Archives for July, 2013 - Page 2

Tesla to build 2014 Mercedes B-Class EV

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class rear overhead view

Tesla Motors will be farming out its electric vehicle (EV) technology in the coming years. The company is building Toyota RAV4 EVs, and will soon begin a similar project for Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes wants to a bring an electric version of its B-Class compact to the United States in 2014. Automotive News reports that Tesla will supply the car’s electric motors and battery pack. Mercedes did not comment on the report.

Details on the B-Class EV’s performance are few, as there is still much development work to be done. The B-Class itself is a tall-roofed, five-door hatchback based on Mercedes’ new MFA platform. The MFA platform will support several front-wheel drive Benzes, including the CLA “four-door coupe” previewed by the Concept Style Coupe concept car.

Mercedes calls the current B-Class a “Compact Sports Tourer,” a smaller version of the R-Class “Grand Sports Tourer.” Powered by a selection of small four-cylinder engines, the car has been on sale overseas since 2005. Mercedes hasn’t seen fit to bring it to the U.S. until know, since fuel economy is trumping snobbery over driven wheels, size, and pretentious names like “Sports Tourer.”

When the B-Class EV hits the market, it will hold a unique place. Other luxury EVs, such as the Tesla Model S and upcoming Infiniti LE emphasize style, but the chunky Benz seems more utilitarian. The body style is almost a mix between a compact van (like the Nissan eNV200) and a regular, five-door hatchback (Nissan Leaf). The three-pointed star in the grille might also help sales against less prestigious brands.

This is not the first time Tesla has offered its services to another company. It is already building 2,600 RAV4 EVs for Toyota, with a 100-mile range and a price tag of $50,610. The project will give Tesla some cash while its Model S and Model X production lines spool up to full capacity.

A team-up with Mercedes makes even more sense, since Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, owns 4.7 percent of Tesla. The electric carmaker has already built a Smart ForTwo EV for Daimler.

By Stephen Edelstein

Tesla Developing All-Electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class



As we had previously reported at the end of May, the Daimler group had reportedly contacted Tesla Motors regarding the development of an all-electric vehicle. At first, it was thought that the vehicle in question would be an all-electric A-Class, but now, according to goingelectric.de, we realize that it may not be so.

It is, in fact, an all-electric B-Class which is due to make its debut on the world stage in 2014. Apparently, engineers first considered incorporating a range extender into the system, but it was ditched in favor of a much simpler (and lighter) all-electric setup, similar to that of the Model S, but with its electric motors driving the front wheels instead of the rears.

Given the fact that Tesla is behind the car’s drivetrain, and considering the fact that they have very advanced battery and drivetrain technology at their disposal, as well as the fact that they are developing the EV for Mercedes-Benz, we expect the 2014 B-Class E-Cell (previewed by a Frankfurt 2011 range-extended concept) to be an excellent package – let’s just hope that we’re right!

By Andrei Nedelea

Thread of the Day: What New Car, Truck, or SUV Are You Thankful For?

Thread of the Day: What New Car, Truck, or SUV Are You Thankful For?

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means it’s time for turkey, family, road trips, football — and yes, even being thankful. In the automotive sphere that means being thankful for the latest and greatest new cars, trucks, and SUVs currently in production or entering production soon.

We’re thankful for quite a few new vehicles here at Motor Trend – like the uber-luxurious and uber-capable 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the lightning-quick and all-electric 2013 Tesla Model S, and the pint-sized, entry-priced 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ twins.

In honor of Thanksgiving and for today’s Thread of the Day, we want to know which currently on sale (or soon to be on sale) 2013 or 2014 car, truck, or SUV you’re most thankful for. Our only restriction is that the vehicle must be in dealerships now, or will soon go on sale.

Have at it in the comments below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Cameron Diaz Buys a Tesla Model S



Cameron Dias, one of the Hollywood names who need no introduction, is now the third famous actor owner of a Tesla Model S EV. She was preceded by fellow actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, both of whom have bought the all-electric sedan.

She was recently spotted leaving the gym, and getting aboard the Model S, which does not appear to be the Signature top spec model, as it does not have the trademark anthracite wheels, which are also larger in size than the ones on her car.

