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Tesla’s Cybertruck rollout shatters expectations

Elon Musk at Cybertruck rollout
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck, which sported cracked windows after a demonstration of the truck’s toughness. “Don’t mind the glass,” Musk said. (Tesla via YouTube)

Amid clouds of smoke and “Blade Runner” hype, Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled a hard-edged, all-electric pickup truck that will cost as little as $39,900 and is due to hit the market by as early as 2021.

And then, with hundreds of fans cheering him on, Musk brought out one more thing during his laser-show presentation at Tesla’s design center in Los Angeles: an all-electric, all-terrain vehicle that rolled right into the Cybertruck’s bed for recharging from an onboard outlet.

There’s no sign that the ATV is for sale … yet … but Tesla is already taking refundable $100 deposits for the Cybertruck.

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Despite big losses, Tesla plans new products

Elon Musk with Tesla Semi and Roadster
Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Semi truck and an updated Roadster in 2017. (Tesla via YouTube)

Tesla today reported wider-than-expected financial losses in the first quarter — due to what the company said were delivery challenges, a seasonal dip in demand and the unanticipated effects of pricing decisions.

Despite the downturn from what had been a profitable couple of quarters, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was bullish on several fronts, including rollouts for the company’s Semi truck and Model Y crossover SUV, plus the opening of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai, China.

Musk is even planning to offer car insurance policies starting next month, with pricing determined by the data that’s received from the company’s cars.

“We have direct knowledge of the risk profile of customers and the car,” he explained during today’s teleconference with financial analysts. “If they want to buy Tesla insurance, they have to agree to not drive the car in a crazy way. Or they can, but then the insurance rate is higher.”

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Tesla’s Elon Musk unveils Model Y crossover SUV

Elon Musk and Model Y
Tesla CEO Elon Musk checks out the newly unveiled Model Y. (Tesla via YouTube)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk finished spelling out an all-electric acronym by lifting the veil on the Model Y, a crossover SUV that’s due to hit the market in the fall of 2020.

“We are bringing ‘sexy’ back, quite literally,” he told hundreds of Tesla fans who gathered for the Hollywood-style unveiling at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif.

Musk didn’t quite literally lift a veil to reveal the new model. Instead, he built up the suspense by giving an “extended history lesson” about Tesla’s decade-long history of vehicle production, starting with the Tesla Roadster and moving on to the Model S, Model X, Model 3, the Semi truck and the remade Roadster.

Along the way, Musk explained the ins and outs of his naming convention, including the fact that he couldn’t use the name “Model E” because Ford had it trademarked.

“Ford killed SEX,” Musk joked.

As he described the vehicles, each model was driven into the spotlight. Finally it was the Model Y’s turn. Cheers and whoops went up from the crowd as a shiny blue car pulled into its place alongside the Model S, 3, X. Y completed the acronym.

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Elon Musk unveils Tesla Semi and a new Roadster

Elon Musk with Tesla Semi and Roadster
Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Semi truck and an updated Roadster. (Tesla via YouTube)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk rode in with revelations about his company’s all-electric Semi truck, but walked off with an even bigger surprise: a new version of the Tesla Roadster that breaks records for speed and range.

Tonight’s unveiling at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., set a new standard for hype, with hundreds of fans cheering in the stands. But if Musk follows through on the promised specs, the Semi and the Roadster should set new standards for electric vehicles. And for vehicles, period.

“The point of doing this is just to give a hard-core smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said after showing off a red Roadster prototype. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

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James Dyson reveals $2.7B electric car project

James Dyson
James Dyson holds a Dyson 360 Eye robotic vacuum-cleaner. Will he be showing off an electric car in 2020? (Dyson Photo)

Would you buy a new electric car from this vacuum-cleaner salesman? James Dyson, the founder of the Dyson gadget powerhouse, is betting $2.7 billion that you will.

Today Dyson, who made his name with high-tech vacuum cleaners and has branched out into fans, heaters, hair dryers and other electric devices, took the wraps off a secret project to design a battery-powered vehicle, with the product launch set for 2020.

A billion British pounds ($1.35 billion) would go toward developing the car, and another billion would go toward making the battery.

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Hundreds line up to sign up for Tesla’s latest car

Image: Sid Bharadwaj
Sid Bharadwaj, the first buyer in line at Tesla Motors’ Bellevue Square store, has his picture taken after putting down a $1,000 deposit for a Model 3 electric car. (Credit: Sid Bharadwaj / Tesla Motors)

BELLEVUE, Wash. – As the clock counted down to the big reveal for the Tesla Model 3 electric sedan, would-be buyers lined up by the hundreds today to put down a deposit, sight unseen.

The phenomenon was reminiscent of the hullabaloo that typically accompanies Apple’s launch of a new iPhone.

The Model 3 is way more expensive than an iPhone: List price, before tax incentives, is expected to be around $35,000. But that’s low for a Tesla, and that’s the point. All those folks who have been salivating over a $70,000 Model S sedan or an $80,000 Model X SUV are finally seeing something in a lower price range.

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Lithium-air battery nirvana comes nearer

Image: Lithium-air cutaway
Researchers say lithium-air batteries could boost the range of electric cars. (Credit: IBM via YouTube)

A decade from now, we could all be driving low-cost electric cars for hundreds of miles without recharging, thanks to an advance in lithium-air battery technology announced today. Or maybe it’ll be some other lithium-air innovation. Or maybe we’ll see batteries with a different chemistry, such as sodium-air or sodium-lithium.

“The battery of the future is going to encompass a lot of these different technologies,” University of Cambridge chemist Clare Grey told GeekWire.

Grey is the senior author of a study describing a technological twist that promises to remove some of the obstacles that have blocked the path to battery nirvana. The research, featured on the cover of this week’s issue of the journal Science, shows how changing the nanostructure of the electrodes and shifting the chemistry can boost a lithium-oxygen battery’s efficiency and make it more stable.

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