Musk, Tesla and SpaceX Had a Hell of a Year

Musk, Tesla and SpaceX Had a Hell of a Year

Elon Musk spent much of a challenging 2022 losing money, creating scandals and tweeting through it.

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Elon Musk gives two sideways thumbs up with a goofy expression on his face.
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer Award 2020 on December 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool (Getty Images)

It’s been a challenging year for the former world’s richest man and Tesla (and SpaceX and Twitter) CEO Elon Musk (please, hold your tiny violins until the end of the slideshow) and trying to sum up every misstep, scandal and investigation might seem like a Herculean task.

And honestly, it is. It’s such a huge undertaking that this year we’ve had to reduced our focus on Musk a bit. The news was coming so fast, and so weird, we tried to only talk about Musk news when it came to cars and space. Luckily there was still plenty to write about. Whether it was scandals, investigations, failed predictions, political machinations, very public social media fails or even the occasional win, we covered a whole lot this year. Here are a few of the biggest turning points for Musk and his companies during a topsy-turvy year.

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Elon Musk Promises Full Self-Driving ‘Next Year’ For The Ninth Year In A Row

Elon Musk Promises Full Self-Driving ‘Next Year’ For The Ninth Year In A Row

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Illustration: Jason Torchnisky

By Jason Torchinsky

It’s happened again! It’s incredibly predictable, sure, but that doesn’t make it any less glorious or wonderful! During Tesla’s earnings call yesterday, where the company very justifiably crowed about their record revenue and Model Y production at their new Texas factory, Tesla CEO and adorable optimist Elon Musk gave the world what they wanted and confidently predicted that Tesla would achieve “full self-driving”—a term usually understood to refer to SAE Autonomy Levels 4 and 5, requiring no monitoring or input from whomever is in the car—less than a year from now. This makes the ninth year in a row he’s predicted full FSD coming in around a year! It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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If Only Someone Could Have Predicted This

If Only Someone Could Have Predicted This

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Image: The Boring Company

By Andy Kalmowitz

In November 2021, Elon Musk tweeted “It’s either traffic forever or tunnels.” Well, that does not really seem to be the case.

On Thursday there was a major traffic jam in an underground tunnel built by The Boring Company – run by Musk – at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And it happened during a less-than-crowded CES.

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There Is Now At Least One Tesla Cybertruck And It Looks Goofy As Hell

There Is Now At Least One Tesla Cybertruck And It Looks Goofy As Hell

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Screenshot: Cybertruck Owners Club via YouTube

By Andy Kalmowitz

Folks, Tesla did it. They built a Cybertruck, naysayers be damned! Okay well they built one Cybertruck. But it’s been revealed in a walk-around, so we should take a look at it, together. Don’t worry. It still looks goofy. In fact, it may look even goofier than before.

A video posted on the Cybertruck Owners Club forum (yes this is a real thing) shows a really close look at the outside of the alleged prototype. The big highlight? The looooong windshield wiper of course.

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Germany Is The Latest Country Investigating The Safety Of Tesla’s Autopilot

Germany Is The Latest Country Investigating The Safety Of Tesla’s Autopilot

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Image: Getty (Getty Images)

By José Rodríguez Jr.

Regulators in Germany are looking into Tesla’s Autopilot features and whether or not these are safe enough to use on German roads. The Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt confirmed that it’s opened a new investigation, as reported by CNBC and German news site Bild am Sonntag. The investigation is pending the results, but the use of Autopilot in Germany could hinge on the KBA’s ruling.

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Joe Biden Has No Time For Tesla Or Elon Musk And Elon Can’t Stand It

Joe Biden Has No Time For Tesla Or Elon Musk And Elon Can’t Stand It

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Image: Getty (Getty Images)

By Erik Shilling

There are few things that Joe Biden, who is the President of the United States, likes to talk about more than American automaking. Except when it comes to Tesla, which Biden ignores because its CEO Elon Musk is anti-union and because Elon doesn’t like NHTSA and because Elon’s kind of a weirdo, but mostly it’s the NHTSA and union thing. This would be unremarkable if not for the fact that it seems like Musk can’t stand it.

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Most Of The Satellites Starlink Launched Last Week Are Now Trash

Most Of The Satellites Starlink Launched Last Week Are Now Trash

By Steve DaSilva

When you think about space, your mind probably conjures images of zero gravity zen — quiet, serenity, a seemingly impossible stillness. Storms, those wrathful furors of wind and rain, probably don’t appear in your mind’s eye. But while you may only be able to feel the rain on your skin down here on Earth, the upper atmosphere isn’t free from its own damaging winds — winds that just cost Starlink almost an entire payload of satellites.

