Archives for June 20th, 2013
Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system for electric cars
Just under a month ago, Tesla Motors held a gala event at its Hawthorne, California design studio to mark the switching on of its proprietary Supercharger rapid charging network.
On Friday, Tesla held official ribbon cutting ceremonies at four of its six initial Supercharger locations, making them officially open for public use.
Opting to ignore both the J1772, level 2 charging standard found on every other production electric car today–not to mention both Chademo and recently-announced J1772 “combo connector” rapid charging standards–Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] has designed the proprietary Supercharger system specifically for its range of current and future electric cars.
At the moment, that means only 2012 Tesla Model S luxury sedans, with the exception of base-level 40-kilowatt-hour models, can use the Supercharger network.
Over time, however, Tesla says the range of Supercharger-compatible cars will rise as it builds the technology into all of its future cars.
That includes the highly-anticipated Model X Crossover SUV, which Tesla unveiled earlier this year.
Unlike other types of rapid charging stations, Tesla’s Supercharger is built from multiple, smaller charging units.
Initial locations for Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system Enlarge Photo
Initial locations for Tesla Supercharger fast-charging system
In fact, each Supercharger is built from 12 chargers identical to the 10-kilowatt charger included as standard onboard every 2012 Model S Sedan.
Rated at a maximum power of 90-kilowatts, with a future capability of going as high as 120-kilowatts, the charging stations can add as much as 150 miles of range to a Tesla Model S in half an hour.
Eventually, Tesla aims to cover major road routes throughout the U.S. with its Supercharger technology, allowing its customers to drive from coast-to-coast, or the length of either coastline, with ease.
For the moment, however, the first six Supercharger locations are located in California, connecting Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, San Francisco to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Tesla won’t be charging customers for recharging, although if we’d paid upwards of $90,000 for the car–and $600 a year for servicing–we’d expect a bit of free electricity too.
Fan of Tesla’s Model S? Do your pockets run nearly as deep as Elon Musk’s? If so, you might be interested in purchasing this palatial 4-bedroom abode nestled just outside the Windy City.
Looking to sweeten the deal for his $1.29 million home, an Illinois man has decided to throw in a free all-electric Tesla Model S luxury sedan. According to the seller’s website, the price of the house was recently dropped by $200,000 and will now include his reserved Model S upon purchase.
“I get it. Houses are hard to tell these days. That’s why I reduced the price by $200,000, and I’m including a brand new 2012 Tesla Model S electric car,” writes the seller about his motivation to include the popular electric sedan. “As you may know, there is a waiting list of over 6,000 on this car. My reservation is #300+ so you will get the car quick. Mind you this is not just any car, it’s one of the hottest cars to come out this decade.”
Indeed. While the seller has pointed out that this might be the first time someone has included a high-end electric car with the purchase of a house, it’s not the first time someone has tried to lure potential home buyers with the inclusion of a luxury car. Atlanta Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez offered up his Porsche, in a similar bargain a few years back.
Even though the seller had us at “free Tesla Model S,” the spacious 6757 sq ft home also comes fully furnished with a decked-out theater room, and 50-inch plasma TV. And if you just so happen to be shopping for a new home, and would like to get your hands on a Model S, it doesn’t get much sweeter than this.
Coincidence or not, Hollywood A-Lister Jennifer Garner and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk were on the same episode of the Late Night Show with David Letteraman a couple of years ago.
The green mentality seems to have rubbed off and Jenn, since she and her husband have bought the new Tesla Model S. The two have owned numerous gas-guzzlers over the years, including some really powerful SUVs, but they seem to have turned over a green leaf as it were.
The two have been spotted on numerous occasions while driving the Model S to and from their daughter Seraphina’s school in Brentwood, California. The pure electric sedan is doing its bit to save the planet and isn’t rally a compromise if you think about it.
One example of the Model S has been taken on a 423.5 mile ride on a single charge, and the car is also faster than some super saloons in a straight line!
Photos via Zimbo.com
❐ Check out the Ben Affleck and Jennifer in Garner Tesla Model S photo gallery
By Mihnea Radu
Tesla’s retail store concept
You only need to listen to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk chat for a while to understand that there’s more to Tesla than just electric cars–efficiency permeates through the company.
