Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that its electric vehicle company is not working on its previously announced $25,000 electric car right now because it has "too much on its plate".
During Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings, Musk was asked by shareholders about the status of the $25,000 Tesla, the auto-tech website Electrek reported.
"Well, we are not currently working on the $25,000 car. At some point, we will, but we have enough on our plate right now, too much on our plate, frankly. So, at some point, there will be," Musk responded.
At Tesla Battery Day in 2020, CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will be making a $25,000 electric car.
He made it clear that this new price point is achieved through Tesla's new battery cell and battery manufacturing effort, which could reduce battery costs by over 50 per cent.
The $25,000 Tesla electric car, which is often referred to as the "Tesla Model 2", has been likened to a new electric hatchback that Tesla has been planning to produce at Gigafactory Shanghai in China and export globally.
In 2020, Tesla announced plans to establish a new R&D center in China to build "Chinese-style" electric car.
Tesla started taking design submissions for its Chinese-made small electric car that summer and started hiring for the programme shortly afterward.
At the time, the automaker also released this early design drawing of a small electric hatchback. It led many to think that it was the design direction and form factor that Tesla is going for in the upcoming electric vehicle.
The Centre's accelerated infra push along with healthy demand from the e-commerce sector has led to a gradual recovery in the commercial vehicle (CV) segment, said automobile major Tata Motors.
Notably, the segment went through a major downturn during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a conversation with IANS, Girish Wagh, Executive Director, Tata Motors, cited a gradual recovery in demand post the second wave.
Accordingly, the recovery was triggered on the back of increase in economic activity, which along with a robust rural economy has driven the sales of CVs.
"Increased activity in the last-mile applications like ‘FMCG', ‘FMCD', agriculture supplies, and other e-commerce products have been major catalysts for the increase in demand in small commercial vehicles (SCVs) and intermediate and light commercial vehicles (I&LCVs)," he said.
"M&HCVs (medium and heavy commercial vehicles) have witnessed gradual demand recovery from construction, mining and e-commerce sectors."
In the medium term too, he said the trend is expected to continue due to the revival in growth of the construction and e-commerce sector.
Besides, he cited Centre's recently announced initiatives such as the scrappage policy and the Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) in driving the demand for commercial vehicles in the near future.
"Freight and diesel rate spread has improved sequentially, indicating a revival in demand for freight transport, although the transporter profitability may still be under stress.
"Better freight demand from sectors such as infrastructure development, mining, cement and steel augurs well and is expected to provide the much-needed push for the CV Industry," he added.
According to Wagh, the market situation is improving and the company is optimistic as the infrastructure project gains execution momentum.
"The government's announcement of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) worth Rs 102 lakh crores until FY24 and a 26 per cent on-year increase in the Capex allocation for FY22 with a sharp focus on infrastructure will support M&HCVs growth in the short to medium term."
At present, Tata Motors has the widest portfolio in the market. It recently unveiled 21 vehicles across segments.
Short-video making app Chingari on Monday announced it has raised $15 million in a Series A extension round. The platform said it will use the funds to enhance technology, launch new features and augment the tech team.
The app is planning to soon launch its live-streaming, socio-commerce and audio chat features.
With over 110 million downloads, Chingari said it has witnessed a two-fold increase in its user base since April 2021. The short-video making app aims to take its user base to 200 million by the end of this year.
"This new funding will further strengthen our position and help us deliver an immersive user experience for our community," said Sumit Ghosh, Co-founder and CEO, Chingari.
With 35 million monthly active users (MAUs), the app is aiming to further increase user engagement by strengething local content portfolio with more than 20 languages on the platform.
Republic Capital led the latest funding with participation from Onmobile, JPIN Venture Catalysts, Hill Harbour, Angellist, Venture Collective, Makan Family, Cowa Ventures, MVC Friends, Protocol Labs and other HNI family offices.
The platform recently launched a crypto token ‘$GARI' to make content monetisation more mainstream in the country.
With plans afoot to locally assemble its all-electric sedan EQS in India, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is looking to accelerate sales of electric vehicles in the country, according to a senior company official.
Mercedes-Benz India plans to bring to the market the locally assembled EQS electric sedan in the fourth quarter of 2022 to add to the all-electric SUV EQC, which was launched as a fully imported unit in October 2020 priced at Rs 1.07 crore.
"We have taken a step by step approach in developing electric vehicle strategy in India. EQC was first available in six markets in India and gradually expanded. Now we are in 50 cities with the EQC and the next step is to expand the portfolio with a car, which we believe has a stronger volume appeal and producing it locally," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director & CEO Martin Schwenk told PTI.
