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The Week in Tesla News: No More ‘Cheap’ Model S or X, Autopilot Crashes Dip, V3 in Vegas

2018 Tesla Model X

It’s a return to Tesla business as usual this week — though when it’s Tesla, business as usual is anything but. The automaker announced it’s getting rid of the base Model S and Model X, and making other changes to the lineup to simplify production. A safety report was released that showed improvements in accidents-per-mile over the last quarter. And a brand-new, crazy-fast Supercharging station just went live in Las Vegas.

Related: Which Cars Have Self-Driving Features for 2019?

What else is going on in the world of Tesla?  Read on for the latest from the automaker.

Price Drops and Standard Ludicrousness

2019 Tesla Model X

Tesla announced this week that it is reshuffling its vehicle lineup (yet again) for the sake of simplicity and cost cutting. The standard range versions of the Model S and Model X are now a thing of the past. The cars will only come in long range and performance versions. The long range will cost less than it did before — the Model S long range is now about $5,000 cheaper and the Model X long range is about $6,000 cheaper — but this still means the entry-level prices for these cars are a lot higher than previously.

If you spring for the performance variant of the Model S or Model X, you’ll now get Ludicrous mode standard. The high-end performance mode, which will get you from zero-to-60 mph in less than three seconds in a Model S, was previously a $20,000 option.

Autopilot Accidents

Tesla Autopilot

In safety data released for the spring quarter, Tesla reported that one accident was registered for every 3.27 million miles driven in one of its vehicles with Autopilot engaged — down from one accident every 2.87 million miles driven in the first quarter of 2019. Without Autopilot or any other active safety features on, one accident was registered for every 1.41 million miles driven in a Tesla. For comparison, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that there is one crash for every 498,000 miles driven in any car in the U.S. It should be noted that Autopilot is most often used on the highway, so miles driven with Autopilot on and miles driven with Autopilot off aren’t directly comparable.

Tesla also released data on fires in its vehicles this quarter, likely in response to recent media coverage of Teslas going up in flames. The automaker reports that there was one Tesla fire for every 170 million miles traveled between 2012 and 2018, and that 15 percent of those fires were caused by structure fires, arson and other causes unrelated to the vehicle itself.

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Sin City Superchargers

Tesla Supercharger

Tesla opened a Supercharger facility off the Las Vegas Strip that is capable of charging up to 1,500 vehicles a day. The station has 39 of Tesla’s new solar-powered V3 Superchargers, which top out at 250 kilowatts and can charge a car battery up to 50 percent faster than a V2 charger at that peak rate.

Currently, the Model 3 long range is the only Tesla that can charge at 250 kW. The Model S and Model X can only charge at a rate of up to 200 kW. However, because there is no power sharing among cars at the Vegas facility (unlike at Tesla’s other Supercharging stations), all models old and new will experience faster charging rates.

What happens in Vegas likely won’t stay there. Tesla is planning to drastically expand its Supercharger network over the next year, and plans to put V3 chargers in new and existing locations are in the works.

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