In Search of TESKoin

A little over two years ago at age 16, I got my license. Living in the suburbs, I desperately needed a car to secure my freedom, but I had no money to purchase one. I weighed my options; get a job at a food place, get a job at a retail store, or find another way to make money. I started wondering if I could make money with a car, but I was too young to drive for Uber.  However, I loved Tesla’s, and I knew that Tesla had a happiness guarantee program, promising that you could return a leased or financed car within three months, no questions asked. I figured that I could make about $1,500 a month driving people back and forth between LA and Vegas on the weekends, which would pay the lease and insurance, and then I’d have a Tesla for free on the weekdays. So I set to work, putting out Craigslist ads for “LA to Vegas in a Tesla - $85’.

Thanks to the efforts of some seasoned entrepreneurs who helped me push this forward, this concept has developed into Tesloop, the world’s first sustainable mobility service, as well as the first “mobility application” built on top of the Tesla platform.

We have now served over 10,000 customers, and beyond our initial route from LA to Las Vegas route, we now service Palm Springs, Orange County and San Diego with 6 - 12 round trips per day, and bookings growing by over 30% each month with nearly all 5-star customer ratings.

It has become clear that Teslas are the first in a new breed of transportation technologies that are about to radically transform the transportation landscape. As these vehicles combine increasingly sophisticated electric drivetrains with autonomous driving features, for the first time, it’s now possible to make a transportation system that’s clean, safe, healthy, human-friendly, and efficient.

When I started Tesloop, I was unfamiliar with blockchain, as well as the accompanying concept of cryptoeconomics. After learning a bit about them, I initially thought these have no relevance to IRL things like transportation. But during a dinner at Mountaingate, a Los Angeles based thought exchange community, I heard some crypto-heads talk about the possible applications of cryptoeconomics, and how these could be used to create network effects and provide incentives and disincentives for players in a system.  I started getting very interested in cryptoeconomics, and started researching ICOs and cryptocurrencies, wondering how they might be applied to the world of transportation.  I even applied to do an ICO pitch at StartEngine in Santa Monica.

My thinking was: unlike other cars sold today, Teslas are the first example of a fundamentally digitally controlled automobile. They can be remotely tracked, queried, and controlled through programmatic interfaces. This digital attribute seemed like the key ingredient for a perfect for a crypto enforced system. And such a system could eventually be truly decentralized and thus more resilient than any centrally managed system.

The goals seem clear: as a society we want to ensure that the leading mobility system of the future will be transparent, open, and focussed on the true needs of the community of travelers.

However, after exhaustively searching the internet, I could find very little guidance on how to think about formulating the token mechanics to support a transportation system.  

And then I heard from StartEngine that I had been selected to pitch at their ICO summit on November 10th. But I had one problem: Like the majority of people, I don’t know how to “do” an ICO.  

So I now have 10 days to figure out how could we structure the crypto-transportation future? And I’ve come up with a plan to educate myself and inform my pitch. Over the next 10 days, I’m looking for help from anyone who has insight into the space.  I want to figure out mechanics, launch strategy, and how to navigate the array of regulations, as well as brainstorm ideas around making our token offering as compelling as possible.  And in doing so, hopefully help others understand how they can do the same thing with their businesses or dreams.

It’s clear to me now that next year as Tesla starts to mass produce Model 3 vehicles, a three sided marketplace will inevitably emerge connecting Tesla owners, people who want to drive them, and people who want to be driven in them. This may be the ideal backdrop for a Transportation Token: TesKoin *tentatively named*

However, there's one thing I do know. Sustainable transportation needs to win, and the sooner the better for everyone.  Every day we don’t prioritize the transition to sustainable vehicles, we create greater pressure on our health as a society, our communities, and the planet’s ecosystems.

So if you have any ideas on how to leverage new technologies and concepts, and can help me apply them, I’d love to talk with you - right away.  Please contact me at haydns@tesloop.com

Thanks.

How Tesla Changed in the Last Five Years

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In June 2012, Tesla began deliveries of their flagship car, the Model S. This fully-electric full-size luxury sedan was met with intense scrutiny by everyone from Wall Street analysts to Prius drivers. Since its launch, and despite Elon Musk’s contention that this is an evolution, the car re-sparked an electric revolution by eliminating the stigma of EVs as second-class vehicles, and through proving that electric does not equal compromise.

