Tesla Will Roll Out Its First Mass-Market Electric Car Earlier Than Expected

Elon Musk isn’t afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes that is a good thing, like solar roof tiles that could become the norm. Sometimes it’s a very bad thing, like thinking free frozen yogurt is as good as a union. However, between the company’s cars, hyperloops, and trips to Mars, Musk and Tesla’s visions of the future have been rather expensive. Musk will try to change that this week when the Model 3, Tesla’s first mass-market car, launches.

The first Model 3, which will cost about $35,000 — still steep for the average car-buyer, but it’s a start — will roll off the line Friday, and Musk says production will steadily increase with a goal of hitting 20,000 a month by the end of the year. In comparison, in 2016 Tesla produced some 85,000 cars though with a price tag averaging nearly three times the cost of the Model 3 for its other cars.

Musk, however, appears to be betting big on the Model 3. The company built a $5 billion dollar factory in Nevada to produce the car’s batteries and is considering opening a plant in California. Earlier this year, the company raised over $1 billion through stock offerings and debt to offset recent quarterly losses. Investors so far seem to be buying in: Tesla shares are way up this year, leaving the company with higher valuations than traditional car-makers like General Motors and Ford.

Tesla Is Not Starting Solar Roof Installations Tomorrow

Installations of Tesla’s new solar roof are supposed to start sometime this summer, but despite an enterprising Bloomberg report published Tuesday, Tesla representatives says installations will not be starting this Friday, June 30.

The June 30 prediction in a feature story by Tom Randall of Bloomberg predicts that the first Tesla solar roof installations are scheduled to occur Friday, based on the fact that in Tesla’s initial announcement of the roof, the company said that installations would start in June in California. However, Tesla tells Inverse that this will not be the date of the first solar roof installation. Despite high anticipation for the first installation of the Tesla solar roof, the Tesla team is still working out exactly when and where the first installations will occur.

“We do not have our first Solar Roof being installed on Friday,” a Tesla spokesperson tells Inverse when asked about the date of the installation. “No, this is incorrect.”

Bloomberg published the date as part of a review of the timelines on all of Elon Musk’s projects, and included the Friday Solar roof installation date as part of the story. The graphic suggests that solar roof installations are supposed to start on June 30. “This is misinformed,” says a Tesla spokesperson. However, since Bloomberg is working to track how well Musk’s projects stay on timelines, basically this means that Tesla is going to start installations later than the company initially announced when orders for the Tesla solar roof opened up back on May 10.

Unlike your typical visible solar panels, Tesla’s solar roof is made of tempered glass tiles. The solar elements are included in some of the tiles to maximize the solar energy captured, and are impossible to distinguish from the ground. Within 16 days of opening orders, the tiles were sold out until 2018.

Despite being close to the first Tesla solar roof installations, the company hasn’t announced an official date of when or where the installations will occur. We do know that when the solar roofs start to roll out on homes, installation will take about five to seven days, which is about as long as it takes to install a clay tile roof. The tiles will also be installed by SolarCity teams, a solar company that Tesla purchased in November of 2016. And since Tesla hasn’t announced a date, and won’t be installing solar roofs on Friday, we are just going to have to wait a little longer to see what the first solar roof installation will look like.

‘Consumer Reports’ Says Tesla Is the Best American Car Brand

It’s official: Tesla is the best American car brand of 2017. Consumer Reports, a product review site which has at times had a rocky relationship with Tesla, nevertheless gave Elon Musk’s car company a score of 73 out of 100 based on its comprehensive ranking system overall. And Tesla did even better on the road test ranking, scoring a staggering 88 out of 100 and tying with Porsche for the top slot. Of the 31 brands Consumer Reports ranked, Tesla placed eighth overall.

The top 10 ranking goes:

  1. Audi (Overall 81, road test 86)
  2. Porsche (Overall 78, road test 88)
  3. BMW (Overall 77, road test 86)
  4. Lexus (Overall 77, road test 74)
  5. Subaru (Overall 74, road test 81)
  6. Kia (Overall 74, road test 77)
  7. Mazda (Overall 73, road test 75)
  8. Tesla (Overall 73, road test 88)
  9. Honda (Overall 72, road test 77)
  10. Buick (Overall 72, road test 72)

Tesla has traditionally blazed through the Consumer Report rankings, with a few major speed bumps. In August 2015, the publication showered praise on Tesla for the Model S P85D, giving the vehicle a score of 103 out of the normal limit of 100. As the original Model S scored 99 out of 100 two years prior, Consumer Reports had to come up with a new rating system to show just how much the new vehicle improved on the old one.

It didn’t last, though: by April the following year, the publication was raining concerns that early Model X customers were experiencing quality control issues with their new cars. Issues included problems with the falcon wing doors, headlight distortion, and Autopilot issues.

“Such issues are expected from a brand-new model,” Mark Rechtin wrote on the publication’s site. “Consumer Reports recommends against buying a vehicle in its first year of production.”

