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23rd of July 2018

Automotive



Tesla Hits Its Goals, Lyft Buys Into Bikes, and More Car News This Week

Life is full of little disappointments. That’s why it’s so refreshing to occasionally see someone do something grand, and just a bit nutty. Like Elon Musk setting up a fully functional production tent in the Tesla’s factory’s backyard, in a improbable—and thus far successful!—bid to hit his 2018 production targets. Like Lyft, the little brother of American ride-hailing, spending $250 million on…bicycles? Like a developer taking a polluted ex-Ford factory in Minnesota and trying to turn it into a walker-friendly, net-zero energy planned community. Like the mere existence of the Polaris Slingshot, which is not quite a car and not quite a motorcycle, but tells us some important things about the future of transportation.

This week, it was all about lofty goals. Let’s get you caught up.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

With a little help from a final assembly line set up in a parking lot, Tesla hits its Model 3 production target—only about eight or so months behind schedule. CEO Elon Musk, always one for an exceedingly ambitious goals, responds with a new one: 6,000 Model 3s a week by the end of August.

The bike-share war went into high gear this week, when Lyft officially announced it had acquired the country’s largest bike-share operator, Motivate. The buy gives the ride-share company control over big-name systems like DC’s Capital Bikeshare, NYC’s CitiBike, and the Bay Area’s Ford GoBike. But it also gives it an all-of-the-above strategy for transportation domination—and some interesting bits of street corner real estate to play with.

Last month, a Cruise Chevy Bolt being driven manually bumped into a Cruise Chevy Bolt in autonomous mode. Kinda hilarious, sure, but the minor incident has lessons to teach about the challenge of building self-driving car tech.

From the ashes of an old Ford manufacturing plant rises a bold, green vision for the future of Minneapolis/St. Paul: a highly bikeable, net-zero energy community. But will the plan get past its neighborhood opposition—and are its promises even reasonable?

Transportation editor Alex Davies learns the Polaris Slingshot—not a car, not a motorcycle—is a terrible commuting partner. But it’s real fun when you get out of your routine and just drive. As autonomy begins to take over later this century, this fun part may be exactly the sort of driving activity that survives.

Dino Attack of the Week

If you thought Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom had a lot of dinos, check out this gathering. Over 150 Dinos—Ferrari Dinos, that is—got together in the automaker’s hometown of Maranello, Italy this week, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the beloved car’s road debut.

Ferrari North AmericaRequired Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet

Reuters gets inside Tesla’s sprint to hit its goal to produce 5,000 Model 3s in one week.

Meanwhile, Musk got very angry with reporters on Twitter, and also vowed to send Boring Company and SpaceX engineers to Thailand, to help a children’s soccer team that is trapped in a cave.

The Information reports that Uber’s attempt to merge with Middle Eastern ride-hail rival Careem is falling apart.

China may cut the incentives it uses to encourage adoption of electric vehicles by a third, reports Bloomberg.

Baidu rolls out its new AI chip, and plans to build fully self-driving buses.

The Verge asks: Will deep learning ever be good enough to power self-driving cars?

The American trade war against China ramps up, with China imposing tariffs on US pork, soybeans, and yes, autos.

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