Archives for June 13th, 2013
We’ve spent lots of time behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S, driving gently to test its range. We would have gladly taken the Model S closer to its limit, but Tesla had another driver in mind for that task: Nobuhiro ‘Monster” Tajima, nine-time winner of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
While the drive doesn’t occur on the famed Colorado mountain, Tesla found a local Northern California road that worked just fine for the Model S and the Monster. In our testing, the Model S P85 accelerated from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, tying the time of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. So what did he think? Watch the video below to find out and revisit our Tesla Model S L.A. to Las Vegas road trip video as well.
Tesla Motors recently announced that it would raise the price of its Model S luxury EV, and now we know exactly how much extra cash this sedan will extracting from buyers’ wallets. Model S prices will go up by $2,500 across the board, and Tesla has also made some changes to the car’s options list.
The $2,500 price increase affects all three battery pack sizes (40 kWh, 60 kWh, 85 kWh) and the Performance package (which lowers the 0 to 60 mph time from 5.6 seconds to 4.4 seconds).
Consequently, the Model S’ new base price is $59,900, although most buyers will pay $52,400, since the car still qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit. As before, prices go up in $10,000 increments with the size of the battery pack. The top 85 kWh Performance model will start at $94,900.
Tesla also previously stated that some standard features would become optional, but the changes to the Model S’ options list are few. Performance models will now come with 19” wheels as standard, with 21” as a $3,500 option. Tesla is also offering Red multi-coat paint on 2013 models for $1,500.
On the plus side, Tesla is including 12-way adjustable heated front seats as standard equipment on all cars.
The price increase goes into affect January 1, 2013. Customers who make a reservation by December 31, 2012 will pay the current price, Tesla says, as long as they finalize their orders promptly. The company says it will determine a specific timeframe for order processing; customers who make a reservation before the end of the year but don’t actually place an order before Tesla’s deadline will keep their spot in line, but will have to pay the extra $2,500.
Tesla has over 12,000 reservations for the Model S, the vast majority of which will be delivered in 2013.
Tesla says it is entitled to raise its prices, since the Model S was announced over three years ago and prices have not gone up since then.
“During this same period of time most automotive companies have had at least three price increases and general inflation (CPI) has gone up 8.75 percent. A straight 8.75 percent CPI increase would now yield a base price for Model S of $62,400, an increase of $5,000,” Tesla vice president, worldwide sales and ownership experience George Blankenship said in a company blog post.
Tesla also sells cars in Canada, where the price will increase by $2,600 Canadian. The company is also taking reservations in Europe, although pricing for European models has not been announced. Tesla did say that it would deduct 1,700 euros from the cost of cars ordered before December 31.
Toyota announced that it couldn’t keep the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. production facility open after General Motors pulled out of the joint production facility. Toyota, however, has struck a deal to reopen the plant with Tesla and will produce electric vehicles at the facility beginning in 2012.
Tesla and Toyota will leverage each manufacturer’s strengths — Toyota’s size, engineering resources, and supplier base, and Tesla’s small, fast product development and electric vehicle technology — to create a team of electric vehicle specialists. Toyota will gain knowledge of newer lithium-ion battery technology as Tesla already has a partnership with Panasonic for the technology, and Tesla will learn how to efficiently put vehicles into mass production.
“I sensed the great potential of Tesla’s technology and was impressed by its decision to monozukuri (Toyota’s approach to manufacturing),” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota. “Through this partnership, by working with a venture business such as Tesla, Toyota would like to learn from the challenging spirit, quick decision making, and flexibility that Tesla has.
“Decades ago, Toyota was also born as a venture business. By partnering with Tesla, my hope is that all Toyota employees will recall that ‘venture business spirit,’ and take on the challenges of the future.”
Tesla’s Model S sedan will likely be the first vehicle to go into production at the facility when it launches in 2012. Tesla estimates production volumes of around 20,000 units per year and it will likely be joined by platform derivatives and possibly the Roadster. Toyota also has plans to put an electric vehicle into production in 2012, but has not said any more.
In addition to working together on electric vehicle development, Toyota said it will buy into Tesla. Toyota is set to invest $50 million in Tesla in exchange for common stock once Tesla completes its IPO.
“Toyota is a company founded on innovation, quality, and commitment to sustainable mobility. It is an honor and a powerful endorsement of our technology that Toyota would choose to invest in and partner with Tesla,” said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla. “We look forward to learning and benefiting from Toyota’s legendary engineering, manufacturing, and production expertise.”
Do you think the Tesla/Toyota tie-up is a solid one? Which automaker stands to benefit more from the deal? Will the relationship be successful? Let us know in the comments section below.
Source: Tesla, Toyota
We’ve extensively tested the Tesla Model S’ range, but after one reporter from The New York Times wrote about his experience with the car running out of power, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken notice. The Model S review suggests that cold weather negatively impacts range, but Musk has expressed doubts about the reporter’s story.
“Essentially, we think the article is a bit of a set up and is unreasonable” Musk told CNBC.
In the NY Times article, reporter John M. Broder planned a road trip around the EV charging stations newly set up 200 miles apart on Interstate 95, in Newark, Del. and in Milford, Conn. With the Model S’s 265-mile estimated range, Broder didn’t experience range anxiety until after the first charge in Delaware.
Broder wrote that he barely made it to the service plaza in Milford, and had range issues the following day. Once the car failed to make it to the nearest charging point, the author noted that the Model S gave the tow truck operator problems, as the electronic parking brake wouldn’t release without power.
Musk, not surprisingly, had a different take on the story. He told CNBC that vehicle logs reveal the author took detours and drove at speeds that decreased the car’s range. In addition, Musk also said the driver didn’t charge up to the maximum amount. In response, the NY Times claimed Broder’s article was completely factual and that he described the entire drive in the story.
Although we experienced a bit of range anxiety in the Model S ourselves, we were able to drive the Model S with the largest available battery pack from Los Angeles to San Diego in one single charge, in which we managed 238 miles at 65 mph on flat terrain with the AC off. From Los Angeles, we traveled 211 miles to Las Vegas and had 74 miles of range left, but on the way back, editor-in-chief Ed Loh was sweating as he barely made it back from the valet garage at the Aria Casino to Motor Trend’s El Segundo headquarters (285 miles on the dot) with range left for about three miles.
Read more about Tesla’s Superchargers here.
Source: NY Times, CNBC