Archives for July 8th, 2013

Gran Turismo 6 Details Revealed, Demo Coming This Summer

Gran Turismo 6 Details Revealed, Demo Coming This Summer

The next-generation of simulation racing games is coming. While celebrating the storied marquee’s 15th anniversary at Silverstone, Sony announced that Gran Turismo 6 is coming to PlayStation 3 this holiday season, with the first playable demo coming in July.

2012 Tesla Model S Signature Performance GT6 front three quarter turn 300x168 imageSony touts Gran Turismo 6 as bringing new levels of realism and authenticity to the sim racing genre. GT6 boasts an entirely new game and physics engine, the latter of which includes a new aerodynamic model, a new tire model, and a new suspension and kinematics model. Like its rivals at Forza 4 (which worked with Pirelli to help with its tire models), the GT6 team joined with Yokohama and KW Automotive to help develop a more realistic experience in the latest Gran Turismo game.

Gran Turismo 6 will reportedly be released this holiday season, though it’s probably worth noting that GT6′s predecessor, Gran Turismo 5, was the subject of multiple delays. Still, there are a few reasons to remain optimistic. For starters, all of the cars and tracks in GT5 will be carried over to GT6, which will include 1200 cars at launch (though as production manager Kirill Ougarov joked on Twitter, “1100 of them will be Skylines”).  The newest Gran Turismo will also include seven new tracks (including Silverstone), bringing the track total to 33. There will be 71 different track layouts in the game, with 19 of them new. If those grow old, the course maker function has been improved.

Gran Turismo 6 Silverstone 7 300x168 imageWith the announcement of GT6, Sony is planning on continuing its collaboration with Nissan’s GT Academy, the program that turns Gran Turismo gamers into real-life racers. GT Academy returns this July, with the release of the GT6 Silverstone demo.

Speaking of the demo, Sony released a short teaser of the killer graphics and cars we can expect to see in GT6, including the 1986 Audi Quattro rally car, and the 2012 Tesla Model S Signature Performance.

Here are the cars you’ll be able to drive in the July demo. Bold text indicates the car is new to the Gran Turismo series:

-          1991 Acura NSX

-          2011 Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale

-          1968 Alpine a110 1600S

-          1986 Audi Quattro S1 rally car

-          2009 Ferrari 458 Italia

-          1971 Ferrari Dino 246 GT

-          2006 Ford GT

-          2012 KTM X-Bow R

-          1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400

-          2007 Light Car Company Rocket

-          2010 McLaren MP4-12C

-          2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

-          2008 Nissan 370Z (GT Academy Version)

-          2008 Nissan 370Z Tuned Car (GT Academy Version)

-          2012 Nissan GT-R Black Edition (GT Academy Version)

-          Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 N24 Shulze Motorsport

-          Nissan Leaf G (GT Academy Version)

-          2012 Tesla Model S Signature Performance

-          2012 Toyota 86 GT

2012 KTM X Bow GT6 rear high 300x168 imageSome other cool Gran Turismo 6 facts, straight from associate online editor Nate Martinez, our man on the ground:

- 200 cars more than GT5

- A lot more tuning parts than GT5

- A lot more Downloadable Content (DLC)

- “Adaptive Tessellation” (not pixilation) to vehicle models allows for greater details shown

- Several thousand tuning parts will be available

- GT5 had limited wheels; GT6 will have tons more freedom and choices

-New tracks added every month via DLCs

- Updated Course Maker for GT6

- 10 square kilometers of scenery available

- New algorithm for highly detailed backgrounds and layouts

1986 Audi Quattro S1 rally car GT6 side 300x168 imageGame Engine:

- New rendering engine

- For PS3, pushes unit to its limits

- Flexible expandability

- 50x increase of dynamic range vs. GT5

- Hi-res photographic backgrounds during gameplay result of dynamic range

Community Club/Race Organizer:

- GT5 missed this feature; GT6 will not

- Players can form own communities (local, domestic, global)

- Can organize own racing series and championships

1974 Lamborghini Countach LP400 GT6 front three quarter track 300x168 imageNew User Interface:

- Directional keys and touch operation balance

- Faster responsiveness; shorter loading times

- UI No 1. goal = much faster

Multi Device Compatibility:

- New for GT6

- PlayStation, smart phone, tablet, PC

- Best driving experience is on the PS3

- “Get involved with GT6 practically anyplace.”

- Activity with other OEMs and automotive brands, such as the partnership with Toyota and the 86s, will be announced later in next 6 months

- Next GT Academy starts in July 2013

- Winners now will race a NISMO GT-R GT3 for FULL season

By Christian Seabaugh

Tesla Working on Affordable Compact Crossover



Having just announced plans for a Nissan Leaf rival priced below $40,000, electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors revealed that an affordable compact crossover SUV is also in the works.

Set to be built on the same platform as the entry-level sedan, the crossover will also hit the market "in the next three to four years" and will be significantly cheaper than the $70,000 Tesla Model S.

Reportedly aimed at the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, the crossover could borrow the design of the gull-winged Model X, which was delayed for 2014 when Tesla decided to repay the company's Department of Energy loan ahead of schedule and increase Model S production.

As we already reported earlier this week, Elon Musk announced that the Nissan Leaf contender will offer a range of about 200 miles.