Elaborating further on the electrification plans, he said, "When we did the rollout of the brand EQC we actually looked into what safe numbers we can expect. We do the same in the EQS. At the end, you have to think of which car has a volume aspiration that makes sense for local production."
The EQS will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022 and it will be assembled at the company's plant at Chakan in Maharashtra.
"It is a car with completely different characteristics. It's a luxury sedan and it has a different customer base and we would also expect a broader base of interest. So the local production makes sense," Schwenk said.
When asked if the local assembly of the EQS would lead to other future EV models to be assembled in India, he said,"We are planning on the one hand and on the other we are acting based on how the environment is developing. We now see the time is mature to bring locally produced EQS."
Schwenk further said,"What we will do on top in future, these are plans that are to be made based on the market conditions, expectations of the customers that are developing...So we will also look into what are the signs in the market..."
Mercedes-Benz has a "strong backbone of products" in its global EV portfolio and the company is in a position to assess which car has the best chance to be launched in India either as locally produced or as an imported vehicle.
"This conversation will continuously happen but it will only be decided when we feel we see a clearer view of what the next step should be," Schwenk said.
When asked with plans to start local assembly of the EQS, has Mercedes-Benz India given up on demands for reduction in customs duties of imported vehicles, specially EVs, he said the company will not change anything in its stand as "very high import duties limit the localisation of the technology and adoption in the market".
"So, whatever would happen to ease the pain on duties would eventually lead us to have other options in terms of growing the market, and higher demand would be created and we'll also see other options for localisation," Schwenk said.
Elon Musk-owned electric vehicle company Tesla has reportedly removed the dates about Cybertruck production from its website.
According to The Verge, order page on Tesla's Cybertruck site previously told buyers: "You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022." Now, it just says: "You will be able to complete your configuration as production nears."
The Cybertruck was originally announced in 2019. In August 2021, the production of the Cybertruck was moved to 2022 as the EV firm decided to focus on producing its Model Y.
Musk during Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call in January 2021 said that the first Cybertrucks would ship in 2021 only, but he expected volume production to be in 2022.
Recently, a new Tesla Cybertruck prototype with an updated design was spotted on the automaker's Fremont factory test track.
According to the auto-tech website Electrek, a YouTuber's drone spotted the new Cybertruck prototype on the test track behind the plant.
They managed to capture 10 minutes of footage of the automaker testing the new electric pickup truck.
The prototype appears to be brand new with some tape holding some of the trims and cables together.
The new Cybertruck also features side mirrors, something the prototype did not have.
Czech automaker Skoda on Monday launched new version of its premium SUV Kodiaq in the country, priced between Rs 34.99 lakh and Rs 37.49 lakh (ex-showroom).
The new Kodiaq comes equipped with 2-litre petrol engine mated to a seven-speed transmission sending power to all four wheels.
The company said the all new version of the seven seater model, which comes with various luxury features, can accelerate to 100kph in just 7.8 seconds.
The three trims Style, SportLine and Laurin & Klement variants of the model are tagged at Rs 34.99 lakh, Rs 35.99 lakh and Rs 37.49 lakh, respectively.
"Kodiaq has a rich, international legacy of being a pioneering model of our SUV campaign. In India, as in with the other markets where the KODIAQ is present, the SUV has stood out for the ample space on offer, comprehensive range of equipment and its excellent value-for-money proposition," Skoda Auto India Brand Director Zac Hollis said in a statement.
With the all-new Kodiaq, the company has built on the design aesthetic, comfort, engine and dynamic capabilities, along with thoughtful additions in the cabin, he added.
"With several segment leading features and uncompromising safety, Kodiaq is a complete luxury package for the family, whether it is everyday driving or off-road adventures," Hollis stated.
In terms of safety, the model comes with nine airbags, adaptive front headlights, defogging across all transparent surfaces, electronic, mechanical and hydraulic brake assist, stability control, multi-collision braking and park assist with handsfree parking among others.
In addition, the flagship L&K trim comes with hill descent control and a 360-degree camera as standard.
Automobile manufacturer Tata Motors on Saturday reported a rise of 24 per cent in its domestic sales in December 2021 on a year-on-year basis.
The domestic sales rose to 66,307 units during the month under review from 53,430 units sold during December 2020.
