Tesla is, by and large, the king of the electric car industry right now. Not only are its cars luxurious and desirable, the cheaper models are also relatively affordable compared to similar-specced electric cars. And there’s the Supercharger network to consider.
But Tesla doesn’t stand still, and things change all the time. Whether that’s brand new cars, like the incoming $25k hatchback, major changes to existing ones like the new Plaid version of the Tesla Model S, or the smaller stuff that can be announced or pulled just because Elon Musk feels like mixing things up.
- Tesla Model Y: Price, interior, performance, and more
- Tesla’s Auto Shift coming to all Full Self Driving models, confirms Elon Musk
- Plus: Elon Musk says Tesla Superchargers will work with other cars soon
With that in mind, we've pulled together the latest Tesla news and updates for you to keep track of the coming and goings of one of the most interesting electric vehicle brands.
Latest Tesla news (updated July 29)
The Tesla Model X Plaid has been spotted at Tesla's Fremont factory
The Tesla Model S Plaid has been available for over a month now, but there's still no sign of exactly when the automaker will start delivering the next Plaid car — the Model X. Well the car has just been spotted at tesla's Fremont factory, plugged into a Supercharger of all places
A video of the car was taken by Tesla Russ, and posted over on their YouTube channel. It's unmistakably a Model X, and peaking inside we see the interior is very much like the Model S Plaid — yoke steering and all.
The Model X Plaid is currently scheduled for an early 2022 launch. The Tesla website estimates delivery to happen in January or February if you order right now. It'll have a range of 340 miles, and a top speed of 163mph. But it'll set you back $119,990 for the base model.
July 29: Tesla earnings call confirms Tesla Semi is delayed again
Just one week after reports claimed production was about to begin on the Tesla Semi truck, Tesla used its earnings call to confirm that the Semi is, in fact, being delayed again. This has happened due to limited availability of battery cells and other parts, and means the truck will launch in 2022 instead.
The Tesla Semi was originally launched in 2017, and has been seemingly stuck in Limbo ever since. It's supposed to be able to pull 80,000 lbs of cargo, and will be available with two range options: 300 miles and 500 miles. Those will cost $150,000 for the former and $180,000, respectively. Amazingly that's still cheaper than the 2022 Tesla Roadster, which is set to cost $200,000.
July 26: Elon Musk confirms Model S and model X are stuck with yoke steering
Tesla's yoke steering wheel has been somewhat controversial, but it's definitely here to stay. In fact when asked whether the cars will ever be available with a standard circular steering wheel, Musk replied with a very definitive "No".
Musk also confirmed that future Tesla software updates will learn to ignore any accidental activation of the cars' touch-sensitive controls. Controls that are used for every day features like the horn and turn signals. Though it's not exactly clear why the classic physical levers and buttons had to be killed off, especially if accidental activation of their replacement is an issue.
July 22: Elon Musk promises Tesla will 'most likely' take Bitcoin payments again
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that Tesla will 'most likely' start accepting Bitcoin as payment once again (via Reuters). It just need to do some research and 'due diligence' in how much renewable energy is used to mine the cryptocurrency.
Tesla previous accepted Bitcoin as a payment method, only to backpedal two months later. The official line was that the amount of energy needed to mine the cryptocurrency was contrary to Elon Musk's environmental commitments.
According to Musk Bitcoin mining would need to get at least 50% of its power from renewable sources, with trends showing that this number was increasing. Naturally this news, along with Musk admitting that both he and Space X had Bitcoin holdings, caused Bitcoin's price to rise by 8%.
July 21: Elon Musk says non-Tesla cars can use Superchargers very soon
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed reports that non-Tesla cars will be able to recharge at Superchargers in the near future. Apparently this Supercharger expansion will start before the end of this year, and will eventually spread to all countries with a Supercharger network.
Sadly we don't know where this rollout will begin, or what limitations there may be on non-Tesla charging. However, considering Tesla owns and operates the largest car charging network in the world, this is a huge deal for current and future EV owners — and any range anxiety they may have.
