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Virgin going after Elon Musk with new electric cars

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Virgin CEO Richard Branson has come out with a mildly surprising statement at a racing event in Miami: the company will be taking on Tesla in the electric cars market and business. Virgin is already a notable presence in the electric vehicle racing field, as they already have their own team of electric F1-resembling vehicles that emphasize speed over commercial use. That might change in the near future, as Branson disclosed that Virgin already has teams working on commercial electric cars.

Tesla Motors are the front-runners when it comes to electric cars, thanks to the Tesla Model S, which has recently received a software upgrade with new features. Branson and Elon Musk are rivals when it comes to business, as both run companies that focus on transportation and space exploration to some degree. The move from Virgin to build commercial electric cars only adds to the uncertainty around Tesla and its dominance of the market.

Rumors about Apple working on their own electric vehicle and many other companies, including Google, Toyota and more making their own electric cars make the market pretty saturated, even if it’s just the beginning. According to Bloomberg, Branson said that Virgin might be competing with Tesla in the car business soon enough, although the statements of the CEO cannot be taken for granted just yet.

People are getting more and more fascinated with electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells, proving that as a community, we are becoming aware of the fact that fossil fuels are on the low side and our Earth cannot handle much more pollution and harm. Since we harm our planet each and every day to a higher degree, people like Branson, Elon Musk, Tim Cook and more are advocating awareness of our dire situation and are trying to set examples for the generations of the future. Whether their endeavors will become exemplary or not, only time will tell.

For now, at least we know that Virgin seems to be on board with electric cars and is already working on commercial variations of their racing range. The company has a notable presence in the Formula E championship, which focuses on demonstrating that electric cars can be just as fun and fast as other cars. Although the company is not selling their cars yet, they might do so in the next 2 years, according to our sources.

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.

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Amazon has decided to discontinue drone deliveries in California

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Amazon has announced the discontinuation of its Prime Air drone delivery operations in Lockeford, California. The small town in Central California, with a population of 3,500, became the company’s second location for drone delivery in the United States, following College Station, Texas. The operations were announced in June 2022.

The retail giant is not providing specific information about the setback, simply stating that they will provide current employees with opportunities at other sites and will continue to serve customers in Lockeford through alternative delivery methods. We are grateful to the community for their continuous support and valuable feedback throughout the past few years.

Deliveries in College Station will continue, and there’s also an exciting new site in Tolleson, Arizona, that will start delivering later this year. Tolleson is a small city with a population of just over 7,000. It is situated in Maricopa County, in the western part of the Phoenix metropolitan area.

With the introduction of Prime Air, Amazon customers in the region can now enjoy the convenience of same-day deliveries, thanks to a unique hybrid fulfillment center and delivery station. The company has assured that it will reach out to affected customers once the service is operational. There is no precise timing available beyond “this year” due to ongoing negotiations with local officials and the FAA that are necessary for deployment in the airspace.

The expansion of the offering has been moving at a sluggish pace, partly because of regulatory issues. Throughout the project’s duration, Amazon has appeared cautious in its approach to drone delivery, testing the waters cautiously. It appears that Tolleson will be the only location where the service will expand this year, and any further updates will be postponed until 2025. It’s uncertain if the company will resume its operations in California.

Last year, Amazon reaffirmed its dedication by introducing medication deliveries in College Station. This service allows customers to receive select Amazon Pharmacy orders in under an hour.

Local governments clearly view these types of deals as a chance to showcase their embrace of technological innovation beyond the usual hubs of San Francisco or New York.

“This type of delivery is truly groundbreaking, and it’s incredibly thrilling that it will soon be available in the Phoenix Metro Area,” expressed Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Embracing zero-emission package delivery will contribute to the reduction of local pollution and solidify our city’s position as a hub for cutting-edge technology.”

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The focus of Tesla’s results week is on price reductions and Elon Musk’s ambitious pursuit of full autonomy

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According to CEO Elon Musk’s most recent post on X, the company is stepping up its efforts to achieve complete autonomy as it gets ready to announce its anticipated underwhelming financial results for the first quarter on Tuesday.

Tesla reduced the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) sophisticated driver-assistance system to $8,000 over the weekend, a decrease from the previous price of $12,000. In addition to last week’s reduction, the price of the FSD monthly subscription has been further decreased to $99 from $199. Tesla’s effort to expand the implementation of full self-driving (FSD) in more vehicles may be motivated by the need to gather additional data. This data will be crucial in enhancing the neural networks that will enable more advanced autonomous driving capabilities. Currently, FSD (full self-driving) technology has the capability to handle various driving responsibilities in urban areas and on highways. However, it is still necessary for a human to stay vigilant and keep their hands on the steering wheel in case the system needs to be taken over.

Tesla’s revenues are becoming increasingly limited as it makes a significant and costly investment in autonomous driving technology. In an email to all employees, Musk announced that Tesla had laid off 10% of its workforce as a cost-cutting measure in advance of the company’s upcoming period of expansion.

In a sudden move earlier this month, Musk stated on X that Tesla would halt the progress of its $25,000 electric vehicle to prioritize the creation of a robotaxi, which he pledged to unveil in August. Insiders at Tesla have verified that they were not given advance notice by Musk of this abrupt change and that internal reorganizations indicate a new guiding principle that prioritizes the development of robotaxi technology.

