needs to open the doors.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Roadster is scheduled to go into production in 2023 


The Cybertruck might not be the only new Tesla on the horizon. Musk also said that the Roadster and Semi—two vehicles he has been talking up for years—are also set to go into production in 2023. “This year is all about scaling up,” he said, “and then next year there is going to be a massive wave of new products.” The executive also mentioned a potential “dedicated robotaxi” but all he said about it is that it would look “quite futuristic.”
Still, Musk’s pledges should be taken with a grain of salt. Each of the vehicled he said will go into production next year have been delayed repeatedly in the past. Tesla is still the overwhelming leader in the EV sector, but these delays are starting to let the competition make up ground. If the Cybertruck does in fact go on sale next year, it’ll be Tesla’s turn to play catchup. Two battery-powered pickups, the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV, have hit the market since last fall and at least two more, the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV, could still see release before it does.

Watch: A Tesla Model X Plaid Just Smoked a Lamborghini Huracán Evo in a Drag Race

Watch: A Tesla Model X Plaid Just Smoked a Lamborghini Huracán Evo in a Drag Race

Here’s a trip down the drag strip that Tesla can be proud of.

After some recent drag-race losses, the EV maker is back in the win column after a Model X Plaid was caught on film besting the Lamborghini Huracán Evo over a quarter-mile. The EV doesn’t just beat the gas-powered supercar, either—it leaves it in its dust.
The video was posted to YouTube by DragTimes’s Brooks Weisblat earlier this week. Weisblat has used his Model X Plaid to beat other high-performance gas guzzlers like the Porsche 992 Turbo S in the past, and the race against the Huracán Evo was no different. In the first heat, the crossover SUV easily bests the supercar, even after giving it the briefest of head starts. It covers the quarter-mile in 9.89 seconds, while the Lambo does the same in 11.13. Both vehicles are faster in the second heat, but the Model X Plaid again comes out on top, making it to the finish line in 9.84 seconds compared to the Huracán Evo’s 10.84 seconds.

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Throughout the video, Weisblat never expresses even a modicum of doubt about his Tesla beating the Lamborghini. And if you look at horsepower it’s easy to see why. The Model X Plaid’s electric drivetrain pumps out 1,080 hp compared to the 630 hp produced by the Huracán Evo’s 5.2-liter V-10. The SUV is also much heavier than the supercar (5,390 pounds compared to 3,650 pounds), though, giving the supercar the advantage in power to weight ratio (5.3 pounds/hp to 5.5 pounds/hp). Despite this, the Model X Plaid made easy work of its rival.
The resounding wins represent a nice bounce-back for the EV maker. Since last summer, we’ve seen Tesla struggle on the track, albeit in unofficial races like the one above. In August, the battery-powered Rimac Nevera hypercar absolutely smoked the 1,020-hp Model S Plaid in a sprint. In February, the prototype of Aptera’s electric three-wheeler took down a Model 3 with ease. Of course, as embarrassing as some of these results may be, there’s a reason everyone wants to show what their cars can do against a Tesla: Drivers and enthusiasts now associate the brand with battery-powered high performance.
And maybe this latest race will help boost the Model X’s relatively anemic popularity. It could use the help.

Tesla Has Made Supercharging EVs Free for People Fleeing Ukraine

Tesla Has Made Supercharging EVs Free for People Fleeing Ukraine

Tesla is doing what it can to help people get out of Ukraine.

In response to Russia’s attack on February 24, the American marque, which is headed up by billionaire tech tycoon Elon Musk, has made charging EVs free for those fleeing the war-torn country.
In an email to local Tesla owners, the automaker announced that it would wave the fee for Supercharging in several countries around Ukraine. The email, which was published by Electrek, states that both Tesla and non-Tesla electric vehicles can be charged at no cost in Poland (Trzebownisko), Slovakia (Košice) and Hungary (Miskolc and Debrecen).

“We hope that this helps give you the peace of mind to get to a safe location,” the email reads.

