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Transportation AI China

Tesla Plans Factory In China, Discounts Insurance For Self-Driving US Cars (electrek.co) 104

Business Insider reports: Tesla has created a customized insurance package, InsureMyTesla, that is cheaper than traditional plans because it factors in the vehicles' Autopilot safety features and maintenance costs. InsureMyTesla has been available in 20 countries, but Tesla just recently partnered with Liberty Mutual to make the plan available in the U.S. InsureMyTesla shows how the insurance industry is bound for disruption as cars get safer with self-driving tech.
Electrek reports: There have been several false alarms over the past few years about Tesla building a factory in China. Earlier this year, Tesla finally confirmed working with the Shanghai government to establish a manufacturing facility in the region and promised an announcement by the end of the year. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that they have come to an agreement with the local authorities on a "wholly owned" factory in the region... China is already the biggest market for electric vehicles, or any vehicles for that matter, and Tesla profited from the demand by tripling its sales to over $1 billion in the country in 2016. Tesla continues to have strong sales in the country this year, where it leads foreign electric car sales with no close second.
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Tesla Plans Factory In China, Discounts Insurance For Self-Driving US Cars

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  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @01:52PM (#55413579)
    What is not clear is if InsureMyTesla will make rates equal for all drivers always, regardless of the accidents they get into as individuals. They all have the same flaws since they all use the same software, and therefore have the same risk. Therefore all owners should pay on a collective basis.
    • They all have the same flaws since they all use the same software, and therefore have the same risk.

      Not true. If I commute everyday on the highway, and you drive twisty icy mountain roads, or if you live in a bad neighborhood with lots of uninsured drivers, the risks will not be the same. With conventional insurance, your zipcode can often affect your premiums as much as your driving record.

      Legal differences also matter, especially in how medical expenses are covered. Some states allow hospitals to bill auto insurance companies directly, while others require the hospitals to bill the patients medical i

      • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

        Legal differences also matter, especially in how medical expenses are covered. Some states allow hospitals to bill auto insurance companies directly, while others require the hospitals to bill the patients medical insurance company, which is then reimbursed by the auto insurance company.

        Michigan is the only state with *unlimited* medical liability coverage for automotive insurance. People here are always asking why our premiums are so incredibly high.

      • But the driver does not have control how they drive on those twisty mountain roads. You're talking about penalizing people not by the performance of their driving but just by the fact that they are using the car in a certain situation. A person in a manual car may choose to drive 20 mph on that twisty icy road and never get in an accident. You want to hold them responsible for automation deciding that 60mph on the road is ok.
        • But the driver does not have control how they drive on those twisty mountain roads.

          But they do have a choice of where to live.

          If you choose to live in the mountains, don't expect others to subsidize your lifestyle.

          • Oh my lord. Yes by all means, lets just have hospitals schools and firestations in heavily populated places as well. Let's not build and maintain roads there either, or pick up trash or provide clean water.
      • Re:Collective? (Score:5, Informative)

        by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @04:36PM (#55414167)

        In the US, they are using Liberty Mutual for "Insure my Tesla".
        Out of curiosity, I entered my information and received an insurance quote for my Tesla which is 4 times what I am currently paying.
        So... not a good deal... at all.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I wonder if they are planning on using data from your car. In the UK you can opt to have a telemetry box installed in your car which monitors your driving. If you drive "badly" it reports you to the insurance company and they jack up your premium, otherwise you get a small discount. They are not very reliable - for example some cars with very small engines need full throttle to get slow up steep hills, which looks to the box like you are accelerating really hard.

    • They all have the same flaws since they all use the same software, and therefore have the same risk.

      Only if the insurance only covers the driver while auto-pilot is engaged.

      I'm actually wondering if it is going to be the complete opposite where the insurance rate is not only determined by the driver history and traits, but also vehicle diagnostics. E.g. insurance rates go up if you accelerate heavily, break heavily, frequently suddenly turn the steering wheel, leave your hands off the wheel with auto pilot engaged for too long, go around corners too fast, speed, etc.

      Reminds me of our one of the company ca

    • No, I still think there should be a surcharge for stupid drivers.

      If you're young and stupid and decide to watch a blockbuster movie with your DVD player sitting on your passenger seat (while keeping your hands on the wheel, because otherwise, the car gets upset at you), then you could still get into a head-on collision.

