Archives for June 10th, 2013
Range anxiety is one of the main points against the current crop of EVs, as they simply lack the battery capacity to be used anywhere else, aside from a city environment. However, Tesla set out to change that, by not only offering the highest-capacity battery packs on the market, for their cars, but also through their network of ‘Superchargers’.
There are currently six such stations, all of which are in California, and now open to the public, as well. They are placed at ‘strategic’ points, near malls, restaurants and other places where people gather, and offer an extra 150 miles (240 km), free of charge, for all Tesla owners.
The plan is to cover the entire country with Superchargers, in about two years’ time, with the increase in coverage being guided by the number of Tesla drivers in a particular area of the country. However, with the launch of the Model X and the all-electric 3-Series rival, as well as an increase in the production of the Model S, there will be quite a few of these cars on US roads in coming years – they’d best be prepared.
The “Odyssey of Pioneers” world tour has the Tesla Roadster visiting some 15 major cities and at least 150 smaller towns during the course of its road trip. The electric sports car is in Europe this week where it will be making a historical pit stop in Budapest, Hungary.
What’s the connection? Well, Budapest was one of the many stomping grounds of Tesla’s namesake — Nikola Tesla. Better yet, it’s said that while living in Budapest, Tesla thought up the original design for the alternating current motor — the same type of motor used in the Roadster — during a feverish hallucination.
“Without his vision and brilliance, our car wouldn’t be possible,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “If he were alive today, I’m sure Nikola Tesla would be a very happy Roadster customer and a passionate advocate of electric vehicles.”
Budapest is the fourth stop on the Tesla’s tour. Luke McClure, the EV’s driver, has used standard electric outlets at hotels along the route, a solar panel array, and even a power feed located inside a Swiss barn to keep the roadster fully “fueled.” The Tesla Roadster accomplishes this feat because it’s equipped with its own charging equipment, so there is no need for specialized outlets or charging stations.
Tesla Motor will be hosting a VIP celebration, along with test drives for prospective customers from April 15-16 at the TAG Heuer Boutique in Budapest. The Roadster will then resume the tour to its next stop — Warsaw, Poland. The entire journey is tentatively scheduled to last eight months, and is expected to end come October, when the Tesla is due in Paris.
We’ve already reported on Toyota and Tesla Motors forming a partnership to develop electric vehicles, but now we’ve learned a little more about the program. According to an official release from Toyota, the two are working together to build a fleet of electric RAV4 compact SUVs, which are due to hit the market in the next two years.
The official announcement is billed as the first of several “updates” on the project promised by Toyota Motor Company president Akio Toyoda. According to Toyoda’s statement, the first prototype of the new RAV4 EV has been completed and is currently undergoing a battery (no pun intended) of tests. Ultimately, the prototype will be the crest of a wave as Toyota and Tesla plan on building a fleet of the electric compact SUVs. According to the automaker, the first next-generation RAV4 EV will be pushed into the consumer market in 2012.
Toyota hopes the liason with Tesla, which was formally inked back in May, will help it develop, produce, and manufacture electric vehicles in a short time frame. In a very NUMMI-like twist, Tesla hopes to learn the ways of Toyota’s manufacturing process and gain from its engineering expertise, while Toyota reportedly aims to capitalize on Tesla’s “daring spirit,” along with its EV technology.
As previously reported, the RAV4 EV will utilize a lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Tesla, but officials at both companies have refrained from releasing more details on the new vehicle. Likewise, we haven’t heard any more information surrounding another electric vehicle, which has been reported to be based upon the Lexus RX.
Hopefully, we’ll learn more about the program in Toyota’s next update. Should all go well, look for the second iteration of the RAV4 EV to reach consumers in about two years.