Last Thursday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket fully loaded with Starlink satellites — 49 of them in total, all headed for a permanent location low in Earth’s orbit. Trouble came just a day later, when a geomagnetic storm interfered with the orbit of 40 of those satellites. Each of those 40 has now already burned up in the atmosphere, or is in the process of doing so.

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Tesla Chip Shortage Fix Was To Pull Steering Components Without Telling Buyers

Tesla Chip Shortage Fix Was To Pull Steering Components Without Telling Buyers

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Photo: Xiaolu Chu (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

It seems that Tesla took some major shortcuts in production to get around the chip shortage and meet production goals. According to CNBC, the company decided to remove one of the two electronic control units included in the steering racks of some Chinese made Model 3 and Model Y cars, then failed to inform buyers what it had done.

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Elon Musk Challenges Vladimir Putin To A Fight Over Twitter Since He Isn’t The Center Of Attention Right Now

Elon Musk Challenges Vladimir Putin To A Fight Over Twitter Since He Isn’t The Center Of Attention Right Now

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Photo: Britta Pedersen-Pool (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

Elon Musk woke up today, realized he wasn’t trending on Twitter, and decided that needed to change right now. It’s either that, or he wanted to take some attention away from the fact his wife has moved on to someone much better than him.

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Elon Musk Just Bought Twitter, And That Could Be a Problem for Automotive Journalism

Elon Musk Just Bought Twitter, And That Could Be a Problem for Automotive Journalism

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Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO (Getty Images)

By Lalita Chemello

Well, it’s official. After weeks of speculation, Twitter has officially accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to purchase the social media platform. The agreement opens up a ton of unanswered questions about the future of the site — and some very specific questions about what this all means for automotive media and the journalists who work in this realm.

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Tesla Booted From S&P 500's ESG Index Because of All the Bullshit and Chaos

Tesla Booted From S&P 500's ESG Index Because of All the Bullshit and Chaos

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Photo: Patrick Pleul (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

Tesla is having a tough day in the stock market, but not because of its stock price. While the automaker’s stock is down more than 7 percent today, the biggest news comes from the fact that Tesla has been removed from the S&P 500 ESG Index. As you may have guessed, Elon Musk isn’t thrilled about this.

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Tesla Raises Prices Significantly Across Model Lineup

Tesla Raises Prices Significantly Across Model Lineup

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Image: Tesla

By Andy Kalmowitz

Tesla is raising the prices of its cars once again. This time, the price hike is being blamed on global supply-chain issues, according to Reuters. Raw material costs – including aluminum used in Teslas – have been on a big upswing recently.

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The NHTSA Is Closing In On Tesla and its Autopilot

The NHTSA Is Closing In On Tesla and its Autopilot

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Image: AP (AP)

By Erik Shilling

Tesla and NHTSA have been spoiling for a fight for years now, or maybe have actually been fighting during that time, given the Biden Administration’s renewed interest in flexing its regulatory muscles in the name of safety (at least compared to Trump’s).

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Elon Musk Secretly Fathered Twins With a Neuralink Exec Who Reported to Him

Elon Musk Secretly Fathered Twins With a Neuralink Exec Who Reported to Him

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Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

By Owen Bellwood

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, CEO of Tesla, and co-founder of brain-computer startup Neuralink, has been revealed to have fathered twins with Shivon Zilis, a Neuralink executive who reports directly to him, Business Insider reports.

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Elon Musk Just Sold Billions in Tesla Stock

Elon Musk Just Sold Billions in Tesla Stock

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Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris for The Met Museum/Vogue (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold 7.92 million shares of the company. It’s worth about $6.88 billion. SEC filings reveal the transactions occurred between August 5th and August 9th, following Tesla’s 2022 annual shareholder meeting on the 4th.

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Ralph Nader: Tesla ‘Full Self-Driving’ Responsible for ‘Manslaughtering Crashes’

Ralph Nader: Tesla ‘Full Self-Driving’ Responsible for ‘Manslaughtering Crashes’

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Image: RENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP (Getty Images)

By Erin Marquis

Ralph Nader urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take action against Tesla for its “dangerous and irresponsible” so-called Full Self-Driving mode in a statement released Thursday.

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Don’t Test Tesla’s Full-Self Driving on Children: Safety Regulators

Don’t Test Tesla’s Full-Self Driving on Children: Safety Regulators

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Screenshot: Whole Mars Catalog via YouTube

By Andy Kalmowitz

It may sound crazy, but U.S. safety regulators don’t think you should use your kids to test Tesla’s self-driving technology. Ridiculous, I know.