Within five years, Tesla has innovated and progressed more than any other auto manufacturer, leading battery development, pioneering fast-charging technology, bringing the most advanced driver assistance features to the market, and experiencing growth of multiple factors. From changing the name of the company to having a completely refreshed product lineup, a lot has changed since the days of the 40 kW battery pack. On two different fronts, business and product, Tesla has validated itself in the market.

Tesla vehicles are a component of the first truly digital transportation platform, and beyond the potential for integrating applications with the platform, this means one very unique thing: The Tesla you buy today will not be the same in a few years. Similar to your smartphone, Tesla vehicles undergo constant software updates that improve many aspects. For example, that Model S 85 you purchased with one camera and trivial driver assistance features? Now that very same model can go hundreds of miles on the highway without human interaction. That Model S 70D you purchased with a 5.9-second 0-60 time? Now you’ll get there in 4.4 seconds.

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TESLA IS CREATING THE FIRST VEHICLE PLATFORM WITH UNDERLYING DIGITAL ARCHITECTURE. THIS SHIFT IS ON THE SAME ORDER OF MAGNITUDE AS THE SHIFT FROM DUMB PHONES TO SMART PHONES.

TESLA IS CREATING THE FIRST VEHICLE PLATFORM WITH UNDERLYING DIGITAL ARCHITECTURE. THIS SHIFT IS ON THE SAME ORDER OF MAGNITUDE AS THE SHIFT FROM DUMB PHONES TO SMART PHONES.

It is mind-blowing how Tesla’s fleet has progressed in just a few years. Tesla has increased annual production run rate by nearly an order of magnitude, from 10,000 units in Q4 2012 to 88,000 units in Q2 2017 and have added two new models to their fleet, the flagship Model X SUV and the smaller sized Model 3 sedan. Comparatively, since 2012, Ford Motor Co has increased annual production figures from 2.25 million to 2.615 million, an 18% increase.

SINCE 2012, TESLA HAS ADDED TWO NEW MODELS TO THEIR LINEUP

SINCE 2012, TESLA HAS ADDED TWO NEW MODELS TO THEIR LINEUP

Along with enhancing their vehicle lineup, Tesla has introduced new products in the energy space. In 2015, Powerwall and Powerpack, rechargeable lithium-ion battery stationary energy storage products were released. For the first time, Tesla made a big play in the consumer energy space. Since the initial release, Tesla has refreshed these products with the “Powerwall 2”, more than doubling the total kW capacity. Tesla also announced plans to pursue a solar roof, with the aggressive goal of making it cheaper and more durable than the current solutions.

SINCE 2012, TESLA HAS RELEASED AND REFRESHED THEIR HOME ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM.

SINCE 2012, TESLA HAS RELEASED AND REFRESHED THEIR HOME ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM.

Tesla has understood that in order to compellingly market electric vehicles, they need to offer charging that is fast and convenient. Without such infrastructure, those looking to travel long distances in their electric cars are in for a long journey. Five years ago, Tesla broke ground in the development of their fast-charging network. These Superchargers were capable of delivering 120 kWh between two adjacent vehicles. Since then, advancements in technology have allowed Tesla to increase this power level first to 135 kW, and more recently to 145 kW. Over the last five years, Tesla has gone from having one station to now 1000 stations with 7000 chargers available globally. And Tesla has proposed to more than double this in the next two years, increasing the number of chargers in some urban areas by more than 3-fold.

TESLA HAS BEEN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING THEIR SUPERCHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE SINCE 2014.

TESLA HAS BEEN RAPIDLY DEVELOPING THEIR SUPERCHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE SINCE 2014.

And not only are you able to charge faster and more conveniently than in 2015, but you need to charge less. Tesla introduced the Model S with three battery size options: 40, 60, and 85 kW. Walk into a Tesla showroom today and you will only find models with 75 and 100 kW battery packs.

Tesla has been working on incrementally increasing the functionality of their driver assistance features since the Model S’s release, and since 2014, Tesla has introduced two new hardware suites. From having one camera and 16 feet of surround sonar, new models come equipped with 8 cameras, 360* radar, and 25 feet of surround sonar. Teslas purchased with the enhanced autopilot and full self-driving packages will be able to drive, charge, and park by themselves in the future through over-the-air software updates.

