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Light speed too slow for new Tesla

A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird: Tesla Model S goes to plaid Just months after the Model S received a dual motor upgrade giving it an acceleration mode dubbed Insane (normal version Sport), Tesla's decided to up

A biweekly roundup of automotive news, good, bad and just plain weird:

Tesla Model S goes to plaid Just months after the Model S received a dual motor upgrade giving it an acceleration mode dubbed Insane (normal version Sport), Tesla's decided to up the ante already. Somewhere in California, Elon Musk is wandering around in a Dark Helmet costume, muttering, "Well what's this thing got, a Cusinart?" Prepare for Ludicrous Speed. Not everything at Tesla is as rosy as you might think. The Model X SUV is delayed again, and don't hold your breath for a mid-sized, mid-priced car to compete with the likes of the BMW 3 Series. Tesla promises it's coming, but starting a car company from scratch isn't easy, no matter how driven you are.

Still, it's pretty hard to argue with these figures. Now sitting above the P85D will be a new top-trim called the P90D: 745 horsepower, 0-100 kilometres per hour in 2.8 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 10.9 seconds. That is ridiculous. Matter of fact, it's Ludicrous - and that's what Tesla will be calling their new high-speed mode. They've also got a long-awaited update for their Tesla roadster in the works, this one dubbed Maximum Plaid. Clearly, somebody's been watching Spaceballs and combing the desert for references. Along with a new base model with a lower price for those who see the Model S as a practical rather than a punchy choice, the new P90D will cost a further $10,000 over and above the current Tesla range-toppers. Better yet, if you've already shelled out for a P85D, thinking you'd have the hottest thing in town, an upgrade can be done to your current car for around $5,000.

Tesla certainly seems to be - pardon the pun - a polarizing company, with people evenly divided among e-evangelists for the brand, and those who would apparently gleefully see it fail. We'll leave analysis to the stock market: right now, a still-wet-behind-the-ears car company is on the cusp of making the fastest sedan in the world. That's some impressively sized Schwartz.

Uber battling fines at home, making inroads in Canada Ride sharing just seems like one of the more sensible things to come out of the technological revolution. For significantly less than taking a cab, just dial up a ride using a smartphone app, and off you go. Generally speaking, the Uber rides are quick, quiet, and clean, and they also provide a way for ordinary people with cars to make a few bucks.

There are all sorts of concerns, of course. The company makes the lion's share of the profits. The proper insurance required to be a commercial people carrier is not something that most Uber drivers seem to even worry about. Worst, as far as the company is concerned, there does seem to be some difficulty in regulating its drivers, who aren't really employees, but exist in some kind of odd limbo.

In California, where Uber has declined to provide documentation proving that their drivers aren't cherry-picking rides (you aren't allowed to discriminate against a neighbourhood you don't like, for instance), that's meant a whopping $7.3 million fine. Fail to pay, and Uber will lose their right to operate in California - although they can still appeal the decision.

In Toronto, cab companies are up in arms about Uber descending upon them, but the cabbie world has its own unique and murky issues. Chief among them is the way that licence owners operate in a reflection of medieval fiefdom, charging huge amounts to the actual cab drivers, and generally treating people like serfs.

Frankly, Uber and apps like it are both a welcome shake up for the industry, as well as another way to deal with worsening transit and traffic congestion problems. Even if Uber itself doesn't survive, Pandora's box is open.

Volvo buys Polestar You may be forgiven for thinking that Volvo didn't already own Polestar, their tuning and racing arm. You may also be forgiven for not realizing that Volvo actually had a racing arm. Well, they do, and now that arm has been actually sewn onto the body. If you're a Volvo fan, this is very good news

indeed. Polestar versions of the V60 wagon and S60 sedan were pretty interesting alternates to the Audi S4 and BMW 335i; however, they were available only in extremely restrictive quantities, so by the time you'd actually heard about them it was probably too late. Just a handful were available in Canada.

Now that Volvo actually owns Polestar in full, the two companies can be combined and streamlined in their production, leaving Polestar freed up to do more development work, and Volvo free to double or even triple production of fast wagons. This is good. Fast wagons are great.

Infiniti takes fight to BMW with silly naming scheme Just ahead of the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, Infiniti is taking the wraps off their Q30 Premium Active Compact. Ugh. Anything that has to tell you it's "Premium" usually isn't. Sorry, you're just a saltine cracker.

However, ridiculous nomenclature aside, the Q30 looks like a pretty decent little rig. Most of the concept's features have been retained, apart from the colossal wheels, and Infiniti's swooping, curving design language is maturing nicely. It's certainly a better look than Lexus and their all-the-grille-all-the-time front ends.

Expect the Q30 to debut with a couple of more modestly powered engines rather than the ubiquitous VQ-series V-6 you find everywhere in the Infiniti lineup. Expect it to favour style over utility, have huge swathes of technology, and given what the Q50 sedan is currently like, expect it to be very quick but lack steering feel. But heck, that's what BMWs are like these days too.

Watch this space for all the week's best and worst of automotive news, or submit your own auto oddities to