Tesla Motors Stories December 11, 2015

Tesla iphone cases 2Just barely in time for Christmas, Tesla updated its online store to add new apparel and accessories, including new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus leather cases/wallets.  If you have a Tesla enthusiast on your Christmas list, this might be your best last-minute shot for a holiday gift. expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories October 27, 2015

apple-car

While we can’t say for sure that an Apple Car will ever go on sale, it’s a certainty by this point that the company is devoting substantial development resources to the project. Tim Cook said recently that there would be “massive change” in the car industry, and that “autonomous driving becomes much more important.”

But as a recent opinion piece on sister site Electrek argued, and Elon Musk warned, actually manufacturing a car is massively more complex than making consumer electronics devices. Apple will therefore be looking for partners to pull together different elements of the car. Re/code has put together an interesting look at the most likely candidates …  expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories October 19, 2015

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San Francisco-based Mission Motorcycles, a maker of high-end electric motorcycles, recently filed for bankruptcy amid financial troubles. In the filing, current CEO Mark Seeger said the company is so low on cash that it can’t afford to pay for an attorney for the bankruptcy process, but while recently talking with Reuters, former CEO Derek Kaufman dismissed the company’s lack of money and instead blamed Mission’s demise on Apple’s poaching of top engineers… expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories October 9, 2015

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter's question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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Yesterday we reported on comments made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt. The CEO, known for speaking his mind candidly on occasions, made comments that could easily have been interpreted as critical to the design of the Apple Watch and the quality of the company’s hires from Tesla, but Friday afternoon Musk took to Twitter to soften those comments. expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories May 18, 2015

App that lets Tesla owners pretend to be Knight Rider now #1 Lifestyle app in iTunes

If you’re the sort of person that buys a car as hi-tech as a Tesla, it’s only natural you’re going to want to control it with an Apple Watch – and who could resist pretending to be communicating with KITT, the intelligent car in the 80s TV show Knight Rider?

Even so, hitting the number one slot in the Lifestyle category of the iOS App Store with a $10 app that’s only of any use to owners of a rather exclusive car is still impressive. Remote S for Tesla is a third-party app which uses the Tesla API to allow you to control a number of the car’s functions using a combination of iPhone and Apple Watch.

Highlights are the ability to unlock and start the car using Touch ID, monitor all three ranges at once (estimated/rated/ideal) and keep the heating/cooling running for more than 30 minutes when the car is not being used. Tech-ier users can even create web pages that communicate with the app.

The developer, Rego Apps, says that login credentials and commands are sent only directly to the Tesla servers, with no personally identifiable information stored by Rego. A number of the functions are unique to the Remote S app, shown below.

  • Fully functional Apple Watch app
  • Start car with Touch ID without needing a password (can be disabled)
  • Camp Mode allows you to keep the HVAC on in the car even though there is no activity. Normally, the car will turn off HVAC after 30 minutes.
  • Adjust the panoramic roof to more settings than just vent and close
  • Breadcrumb tracking allows you to see the path that car has recently taken
  • Accurate odometer readout. Remote S gives you the odometer reading that is accurate up to a few feet instead of rounded to the nearest mile.
  • In-app browser can detect commands from javascript and html so that you can create and use a webpage to control your car
  • This opens up all sorts of functionality, such as scheduling, queued commands, and repeated commands
  • Consolidated stats and commands into one screen for quicker and easier access
  • Start/unlock car with Apple Watch without a password
  • Ability to change passenger and driver temperature settings separately instead of always together
  • Estimated range is displayed (this takes the average consumption of your past 30 miles and estimates your battery range based on that past usage)
  • Monitor all three ranges (estimated, rated, ideal) at the same time without changing the settings in your car

With Apple rumored to be working on its own electric car, the two companies have for some time been poaching employees from each other. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said recently that he hoped Apple will indeed enter the car market.

The app is a $9.99 download from iTunes.

Tesla Motors Stories May 13, 2015

Tesla has taken its recruiting of Apple employees to the next level: the electric car and energy company has hired away Apple’s Senior Director of Corporate Recruiting, Cindy Nicola, to become Tesla’s new Vice President of Global Recruiting. Nicola has already noted her new role and start month of May on her LinkedIn profile.

Notably, Apple actually hired away Tesla’s Lead Recruiter in 2014 for its own electric car project, as we noted in our extensive profile of Apple’s automotive related hires. Interestingly, that former Tesla recruiter Lauren Ciminera has already left Apple to work on a new “confidential” project, according to her own LinkedIn page and confirmation from a source…

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Tesla Motors Stories February 20, 2015

rinspeed

What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories September 11, 2014

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Good news and bad news for Tesla Model S owners: the iOS and Android apps have been updated to allow you to start the car without a key – but the matching firmware update needed by the car hasn’t yet arrived.