Story via AutomotiveNews

By Ciprian Florea

Tesla’s East Coast Superchargers Allow Boston to Washington Travel

Tesla’s East Coast Superchargers Allow Boston to Washington Travel

Tesla Motors’ range-extending Supercharger recharging stations have officially opened up on the East Coast allowing Boston to Washington, D.C. travel, The New York Times reports.

Tesla Supercharger station 300x167 imagePlaced along the highly-trafficked Northeast Corridor, the new Supercharger stations will allow a Tesla Model S with the 85 kW-h big battery (giving it an EPA-estimated 265 mile range) make the trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. As is the case on the West Coast, Tesla’s new East Coast Supercharger stations aren’t placed in big cities like New York or Baltimore; rather they’re placed along I-95 in Milford, Conn. and Wilmington, Del.

Owners of Model S’ with the mid-range 60 kw-h battery pack and 208-mile EPA-estimated range should have just enough juice to make it from Boston to D.C. utilizing the Supercharger network, though they’ll likely be cutting it rather close.

The new Milford and Wilmington Supercharger stations join Tesla’s five West Coast stations, which are strategically placed to allow all-electric travel between Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Tesla’s Supercharger stations allow Model S owners to add about 150 to 160 miles of range to their EVs in about 30 minutes. Owners of electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or even the Tesla Roadster excited about making an emission-less trip from Beantown to the Beltway need not apply; the Supercharger stations use a proprietary plug that currently works only with the Model S sedan.

As is the case on the West Coast, Tesla’s Supercharger stations are free for Model S owners to use. Tesla reportedly hopes to expand its Supercharger footprint with a few more stations on the Northeast Corridor in the near future.

Source: The New York Times

By Christian Seabaugh

Mercedes A-Class EV: A Tesla at heart?

2013 Mercedes A-Class concept motion

Tesla Motors, maker of the electric Roadster and Model S, will build the powertrain for an electric version of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming A-Class compact, a source close to the American company says. Tesla recently inked a contract with Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, to provide hardware for electric vehicles. It appears that the A-Class will be the first product of this collaboration.

Tesla founder Elon Musk announced the contract recently, saying that its value exceeded all of Tesla’s previous contracts. A Tesla employee with inside knowledge of the deal told Groen7 that, under the contract, Tesla will design a powertrain for the electric A-Class. The Tesla-powered A-Class will debut as a concept car sometime next year.

Like the EVs from competitors BMW and Audi, the little Mercedes will be more of a prototype than a showroom model. Mercedes will release a few cars to select customers as part of a pilot program, which will gather data on real-world use that the world’s oldest car company can put toward developing its own electric powertrain. Audi is taking a similar approach with the A3 e-tron, as is BMW with the 1 Series-based ActiveE.

Since Mercedes and Tesla have not made any official statements about the A-Class, the specifics of its powertrain are unknown. The BMW ActiveE produces 170 horsepower, and its 32-kWh battery pack gives it a range of 94 miles. The Audi A3 e-tron has 114 hp and a 26-kWh battery pack, giving it a range of roughly 90 miles.

While Mercedes gets a pre-packaged first-generation EV, Tesla gets an outlet for its technology. The company will only sell so many luxury EVs, so developing electric powertrains for other companiess has become an important part of Tesla’s business strategy. In addition to the A-Class, Tesla is building a small batch of RAV4 EVs for Toyota.

As it ramps up production of the Model S (and Model X crossover), and tries to repay government loans, Tesla could use the cash. Meanwhile, Mercedes will have an electric car pilot program to match its rivals’.

By Stephen Edelstein

Tesla CEO hints at electric truck

Tesla Model X pickup render

With the Model S having won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk sat down with the magazine to discuss the future. Obviously, his immediate hopes are that the award will translate into added sales, but he has no intention of resting on his laurels, not that anyone who knows him would expect him to do so. His plans call for further expanding the company’s model line, an ambitious move even for a more traditional company of the same size.

There are plans for an electric supercar, which sounds exciting and isn’t all that surprising, as Musk is someone who understands the importance of a halo car. What was a bit surprising was when Musk mentioned plans for an electric truck, something we haven’t really seen before. There have been electric delivery vans, but EV makers have up to now mostly stayed away from purely utilitarian vehicles like pickups and off-roaders. Range issues would probably explain the lack of off-roaders, but an EV truck is really quite an intriguing idea.

Trucks do tend to be heavy, and have some of the worst aerodynamics of any vehicle type. Those aren’t great features which are typically good for an EV’s range, but Tesla is not a company which is shy about packing as much battery material into a car as they deem necessary. There is a big advantage to doing this as well, since electric motors offer up huge amounts of torque right from zero rpm. Toque is major factor in pickups, and diesel-powered full-size pickups often offer more than 700lb-ft. An electric pickup probably won’t have a number quite so high, but the torque it does offer will be available more of the time, and will therefore be much more usable. That’s a trade-off which some people are probably happy to make, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

There had been a belief that people who buy pickups don’t like change, but then Ford sold a huge number of their EcoBoost twin-turbo V6-powered F-150s, and now it seems that idea of what makes a pickup is up for grabs. We are, of course, interested in seeing this electric supercar as well, but an electric truck would be a far more interesting market.

By Jacob Joseph