An investigation into a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S autopilot system has safety regulators warning drivers to not use semi-autonomous cars as if they were fully self-driving. The investigation began after a driver using autopilot in a 2015 Tesla Model S died when the car failed to spot a tractor trailer crossing its path. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) blamed the driver of the vehicle because he ignored the manufacturer’s warnings to maintain control even while using the driver-assist function. The NHTSA said it found no defects in the vehicle and would not issue a recall.

Just last year, the NHTSA released guidelines to ensure vehicle safety without slowing the development of semi-autonomous and self-driving cars. The agency says self-driving features could dramatically reduce traffic deaths by eliminating human error, which plays a role in 94 percent of fatal crashes. Although Tesla has maintained that autopilot was not responsible for the drivers death, it issued a number of over-the-air updates to the software to increased use of radar sensors and have added a feature that would disable autopilot if drivers took their hands off the wheel too many times.

Tesla has acknowledged a problem affecting certain Universal Mobile Connectors (“UMC”) NEMA 14-50 adapters used to charge Tesla Model S vehicles. According to the recall report, a variety of factors such as corrosion, physical damage to receptacles, or inappropriate installation of electrical outlets can cause higher than normal electrical resistance. Electrical resistance heating in the adapter or at the wall socket could lead to melting of the adapter, cord or wall receptacle. There is also the possibility of electrical arcing that could lead to fire. Continue reading

Tesla Motor’s highly anticipated charging network has finally been unveiled to the public with the revelation of it first six supercharger stations. According to Tesla, the stations will safely deliver up to 4.5 times more electricity to the battery giving approximately half a charge in half an hour. It will do this by using special cables that connect directly to the battery, bypassing any on board charging equipment. The most unique thing about these charging stations is that many will be equipped with solar cells mounted on the weather canopy that will generate more energy over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the supercharger stations, resulting in a positive transfer of power back to the electricity grid. Current active stations in California can be found in Barstow, Hawthorne, Lebec, Coalinga, Gilroy and Folsom. By 2015, Tesla hopes to expand their supercharger network to over 100 stations.

Tesla Motors Inc. has announced that they will be releasing another 5.3 million shares in a secondary public stock offering of $28.76 per share. These shares will be in addition to a private sale of 1.4 million to Elon Musk, CEO and co-founder of Tesla, plus an additional 637,475 shares to Blackstar Investco LLC, an affiliate of Daimler AG. The company hopes to raise about $211 million which will go towards developing their new SUV like vehicle, the Model X.

In June of 2010 when Tesla first went public, the sale was a big success. The stocks were estimated to sell at about $15 a share but ended going up to as high as $19. Just two days after the release, the stock shot up to almost double the first offering. Despite the huge success, the Tesla IPO soon lost it’s momentum.

Tesla is not expected to make a profit for another two years. They currently sell just one vehicle, the Roadster, a sporty electric car popular with the rich and famous. The first public stock offering has allowed them to develop a more affordable model, the Model S, which will be released to the public next year. The company is currently developing battery packs and chargers for Daimler and Toyota, and have been working with Toyota to develop an electric version to the RAV 4. Tesla shares currently remain steady around $27.00.

The sales of electric cars may not be doing as well as first hoped, but the displays at this years Los Angeles Auto Show hopes to change that. GM’s Chevrolet Volt, the 2011 Green Car of the Year, is one of several displays that hope to spark interest in the sales of green cars. The Volts rival, the Nissan leaf, along with Tesla’s Toyota RAV4 EV, the Fisker Karma, the Mitsubishi I-MiEV, and every other car maker’s electric or hybrid car will be there vying for the green consumers interest.

This year’s show will feature a record of debuts with fifty new vehicles unveiled on press day. This year’s show features more elaborate and interactive exhibits and more manufacturers, making it one of the most dynamic LA Auto Shows in years. The annual event, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and will be open to the public November 19-28.

Tesla has announced that it will be recalling all Roadster 2.0 vehicles built between July 2009-June 2010 as well as all Roadster 2.5 models built between July 2010-September 2010. This comes after a complaint from a customer who reported a fire behind the right front corner of the vehicle. The problem is being blamed on a low voltage auxiliary cable chafing against a panel causing a short. This issue is limited to the 12V low voltage auxiliary cable and does not involve the main battery pack or main power system.

In the recall, Tesla technicians will check the routing of the cable and install a protective sleeve to prevent further chaffing. Tesla has started notifying customers via email and has initiated a mailing campaign. The repair will be done at the customers’ homes or offices and will take approximately one hour.