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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Tesla delivers big price cuts to Model S and Model X vehicles

Tesla made a flurry of announcements this afternoon with the highlight being the company’s reveal of its $35k Model 3. That reveal grabbed the most headlines, but updates to the Model S and Model X lines brought the costs of high-end models down with maxed out Performance + Ludicrous Mode versions of the S and X receiving healthy $18k discounts.

The Model S has the same entry-level price at $79k but the price bump to go from the Standard Range to more souped up versions is a lot more accessible with some huge price drops on the Long Range and Performance models.

The Long Range Model S, which takes the top speed from 140mph to 155 mph and the range from 270 miles to 335 miles, now prices in at $83k, down from $96k. With $4k separating the standard and long-range models, it’s interesting that they even decided to keep the Standard Range version and didn’t just have the Long Range as the entry-level model with the Performance version (now $13k cheaper as well at $99k) maxing things out.

The Long Range Model X now starts at $88k, down from $96k. Moving up to the Performance model which drops the 0-60 mph time to 3.5 seconds is $104k, previously $117k. With both Performance models of the S and X, you can add Ludicrous Mode for $15k, an upgrade that used to be $20k.

How is Tesla able to make these big cuts? Well, Tesla CEO Elon Musk highlighted the company’s coming closure of its physical dealerships as a major catalyst for the price drop across its product line.

“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected,” the company wrote in a post.

Via Tesla:

Model S variants 

  • Standard Range ($79K): 270-mile range; 140mph top speed; 4.2-sec 0-60mph.
  • Long Range (now $83k; previously $96k): 335-mile range; 155mph top speed; 4.1-sec 0-60mph. 
  • Performance (now $99k; previously $112k): 315-mile range; 155mph top speed; 3.0-sec 0-60mph. 
  • Performance + Ludicrous Mode (now $114k; previously $132k); 155mph top speed; 2.4-sec 0-60mph. 

Model X variants

  • Long Range (now $88k; previously $96k): 295-mile range; 155mph top speed; 4.7-sec 0-60mph.
  • Performance (now $104k; previously $117k): 289-mile range; 155mph top speed; 3.5-sec 0-60mph. 
  • Performance + Ludicrous Mode (now $119k; previously $137k): 289-mile range; 155mph top speed; 2.8-sec 0-60mph.


Source: TechCrunch

Scientists give mice infrared vision, turning them into tiny Predators – CNET

[Best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice] “If it sees, we can improve it.”
Source: CNET

Kanye, Walter White sit on Iron Throne in remixed Game of Thrones posters – CNET

Take note HBO. Twitter will choose who sits on the Iron Throne in season 8.
Source: CNET

Inside Star Wars land: New food, rides, and gear details revealed – CNET

Disney’s new Star Wars theme park experience will open this year. Here’s what we know.
Source: CNET

#drawthisinyourstyle: How Instagram got inspired by a woman holding a key – CNET

Instagram artists the world over are remixing each other’s work as part of a viral hashtag challenge.
Source: CNET

Twitter testing feature that will let you hide replies to your tweets – CNET

Feature could improve the health and civility of conversation on the site.
Source: CNET

Fortnite season 8: Everything you need to know – CNET

Season 8 has just begun, and there have been some big changes to your favorite battle royale island.
Source: CNET

Tiger Global and Ant Financial lead $500M investment in China’s shared housing startup Danke

A Chinese startup that’s taking a dorm-like approach to urban housing just raised $500 million as its valuation jumped over $2 billion. Danke Apartment, whose name means “eggshell” in Chinese, closed the Series C round led by returning investor Tiger Global Management and newcomer Ant Financial, Alibaba’s e-payment and financial affiliate controlled by Jack Ma.

Four years ago, Beijing-based Danke set out with a mission to provide more affordable housing for young Chinese working in large urban centers. It applies the coworking concept to housing by renting apartments that come renovated and fully furnished, a model not unlike that of WeWork’s WeLive. The idea is by slicing up a flat designed for a family of three to four — the more common type of urban housing in China — into smaller units, young professionals can afford to live in nicer neighborhoods as Danke takes care of hassles like housekeeping and maintenance. To date, the startup has set foot in ten major Chinese cities.

With the new funds, Danke plans to upgrade its data processing system that deals with rental transactions. Housing prices are set by AI-driven algorithms that take into account market forces such as locations rather than rely on the hunches of a real estate agent. The more data it gleans, the smarter the system becomes. That layout is the engine of the startup, which believes an internet platform play is a win-win for both homeowners and tenants because it provides greater transparency and efficiency while allowing the company to scale faster.

“We are focused on business intelligence from day one,” Danke’s angel investor and chairman Derek Shen told TechCrunch in an interview. Shen was the former president of LinkedIn China and was instrumental in helping the professional networking site enter the country. “By doing so we are eliminating the need to set up offline retail outlets and are able to speed up the decision-making process. What landlords normally care is who will be the first to rent out their property. The model is also copiable because it requires less manpower.”

“We’ve proven that the rental housing business can be decentralized and done online,” added Shen.

danke apartment

Photo: Danke Apartment via Weibo

Danke doesn’t just want to digitize the market it’s after. Half of the company’s core members have hailed from Nuomi, the local services startup that Shen founded and was sold to Baidu for $3.2 billion back in 2015. Having worked for a business of which mission was to let users explore and hire offline services from their connected devices, these executives developed a propensity to digitize all business aspects including Danke’s day-to-day operations, a scheme that will also take up some of the new funds. This will allow Danke to “boost operational efficiency and cut costs” as it “actively works with the government to stabilize rental prices in the housing market,” the company says.

The rest of the proceeds will go towards improving the quality of Danke’s apartment amenities and tenant experiences, a segment that Shen believes will see great revenue potential down the road, akin to how WeWork touts software services to enterprises. The money will also enable Danke, which currently zeroes in on office workers and recent college graduates, to explore the emerging housing market for blue-collar workers.

Other investors from the round include new backer Primavera Capital and existing investors CMC Capital, Gaorong Capital and Joy Capital.

China’s rental housing market has boomed in recent years as Beijing pledges to promote affordable apartments in a country where few have the money to buy property. As President Xi Jinping often stresses, “houses are for living in, not for speculation.” As such, investors and entrepreneurs have been piling into the rental flat market, but that fervor has also created unexpected risks.

One much-criticized byproduct is the development of so-called “rental loans.” It goes like this: Housing operators would obtain loans in tenants’ names from banks or other lending institutions allegedly by obscuring relevant details from contracts. So when a tenant signs an agreement that they think binds them to rents, they have in fact agreed to take on loans and their “rent” payments become monthly loan repayments.

Housing operators are keen to embrace such practices for the loans provide working capital for renovation and their pipeline of properties. On the other hand, the capital allows companies like Danke to lower deposits for cash-strapped young tenants. “There’s nothing wrong with the financial instrument itself,” suggested Shen. “The real issue is when the housing operator struggles to repay, so the key is to make sure the business is well-functioning.”

Danke alongside competitors Ziroom and 5I5J has drawn fire for not fully informing tenants when signing contracts. Shen said his company is actively working to increase transparency. “We will make it clear to customers that what they are signing are loans. As long as we give them enough notice, there should be little risk involved.”


Source: TechCrunch

How to Not Fall for Viral Scares Like Momo

The Momo challenge isn’t the first hoax about kids to go viral, and it won’t be the last. Don’t panic: Here’s what to remember.
Source: Wired

The Age of Congestion Pricing May Finally Be Upon Us

Some US cities might start charging extra to drive on crowded, busy roads.
Source: Wired

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