Latest Tesla news: Autopilot ‘Full-Self-Driving’ Beta trials and Cybertruck improvements

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
October 26, 2020

Tesla has released a trial version of its Full-Self Driving software to a few select customers and Elon Musk hints that the Tesla Cybertruck could be given a few visual upgrades before it goes on sale.

Tesla Autopilot ‘Full-Self Driving’ software trials – 26/10/2020

Tesla has released the latest version of its ‘Full-Self Driving’ (FSD) Autopilot driver-assistance software to a select number of Tesla owners in the U.S. who’ve signed up for the company’s early-access beta-testing program. Being in its ‘beta’ phase means this software is still being developed and isn’t available to the public yet.

The new FSD update offers several new features not present in previous versions of Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ software, including to ability to guide a car down residential streets with no lane markers.

Despite being called ‘Autopilot’, Tesla has always said you should keep both hands on the steering wheel when using its driver-assistance software, and be ready to take over control of your car at all times. This means you can’t use your phone or get in the passenger’s seat while driving. This sounds like common sense, but a British man was banned from driving in 2018 for doing the latter on the M1 motorway…

What’s worrying about the latest update is that Tesla has stated that anyone involved in testing the ‘Full-Self Driving’ software must “pay extra attention to the road” because the system “may do the wrong thing at the worst time”. This cautionary wording could be seen as an overly pessimistic warning from Tesla, but it does beg the question of whether untrained members of the public should be responsible for testing unfinished software on the road.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has suggested that an early-access public release of the FSD software could happen before the end of 2020. What’s certain is that the price of compatibility with this software (when it gets released) has increased by $2,000 as of 26th October. The FSD upgrade now adds $10,000 to the price of a new Model S.

Tesla Cybertruck production will start in 2021.

Tesla Cybertruck latest news – 22/10/2020

In a conference call to discuss Tesla’s financial performance in the second half of 2020 to date, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the upcoming Cybertruck will be an improvement over the concept version.

He said “here are a lot of small improvements compared to what was unveiled. I think it’s going to be better than what we showed.” Musk offered no further details, but he did mention that he’d been discussing these changes with Tesla’s lead designer, Franz von Holzhausen, suggesting the upgrades could be visual, rather than mechanical.

Despite receiving hundreds of thousands of reservations, the Tesla Cybertruck isn’t expected to go into production until 2021 – construction of the new Austin ‘Giga’ factory in which it’ll be built hasn’t been completed yet.

When it does go on sale, the electric wedge will face competition from the likes of the electric Rivian R1T pickup and the recently revealed 1000hp Hummer EV.

Tesla used-car warranty cut to 1 year or 10,000 miles – 21/10/2020

Tesla has reportedly shortened its manufacturer warranties on used Model S and Model X cars from between two and four years to just a single year.

Previously, if you bought a used Model S or Model X that was less than four years old and had driven fewer than 50,000 miles, you’d be protected by a Tesla manufacturer warranty for a further four years, or 50,000 (whichever came first).

If you bought a used Tesla that was between four and six years old and had driven between 50,000 and 100,000 miles, you’d be protected by a Tesla warranty for a further two years or 100,000 miles (whichever came first).

Now, Telsa has reportedly cut this extended used-car warranty to just one year or 10,000 miles (whichever comes first) over the standard 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty.

Despite this, Telsa has recently introduced a no-questions-asked seven-day return policy on new cars. This means you can return any Tesla model for a full refund within a week of taking delivery.

Tesla Model S latest news – 13/10/2020

Tesla has reduced the price of selected Model S cars by $3,000 in the U.S. These reductions apply to Long Range Plus and Performance versions of Tesla’s four-door saloon.

As a result, the Long Range Plus car costs from $71,990 while the fastest Performance version will set you back $91,990. These discounts only apply to cars sold in the United States, so buyers in the UK will still pay £74,980 for a Model S Long Range and £89,980 for the Performance model.

More details have been announced about the new Tesla Model S Plaid. It’ll use the company’s new three-motor drive system to produce more than 1,100hp and will be capable of doing 0-60mph in less than two seconds. It’ll cover a quarter-mile from a standing start in less than nine seconds and will reach a 200mph top speed.

It’ll also be capable of travelling more than 520 miles between charges and has lapped the Laguna Seca race track in California just three seconds slower than a McLaren Senna. The Tesla Model S Plaid costs £130,980 and is available to pre-order now, but the first cars won’t be delivered until late 2021.

A tweet from Tesla suggests this car will lap the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany in seven minutes 20 seconds – that’s 22 seconds faster than a Porsche Taycan Turbo can manage.

Tesla Battery Day 2020 latest news 22/9/2020

Elon Musk has announced at the 2020 Tesla Battery Day that the electric-car maker will be ready to launch the second (beta) version of its autopilot driver-assistance systems.

Tesla’s new batteries could boost the range of its cars by 16%.

He also confirmed Tesla has developed a new battery architecture that is reportedly capable of storing five-times the energy of its current-generation batteries. This extra energy could correspond to a potential increase in vehicle range of 16%.

Structural battery technology will make electric cars simpler to build and lighter.

Additionally, Musk confirms Tesla is developing structural battery technology that uses an electric car’s batteries as a load-bearing part of the car’s platform. This, says Musk, could help reduce the overall mass of an electric car by 10%, increase range by 14% and use 370 fewer components than a conventional electric car.

Tesla has confirmed it will build a $25,000 electric car. 

Tesla will launch an entry-level electric vehicle in three years’ time that’ll cost from $25,000. Musk has said it will come with fully autonomous capabilities, although it isn’t clear whether this will be available at the $25,000 price-point or whether it will be reserved for higher-spec versions of Tesla’s upcoming new small car.

The Tesla Roadster will soon be put through its paces at the Nurburgring. 

Tesla Roadster latest news

The new Tesla Roadster will be tested at the Nurburgring race circuit in 2021, a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirms. This convertible sports car is set to be the fastest accelerating car Tesla has ever made – and that’s saying something.

The German race circuit is a favoured proving ground of many carmakers. Set a lap record here, which Tesla will be aiming to do, and you can be sure of some pretty impressive bragging rights.

Tesla Model 3 latest news

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the best-selling electric cars in the world thanks to its combination of impressive range, searing performance and uber-stylish minimalist interior.

The Tesla Model 3’s interior could be due for a refresh.

Its cabin could be revised immanently, however, as rumours suggest Tesla could be ready to introduce a redesigned centre console and steering wheel. The vast central touchscreen display isn’t expected to change, however.

The Tesla Model Y will go on sale in the UK in 2022.

Tesla Model Y latest news

Deliveries of the first Tesla Model Ys have begun in the US. These cars are being built in the US, but production for Chinese-market cars is set to start in Shanghai in 2021. You can expect the first UK-spec cars to arrive on our shores no earlier than 2022.

Tesla Model X latest news

The Tesla Model X will also be available with the upgraded Plaid power system. The Model X is already capable of embarrassing some supercars, so this triple-motor setup should make the practical seven-seater one of the fastest cars you can buy – full stop.

Check out the latest Tesla lease deals or compare the best electric cars available through carwow. 

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