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Tesla cuts jobs as it pushes for cheaper Model 3

Elon Musk delivered a company update for Tesla today, and it’s basically a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The update – an email that was sent to employees this morning and later shared on Tesla’s website – details the successes and difficulties the company faced throughout 2023. It also talks about goals for 2023, and what the company needs to sacrifice in order to meet those goals.

There’s both good and bad news about what Tesla plans to achieve in 2023. The good news is that the company is making a major push to produce a cheaper Model 3 – though Musk says that the Model 3 was the best-selling premium vehicle in the US last year, its starting price of $44,000 is “still too expensive for most people.” The overarching goal is to make Telsa’s EVs and solar energy products “cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” something that’s obviously quite difficult to do.

Complicating matters is that US government incentives for buying electric vehicles will be halved on July 1st and go away entirely at the end of the year, meaning consumers will ultimately be paying more to own one of these cars. So, not only is Tesla in a position where it needs to figure out how to make the Model 3 less expensive, it has to do so with a diminishing US tax credit that incentivizes buying one.

It also has to do all of this while making a fairly thin profit. Musk says that in Q3 2023, Tesla turned a 4% profit. Though results for Q4 aren’t quite settled yet, he says that “preliminary, unaudited results indicate that we again made a GAAP profit, be less than Q3.” For the current quarter, Musk sounds hopeful that Tesla will again make a profit, but it doesn’t sound like it’ll be anything substantial.

Tesla, essentially, finds itself in something of a tough place at the moment, as it needs to cut costs while at the same time ramping up production. With that in mind, Musk announced today that Tesla will be laying off 7% of its full-time employees and retaining “only the most critical temps and contractors.” At the same time, Tesla will look to increase Model 3 production rates to meet its goals for the year ahead.

“Higher volume and manufacturing design improvements are crucial for Tesla to achieve the economies of scale required to manufacture the standard range (220 mile), standard interior Model 3 at $35k and still be a viable company,” Musk wrote in his email. “There isn’t any other way.”

Musk speaks rather bluntly about the difficult road ahead for Tesla in his email, but should everything go according to plan, we should see the mid-range Model 3 launch in all markets around May. Then it’s presumably on to making that $35k Model 3, which would certainly do a lot to bring more customers to the company.

Musk ends his email by thanking the people who are departing Tesla in this move. To everyone who will be remaining with the company, he once again reiterates the difficulties ahead, but says that he believes Tesla has “the most exciting product roadmap of any consumer product company in the world.” We’ll see if Tesla manages to meet these goals for 2023 despite cuts to its workforce, so stay tuned for more.

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We’Ll See The Tesla Model 3 On March 31

We’ll see the Tesla Model 3 on March 31

Tesla’s most affordable car, the Model 3, will make its grand debut on March 31st, the company has confirmed today. The news came as part of Tesla’s financial results for Q4 and full-year 2023, amid a 76-percent increase in Model S deliveries.

The Tesla Model 3 is arguably the most hotly anticipated of the company’s vehicles, given it promises to bring Tesla ownership within reach of a far larger cohort of drivers.

Exactly how much it will cost will depend on where the Model 3 is bought. While Tesla reconfirmed to SlashGear this week that the smaller car will start at $35,000, that price is ahead of federal and state incentives.

Those tax breaks and rebates could potentially shave as much as $10,000 off the cost of the car, bringing the Model 3 to around $25,000 and in the process undercutting Chevrolet’s Bolt EV which is expected to come in at $30k after incentives.

As for production of the Model 3, however, that’s not expected to kick off until late in 2023. Tesla says customer deliveries of the car will also begin before 2023 is through.

In addition to the unveil of the car itself, Tesla plans a significant investment as it ramps up to begin production. According to the firm, around $1.5bn will be spent in 2023 as a whole, on production machinery for the Model 3, Gigabattery cell production – some of which will power the new car – and around 80 new retail and service centers.

Some of the cash will also be spent on installing around 300 new Superchargers, Tesla says. It’s unclear at this stage whether the Model 3 will be eligible for free Supercharger use, as is the case with the more expensive Model S and the new Model X SUV.

As for that SUV, Tesla says that it purposefully capped production in January this year so as to hit quality targets. For the remainder of the current quarter, though, it’s expecting to increase manufacturing, with a goal of 1,000 Model X rolling off the line each week come Q2 2023.

