Tesla's latest driving mode is an about-turn from its previous options, which were all about squeezing the optimal performance from its cars. The new "chill" setting makes for a "gentler ride," according to the manufacturer. That sounds like an odd upgrade from an EV maker that was once obsessed with cracking the fastest acceleration time, motivated by its rivalry with Faraday Future. It achieved that milestone earlier this year (after dropping the "Ludricous" easter egg), when the Tesla Model S P100D became the quickest car to 60 MPH. All those boring folk can tap chill mode for "smoother" and "more gradual" acceleration.
You may want to consider this change to the company's policies that could affect how you charge your car's battery. Although Tesla's longtime approach has been to let drivers use its exclusive network of 3,500-plus superchargers for free, that benefit is going away for future customers. Beginning Jan. 1, anyone who orders a new Tesla will be expected to pay a "small fee" at superchargers once they've exhausted a yearly package of complimentary charging credits that's good for about 1,000 miles of range. It isn't clear how much the charging fees will be; Tesla said the prices will likely fluctuate based on regional demand for electricity, but that they will be on par with what it costs to fill up a tank with gasoline. Customers can still avoid the supercharger fees after using up those free miles by hooking up their vehicles at home.
An Australian who waited outside Sydney's Tesla dealership for 48 hours has become the first person in the world to order its hugely anticipated electric car. Andreas Stephens pre-ordered the Model 3, an as-yet-unseen model expected to retail for about A 45,000 (US 35,000) when it is eventually released in Australia in 2018. Stephens, who drives a Toyota Corolla Seca, told EFTM that he does not have a garage: "I've got two years to build one." SBS reported that the line of people waiting to place orders stretched more than 20 metres outside the Tesla dealership in St Leonards, in Sydney's north, on Thursday morning. Australia was the first market to be able to order the Model 3 globally, ahead of its official release in the US in late 2017.
Sales of Tesla's two other vehicles -- the Model S sedan and Model X SUV -- rose 4.5 percent to 25,915. Tesla said net orders for those vehicles hit a record level in the third quarter, setting the stage for record deliveries in the fourth quarter. The company says it's on track to deliver 100,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in 2017, up 30 percent from 2016.
It's not shocking that Panasonic would be so willing to open its wallet. The tech giant stands to profit from a flood of Model 3 sales, of course, but this could also be crucial to a major shift in strategy. Panasonic is trying to reduce its dependence on consumer electronics like phones and razors, which don't generate much profit and are subject to volatile markets. By shifting more of its efforts to the car industry, the tech giant gets both more profit and relatively stable demand. The Tesla investment is still something of a gamble (we don't know how well the Model 3 will fare after the initial rush), but it could give Panasonic a solid foundation for its future.