First U.S. Wireless Charging Road Installed in Michigan Will Help EV Adoption and Reduce Cost

By Kevin Armstrong
The project cost 6 million for the 1 mile strip, but costs are expected to decrease
The project cost 6 million for the 1 mile strip, but costs are expected to decrease
NBC News

Detroit has unveiled America’s first wireless-charging public roadway for electric vehicles, marking a significant advancement in EV infrastructure. This innovative project, located on a quarter-mile stretch of 14th Street near the iconic Michigan Central Station, demonstrates a remarkable feat of engineering and cooperation between public and private entities. It also further justifies Tesla's investment in wireless charging and the opportunities it presents.

The technology behind this marvel involves rubber-coated copper coils embedded beneath the road surface. These coils enable charging for EVs equipped with specialized receivers. During a recent demonstration, a blue electric Ford E-Transit van showcased the capability of this system, charging efficiently as it moved along the road. This fascinating technology display was complemented by a large video screen, providing real-time data on the energy transfer.

The project, a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation, Electreon, and other partners, represents a significant step towards scalable, wireless EV charging solutions. While currently limited to vehicles with specific receivers, this technology paves the way for broader applications and integration into the existing EV ecosystem.

Tesla's Strategic Move into Wireless Charging

Amidst these developments, Tesla's foray into wireless charging technology is timely. At the last Investor Day, Rebecca Tinucci, Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure at Tesla, hinted at incorporating wireless charging into Tesla's plans. The company then bought Wiferion, a German-based wireless charging startup. Wiferion's expertise in inductive charging systems, which are capable of delivering high power and enabling rapid charging, complements Tesla's vision.

Tesla then sold the company but kept its engineers. The strategic acquisition of talent significantly impacts the future of Tesla's charging infrastructure, potentially integrating these advanced technologies into its broader portfolio of products and services.

Reducing the Costs of EVs

Introducing wireless charging roads and Tesla's interest in the technology signals a transformative phase in EV charging infrastructure. While Detroit's project serves as a pilot, it has far-reaching implications. The technology would eliminate range anxiety and could reduce the need for large batteries in EVs, thereby decreasing vehicle costs and making them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, Electreon's focus on public and last-mile delivery vehicles opens new avenues for efficient urban transportation.

As we look ahead, expanding such technologies could redefine the EV experience. The prospect of seamless, on-the-go charging without the need for stationary charging stations presents a convenient and eco-friendly alternative. These developments enhance the practicality of EVs and signify a shift towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced future in automotive transportation.

Tesla Looks to Add New Full Self-Driving and Premium Connectivity Plans in Canada

By Kevin Armstrong
FSD subscription may be coming to Canada
FSD subscription may be coming to Canada

Tesla may soon support a monthly FSD subscription and the Premium Connectivity annual plan for Canadian customers. The possible move was discussed on X as Tesla’s Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development, Rohan Patel, responded to inquiries.

FSD Beta Subscription in Canada

The potential introduction of the FSD beta subscription in Canada represents a notable evolution in Tesla’s FSD pricing. The monthly subscription is available in the U.S. for $200 USD per month, this service allows Tesla owners to access the company’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Considering currency exchange rates, this could translate to around $270 CAD monthly for Canadian consumers. This pricing strategy aims to make Tesla’s ADAS features more accessible, offering flexibility to subscribe or unsubscribe based on individual needs and circumstances, such as seasonal driving preferences. Currently, Canadian customers only have the option to buy FSD in full at $16,000 CAD.

While a subscription service for FSD Beta may allow more drivers to try out the technology, it will also assist Tesla in gathering more information and improving the system faster. The more miles clocked by FSD, the more the system learns.

Miles driven on FSD
Miles driven on FSD

Premium Connectivity Annual Plan

Alongside the FSD beta, Tesla is exploring the possibility of offering an annual subscription model for its Premium Connectivity service in Canada. Tesla started offering an annual subscription for Premium Connectivity in the US back in 2022 at $99.99, representing a 20% savings. Premium connectivity offers drivers additional features such as Live Traffic Visualization, Satellite-View Maps, and streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube. The anticipated price for Canadian subscribers is set to be around $139.99 annually, offering a savings opportunity compared to the current monthly subscription rate of $13.99 CAD.

Patel's engagement on X highlights Tesla's proactive approach to addressing potential legal and regulatory barriers that might impede the introduction of these services in Canada. He committed to investigating these issues, underscoring Tesla's dedication to its Canadian customer base.

Strategic Investments and Enthusiastic Community

Tesla's plans for Canada go beyond just offering new subscription services. The company has made significant investments in manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain operations in the country.

Tesla FSD Beta v12 Auto Parks, Completes U-Turns, But Removes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Ability

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers

Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.

FSD V12 Does U-Turns

One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.

Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.

Parking Mode / First Glimpse at Park Seek

During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.

In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.

This could be our first glimpse at Tesla’s upcoming Park Seek feature that will eventually let the vehicle drop you off at the door and then go park itself.

Return of the Snapshot Button

Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.

Automatic Speed Offset

Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.

TACC is No Longer Accessible

Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.

This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.

Update 2023.44.30.20

FSD 12.2.1
Installed on 0% of vehicles
0 Installs today
Last updated: Feb 25, 6:00 am

Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.

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