Archives for July 15th, 2013

Photos: Tesla Model X

Tesla Motors unveiled its latest car yesterday at a special event held at the companies new California design studio. The new Model X is a crossover vehicle that looks more sedan-like than SUV, with a sprinkle of minivan utility thrown in for good measure.

Never ones to follow convention, Tesla has added its signature style to the Model X with its eye-catching Falcon Wing-doors and captivating NVIDA-powered touchscreen interface — similar to the one found in the Model S.

Tesla will begin producing its stylish Model X in late 2013 and begin deliveries in early 2014.

By Amir Iliaifar

Tesla Model S To Have CHAdeMO Quick-Charge Adaptor In Japan

CHAdeMO standard  -  on ECOtality DC fast charger

CHAdeMO standard – on ECOtality DC fast charger

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The Tesla Model S electric sedan is set to get a CHAdeMO quick-charge adaptor when it arrives on the market in Japan.

CHAdeMO is the leading quick-charge standard in Japan, and drivers have access to almost 1,900 charging stations across the country.

It’s standard equipment on Nissan Leafs and Mitsubishi i electric cars, but hasn’t previously been an option on any Tesla model.

According to Japanese blog MONOist, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] has announced that an adaptor will be available to convert the Model S’s usual charging port for use with the CHAdeMO standard.

The Model S is set to arrive at more than 20 Tesla stores across Japan in mid-2013.

Tesla Japan hasn’t yet announced local pricing, but its accessibility compared to the more expensive Tesla Roadster has meant Tesla is taking the CHAdeMO standard more seriously, in anticipation of higher sales volumes.

It isn’t yet clear whether an adaptor will be made available for U.S. customers, with Model S owners not currently able to charge at the country’s CHAdeMO fast-charge stations.

You can find out more on Model S quick charging via the Tesla Motors Club forum.

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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By Antony Ingram

No Joke: Tesla exceeds sales expectations but cancels entry-level model due to poor demand

Tesla Model S

Given that it’s April First, the news from Tesla seemed like a bit of a larf. Turns out, however, it’s not. The upstart luxury EV brand has axed plans for its $50,000 40 kWh Model S battery pack.

Customers who put down a deposit for a 40 kWh model will still receive one, however. As a Tesla press release put it: “The customers who ordered [the 40 kWh] option will instead receive the 60 kWh pack, but range will be software limited to 40 kWh. It will still have the improved acceleration and top speed of the bigger pack, so will be a better product than originally ordered, and can be upgraded to the range of the 60 kWh upon request by the original or a future owner.”

How much it will cost to unlock the extra 20 kWh worth of battery life is for now unknown. It stands to reason that buying the 40 kWh model secondhand and paying Tesla to unlock it, rendering it a 60 kWh model, would be the smart way to go.

Additionally, Tesla has announced that it has gone above and beyond and installed Supercharger hardware on all 60 kWh models, in anticipation that all customers will eventually buy the upgrade, allowing them access to unlimited long distance travel for life. Additionally, Tesla sees the upgrade as a boon to resale values, which adds equity for the first owner.

Lastly, Tesla has announced that it has exceeded its sales goals, having taken orders on 4,750 units versus the 4,500 that the company had previously projected.

Frankly, we’re quite impressed with Tesla’s announcements. They seem to be truly keyed in to, and concerned with, the future of their cars and customers satisfaction.

We wish other automakers showed the same level of care and concern. All too often it seems that once the vehicle leaves the lot, the brand no longer has concern for the vehicle. Tesla appears to want to nurture the vehicle throughout its life and across generations of owners.

By Nick Jaynes

Tesla Reduce Model S Q3 Production Levels by Half!



While everything seemed to be going well for Tesla, as they had successfully launched a great car, the Model S. While they had fallen short of their goal of building ‘the best car in the world’, they came closer than anybody would have ever imagined.

Sadly, while the car itself is great, it seems that other problems are plaguing the Silicon Valley-based manufacturer. According to bloomberg.com, Tesla have reportedly announced a reduction by 50% in their production levels for the third quarter of the year, from 1,000 units, to just 500.

Despite this, they have made no alterations to their final figure by the end of the year, of 5,000 produced, however, we are quite sure it will be very hard for them to achieve the desired figure in the given conditions. Maybe they will increase production levels in coming months to compensate, but that’s a highly unlikely scenario.

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla Will Repay Its Energy Department Loans By 2017, It Says

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

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What a difference a few years makes.

Startup electric-car maker Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] said it will repay its $465 million in low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Energy five years earlier than originally scheduled.

The news came yesterday in the company’s annual report.

Sourcing Tesla CFO Deepak Ahuja, Bloomberg reports that Tesla will accelerate payments starting in 2015, completing payment in December 2017 with a balloon payment if necessary.

The loan agreement with the DoE, the company said, had been modified to reflect the accelerated repayment. The original loan was to have been repaid by 2022.

One reason for Tesla to pay off the loans is that starting in 2018, the Energy Department can exercise warrants to purchase up to 3 million shares of Tesla Motors at a substantial discount.

Presidential debate fodder

The DoE advanced-technology loan program proved to be a contentious issue in the 2012 presidential election.

Losing Republican candidate Mitt Romney calling Tesla and Fisker ‘loser’ companies, both in the first debate in early October, and then slamming them again in the final debate.

Tesla is now shipping roughly 1,000 Model S electric luxury sport sedans each month, perhaps more, to buyers in the U.S. and Canada.

The $465 million sum was one of three low-interest loan awards announced with great fanfare in June 2009 by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Tesla’s total was by far the smallest of the three, though the only one to go to a startup in that round.

Nissan received $1.6 billion to create a lithium-ion cell fabrication facility and start building Leaf electric cars at its Smyrna, Tennessee, assembly plant.

Production of lithium-ion cells started in December, and the first 2013 Nissan Leaf rolled off the line in January (though Nissan used only $1.4 billion of its loan).

Lion’s share of loans to Ford

By  far the largest share of the DoE’s advanced-technology vehicle manufacturing program loans, $5.9 billion, went to Ford.

That company, in fact, totals two-thirds of all funds granted through the program, which is now effectively frozen despite having disbursed only $9 billion of the $25 billion allocated by Congress in 2008 after the program was approved in 2007.

Ford’s loans have gone largely to advance the rollout pace of its EcoBoost line of downsized, turbocharged engines.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Motor Trend 'Car of the Year' ceremony in New York City, Nov 2012

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Motor Trend ‘Car of the Year’ ceremony in New York City, Nov 2012

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Fisker flounders

Another startup, Fisker Automotive, got $529 million that November, though disbursements were later frozen after Fisker missed numerous deadlines.

With production of its $106,000 Karma range-extended electric luxury sedan halted last summer after battery supplier A123 Systems declared bankruptcy, Fisker is now seeking either additional funding or a purchaser.

Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, said in a recent conference call that the company expects to be profitable for the first quarter of this year, three quarters ahead of the previous schedule.

Tesla stock has risen since the company’s successful initial public offering, closing yesterday at $38.23–more than double its $17 launch price in June 2010.

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By John Voelcker