Still, at least this way celebs will stop buying the Toyota Prius simply as a green statement, as the Model S is a proper no-emissions luxury car, which is exactly what they are looking for. It is also great publicity for the car, and Cameron Diaz is undoubtedly not the last famous person to buy one.

We are curious to see who buys one next, but regardless of whom that may be, the more celebrities buy the Tesla, the higher the car’s popularity will be, even among non-celebrities. Also, once they begin European deliveries, as well as deliveries to other major markets, the Model S will hopefully become a more common sights on the world’s roads.

Story via celebritycarsblog.com

By Andrei Nedelea

Volkswagen Golf Named 2013 World Car of the Year



After being named the 2013 European Car of the Year earlier this year, the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf clinched the top prize in the 2013 World Car of the Year awards as well.

At a press conference hosted by the 2013 New York International Auto Show, the all-new Volkswagen Golf was declared the 2013 World Car of the Year. The other three finalists were the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the Porsche Boxster / Cayman and the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86.

"We at Volkswagen are all delighted that the Golf has been named 'World Car of the Year'. To win this award again shows that the Golf is and remains in a class of its own all around the world. This car sets new benchmarks again and again, not least in terms of efficiency and environmental credentials. Soon, for instance, the Golf will also be launched as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100% electric car."

This is the second consecutive year that the German automaker has won the award, after the Volkswagen Up! was named World Car of the Year in 2012.

The 2013 World Performance Car of the Year was also announced at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, the jury awarding the distinction to the Porsche Boxster / Cayman entry, which means that the Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ / Toyota GT 86 and the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta had to settle as runner-ups. Moving forward, the World Green Car award was given to the Tesla Model S, the US-built EV gathering more votes than the other two finalists, the Renault Zoe and the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid.

A committee of 66 journalists from 23 countries have voted in the 2013 World Car of the Year Awards.

By Ciprian Florea

Motor Trend’s Top 10 Most Popular Web Articles of 2012

Motor Trend’s Top 10 Most Popular Web Articles of 2012

Yes, ladies and gentleman, it’s already that time of year – the time for mistletoe and eleventh-hour overnight shipping; for social gatherings you’d rather not attend, and for family dishes you’ve waited a year to devour. For us, the end of December means reviewing all the work that we’ve produced since the beginning of 2012.

To celebrate what’s been a big year at Motor Trend, we’ve gathered our most popular online articles for 2012. The Top 10 stories don’t all feature sexy Italian supercars, nor are they all from 2012. In reality, there’s only one “exotic” on the list (and it’s not even in production yet) and two articles from last year that are still going strong.

Without further ado, here are MT’s biggest online hits for 2012. Click through to discover what was most popular on MotorTrend.com during 2012!

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By Nate Martinez

2013 Tesla Model S Ready For Delivery: So Close & Yet So Far

2013 Tesla Model S in Queens, NY, service center, awaiting delivery to buyer David Noland, Feb 2013

2013 Tesla Model S in Queens, NY, service center, awaiting delivery to buyer David Noland, Feb 2013

Enlarge Photo

After just about four years of waiting, my 2013 Tesla Model S has arrived.

Almost.

The call from the Tesla delivery rep came on February 4, the last day of the two-week delivery window promised back in December.

My car, with metallic green paint, 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack, black leather interior, air suspension, had arrived at the service/delivery center in Queens, New York.

To say that I was eagerly anticipating its final delivery to my home–just 60 miles upstate in the Hudson Valley–would be the understatement of the year.

But fate can be cruel.

Tomorrow, on February 7, I’m scheduled to leave for a two-week biking trip in Myanmar.

I briefly considered taking delivery before the trip, driving the car for a day or two, and then heading off to Myanmar. 

But I wasn’t sure I could bear the frustration of abandoning the car after such a brief taste of its pleasures.

And I really didn’t like the idea of my brand-new Model S sitting unused, potentially buried in a snowdrift, for the first two weeks of its life.

So, with very mixed feelings, I have postponed delivery until February 22, two days after I return.

Although this kind of short-term delivery postponements can be arranged, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] recently confirmed that once a customer signs the final configuration paperwork, it won’t allow long-term production or delivery delays (as a few customers have now requested).

