Tesla Will Announce Its Third Generation Vehicle Platform in March

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla will announce its third generation vehicle platform at its Investor Day event in March
Tesla will announce its third generation vehicle platform at its Investor Day event in March
TopElectric/YouTube

Tesla's worth in the stock market plummeted to end 2022 and to start 2023; it posted lower-than-expected deliveries. There are no doubts that investors are uncertain, which may be why the company announced its first-ever Investor Day. The event will take place on March 1, 2023, and the company provided a few tidbits of what to expect, including the generation three platform.

Generation 3 Platform

Picking up where Elon Musk left the third quarter earnings call, Tesla is ready to announce plans for the next phase of the company's production. During the call in October, Musk said, "we don't want to talk exact dates, but this is the primary focus of our new vehicle development team, obviously. At this point, we've done the engineering for Cybertrucks and Semi. So, it's obviously what we're working on, which is the next-generation vehicle."

The CEO also revealed that the engineers were tasked with a two-for-one target, including cutting costs and production times. Musk added, "we're twice the output. And we do believe this can be done."

What's the Next Tesla Product?

During the Semi delivery event on December 1, 2022, there was a slide titled: Covering Major Forms of Terrestrial Transport. The slide included Models S, 3, X, Y, Semi, Cybertruck and Robotaxi. Robotaxi also appeared in the second quarter earnings report indicating that it was 'in development.'

However, there is speculation that the third generation could be the most affordable Tesla yet. The number most often heard is $25,000, which, if true, would be a game changer by removing the most significant barrier for many people who want to own an electric vehicle.

Musk said, "It will be smaller, to be clear. But it will, I think, certainly become, certainly exceed the production of all our other vehicles combined." That would be music to investors' ears.

Making things even more interesting, Tesla's Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, was recently asked to name his favorite model. He responded, "my favorite one is the one that is coming. I can't talk about (it)." I speculated the sports car fan who grew up in the wedge era and had posters of Lamborghini Countachs on his wall must've been referring to the next Roadster. But von Holzhausen also talked about how cool it is to see Teslas everywhere; perhaps he is excited to see a more affordable Tesla hit the market.

According to the short news release Tesla sent out announcing Investor Day, the company will also discuss long-term expansion plans, capital allocation and other subjects. However, Tesla's earnings call is scheduled for January 25, and we will get more information, or yet another tease, of what is next for the company.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

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