When Elon Musk drafted his first Master Plan, the high-level idea was simple: Release an expensive sports car to prove that EVs can be cool. Then, bring this technology to more people through a flagship sedan at a slightly lower price point. The latest step, bringing this to the mass market through an affordable option. At first, this seemed like an overly bullish prediction of Tesla’s potential. However, this plan has almost reached fruition and Musk has already outlined his next steps in “Master Plan, Part Deux”.

So what’s planned to come? Expand further into the energy space, introduce two new vehicle Models (an affordable SUV and a pickup truck), unveil a Semi truck and enter the freight space, increase auto-pilot safety by an order of magnitude, and, finally, dominate the intra-city mobility space, effectively “Ubering” driverless Model 3s when the owner is not using them. And if the execution of Master Plan Part Deux is similar to that of the first part, we can expect to observe Tesla reach these milestones.

Beyond how Tesla as a company has changed, they have done a lot to catalyze change in other industries. A lot of great implications of Car 2.0 will emerge in the upcoming years, but already we can see the benefits for consumers in regional travel. A combination of the electric drivetrain, big batteries, emerging autonomy, deep connectivity, and super-charging infrastructure has squashed the cost per mile of operating vehicles by more than 4 times in high usage scenarios.

For a lower price, you can get a better travel experience, since the service providers are working with transformative economics. Such is the case of Tesloop, where travelers can commute between cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego in a more convenient and productive manner for less than the price of a train ticket. This means a couple things: transportation will become a lot more convenient for more people, and car ownership will decrease as vehicle utilization increases. This is due to the unprecedented longevity of EVs, the drastically reduced fuel cost and, most importantly, the ability to remotely control/monitor every aspect of the vehicle through APIs. While EVs were inherently trending towards this state, Tesla brought it to the market first.

Tesla has forced other companies to generate new plans around the deployment of electric vehicles. “Within 10 years” and “in the near future” jargon no longer sticks - other manufacturers now provide concrete timelines, such as Volvo’s promise to only sell EVs by 2019 or GM’s plan to add at least 100 EV models by 2023. BMW recently announced that they would have 12-13 fully electric vehicles on the market by 2025, concurrent with Land Rover/Jaguar’s announcement that they would only have hybrids/EVs by 2020. Over Twitter, Elon Musk was asked if he prompted Daimler-Mercedes to invest $10 billion towards EVs with a single tweet. He responded, “Yes, I did :)”.

ELON MUSK CHALLENGES DAIMLER AG TO INCREASE THEIR INVESTMENT IN EVS.

ELON MUSK CHALLENGES DAIMLER AG TO INCREASE THEIR INVESTMENT IN EVS.

It is hard to argue that Tesla hasn’t stolen the center of attention in the automobile space. The combination of sleek cars, technological advancements, and rapid growth has let Tesla dominate the majority of automobile news. However, behind the massive amount of press circulating Tesla, there is a pivotal transformation happening. Even at a small scale, Tesla has changed the way the big dogs play the game.

Free Rides To And From Vegas: (818) 423-5239

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Following last night's tragic mass shooting, anyone who needs to get to/from Las Vegas from/to Los Angeles, OC, San Diego, or anywhere en route, should contact Tesloop to arrange complimentary transportation.

We have set up a designated hotline for anyone needing to take the trip - please call (818) 423-5239 and we will provide you with a seat in one of cars at the earliest time possible.

Please share this with any family or friends who may have been affected. The two biggest needs in Vegas right now are blood donations and trauma counselors - you can read more about how you can help here.

Tesloop and Goodyear Announce Intelligent Tire Trial for Semi-Autonomous Fleet

Focus on data gathering and analytics to serve shared mobility business models

Tesloop is teaming up with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, a long-time leader in tire management for racing, trucking and aircraft fleets, to trial a new Intelligent Tire.

Goodyear announced that it is equipping Tesloop with wireless sensors in its tires to improve overall tire management and maximize uptime for its growing fleet.

Goodyear Installing tires equipped with wireless sensors to tesloop's Model X known as "Bravo".

Goodyear Installing tires equipped with wireless sensors to tesloop's Model X known as "Bravo".

“We want to build the future, not just observe or read about it,” said Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s chief technology officer. “As the new mobility ecosystem continues to take shape, we are taking steps to match the pace of technical change in the transportation industry and develop tire innovations that meet the intelligence of the vehicles riding on them.”

The Goodyear tire sensor

The Goodyear tire sensor

 

The wireless sensors continuously measure and record tire temperature and pressure, which is paired with other vehicle data and connected to Goodyear’s cloud-based proprietary algorithms to enhance overall fleet operations and predict when the tires need service or replacement.

