Ford’s Project T3 – its next-generation pickup truck – is set to be produced at the BlueOval City mega-campus in West Tennessee in 2025, the company announced today.
“BlueOval City is the blueprint for Ford’s electric future around the world,” Bill Ford, the company’s executive chair, said. “We will build revolutionary electric vehicles at an advanced manufacturing site that works in harmony with the planet, aligning business growth and innovation with environmental progress.”
Project T3 is the next revolutionary EV that Ford plans to build. The new pickup “is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionize America’s truck,” Jim Farley, CEO, said.
Ford has offered a new electric truck by electrifying its F-150, America’s favorite truck for the last few decades. The F-150 Lightning has been one of the premiere EV trucks in the country, along with the Rivian R1T.
However, Ford plans to bring additional competition to the market by combining a century of experience with its newfound expertise in EVs to bring a highly competitive offering that should be among the best on the market.
Farley said, “We are melding 100 years of Ford truck know-how with world-class electric vehicle, software, and aerodynamics talent. It will be a platform for endless innovation and capability.”
In February, Farley said during Ford’s earnings call that the company was “deep in the development” of second-generation EVs, including a “next-generation electric full-size pickup.”
T3 is short for “Trust the Truck,” which the development team made its rallying cry. Ultimately, Ford wants to build a truck that can be trusted in the digital age, one that can be updated and improved overnight with a quick software download. It also needs to be applicable to a variety of activities, like hauling and towing, but it also needs to have exportable power to act as a battery storage system, and it needs to be innovative.
The truck will be built at BlueOval City, where it will be produced in volumes of 500,000 per year.
After having finished their exploit in a hotel room, @_p0ly_ and @vdehors successfully compromised the Tesla Model 3 infotainment through Bluetooth and elevated their privileges to root! Combined with the previous entry, this could have been a full chain to take over the car!
They shared this image of their Model 3 infotainment test rig:
Pwn2Own confirmed that it was a TOCTTOU exploit, which is described as:
Time-of-check-to-time-of-use (TOCTTOU – pronounced TOCK-too) is a file-based race condition that occurs when a resource is checked for a particular value, such as whether a file exists or not, and that value then changes before the resource is used, invalidating the results of the check.
The findings of these kinds of whitehat hacks are always shared with the companies in order to help make their products more secure.
As previously mentioned, Tesla has been investing heavily in cybersecurity.
We went into a lot of detail about Tesla’s cybersecurity effort in our report about “The Big Tesla Hack” when a hacker managed to get control over Tesla’s entire fleet.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More.
When it comes to charging, many owners charge their Teslas at home. But when you’re out on a road trip or you simply need to stop at Superchargers, there’s a way you can increase the speed of your charging experience, ultimately cutting down your costs for timed-use billing systems.
Above: Tesla vehicles at a Supercharger (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
No matter where you charge your Tesla, it’s worth noting how a given Supercharger bills you, if you’re hoping to save money. Tesla owners may stand to save a significant amount of money at stations billed by the minute, and making sure you head to V3 Superchargers can have you out of there in as little time as possible.
Read this week’s Tesla Pro Tip from Erwin Meyer at EVSpeedy.com below to learn how to save money at Superchargers by increasing your charging speeds.
Most people obey the in-car navigation instructions, but the Tesla Navigation is quite conservative with charging planning, ensuring that you never run out of any charge under any condition. To increase charging speeds and decrease costs, you can try to use Superchargers with about 10 percent of charge. You should also try to prioritize V3 chargers if possible. Then, you should be able to max out the charging rate at 250kw. This way you can add about 65 miles in 4 minutes, or 125 in 10 minutes. If your Supercharger is billed per minute, this will save you a lot of money.
You can find this and even more Tesla Pro Tips at EVSpeedy.com.
Tesla is launching today its Safety Score 2.0, a new version of its driver scoring system to attempt to make it fairer as it influences insurance costs.
When launching its own car insurance product, Tesla utilized its capacity to collect real-time driving data from its vehicles to create what it calls a “Safety Score,” which basically gives drivers a score based on how and when they drive in order to affect their monthly premium negatively or positively.
