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7/31/2014
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Tesla Cars: 8 Hot Technologies

Tesla Motors' electric vehicles pack plenty of technology breakthroughs. Explore the most innovative features found in these computers on wheels.
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(Source: Tesla Motors)
(Source: Tesla Motors)

Just how much technology does a Tesla electric car deliver? Let's start with over-the-air software upgrades, a 17-inch capacitive touchscreen, and a sophisticated array of computer processors.

In fact, you can think of the vehicles essentially as computers you can drive -- complete with 3G wireless and WiFi connectivity.

It's no wonder the Tesla roadster and the Model S generate plenty of buzz despite their limited sales to date and their high price range (starting at $70,000). The much-anticipated Model X will add an SUV to the company's offerings in 2015. Tesla Motors is expected to sell 35,000 vehicles this year.

In 2017, the company plans to introduce the Model 3, a $35,000 electric vehicle, while rumors abound that Tesla Motors is working on a self-driving car.

We're focusing here on the technology in the cars themselves. But Tesla Motors has a tech-forward approach to everything it does, from the sophisticated robotics in its manufacturing plants to its direct sales strategy, which relies on e-commerce, something that is shaking up the automotive industry. In addition, its groundbreaking supercharger stations, which are designed to let drivers recharge their vehicles in the span of a lunch break, are being built out around the country.

Here are the eight hottest technologies in Tesla Motors' electric vehicles, including a look at what the future might hold. Do you drive a Tesla? If so, tell us what you love (or hate) about it. If you're admiring the vehicles from afar, let us know what intrigues you most. Did we leave any of your favorite Tesla Motors technologies off the list?

Susan Nunziata works closely with the site's content team and contributors to guide topics, direct strategies, and pursue new ideas, all in the interest of sharing practicable insights with our community. Nunziata was most recently Director of Editorial for ... View Full Bio

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Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 5:01:39 PM
Re: Tesla
>Do you actually see Teslas in the wild in SF?

All the time. I haven't kept track but I'd bet I see at least one every day.

What's more, the infrastructure is starting to adapt. Many garages downtown have stalls reserved for electric cars.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 2:36:26 PM
Tesla
There's talk today that Tesla may build a big new battery factory in the US in Nevada. More on this after Tesla releases earnings. Do you actually see Teslas in the wild in SF?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 1:59:37 PM
Re: Love Me Some Tesla
@David: Sad to say I've never had the opportunity to test drive a Tesla myself, though I did get to sit in one and have all the grooviness explained. To your point: "a little more emphasis on what a car means (room for passengers, range, getting you there comfortably, etc). They seem to take that for granted."

It's not so much that they take those things for granted as they've sort of been asked and answered a thousand ways to Sunday in automotive design. While some reviewers did complain that the internrio trim looked a little cheap for a $70,000 car, the overall response to the room, range, getting you there questions have all been extremely positive.

In the case of Tesla, it really is the technology that makes my favorite cartoonist calls his "An Intergalactic Spaceboat of Light and Wonder."

Click here for more on his Tesla observations: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla_model_s

 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 1:31:23 PM
Love Me Some Tesla
Truly, I love me some Tesla. If I had $70K to use on a car, I'd buy one. No doubt. I'll also probably be first in line for the Model 3.

But I have to say, for some reason some of this was offputting to me. The 17 inch tablet screen for one thing. The concept of the "computer you drive," too. I know the modern car has crazy amounts of computing equipment in it, too. You can't escape it.

But one thing that has always bothered me about the way we load our cars with computers is that it makes it impossible for the average person to fix, especially at the side of the road.

I just did a slide show about loading cars with even more computers myself, so I'm not naive. It isn't going to stop. But there's something about the way that Musk seems to like the technology over the function that perks my ears the wrong way. I mean, it is a car first. Not a computer first.

I guess that is all marketing and maybe I shouldn't care. but i'd love a version without a tablet console and a little more emphasis on what a car means (room for passengers, range, getting you there comfortably, etc). They seem to take that for granted.
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