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Tesla

Founded in 2003, Tesla is the top manufacturer of electric vehicles in the US. Led by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, the automaker upended the industry with the futuristic designs and technology of the Gigafactory, the Model S sedan, the Model X SUV, the mass-market Model 3, and soon, the Model Y compact SUV and the unconventional, Blade Runner-inspired pickup Cybertruck. The company has also experienced a number of growing pains on the path to that status as a leader, including public clashes with government agencies, and it commonly faces questions about its technology, issues with its manufacturing, and the treatment of its workforce. The Verge covers all of Tesla’s product launches and ambitions, including energy generation and storage, and the push towards autonomous cars.

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A report suggests Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system may have been involved in a deadly 2022 crash.

Hans von Ohain, a former Tesla employee, was killed after his Tesla Model 3 veered off a Colorado road and into a tree, where the vehicle caught fire. However, The Washington Post interviewed the surviving passenger and obtained 911 dispatch recordings, which indicate von Ohain may have had FSD enabled at the time of the crash.

Colorado State Patrol investigators were never able to determine whether FSD was involved due to the extensive damage and closed the investigation last year. Elon Musk maintained Tesla’s FSD system caused no accidents or injuries just months before the crash occurred.


Welcome to the first Thursday?Decoder.

This week marks the launch of Decoder’s second episode, which will explain big topics in the news with Verge reporters, experts, and other friends of the show. (The other Decoder you know and love, featuring big interviews with CEOs and others, now publishes every Monday.)

For this episode, I sat down with Verge Transportation Editor Andy Hawkins, to discuss a fantastic article he wrote called, “The EV Transition trips over its own cord.” It’s all about how the momentum for electric cars in America has started to hit serious snags, even as more people than ever before go fully electric. Check it out.


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Sounds like Tesla is prepping for some layoffs.

That’s the impression many employees got after the company asked managers to sort which jobs were “critical,” according to Bloomberg. Also biannual performance reviews were cancelled.

During the most recent earnings call, Elon Musk said Tesla was between “two major growth waves,” but warned of a sales slowdown in 2024. Tesla has roughly doubled in size since 2020, with around 140,000 on its payroll globally.


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SpaceX is being investigated for discrimination and sexual harassment.

The California Civil Rights Department is investigating complaints by seven workers that SpaceX execs “discriminated against women, joked about sexual harassment and fired workers for raising concerns,” reports Bloomberg and Reuters.

The same agency is also suing Tesla over charges of operating a “racially segregated workplace.”

In the SpaceX complaints, employees cite a pattern of discrimination, as well as inappropriate tweets by Musk that they said they couldn’t easily avoid because he uses the platform for important company announcements.


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How independent are the boards of Musk’s companies?

Not very, according to The Wall Street Journal’s examination, published last night.

It’s not just that some members have earned, for example, “hundreds of millions of dollars” — far more than typical board member compensation, the Journal says.

It’s that reportedly, some members are heavily invested in Musk’s and each other’s companies, and regularly do drugs with him “because they think refraining could upset the billionaire, who has made them a lot of money.”


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Tesla will pay $1.5 million to settle a California lawsuit over dumping hazardous waste.

Tesla was being sued by 25 California DAs for dumping hazardous automotive components and waste like metal car panel welding spatter in the trash instead of handling it appropriately.

As TechCrunch points out, Tesla will pay $1.3 million in civil penalties, $200k for the costs of the investigation, and comply with an injunction for five years with training for employees and audits of its trash containers.


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CEOs can be friends with the people setting their pay —

apparently they just have to disclose it first.

Axios writes that CEOs other than Elon Musk should still be fine to receive pay packages as big as they’d like,?so long as they keep their board processes buttoned up.


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Tesla is getting sued in California for its hazardous waste handling.

Over two dozen California counties accuse the EV-maker of improperly labeling and disposing of hazardous waste in landfills that don’t process that type of material, according to a report from Reuters.

The hazardous materials in question include used batteries, antifreeze, paint materials, brake fluids, and more. As noted by Reuters, a violation of California’s hazardous waste management policies could result in penalties of up to $70,000 per day.


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Ford EV owners will get their Tesla Supercharger adapters for free.

In a post on X, Ford CEO Jim Farley said that Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning owners in the US and Canada could reserve their complimentary adapters. The adapters, which enable EVs equipped with CCS ports to charge at Tesla Superchargers, are being supplied by Tesla, a spokesperson said.

Ford was the first company to announce its intention to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard for its future EVs —?a commitment that was eventually repeated by basically the rest of the global auto industry.


Tesla’s rearview cameras are messed up.

The company issued a recall notice for nearly 200,000 Model S, X, and Y vehicles from 2023 for a “software instability” that prevents the rearview camera from working properly. Of course, Tesla has already begun releasing an over-the-air software update to fix the issue, as it does. Not a good look for a company that has positioned itself at the forefront of the software revolution in the auto industry!


No car company has taken up Tesla’s offer to license FSD.

In an earnings call, Elon Musk said it might be because they “still don’t believe it’s real.” He claimed that Tesla is still in talks with other automakers to license the advanced driver-assist feature, that despite the misleading name still requires driver’s to pay attention to the road while using.

Over 400,000 cars in North America have the feature, Musk said. Tesla just started rolling out v12, which uses neural nets “end-to-end” to control the vehicle’s functions.


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Tesla finally releases (sort of) its neural network Full Self-Driving feature.

Electrek reports that Tesla is slowly releasing FSD v12 on beta to a very small group of testers after CEO Elon Musk promised its release last year. If the demo was anything to go by, delaying the release to 2024 was a good idea, especially after almost running a red light.