The company's total commercial vehicle sales rose to 31,008 units in December 2021 from 29,885 units sold during the corresponding month of the previous year. Total passenger vehicle sales rose by 50 per cent to 35,299 units from 23,545 unit off-take in December 2020.
"Tata Motors PV business growth journey continued and set several new milestones during the quarter despite witnessing a shortfall in production due to the ongoing semi-conductor crisis," said Shailesh Chandra, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors.
"The overwhelming market response to Tata Punch launched in October 21 is further boosting demand for the company's 'New Forever' range of cars and SUVs," he added.
Chandra also said that the ever-increasing demand for Nexon EV and Tigor EV as well as progressive revival of the EV fleet segment were instrumental in driving this steep growth.
"Going forward, semiconductor supplies will remain the key source of uncertainty. Additionally, the impact of the new strain of Covid needs to be closely tracked. We will continue to work on business agility plan and take proactive actions to mitigate these risks," Chandra said.
India saw three online used car platforms -- Droom, CarDekho and Spinny -- becoming unicorns (market cap of over $1 billion) in 2021 and riding the digital wave, the used car sales are expected to grow to 8.3 million units (at a healthy CAGR of 11 per cent) by 2026, a new report showed on Monday.
Data monetisation, in-vehicle connectivity, subscriptions, rental, charging, and long-term maintenance packages are expected to command a large share in the profit pool, according to data provided by Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer.
"Reduced period of car ownership among the millennial demographic has also been observed, and is a key contributor to the growth in the used car segment," the report mentioned.
Although a booming segment, the used car market comes with its own set of considerations.
"The used car market comprises 30,000 dealers as of now, making it an extremely fragmented space. Of the existing dealers, close to 45 per cent are commission agents or brokers. Most of them have no physical space of business, and operations are bound to be unorganised," the report mentioned.
Unorganised dealers have low productivity as they face price led competition from unorganised brokers or C2C transactions.
Despite the fact that the used car market has its challenges, digital seems to be doing its part to solve them, as key players are adopting digital best practices and incorporating them effectively in their dealership models.
"It is estimated that most new car dealerships are now connected online via the OEM online network, and benefit from targeted leads (via OEMs and auto portals). Out of the 30,000 used car dealerships, at least 4,000 are spending consistently on online auto portals," the findings showed.
With the help of transparent, organised and efficient and tech-driven dealership models, the used car segment can overcome the existing pitfalls.
"Competitive intelligence, high-quality data, solid user experience, are the need of the hour," said the report.
India's automobile industry expects continuation of healthy demand along with easing of semiconductor supply issues during the upcoming year.
However, speed breakers such as the third Covid wave triggered via the spread of Omicron variant in India as well as rising commodity prices might deccelerate the industry's recovery.
"Auto industry is hopeful that the new variant of Omicron of Covid-19 will not play a major spoilsport. We are hopeful that once the semiconductor crisis eases out, the industry can continue to witness strong demand and do better in 2022," said Rajesh Menon, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
"The industry is hopeful that the favourable policies of the government for instance the PLI schemes for the auto and auto component sector, advanced chemistry cell, an extension of FAME-II scheme till 2024 and the announcement of a PLI scheme of Rs 76,000 crore for semiconductor manufacturing will provide the much-needed fillip to the industry."
Lately, rising commodity costs have driven up automobile prices.
Similarly, the semiconductor shortage has extended the waiting period along with escalated prices.
At present, semiconductors play a critical part in the production of internal combustion engines. They are an integral part of all kinds of sensors and controls in any vehicle.
"We see year 2022 as a neutral year as the rise of Omicron has once again created fear globally," said Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) President Vinkesh Gulati.
"This may further impact the supply in passenger vehicles if chip making countries go under lockdown or prioritise chip making for electronics used for 'work from home'.
Besides, Gulati said the two-wheeler market which continues to face demand headwinds may further go into a slump if the third wave becomes a reality.
"We anticipate that H2 of CY 2022 may see supply as well as demand slowly coming back to normalcy. As mentioned earlier, Auto Industry may fully recover only by 2023 and come back to its pre-covid levels if covid becomes a history."
Currently, the industry fears the advent of a third Covid-19 wave triggered via the Omicron variant.
"Overall the automotive industry is expected to fare better than in FY21 as we will probably see continuous production throughout the year without any breaks provided Omicron is not very severe and there are no localised lockdowns," said Hemal Thakkar, Director, Crisil Research.
"Also, semiconductor shortages are easing out as compared to earlier, but will still continue to persist throughout 2022."