As part of the program with Tesloop, Goodyear is also extending its mobile fleet solutions to passenger vehicles, providing tire maintenance and repair while Tesloop vehicles are at charging stations, during regularly planned downtime.

“When you are operating cars nearly 24/7/365, minimizing tire incidents is critical to the customer experience and the business model,” said Rahul Sonnad, Tesloop’s CEO. “The possibilities for data-driven tire diagnostics are remarkable and promise to help a business like Tesloop operate more efficiently and make our vehicles the safest on the road.”

Tesloop operates a fleet of Teslas that average up to 17,000 miles per vehicle, per month. Its highest-mileage vehicle, a Tesla Model S in operation since 2015, recently exceeded 300,000 service miles. Goodyear has been working with Tesloop since January 2017 to study the effect of autonomous technologies on tires.

Goodyear’s effort with Tesloop builds on its successful commercialization of Goodyear Proactive Solutions for truck fleets, using advanced telematics and predictive analytics technology to allow fleet operators to optimize fuel efficiency and precisely identify and resolve tire-related issues before they happen.

Goodyear will be providing tire maintenance and repair while Tesloop vehicles are at charging stations

Goodyear will be providing tire maintenance and repair while Tesloop vehicles are at charging stations

In addition to its fleet management offerings, Goodyear is also working with automakers to provide tire information to vehicle control systems to enhance safety and performance.

Helsel added, “Goodyear is breaking new ground with the combination of fleet management expertise, intelligent products, and a vast service network to deliver complete solutions for the future of mobility.”  

Tesla Model S Hits 300,000 Miles with less than $11,000 maintenance costs

Car 2.0 Mobility Service Tesloop Leverages Economics of Tesla’s Electric Platform

LA-based Tesloop, a city to city mobility service that utilizes Tesla vehicles, has reached the milestone of 300,000 miles (482,800 km) on its first car, a Tesla Model S, which launched the service in 2015.

 eHawk hits 300,000 miles on Tuesday August 29th 2017 and is believed to be the highest mileage Tesla in the world

 eHawk hits 300,000 miles on Tuesday August 29th 2017 and is believed to be the highest mileage Tesla in the world

The vehicle, affectionately named “eHawk”, hit the 300,000 milestone on Tuesday August 29th, 2017. Tesloop’s fleet, which, other than this car, is comprised of exclusively Tesla Model X vehicles, travel as much as 17,000 miles per car each month.

“At Tesloop, we are leveraging Tesla’s next generation transportation platform to deliver the mobility experience of the future, today” said Haydn Sonnad, Tesloop founder. “The electric drivetrain, when coupled with a vast supercharging network, enables a level of vehicle utilization that is not possible with your typical gas car. When these are combined with increasingly sophisticated driving autonomy features and deep connectivity, a whole new approach to mobility can be offered.”

During the first 300,000 miles the total combined maintenance and fuel costs of the Tesla Model S were $10,492, with a total of 12 days in the shop. Of these costs, $6,900 was scheduled maintenance and $3500 was headlight damage due to driving through deep water. Had this been an Mercedes S class, the scheduled routine maintenance and fuel would have been $86,000 ($52,000 maintenance and $36,000* fuel) with 112 days of servicing, or for a Lincoln Town Car $70k,000 ($28,000 maintenance and $42,000** fuel) with around 100 days of servicing.

eHawk, Tesloop's first fleet vehicle, which just reached 300,000 miles.

eHawk, Tesloop's first fleet vehicle, which just reached 300,000 miles.

“Over the last two years, we have seen that that electric, supercharged vehicles can be deployed at utilization levels unheard of with gas vehicles. And while saving over $60,000 on fuel and maintenance is a substantial economic win, we feel the bigger win is that this car is ready for another 900,000 miles over the next 6 years under its current warranty.  A gas car with 300,000 miles would be near the end of its useful lifespan.  This means that the economics for mobility services on electric is more attractive than non-electric vehicles by a multiple, and when combined with autonomous driving features, the economic advantage in cost per mile will  create unprecedented disruption in the overall automotive industry.”

You can view full service records for this vehicle here, along with detailed photos.


