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Tesla: Hacks and Rumors

March 10, 2016

Tesla: Hacks and Rumors

Tesla Motors cannot spend a single week without being a publicized topic of discussion for a litany of various reasons. Skeptics usually have some harbinger of doom to broadcast, while Tesla-philes have some new snake oil to talk up. Usually it is non-news with a buzzword (Tesla) incorporated into it. That said, some of the following will be speculative (non-news) by origin. However, combined, they add up to be 200 percent true. Math impossibility aside, by barring (avoiding) specifics, I can ensure all of the following is true. Only gradients are up for debate; basically, when will these things be proven to be true?

The first up is the story with the least amount of finite facts. While doing some snooping around in the software within his current Model S, a hacker; Jason Hughes; found an interesting line of code. He then tweeted about his discovery.

His tweet contains a snippet that when processed through a decoder yields “P100D.” Assuming it is not a freak coincidence, that is a clear reference to an upcoming 100 kWh battery. Given the fact that Elon Musk himself (or at least whoever is in charge of his twitter), actually responded with “Good hacking is a gift,” it has basically been confirmed. Now for the nuance, when is it coming out? Merely finding a line of code referencing the obvious fact that they are going to continue to make better batteries to maximize range, is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Given the current information on the matter, it could be released in two days or years. What does have a firm date set, is the unveiling of the Tesla Model 3, which is said to be slated for March 31st (that’s this month). With a date that close, the rumor mill is running at full capacity, with little to nothing to go on. All that has been confirmed is the $35,000 price point. People are speculating about anything and everything from bumper to bumper. The three main questions have to do with how the car drives. Namely, the battery size, number of motors and whether or not (more than likely to what extent) the auto is autonomous. I do not know it for a fact, but the Tesla Model 3 will not have the 100 kWh battery, as an available option. More than likely it will not have the 90 kWh battery either. Given the under $40,000 price tag, it will probably skew closer to the 60 kWh battery. Which is fine considering that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that the “small” 60 kWh battery is good for 208 miles. In that vein, Tesla will likely optimize for range (as opposed to performance) in the Model 3. The base will likely be a Model 3 60 with only one motor, which is the most energy efficient combination given its inherent loss of extra weight. That said, it will not be part of the P (performance) or D (four wheel drive) family for free. However, the company has an economic incentive to offer those options for a premium, along with other ease of access options. Some people think that Tesla will be offering some form of auto-pilot as standard. I disagree, they do not have to, and therefore should not. Just making a car that is electric for $35,000 makes it way better than its gas guzzling competitors autonomous auto or not. They need to charge for auto-pilot so the company can afford to innovate.