Still, you’ll struggle to find a Model X in showrooms if you go looking for one, though Elon Musk says that demo vehicles should begin filtering through “in the weeks to come.”

Financially, Tesla made $179m in Q4 2023, selling over 25k Model S across the year as a whole. That was a slight decrease of less than 1-percent compared to 2014, though Tesla says that it managed to trim production costs for the car at the same time.

By the end of this year, in fact, Tesla predicts Model S gross margin will be near 30-percent.

Even so, it was a surprise loss – and a sizable one – for the electric car darling. Losses for the year came to almost $889m, with a $107m loss in Q4 alone. As a result, the firm has burned through around $700m in its cash reserves, which now come in just shy of $1.2bn.

As for the potential hit of falling gasoline prices, which had led some market watchers to predict toppling demand for electric cars, Tesla claims not to have been affected.

“[We] continue to see no perceptible impact to our order growth from the change in the price of gasoline as our order rates have continued to increase even as the price of gasoline has fallen,” Musk and CFO Jason Wheeler wrote today. “In fact, our customers tell us they value a Tesla vehicle more for its superior performance, technology, safety, lower environmental impact and style than for its ability to save money on fuel.”

NOW READ: Tesla could unveil 2 new cars in March

Now, all eyes will be on the Model 3 come March 31, to see just how much of the car is actually demonstrated – whether in images alone, a stationary mock-up, or a working prototype – and hear just how its specifications line up against the growing number of EV rivals.

SOURCE Tesla [pdf link]

Google Shuts Down Stale Products, Cuts 100 Jobs

As Google announces some changes in its recruitment policy, it also made some successive announcements regarding the shutting down of several of its products. While the announcement on downsizing its manpower maybe perceived by many with a heavy heart, the shutting down of some of its products is on the other hand a good corporate strategy for Google. Some of those products have served their purposes and or superseeded by a newer and better product.

First, the sad news. Google has asked some of its engineers located in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden to move to other Google Offices. Google is doing this to have lesser engineers who are working closely and more effectively with each other.

Google has also announced that it is also ending all its contract with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google as well as reducing its manpower base in its recruitment organization to around 100 positions only. The good news is Google is encouraging these employees to move to other jobs available at Google. As for the overall recruitment process of Google, we might see a slow down in this activity for quite some time.

In a related news, Google has also announced that it is officially closing the doors to some of its products which have been dormant for quite some time now. These products include Google Catalog Search which Google used for exploring OCR technology ages ago and which it obviously doesn’t need now, Google Video Upload which has long been dead, Dogdgeball,  Mashup Editor end Jaiku,  which was being touted before as a Twitter killer and Google Notebook.

Among these products, what I have used from time to time is Google Notebook. But there are certainly other similar Google products which can perform the same tasks done by Google Notebook.  These products wouldn’t really be a big loss to Google and to the users since most of them should have been sent to the dead pool a long time ago.

Of course you might be asking by now whether Google is starting to feel the crunch of the current economic condition in the U.S.  This might be related to that but it is certainly not yet a direct effect. Google is preparing for the worst to come, especially when economic analysis are predicting that the worst is yet to come in the financial market.

Facebook Changes Its Name As It Pushes Toward A Digital Reality Future

Starting today, the Facebook app will move under a new company name: Meta. 

Moving forward, the company will be “metaverse first,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today, which means that over time, you won’t need to use a Facebook account to access other products under the Meta umbrella. 

It also means that the company will report on their business as two different operating segments: one for their family of apps, and one for their work on future platforms (Reality Labs will be the name for that segment). The company intends to trade under a new stock ticker, MVRS, starting December 1. 

Zuckerberg made the announcement on Thursday during the keynote of the 2023 Facebook Connect event. (The company name change had been a previous source of speculation following a report from The Verge.) “I’ve been thinking a lot about our identity as we begin this next chapter,” he said. “Facebook is an iconic social media brand, but it just doesn’t encompass everything that we do.”

[Related: Facebook has an explanation for its massive Monday outage]

Zuckerberg argued that they build technology to connect people, and the metaverse is simply the “next frontier.” 

“Our devices are still designed around apps, not people,” he adds. “The experiences we’re allowed to build and use are more tightly controlled than ever.”

Zuckerberg spent almost the entire keynote carefully laying out a blueprint that shows what different components within his vision for the metaverse would look like in practice. While building out their social media apps will still remain a focus, he hopes that over time, the company’s brand will be less tightly linked to just one product.

