Man Files Lawsuit Against Tesla Claiming His Model X Spontaneously Accelerated Into His Living Room

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Model X owner Ji Chang Son filed a lawsuit against Tesla on Friday, claiming his vehicle suddenly accelerated as he was parking it in his garage. Filed in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the suit “alleges product liability, negligence and breaches of warranty, and seeks unspecified damages,” according to Reuters.

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Just Because: A Chevron B16 Roaring Around COTA Is A Beautiful Thing

As you might have noticed, a few months ago we sent our photographer Will Mederski to COTA during an SVRA race to track down some of the most incredible cars on the grid. Obviously what we are looking at here is the legendary Chevron B16, penned and built by Derek Bennett and raced in period by Brian Redman.

The design shares much of its DNA with the 908, and eventually the 908 spyder whose creation was influenced by Redman’s feedback that the heavier coupe wouldn’t be as competitive on the grid. The eventual creation of the spyder would lead to a long line of successfully campaigned models, ranging from the B19, B21, B23, B26, and the B31.

At any rate, we were unable to track down the owner for a proper interview, but it seemed like an absolute crime to let these photos burn a hole in our server. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did taking them.

 

 

 

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Tesla Starting Make-Or-Break Year With Model 3 Production and Automated Vehicles

There are those who think Tesla stands to either victoriously shine or flop in 2017, as Model 3 production begind and fully-autonomous features are added to vehicles in the factory.

This is according to a Wired think piece which tips its hat to Tesla making it this far, but explores the long list of challenges the company faces to thrive in the capital-intensive, complex auto manufacturing business.

Tesla’s tendency to overstate production target dates and to reset them was cited. While it was impressive to see about 400,000 consumers put money down for Model 3 pre-orders this year, the company will have to transform into a manufacturer that can produce millions of them. That means keeping them safe and up to quality standards, delivering them as on time as possible, and doing it all profitably. Corporate profits have been eluding the publicly-traded company since its inception 13 years ago.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is well known for building a passionate audience of Tesla owners and fans, and for heating up the intensity. In May, he said the company will be producing a half million cars a year by 2018, up from a bit below 100,000 set as a target for 2016. Critics have questioned that goal, especially in light of the “production hell” that Musk has mentioned related to the Model X, which caused the all-electric SUV to come out two years later than the initial date.

Changes have been made to how the Model 3 is to be built but the company’s Fremont, Calif. plant has to scale up to meet production increases without sacrificing quality. Musk and other Tesla executives are known to stay on top of employees to keep vehicle testing and quality levels high.

Transforming vehicle production 10-fold over three years is a very big job. Beyond quality and safety, there’s relationships with a global supply chain. A delay getting parts and components over to the Gigafactory in Nevada will throw off the production schedule and hurt profits, as Tesla’s major competitors can attest to.

“Delivering a brand new electric vehicle built from scratch is not an easy task to accomplish,” said Raj Rajkumar, an expert in autonomous and electric vehicles at Carnegie Mellon University, who was interviewed by Wired.

Rajkumar thinks 2018 is a more realistic year than 2017 to start deliveries. Tesla has said it will get the $35,000 200-mile plus car out during 2017.

“They need to learn about volume production, and test new capabilities and functions,” he said.

Tesla will also be at least a year behind General Motors, which started delivering the first Chevy Bolts to customers this month. While GM is putting a lot into marketing the Bolt, its future isn’t dependent on the car being profitable – unlike Tesla, which will be dependent on the Model 3 making it.

“GM is a large company with global scale supply chain, and established manufacturing plants, but even then the Bolt will be sold at a loss,” says Rajkumar.

That may also be the case with Tesla competing with large automakers in the luxury space with its Model S, Model X, and Roadster. Companies like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volkswagen, have committed to taking on Tesla, sometimes at high-production levels.

Tesla will also be devoting much of its intellectual capital next year to getting fully automated features on the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 tested and approved by government agencies. The company has been feeling pressure on that front since the fatal collision in Florida earlier this year involving its Autopilot semi-autonomous system.

SEE ALSO:  City of Fremont Home to Tesla Factory and State’s Largest EV Owner Zip Code

In October, Musk announced those autonomous vehicle plans, stating that all of the new models at its factories would have these features added. They won’t be able to be activated for use by drivers until passing tests and government approval, though. The technology will be demonstrated as one of the self-driving vehicles goes from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017, Musk said.

“That’s definitely doable,” said Jeffrey Miller, an autonomous vehicle engineer at USC.

Miller said that other companies have shown similar capabilities, such as automotive supplier Delphi’s cross-country trip in 2015.

Rajkumar, who has overseen autonomous vehicle testing projects for several years at Carnegie Mellon, is a bit more skeptical about Tesla’s role in the future of automated cars. He thinks it will be more of a publicity stunt than evidence of Tesla’s ability. He doubts Tesla owners will be able to utilize all the autonomous features right away.

If it all comes together, Tesla could be in a very good place as autonomous vehicles start being taken seriously by car owners, Rajkumar said.

“Because the automated vehicle market is going to be very large in the future, Tesla needs to continue to be seen as a market leader,” he said.

Wired

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Faraday Future Acting CEO Leaving Right Before CES Show Supercar Launch

The odds of Faraday Future facing imminent collapse might have gone up as the company’s chief executive left on the eve of the product launch in Las Vegas.

Ding Lei, a LeEco executive who’d been serving as acting “global” CEO, has left that role with FF, according to The Verge and reported by Autoblog. Earlier news reports said Lei would be leaving parent company LeEco, but a company spokesperson has since confirmed that he’s still employed there.

Timing is unfortunate for the company. FF has been sending out teasers, including video streaming over social media, of its first electric supercar reveal set for the annual CES show in Las Vegas. The image above comes from one of those videos.

CES, formerly called Consumer Electronic Show, is scheduled to start on Jan. 5. The startup unveiled its FFZero1 concept supercar there earlier this year.

The acting CEO is leaving right after reports surfaced on two other FF executives leaving the company. Marco Mattiacci had come from Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari’s racing division, and was serving as chief brand and commercial officer; Joerg Sommer, an ex-Volkswagen executive, had been hired as product marketing and growth vice president.

SEE ALSO:  Faraday Future Facing Vulnerable Future, Former Executives Say

The Verge gave a comprehensive report last week on a half-dozen former FF executives being interviewed who said the company is being mismanaged. Much of that stems from parent company LeEco and founder Jia Yueting treating FF executives with “indentured servitude,” according to one former executive.

FF is reportedly well behind on unpaid bills to vendors, and has been hit by lawsuits from some of them.

Work at FF’s future factory site in North Las Vegas has also reportedly stopped, according to Autoblog.

Autoblog

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