[FoRK] Tesla -- Forget the Model 3, here's where the real money is

Lucas Gonze lucas.gonze at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 09:46:35 PDT 2016


http://recode.net/2016/04/03/a16z-led-a-3-1-million-round-in-aftermarket-autonomous-car-company-comma-ai/


George Hotz is a famed hacker turned software engineer who recently made
waves <http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-george-hotz-self-driving-car/>
for retrofitting an Acura with homemade software that enabled the otherwise
standard vehicle to semi-autonomously drive down a highway. Hotz had built
a semi-autonomous car out of his garage; he planned to do it again en
masse, and he wanted to take on the likes of Tesla and Google in the
process.

As it turns out, investors are keen
<https://medium.com/@cdixon/comma-ai-e62eea5fa8d2#.j8zsvsdgv> to help Hotz
do just that. Today, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon confirmed a
previous report
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2016/03/08/george-hotz-comma-ai/#65e8e83d493b>
and announced that the firm was leading a $3.1 million round of funding in
Hotz’s company, Comma.ai.

In the company’s march to full autonomy, Hotz plans to use the cash
infusion in his otherwise self-funded company to add a few more engineers
to his staff of four full-time employees, and to take Comma to launch by
the end of the year, when he hopes to begin selling an aftermarket
semi-autonomous kit for under $1000.


On Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 10:42 AM, Gregory Alan Bolcer <greg at bolcer.org>
wrote:

> Tesla Gas Conversion Kits announced: release set for 2017, price starts at
> less than a year's worth of gas
>
> Here's what you need to know: Kits for Honda, Toyota, and Nissan; Combines
> Battery Walls with Tesla's own Charging and Engine in drop-in replacement,
> Apple's in-Car technology, SpaceX self-driving technology
>
>    - By Elon Musk
>    - on April 1, 2016 11:58 pm
>    - Email <jordan.golson at theverge.com>
>    - @ <https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=jlgolson>
>    therealelonmusk @elonmusk
>    -
>
> 282
> <
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/31/11335272/tesla-model-3-announced-price-release-date-specs-preorder#comments
> >
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> >
>
> After ten years of waiting, Tesla has revealed the Model 3, the vehicle
> that CEO Elon Musk hopes will take the electric car to the masses.  While
> exciting, the actual car is a sideshow compared to what he let slip this
> morning while discussing the car off the record.   Tesla is launching in
> 2017 a complete drop-in system based on their Battery Wall, their
> self-driving software, and Tesla's own charging and motor system for any
> 2000-2017 Honda, Toyota, and Nissan.  While some of these automotive
> vendors do have their own competitive offerings for electric or hybrid
> motors, the the compatibility, performance, and standardization of a single
> motor brings more power and better charging to each of these vehicles and
> older ones that still run on traditional gasoline.
>
> After the unveiling of the Model 3 last evening at the company's design
> studio in Hawthorne, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk turned to talking
> about his latest project: retroactive conversion using Tesla technology.
> According to him, the converted cars will deliver at least 215 miles of
> range with conversions beginning at just the cost of 1 year's worth of
> gasoline — that's a bold claim, and an important one for Tesla to meet.
> Musk is "fairly confident" that deliveries will begin by the end of 2017,
> and "other automakers will not be able to design a better car, new or used,
> without their technologies"  Converting older vehicles is, according to
> Musk, not where the other manufacturers have been placing their bets.
>
> If you missed Elon Musk's Tesla Model 3 reveal, watch the full video here
> <http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/1/11343874/tesla-model-3-announced-video>.
> See More: Tesla Model 3 in photos
> <
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/1/11342104/tesla-model-3-announcement-photos
> >
>
> *Tesla says they expect more than 130,000 preorders
> <http://www.theverge.com/2016/4/1/11343294/tesla-model-3-115000-preorders>
>> buyers need to put $1,000 down — have been placed, and that number will
> continue to rise.*
>
> Older Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans continue to be valuable in the
> marketplace.  All three of the brands combined make up over 65% of all cars
> on the road since 2000.  The blackmarket for these vehicle parts has
> continued to rise the past decade and a half also with these cars
> dominating the 'most stolen cars
> <
> http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-honda-accord-most-stolen-car-20140814-story.html
> >'
> rankings every year.  Elon was quoted as saying, "The plan is simple,
> practical, and make mincemeat out of the problem overnight."
>
> 215 MILES OF RANGE, PLUS SUPERCHARGER SUPPORT In a 10 year old honda for
> less than a year's worth of gasoline? What's not to like about that?
>
> Ass an additional feature, upgraded conversion kits will include both a  a
> 15-inch landscape touchscreen inside or a 17-inch portrait touchscreen.
> Both screens will be provided by Apple, though Apple spokesmen declined to
> go on record. Autopilot hardware is standard and borrowed from their SpaceX
> division, and all safety features will be upgraded automatically.
> Converting older vehicles to become standardized — "affordably is the
> important part here," says Musk.
>
> *Watch:* *4k race footage of the Tesla Model 3*
>
> STARTS AT $35,000
>
> The two current Tesla vehicles, the Model S and Model X, are both extremely
> expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily push $100,000. In
> order for Tesla to sell ten times as many cars as it does now, it needs a
> much cheaper automobile. That's the main reason Tesla is looking to go down
> market. First with its Model 3, but more importantly with it's existing car
> conversion.  It's the future of the company.
>
> [image: Tesla Model 3 Interior]
>
> In reaction to the news, the used car spot market on Ebay Motors and Carmax
> spiked overnight with gasoline-based Honda, Toyota, and Nissan cars having
> the largest rise in prices even though conversion kits aren't expected to
> begin production until late 2017, more than 18 months from now. Tesla will
> happily take your preorder
> <
> http://www.theverge.com/2016/3/30/11334244/tesla-model-3-pre-orders-begin-australia
> >
> for
> a modest $1,000 down payment or even have a gasoline rebate plan where you
> can make payments on a Tesla owned and financed credit card which takes a
> portion of your gas purchases and puts it into a Tesla VC fund. Tesla plans
> to more than double the size of its dealership and service network by the
> end of next year, to sell and take care of all these new and used cars.
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