Tesla is now experiencing fluctuations in its electric vehicle price strategy.

Recently, Tesla discontinued offering discounts on electric vehicle inventory prices. However, throughout the weekend, they significantly reduced the costs of the Model 3 and Model Y by up to $2,000 in the United States, China, and Germany. During the initial quarter of 2023, it became evident that the reduction in prices was negatively impacting Tesla’s revenue and profit margins.

Tesla is expected to release its financial results after the stock markets close on April 23. Musk has previously stated that Tesla’s value would essentially be negligible without autonomy.

 

Tomorrow, the company must persuade investors that its focus on autonomous vehicles is a positive outcome amidst declining margins, rather than a deceptive illusion.

Ever since Musk made the decision to reduce staff and emphasize Tesla’s focus on autonomy, the company’s share price has experienced a significant decline of nearly 10%. The shares have experienced a significant decline of over 42% since the beginning of the year.

What to anticipate at Tesla’s Q1 2024 earnings
With Tesla’s lower first-quarter delivery figures and price cuts, it seems that their profit pie may be smaller this time around. And analysts appear to be in agreement.

According to analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance, the projected earnings per share are $0.48, with an estimated revenue of $20.94 billion. Just a quick reminder: Tesla reported revenue of $25.17 billion in Q4 and $23.3 billion in the first quarter of 2023.

In the first quarter of 2024, Tesla’s vehicle deliveries totaled 386,810, representing a 20% decrease compared to the previous quarter’s figure of 484,507. This is not just a temporary fluctuation, but something worth considering in the long term. Tesla’s car deliveries for the first quarter of 2023 were lower than the previous year, marking a decline in sales for the first time in three years.

As a business owner, it’s evident that Tesla’s Q4 results reflect the challenges of managing shrinking profit margins, increasing costs related to the launch of the Cybertruck, and other research and development expenses.

During the fourth quarter, the automaker recorded a net income of $7.9 billion on a GAAP basis. A one-time, non-cash tax benefit of $5.9 billion was the main factor in this significant figure. The company’s operating income and adjusted earnings offered a more transparent view of its financial performance.

In the fourth quarter, Tesla’s operating income decreased by 47% compared to the same period last year, amounting to $2.06 billion. The company’s adjusted earnings for this period were $3.9 billion, representing a 27% decrease compared to the previous year.

The question is whether Tesla can prevent the decline in profits.

Ever since Tesla released its Q1 2024 production and delivery figures, the company has been strategically utilizing different financial strategies to appeal to potential customers and encourage current ones to invest in FSD. This has been done while also finding ways to cut costs and ensure profitability.

With conflicting objectives and Musk’s reputation as a no-nonsense CEO, the Q1 earnings call is sure to be an interesting affair. In addition to that potential theater, there are important long-term questions regarding Tesla’s ability to deliver on autonomy and whether it can sufficiently convince investors of its leadership and innovation.

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Rivian aims to attract customers who own gas-powered Ford and Toyota trucks and SUVs by offering a $5,000 discount on an electric upgrade

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Rivian is providing incentives of up to $5,000 on its electric vehicles (EVs) and a complimentary year of charging to clients who are prepared to exchange their conventional pickups and SUVs.

The agreement, which commenced on April 22, specifically targets the top-selling and widely available gasoline-powered trucks and SUVs now available in the market, such as the Ford F-150, Toyota Tacoma, and Jeep Wrangler. Rivian is actively targeting German automakers Audi and BMW. The price reduction ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, contingent upon the specific model. Rivian is providing price reductions on three variations of the R1T pickup vehicle and one variant of the R1S SUV.

The company advertised the “electric upgrade offer” on Monday through an email sent to potential clients as well as through advertisements on social media. Automakers such as Ford, Lucid, and Tesla have lowered pricing for premium and luxury electric vehicles (EVs) due to a decrease in demand within the sector. In response to unpredictable demand, numerous traditional automakers have also reduced their intentions to transition their product offerings exclusively to battery-electric vehicles. Gasoline-powered automobiles and hybrid cars are currently popular again due to their consistent sales and profitable profit margins.

Rivian’s projected production of around 57,000 electric vehicles in 2024 will not surpass the sales of the current top-selling trucks in the market. However, this strategy has the potential to attract a new group of customers.

Only individuals who possess particular gasoline-fueled vehicles will qualify for the trade-in. The vehicles encompassed in this category are Ford F-150 trucks from the year 2018 or later, Ford Explorer, Ford Expedition, and Bronco, excluding the Bronco Sport model. Additional qualifying trade-ins include the Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Gladiator manufactured in 2018 or later. The Audi Q5, Q7, and Q8, as well as the BMW X3, X5, and X7, are also eligible.

The offer is applicable to consumers interested in either leasing or purchasing a vehicle, with the condition that they must have the vehicle by June 30th. Rivian is also including a complimentary year of charging at any Rivian-owned charger in the United States as an additional incentive. The availability of Rivian fast-chargers, known as the Rivian Adventure Network, is significantly lower compared to the extensive Tesla Supercharging network. The company has implemented 433 rapid-charging stations at 71 locations, spanning across Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and the East Coast. Rivian has deployed 482 Level 2 chargers, known as Waypoints, at 180 locations around the United States.

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