Tesla will unveil the Model Y next week

Elon Musk speaks in front of a giant Tesla logo.

Enlarge / Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Model Y, Tesla’s more affordable SUV based on the Model 3 platform, will be unveiled at a March 14 event in Los Angeles, Elon Musk announced on Twitter on Sunday.

After introducing the Model S in 2012, Tesla reworked the vehicle into an SUV form factor and sold it as the Model X starting in 2015. Tesla is taking the same basic approach with the Model Y: it will look a lot like a Model 3, but will have a larger body and roomier interior.

“Model Y, being an SUV, is about 10% bigger than Model 3, so will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery,” Musk tweeted.

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Source: Ars Technica

Feds investigating deadly Friday Tesla crash in Florida

Feds investigating deadly Friday Tesla crash in Florida

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

The National Transportation Safety Board is dispatching a team of investigators to Delray Beach, Fla., to investigate a Friday morning crash that killed the driver of a Tesla Model 3. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the crash.

According to the preliminary report of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office obtained by Eletrek, a semi truck was making a left turn onto SR 7 when the Model 3 crashed into it from the side. The Model 3 passed under the trailer, shearing off the top of the vehicle. The driver—who was identified by NBC News as 50-year-old Jeremy Beren Banner—died at the scene of the crash.

The sheriff’s report indicates that the truck driver stopped at a stop sign before initiating his left-hand turn. The Tesla vehicle traveled for an additional 0.3 miles (around 500 meters) before coming to a stop.

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Source: Ars Technica

The poshest SUV of them all: Rolls-Royce Cullinan first drive

The poshest SUV of them all: Rolls-Royce Cullinan first drive

Enlarge (credit: Eric Bangeman)

Although we make every effort to cover our own travel costs, in this case BMW flew me to Palm Springs, California, and provided two nights in a hotel in Indian Wells.

Now that SUVs have overtaken sedans as a percentage of all new car sales in the United States, it’s no surprise that ultra-luxury carmakers have jumped on the bandwagon. People accustomed to spending something well north of $200,000 on cars now have options like the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga, and Range Rover SV Coupe. So when presented with an unexpected opportunity to take a Rolls-Royce Cullinan for a spin down desert highways and an off-road course, I leapt at the chance. Especially the off-road bits—one of the most frequent comments in luxury SUV reviews is “no one is ever going to take that off-road.”

That may very well be true for the Cullinan, which debuted in late 2018. But if the road to one of your winter chalets—say, the one in the Sierra Nevadas—is blocked by a mudslide or avalanche, you’ll still have a shot of making it home in time for cocktails if you’re behind the wheel (or in the backseat) of this elegant beast. Before we get into the ups and downs of driving a Cullinan, let’s look at the numbers.

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Source: Ars Technica

Amazon’s latest program to curb emissions? One delivery day per house, per week

Amazon boxes in a warehouse.

Enlarge / Completed customer orders are seen in their boxes, awaiting delivery, at the Amazon Fulfillment Centre on November 14, 2018, in Hemel Hempstead, England. (credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Amazon announced that it would be making a program widely available to Amazon Prime members that would allow them to schedule all deliveries for a single day, once a week. The so-called “Amazon Day” service will be voluntary and targets customers who are concerned about their carbon footprint.

Grouping purchase deliveries will help Amazon cut down on emissions associated with sending a delivery truck to the same house multiple times a week, and the company says holding orders for a single day during the week will also allow it to group orders within a single package, thereby reducing packaging. Customers can select their preferred day of the week to receive shipments. According to CNN, customers can add items to their Amazon Day shipment up until two days in advance of the shipment.

Customers can also chose to remove an item from “Amazon Day” delivery, having it shipped more expeditiously if necessary. Select Prime members have already had access to the program, but it was made available to all Prime members as of today.

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Source: Ars Technica

Tesla announces $35,000 Model 3, is closing its stores to pay for it

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Source: Ars Technica

The Volvo Polestar 2 is the first Google Android car

Volvo’s newest brand, Polestar, took the wraps off the Polestar 2 yesterday, the company’s all-electric Tesla Model 3 fighter. Polestar has done some interesting rethinking of how a car should work (The car starts via a chair-mounted pressure switch! It has a crazy ownership subscription plan!), and one of the more wide-ranging features is in the infotainment system: this is the first car with Android Auto built-in.