The metaverse will in essence be an embodied internet that Zuckerberg thinks will become the next immersive digital medium to evolve after video (which evolved from photos and texts). Imagine it like virtual teleportation, or an internet that links up various virtual reality and augmented reality social experiences.

Instead of looking at the screen, you’re going to be able to be “in” these experiences. That’s likely to be achieved through creating a deep feeling of presence in a shared space, which would be the defining quality of the metaverse. That will require hardware, such as the Oculus Quest 2 device or others, which the company makes or will make.

[Related: Congress is coming for big tech—here’s how and why]

Zuckerberg also announced that sometime this year, users will be able to make Messenger calls in virtual reality. Virtual reality could also unlock new potential for gaming, which might become a gateway for many to step into the metaverse, he said.  

One virtual feature that may help enable this feeling of presence is the newly introduced “Presence Platform,” which will include tools such as Insight SDK, Interaction SDK, and Voice SDK. These tools will let users use hand or voice interactions in their virtual experiences. (An SDK is a “software development kit.”)

A tool called Spark AR could place 3D objects with depth and occlusion into the real world where people can interact with them. 

[Related: Renaming the company won’t fix Facebook’s image problem]

Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus, said that they are working to refine the tech of displays, audio, input, haptics (which is feedback that you feel physically on a device), hand tracking, eye tracking, and mixed reality in preparation for the next-generation metaverse. 

He illustrated examples of the team’s work in reconstructed reality— recreating realistic people with facial expression and body language, spaces, how things move, how things interact, and respond to interaction. This is done by indexing the texture and geometry of objects in the real world. In a short demo, a researcher’s AR glasses helped them map the room and the objects in it, and the glasses then measured eye movement to estimate what object the researcher wanted to interact with. 

[Related: Facebook might rebrand as a ‘metaverse’ company. What does that even mean?]

More importantly, the metaverse would be a new platform that could connect to different apps and allow users to bring items and data across different virtual spaces or even project them into the physical world through augmented reality. In other words, products can be used all across the metaverse instead of only on one app or one platform. 

Zuckerberg painted a future where NFTs can be displayed in digital rooms, and independent creators and businesses could build out the metaverse economy through a virtual marketplace by offering new content, services, experiences, or products. And neural interfaces along with AI and neural motor control will be able to translate brain signals into commands. 

The company is considering creating incentives for developers and new users to come onboard. These include options like lowering fees, subsidizing devices, or selling them at cost to increase adoption. 

However, it’s important to note that the metaverse of Zuckerberg’s dreams certainly does not fully exist. Zuckerberg said that only the basic building blocks do at the moment. Ultimately, technical challenges remain—it’s not easy to compress augmented reality hardware and powerful computers into a pair of glasses, for example. 

Although in a founder’s letter, Zuckerberg promises to promote privacy and safety on this new “social technology” platform, it’s yet to be seen whether he can convince people, especially from the younger generations that have been falling off Facebook, to actually use it. And many wonder if a new interface will just bring forth some of the same old problems. 

Dji Launches Cheaper Mavic 3 Classic Drone

Now, it has launched what it is calling the Mavic 3 Classic with the aim of making that Hasselblad Four Thirds camera more affordable.

The company has made two notable changes to bring the price down. One is the removal of the Mavic 3’s unique telephoto lens and the other is the fact that, if you go for the cheapest Mavic 3 Classic, you don’t get a remote control with it.

Otherwise, the Classic has all the same features of the Mavic 3: a 46-minute flight time, the O3 transmission system and omni-directional obstacle sensing.

2 November 2023

The drone is available to buy immediately from DJI directly, as well as certain other retailers.

What is the Mavic 3 Classic price?

There are three versions on offer. The cheapest – as mentioned – omits a remote controller, so you’ll only want to opt for that if you already have a compatible controller, such as the RC-N1 or DJI RC.


The model that will tempt most people is the one that includes the RC-N1, but you can optionally go for a third bundle with the DJI RC that has a built-in screen and doesn’t require your phone.