      Also let's be honest here, killing an entire family with your car is probably going to be much more expensive in a place like LA or New York than a place like Arkansas. In Beverly Hills alone

      • Autonomy proponents seem to be all over the map with regards to whether it is actually safe or not. At one end of the range you have, "Autonomous driving is already way safer than people". On the other end you have, "people are stupid and might trust autonomous driving". Which the hell is it? It's two-faced and you can't have it both ways. If Tesla thinks Autopilot is safe, it should be insured as such. If autopilot is active then driver is not responsible. Otherwise it's not safe. It's that simple.
  • by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @01:56PM (#55413591)
    Why do you have to pay insurance for their self driving? If Tesla trusted its self driving feature, it would indemnify the owners in the event of an accident. The fact you have to buy coverage hits on the fact it is an alpha release of âoeself driving.â
    • by Vairon ( 17314 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @02:08PM (#55413615)

      Legally in the US you are required to either have a minimum set of insurance or put up a large amount of money in a bond with the state in lieu of insurance. The latter may differ from state to state.

      If you are effectively forced to buy insurance anyway, Tesla is partnering with Liberty Mutual to offer discounted (supposedly) insurance that takes the cars self-driving and other safety features into account to hopefully give you a better insurance rate.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        If you are effectively forced to buy insurance anyway, Tesla is partnering with Liberty Mutual to offer discounted (supposedly) insurance that takes the cars self-driving and other safety features into account to hopefully give you a better insurance rate.

        Unlike all other insurances, that blissfully ignore any vehicle's track record and safety features. This is just a PR stunt where Liberty Mutual offers a volume discount for Tesla to send customers their way.

    • When you drive your car, do you control all the external factors?

      • Of course not but the important thing is that I have control to protect myself from any external factor I deem unsafe in the way that I drive. Of course no one will see everything, but a person has a choice to drive at a speed that is safe for them and that will leave a very negligible risk due to circumstances totally beyond their control. On the other hand, a person does not have the same freedoms if software is driving for them.
        • If software is driving for them, the cars won't exceed speed limits. More software-driven cars means a more constant flow of traffic, means less accidents.

          • But people often drive below the speed limit because they want to be safe. Who is to say a person in a manual car driving way below the speed limit is not going to be safer than whatever automation chooses?
            • Who is to say a person in a manual car driving way below the speed limit is not going to be safer than whatever automation chooses?

              Statistics. That's what insurance companies use.

      • by aphelion_rock ( 575206 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @05:17PM (#55414305)

        I wonder if they are applying discounts for their own repair work. Tesla cars are notoriously expensive to repair and not all accidents are your own fault and not all other drivers are insured or will own up to a parking lot incident.
        This is what $30k of damage looks like.
        http://gas2.org/2015/01/06/thi... [gas2.org]

    • I would assume the driver is not responsible if autopilot is active.
    • by tsqr ( 808554 )

      Why do you have to pay insurance for their self driving? If Tesla trusted its self driving feature, it would indemnify the owners in the event of an accident. The fact you have to buy coverage hits on the fact it is an alpha release of âoeself driving.â

      I guess you're talking about the liability portion of an auto insurance policy, which is what is required by law. If you finance your car purchase, the finance company will require you to also carry comprehensive and collision coverage. Liability insurance won't pay to fix your car if a tree falls on it while it's parked in your driveway, or if someone slams into it in a parking lot, or if a truck kicks up a rock that cracks your windshield.

      • And Tesla autopilot's "superior safety" has nothing at all to do with those environment-caused damages. The only potential difference is re: driver caused damages. Which is Tesla autopilot's case, are Tesla's fault. So other than the superficial angle of Tesla just having deal with insurers to share profits of customers they attract, the only substantial question I have on this is the clauses Tesla includes in this, re: own liability. Enforced arbitration under corporate-friendly parameters is almost standa
  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @02:00PM (#55413601)

    Expect a multitude of EV clones in China appearing that look strangely similar to Teslas.

    The Chinese market may be massive, but that market is only available to Chinese citizens for the long term. It will be known in history as the great IP theft of the west.

    • Expect a multitude of EV clones in China appearing that look strangely similar to Teslas.

      Tesla Motors was created for the purpose of proving EVs were viable and proliferating them, so this would be a win for Elon. If you haven't you noticed, all their patents are free to use. [tesla.com]

      • Tesla Motors was created for the purpose of proving EVs were viable and proliferating them, so this would be a win for Elon. If you haven't you noticed, all their patents are free to use.

        Only for those companies that reciprocate and make all of their patents free to use for Tesla.

        • Only for those companies that reciprocate and make all of their patents free to use for Tesla.

          Obvious solution: Start up a shadow subsidiary that doesn't have any patents.

          This is easy to do in China, which has weak laws on corporate disclosure.

        • Only for those companies that reciprocate and make all of their patents free to use for Tesla.

          Where did you get that information?

      • Correct. Patents are free to use. But Tesla, like SX, does not use patents only for IP. They have a large amount of trade secrets related to manufacturing. I'm guessing this plant will be assembly only.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Meh, you've never experienced quality until you've driven a Temla. Their new Optopilot system is amazing!