Previously, we’ve seen a smartphone app from Google called “Android Auto” that, like Apple’s CarPlay, runs on your smartphone and uses the car display as an external monitor. This project with Polestar is a full-blown operating system instead of a single app, and it is built into the car’s hardware instead of running on your smartphone. It doesn’t really have a name yet. Volvo was just calling it “Android,” and Google, in the past, has referred to it as both “Android Automotive” and “Android Auto built-in.”

Since at least 2014, Google has been on a mission to expand its phone-operating-system business into a car-operating-system business. Google’s plan for car manufacturers really is a direct extension of how Android phones work: Google builds a special car version of the Android OS and car manufacturers build the hardware. Car manufacturers can skin Android to make it look different than the competition, but they all share Google’s app ecosystem, which includes the Play Store, Google Maps, and the Google Assistant. Car manufacturers get a much more capable, more compatible OS than they could build themselves, and Google gets revenue from ads and the app store.

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Source: Ars Technica

Elon Musk needs to take SEC threat seriously, experts say

Elon Musk

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2015. (credit: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A federal judge has given Elon Musk until March 11 to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt. The Securities and Exchange Commission requested the judge’s move on Monday, arguing that a recent tweet about Tesla’s 2019 production plans was inaccurate and breached a settlement Musk signed in September.

But Musk shows no sign of backing down. “Something is broken with SEC oversight,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

Musk may ultimately regret taking such a defiant tone.

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Source: Ars Technica

McLaren knocks it out of the park again with the 720S Spider convertible

A McLaren 720S Spider

Enlarge (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Although we make every effort to cover our own travel costs, in this case McLaren flew us to Phoenix to drive the 720S Spider (and the 600LT Spider; we published that one last week) and provided two nights in a hotel.

In 2016, we tested the McLaren 650S Spider, a carbon-fiber drop-top supercar we thought was so clever it deserved a PhD. But three years is a long time in the supercar world, and the 650S is old news. Meet the McLaren 720S Spider. It, too, is made from carbon fiber. But now, instead of a 3.8L twin-turbo V8, there’s a more powerful 4.0L twin-turbo V8. The car also has an all-new roof mechanism that goes up or down in just 11 seconds.

At the same time, the new model is lighter than the outgoing Spider (by 83lbs/38kg), making it the lightest car in its class (compared to the Ferrari Pista Spider, Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder, or the Lamborghini Aventador S Roadster). It’s stupendously fast and extremely eye-catching—both qualities you’d want if you were spending $315,000 on a supercar. But it’s also amazingly easy to drive, civilized to live with, and even pretty good on gas, considering it’s capable of hitting 60mph in 2.8 seconds before topping out at 212mph (341km/h).

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Source: Ars Technica

The advent of cheap, renewable hydrogen is nigh

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Source: Ars Technica

This is the Polestar 2, a new battery EV from Volvo’s performance brand

Back in the olden days Polestar was Volvo’s in-house tuning arm, the same way BMW has M Division or Mercedes-Benz has AMG. Polestar would take regular Volvos like the S60 and V60 and breathe on them, adding more power, a sportier interior, and often a coat of shocking blue paint. In fact, a Polestar S60 even held a production car record at the Nürburgring until Porsche and then Alfa Romeo came along and beat it. But that was the old Polestar. In 2017, Volvo revealed it had bigger plans for the name.

Now, Polestar is a brand of its own, one that will specialize in electrified performance vehicles. We saw the first of these, the Polestar 1 plug-in hybrid, when it was revealed in 2017. That car will be a carbon fiber-bodied coupé with 600hp (447kW) that will only be made in small numbers. For the rest of us, there’s the Polestar 2, which was unveiled on Wednesday morning. It’s a mid-sized, five-door fastback sedan, built using Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture which also underpins the XC40 crossover.

The specs are rather impressive. There’s an electric motor at each axle providing the car with a combined 300kW (408hp) and 660Nm (487lb-ft), supplied by a 78kWh battery pack. That should be sufficient for about 275 miles of range on the EPA cycle when tested or 500km on the new but less-accurate European WLTP test. The interior shots reveal that the Swedes have lost none of their touch when it comes to interior design, although the all-black interior is a little somber.

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Source: Ars Technica

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