FSD v12 is supposed to feature what Musk calls “end-to-end neural nets,” meaning that instead of relying on a mix of cameras and sensors like radar, FSD v12 will mainly use AI and cameras.


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The Cybertruck’s 11,000-pound towing limit just got put to the test.

We’ve already seen range tests with the Cybertruck carrying 6,000 pounds, but JerryRigEverything maxed out the Cybertruck’s 11,000-pound capacity in a new video that has the EV pickup pulling a Hummer.

The trip, which was done in sub-freezing temperatures, lasted 90 miles before the Cybertruck’s battery ran out of juice. To compare, one Cybertruck owner towing 6,000 pounds got around 111 miles of range.


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Tesla Supercharger in Chicago packed with “dead robots” that can’t charge in the cold.

Electrek points out this Fox 32 report from Monday showing Teslas that couldn’t charge in subzero temperatures, similar to issues some drivers reported last winter.

It’s unclear if drivers failed to warm the batteries by preconditioning (EVs in Norway, for example, seem to get by somehow) or if the chargers failed, and Tesla doesn’t respond to questions. Another report from WGN News points to long lines at functioning stations and includes a service center operator telling people to park their cars inside if possible.


Elon Musk is uncomfortable with the amount of control Elon Musk has over Tesla.

The Tesla CEO and X CTO / owner writes that “I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without having ~25% voting control,” and proposed building products (like Grok?) outside of Tesla instead.

Musk’s stake in the company reportedly dropped to 13.4 percent in 2022 as he sold shares and acquired X, then known as Twitter. Now there’s this statement, a recent WSJ report citing concerns about drug use, and... Tesla’s Q4 earnings report coming up on January 24th.


“I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without ~25% control. Enough to be influential, but not so much I can’t be overturned. Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build products outside of Tesla. You don’t seem to understand Tesla is not one startup, but a dozen. Simply look at the delta between what Tesla does and GM.  As for stock ownership itself being enough motivation, Fidelity and other own similar stakes. Why don’t they show up for work?”
Image: @elonmusk (X)
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Tesla temporarily halts production at its biggest European factory.

The company blames the two-week pause at its German Gigafactory on a component shortage caused by shipping disruptions in the Red Sea — a major trade route between Asia and Europe.

Iranian-backed Houthi militants have increasingly targeted cargo ships in the region following the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7th. Delays caused by shipping companies re-routing around the conflict are also impacting production at Volvo.


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Want to know what the Cybertruck can do to carrots and hot dogs?

The folks over at the Out of Spec Reviews channel started this Cybertruck look by comparing the pinch sensors (or lack thereof) of the doors and frunk of a Rivian truck, a Cybertruck, an F-150 Lightning, and a Tesla Model X.

Something to watch if you’re curious about what happens if you don’t get your snack out of the way in time.


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Meet the new Tesla Autopilot, same as the old Tesla Autopilot.

In the wake of the massive recall meant to address inadequate driver monitoring, MotorTrend tested out Tesla’s newly updated Autopilot on a 700-mile road trip, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s barely any different.

In our estimation, Tesla has done the bare minimum to satisfy the NHTSA’s concerns. It has made the warnings more visible, but it has not increased the frequency of those warnings. It continues to rely on easily deceived steering wheel torque sensors for all driving conditions that don’t involve Autosteer, rather than cracking down on driver distraction at all times, as many competitors have done.?


Tesla is putting fewer speakers in the base Model Y.

It’s also getting rid of the subwoofer.

The EV-maker’s website now says that the cheapest version of the Model Y comes with seven speakers and one amp, as spotted by Drive Tesla Canada.

That’s a downgrade from the 13 speakers, one subwoofer, and two amps that the base Model Y used to come with (as shown on this archived page). The upgraded audio is now only available with the Dual Motor and Performance models.


Screenshot by Emma Roth / The Verge
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Elon Musk’s alleged drug use is worrying Tesla and SpaceX execs,

At least according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal that claims that SpaceX and Tesla executives and board members are concerned about how Musk’s drug use could affect his health — and his businesses.

Musk, thanks to SpaceX, is deeply entangled with the US federal government, and his antics have cost him before, such as when the Pentagon investigated him after he smoked pot on Joe Rogan’s podcast.


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Pharrell Williams was up all night to parallel park his Cybertruck.

Just kidding; it wasn’t all night. But according to Business Insider, when the recording artist and producer pulled up to Louis Vuitton, he struggled for about 10 minutes to get his chunky metal triangle car into a spot before giving up and letting a valet handle it.

Guess he just couldn’t find the right angle.


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Tesla is recalling another 1.6 million vehicles in China.

The automaker recalled 2 million cars in the US last year to issue an Autopilot fix, and now it’s doing the same in China. An over-the-air software update will roll out to the affected vehicles, which is supposed to help prevent drivers from misusing its driver-assist system.


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Norwegian driving instructors aren’t happy about Tesla’s turn signal placement.

Newer versions of the Model S, X, and 3 come with a turn signal that’s just a button on the steering wheel, rather than on a separate stalk.

The placement makes it more difficult for students to activate their blinkers and exit a roundabout, causing them to fail driving exams, one driving instructor tells the Norwegian outlet Motor. For that reason, some instructors in Norway believe newer Tesla vehicles are “unsuitable” as driving school cars.


‘The thing is like a giant wet noodle.’

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about the most important story of 2023: the Tesla Cybertruck’s comically large windshield wiper. Thanks to Out of Spec’s Kyle Conner, we now have confirmation that the wiper has the rigidity of overcooked fettuccini. And perhaps is missing a second wiper blade?? More details are sure to be unearthed, as The Verge remains your primary source for all Cybertruck wiper related news.

[Conner’s wiper demonstration starts at 12:43]


Tesla Cybertruck wiper gif
That’s one floppy wiper.
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