Archive for February, 2019

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 $35,000 Tesla Model 3 has arrived — but it comes with a price 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.

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. 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 […]