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Did Musk Propose Hyperloop to Stop California High-Speed Rail?

Did Musk Propose Hyperloop to Stop California High-Speed Rail?

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Photo: Damian Dovarganes (AP)

by Bob Sorokanich

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop has gone about as well as most of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s more ambitious ideas: it’s way behind schedule, and so far all we’ve seen are unconvincing prototypes.

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Tesla’s FSD Beta Gets Its Second Price Increase This Year

Tesla’s FSD Beta Gets Its Second Price Increase This Year

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Image: Tesla

By Steve DaSilva

No matter what anyone tells you, Tesla’s cars are incapable of driving themselves. Despite this, the company charges $12,000 for a “Full Self Driving” feature that, at least according to the state of California, cannot do what it says on the tin — and according to Tesla itself, never will. But the company has a solution to these woes, a way to improve its FSD beta: Raising the price.

As of September 5, the cost of adding FSD beta software will jump from $12,000 to $15,000. The price increase is timed to coincide with an update to the software, one that promises to “make every Autopilot drive as good as someone driving their own commute” and “control for slow-moving UFOs.”

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Even Some Tesla Fans Are Scared of the Latest FSD Update’s Mistakes

Even Some Tesla Fans Are Scared of the Latest FSD Update’s Mistakes

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Screenshot: Dave Mac - DMacTech on YouTube

By Steve DaSilva

This week, the latest update to Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software began rolling out to beta testers (read: possibly any Tesla vehicle). Like many Tesla software releases, this one appears to be an improvement in some ways, but a downgrade in others.

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Fire at Tesla’s German Factory Highlights Dismal Safety and Pollution Record

Fire at Tesla’s German Factory Highlights Dismal Safety and Pollution Record

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Image: Getty (Getty Images)

By Erin Marquis

An unexplained fire broke out at Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg on the outskirts of German’s capitol city Monday morning in the second major incident to occur at the site since it opened in this spring.

The fire comes just five months after a 15,000-liter spill from the paint shop at the Giga Berlin factory. The chemicals were properly cleaned up and the leak addressed, but that didn’t quite sooth the jangled nerves of locals and environmental advocates. The factory almost didn’t happen due to concerns about the water system in the area, after all. It was also delayed over rare snakes and fish that were at risk of being impacted by construction.

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Elon Musk Is Being Investigated Like a Mob Boss

Elon Musk Is Being Investigated Like a Mob Boss

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Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP (Getty Images)

By Steve DaSilva

Back in the 1970, the United States government decided to do something about this whole “Mafia” situation. But how do you take down an entire organization based on the crimes of a few disparate members, none of whom ever seemed to hold leadership roles? Well, you draw up something called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which allows prosecutors to establish a pattern of behavior that marks an enterprise as criminal — then penalize anyone who participates in that enterprise. Fifty-two years later, that law is still on the books, and now it’s being used to investigate Silicon Valley’s favorite apartheid emerald scion, Elon Musk.

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Semi-Autonomous Teslas Were Involved In 10 More Fatalities This Year

Semi-Autonomous Teslas Were Involved In 10 More Fatalities This Year

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Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

By Adam Ismail

At least ten people died in crashes between May and September of this year where automated driving systems played a factor, according to new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Four of the accidents involved motorcycles, and all of them involved a Tesla. In the previous reported period from July 2021 through May, there were six deaths and five serious injuries — in five of those deaths, a Tesla was involved.

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Tesla Allegedly Facing a Federal Criminal Investigation Over Its Self-Driving Claims

Tesla Allegedly Facing a Federal Criminal Investigation Over Its Self-Driving Claims

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Photo: David Zalubowski (AP)

By Lawrence Hodge

A report from Reuters says the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into Tesla over its Autopilot system, and its self-driving claims.

It’s no surprise, as Tesla’s claims of its Autopilot system’s self-driving capabilities has attracted a lot of concerned attention over the years. Proof of how bad the Autopilot’s self-driving tech is already easy to find online as well. Add to that the crashes and fatalities piling up with Tesla’s Autopilot behind the wheel, the government really started to pay attention.