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      China is already well ahead in the EV market. BYD has cars with similar range to Tesla but costing a fraction as much, which they developed themselves. They have fully electric busses and commercial vehicles, while Tesla has yet to show their electric truck prototype.

      Japan is getting very worried about it. Japanese manufacturers chose hybrid technology, thinking that batteries wouldn't be good enough for decades. There is a big scramble to develop not just fully electric cars, but for all the part manufactu

  • What a wonderful idea. So you can get insurance from the company that has, essentially, unlimited spyware in your car. So they can charge you for your "risk" based on how hard you brake, how hard you accelerate, how hard you corner, how fast you drive, where you like to drive, what times you drive, and so much more, and all regardless of the ACTUAL outcomes or how actually safe you are.

    Pass

  • by fozzy1015 ( 264592 ) on Sunday October 22, 2017 @04:33PM (#55414149)
    Will ground be broke before or after the Tesla bankruptcy?
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      TTAC called, they want you for their Tesla Deathwatch column nearly a decade ago.

      • TTAC called, they want you for their Tesla Deathwatch column nearly a decade ago.

        If any of you knew how to read a 10K and actually looked into Tesla's finances, you'd realize that given their latest junk bond offering and negative cash flow, they are incapable of ever making a profit. It's losses all the way folks, until the inevitable reorg.

        • so maybe they'll just barely scrape by. But please, by all means, short TSLA. Thanks for the free money.
          • they're holding $16B worth of Model 3 orders

            A $1000 refundable deposit to hold a spot in line is not an order. A fraction of those will turn into actual orders. What was the last number of deposits that Musk gave out? 457,000? Given Musk's propensity to fudge numbers, do you really even believe that number was accurate at the time? What do you think the continuing Model 3 delay will do to that number? Which may all be a moot issue, since Tesla has yet to show they can even make a car at a profit. Tesla can't figure out how to make money at $100K - $

            • But we both know that you don't really *believe* that Tesla is going to fail, you just really, really want them to.
              • But we both know that you don't really *believe* that Tesla is going to fail, you just really, really want them to.

                Yes, I do. Just calling it as I would a terminally ill patient. Some company will pick up the pieces after the reorg and the Tesla name will probably continue, and hopefully Tesla car owners will still have a company that'll service them and perhaps build newer models in a profitable manner.

                • because I'm going to wait a couple years and then stalk you through every thread, and replay those words back to you. Congratulations on learning nothing from: "No wifi, less space than a Nomad, Lame".

                  Until then, here's some Econ 101:
                  1. There's a big difference between not turning a profit because noone wants to buy your crap and not turning a profit because you can't manufacture products fast enough to keep up with demand and every $ of revenue is reinvested into expanding capacity.
                  2. You can't make a
                  • because I'm going to wait a couple years and then stalk you through every thread, and replay those words back to you.

                    How mature; comes out in your investment decisions.

                    Congratulations on learning nothing from: "No wifi, less space than a Nomad, Lame".

                    When has Apple lost money on every unit it sold?

                    There's a big difference between not turning a profit because noone wants to buy your crap and not turning a profit because you can't manufacture products fast enough to keep up with demand and every $ of revenue is reinvested into expanding capacity.

                    So many people want the Model S and Model X that Tesla had to offer massive discounts last quarter just to keep sales flat.

                    r and every $ of revenue is reinvested into expanding capacity.

                    Tesla needs capital raises just to keep the lights on. They have negative cash flow. The comparisons to Amazon are flawed.

                    You can't make a product fail by hating the company's CEO.

                    There are financial reasons to stay away from Tesla as an investor, besides the fact they have PT Barnum for a CEO.

                    • by Brannon ( 221550 )
                      > When has Apple lost money on every unit it sold?

                      Every company loses money on 'every unit sold' until the point that they've paid back the R & D. That is true for literally every product ever made. When the R&D is especially capital-intensive (like a new car or rocket) then it takes longer. Pretty much every time this happens some moron looks at the shareholder report and says "Company X is losing $Y on every unit!!! They should stop making units!!!".

                      Companies that are growing fast don't g
                    • Every company loses money on 'every unit sold' until the point that they've paid back the R & D. That is true for literally every product ever made. When the R&D is especially capital-intensive (like a new car or rocket) then it takes longer. Pretty much every time this happens some moron looks at the shareholder report and says "Company X is losing $Y on every unit!!! They should stop making units!!!".

                      Musk said 2 years ago Tesla would be cash flow positive and not need another capital raise. It's been several raises later and yet another one is just around the corner. BTW, the Chief Accounting Officer at Tesla just dumped a block of shares: http://secfilings.nasdaq.com/f... [nasdaq.com] You sure you want to be one left holding the bag?

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