Tesla Cars: 8 Hot Technologies - InformationWeek

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7/31/2014
10:46 AM
Susan Nunziata
Susan Nunziata
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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 leads 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 EnterpriseEfficiency.com, a UBM ... View Full Bio

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Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/26/2014 | 8:27:52 PM
Re: Love Me Some Tesla
@mejiac: There are too many players with too much $$ invested in Big Oil for this change to happen overnight. Eventually, though, the business will shift and once it's seen that there is also money to be made in this new vehicle paradigm things will fall into place. I hope the kind of network we're talking about here for service and charging stations will become ubiquitous in our lifetimes.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 3:06:47 PM
Re: Love Me Some Tesla
@Mejiac: So I guess we can expect for geek squad to start servicing our cars.

Ha! Very true. And maybe they'll even make house calls...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 3:03:27 PM
Re: Great article, but...
@Teslaliving: Thanks for sharing that. i'm so going to book a test drive now. and I love that you got to pick up your test vehicle at a store in the mall. Talk about an unusal test drive experience.

This is my favorite part of your post:
  • I found out for test drives they software limit the vehicle to 80 mph max. He explained that it accelerates so fast test drivers were getting tickets. No comment on how that topic came up :p

Having almost gotten a speeding ticket when I took my first MINI cooper test drive (the dealer managed to talk the NY State Trooper out of it, bless him) I can totally relate.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 3:48:48 PM
Re: Love Me Some Tesla
@mejiac: What's interesting too is how electric/hybrid vehicles in general, and Teslas in particular, are completely rewriting what it means to be a auto mechanic. Even the word mechanic is a misnomer these days--there's so little that's actually mechanical in these vehicles. These folks are basiclaly having to become software engineers.

I imagine that auto repair people are having to go through a serious learning curve in order to work on these vehicles. I suspect that the days of going to the local auto mechanic may be fading, as we will increasingly need to go back to the automaker's own service centers for any repairs that can't be executed over the air.

It's really flipping around everything we've come to know and accept about automobiles and how they work...
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 3:44:48 PM
Re: Tesla Gigafactory
@Pedro: They really are setting a new benchmark in how we think about automobiles, and the technology in a Tesla is far more compelling to me than anything I've read about driverless cars, for example. I suspect that most automakers are watching Tesla closely, and that these innovations will eventually become de facto standards for vehicles, even if it takes 10 or 20 years.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 3:42:59 PM
Re: Tesla feedback
@TeslaLiving: That's great info. I'm puzzled by the USB music thing...Are there upgrade options? I can't imagine it would be easy (or even possible) to add an aftermarket sound system into a Tesla. Being a bit of an audio snob I'd definitely want more options for my music--do you happen to know who the OEM is on the audio system?

Maybe Neil Young can get them to add Pono, LOL.

Also, the Nav...What?! that's quite shocking in an era when smartphone apps such as Waze exist that blow away any in-car nav systems I've seen. Perhaps they need to partner with someone on that...

But really, it's about the dirving experience at the end of the day, and your description makes me seriously want to go out on a test drive.

Maybe I can launch a Kickstarter campaign to help fund my purchase of a Tesla...

:)

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/5/2014 | 3:36:17 PM
Re: Great article, but...
@ThomasM513: Oh man, I'm so scared to go on a test drive...I might be tempted to cash in my retirement savings to buy one. In all seriousness, thanks for the correction about the key. There is so much about the Teslas that defy our common perceptions about how a car "should" function that it's easy to trip up. I particularly enjoy explaining to people that the tesla motor has only one moving piece, unlike typical combustion engines.

Tell me more about your test drive so I can live vicariously.

Did you end up buying one??
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 1:51:13 PM
Tesla Gigafactory
Here's some international perspective on the Tesla battery factory from our colleagues at EETimes:

Is Tesla's Gigafactory a Gigablunder for Panasonic?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 1:40:22 PM
Re: Tesla feedback
@teslaliving: You may be the first actual Tesla driver to join our discussion, welcome! Good info there...thanks for the blog link. Sounds like you're suffering thru the tech quirks that come with being an early adopter.

How is the 3G/Wifi connectivity?

What do you like most about driving a Tesla?

What do you hate most?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 1:36:26 PM
Re: Wanted to admire the Tesla
@LiTan: Thanks, and you're right, there is a lot the company needs to do from a business and manufacturing standpoint. They are also facing challenges in U.S. state markets, where there are legal restrictions preventing automakers from selling direct to consumers--they have to sell thru franchised dealerships, and Tesla is trying to change how that business gets done. The company is getting resistance and possibly facing legal challenges in many U.S. states.

Another issue standing in their way is battery availability and cost...they need more than they can currently buy and until there's lithium ion battery availability for them on mass scale they're going to remain a niche player.
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