Here’s how the prices stack up compared to the Mavic 3:

USUKEurope (from)DJI Mavic 3 (with RC-N1)$2049£1729€1929Mavic 3 Classic (Drone Only)$1469£1309€1499DJI Mavic 3 Classic (with RC-N1)$1599£1399€1599DJI Mavic 3 Classic (DJI RC)$1749£1529€1749DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Kit$649£599€529DJI Mavic 3 Classic ND Filters Set (ND8/16/32/64)$129£109€119DJI Mavic 3 Classic Wide-Angle Lens$129£109€119DJI Mavic 3 Classic Storage Cover$39£30€35DJI Mavic 3 Battery Charging Hub$99£79€89

The new Fly More kit includes two batteries, a 100W battery Charging Hub, a 65W Car Charger, three pairs of propellers, and a carry bag.

Even though the Mavic 3 has had a slight price drop since it launched, the new Classic offers significant savings, even if it still isn’t what you might call cheap.

What are the specs of the Mavic 3 Classic?

No telephoto lens

Otherwise identical to the Mavic 3


The whole idea is to make the Mavic 3 more affordable, so the specs of the Classic are essentially the same.

The only difference between the two drones is the absence of the telephoto lens. While that might be disappointing for some, the 20Mp camera you’re left with is one of the best around.

For anyone unfamiliar with the camera, it can shoot at up to 5.1K at 50fps, or at 4K60. For slow-motion, you have the choice of 4K at 120fps or 1080p at 200fps.

Importantly it has an adjustable aperture from f/2.8 to f/11, and shoots 10-bit D-Log video (or 12-bit RAW photos).

With many of the Mavic 3’s initial issues now sorted, the Mavic 3 Classic should be a top drone out of the box.

The Mavic 3 Classic falls into the same C1 category as the rest of the Mavic 3 range, meaning you can fly it in the A1 Open Category (in Europe, that is) without having to pay for and pass a pilot’s license exam. For more details on the new categories read about the latest drone laws.

If the Mavic 3 Classic is still too expensive for you, you’ll find cheaper alternatives in our roundup of the best drones.

The Model 3 Was Delayed, But Elon Musk Keeps Saying Differently

The Model 3 was delayed, but Elon Musk keeps saying differently

Elon Musk may be sleeping on the Tesla factory floor to get Model 3 production on track, but he’s still finding time to think up new entries in his CEO lexicon. It’s fair to say that building a new car isn’t an easy process, something Tesla has now discovered several times, but Musk remains reluctant to call it a delay.

The most recent frustration for Model 3 reservation holders came in February of this year. Multiple people in line to order the all-electric car, Tesla’s most affordable to-date, were informed by email that their window had been pushed back. Even some who had placed their reservation – and a $1,000 deposit – on day one were told that they now should expect it only at the end of the year or early in 2023.

At the time, Tesla described the change as an “adjustment” to the delivery schedule. Now, pressed by CBS, CEO Elon Musk has a new description. In an interview, he downplayed the delay, calling it a “time shift” instead.

“It’s a six- to nine-month time shift,” Musk argued, insisting that reservation holders would eventually get a car. “That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.”

According to Musk, there have been some cancellations of Model 3 reservations, a fact that he says is down to timescales. People “just needed a car” he said, “and we didn’t have a car for them.” One significant factor in that may well be US tax credits.

Right now, Tesla buyers qualify for a full $7,500 in federal tax credits when they get a new EV. However that credit begins to phase out when a manufacturer passes 200,000 cars sold in the US. Even with Model 3 production delays – sorry, “time shifts” – that milestone is still expected to be hit later in 2023, as it’s based on all the EVs an automaker produces, rather than on a per-model basis.

So far, the government is yet to reveal what, exactly, it plans to do about those credits post-200k vehicles. One possibility is that the amount of tax credit buyers could expect would be halved. Others have suggested that the current administration might change the process altogether, though given the EPA’s moves to weaken regulations on traditional internal combustion engine vehicles that seems less likely.

It could, however, be an incentive for Model 3 reservation holders to jump ship, particularly if they’re waiting for the most affordable version of the car as was initially promised. Although on paper the Tesla starts from $35,000, in reality the automaker is currently only producing a considerably more expensive version. Those who convert their reservations into orders now are required to buy a car with the 310 mile range extended battery and premium cabin upgrades, priced from $49,000. Wait around for the $35k version, however, and you might well find the tax credit situation has changed in the meantime, and not in your favor.

Earlier this month, Musk said that the dual motor Model 3 – which will feature all-wheel drive, something many would-be buyers have been waiting for – would begin production in July 2023. That came on the tail end of Tesla admitting it had missed its self-imposed production goals for Q1 2023, making 9,766 Model 3 in the three month period.

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