GM’s 200,000th vehicle sold triggers Federal Tax Credit phase out, Reuters says

GM’s 200,000th vehicle sold triggers Federal Tax Credit phase out, Reuters says

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A source speaking to Reuters on Wednesday said that General Motors sold its 200,000th electric vehicle (EV) in Q4 2018, triggering a 15-month phaseout of the Federal Tax Credit that has benefitted GM’s EV buyers for years.

GM is expected to announce this information during its Q4 2018 financial call on Thursday. The company indicated previously that it expected to hit the 200,000 mark before the closeout of 2018.

This means that GM’s EVs will no longer receive a Federal Tax Credit of $7,500 after April 1. The credit will be cut in half to $3,750 for the next six months, then it will be cut in half again for another six months until it is phased out completely.

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla delivered 90,700 cars in Q4, Wall Street freaks out

Tesla's Fremont factory in July 2018.

Enlarge / Tesla’s Fremont factory in July 2018. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tesla produced a record number of cars in the final quarter of 2018, the company reported on Wednesday. Tesla produced 61,394 Model 3s, a 15 percent gain from the previous quarter. Production of the Model S and Model X totaled 25,161 units—slightly below last quarter’s figure of 26,903.

This represented a new overall production record, but Wall Street wasn’t impressed. As I write this, Tesla’s shares are down about 8 percent for the day to $305.

Tesla produced about 4,700 Model 3 vehicles per week in the fourth quarter. Notably, that’s still below the 5,000-car weekly production rate Tesla achieved—however briefly—in the final week of June. It’s also well below targets previously articulated by CEO Elon Musk.

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Source: Ars Technica

Report: Tesla has more than 3,300 Model 3s remaining in US inventory

Report: Tesla has more than 3,300 Model 3s remaining in US inventory

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On Sunday, auto blog Electrek reported that there were more than 3,300 Model 3 vehicles sitting in Tesla’s US inventory, according to an unnamed source familiar with the matter. The source added that, although Tesla has been working to sell every last vehicle before the end of December 31, when the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit for the company’s customers expires, it has still built up an inventory.

Ars contacted Tesla to confirm this information, but we did not receive an immediate response.

Tesla sold its 200,000th electric vehicle in Q2 2018, leaving the company with two remaining quarters to sell vehicles that would receive the full tax credit. Starting January 1, all newly delivered Teslas will only qualify for a $3,750 Federal Tax Credit.

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Source: Ars Technica

The 2018 Cars Technica cars and SUVs of the year

In addition to all the new stuff we got to drive (see below), 2018 was the year we dove into the <a href=delightful world of Japanese imports.”/>

Enlarge / In addition to all the new stuff we got to drive (see below), 2018 was the year we dove into the delightful world of Japanese imports. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Just as I finally got used to writing the date as 2018, it’s time to learn a whole new number. As is now traditional, the end of the year is an opportunity to remember some of the four-wheeled friends we made on this most recent trip around the sun. It was a busy 12 months for the Cars Technica gang—and we are officially a gang now.

Tim Lee has been responsible for some great coverage of Waymo, Uber, Cruise, and that whole autonomous driving thing. When she wasn’t busy holding the EPA’s feet to the fire or covering the growth of zero-emissions mass transit, Megan Geuss got to ride in Audi’s new battery electric vehicle before anyone else. Cyrus Farivar has done the old-school thing with some shoe-leather reporting on Tesla’s factory troubles. Sean Gallagher wrote his first (but not last) truck review, and Ars managing editor Eric Bangeman has gamely tested every SUV, crossover, and minivan we could get to Chicago.

As for me? I discovered I’m at peace with the fact that I’m not a professional racing driver, for one thing. My plan to travel by air less often didn’t work out so well—people are welcome to buy trees in my name—but I did get to see some interesting new concept cars and, more importantly, drive some good new BEVs.

