Anticipated Range Boost Coming With Tesla Model 3 Project Highland

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's base Model 3 is expected to get a boost in range
Tesla's base Model 3 is expected to get a boost in range
Tesla

Rumors are circulating that Tesla is planning to rev up the base battery of its Model 3. Reports from China hint at an upgrade from a 60 kWh to a 66 kWh battery pack, promising a 10% boost to the EV's driving range. The speculated move is tied to Tesla's ambitious Project Highland, expected to introduce an array of improvements to the Model 3's design and performance.

Model 3's Battery Upgrade: More than Just a Power Boost

The upgraded battery is reportedly the result of a collaboration with CATL, utilizing their M3P lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery packs. While this technology promises greater energy storage, it also aligns with Tesla's ongoing commitment to production efficiencies and cost reduction.

In the Model 3's early stages, its base variant, the Rear-Wheel Drive, had a 55kWh battery, which Tesla later bumped up to 60kWh. This new upgrade would add another 6kWh, potentially giving drivers an extra 30 miles (50km) of driving range.

But the benefits of this battery upgrade don't stop at distance. The M3P battery packs are also cheaper, hinting at an upcoming reduction in the Model 3's production costs. This move could mean more competitively priced Tesla cars on the market, boosting their appeal to a wider demographic of eco-conscious drivers.

Impact on Tesla's Market Position

The battery upgrade comes at a critical time. Despite the Model 3's substantial sales numbers, Tesla faced a slight slump in sales in China last year. However, this upgrade, alongside other anticipated changes under Project Highland, could give the Model 3 the much-needed revitalization to rebound and continue to dominate the EV market.

Tesla's consistent pattern of upgrading batteries with every model redesign has been a key driver of its competitive advantage in the electric vehicle market. By introducing higher capacity batteries in Model 3, the company continues to push the boundaries of EV technology and solidify its market position.

The revamped Model 3, equipped with the new 66kWh battery, could set a new standard for range in electric vehicles. Although Tesla has not officially announced any of the changes associated with Project Highland, sightings of test vehicles and reports from insiders fuel anticipation for the Model 3's imminent overhaul. Enhanced drone restrictions at Giga Shanghai suggest that the company might be testing the vehicles on factory grounds.

If these rumors hold, the upgraded Model 3 will offer a greater driving range and reaffirm Tesla's position as the trendsetter in the EV market. All eyes will undoubtedly remain on Tesla as it continues to drive the future of electric vehicles.

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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