Tesla claims its Supercharger can charge electric cars up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes. 

Courtesy of Tesla

To date, around 660,000 refugees have fled Ukraine following the Russian military’s invasion, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported Tuesday.
Tesla claims its Supercharger can charge electric cars up to 200 miles in just 15 minutes. The marque currently owns and operates around 30,000 Superchargers that are accessible on a 24/7 basis. While prices fluctuate per location, the average Supercharger will set you back $0.25 per KW, which means a full recharge to about 250 miles of range would usually cost around $22.
Tesla has previously offered free Supercharging to owners in the wake of natural disasters such as hurricanes, but it marks the first time the automaker has done so during a war. It also appears to be the first time that non-Tesla electric vehicles have been included, too. (Tesla no longer has a public relations department that can confirm this.)
Although Tesla doesn’t officially operate in Ukraine, there are many residents who have imported Teslas into the country themselves. In fact, the Kyiv Independent reported in January that there are currently about 30,000 electric vehicles on Ukraine’s roads.
Musk also recently sent a number of Starlink satellite terminals to Ukraine to improve the country’s internet. Hey, every bit helps.

First Drive: Lucid’s 1,111 HP All-Electric Air Dream Sedan Shows What the Future of Luxury EVs Can Be

First Drive: Lucid’s 1,111 HP All-Electric Air Dream Sedan Shows What the Future of Luxury EVs Can Be

In positioning itself as the great Tesla disrupter, Lucid Motors made performance claims for its debut-model Air that seemed destined for the vaporware ether. But now that deliveries have begun on the Lucid Air Dream Edition, and after testing some of these claims from behind the wheel, we’re delighted (and somewhat gobsmacked) to report that the Lucid Air is very real indeed.

The first thing that will strike you about the vehicle, assuming you’re unfamiliar with the limited-edition four-door’s spec sheet and its 1,111 hp figure, is the exterior design. Its proportions are imposing yet impressively balanced, a benefit of its clean-sheet architecture being divorced from the ubiquitous front-engine, four-box-sedan setup that’s defined the automotive landscape for almost a century. In Eureka Gold paint that was the equal in depth and finish to the best from camps such as Audi and Mercedes, the vehicle glittered in LA’s cool winter light like a sleek marine mammal. In fact, the Air Dream Edition shares the title of the world’s most slippery production car, equal to the Mercedes-Benz EQS with a mere .20 coefficient of drag.

Lucid fits a potent yet compact electric motor to both axles and powers each with a 118 kwh battery system that represents the brand’s segment-leading technological expertise, gained through building battery packs for the Formula E motorsport series, with roughly triple the power density delivered by Tesla. Hammer the throttle from a standstill and the 5,203-pound machine slingshots to 60 mph in 2.42 seconds on its way to a max speed of 168 mph.

The Air can rush from zero to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. 

Photo: Courtesy of Lucid Motors.

Dial it up from Smooth mode to Swift or Sprint and power shifts toward the rear axle as the Bilstein dampers stiffen to create a sportier drive. The Air responds aptly to steering inputs, but it’s more of a straight-line sprinter than canyon carver—handling is good but not great. Yet cruising is a joy in the large, minimalist cabin, which boasts the capacity of many full-size cars despite its midsize footprint; the vast greenhouse, topped by a glass-canopy roof that arcs down to the windshield, bathes occupants in natural light. Onboard amenities in the fully optioned, $169,000 Air Dream Edition include a crisp 21-speaker sound system and a curved, 34-inch 5K display, while the material choices for the model line—nappa leather or synthetic PurLuxe, alpaca wool, recycled yarns, sustainably sourced eucalyptus and open-pore walnut—offer elegant simplicity in a soothing palette.

Peace of mind is yet another available luxury thanks to the Dream Edition’s 520-mile range, as well as the ability to replenish 300 miles in just 20 minutes using DC fast charging. Considering the Tesla Model S Plaid’s 396-mile range, it’s further proof that Lucid is zooming to the front of the luxury-EV pack.

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