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Source: Ars Technica

Mining company says first autonomous freight train network is fully operational

Autonomous train in Western Australia

Enlarge / Rio Tinto’s AutoHaul autonomous train in Western Australia. (credit: Rio Tinto)

On Friday, major mining corporation Rio Tinto reported that its AutoHaul autonomous train system in Western Australia had logged more than 1 million km (620,000 mi) since July 2018, S&P Global Platts reported. Rio Tinto calls it’s now-fully-operational autonomous train system the biggest robot in the world.

The train system serves 14 mines that deliver to four port terminals. Two mines that are closest to a port terminal will retain human engineers because they are very short lines, according to Perth Now.

The train system took ten years to build and cost Rio Tinto AUD $1.3 billion (USD $916 million) to implement. The trains are remotely monitored by a crew located 1,500 km (932 mi) away in Perth.

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Source: Ars Technica

The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018

The Uber vehicle after it struck Elaine Herzberg.

Enlarge / The Uber vehicle after it struck Elaine Herzberg. (credit: Tempe Police Department)

As 2018 dawned, expectations for self-driving vehicles were sky-high:

Self-driving technology seemed to be right around the corner. But then the industry was battered by bad news.

In March, Uber was forced to drastically scale back its testing activities after an Uber vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The same month, a Tesla customer died when his Autopilot-enabled Model X car slammed into a concrete lane divider.

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Source: Ars Technica

Musk lawyers move to dismiss cave explorer lawsuit over “pedo guy” tweets

Elon Musk speaks in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018.

Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018. (credit: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

On Wednesday, lawyers representing Elon Musk asked a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by a British cave explorer whom Musk called a “pedo guy” on Twitter. The motion to dismiss, filed in US District Court in California’s Central District, argues that Twitter is simply a “website famous for invective and hyperbole,” and no one who read Musk’s claims took them seriously.

Tangled tweets

The dispute began in July, when Musk began tweeting about using a team of SpaceX engineers to find a way to rescue 12 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand as monsoon waters flooded the cave. The team’s solution was to develop a child-sized submarine that could keep the children safe as experienced divers guided it through the long and dangerous passage out of the cave.

But several days later, a team of experienced divers and cave explorers were able to rescue all of the children without Musk’s help. A Thai official later said that Musk’s solution “was not practical for this mission.”

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Source: Ars Technica

Musk says Tesla will cover tax credit difference on missed 2018 deliveries

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Source: Ars Technica

Review: GMC Terrain gives you the ride you want—at a price

Eric Bangeman

One thing I hate in a car is incongruous design. If something looks like it doesn’t belong in the car or is out of step with the car’s design aesthetic, it bugs the OCD part of me. Although there was plenty to dislike about the Ford EcoSport in general, its glossy-cased touchscreen display stuck out from its black matte surroundings like a sore thumb, really grating on me.

The GMC Terrain, on the other hand, is consistent. Everything from the all-black exterior (including black wheels and black trim) to the well-thought-out interior works cohesively as a whole. For a mainstream compact SUV, this is a good thing.

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla’s SolarCity lost ground to Sunrun in 2018

Tesla’s SolarCity lost ground to Sunrun in 2018

Enlarge (credit: Jon Callas / Flickr)

The first three quarters of 2018 show that Sunrun’s residential solar panel sales have outpaced SolarCity’s residential solar panel sales, according to data from analysis firm Wood Mackenzie. Though Tesla, the owner of SolarCity, has been losing ground in the solar panel market-share game for years now, Sunrun’s new upset shows just how far Tesla has pulled SolarCity back.

This appears to be at least partially by Tesla’s design: the company has repeatedly moved to scale back its solar panel business, ending door-to-door sales, closing a number of locations, and ending affiliate sales at establishments like Home Depot. As a result, SolarCity has gone from cornering 33.5 percent of the US’ residential solar panel market share to holding on to just 9.1 percent of the same market, according to Wood Mackenzie’s numbers.

This may be fine with Tesla. The company recently discounted its solar panels, and, in a recent interview with Bloomberg, Tesla Senior Vice President of Energy Sanjay Shah said that cutting marketing reduced the cost of Tesla’s systems by 10 to 15 percent.

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Source: Ars Technica

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