Further, Thakkar said the momentum on EV side would be "better" with players wanting to invest in battery cells and vehicles on account of the PLI released by the Centre which will facilitate ecosystem growth and demand-side incentives under 'FAME II' and state policies.
On the semiconductor crisis, Shamsher Dewan, Vice President & Group Head, ICRA said: "Normalcy in the supply chain is likely to be achieved only over the next 12-18 month as new capacities come on stream."
"Leading global players across the value chain have given a guidance of production shortfalls continuing for a major part of 2022; supplies are only expected to revert to normal levels by the first quarter of CY2023."
Besides, Dewan said that OEMs will continue to invest in new product development, with significant investments towards new technologies, such as electric vehicles (EVs).
"Within the various automotive segments, the 2W segment is expected to be at the forefront of India's automobile electrification drive, with the EV policy environment turned conducive for the segment."
"Significant financial incentives are being offered for e2Ws under the centre's FAME-II scheme and select state EV policies; the same have materially altered the total cost of ownership (TCO) in favour of EVs and has led to a surge in demand for the segment over the past few months."
According to Tanu Sharma, Director Ratings at Brickwork Ratings, passenger vehicles revenue growth estimates of BWR may be revised downwards to 15 per cent for 2022 in the backdrop of more severe semiconductor chip shortages impacting deliveries and muted festive season sales.
"The commercial vehicle segment should however grow at 20 per cent YoY in 2022 led by the revival of construction, agriculture and eCommerce activities, coupled with a low base. Due to rising commodity prices, and rising fuel prices, vehicle price hikes will be inevitable and pose a challenge of the high cost of ownership to buyers in the medium term," Sharma said.
"Vehicle price hikes may not fully cover the rising inflationary costs and could hurt the profitability of auto companies. Downside risks from the Omicron variant of Covid, viz. deferral in the resumption of travel, and the consequent impact on macroeconomic growth and a further delay in resolving semiconductor chips shortages remain pertinent."
In addition, Sridhar V., Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP said: "The auto sector looks at 2022 with optimism despite several challenges faced by it in the form of chip shortage, Omicron, price increase of input materials."
"The kickstart of the PLI scheme by the government with clear directional indicators supported by measures under FAME, introduction of scrappage policy, uptick in demand, positive sentiments and overall economic growth indicators should strengthen the optimism. Chip shortage is expected to ease out in the near term to keep pace with the demand expectations. 2022 is expected to be a year of awakening for the industry."
Elon Musk-owned electric vehicle company Tesla has reportedly agreed to stop allowing drivers and passengers from playing video games on the dashboard screens while vehicles are in motion.
The agreement came a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation of the game feature, which is known as Passenger Play, reports The New York Times.
The investigation was announced after the NYT reported this month on the potential safety risks the games posed.
"Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla's ‘Passenger Play', Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature," the safety agency was quoted as saying in a statement.
"In a new software update, ‘Passenger Play' will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion," it added.
Safety experts had criticised the electric car maker for allowing the games to be accessible while cars were in motion, the report said.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
Recently, a report said that the US government said it been investigating more than half a million Tesla vehicles sold since 2017.
The NHTSA had said it received a complaint in August that said live games and internet web searching, which were supposedly restricted to passenger use only while the car was in motion, could be played by anyone in the vehicle at any time.
Hyundai on Thursday announced it will unveil its future mobility vision based on robotics technologies at an upcoming international consumer electronics event in the US, reflecting its drive for a transition into an advanced mobility service provider.
Under the theme of "Expanding Human Reach," Hyundai Motor will present its view of how robotics can bring changes to the future in terms of the role and means of transportation during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), slated to take place in Las Vegas from January 5-8, the automaker said in a statement.
Robotics as a medium that connects the virtual world with reality in the concept of metaverse and goes beyond the limits of physical movement, time and space, will be among the key concepts on display, the company said.
The planned presentation is in line with Hyundai's new strategy in pursuit of becoming a "smart mobility solutions provider" focusing on autonomous driving technologies, electric vehicles, urban air mobility and hydrogen fuel cell system, reports Yonhap News Agency.
At the CES, Hyundai Motor will also showcase a new plug and drive robotic module platform under the "Mobility of Things (MoT)," which refers to a new concept that mobility is provided in everything from inanimate objects to community spaces.
The automaker will also present its Mobile Eccentric Droid (MobED), a new mobility platform for indoor service robots that was unveiled earlier this month, among other robotics products, according to the company.