2017 – a year of self-driving progress.

So it’s time to ring in a new year, with 2017 flying by we’ve seen a huge amount of progress in the automotive industry.

We’ve finally seen Tesla Model 3’s leaving the factory, albeit rather slowly and far behind the original targets.

We’ve seen the tech giants, Google, Apple, Uber and others all make progress with self driving technology. Google span off their self driving division to become Waymo, which has had fully self-driving cars on the road, letting the public get their first chance to experience a ride without anyone driving. Apple have been altering their goals, but still making progress and Uber have had their self driving fleet on the road in Pittsburgh after some initial legal issues. Uber also announced plans to buy over 20,000 autonomous cars from Volvo.

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The car giants haven’t rested on their laurels though. Almost every brand has shown off concepts, made steps into on-the-road trials or launched models with some from of autonomous elements. Mercedes have shown off their ever advancing tech in the form of Drive Pilot in the E-Class, Nissan have launched ProPilot in the new Leaf, Volvo have launched self driving trials, with real world participants and we couldn’t forget to mention Tesla, who have been tweaking their Autopilot technology further during the year, launching models with ever more cameras.

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There has also been a lot of progress with electric cars, from 48v mild-hybrid announcments from lots of manufacturers including Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Volvo and more. More PHEV Plug-in hybrids from BMW, MINI, Mercedes and more pure electric cars from Nissan, Smart, BMW, Volkswagen and others. We’ve also seen the all new Roadster and SEMI from Tesla which are yet again shaking up the industry.

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2018 promises yet more innovation and electric and self-driving features in more and more of the public’s daily drivers. We should also see a lot more deliveries of the Tesla Model 3.

The Hypercar beating EV? The Tesla Roadster.

Tesla had a little surprise to talk about during their “Tesla Semi” unveiling. An all new version of the Tesla Roadster, the car that set the wheels in motion for Tesla to become the leading electric vehicle producer.

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The specs on this new Roadster are monstrous, 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds. 0-100mph in 4.2 seconds and over 250mph as the top speed. The power for this comes from a 200kWh battery pack and 3 motors, providing 10,000Nm of wheel torque.

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And how much does this all cost? $250,000 is the suggested price, with a $50,000 deposit being taken if you’re keen to be one of the first to have one on your driveway. You’ll have wait a while though as first deliveries are likely to be late 2020, and based on Tesla’s previous history of meeting targets, it’s likely to be 2021 until you get a glimpse of one outside of motorshows or San Francisco.

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How is this changing the car industry and automotive experience? It’s bringing incredible performance to a much more affordable price point, comparitively speaking vs the hypercar world of La Ferrari, Porsche 918, Koenigsegg, Pagani and Bugatti territory. It’s also challenging tyre manufacturers to develop even better tyres that can cope with regular high acceleration.

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Of course it’s also setting a benchmark for electric cars overall. Why lust after a fuel gulping hypercar, when something electric can out perform it in acceleration, top speed and even range? There’s a pleasure in that visceral engine sound coursing through your ears, but for a daily supercar, at this early stage the Tesla Roadster seems hard to beat.