How Tesla Should Handle Nag Removal Concern From NHTSA and Transport Canada

By Kevin Armstrong
NHTSA and Transport Canada are concerned about Tesla's removal of the Autopilot 'nag' screen
NHTSA and Transport Canada are concerned about Tesla's removal of the Autopilot 'nag' screen
@Greentheonly/Twitter

On the day that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released information about roadway fatalities, reporters were more interested in anything Tesla-related. Reuters stated the acting head of the NHTSA, Ann Carlson, made “comments to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington.” Those sideline comments were regarding the government’s review of crashes involving Teslas and the possibility of removing the steer wheel “nag” for Autopilot.

By the way, the NHTSA reported that fatalities due to car crashes in the United States appear to be leveling off after dramatic increases over the last two years. But back to Tesla.

Carlson told reporters that the government agency is investing a lot of resources in the Autopilot investigation that started in August of 2021. The acting head told Reuters, “The resources require a lot of technical expertise, actually some legal novelty, and so we're moving as quickly as we can, but we also want to be careful and make sure we have all the information we need."

Autopilot Changes are Coming

Part of the review is also said to investigate if drivers are paying attention when operating Tesla vehicles in Autopilot. The onboard alert system that assesses driver awareness has been activated in several crashes that the agency is investigating, which is why Carlson took particular interest in Elon Musk's recent tweet.

As we reported, Musk responded to a tweet from @WholeMarsBlog asking users with more than 10,000 FSD miles driven could have the option to disable the “tedious steering wheel nag.” Musk responded, "Agreed, update coming in Jan."

Carlson told reporters, “A very extensive investigation ongoing... We are in conversations with Tesla about this latest communication."

Removing the Nag

Musk also recently tweeted that a significant Full Self Driving update was coming in two weeks, including many major improvements. Given the timeline, this change to the steer wheel tension could be part of the FSD Beta V11.3 update. Therefore, it makes sense that the NHTSA has been in contact with Tesla. The results of its investigation could significantly impact the future of the autonomous vehicle vision that Musk has been working toward for years.

According to a recent tweet from DirtyTesla, he states a source told him that Transport Canada is already considering disallowing FSD Beta in Canada and that the removal of the steering wheel 'nag' could be the deciding factor.

DirtyTesla shared the message on Twitter:

"Transport Canada has been close to recommending they pull the plug on Beta in Canada because they don’t feel testing beta software with road users is safe. If the nag is removed they will most likely recommend it be pulled."

What Tesla Should Do

Tesla's reliance on detecting force being applied to the steering wheel was never a great solution. It doesn't provide continuous monitoring and it doesn't always properly detect resistance on the wheel, causing a lot of "not paying attention" prompts.

It sounds like Tesla is already in talks with the NHTSA, so we are hopeful that they're reaching an agreement they both feel good about. Other Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), such as BlueCruise already have hands-free driving on select highways. BlueCruise only monitors driver behavior through a camera similar to Tesla's in-cabin camera.

Instead of Tesla phrasing this as the 'removal of the steering wheel nag,' they should state that they'll be transitioning to better driver monitoring by leveraging their cabin camera and machine learning. Tesla launched vison-based driver monitoring two years ago. There have undoubtedly been improvements and they should state that they're now ready to transition to a system that allows improved monitoring while also reducing the need to 'nag' drivers at specific intervals.

Over the past seven years, the NHTSA has conducted nearly 40 special investigations where authorities suspected Autopilot was in use so their concern is understood, however, Tesla could do better to put them at ease.

Tesla Will Accelerate the Release of Its Next-Gen Model, While the Robotaxi Takes a Backseat

By Cláudio Afonso

Today, Tesla published its 2024 Q1 report, showing revenue of $21.3 billion, 9 percent lower than the same period last year and a total GAAP gross margin of 17.4%, down 19.1% in Q1 2023.

The company teased its upcoming Robotaxi and its next-generation platform saying its “purpose-built Robotaxi product will continue to pursue a revolutionary ‘unboxed’ manufacturing strategy”.

Tesla mentioned that it suffered “numerous challenges“ during the first quarter including the Red Sea conflict and the arson attack on its GigaFactory in Berlin and the ramp-up of the updated Model 3. Earlier today Tesla officially announced its new Model 3 Performance model.

Accelerating the Launch of its Next-Gen Model

The company said it will accelerate the launch of new models including its upcoming “$25k,” next-gen vehicle. Tesla stated:

“We have updated our future vehicle line-up to accelerate the launch of new models ahead of our previously communicated start of production in the second half of 2025. These new vehicles, including more affordable models, will utilize aspects of the next generation platform as well as aspects of our current platforms, and will be able to be produced on the same manufacturing lines as our current vehicle line-up.”

