Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) owner Carle Reese, along with friends Deena Mastracci and Alex Roy, drove across the U.S. in a Model S vehicle using its Autopilot feature. Reese and his team completed the 2,995-mile drive from California to New York in a record-setting time of 57 hours and 48 minutes.
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In an interview on FOX Business Network’s Countdown to the Closing Bell, Reese said he was very pleased with the technology during the coast-to-coast drive.
“I think it’s amazing to go coast-to-coast in 57 hours and using autopilot 96% of the time. I think it’s absolutely amazing,” he said.
Rese said Tesla’s Autopilot feature is an advanced version of cruise control and was never designed with the purpose of allowing the vehicle’s drive to go to sleep or read a book while driving.
Tesla’s plans for self-driving cars took a turn for the worst after two crashes occurred under autopilot mode, with one resulting in a fatal crash in Florida in May.
“It’s very tragic any time there’s a fatal crash involving any automobile and I think it’s important that we go back and take a look and make corrections,” Reese told host Liz Claman.
As a Tesla owner, Reese has seen no less than 12 updates in the autopilot system downloaded to his car since its release. Because of that, he feels that American manufacturing deserves more credit.
“I think America just really needs to rally behind American manufacturers right now. There’s small companies like Motus Motorcycles that is bringing back manufacturing back to the United States and Tesla is doing the same thing,” he said.
Tesla is run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk and the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California is one of the world’s most advanced automotive factories, containing 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space.
The company recently unveiled the Gigafactory outside Sparks, Nevada, a battery factory designed to reduce the per-kilowatt-hour cost of Tesla lithium-ion battery packs by more than 30%.
“I’m really excited about revitalizing manufacturing,” Musk said at a company invite-only event. “It needs love, and we’re going to give it.”
On Wednesday, Tesla reased its second-quarter earnings, missing estimates as deliveries of its Model S and Model X fell short of expectations. The stock ended Tuesday at $225.79 and shares climbed up slightly in after-hours trading.
Tesla delivered 14,402 vehicles in the second-quarter, missing its goal of 17,000. The company says it’s on pace to build 50,000 vehicles in the second half of the year.
Reese, meanwhile, is on his second Tesla vehicle, and on the wait list for the Model 3 which he plans to use for his construction business.
“It’s amazing to me that more Americans don’t want to embrace independence from foreign oil and put some solar panels on their roof, have their own gas station in a sense and charge their vehicles up, leave the house with a full charge and then use Tesla’s free charging stations while on the road,” Reese said.