Tesla will drive the industry forward in several ways:
1. EVs can be cool
2. OTA updates can be done at home (look at Volt owners being charged $300 for simple SW reflashing and having car in shop for hours)
3. Owning the Supercharger network (others taking field of dreams approach)
4. Autopilot (others were getting their toes wet, Tesla jumped straight in).
5. Customer service, bring car service to owner
They clearly have issues to work through:
1. lack production expertise of GM and other big companies
2. QC not up to snuff yet
3. pricing is still out of reach for most (although $35k model 3 should help a lot)
4. lack capital to develop many vehicles at once (changing)
Really, all they need is a successful ramp of the Model 3 within the next 6 months and I think they stand to grow pretty rapidly. I am curious how increased competition will impact them, but until competitors can address the first few points Tesla really doesn't have competition.
And through their marketing of it...a gentleman hit a tractor trailer and died and Tesla is now be sued over 'dangerously defective' Autopilot software by a group of purchasers of the Autopilot option...
Lawsuit in China over Autopilot...
Autopilot will be an Albatross around Tesla's neck for quite a while...
- Tesla began equipping all of its vehicles with Autopilot Hardware 2.0 in October 2016, claiming the new package would enable full self-driving capabilities.
- Now Tesla has quietly begun installing Autopilot Hardware 2.5 on early Model 3 deliveries.
- Upon being asked about this switch, Tesla alluded to the possibility that full self-driving capabilities may not be available with Hardware 2.0, and would require and upgrade to Hardware 2.5.
- Several key departures from Tesla's Autopilot team in recent months only make the situation more precarious.
- There is a possibility Tesla will have to walk back on its self-driving claims for Autopilot Hardware 2.0, and shareholders will have to pay the bill.
On August 9th, Electrek reported that Tesla has began installing a new version of its Autopilot Hardware (dubbed 2.5), into the Model 3.
When asked about this new Autopilot Hardware 2.5 package, Tesla quickly downplayed its significance by responding with the following comment.
"The internal name HW 2.5 is an overstatement, and instead it should be called something more like HW 2.1. This hardware set has some added computing and wiring redundancy, which very slightly improves reliability, but it does not have an additional Pascal GPU."
However, Tesla also added this disclosure, indicating there was a possibility that Autopilot Hardware 2.0 may have to be updated to fulfill its self-driving promise (emphasis mine).
"However, we still expect to achieve full self-driving capability with safety more than twice as good as the average human driver without making any hardware changes to HW 2.0. If this does not turn out to be the case, which we think is highly unlikely, we will upgrade customers to the 2.5 computer at no cost."
Although management is trying to make it seem like there is only a small possibility it will occur, the fact that they disclosed it all is worrisome.
Additionally, with a slew of executive changes on the Autopilot team, there are currently a lot more questions than answers surrounding the state of Tesla's self-driving technology.