Elon Musk says Tesla Model 3 production starts imminently

Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

God bless Elon Musk’s twitter feed. Free of embargo (and occasionally filter), it’s a snapshot into the mind of this driven billionaire and the companies he runs. And thanks to some late Sunday night (or early Monday morning) Twitter action, we now know that Tesla Model 3 electric vehicle is just about to go into production. The fact that the car is, if anything, slightly ahead of schedule should serve as a rebuttal to those who have criticized Musk for an inability to meet deadlines.

Musk says that production volume will grow exponentially, raising the frightening thought of having to abandon what’s left of Planet Earth once all its raw materials have been used to turn into electric cars:

More seriously though, production needs to ramp up quickly to deal with the huge backlog of orders already on hand:

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Source: Ars Technica

More than Carpool Karaoke, these new features persuade drivers to buy dash cams

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

In the time that’s passed since we reviewed a number of dash cams last year, the essential use of an in-car camera hasn’t changed. Dash cams record footage of the road in front of you (and sometimes behind) while you drive, ensuring you have a video account of any incident that occurs while you’re in or around your vehicle. But dash cams haven’t really caught on in the United States as much as they have in countries like Russia, which is often the country of origin of most of the dash-cam videos you’ve seen. The benefits of dash cams are clear: they can prove what really happened if you’re in an accident, some can monitor activity around your car even when the car is off, and your insurance provider may offer a discount for having a dash cam installed in your car.

But most of the benefits of these little black boxes may never reach you if you never end up needing their footage, and this lack of instant gratification is likely a big reason why Americans haven’t bought into them yet. Some companies are trying to change this with dash cams that do more than just monitor your driving, or are designed to fit into your vehicle more discreetly. We’ve tested a few new dash cams to see how companies are setting their devices apart from others, and what extra features we could see dash cams provide for drivers in the future.

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Feds: Mexican motorcycle club used stolen key data to fuel massive Jeep heist

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Car-charging company is on a tear, buying GE stations, securing investments

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Edgar Wright’s new film Baby Driver is the perfect antidote to The Fast and the Furious

Enlarge / L to R: Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Ansel Elgort, and Jon Hamm have just robbed a bank. (credit: Working Title)

Baby Driver is the new film from Edgar Wright opening in theaters this week. I’m here to tell you it’s jolly, jolly good. Consider it an old-school, analogue, manual transmission alternative to the CGI, self-driving car nonsense that was the most recent Fast and Furious movie, if you will.

With that out of the way, let’s unpack a little more. Written and directed by the brain that gave us Spaced, Shaun of the Dead (and the rest of the Cornetto trilogy), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the film is a heist caper that focuses on the role of the getaway driver—the titular Baby, played by Ansel Elgort. Orphaned at a young age, he learned to boost cars and drive them with no small measure of skill. But one day he stole the wrong car, one belonging to criminal mastermind Doc (Kevin Spacey); one carrying a rather valuable cargo that left Baby in hock and working heists to pay off his debt.

Baby is an unlikely member of Doc’s constantly rotating crew of tooled-up robbers, one the others (including memorable roles from Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, and Jon Hamm) don’t exactly trust. He’s a quiet chap, eyes hidden behind dollar-store sunglasses, white Apple earbuds almost permanently affixed to his ears. The reason for the latter is a case of tinnitus—the result of the same car crash that orphaned him—and also the excuse for the movie’s relentless, deep-cut soundtrack. But despite his youthful looks and semi-detached presence in the briefings, it quickly becomes clear there’s no one else you’d rather have behind the wheel.

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Source: Ars Technica

The digital tools that designed the Tesla Model 3 and crash-tested your Honda minivan

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

Understandably, the focus of a lot of our car coverage here at Ars has been on things like hybrid and electric powertrains, autonomous vehicles, and the rise of the connected car. But there are other interesting technology stories in the auto industry that are a little more hidden from the average driver. Take Gordon Murray’s iStream idea, for example. From the same brain that created some of the world’s best racing cars—and the almighty McLaren F1 road car—iStream is meant to be a low-impact way of building new vehicles, which will hopefully reach fruition with the reborn TVR brand. There’s also 3D printing, as demonstrated by companies like Local Motors and 3D Divergent.

And then there’s the way that modern IT solutions can—hopefully—make the auto industry more efficient and faster to respond to new design trends or challenges. A while back, we looked at Toyota’s use of virtual production lines to streamline how the company builds trucks at its plant in Texas. Obviously, Toyota isn’t the only OEM to head off into the virtual world to do this kind of work. And many OEMs have opted for Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE as their platform of choice.

Users of 3DEXPERIENCE span the automotive ecosystem. Ford and GM power their commercials and marketing with the Dassault platform. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been touting 3DEXPERIENCE as its tool of choice for early design and styling. And even the Internet’s favorite EV maker is a client: the Tesla Model 3 was conceived and designed using it.

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Source: Ars Technica

Meet the RapidE, Aston Martin’s first EV due in 2019

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Waymo hires Avis to look after its autonomous cars in Arizona

Enlarge / Waymo is using a fleet of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to develop its self-driving technology. (credit: Waymo)

Back in April, we reported on Waymo’s plans to offer an autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. The project has been spun off from Google’s self-driving car project, and Waymo is using a fleet of adapted Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans to perfect its self-driving technology. Today, the company announced it is entering into a deal with the rental car company Avis to service and store the vehicles.

Autonomous ride-hailing services are being viewed by car and tech companies as a potential gold mine in a near future where car ownership is losing its luster. Instead of selling autonomous vehicles directly to the public—which will happen eventually—operating the fleets themselves means they can be commercially insured, solving (for the time being) one of the big unanswered questions about the evolving technology. But owning and operating a fleet of vehicles is easier to do if you’re a car manufacturer with the resources and experience already in-house. Hence this Waymo-Avis deal.

Waymo will own the autonomous test fleet and will pay Avis to look after the vehicles. The move proved to be quite positive for the latter’s share price, which rose by 12.5 percent this morning once news broke. That’s understandable, as the rental car industry is one that could be seriously affected by the arrival of autonomous vehicles, although it’s worth remembering that for the first few years, such services will be geofenced to certain metropolitan areas.

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If Ferrari built an M3: The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Video shot and edited by Jennifer Hahn (video link)

It’s fair to say that I’d been looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio for some time. The brand’s new flagship sedan is a $72,000, 505hp (377kW) rear-wheel drive statement of intent, a car that says to rivals at BMW and Mercedes and Cadillac that the Italians are back. It first caught our attention at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, then again in Los Angeles. Last year, the Giulia Quadrifoglio teased us some more in New York 2016 and then once again this year when we awarded it Best New Luxury Car. But a build-up like that can be risky. Cars don’t always meet our expectations, and there’s little worse than the feeling when you fail to gel with a car you’ve been looking forward to driving.

A man on a TV show once said something along the lines of “you can’t consider yourself a true petrolhead until you’ve had an Alfa Romeo.” At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about. The Alfas that populated the roads during my early driving years in the 1990s were unremarkable and badly compromised. During the 2000s, they were pretty but almost exclusively front-driven. And the Giulietta rental car I crossed Europe in a few years back had the most amazingly uncomfortable driving seat I’d ever encountered.

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Source: Ars Technica

Rhode Island bill sees highway surveillance cams ticketing uninsured motorists

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