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Musk’s Twitter Shenanigans Have Tanked Tesla’s Reputation

Musk’s Twitter Shenanigans Have Tanked Tesla’s Reputation

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Screenshot: Contributor (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

By Collin Woodard

We’ve been pointing out for years that Elon Musk sucks. The Boring Company sucks. Full Self-Driving sucks. And he also generally sucks as a person. But for years, his cool electric cars and shiny rockets bolstered his popular image. At least, they did until he bought Twitter and made it clear to the world how wildly in over his head he is. And as it turns out, Musk’s behavior since taking over Twitter has badly hurt Tesla’s reputation in the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to UK-based market-research company YouGov, Tesla started the year with a 5.9 percent net favorability rating that increased to 6.7 percent by May. It then steadily declined, crossing into the negatives for the first time ever on November 7.

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Eight SpaceX Employees Say Criticizing Elon Musk Led to Their Firing

Eight SpaceX Employees Say Criticizing Elon Musk Led to Their Firing

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Photo: Jim Watson (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

In other bad news for Elon Musk this week, SpaceX is now facing charges of unfair labor practices after eight former employees say they were allegedly fired for speaking out against its founder and CEO. If this sounds remotely similar to what has been happening at Twitter recently, you aren’t wrong.

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Elon Musk Sells Billions More in Tesla Stock, Continues to Break a Broken Promise

Elon Musk Sells Billions More in Tesla Stock, Continues to Break a Broken Promise

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Image: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has reportedly sold off another $3.58 billion of the automaker’s stock. That brings the total amount of stock he sold since late last year to right around $40 billion. That $3.58 billion comes out to about 22 million shares.

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Tesla Investors Are Pissed at Musk for Focusing Solely on Twitter

Tesla Investors Are Pissed at Musk for Focusing Solely on Twitter

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Image: Getty (Getty Images)

By Andy Kalmowitz

Tesla’s stock continues to fall, and now individual investors are getting worried over Elon Musk’s focus on his newest acquisition, Twitter. The situation has left some wondering who’s actually making the decisions at the Texas-based electric vehicle maker.

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Tesla’s Promise of a Fully Self-Driving Car Merely an ‘Aspirational Goal,’ Lawyers Say

Tesla’s Promise of a Fully Self-Driving Car Merely an ‘Aspirational Goal,’ Lawyers Say

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Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

By Erin Marquis

Tesla’s lawyers argued in a brief filed last month that, even though the company’s CEO promised fully self-driving cars for the last nine years and failed to deliver, no fraud was perpetrated against owners.

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Meet the First Civilian Crew of the SpaceX Mission to the Moon

Meet the First Civilian Crew of the SpaceX Mission to the Moon

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Image: SpaceX

By José Rodríguez Jr.

SpaceX has announced the full crew of the dearMoon mission, which will go to the moon and retun to Earth aboard the first lunar launch of the Starship. The ten crew members will be led by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, and the group includes DJ Steve Aoki and K-pop star TOP among the artists and celebrities chosen by Maezawa to go on the Starship’s maiden voyage.

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Tesla Is Offering a $7,500 Discount on Model 3s and Model Ys Through the End of the Year

Tesla Is Offering a $7,500 Discount on Model 3s and Model Ys Through the End of the Year

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Image: Tesla

By Erik Shilling

If you want to take delivery of a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y between Wednesday and December 31, the EV maker says that you’ll get a $7,500 “credit” in addition to free Supercharging for up to 10,000 miles. I’m sure this has nothing to do with Tesla trying to hit a quarterly sales target or falling demand for Teslas.

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Used Tesla Prices Plummet, Ending The Days Of Sky-High Demand

Used Tesla Prices Plummet, Ending The Days Of Sky-High Demand

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Image: Tesla

By Steve DaSilva

Tesla’s cars once came at the tail end of a long waiting list, meaning those who actually twiddled their thumbs long enough to get one could immediately turn around and offload it to less-patient buyers for a quick buck. Now, as Tesla enthusiasm wanes and demand levels out, that business model seems to be dying out.

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New California Law Won’t Allow Tesla to Advertise its Vehicles as Capable of ‘Full Self-Driving’

New California Law Won’t Allow Tesla to Advertise its Vehicles as Capable of ‘Full Self-Driving’

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Photo: David Zalubowski (AP)

By Lawrence Hodge

Tesla has been in a bit of hot water as of late, regarding its claims of “full self-driving,” on its vehicles. The truth is, Teslas do not have the capabilities of full self-driving. We even outlined guidelines of how we would refer to the company’s claims of the tech back in the spring of 2021 to relay that fact. But that hasn’t stopped Tesla drivers from using it, and the subsequent accidents and deaths where the technology has been said to be involved have gotten the attention of the industry, media and lawmakers. Enough that California Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a law that will ban Tesla and other automakers from advertising level 2 driver assist systems as “full self-driving.”

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