That extends to the manufacturing process, and as production of the 2012 Tesla Model S continues, Telsa has just received a $156,900 check as part of an energy efficiency incentive.
Handed over by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the money is an incentive for the purchase of three plastic injection-molding machines, which will be used to create more than 80 different parts in the Model S.
Naturally, Tesla has already been producing these parts for the S, but the new machines are replacing less efficient hydraulic units that currently churn out the components. PG&E says the machines will account for a 1.1 million kWh saving over the course of a year, and peak electric demand will be more than 550 kW lower than with the current machines.
While Tesla’s main focus is on ramping up production to meet strong demand for the Model S, the company still intends to make the factory as efficient as possible.
That doesn’t just mean improving the machines, but reducing energy in other areas too–Tesla’s vice president of manufacturing, Gilbert Passin, says Tesla has even installed more windows and skylights to reduce the need for artificial lighting in the factory.
That also meant buying an old factory, refurbishing old machinery and buying inexpensive IKEA furniture, allowing Tesla to save money for other aspects of production.
Last week, Tesla released details of its production so far, with 50 cars built and 29 deliveries. Production is being stepped up at the Fremont plant, and the company wants to expand from ten cars per week, through 20, and eventually to 100–reaching its target of 20,000 units in 2013.
Tesla Motors is no stranger to resistance from state dealer associations, which oppose the electric automaker’s factory-owned store approach. The best-documented standoff has been between Tesla and the Massachusetts Dealer Association, but has court or legislative battles happening in several states. The latest state dealer association the company is facing off with is the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, according to Automotive News.
Tesla VP of business development, Diarmuid O’Connell has among the highest barriers in the nation for the operation of a factory-owned store. Tesla currently operates two “galleries” in Austin and Houston, but in order to comply with current state franchise law, representatives cannot initiate or complete a sales transaction or deliver a vehicle on-site. Customers must contact a representative in California to complete the sales transaction, as well as arrange their own transport and delivery arrangements. Even in the area of service and warranty work, requests have to be routed through California, which then sub-contracts the work to the service centers in Texas.
To combat the contorted, Goldbergian work-arounds to sell and service vehicles in the state, Tesla is backing a bill in the Texas legislature that would change the states inflexible franchise laws to make it easier to operate factory-owned dealerships and service centers. But the state dealer association has been actively lobbying legislators and has participated in hearings, claiming that the traditional franchise dealer model is the best way to sell and service vehicles. The association is predicting failure of the Tesla-sponsored legislation that would allow them to operate, calling Tesla’s request for an exemption from existing franchise law “arrogant.”
Tesla continues to battle the Massachusetts dealer association with proposed legislation that would change the state’s dealer franchise law. The state’s dealer association is backing its own separate bill thwarting Tesla’s efforts. The one bright spot for Tesla lately has been Minnesota, where the state dealer association has temporarily suspended its pursuit of franchise law legislation that would have prevented Tesla from opening retail outlets in the state.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
It’s another step closer to having Tesla Model S cars in customer hands: the manufacturer announced that the car has finished crash testing with the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, and that the car is cleared for a June 22 initial delivery date.
The crash test announcement comes from the personal Twitter account of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who took a break from observing his SpaceX rocket launch to tweet that the Model S finished NHTSA crash testing. Musk claims that the car completed all tests with five-star scores, although we were unable to independently confirm that claim with NHTSA by press time.
With crash testing completed, along with the aforementioned EPA certification, it appears to be full-speed ahead for Tesla’s next model launch. The company plans on handing over keys to early production models to owners within the confines of its assembly plant in Freemont, California, but then intends on quickly ramping up volume. Tesla hopes to deliver 5000 Model S sedans by the end of the year, but claims that the waiting list for one of the five- or seven-passenger (depending on options) EVs stretches some 10,000 names. Those names should be satisfied by the middle of next year, as Tesla is shooting for a 20,000-unit year in 2013.
As to-be owners anxiously wait for their cars, Tesla also announced that customer cars will receive some special finishing touches. Tesla VP George Blankenship announced via blog post this week that Model S sedans will now come with adjustable steering effort, suspension height, and regenerative braking settings – all of which are configurable through a menu accessed by way of the 17-inch touchscreen center stack.
The Model S will go on sale this year and cost between $57,400 and $105,400, not including a possible $7500 federal income tax credit.
By Ben Timmins