Version 2 of the iOS app also provides support for the new calendar function, where the car can pull in data from your iPhone calendar and offer to navigate you to the location – as well as providing several new alerts …  expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories August 20, 2014

Tesla -6.0-

Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.

Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road.  Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.

Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.

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Tesla Motors Stories July 29, 2014

Much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple (Video)

Javier Verdura, Director of Product Design and Project Management for Tesla Motors pulls back the curtain on Tesla design during a recent RKS Sessions design talk. While the talk and Q&A is mostly focused on the physical design of the vehicles,Verdura answers a question about the GUI design briefly at 29:14, queued above, in which he notes that Tesla’s UI design team is largely made up of Apple alumni.

Verdura next talks about the design process and how everything goes through CEO Elon Musk at the end – something that should remind people of how Steve Jobs’ Apple worked.

Whole talk here.

Tesla Motors Stories March 2, 2014

There’s no real hard news at this talk given by Elon Musk this week but it is certainly interesting to see the back and forth with the iPhone Engineer (Evan Wong? Didn’t quite get the name) and the CEO of Tesla. Apple is of course rumored to be an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory so that makes the conversation all that more interesting. Some notes:

  • The engineer manages a big part of the hardware development of the iPhone.
  • Apple is one of the biggest buyers of batteries along with Tesla and they’ve done a lot of thorough testing
  • Chemistry, material, packaging and process affect  battery life constant.
  • Tesla buys 18650 form factor batteries and is sticking to them.
  • When musk asks about the energy density, the engineer knows not to say anything (he says he doesn’t want to get sued by his employer – to many laughs from the audience).
  • Musk assumes the battery energy density is public domain because of teardowns
  • Musk says in high production they can get to 260Wh/KG at the lowest price per kW which might be good info for those looking at the Gigafactory specs.
  • Apple likely can’t use these cells in their products because they are 18mm thick, much thicker than many of Apple’s products – or so speculates Musk

More of the conversation here. expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories February 16, 2014

Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality.  According the the SF ChronicleAdrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…

Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer.

But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:

But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.

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Tesla Motors Stories December 30, 2013

There have been a lot of important apps released for iOS (and Mac) this year. As you can imagine, we’ve covered many of the big ones.  But for me, nothing has been a bigger game changer than Tesla’s Model S App. I’m sure many folks will pooh-pooh the idea that an app that is for 30,000 or so households should even get mainstream coverage. But bear with me here. The company has revolutionized the ways in which cars interact with smartphones and these advancements will trickle into more car/apps over the coming years..

For those out of the loop, the Tesla Model S is a fully electric car that can seat up to 7 people, propel them from 0-60 in about 4 seconds and has a battery range of about 250-300 miles fully decked out. It has the lowest coefficient of drag of any mass produced car, has gained the best safety rating ever from the NHTSA and has more interior storage space than many minivans and SUVs.

Many have compared its disruptive nature and its charismatic CEO Elon Musk to Apple and Steve Jobs. expand full story

Tesla Motors Stories December 27, 2013

Tesla taps Apple manufacturing veteran to lead vehicle manufacturing technologies

From Electrek:

Tesla seems to be joining many other Silicon Valley companies in hiring employees away from Apple. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, we have discovered that Tesla has made another notable hire from the Cupertino tech giant: Rich Heley. He was hired away from Apple in November and joined Tesla in that same month, according to his LinkedIn profile:

Tesla Motors Stories October 24, 2013

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As noted by Electrek, Doug Field, who most recently served as Hardware Vice President at Apple, has defected to Tesla Motors to lead the company’s vehicle engineering programs. Field will lead the development of Tesla’s future cars, according to a release from Tesla. Field worked under Dan Riccio (and previously Bob Mansfield) on computers like the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and iMac. Before Apple, Field was the Chief Technology Officer at Segway.

“Doug has demonstrated the leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products, including what are widely considered the best computers in the world,” said Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder and CEO. “Tesla’s future depends on engineers who can create the most innovative, technologically advanced vehicles in the world. Doug’s experience in both consumer electronics and traditional automotive makes him an important addition to our leadership team.”

It is unclear if Apple plans to fill the void left by Field or if this will have a negative impact on the iPhone and Mac maker. In today’s announcement, Field says that “until Tesla came along, I had never seriously considered leaving Apple.” Field says that he left Apple to take up the opportunity to build “the best cars in the world.” A source says that Field left Apple last month.

The full press release from Tesla is available below:

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