Tesla to Redesign the Cybertruck Aero Covers Due to Tire Issues

By Kevin Armstrong
YouTube/T Sportline - Tesla Upgrades & Accessories
YouTube/T Sportline - Tesla Upgrades & Accessories
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Tesla had a lot of challenges in making the seemingly indestructible Cybertruck, but it appears the Achilles' heel is the tires, or more specifically, what is on the tires. The aero wheel covers are causing an issue, as insightfully documented by T Sportline - Tesla Upgrades & Accessories on their YouTube channel. Cybertruck deliveries started in December, which opens a conversation about Tesla's design and Goodyear's role in this scenario.

Identifying the Friction Point

The Cybertruck's futuristic design extends to its aero wheel covers, which have been flagged for causing excessive wear on the tire sidewalls. This issue was brought to light through detailed observations in T Sportline's video, revealing that the covers' design could lead to potential problems after extensive use. Given that Goodyear has been identified as the manufacturer of these specialized tires, questions arise about the testing and validation process of such an integral component of Tesla's electric pickup.

The wheel covers have been spotted on test versions of the Cybertruck for years, and so too have the Goodyear's tires. The collaboration between Tesla and Goodyear on this aspect begs the question: Should Goodyear have conducted more rigorous testing to anticipate the real-world implications of the cover's design on tire wear?

A video shared on X revealed several Cybertrucks poised for delivery, notably without their wheel covers. It appears Tesla has recognized the problem and promptly ceased dispatching Cybertrucks equipped with the existing aero covers. This implies an inevitable redesign of the aero covers, along with a potential revamp of tire design by Goodyear. The tire company recently unveiled new EV-specific tires.

Tesla's Proactive Stance and Future Directions

While Tesla is at the helm of the Cybertruck's overall design, including the aero covers, Goodyear's expertise in tire manufacturing also places some level of responsibility on their shoulders. It's essential to consider whether the testing protocols for these tires adequately reflected the unique dynamics introduced by the aero covers.

This scenario highlights the complexities of automotive design and the need for comprehensive testing that simulates real-world conditions as closely as possible. Both Tesla and Goodyear have an opportunity to learn from this experience, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and communication between vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers. As Tesla works on redesigning the aero covers, there is a valuable lesson in ensuring that every vehicle component, down to the tires, is optimized for performance, safety, and longevity.

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.
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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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