The score would be affected by things like the number of “Forward Collision Warnings” you get, the amount of hard braking you do, aggressive turning, unsafe following distance, and if you get forced Autopilot disengagement.
Now Tesla has launched what it calls Safety Score 2.0, and it includes significant changes to program:
Added Excessive Speeding as a new Safety Factor. More time spent driving over 85 mph will lead to a lower Safety Score.
Added Unbuckled Driving as a new Safety Factor. Time spent driving over 10 mph without buckling the driver’s seatbelt will lead to a lower Safety Score.
Updated Late Night Driving to be risk weighted based on when you are driving from 10 PM – 4 AM. The impact of late night driving on your Safety Score will depend on the proportion of time spent driving in each hour from 10 PM – 4 AM. The impact on your Safety Score is now reduced earlier in the night and increased later in the night.
Updated Hard Braking Safety Factor to exclude braking events that occur when the vehicle detects a yellow traffic light.
The first two are newly added behaviors that drivers need to avoid now, but the last two are changes to existing factors in Tesla insurance.
Tesla insurance users who have to regularly drive at night were complaining that they had to pay higher premiums. It looks like Tesla is trying to address that with the change to late night driving hours.
The same goes for not deducting points for hard braking if it’s because of a yellow light.
Hopefully, this results in safe drivers having to pay less for insurance.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More.
Tesla has become nearly debt-free in just two decades, a feat that’s unheard of in the auto industry’s more-than-century-old history. How the electric vehicle company was able to keep its debts low has created a new precedent for auto manufacturers, simultaneously putting pressure on some of the industry’s biggest names.
A recent analysis from Guru Focus demonstrates how the automaker’s example could set the new precedent for the auto industry, even as other companies still have huge debts to their lendors. While traditional automakers have relied on massive debts to produce and sell their capital-intensive products in their 100-year histories, Tesla’s business model has found it with high levels of cash flow and unprecedently low debt for the industry.
Guru Focus writer Matthew Cobb breaks down how Tesla’s debt compares to those of the two largest U.S. automakers, GM and Ford, showing that both of the legacy manufacturers are swimming in debt. Meanwhile, Tesla could pay off its remaining debt tomorrow if it wanted to.
Currently, Ford has a total long-term debt of $140 billion, while GM is right behind with $115 billion in the same category. Tesla, on the other hand, has just $5 billion in long-term debt, and plenty of cash to show for. In fact, the company has $22 billion in free cash flow, meaning that its cash minus debt gives it a $17 billion surplus.
To be sure, the auto industry requires high capital expenditures to some extent, largely due to the expensive materials involved, as well as labor and equipment for production. Automakers also need top-of-the-line research and development, which can be costly from an investment standpoint.
Cobb attributes Tesla’s low debts to a few different things, with the first being its sleek lineup of cars, innovative technology and its overall dedication to renewable energy and sustainability. Through this and CEO Elon Musk’s ability to create investor buzz on social media, Cobb points out how Tesla was able to go from startup to a soaring stock with newly high valuation around 2020.
Once Tesla became highly valued, the company gained access to equity funding instead of typical debt financing. This allowed Tesla to keep debts low, since equity financing doesn’t require the same path to repayment as debt financing. Tesla has since used its own equity funding to help keep its ongoing debts low, and especially on debts generated prior to the company’s stock takeoff.
With a market capitalization of $548 billion (compared to those of $48.23 billion and $50.93 billion for Ford and GM, respectively), Tesla has demonstrated its strength in financial management over the last 20 years. And with the emerging EV sector gaining more ground than ever before, it will be interesting to see how legacy automakers attempt to catch back up to Tesla’s dominance in the next 20.
Tesla has released a new software update activating its vision-based park assist feature, and videos are starting to roll in showing it in action.
In October of last year, Tesla abruptly decided to stop including ultrasonic sensors on Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. These ultrasonic sensors were used for short-range objects detection, particularly during low-speed maneuvers, like parking, to help drivers know how far they are from objects outside the car.
