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Inside Automotive

Inside Automotive (Aug 2nd, 2019)

1. Tesla may not be entering the Indian market in the near future. The revelation was made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter, responding to someone who asked when the automaker’s vehicles would arrive in the market. Musk said he’s been told the import duties are extremely high in the country, even for electric cars, hovering up to 100 percent. He said while the tariffs would make the vehicles unaffordable, recent changes in sales tax “give hope for the future.”  — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

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2. GM CEO Mary Barra offers a bit more insight into “Ultra Cruise” (but also, not really). Last year, the company trademarked the branding, which is a reference to the company’s existing “Super Cruise” technology. The trademark covers self-driving technology-related products and services. On GM’s earnings call yesterday, when asked by Citi Research’s Itay Michaeli about when GM would go to market with Ultra Cruise technology, Barra either seemed to suggest that Ultra Cruise is a “beefed-up” version of its current Super Cruise technology, or that Ultra Cruise was just a re-branded version of Super Cruise. Either way, GM plans to expand Super Cruise across more vehicles next year. — THE VERGE

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3. Follow Friday: My top 100 automotive and transportation “Tweeps” list 

All the writers across the Inside network of newsletters were asked to put together a list of the top 100 “must-follow” Twitter accounts for each vertical. I put together my list, which you can subscribe to here. Feel free to follow any of the accounts on there, if you haven’t already. 

Many of the names may be familiar to people who read this newsletter on the daily, like @ElonMusk and @DougDeMuro

Others have been featured on our Follow Friday segment in the past, including @EricPaulDennis, @ZoZoGo_Dunne, @JayinShanghai and @tpap_

Some are automotive publications that I love reading everyday, like @automotive_news, @roadshow, @electrek and so forth. 

There’s even some controversial Twitter accounts on the list, including @skabooshka, a self-identified member of $TSLAQ. 

This list will be updated on a regular basis, meaning accounts may be removed or added as time goes on. Think there’s any accounts that should be added? Removed? Hit reply and let me know! 

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4. A lawsuit was waged against Tesla by the family of a Florida man who died while Autopilot was engaged. 50-year-old Jeremy Banner was driving his Model 3 sedan, with Autopilot engaged, when he failed to brake or steer to avoid a semi-truck trailer earlier this year, and died in the accident. In a preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that Banner did indeed have Autopilot engaged before the crash, while also finding that the system nor Banner took appropriate measures to avoid the accident. — BLOOMBERG

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5. A project by The Boring Company, to run an underground transit system under the Las Vegas Convention Center, could be jeopardized by the Las Vegas Monorail system. The Monorail is concerned with Boring’s project, which would burrow directly under the Monorail’s tracks. The Monorail’s executive team lobbied for additional oversight of The Boring Company’s project, which Boring has opposed, as it says it is committed to protecting existing infrastructure along the route. What ulterior motive might the Monorail have with pushing against The Boring Company? Boring has said it wants to expand the system to other portions of the city, which would interfere with its own Monorail. — TECHCRUNCH

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6. A taxi company in Columbus, Ohio, is adding Tesla Model 3s to its fleet. Columbus Yellow Cab will be adding 10 Model 3s to its lot of 170, in an effort to accelerate the electrification of its fleet. About 20 of the taxi company’s vehicles are all-electric, with the taxi company owner, Morgan Kauffman, saying he would like to convert the entire fleet to electric. — COLUMBUS DISPATCH

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7. Qualcomm says the U.S. risks falling behind in self-driving car development to China. The company’s senior VP, Patrick Little, says an initiative by the Chinese government to standardize the use of 5G wireless technology for vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) may ultimately give China an upper-hand with the technology. The U.S. has yet to back a 5G standard for V2V communication, which some see as essential for the commercialization of self-driving cars. China currently lags behind the U.S. in the development of self-driving technology. — BLOOMBERG

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8. Tesla S and X vehicles are almost 90 percent less likely to get stolen than the average car, according to research from the Highway Loss Data Institute. VP of the Highway Loss Data Institute, Matt Moore, says this could be attributed to how electric vehicle owners store their cars. Most charge their vehicles overnight, which typically means the car ends up being parked in a locked garage, making it harder to steal. Tesla’s vehicles are also equipped with effective safety features to prevent them from being stolen. — TESLARATI

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9. Redditors discuss the motives of electrification from automakers: Are EVs the future or are automakers preparing to meet regulations that mandate lower CO2 emissions levels? /u/This_Is_The_End suggested it was a myth that Volkswagen was changing their strategy because of the “Dieselgate” scandal, saying the move was motivated by a need to lower fleet output of CO2 after 2020. /u/saml01 said people want electric vehicles because it’s less maintenance “for a generation that doesn't give a s*** about cars.” — /R/ELECTRICVEHICLES - REDDIT

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10. FEEDBACK: This week, I asked you if Tesla would remain a niche automaker or expand big, like Toyota or Volkswagen. Here’s what some of you said: 

Brent S: Tesla's model (as described by Elon) is different from any other OEM to date. Tesla will become a robotaxi company; manufacturing vehicles for its own use as robotaxis, not for consumer purchase…No other OEM that I know of is thinking of their business in this way. They're all focused on the traditional "get the asset off our books ASAP" model. Watching Elon develop and execute plans like these is literally watching the future of transportation unfold before our eyes.

Gavin H: Much of what I have heard from analysts suggest that Tesla have a significant lead from and IP and tech development perspective and this will allow them to become more established and a permanent part of the transport landscape. 

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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