*based on 2.80/gallon at 25 mpg

**Lincoln Stats

Tesloop pilots the first zero-emission electric freight shipping initiative

LA-based mobility startup leverages Model X towing capabilities in internal supply chain efforts

Culver City-based mobility startup, Tesloop, has this month partnered with Noah’s Spring Water to leverage the towing capabilities of a Tesla Model X to transport 250 cases or 3,500 lbs of water from the 7-UP Bottling Station in Modesto to Tesloop’s headquarters in Culver City, in an effort to reduce emissions and increase sustainability within its supply chain.

Tesloop, with the help of DV Trailers, transported the water from Noah's Bottling Plant in Modesto to Tesloop HQ in Culver

Tesloop, with the help of DV Trailers, transported the water from Noah's Bottling Plant in Modesto to Tesloop HQ in Culver

The Tesla Model X, capable of towing up to 5,000lbs, can be used not only as the ideal long distance passenger mobility vehicle, but can also be used to move freight.  Tesloop's procurement of 250 cases (3,500 lbs) of Noah's Spring Water in environmentally sustainable packaging, represents the first zero-emission electric shipping demonstration, in order to support mission to create a sustainable ecosystem that supports passenger travel.

Tesloop CEO, Rahul Sonnad, said: “This is the first step in creating an emissions-free supply chain. It’s exciting to be demonstrating that we can make inroads towards lowering our carbon footprint in our supply chain also, both by sourcing environmentally friendly products, and by thinking through the transportation logistics related to these in-car amenities. While freight travel is not at the core of our business, working to advance the sustainability of our entire mobility ecosystem is core to our values.

“At Tesloop, we partner with companies and people who share our values and the quest for better products and better packaging of these products. Noah’s Water is a perfect example of breaking the norm to deliver a more sustainable product.”

Noah’s Spring Water will now be offered as a free amenity in Tesloop cars along with other healthy drinks and snacks. Tony Varni, President and CEO of Noah’s Spring Water notes that their cans are “refillable, resealable and 100% recyclable. We encourage people to drink Noah’s Spring Water from the CapCan, refill it several times while on the go, at the office, at school, then recycle it before buying another one.”

This month, Tesloop expanded its routes in Southern California, providing round trips from LA to all major destinations including: Palm Springs; Orange County; and San Diego, with up to ten round trips per day on a given route. The company also notes that Santa Barbara will be its next service route, along with some initial pilots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tesloop vehicles are loaded with a wide range complimentary amenities to ensure a healthy, productive and relaxing experience: fast wifi with dual hotspots, device charging, nutritious snacks and beverages, a variety of neck pillows, and noise cancelling headphones for those seeking privacy, as well as car features, such as heated seats, filtered air, and the highest safety ratings in the world.

Over the last two years, Tesloop has achieved the highest satisfaction rating of any travel service in the world, with a 5 star rating on Yelp and Facebook.

Tesloop, Goodyear Map out the Digital Future of Tires on Teslas Today

NEWS PROVIDED BY The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Jan 05, 2017

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (NASDAQ: GT) has signed a technology agreement with California-based Tesloop Inc. to study and model tire performance based on data generated by the city-to-city mobility service.

Tesloop operates an expanding fleet of semi-autonomous Tesla vehicles, providing a shared passenger transportation service for distances between 50 and 300 miles. 

Tesloop's first vehicle in service, a 2015 Tesla Model S, is passing the 250,000 mile mark, running exclusively on Goodyear tires.

Tesloop's first vehicle in service, a 2015 Tesla Model S, is passing the 250,000 mile mark, running exclusively on Goodyear tires.

Tesloop's first vehicle in service, a 2015 Tesla Model S, is passing the 250,000 mile mark, running exclusively on Goodyear tires.

Since its launch in July 2015, Tesloop has been collecting data at a rate now approaching 20,000 miles per month on each vehicle. The company's first vehicle in service, a 2015 Tesla Model S, is passing the 250,000 mile mark, running exclusively on Goodyear tires.

"Leveraging our deep knowledge and experience in tire design, testing and fleet operations, our goal is to ensure that we can offer the most innovative range of tire-related technologies and services for the next generation of connected passenger mobility fleets," said Jim Euchner, vice president of global innovation at Goodyear. "Tesloop's leadership in the utilization of semi-autonomous, connected, electric cars gives us insights today into the next generation of 'mobility' where driving vehicles 250,000 miles a year may be a common occurrence."

"Over the next few years, we believe that all leading passenger mobility services will migrate to autonomous, electric, supercharged vehicle platforms," said Rahul Sonnad, Tesloop CEO. "This will drastically lower the cost of car transportation, increase miles driven and enable cars to run nearly 24 hours every day."

