Thursday, March 18, 2021

The story is "Tesla has one message for customers and investors, and another one for legal authorities." The meta-story is that the bastion of conventional wisdom is telling this story.

Regardless of where it's reported, this is big news (and potentially grounds for one hell of a class action lawsuit). Still, it's worth noting that highly skeptical coverage of Tesla and Musk is no longer limited to a few voices in the wilderness like Lopez of Business Insider and Hiltzik and Mitchell of the LA Times.

From Axios:

Tesla recently told California regulators that the "Full Self-Driving" beta software it's testing with select customers doesn't make them autonomous — nor will it any time soon.

Why it matters: The company is charging $10,000 extra for the not-really-self-driving, might-arrive-someday addition to its standard Autopilot adaptive cruise-control and lane-keeping feature.

  • Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk is selling investors on the notion that its full self-driving tech will enable Teslas to become money-generating robotaxis.

Our thought bubble: Tesla has one message for customers and investors, and another one for legal authorities.

Catch up quick: Legal transparency website PlainSite this week released a year's worth of correspondence between Tesla lawyers and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which regulates autonomous vehicles.

  • The agency had been pressing Tesla for details about the technology's evolving capability since late 2019 while reminding the company that it does not have a permit to deploy autonomous vehicles in California.

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