The delivery rep assures me the car will be stored indoors and watched over carefully.

Hopefully they’ll have plenty of time to inspect it carefully, correct any small defects, and perhaps install the updated defroster vent that the company is apparently developing.

I’ll report what my new Tesla Model S is like to drive, in detail, as soon as I actually drive it–in two more weeks.

Stay tuned.

David Noland is a Tesla Model S reservation holder and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.

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By David Noland

Tesla Reports First Quarterly Profit

Tesla Reports First-Ever Quarterly Profit

Tesla has reported its first-ever quarterly profit as Model S production hits full swing.

The company said it made about $11 million dollars in the first quarter of 2013. A huge chunk of that came from a bit of accounting magic: Tesla was able to eliminate from its balance sheet some $10.7 million in liabilities relating to its Department of Energy loans. It also benefited from the state of California’s cap-and-trade system, selling some $68 million in zero-emission-vehicle credits to other automakers.

Still, the profit marks a milestone for the start-up company given the enormous costs involved in introducing its first independently developed product. Even when Automobile Magazine named the Model S Automobile of the Year, we cautioned that we weren’t certain Tesla would survive to produce it in significant volumes. Tesla says it built more than 5000 copies of the Model S in the first quarter of 2013, putting it on target for its annual production goal of 20,000 vehicles.

Tesla says demand for the Model S has kept pace with the supply, thanks in part to its new financing deal. Later this year, it will start selling the car outside North America. CEO Elon Musk predicts Tesla can sell 10,000 vehicles per year in Europe and 5000 per year in Asia.

Tesla’s next challenge will be reducing how much it spends building the Model S. Its profit margin on the car is presently a slim five percent. Musk says production costs will continue to fall as Tesla gets better deals from suppliers—a result of higher-volume production—and improves the car’s design.

Tesla’s stock has risen to nearly thirteen percent, to nearly $70 per share, in afterhours trading.

By David Zenlea

Tesla EV Trip Around the World Ends Badly with Under 1,000 Km to Go [Video]



You may remember Rafael de Mestre’s effort to take his Tesla Roadster EV around the world, to prove that such a feat can be done. Well, sadly for him and EV advocates around the world, his trip ended prematurely, has he ploughed his all-electric sports car into the back of a Toyota Auris, while on a German highway.

The crash was reportedly caused by a BMW which had also crashed, seven cars ahead. Sadly, the little Tesla was all-but-destroyed in the crash and Rafael will be unable to continue the remainder of his journey in it, thus ending his epic voyage, tantalizingly close to home – just under 1,000 km (600 miles) to go before arriving at their destination, in Barcelona, Spain.

So, after having driven nearly 24,000 km (15,000 miles), through 12 countries the epic trip is over. Thankfully, the Electric Odyssey crew are still going strong, and when they reach their destination in October, they will have accomplished ‘the mission’ (of driving an EV around the world) anyway!

And the actual crash footage

According to a picture posted on Facebook, they will attempt to get the car back on the road as soon as possible. It may not be all over after all!

By Andrei Nedelea

Tesla to Create 100-Strong ‘Supercharger’ Fast Charging Network in US



Elon Musk has recently announced that Tesla Motors will be opening over 100 ‘Supercharger’ fast charging station, throughout the US, by the year 2015. Six of them are already active, in California, and they can reportedly charge the 85 kWh battery pack up to 250 km (150 miles) of range, in around 30 minutes, making it the perfect solution for those who want to travel cross-country in their EV.

But how is the system this fast? Well, at 90 kW of power, the Supercharger delivers 4.5x more electricity into the battery, than regular Twin Chargers, thus making it possible to charge the battery in record time. Elon Musk seems optimistic on the matter, and when the head of the company genuinely inspires confidence in a product, perhaps it is worth noting.

Furthermore, they are planning on making these Supercharger stations very aesthetically pleasing, using an ‘alien’ design philosophy, in order to make them stand out in a positive way, especially when placed next to the kind of drab buildings one usually finds at petrol or service stations, dotted along the US’ highways.

Check out the Tesla to Create 100-Strong ‘Supercharger’ Fast Charging Network in US photo gallery

By Andrei Nedelea

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