Upcoming technology activities will focus on creating and validating predictive models for tire wear using cloud-based machine learning and predictive analytics systems. A further goal is to create data-driven triggers to optimize tire maintenance procedures. 

"At Goodyear, we know that the ability to gather real-time information about the road, driving conditions, and driving patterns will play an increasing role in optimizing tire performance for autonomous vehicles," said Euchner. "With increasing amounts of data being compiled from an array of vehicle sensors as well as internet data sources, there is an unprecedented opportunity to create a new real-time digital framework that may enhance both safety and range, while lowering operational costs."

"With the advent of the autonomous, connected, electric car, the automobile is undergoing its most transformative upgrade of the last 100 years," said Sonnad. "More than just cars, our vehicles are effectively nodes on a deeply-digital electric transportation network. And in this world, tires are by far the most important ongoing maintenance cost factor."

About Goodyear
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. Goodyear employs approximately 66,000 people and manufactures its products in 49 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.

About Tesloop
Tesloop, a California based startup, is building the first software driven mobility service on autonomous, connected, electric supercharged vehicles (ACES). It manages and operates an expanding fleet of electric Tesla vehicles offering shared personal transportation between 50 and 300 miles. The ACES vehicle platform enables disruptive economic and real-time digital control of vehicles, while delivering an unprecedented level of consumer value vs. all other regional transportation alternatives. The company has a strong focus on building the software technology required for routing, pricing, remote administration, and security, as well predictive models based on deep learning from the vehicle data. In its first 18 months, Tesloop has become the highest rated transportation service in the world, and is rapidly expanding. Tesloop is lead by seasoned internet entrepreneurs and is funded by Clearstone Ventures, along with angel investors from Facebook, Tesla Motors, and Allen & Co.  

SOURCE The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tesloop-goodyear-map-out-the-digital-future-of-tires-on-teslas-today-300386503.html

Related Links

http://www.goodyear.com

5 Common Myths about Car Autonomy - and why its impacts are coming sooner than expected

Over the last year autonomous cars have started to enter the popular zeitgeist just as they have started to roll down our roads.  It now seems inevitable that in the not-so-distant future, our roads will be dominated by self-driving vehicles just as capable as they have been in our favorite scifi movies like “Minority Report”.  And because of this, it’s natural that every car manufacturer, car service operator, and many car-related technology developers have strong opinions on when autonomous cars will really matter, how it will affect their business, and how these autonomous cars will transform the roadscape in general.

However, when you read what people predict, there is a wide variety of contradictory opinions, which often stem from confusion about the relationship between autonomous technology, driver-free vehicle designs, and driving regulations.

So here are some misconceptions that people seem to have about how autonomous driving will play out.

Myth 1: Autonomy is an all or nothing proposition.  

Often when people talk about self-driving cars, they envision a clear black or white distinction between cars that drive themselves, and those that don’t. In reality autonomy is an aggregate of features and behaviors that will continue to advance and have a major economic impact far before regulation catches up.  

From a technical standpoint, there is no clear delineation between semi-autonomous and autonomous. Cars will be “autonomous” in certain scenarios (meaning they won’t need any help from a driver), and semi-autonomous (where the need a driver backup) in others. Google cars are already “autonomous” at certain speeds in certain areas. Consumer focused autonomous features started with simple driver assistance such as radar assisted braking in 2006. These have been highly refined in current Tesla vehicles, to the point where well over 90% of highway miles can now be driven by the car needing no driver interaction with either the pedals or steering. This percentage of autonomous scenarios will continue to increase on the highway and rapidly start to unfold on city streets in 2017.  

The immediate result of this technology is a huge reduction in driver fatigue, road rage, and a general increase in safety in cases where the driver maintains attention on the road. By 2018 the leading semi-autonomous cars (i.e. Teslas) will be able to technically drive themselves in almost all situations. Despite the regulatory requirement to have a licensed driver behind the wheel, this technology will change the nature of driving, as drivers essentially become passengers - though the laws will not afford them the same freedoms as true passengers. Then, over the next few years - once technical autonomy has been achieved by the leading companies - states and countries will start to change regulations around licensed drivers in vehicles - freeing them up to start texting, sleeping, and eventually to not even need to be the backup “driver”. 

Generally while a true “self-driving” (no driver needed) car is a huge inflection point for some scenarios, the benefits of autonomous technology will arrive at different times in different places and different scenarios and will quickly start to change the nature of driving this year.

