Tesla reveals Model S Plaid and Plaid +

Tesla has recently announced its latest update to the Model S – now with triple motors, some mind-blowing specs and a whole a new interior. The current range is now filled with the Long Range edition with dual motors and all-wheel drive which has a 412 mile range and now the triple motor Plaid and Plaid + with 390 and over 520 miles respectively.

The new Plaid and Plaid + versions come with a new top speed of 200mph, acceleration to 60mph in 1.99 seconds with a peak power output of 1,020hp and 1,100+hp. Tesla has always had some insane numbers and it keeps pushing for mainstream manufacturers to catch up.

It has recently updated its interior too, swapping a normal round steering wheel to a yoke style steering wheel and removing all stalks including the gear stalks. The Model S will now use Ai to determine which gear you need. The indicators, horn and lights are now buttons on the steering wheel.

Another major change to the interior is the central screen. It has been changed from a vertical orientation to a 17-inch horizontal one, as well as a 12-inch driver display. The ventilation buttons have also been moved to the screen, meaning there are barely any physical buttons. There is also a new 22-speaker, 960-watt audio system with active noise canceling that offers the best listening experience at home or on the road.

The car now has Multi-device Bluetooth, wireless and USB-C fast charging for every passenger with enough power for your laptop provide even more connectivity and convenience. At the back, there is a secondary screen to allow gaming from any seat.

The battery pack now has a new module and pack thermal architecture allows faster charging and gives you more power and endurance in all conditions. And as per most Teslas, the cars all have Auto Pilot, Auto Lane change, Autopark and Summon.

Prices start at £83,980 for the Long Range, whilst the Plaid and Plaid + start at £110,980 and £130,980 with deliveries due to start in 2022.

Tesla Powerbank

If you have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you may have missed out on Tesla’s mic drop moment when Elon Musk surprised the motoring world with the Roadster 2.0. Said to seat four, hit 60mph in 1.9 seconds and with a range of over 600 miles on a single charge it will be a game changer.

8756721-00-A_5If the $250,000 price tag might be a little much for some Tesla fans along with the long wait till delivery – here is something to keep any Tesla fan happy. The Tesla Powerbank. Designed to mimic the Supercharger, this neat little power brick has a 3,350mAh capacity to keep your phone well juiced.

The Powerbank features an inbuilt USB and Apple lightning connector as well as a detachable microUSB for Android devices. This Powerbank may be a little pricey at $45 but is a perfect xmas gift for any Tesla fan.

Driverless cars – Who will be to blame?

The Luddites were an interesting bunch. Rioting and protesting in fear of machines taking their jobs in the textile industry which in the end, required the army to suppress. But what the Luddites dreaded eventually came true and technology today is replacing workers around the globe. Now, the automotive network is in a similar situation. On the back of reading a thread on PistonHeads, I’d like to discuss more when, than, if autonomous cars are going to form part of the driving network.

On enthusiast motoring sites, focus is on the driver’s car, occasionally snubbing lower-end models for those where engineers are allowed to show off their prowess. But, even these cars are susceptible to smidgens of new technology, take the Porsche 911 (991) GT3 RS as an example. The first of its kind to ditch the manual gearbox in favour of a 7-speed PDK. In turn, everyday cars are fitted with more and more sensors slowly removing the driver from driving situations, helping to keep the car in lane and keeping a safe distance between it and the lead car in motorway traffic.  I’ll be honest, I am all for these updates as it helps drop insurance premiums due to less incidents.

audi_rs7_autonomous_05Tech showcase
Tesla, Google and Audi have showcased driverless technology over the past few years with the latter proving its autonomous capabilities by letting the RS7 tackle the Hockenheimring and chauffeuring celebrities to the red carpet. Tesla’s autopilot system combines laser cruise control, lane assist and a combination of sensors, radars and cameras to steer you safely to a parking space.

A parade lap on an empty race track is a little different to the school run where children may dart out at any instant. Who is to blame if and when there is an accident? Google’s own test car has had minor incidents at low speeds blaming other drivers over a six-year period racking up over a million miles. There has been one incident involving a bus where the Google car was to blame.

google_car_001Programmed to kill
Before getting behind the wheel, a driver must study endless scenarios and rules. Drivers learn that larger vehicles (buses and lorries) are a lot less likely to give way and drivers in certain makes refrain from using indicators. It all comes with experience. An experienced driver will also manoeuvre a car to avoid hurting a passenger during a crash. But how can you teach that to a driverless car?

Are manufacturers programming cars to minimise the loss of life even it it means sacrificing the driver and passengers? Humans have an innate need to survive so a car that can potentially sacrifice the driver is one that may sway the buying decision. An MIT report states, “people are in favour of cars that sacrifice the occupant to save other lives — as long they don’t have to drive one themselves.”

google_car_002Volvo has joined Google by accepting full liability for accidents of their driverless cars in turn pushing the US government to set up consistent rules across states. In the US, it is illegal to jaywalk making it easier to test autonomous vehicles but here in the UK we aren’t as patient – we bolt across the street expecting the wrath of the angry driver if we leave it a little too late.

Currently, the UK allows for autonomous testing,  ‘providing a test driver is present and takes responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle; and that the vehicle can be used compatibly with road traffic law.’

Summer 2017 will see the Government reviewing and amending domestic regulations to accommodate driverless tech but driverless lorries are being trialled on the M6 later this year.

When the autonomous car takes over from the driver’s car could it mean the road and highway code as we know it could disappear? And will the ethical thinking of the car play a major part in the buying process? These are questions I can’t answer but I am very intrigued to find out.

 

Sources: Gov UKTED TalksGoogleAutocarNextweb, Tech CrunchMIT Technology review, BBC News, Spectator

SPIED: Tesla Model X

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Images of a barely camouflaged Tesla Model X being tested through California streets have surfaced.

The all-electric four-wheel drive model, which will have the power packs of its executive sibling, the Model S meaning a 60kWh, 85kWh and the 85kWh Performance pack will be available. These figures will pretty much annihilate any other SUV on the road for sheer brute power and acceleration. Porsche Cayenne Turbo and Range Rover Sport owners beware.

It is likely to gain the large, beautiful and functional 17-inch touch screen as in the Model S as well as the safety features such as Autopilot, that allows the car to follow the flow of traffic, changing lanes simply by indicating and being aware of its surroundings.

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Falcon doors as originally seen on concept drawings are still rumoured to be part of the Model X as it will allow easier entrance and exit to the third row of seats enabling the driver to ferry up to seven adults at one given time.

Prices and further details on the options will be available closer to the reveal. Expect to see the Model X on drives by early 2016.