Tesla has added Chinese communication app WeChat to its vehicles in China. They also added handwriting recognition, among other features.
Tesla’s version 2022.44.30.8 update in China added a host of features, which included Apple Music, a microcredit program, MangoTV, and a handwriting keyboard, according to IT House.
In China, WeChat is the go-to app for everything from calling and video chatting with friends and family to purchasing goods, sharing your location, and playing video games. The application is owned and developed by Tencent Technology, a major technology and entertainment company based in Shenzhen.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said in a podcast with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley that WeChat’s integrations are amazing and that “you can live on WeChat” in China, and the rest of the world doesn’t have anything remotely close to WeChat’s capabilities.
“We don’t have anything like WeChat outside of China,” Musk said at the time. “So, how about if we just copy WeChat?”
Musk has hinted at transitioning Twitter to being a similar all-in-one platform. “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk wrote on Twitter last year.
Tesla adds WeChat and handwriting recognition to its vehicles in China
In addition to WeChat, Tesla also added a new keyboard type to Teslas in China. Users now have the option of handwriting directly on the screen, which the keyboard will then translate into the closest Chinese character.
The feature appears to work by giving you a space to draw your character, it will then display an array of matching characters that you can select from.
For script-based languages, this makes text input much easier because of the large number of characters in the language.
We may see Tesla add handwriting recognition support in more languages such as Japanese in a future update. However, there likely isn't a need for such a keyboard in most regions that have much smaller alphabets.
Video of New Features
IT House briefly explained what this WeChat integration means in Tesla (translated from Chinese): “In addition, this update also [adds] the online microcredit program to the vehicle, allowing the vehicle to offer more services.”
Tesla’s making headway in China
In October of last year, a survey conducted by 12365Auto out of China about EV reliability listed Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3 vehicles as two of the most reliable electric vehicles on the Chinese market. The study found that there were an average 19.2 complaints per 10,000 EVs in China.
The data, which was shared on Twitter by @Moneyball_R, showed that the Model Y received only 2.22 complaints, with the Model 3 trailing slightly behind at 2.7 complaints.
Tesla's fourth quarter and 2022 earnings call with investors was mostly good news unless you were planning to drive a Cybertruck soon. While company executives eagerly jumped on every question asked by investors, there was a noticeable pause when a point-blank question was asked about Cybertruck's mid-year production date.
Elon Musk responded "um, we do expect production to start, I don't know, maybe sometime this summer. But I always like to try to downplay the start of production because the start of production is always very slow. It increases exponentially, but it's always very slow at first. So I wouldn't put too much thought in start of production."
Volume Production Next Year
If the millions of people with Cybertruck reservations were in attendance, you might have felt the air leave the room. The previous belief was mass production would start by the end of 2023. There may be some stainless-steel beauties on the road by then, but only a few. "It's kind of when does volume production actually happen, and that's next year," said Musk.
Perhaps sensing some disappointed buyers, Lars Moravy, Tesla's Vice President of Vehicle Engineering added, "(I'd) like just to emphasize on that, we've started installation of all the production equipment here in Giga Texas, castings, general assembly, body shops. We built all our beta vehicles, some more coming still in the next month, but as you said, the ramp will really come 2024."
The Cybertruck Will be Elon's Next Car
Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019 at the memorable event that included the unbreakable armor glass smashing. Musk was wearing the smashed glass Cybertruck t-shirt while taking questions from investors. While the wait continues, he is adamant that it will be worth it, "So it's an incredible product. I can't wait to drive it personally. It will be the car that I drive every day… it's just one of those products that only comes along once in a while, and it's really special."
The original release deadline was set for 2021. However, the production date has been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, like a global pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a positive sign that beta vehicles have been produced. Images of what appears to be a Cybertruck were leaked a few months ago.
Recently, chief designer Franz von Holzhausen did confirm that the Cybertruck was ready for production, but it's a work in progress. Every Tesla beta product gets thoroughly examined and meticulously reviewed before the next step. But at least it's a step in the right direction.
Tesla set new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations.
Tesla published their Q4 2022 and full-year financial results, setting new records in production and deliveries while beating analyst expectations. Tesla’s annual profit rose to $12.6 billion in 2022, from $5.5 billion in 2021. Annual revenue rose to $81.5 billion, from $53.8 billion the year prior. Tesla reported fourth-quarter revenue of $24.32 billion beating analysts' $24.07 billion estimate. The automaker also reported earnings per share of $1.19 beating analysts' $1.12 estimate.
Tesla’s stock rose more than 5% in after-hours trading following the earnings release and surged more than 10% the next day.
Tesla's Q4 2022 revenue set a new record for the company, up 59% from a year earlier. In addition to automotive revenue of $21.3 billion, Tesla recognized $324 million of deferred revenue from the company’s driver assistance systems.
FSD Beta Numbers
Tesla reported that 90 million miles have now been driven with FSD Beta, up from 58 million miles in the previous quarter. The company also confirmed that they have about 400,000 FSD Beta users in North America, a sizeable increase since the last report. With such a steep increase in miles driven and FSD Beta becoming widely available in North America, Tesla is making significant progress with its autonomous driving software.
In late 2022 and into this year, Tesla began cutting prices on its cars globally. Elon spoke about how recent price cuts have fueled a surge in demand for Tesla: “Thus far in January we’ve seen the strongest orders year-to-date than ever in our history. We’re currently seeing orders of almost twice the rate of production.” He added: “These price changes really make a difference for the average consumer.” Tesla acknowledges that average sales prices have to decrease over time because affordability is part of Tesla's mission to grow into a company that sells multiple millions of cars annually.
Price cuts will impact profitability, but margins should remain healthy, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn affirmed. Tesla has wider operating margins than the industry average, which allows them to make such price cuts.
Elon issued an uncertain forecast for 2023, saying Tesla planned on 1.8 million vehicles for the year without specifying whether that was a target for production or deliveries. If the company were to deliver 1.8 million vehicles in 2023, that would result in 37% annual growth.
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