The small number of Tesla models in production is now seen by the publication as a positive, as it’s allowed Tesla to focus more on getting a few models to perfection and thus earn a higher score. As the company gears up to release its $35,000 Model 3, aimed at a wider audience than the Model S and Model X, lessons from the previous models will prove valuable for establishing brand trust with the mass market.

Ride of the Week: Tesla Launches New Model With 335 Miles of Range

While Tesla’s new models usually receive a lot of attention upon their unveiling the company’s latest model, the Model S 100D, has hit the market relatively quietly. While it may not boast the Ludicrous+ mode of the P100D that powers from 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, the car holds an impressive record of its own travelling 335 miles on a single charge, making it the world’s longest range EV. It also delivers a very respectable 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, while topping out at 155 mph. The Tesla Model S 100D is priced at $98,300 USD. For more information head over to Tesla.com.

Will Tesla Solar Roofing Be Cheaper Than Normal Roofing?

When Tesla, the Silicon Valley automaker and energy storage firm founded by billionaire and Mars colonization enthusiast Elon Musk, unveiled its gorgeous solar roofing system back in October, it was assumed that said shingles would be significantly spendier than conventional roofing — you know, roofing that isn’t capable of transforming free and abundant sunshine into a form of home-powering renewable energy.

After all, why would a roof that’s more durable, longer-lasting and flat-out sexier also be comparable in price — or, gasp, even more affordable — than a traditional asphalt roof?

Weeks later, Musk, a clean tech entrepreneur never without a few surprises up his sleeve, is claiming that Tesla’s sleek solar roofing option will indeed be the cheaper option even before the annual energy savings associated with having an electricity-producing roof kick in.

Made from tempered glass, Tesla’s low-cost solar roofing shingles are slated for a widespread rollout at the end of 2017.

Musk made the potentially too-good-to-be-true claim directly following last week’s announcement that Tesla shareholders had voted to merge with SolarCity, the residential solar behemoth founded by Musk’s cousin Lyndon Rive. (Musk himself serves as chairman of SolarCity, which will now operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Tesla).

As noted by Bloomberg, the $2 billion acquisition aims to position Tesla, primarily known to most consumers as a manufacturer of beautiful yet prohibitively pricey electric sports cars and sedans, as “one-stop shopping for consumers eager to become independent of fossil fuels.” In the near future, Tesla showrooms won’t just be places to buy and/or ogle high-end EVs. They’ll also be places where consumers can peruse solar roofing options that will help to power their homes and, of course, that Tesla Model S parked in the garage.

Noting that the tiles’ electricity-producing capabilities are “just a bonus,” Musk goes on to pose the question: “So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and — by the way — generates electricity? Why would you get anything else?”

To be available in a quartet of styles — Slate, Tuscan, Textured Glass and Smooth Glass — that closely mimic not-so-cheap premium roofing materials, Tesla’s solar shingles are a boon for consumers who have long balked at the thought of installing rooftop solar for aesthetic reasons. (Read: big black patches that invoke the ire of the neighbors). Tesla’s shingles look just like the real deal — even nicer. “The key is to make solar look good,” said Musk during last month’s public debut of Tesla’s solar shingles, which you can watch below in its entirety. “We want you to call your neighbors over and say, ‘Check out this sweet roof.’” You can hear his pitch in more detail in the video below:

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As reported by Bloomberg, while Tesla’s inoffensive-looking solar shingles are indeed considered a premium product when compared to comparable, non-solar shingles, significant savings kick in when considering the cost of shipping. Traditional, non-asphalt roofing tiles are heavy and awkward and, as a result, cost an arm and a leg to transport. They’re also super-fragile and have a high rate of breakage. Tesla’s engineered glass shingles, on the other hand, are durable, lightweight (as much as five times lighter than conventional roofing materials) and easy to ship. The significant cost-savings associated with decreased shipping costs, as anticipated by Musk, will be passed on to consumers.

While there are skeptics who doubt that the savings gained in decreased shipping costs will render Tesla’s solar singles the most affordable option for upfront cost-focused consumers, others are embracing Musk’s claims as a potential game-changer that could potentially usher in the end of “dumb” roofing as we know it.

Ride of the Week: Tesla Model X SUV

Elon Musk brings us another slice of the future with the unveiling of Tesla‘s long-awaited SUV, the Model X. Having been teased and delayed for years, the Model X does not disappoint with a range of next-gen features, most notably its heart-pounding acceleration (0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph), cargo capacity, and distinctive falcon wing doors, which can open with a mere 30cm of space on each side. The signature edition’s 90kWh battery allows for a range of 250 miles on a single charge and a tow capacity of 5,000 pounds. Inside, the cabin sports a 17-inch touchscreen control panel and a panoramic windscreen that extends to above the driver’s head, as well as the ability to be sealed with true HEPA filters that supposedly makes the interior as clean as a hospital. The Model X’s safety comes at no compromise, with automatic emergency braking, side-collision avoidance, forward-looking cameras, radar and 360-degree sonar. Stay tuned as more details surface on this newest, stunning offering from the Silicon Valley car firm, and watch the launch event below.

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