Tesla said at the time that it planned to move to a fully vision-based parking system, using the myriad cameras around its cars to estimate distances and provide park assist functions, without the added complexity of these additional ultrasonic sensors.
Since then, these vehicles have been delivered without sensors, but with no driver aids to help in parking. For these cars, Park Assist, Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon would not be available until a software update came along to enable them.
Now, just under six months later, these software efforts have finally borne fruit as Tesla has started rolling out vision-based park assist in its 2023.6.9 update. It should be available on cars now or soon, so check for software updates if you’ve been waiting for this feature.
The update notes state:
Tesla Vision Park Assist provides visual and audio alerts of surrounding objects. This feature uses the occupancy network to predict high-definition outlines of objects 360 degrees around the car.
Note: Tesla Vision Park Assist is for guidance purposes onlv and is not a substitute for an aware driver. Please be attentive and avoid obstacles as required.
The update does not seem to activate Autopark, Summon, or Smart Summon, yet merely brings back the lost functionality showing drivers how far they are from various objects while parking their car.
Videos have started to surface on social media showing drivers testing out the new functions in their garages and driveways, and results so far seem… a little inconsistent.
It seems to work reasonably well in some situations, showing roughly similar graphics as the vehicles with sensors, but with the added benefit of detecting objects all around the vehicle, instead of just in front or behind. One driver found the measurements to be quite accurate in a well-lit and straightforward parking lot:
Though the lines are quite wiggly, significantly more so than they are when using ultrasonics.
In other situations, the system still seems like it needs work. Here, a driver pulls between two cars and toward a trash can, before the system deactivates and states “park assist unavailable” when he gets close enough to actually need it. Then, he gets out to compare the car’s 26-inch approximation with reality, and eyeballing the distance, thinks that it’s closer to “three and a half, four feet”:
And here, another driver tries to use it with a bike rack attached to the rear of his Tesla, and the system continually detects the rack as an obstruction, repeatedly telling him to stop even though there’s plenty of room behind the car:
Well, it’s clear that the system still needs some work. Which, frankly, is not unexpected when it comes to Tesla’s history with similar things.
The same has happened here with ultrasonics, which caught several customers by surprise. Tesla has sold a lot of cars in the last six months, and I know of at least one who hadn’t heard the news of the missing ultrasonic sensors and was quite annoyed to realize he had just bought a vehicle without a relatively standard modern feature that he had expected his brand-new high-tech $53,000 car would have.
Tesla owners have gotten used to similar things happening, and often give the company slack because actions like these are balanced out by the benefit of over-the-air updates, which improve cars and add features over time.
But this is such a basic and expected feature on modern vehicles, and it has been estimated that these sensors cost about $114 per car. That’s a significant cost but certainly not a massive one, but we’re six months in and so far we’ve only seen one of the four missing features reactivated for the cars in question.
Further, the feature just doesn’t look ready for prime time yet. A feature like this doesn’t need to work 50% of the time, or even 99% of the time – it needs to work 100% of the time because any dings or scratches don’t just go away the next time you park, they stay there for good. If drivers are going to rely on it, and use it in place of their eyes, it needs to be reliable. And if drivers aren’t going to use it in place of their eyes – as Tesla currently recommends that they don’t – then why don’t they just use… their eyes? What’s the point of the sensor if it’s just replicating what your eyes see?
One benefit of ultrasonics is to provide additional confirmation of distance through something other than vision. As in the first embedded video above, the driver could already estimate distances with his eyes, but the ultrasonics would give him additional information that he doesn’t have visually. If the car is just estimating visually the same way the driver does that, then it’s not giving any new information.
This doesn’t mean the system can’t improve. Surely it can and it will have access to more advantageous angles than the driver’s eyes do, and be able to look all around the car at once instead of only in one direction at a time (as it already can). And in certain situations, it already seems to do a good job. But for now, the visualization doesn’t seem a lot better than eyeballing, which is disappointing six months after the feature was unceremoniously eliminated. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another six months for underwhelming results from Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links.More.