July 20: Tesla Model Y and Model 3 will get Tesla's 'Auto Shift' feature in the future
Elon Musk has confirmed that Tesla's 'Auto Shift out of Park' feature will be coming to all Tesla cars with the Full Self Driving feature. That means it should also be coming to the Tesla Model Y and the Tesla Model 3 at some point in the near future.
The Auto Shift feature was announced earlier this year for the 2021 Model S and Model X cars. It's an autonomous feature that enables the car to automatically move out of a parking space, by judging whether it needs to shift into drive or reverse gear. That way it can start driving to its destination without any driver intervention.
Unfortunately the feature only allows the car to switch gears out of park, and not between drive and reverse. Elon Musk promises that it'll be able to do more in future, such as autonomous three point turns, but there's no timeline on when this might roll out.
July 20: Production is about to begin on the Tesla Semi electric truck
Tesla delays happen a lot, and nowhere is that more true than with the Tesla Semi - a better-powered semi-truck originally revealed way back in 2017. But after all those years of delays, the semi truck is finally ready to go into production.
Sources familiar with the goings on at Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory have told Elektrek that the Semi's drive axle production line is ready, while a final debugging is happening to the general assembly line ready for production to begin. Tesla is set to start fulfilling reservations by the end of the year.
The Tesla Semi is supposed to be able to pull 80,000 lbs of cargo, and will be available with 300-mile and 500-mile range options. But they won't be cheap, with prices starting at $150,000 for the former and $180,000 for the latter.
July 12: Tesla has brought back the Standard Range Model Y, but only in Hong Kong
The Standard Range Tesla Model Y was discontinued last year. According to Elon Musk it was because the car only had 244 miles of range per charge. The Tesla CEO later said that anything under 250 miles was “unacceptably” low, which is why the standard range Model Y would not be returning.
However, now the car appears to have made a comeback. Sadly you won’t be buying one anytime soon because it’s only available in Hong Kong (via Elektrek).
Tesla is selling the car for HK$329,800 ($42,459), though what’s most interesting is the company promises a range of 455km (WLTP) which works out at 282 miles. Though we imagine the discrepancy will be down to differences between the WLTP range testing and EPA testing that’s more commonly used in the United States.
June 30: Tesla Model 3 gets its safety rating back after ditching radar
Tesla turned a few heads when it announced it was ditching Autopilot’s radar sensors in favor of a camera-based system. To the point where its cars lost their safety ratings from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports.
But after evaluating the new driver assistance system, Tesla’s Model 3 has regained those safety ratings (via The Verge). Evidently the IIHS found that the new Tesla Vision cameras were effective for the Model 3’s automatic emergency braking (AEBC) and forward collision warning (FCW) systems to work effectively (and safely).
CEO Elon Musk always maintained that cameras were an adequate alternative to both radar and LiDAR-based detection systems in autonomous cars. This news evidently means that those claims definitely had some merit.
June 28: Tesla’s next car is a $25k hatchback coming in 2023
Tesla is known for its premium electric cars, though the likes of the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are still fairly affordable. But they’re not exactly what you’d call ‘budget’ cars, which is presumably why it’s developing a $25k hatchback due to be released in 2023.
We don’t know a lot about the car just yet, but Elon Musk has already confirmed that it will be powered by a brand new battery design that manages to pack more energy (and range) into a smaller space. Apparently that means the car will have 16% more range per kilowatt hour of energy. Musk also promised that the car will be 10% lighter than conventional EVs, helped by the smaller battery and lightweight design, which will extend the range by a further 14%.
Unfortunately there’s no word on how far the car will be able to go on a single fully-charged battery. However, given what happened with the Tesla Model Y, it’s likely that it will be at least 250 miles.
More useful Tesla links
- Everything you need to know about the Tesla Cybertruck
- Tesla Model S vs Tesla Model 3: What's the difference?
- Tesla Model X vs Tesla Model Y: Which SUV is best?
- Everything you need to know about the Tesla Model S Plaid
- Electric car charging stations near me: Where to charge your electric car
- The best electric cars of 2021
Production is about to begin on the Tesla Semi electric truck