Myth 2: Regulatory hurdles will impede the technology development and adoption. 

Because regulatory approval is not required for advanced “driver assistance” features, it is possible to deploy autonomous technology in cars as long as it is done in a manner that allows the driver to take over control of the car at anytime in a similar manner to current cruise control systems.  Long before the regulations catch up with the technology, cars will be effectively driving themselves in an increasing range of scenarios. 

Myth 3: The most important benefit of autonomy is that the car doesn’t require a driver. 

Eliminating the need for a driver in cars may have an astounding impact on lifestyle and economics - making them dramatically easier to share, and park, etc…  But even if you need a driver autonomy has a huge benefit of making driving close to effortless and stress free.

However, a what should probably viewed as a much more important benefit of autonomy will be a reduction in traffic fatalities and injuries, and this benefit will start to manifest with semi-autonomous vehicles.  Over 1.25m people die annually worldwide in traffic fatalities and 20m - 50m people are injured, a leading cause of long term disability.  

Myth 4: High end sports cars like Porsche, will choose to forgo autonomy.

Porsche CEO Oliver Blume recently stated that his company has no plans to go driverless: “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself”, he told a German newspaper.  However, he’s probably not thinking about this the right way. Porsche will have technical autonomy just as many of their vehicles have automatic transmissions. There may be some system akin to Tiptronic shifting, that lets you feel that you are driving 100%.  However, in 2020 when the car in front of your new Mission E slams on its brakes, the Porsche will stop whether or not the driver hits the brakes. If you’re about to side-swipe a car while lane-changing, the Porsche is not going to let you do that without a struggle. And yes, when you're stuck in traffic on the I-405, you’ll click a button and the Porsche will start driving itself - because that’s just additional software (which you’ll download) that uses the same set of sensors that provide safety features.  And if you special-ordered the version without these sensors, you’ll pay for it in insurance premiums and incredulous looks from your passengers.  Autonomous technology will prevent an increasing percentage of accidents and only the rare consumer will opt-out of these features.

Myth 5: It will be many years before autonomy has a meaningful impact in the market.  

Many forward thinkers feel the real impact of autonomous cars will be a long way out: 2025 or 2030. However, the greater likelihood is that the entire mindset around vehicle autonomy will shift as fast as it did around smartphones, starting next year. In 2018 when you can buy a Tesla Model 3 - for less than $40k - that has the technical capability to drive itself better than you in most situations, this will change how you think about transportation. Autonomy will become the most important feature on consumer vehicles. Even before regulation allows an empty driver’s seat, technical autonomy will start to dramatically impact the transportation landscape: commute considerations, road anxiety, driver staffing costs, insurance costs, senior citizen driving capabilities, and even real-estate values in many locations.

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Rahul Sonnad is co-founder and CEO of Tesloop. Over the last several months, Rahul has personally driven about 15,000 miles on Tesla’s Autopilot.  Tesloop’s cars are currently being driven on average 18k miles per month, and Tesloop’s first car has been driven over 115k miles on Autopilot since late last year.

Tesloop Overview

Tesloop’s manages and operates an expanding fleet of electric Tesla vehicles offering city-to-city shared-car transportation. Tesloop’s service, launched in July 2015, offers transportation on routes from LA and Orange County to Las Vegas. The Tesloop model disrupts city-to-city travel by leveraging the low cost of electricity and a business model that immediately utilizes the latest in autonomous driving technology. Collectively, this platform enables a 5x to 10x cost efficiency vs. all other alternatives, as well as significant time efficiencies. The service has received rave reviews from its growing customer base, and is rapidly expanding with routes to Palm Springs and San Diego planned for this spring. 

Mission

Tesloop’s mission is to enable its community of travelers to create an amazing & sustainable travel experience, and make access to this convenient and affordable. Tesloop's goal is to employ autonomous/electric vehicle technology towards its highest utilization thus creating the maximum societal benefits.

The Tesla Warranty is Ludicrous

We’ve had our favorite vehicle, which we’ve affectionately named eHawk (Ebon Hawk), for about 9 weeks now. It has been faithfully running the LA and Orange County to Vegas tesloops (our supercharger-laden routes), and over the last couple months we’ve put over 35 thousand miles on the car.