When it comes to layoffs, Tesla says it undertook “a cost-cutting exercise to increase operational efficiency” adding it is “focused on profitable growth” by “leveraging existing factories and production lines to introduce new and more affordable products”.

The automaker reaffirmed its focus on autonomous driving with the recent price cuts on the purchase and subscription of its FSD software in the US and Canada.

“The future is not only electric, but also autonomous. We believe scaled autonomy is only possible with data from millions of vehicles and an immense AI training cluster. We have, and continue to expand, both. To make FSD (Supervised) 5 more accessible, we reduced the price of subscription to $99/month and the purchase price to $8,000 in the US.”

Robotaxi

Tesla also revealed that its Robotaxi will now differ from its next-gen vehicle. Although Tesla will follow more traditional processes for producing its more affordable vehicle, Tesla says the Robotaxi will still follow the new, more efficient, “unboxing” manufacturing strategy. This comes just days after Musk said the Robotaxi will essentially be its next-gen model without a steering wheel.

Tesla’s quarter-end cash, cash equivalents and investments were $26.9 billion.

Earlier today, Tesla launched officially the highly expected Model 3 Performance with deliveries starting in May. The new version starts at $45,490 (after applying the $7,500 Federal EV tax credit).

In recent weeks, the company has been reducing prices in its primary markets, including China and the United States. The initiative followed the recent introduction of lower and even 0% interest financing programs in certain markets.

At the time of this writing, Tesla stock is currently trading 7 percent higher at $145 per share.

Tesla Officially Launches the New Model 3 Performance, Deliveries Start Next Month

By Cláudio Afonso

Today, a few hours before releasing their first quarter financial results, Tesla launched the highly anticipated Model 3 Performance. The new version starts at $45,490 (after applying the $7,500 Federal EV tax credit) and deliveries are scheduled to start in May.

With 510 horsepower and a top speed of 163 mph, the new Performance variant brings an improved sound system, a re-designed interior featuring more comfortable rear seats with some features coming directly from the recently revamped Model 3. Tesla also says that the new Performance model has “significantly less” road and wind noise thanks to the rear spoiler and changes to the front bumper.

“The front and rear fascias, rear diffuser and carbon fiber spoiler work together to help reduce drag and improve lift balance at high speeds”

Tesla’s most powerful Model 3 ever is now cheaper than the Model 3 Long Range after the federal tax credit. The Model 3 Performance model is the only Model 3 variant that is eligible for the government incentive.

Performance

The new Performance model comes with 20
The new Performance model comes with 20

While the new Performance model is largely based on the recently revamped Model 3, while including design changes to the front and rear diffuser, as well as the addition of a rear spoiler. In terms of performance, the model announced today offers a 22% increase in continuous power, a 32% increase in peak power, and an additional 16% of peak torque. The Performance model now has 500 hp and includes a “performance” motor that’s unique to the Performance model.

The new Model 3 Performance is capable of going 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the previous incarnation. It didn’t take long for Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk to comment on X stating that the Model 3 Performance is “quicker than a Porsche 911.”

Specs of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance
Specs of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance

Track Mode V3

The new Model 3 Performance is equipped with an updated Track Mode, v3, that features an all-new calibration for the powertrain and adaptive suspension.

Tesla's Track Mode V3
Tesla's Track Mode V3

Range

The Model 3 Performance has an EPA range of 296 miles (476km) on a single charge, an increase of 10 miles (16km) when compared to the previous version while being slightly lower than the Long Range variant.

Rear Display

As seen in the revamped version of the Model 3, Tesla is also bringing the rear 8” touchscreen with climate controls, Bluetooth connectivity and entertainment for the rear passengers. With Tesla update 2024.14, Tesla is improving the rear screen by adding trip information, time and temperature information to the top of the display.

Exterior view of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance
Exterior view of the new Tesla Model 3 Performance

All-new Adaptive Suspension

According to Tesla, the new adaptive dampening system adjusts to driver and road input in real-time. While the new Model 3 already included suspension improvements over the previous generation, the Performance model takes it one step further.

New Seats

The new model includes the new Sport Seats that we’ve seen in spy shots before. Although the new model is officially named “Performance,” the sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge. The seats include improved side and cushion bolsters to help keep you in an ideal driving position

The new Sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge
The new Sport seats feature the Ludicrous badge

Deliveries

The model just went up for sale a few hours ago, but orders placed minutes after the launch show an estimated delivery of May/June 2024 in the United States. In Canada, where the Model 3 Performance starts at CA $69,990, the estimated delivery is currently slated for June/July.

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