Tesla Adds 4680-Based Model Y Variant and Slashes Prices Across the Board

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla made significant price changes across its line up
Tesla made significant price changes across its line up

Tesla, the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer, has announced yet another round of price reductions on its popular models. This move is expected to attract more buyers and help the company meet its ambitious sales targets for the year. In addition, it aims to satisfy investors and maintain its position as a market leader.

Model S and Model X Receive Significant Price Cuts

The most notable price cuts are for Tesla's luxury offerings, the Model S sedan and Model X SUV. All versions of these electric vehicles are now $5,000, following similar $5,000 price cuts a month ago and even more significant reductions in January. The Model S Plaid, for example, has seen a massive $21,000 discount since last year.

Model 3 and Model Y Get More Affordable

To make Tesla's vehicles more accessible to a broader audience, the company has also reduced the prices of its more affordable models. The Model 3 sedan now comes with a $1,000 price cut across all variants. A rear-wheel-drive Model 3 now starts at $41,990, down from $43,990 in January. However, it's worth noting that the RWD Model 3 will lose half of its IRS clean vehicle tax credit starting April 18. All-wheel-drive Model 3s and all Model Ys will still qualify for the full $7,500 credit.

Introducing the Model Y AWD with 4680 Battery

Tesla has expanded its Model Y lineup by adding the Dual Motor AWD variant, powered by the innovative 4680 battery cells. Priced at $49,990 before incentives, this model offers 279 miles of range, a top speed of 135 mph, and a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds. The addition of this new Model Y variant showcases Tesla's progress in ramping up 4680 battery cell production, a crucial part of their strategy to improve battery efficiency and reduce vehicle costs.

The pricing of the Model Y SUV has experienced several changes in recent months. In January, Tesla reduced the prices of the Model Y Long Range and Model Y Performance by $13,000. However, the company later increased the prices by $2,000, following a decision by the US Department of Treasury regarding clean vehicle tax credits.

Now, Tesla has once again cut the prices of the Model Y Long Range and Model Y Performance by $2,000, making them more attractive to potential buyers. The new starting prices for these models are $52,990 and $56,990.

Tesla's Push to Meet Ambitious Sales Targets

Despite a 36% growth in global sales, Tesla fell short of its ambitious targets earlier this year. However, by lowering vehicle prices, the company aims to accelerate sales and reach its goals in the year's remaining months. These price reductions, coupled with Tesla's commitment to innovation and environmental sustainability, are expected to help maintain its position as a leading player in the electric vehicle market.

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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