Several days ago an alert about reduced power started to sporadically come on the dashboard. Like the check engine light that appears on any car, it suggested we call tech support to find out what the issue was. Tech support at Tesla is in a class by itself, and before you even bring the car in they can look over at a set of logs that your car generates and diagnose the issue. The Tesla service center decided they would need to take it in. They came out to the house, took eHawk away and left us with an even faster Model S in its place.

Today I got the news that the service center was going to replace the front motor in eHawk. My first thought was “Wow, only 35k and the motor blew out. That’s not good.” My next thought was “I’m glad this was under warranty, and it would be horrible it if had happened after the 50k standard warranty.” Then I realize “well, the motor didn’t actually blow out, it just reported a power issue alert, which had no noticeable effects on speed or power. However, after looking at the logs, Tesla decided to replace the motor anyway.”

So I ask the service manager, “How much would this cost to replace if it wasn’t under warranty?”

He answers, “Probably something like 10 or 12 thousand.”

“I’m lucky this didn’t happen 15 thousand miles later, after the warranty ran out,” I tell him.

“Oh, no, this is covered by the infinite mile, 8 year warranty,” he notes.

“I thought that only covered the battery and the drivetrain,” I reply.

“The motor is part of the drivetrain,” he clarifies, without making me feel stupid at all.

That was when I realized what Tesla was really offering. While the original warranty for this car was 50k for 4 years. Their warranty was upgraded about a year ago (retroactively to all 85kw cars) to an Infinite Mile Warranty for 8 years on the battery and drive unit.

So essentially what Tesla is guaranteeing is that, no matter how much you drive, your car’s core propulsion system will keep going for 8 years. And there aren’t even any restrictions on commercial use.

Now for us, our goal is to drive cars 400k miles a year. This is not too far from the theoretical maximum miles you can drive a tesla, which is roughly 500k miles a year (assuming the car is always driving at 70mph or charging).

So what this means for us at Tesloop, is that Tesla is going to guarantee our car will keep running for 3 million miles. This is unprecedented on so many levels. Has any other serious manufacturer ever offered a warranty for anything at this magnitude of longevity? If there were a road to the moon, you could drive there and back 8 times and still be covered under warranty. Now of course, unless you are in a business where your goal is 100% utilization of the vehicle, you're never going to get anywhere near this milage, but it's good to know that you're always covered in the first 8 years.

This also effectively means that Tesla will retake possession of every defective motor, giving them a chance to diagnose the problems with a nearly perfect sample size and make fixes to the design. Will other electric vehicle companies match this operation?

While it remains to be seen if our current eHawk’s motors will last another 3 million miles, I think that the ones they sell in 3 to 5 years, will likely be able to consistently go that distance.

The economic implications of a car whose drivetrain will last this long are staggering. It essentially means that the cost per mile to propel this car will trend down to the low pennies range, a drop of something close to an order of magnitude versus other cars on the market today.

It seems that when Elon talks about their plan to make cars that are 10 times better than anything else on the road, he’s also ready to walk the walk.

 

P.S. after getting back the invoice, I see that Tesla Service also: Discovered a minor air leak in a door at high speeds. Fixed the handle and mounting of the door handle causing this. Replaced the front facing camera. Serviced the radar. Performed a front end alignment. Washed the car. Delivered the car back to us and took back their loaner. All at no cost.

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Rahul Sonnad is co-founder and CEO of Tesloop. Over the last several months, Rahul has personally driven about 15,000 miles on Tesla’s Autopilot.  Tesloop’s cars are currently being driven on average 18k miles per month, and Tesloop’s first car has been driven over 115k miles on Autopilot since late last year.

Tesloop Overview

Tesloop’s manages and operates an expanding fleet of electric Tesla vehicles offering city-to-city shared-car transportation. Tesloop’s service, launched in July 2015, offers transportation on routes from LA and Orange County to Las Vegas. The Tesloop model disrupts city-to-city travel by leveraging the low cost of electricity and a business model that immediately utilizes the latest in autonomous driving technology. Collectively, this platform enables a 5x to 10x cost efficiency vs. all other alternatives, as well as significant time efficiencies. The service has received rave reviews from its growing customer base, and is rapidly expanding with routes to Palm Springs and San Diego planned for this spring. 

Mission

Tesloop’s mission is to enable its community of travelers to create an amazing & sustainable travel experience, and make access to this convenient and affordable. Tesloop's goal is to employ autonomous/electric vehicle technology towards its highest utilization thus creating the maximum societal benefits.