Daily Archives: February 4, 2016

Tesla and The Price of Gas

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CNN reports that Wall Street is worried about how Tesla will weather record-low gas prices. CNN calls it “Tesla’s worst nightmare”.

Color me unconvinced.

Tesla, even with the Model 3, is not competing on price. They’ve succeeded in building a car that competes on quality and technology and brand.

At the margin they’ll certainly lose a few customers due to a higher total cost of ownership, but I hardly see this as Tesla’s worst nightmare. I think gas could go to $0 and Tesla would still sell a ton of cars.

Google Cars Heading to Washington

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Washington state, that is. For “bad weather” driving experience. As anyone who has been to Seattle knows, they get a lot of rain there.

This seems like a smaller and more natural leap that snow driving. My guess is that snow is relatively rare as a fraction of total miles driven, although certainly not negligible. Rain is common everywhere.

Western Washington state also has mountains with snow a relatively short drive from the Seattle area, so that’s not out of the question, either.

Notably, Washington governor Jay Inslee is welcoming the move, in contrast to California DMV officials who have been notably more cautious about self-driving cars. Federalism in action.

nuTonomy

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Self-driving cars are really expensive to develop, which is one reason the major companies in the space are large existing firms. Think Google, Ford, Continental.

There are relatively few startups, and the ones that do exist often focus on edge cases – self-driving factory robots, for example.

But a startup just got funding to tackle the self-driving car problem head-on.

Spun out of MIT, Nutonomy is developing self-driving cars with a focus on the Singapore market, of all places.

They’re small now – 22 people – but keep an eye on them.