Rivian Jumps On Board, Adopts Tesla's NACS Charging Standard

By Kevin Armstrong
Rivian is the latest manufacturer to adopt Tesla's connector
Rivian is the latest manufacturer to adopt Tesla's connector

Adding to the recent trend of manufacturers endorsing Tesla's charging standard, Rivian has adopted the North American Charging Standard (NACS). This move, expected to take effect in spring 2024 with Rivian users utilizing adapters, is a significant step towards standardizing EV charging infrastructure. Starting in 2025, Rivian vehicles will come equipped with Tesla-style charging ports as a standard feature.

Rivian Joins Ford, GM in Embracing Tesla's Charging Standard

In what seems to be an emerging industry pattern, Rivian follows in the footsteps of auto giants Ford and General Motors, who have recently committed to Tesla's charging standard. Rivian's CEO, RJ Scaringe, voiced his preference for the compactness of Tesla's connector and the opportunity to utilize the existing charging infrastructure that Tesla has painstakingly built.

Rivian, whose share prices have struggled until this key announcement, seeks to capitalize on the customer convenience and operational efficiency offered by Tesla's extensive Supercharger network. This move also implies an anticipated rise in Rivian's stock value, as was observed with Ford and GM after their similar announcements.

Tesla's Supercharger Network Opens Up to More EVs

With Rivian's adoption of the NACS, Rivian customers can look forward to accessing Tesla's 12,000-strong Supercharger network across the US and Canada. Existing Rivian vehicle owners are also set to benefit, with Tesla-designed adapters becoming available in spring 2024.

Tesla’s Charging Leadership - Who's Next?

The wave of adoption surrounding Tesla's NACS seems far from over, with Rivian's decision adding momentum to the trend. Speculation is rife over who will be the next EV manufacturer to join this growing alliance. Notably, Hyundai has indicated an interest in joining this cohort, which could further strengthen the case for NACS and Tesla's leadership in the EV charging landscape.

Tesla's recent traction in setting the industry charging standard reflects the increasingly recognized benefits of the NACS. Several major industry players, including BTC Power and EV charging providers like ABB E-mobility North America, Tritium DCFC, and EVgo, are rushing to add NACS plugs to their charging stations, heralding a potential shift towards widespread standardization.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

The acceptance of the NACS by a growing number of automakers is not just a victory for Tesla but for the entire EV industry. A universal charging standard simplifies the charging experience for all EV drivers, further encouraging the transition from internal combustion engines to electric power. Rivian's commitment to the NACS illustrates the company's acknowledgment of this fact, despite its previous endeavours to build its charging network.

The push towards a standardized charging infrastructure could catalyze wider EV adoption by mitigating the charging-related anxieties of potential EV buyers. As more and more car manufacturers follow suit in recognizing Tesla's NACS, the overall landscape of the EV industry is set to change drastically.

This trend may also play a pivotal role in promoting the collaboration and unity needed to achieve carbon neutrality goals worldwide. With Rivian joining the bandwagon and other major players likely to follow, Tesla's NACS continues to set the course for the future of EV charging, one plug at a time.

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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